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SBD Global/October 17, 2012/International FootballPrint All
The Egyptian FA has "decided to delay the rest of the domestic season indefinitely" due to a lack of security guarantees by the government in the wake of February's Port Said tragedy, according to AL-JAZEERA. The Egyptian FA said in a statement on its website: "We asked the ministry of interior for the authorisation, but we didn’t receive any response." The Egyptian league was due to resume Wednesday, but some supporters of Cairo club al-Ahly's, known as ultras, "have been calling for a suspension until verdicts are heard in the trial of 73 defendants accused of carrying out the killings" (AL-JAZEERA, 10/16). ALARABIYA.net noted that news reports quoted Egyptian Football Federation Head Mahmoud al-Shamy as saying that the new season "might be postponed" until Oct. 31, a statement "he later denied." Sports Minister Al-Emary Farouq said that several competing clubs "had contacted him about resuming the competitions." The financial losses that have resulted are "negatively affecting these teams" (ALARABIYA.net, 10/15). INSIDEWORLDFOOTBALL.biz's Andrew Warshaw noted many domestic clubs were "relying on the resumption of the league to resolve financial difficulties" (INSIDEWORLDFOOTBALL.biz, 10/16).
STAYING THE COURSE: In Cairo, Ahmed Abd El Rasoul reported that despite Monday’s decision to postpone the start of the Egyptian Premier League season, Egypt Coach Bob Bradley is "sticking with his mission to prepare the Pharaohs." Bradley said, “Despite the recent difficulties, I am sticking with my job, especially as the players are committed and enthusiastic, and they really are getting better. If the Egyptian league doesn't return, it will not be good for us, but I have other solutions for that problem" (AHRAM.org.eg, 10/15).
The Confederation of African Football has disqualified Senegal from the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations "following fans violence during the final qualifier for the competition in Dakar," according to Olusola Babarinsa of the DAILY TIMES NIGERIA. A statement posted on the CAF website said the referee was forced to stop the match in the 74th minute when “missiles, stones, bottles, firecrackers were thrown onto the pitch and tear gas was used.” The statement added, “As a result CAF decided to officially confirm the result of the match as 2-0 in favor of Ivory Coast in accordance with the provisions of article 16 para 20 of the regulations of the competition and to consider Senegal the loser of the said match and eliminated from the competition without prejudice to any other sanctions that may be imposed by CAF Disciplinary Board” (DAILY TIMES NIGERIA, 10/16). In London, Simon Rice reported that the news means EPL Newcastle United strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé "will not be called away from club duties" during the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February. West Ham's Mohamed Diame "will also stay at home." Saturday's violence was sparked by Ivory Coast's second goal by Didier Drogba in the 70th minute (INDEPENDENT, 10/16).
TAKING THE BLAME: The AFP reported that Senegal Manager Ferdinand Coly said that Senegal "will accept punishment" for the riot. Coly: "We are going to face some difficult days, but Senegal will accept the sanctions. In the meantime, we must apologise to Ivory Coast and make sure we do everything to avoid this happening again" (AFP, 10/16).
The players of Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua FC "staged an open protest in the full gaze of the Chinese media" on Monday, reportedly "due to wages going unpaid" from the ongoing equity share dispute, according to Cameron Wilson of WILDEASTFOOTBALL.net. Players showed up for their daily practice "in casual clothes and walked slowly around a running track," making for a "bizarre spectacle." The club's Chinese players "turned up late," with foreign players Nicolas Anelka, Joel Griffiths and Moises "turning up even later to join in the leisurely stroll." The Shanghai Online quoted Shenhua press officer Ma Yue saying that the players "were expressing their dissatisfaction at having not received wages." Ma added that the club's boardroom had witnessed the protest and "understood" why the action was taken. It was not specified how much money has not been paid. However, former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who is currently on duty with the Ivory Coast national team, "previously went on record to int'l media to say he has been paid" (WILDEASTFOOTBALL.net, 10/15).
NEW PROBLEMS: In N.Y., Paul Mozur wrote in the WALL STREET JOURNAL's China Real Time Report blog that "a new fire has broken out." The player protest comes in the wake of the Chinese Football Association coming "close to declaring a victory of sorts after a spate of corruption and match-fixing arrests designed to clean up the sport in China." A "shareholder dispute" at Shenhua could see the country's highest-profile signings to date -- Drogba and Anelka -- "leaving China only part way into their contracts." In an e-mail, Shenhua Chair Zhu Jun said that "he might pull out his investments in Shenhua over an ownership dispute, raising questions over whether the club will have the financial resources" to hold onto Drogba and Anelka. Chinese Super League acting President Zhu Qilin said that he is "not clear on the details of the dispute, but he did not think Shenhua would stop paying wages." Zhu said, "I don't think they will withdraw from paying the wages, because they have a business agreement. Wherever you are, if you violate an agreement you will be punished" (WSJ, 10/16).
A judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption and match-fixing in Zimbabwean football revealed 93 players and officials implicated in the Asiagate scandal "will be banned from the game." Retired Judge Ahmed Ebrahim said that the probe team has suggested to the Zimbabwe FA that 13 players and officials be "banned for life," while others face six-month to 10-year bans (AP, 10/16).
THE GUNNERS: Arsenal FC will return to China for a preseason game next summer after a "good run in this part of the world this year." Arsenal Chief Commercial Officer Tom Fox said, "We made a commitment in China and started with our partners to engage with the Chinese fans, as we have a very large social media community, which is growing fast ... we have promised fans we will be coming back" (SCMP, 10/17). Arsenal also has been named the Club of the Year for providing the best customer service to fans under a new awards scheme being run by the EPL and tourism board VisitEngland. Liverpool, Fulham and Man City "have also picked up gongs" in other categories in the VisitFootball awards (London DAILY MAIL, 10/16).