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SBD Global/September 18, 2013/International FootballPrint All
Football Federation Australia Chair Frank Lowy has demanded that FIFA pays back the A$43M ($40M) worth of Australian taxpayer dollars "wasted in the futile World Cup bid as questions over the probity and the desirability of staging the competition in Qatar continue to mount," according to Michael Lynch of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Australia, with significant government support and funding, "staged a lengthy but ultimately pointless campaign to win the right to stage the 2022 renewal of the world's biggest sporting event." Qatar won hosting rights in Dec. '10 despite the fact that temperatures in the Persian Gulf "regularly topped" the 40-degree Celsius mark in the summer (SMH, 9/17). In Sydney, James Madden reported Australia's A$43M bid "was predicated on the World Cup being held during the European summer."On Tuesday, Lowy revealed that "he had asked FIFA to make an in-principle decision that 'just and fair compensation should be paid to those nations that invested many millions, and national prestige, in bidding for a summer event if the tournament is shifted to Qatar's winter.'" FFA has also suggested that, should the tournament be pushed back to Qatar's winter, "a transparent process should be established to examine the scheduling implications for all leagues and a method developed for agreeing appropriate compensation for those affected." However, FFA spokesperson Dave Mason said that "Australia was not looking to offer to host the World Cup in 2022 should the Arab state be deemed to be unfit to hold it." He said, "That issue is not on the table. We're just making it public that we're seeking compensation from FIFA if the event is moved to Qatar's winter" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/18).
FIFA NOT BUYING IN: In London, Owen Gibson wrote FIFA has told FFA "to forget its attempt to reclaim" its costs for the bid. A FIFA spokesperson said that "there was no chance of Australia, and other losing bidders including the United States, being compensated if the tournament is moved to winter." Spokesperson: "As part of the bidding documents all bidders, including the FA Australia, accepted that the format and dates of the staging of the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup, though initially expected to be in June/July, remains subject to the final decision of the FIFA Organizing Committee. There is no ground for any speculations" (GUARDIAN, 9/17).
WIDESPREAD IMPACT: REUTERS' Nick Mulvenney reported Lowy said that the FFA "had already contacted" FIFA President Sepp Blatter "to explain Australia's position." He said, "Australia invested heavily in the World Cup process and the entire nation was behind the bid. Since December 2010 Australia has been careful not to let its misgivings about the process be interpreted as sour grapes." Lowy also suggested that "no decision on the switch be made until an investigation into the 2022 bidding process by FIFA's ethics committee was completed." He added, "Better to let the independent investigative process run its natural course and then, with those issues settled, make a clear-eyed assessment about rescheduling and its consequences" (REUTERS, 9/17). In London, Tom Lutz reported FIFA's exec committee meets on Oct. 3 and the FFA "is conscious that a switch would affect leagues around the world, including the A-League," which currently runs from October to May. Lowy said, "If the World Cup were to be staged in the middle of our A-League season it would impact on our competition, not just for 2022, but for the seasons leading up to and beyond that date. Clubs, investors, broadcasters, players and fans would all be affected" (GUARDIAN, 9/17).
CHANGING THE RULES: NEWS LIMITED NETWORK's Davutovic & Adno reported Australia’s hosting bid, fronted by Elle Macpherson and Governor-General Quentin Bryce, "was over after the first round of voting in 2010." Japan, South Korea and the U.S. "were knocked out in the subsequent rounds in favour of Qatar." Lowy said, "Australia, like other bidding nations, was required by FIFA’s own rules to pitch for a World Cup in the June and July window. Changing the dates is tantamount to changing the rules after the contest is over" (NEWS LIMITED NETWORK, 9/18). CRAVE ONLINE's Robert White reported "if the 2022 World Cup is indeed moved to the winter months, Australia’s compensation demand will likely trigger a number of other nations to also seek reimbursement, not only for failed bids, but also due to the financial ramifications of having professional football seasons disrupted for operation of the World Cup" (CRAVE ONLINE, 9/17). In London, Giuseppe Muro reported a shift "would have scheduling implications on lucrative European leagues that would affect the seasons either side of the 2021-22 campaign." The Premier League and the FA "would not comment," but the EPL has been resolute in its belief that "a winter World Cup is not practical for European football" (EVENING STANDARD, 9/17). Read Lowy's statement here.
