SBD Global/April 2, 2014/International Football

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  • Dutch Football Federation To Investigage Chelsea Links To Vitesse Arnhem

    The Dutch Football Federation will investigate Chelsea’s links with Vitesse Arnhem after "a claim by their former owner that executives at Stamford Bridge have ordered the Dutch club not to qualify for the Champions League," according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. The clubs have "a close relationship," as seven Chelsea players have spent part of this season on loan at Vitesse. The club's ownership structure "has been shrouded in mystery" since Russian billionaire Alexander Chigrinski bought out Georgian businessman Merab Jordania, who initially stayed on as chairman. Jordania claimed Tuesday that Vitesse "have been told by Chelsea to avoid qualification for the Champions League" since UEFA rules do not allow clubs "with a shared ownership taking part in the same competition." Chigrinski is a friend of Roman Abramovich, although "there is no evidence to suggest that the Chelsea owner is directly involved in Vitesse."The Federation "called for clarity" and asked Vitesse to explain its organizational structure. Chelsea declined comment, but sources "at the club dismissed Jordania’s allegations as nonsense" (LONDON TIMES, 4/2)

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  • Arsenal To Hand Wenger $166M Transfer Budget For Key Signings

    EPL Arsenal Owner Stan Kroenke "remains steadfast" in his belief that Manager Arsène Wenger "is the man to lead Arsenal into a new era of success and is ready to entrust his manager with the largest transfer budget in the club’s history," according to Jeremy Wilson of the London TELEGRAPH. Wenger’s position "has been the subject of renewed debate." Kroenke’s analysis of Arsenal "is utterly unmoved." Kroenke "is convinced that the club have made very definite progress this season and is sympathetic to how Wenger has been forced to navigate this past month without as many as five of his usual starting team." Kroenke will make transfer funds of around £100M ($166M) available "for key signings, notably a striker and holding midfielder." Kroenke "also remains relaxed about Wenger’s own future and, although some contingency thinking has been done, every plan is being made on the basis that Wenger will extend a contract that expires at the end of the season" (TELEGRAPH, 4/1).

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  • Advocates Push Football Federation Australia To Bid For 2019 Women's World Cup Finals

    Leading advocates for women’s football in Australia "have launched a determined campaign" calling on Football Federation Australia to bid for the 2019 World Cup finals, according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. While "admitting concern" that it comes a little over three years after Australia's controversial and failed A$45M ($42M) bid to host the 2022 men’s World Cup, the people behind the women’s sport, led by thewomensgame.com website, "are adamant this is an opportunity too good to miss." However, with the declaration-of-interest form to be submitted to FIFA by April 15, there "are genuine fears time has all but run out for Australia." South Africa "is the only country officially to announce it is bidding." The people behind the women’s 2019 Cup bid said that they "were yet to hear from FFA" despite recently writing an open letter to CEO David Gallop. The letter said, “Here is a big chance David. A big chance for the women’s game, for football. The game is ready. The fans are ready. We are football, too!” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/2).

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  • FIFA Medical Officer Claims There Will Be No Re-Vote For 2022 World Cup Hosting Rights

    Qatar was announced as the host of the 2022 World Cup in Dec. '10.

    FIFA Medical Chief Michel D'Hooghe said that "he is convinced there will not be a re-vote for the Qatar 2022 World Cup," according to the PA. D'Hooghe, who was one of the FIFA exec committee members who took part in the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Dec. '10, believes that "there was no corruption involved in the bidding." D'Hooghe said, "There will be absolutely no re-vote. Some in the English press want that. But it's not the English press that decide." D'Hooghe did, however, "reiterate his belief that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar cannot be played in the heat of summer." The heat was "pointed out as a potentially seriously problem by the technical inspectors who reported on the bid." D'Hooghe: "In my capacity as chairman of the medical committee, I said the same -- that in Qatar, we have to avoid the warmest period of the year" (PA, 4/1). The AFP reported D’Hooghe, who led the unsuccessful joint Belgium/Holland bid for '18, added that many within FIFA "felt continued British criticism of the bid process was 'partly sour grapes' over the rejection of England’s 2018 offer and that no matter how much football’s world governing body reformed its structure, it would never satisfy some of its harshest critics" (AFP, 4/1). In Melbourne, Daniel Cherny reported Australian broadcaster Les Murray "has called on FIFA to strip Qatar of the 2022 World Cup if the gulf nation does not hastily improve the conditions for those working on the construction of stadia for the tournament." Cherny said, "FIFA's under real pressure here because FIFA is on message about using football to improve people's lives, so how can you give the hosting rights to a country where the most basic human rights are ignored" (THE AGE, 4/1).

