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SBD Global/March 14, 2014/International FootballPrint All
A statement from Egyptian ultras -- "hardcore football fans"-- is "calling for removal of the police from all football stadia," according to Paul Nicholson of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The statement has called for "police officers to be replaced by security firms." Egypt's Ministry of the Interior has reportedly agreed, with the plan "likely to implement next season." The ultras' statement said, "We announce to everyone that we do not approve your presence at the football grounds. We do not want the Ministry of Interior in the stands. Your carelessness is what led to this mess!" Interior Ministry spokesperson Major General Hani Abdel-Latif said that the ministry "was ready to remove police from football grounds." Abdel-Latif: "It's a great idea. Now we can focus on other tasks ... The clubs have to work now to enforce such an idea" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 3/13). Abdel-Latif: "This season will be completed behind closed doors and starting from next season the securing of football matches will be handed to private companies. Security forces will be only concerned with safety outside the stadiums" (AHRAM, 3/11).
Former Brazilian footballer Romario has heavily criticized FIFA, calling President Sepp Blatter "a corrupt thief" and Secretary General Jerome Valcke ''a blackmailer,'' according to Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal of the INT'L BUSINESS TIMES. Now a Brazilian congressman, Romario "is well-known for his criticism of FIFA," even claiming that the 2018 World Cup "was stolen from England and sold to Russia." His latest attack on FIFA came following Valcke's comments about Romario, saying he is ''the worst person in the world,'' and calling the former Barcelona striker "anti-FIFA, anti-Jerome Valcke, anti-everything." Romario was quoted by Spanish newspaper AS as saying, ''We can't expect anything from FIFA, where we have a blackmailer called Valcke and a corrupt thief and son of a bitch called Blatter" (IBT, 3/13).
League Championship side Birmingham City Owner Carson Yeung, now serving a six-year prison sentence in Hong Kong for money laundering, "was convicted of two other criminal offences in the past decade," yet the Premier League "still allowed him to take over" the club '09 and remain chairman in 10, according to David Conn of the London GUARDIAN. Yeung's other convictions took place in '04 and '10, yet the Football League allowed Yeung "to remain Birmingham's chairman until he stepped down last month." Both leagues have "owners and directors" tests -- previously the "fit and proper persons" test -- which prohibit people from becoming directors of a football club, or owners of a substantial stake, if they have "unspent convictions for offences of dishonesty." The judge also found that £2.8M of laundered money was used to buy Birmingham City shares in '07. Birmingham City did inform the Premier League of Yeung's '04 conviction in Hong Kong, but "he was still allowed to take over and become the club's chairman." This "was because the same offence," of failing to disclose a significant shareholding in a stock exchange-listed company, "had been decriminalized in the U.K. by the Labour government" in '00. The judge found that HK$36M of the laundered money, including HK$18M from Cheung Chi-tai, "was transferred to Prince Evans, a London firm of solicitors, and used to buy the Birmingham City shares in 2007." The judge, who described Yeung as "a habitual liar, did not believe Yeung's claim that the money was in fact used to buy a property in London." Neither the Premier League nor the Football League "believe their rules or governance have failed in relation to Yeung's takeover or chairmanship of Birmingham City." The Premier League said in a statement that its rules go beyond the law for people investing in the U.K., and "Premier League football is one of the most regulated and transparent sectors of U.K. sport or business" (GUARDIAN, 3/13).
Posts about football topped Africans' tweets last year, "trumping even world events like the death of Nelson Mandela, results from a study released on Wednesday showed." Most tweets "were about football and in English, communications firm Portland's analysis of over nine million posts from October to December last year showed." Johannesburg "is the microblogging site's busiest hub" on the continent with 344,215 tweets, while Soweto-based Orlando Pirates "was also the most mentioned soccer club on the continent" (AFP, 3/13). ... The J.League "has imposed its harshest penalty" on any team in its entire 21-year history on the Urawa Reds, requiring them "to play their next home game to an empty Saitama Stadium." This is the team’s punishment "for allowing a racist banner to be displayed at the entrance" for home fans in their first game last Saturday (JAPAN DAILY PRESS, 3/13). ... Serie A said Tuesday that Sports authorities "are investigating alleged anti-Semitic chants from Juventus fans" during a Serie A game against visiting Fiorentina. The chants, apparently sung on Sunday by a group of home fans, were criticized by Union of Italian Jewish Communities President Renzo Gattegna and Juventus President Andrea Agnelli (AAP, 3/12).