Germany's Bundesliga has 20 clubs ranked in the worldwide Top 100 highest-attended stadiums, the most of any league. In its September issue, Stadionwelt INSIDE published its most recent Zuschauer-Top 100 (Attendance-Top 100) ranking. With the exception of Australia, every continent is included in the ranking. Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund sits atop the ranking with an average attendance of 80,482. In addition to Dortmund, the Bundesliga has with Bayern Munich (4th), Schalke (6th) and Hamburg SV (8th) a total of four clubs in the top 10. The top 10 consists exclusively of European teams. The first non-European club is Argentine side River Plate at 11th. Following the Bundesliga, the Premier League and Mexico's LigaMX have the most clubs in the top 100, with 17 and nine, respectively. In addition to the big football nations Spain, Italy and France, the ranking includes four teams from Japan and three Chinese teams, as well as one team from Belgium, Iran, Switzerland, Brazil and the U.S. (Stadionwelt).
British PM David Cameron has "weighed into the row over racism in football chants," saying that EPL Tottenham Hotspur fans "who use the word 'yid' should not face prosecution unless it is meant as a term of abuse," according to Fariha Karim of the LONDON TIMES. The FA has issued a statement "warning supporters that fans who use such words could end up facing a banning order or criminal charges." However, asked about the matter, Cameron, "an Aston Villa fan," said, "You have to think of the mens rea [guilty mind]. There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult. You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted, but only when it’s motivated by hate” (LONDON TIMES, 9/17).
JEWISH SUPPORT: In London, Peter Dominiczak reported Jewish groups said the term "Yid" is "always offensive and that it encourages anti-Semitism." The Board of Deputies of British Jews has said that "it backs" the FA's stance on the use of the word (TELEGRAPH, 9/17). Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust Chair Darren Alexander said, "There was a degree of defiance on Saturday and that was always going to happen with the way that the FA has gone about this. This is something I have been dealing with for seven years and all of a sudden the FA have gone out on a limb by issuing this statement without proper consultation with the club or the fans" (London DAILY MAIL, 9/17).
Brazil's football confederation (CBF) and federal sports ministry on Monday "launched the country's new national women's league." The competition "will comprise 20 clubs, to be divided evenly into four groups." Teams "will play each other on a home and away basis with the top two from each group progressing to the quarterfinals." The competition begins Wednesday "with the final due to be played" on Dec. 1 (XINHUA, 9/17). ... An FC Copenhagen fan "has made a complaint to Danish police" after the club canceled Champions League tickets ordered by supporters with non-Danish sounding names. Kashif Asmad said, "We believe it is a clear breach of racism legislation, of human rights and of the constitution." The club has said that it implemented the "security measure" to stop away fans from group rivals Juventus, Galatasaray and Real Madrid mixing with home supporters at the Parken Stadium (REUTERS, 9/17). ... Inter Milan has been ordered to play its next home match with one end of San Siro Stadium closed "as punishment for racist chanting" by its fans. A stand will now be closed for Inter's next home game against Fiorentina on Sept. 26, "the third time this season a Serie A club has been punished" (BBC, 9/17). ... FIFPro Asia Chair and Australian Athletes Alliance General Secretary Brendan Schwab said that the government and Football Federation Australia "must do more to halt criminal activity" in football's second-tier leagues. He said, "I don’t think anyone is doing enough and that’s not to be critical." Schwab "believes match fixing starts with online betting and its relationship with organised crime." Schwab: "It’s essential that throughout the world that national leaders and parliaments enact legislation which makes match-fixing a crime" (THE ADVERTISER, 9/18). ... One of football's "more bizarre episodes is still gripping the Italian public and media after a coach from Genoa was caught 'spying' on local rivals Sampdoria dressed in Rambo-style camouflage ahead of their derby clash last Sunday." Youth team coach Luca De Pra "has been suspended after he was found in bushes watching a Sampdoria training session" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/17). ... The six favorites among the 32 teams participating in the UEFA Champions League, in order, are Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, ManU and Man City, according to betting houses. Bayern Munich and Barcelona have the best odds at 4.5-1, and Real Madrid is next at 6-1, followed by Chelsea at 9-1. ManU and Man City both have 12-1 odds (MARCA, 9/17).