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German Football League President Reinhard Rauball "demanded the resignation" of FIFA President Sepp Blatter in the wake of FIFA's bribery scandal, according to the DPA. In an interview with 'Die Welt', Rauball said, "Sepp Blatter should hand over his official duties as quickly as possible. In order to start a reform process, FIFA needs someone who is willing to start from zero." FIFA Executive Member and former president of the German Football Federation Theo Zwanziger said, "It was very depressing to read all the information." Zwanziger demanded consequences for former FIFA President João Havelange and an explanation of the scandal. Rauball called for a special meeting of the FIFA Congress and wants "all facts on the table." Rauball added, "ISL allegedly paid CHF123M ($125M) to FIFA officials. Proved has only been that Havelange and Teixeira received about CHF14M ($14M). This means a little over 10% of the total amount has been attested. Where did the rest of the money go?" (DPA, 7/13). REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported that Blatter, who has been with FIFA since '75, and succeeded Havelange as president in '98, knew that "payments were being made." Blatter referred to them as "commission" and said that "they were not illegal at the time." Asked if he had known of payments, Blatter replied: "Known what? That commission was paid? Back then, such payments could even be deducted from tax as a business expense. Today, that would be punishable under law. You can't judge the past on the basis of today's standards" (REUTERS, 7/14).
BRAZIL: The DPA reported that the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) "will continue its collaboration" with ex-president Ricardo Teixeira despite his involvement in the FIFA bribery scandal. CBF President Jose Maria Marin said that "the allegations against Teixeira have nothing to do with his advising role for the CBF" (DPA, 7/13).
In an exclusive interview with Bingesser & Böni of BLICK, FIFA President Sepp Blatter talked about the recently uncovered bribery scandal inside the organization and when he received $50,000 in a bribery attempt.
Question: Have you ever been offered a bribe?
Sepp Blatter: Yes, people tried to bribe me. When I was FIFA General Secretary, the president of a nation's football federation approached me. It was about a World Cup qualification match, the winner advanced to the 1986 World Cup. During his departure, he approached me and said: "It would be great if the referee would be on our side." He then placed an envelope in the pocket of my jacket.
Q: And then?
Blatter: I returned to my office and opened the envelope. There were $50,000 in it. I took the money to my controller. He advised me to open an account in the name of the man who handed me the money and deposit the money in the account. I then informed the person about the account, and 14 days later he withdrew his money. Since then nobody has ever tried to bribe me.
Q: A bribery scandal rattles FIFA, former FIFA president Joao Havelange received CHF1.5M ($1.53M) in bribes. His former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira received even more, CHF12.7M ($12.9M), as a member of the executive committee. You knew about it and silently tolerated it.
Blatter: I have learned about the bribery payments only after the collapse of the marketing agency ISL in '01. It was FIFA that filed charges and got the ball rolling in the case. When I say it is difficult to judge the past with today's standard, then it is only a general assessment. I don't approve of corruption, nor do I support or justify it. That's exactly what I am accused of now. The Federal Court proved all doubters wrong who claimed for years that I received bribes. It is official. I never received any bribes. Now the same people try to attack me on another level. They say, O.K. he did not receive any bribes, but he must have known what was going on. Again, no...
Click here for the full interview.
TAKE BACK TITLE: The AP reported that Blatter said FIFA "should remove the honorary presidency" it bestowed on Havelange. Blatter told Sonntags Blick that Havelange "has to go" (AP, 7/15).
