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SBD Global/July 9, 2013/International FootballPrint All
FIFA President Sepp Blatter told Palestinian sports leaders on Sunday that "he would speak to Israeli officials to try to ease travel restrictions" on Palestinian football players, according to Ali Sawafta of REUTERS. Blatter was due to meet Israel's football chiefs on Monday and "was also hoping to speak to political leaders on the matter." Palestinians "are angry that Israel's security forces, who control movement between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank frequently prevent athletes from travelling freely between the two separated territories." Blatter: "I will go to defend not only the Palestine Football Association but I will defend the basic principles of FIFA (which are) to connect people and not to separate people... The principles are ... to recognise each other through football and to live not only in peace but in harmony" (REUTERS, 7/8).
The South Korean government on Friday authorized the North Korean women's football team "to enter the South to take part in the East Asian Cup amid fresh attempts to ease tensions between the political rivals." It "will be the first time in more than four years that a team representing the North visits the South." The team "will fly to Incheon from Beijing" (REUTERS, 7/5). ... Belgian Pro League club Zulte Waregem "has claimed a footballing first by announcing that players’ Twitter handles will be displayed on their shorts next season." The club "made the announcement as it unveiled its new kit" for the '13-14 season. Twitter handles "will be located at the bottom of the shorts" (SOCCEREX, 7/8). ... Nigerian football "faces increased scrutiny after the country's House of Representatives Committee on Sports called for a total review of the Nigeria Football Federation's agreements with sponsors and the Sports Minister set up a panel to investigate the recent bonus row" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/8). ... CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb used the 2013 Gold Cup -- North America's continental championship -- to announce the launch of CONCACAF's "Embrace Diversity" campaign. In addition to being Confederation president, Webb is the chair of the FIFA Anti-Racism task force. He said, "We may never eradicate racism, but we have a special opportunity to use the game. And to do that we must start from the inside" (THE CALIFORNIAN, 7/8).