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The Premier League "put a fraction of its riches into a scheme to support youth sport" on Tuesday, seeking to "underline a commitment to local communities its clubs are accused of taking for granted," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. CEO Richard Scudamore "defended the 20-club League against accusations it was not doing enough" to support teams lower down the football pyramid and grassroots sport. As part of efforts to stay in touch with local communities, the Premier League "has teamed up with government-backed Sport England" in a £17M ($26M) scheme "to encourage young people to take up a variety of sports." Scudamore "bridled at suggestions that such funding was small change for the Premier League," where players can earn up to £200,000 ($303,000) a week. Scudamore: "There is no other company in this country that gives away more than we give away. We will give away next year more than £260 million. We will give away 50 million just in raw charitable causes." Some fans argue that the TV windfall "should be used to subsidise cheaper tickets to prevent less affluent fans being priced out of going to matches." Scudamore said that it was "up to clubs to set their own prices but added they should maintain strong local ties to complement their global ambitions." Scudamore said, "It means making sure that the local people that live and breathe and work around the clubs are able to go and watch those teams, not every week perhaps, but certainly on an occasional basis" (REUTERS, 7/2).
FIFA is "prepared to suspend World Cup games next year in the event that tear gas from protests near football stadiums enters the stadiums and affects players," according to LA AFICION. During the recent Confederations Cup, which served as a trial for the World Cup, "anti-government protests were abundant in the vicinity of of some stadiums." FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said, "The security decisions are not mine, this is a government issue. I am asking for them to guarantee the security we need to organize the World Cup. We do not have the right to tell the government what to do with security. It's their problem and their responsibility." When asked if World Cup games could be suspended if gases cause problems for the teams, Valcke said, "When the 22 footballers on the field cannot play, it is time to stop the game" (LA AFICION, 7/1).
FIFA "shelved plans to announce ticket prices for the 2014 World Cup finals" following Sunday night's protests in Brazil, where violent clashes outside the Maracanã stadium marred the Confederations Cup final, according to Stuart James of the London GUARDIAN. World Cup organizers "had been due to reveal the pricing structure for next summer's tournament," but it was announced at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro Monday "that this would now take place later in the month." Although FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke claimed the decision to postpone the announcement until July 19 was down to logistical reasons, "many will question" whether the demonstrations that have taken place in Brazil about the lack of investment in public services at a time when so much money is being spent on hosting the World Cup, forced FIFA "to change strategy" (GUARDIAN, 7/1). The BBC reported FIFA said World Cup tickets will be "cheapest ever." Valcke said that 70% of the matches "would cost less than in previous events" (BBC, 7/1).