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  • Former Russian Footballers Move To Toughen Foreign Player Quota

    A week after Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Russian sports managers to focus on cultivating domestic talent, a group of influential former Russian footballers "is putting forward a plan to restrict the number of foreigners allowed in the game to six per club by the year 2017," according to R-SPORT. The Russian FA in Aug. '12 "voted to allow seven foreign players." But if former internationals Valery Karpin, Sergei Semak, Sergei Rodionov, Nikolai Pisarev and ex-Dynamo Moscow midfielder Vladimir Leonchenko get their way, "no club will be able to have more than six non-Russians on their books by 2017." Leonchenko: "The issue is not only about the quantity of foreigners, but also of the quality." The initiative "is part of the group's incoming manifesto" as they seek election to the Russian Premier League's exec committee (R-SPORT, 4/1).

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  • Uruguayan FA Board Execs Resign Following Last Week's Fight; FIFA Could Investigate

    On Monday, a "storm seemed to be unleashed with all its fury" on the Uruguayan FA (AUF), as AUF President Sebastián Bauzá and the other four leaders of the exec board resigned after Uruguay President José Mujica decided last Thursday "to withdraw the police presence" from two of Montevideo's principal stadiums, according to EL PAIS. Mujica's decision "was a reaction to a fight during a Copa Libertadores match last week that left dozens injured," and the move forced the suspension of a match scheduled for Sunday. Now, "FIFA will closely follow what is happening, with the threat that the body could leave Uruguay out of the World Cup" (EL PAIS, 3/31). EL PAIS reported in a separate piece Mujica held a meeting on Tuesday to address the topic of security at the "two stadiums from which he had withdrawn the police presence." During that meeting, "Uruguayan side Nacional President Eduardo Ache and Peñarol President Juan Pedro Damiani, as well as authorities from the Uruguayan Players' Association, were all present." Mujica, for his part, "denied that there would be FIFA sanctions for the government's involvement" (EL PAIS, 3/31). Peñarol VP Edgar Welker said, "It seems nonsensical to me that the executive committee resigns two months before the World Cup, because the big loser here could be the national team" (ESPN, 4/1).

    CONMEBOL PRESIDENT WEIGHS IN: REUTERS' Malena Castaldi reported Bauzá said in his resignation letter, "The well publicised acts that have occurred in recent times show the need for (the AUF board to take) a step to one side and allow other political views to govern our football." CONMEBOL President Eugenio Figueredo, a Uruguayan, said that he "knew of no FIFA investigation into the AUF." Figueredo: "I'm totally unaware (of this FIFA story). The truth is I have no news from CONMEBOL or FIFA. You can't draw conclusions from a rumor. When governments intervene, a national association is provisionally suspended (by FIFA)... But I have no proof the government played a part in Bauzá's exit." Figueredo added, "The World Cup is already on top of us. Can you imagine a national association being suspended (now) for an internal or sports politics matter? FIFA is a bit more serious. I don't think Uruguay's place at the World Cup is at risk" (REUTERS, 3/31).

    FIFA DECLINES COMMENT: LOS ANDES reported a FIFA spokesperson said, "At the moment, FIFA has not been officially informed of the situation regarding the Uruguayan FA. Therefore, we will not comment on this" (LOS ANDES, 4/1).

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  • Football Notes: Work At Brazil World Cup Stadium Halted After Worker Death

    Brazilian authorities "halted work" at the temporary stands of the stadium that will host the opening match of this year's World Cup following the death of a worker. The regional labor authority of Sao Paulo demanded that Fast Engenharia "stop building to make a technical analysis of the project." Fast Engenharia said that after the analysis "it will announce a new time frame for finishing the temporary stands" (REUTERS, 4/1). ... Serie A club Inter Milan "risks becoming embroiled in a share wrangle over disputed allegations" that one of the club's new owners misappropriated $170M from a listed company. Rosan Roeslani "was named as a key member of the Indonesian consortium that took a controlling interest in the three-time European Cup winners last October." Roeslani "is best known in the City of London as a director of the controversial" $3B Indonesian coalminer Bumi, where $200M was spent "with no clear business purpose." Last June, Roeslani "reached an agreement with the London Stock Exchange-listed firm" to begin repaying $173M, "without admitting any fault in the matter" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 4/1). ... More than 2.5 million tickets have been sold for the World Cup in Brazil. More than 301,000 tickets of the allocated 345,000 in the second phase were sold, going to Brazil, the U.S., Colombia, Australia, Argentina and England, in that order. In public general sales, more than 1.5 million tickets have been allocated to supporters, 65% to Brazilians and 35% to int'l fans (FIFA). ... Peruvian first division side Universitario on Monday had its Monumental stadium in Lima closed for 30 days after a teenager was shot and killed on Sunday before a match between Universitario and Sport Huancayo. Lima district of Ate Mayor Oscar Benavides said that Universitario "had 30 days to submit a report on security at the stadium" (LA AFICION, 3/31).

    Print | Tags: International Football
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