The German Football Federation (DFB) revealed that its Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga referees "will receive a base salary starting with the '12-13 seasons," according to WELT AM SONNTAG. Under the new payment model, the three German FIFA referees -- Wolfgang Stark, Felix Brych and Florian Meyer -- will get a base salary of €40,000 ($49,000) a year. Bundesliga referees with "more than five years of experience" will earn €30,000 ($36,700) annually. The rest will earn €20,000 ($25,500). Second Bundesliga referees and FIFA assistants will make €15,000 ($19,000) a year. Bundesliga assistants will get €10.000 ($12,200), and 2nd Bundesliag assistants will be rewarded with €2,500 ($3,100). Those base salaries will be paid "regardless of how many games a referee officiates." In addition to the base salaries, referees will continue to "receive fees for each game they officiate." Bundesliga referees will get €3,800 ($4,700) per game. Second Bundesliga referees and Bundesliga assistants will receive €2,000 ($2,500) a game. Second Bundesliga assistants will get €1,000 ($1,200), and even the fourth official will get a €1,000 in the first league and €500 ($610) in the second league for each game. Still the referees "will not have an employment contract" with the DFB. DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach said, "We will never have professional referees. The referees want to keep their regular jobs" (WELT AM SONNTAG, 7/15).
F1's ruling body has "clarified the rules on dangerous racing moves" by drivers defending a position in the heat of a race -- and "giving the benefit of the doubt to the man who is leading," according to the AFP. The ruling comes after several controversial incidents this year in which drivers have "vigorously defended their positions and in some cases forced challenging rivals off the circuit." Int'l Motoring Federation Race Dir Charlie Whiting said, "Any driver defending his position on a straight, and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his. Whilst defending in this way, the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason" (AFP, 7/15).
The possibility of North American football clubs entering future Copa Libertadores competitions was one of the main topics when tournament organizer South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) hosted the president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCAF) for a meeting last week, according to GOAL.com.br. CONMEBOL Communication Dir Nelson Benítez confirmed the meeting. Benítez: "CONCAF leaders came to São Paulo to see the Libertadores final and the atmosphere was a more favorable opportunity to speak on the subject. There were conversations and there are previsions for more meetings." CONMEBOL President Nicolás Leoz "would be in favor of the presence of North American teams." If the tournament did expand to include teams from North America, "revenues from marketing could increase substantially." The main downside of such a move is that "teams would have to travel long distances" for games. In some cases, players could face 10-hour flights. Another "big problem" is the lack of transparency with the Libertadores due to the fact that no club has any idea how much money CONMEBOL receives from sponsorships. In the '11-12 season, Libertadores champion Santos FC received R$7.3M ($3.6M) for the title, while FC Barcelona won R$118.3M ($58.1M) from UEFA for its Champions League win. Those numbers are "at the least very suspect (GOAL.com.br., 7/14).
French automaker Citroën is re-evaluating its World Rally Championship involvement after "sales in its core markets" have drastically decreased. Citroën Team Principal Yves Matton said that eight time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb will most likely retire after the '13 season. Loeb's retirement could influence the manufactures evaluation of its rally program. PSA, which owns Citroën, said in a statement, "The traditionally strong markets for Peugot and Citroën -- France, Spain and Italy -- are in the midst of a crisis." Citroën could discontinue its WRC involvement at the end of the '12 season (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 7/12).
NISSAN TO JOIN WTCC: In Munich, Stefan Ziegler reported that Japanese automaker Nissan is rethinking its motorsports involvement and could join the World Touring Car Championship in '13. Nissan announced that it will decide within the next six months on which racing series it will join. Besides the WTCC, Nissan is also considering joining the World Rally Championship, the World Endurance Championship and the German Touring Car Championship. Nissan Corp. VP Simon Sproule said, "If we want to start a new project next year or the year after, then we have to start working on it rather soon. We also think about how our motorsports program should develop over the next ten years" (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 7/14).
The Board of Control For Cricket In India will meet Monday to "discuss and ratify the technical committee's recommendations for overhauling domestic cricket," according to the PTI. The technical committee recommended "some sweeping changes." Per the recommendations, the Elite and Plate groups are to be replaced by three groups of nine teams each. Each team will play eight matches at the league stage. Three teams from Groups A and B, and two from Group C, will qualify for the knockout phase. The quarterfinals, semifinals and the final will be five-day games (PTI, 7/15).