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SBD Global/April 29, 2014/International FootballPrint All
Man City and Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain "are among a number of clubs who have been offered settlements for breaching financial fair play rules," according to the PA. UEFA's club financial control board "has made offers to all the clubs deemed to have breached the rules in advance of its meeting on Thursday." The clubs -- understood to be fewer than 20 in total -- "can either accept the offer of the sanctions," which could range from a reprimand to a fine and up to restrictions on squads for European competition next season, or "try to negotiate a lesser punishment." If no agreement is reached, the outstanding cases "will go to an adjudicatory panel for a final decision." It is "not known what settlements each club has been offered." UEFA "could reveal the outcomes as early as Friday" (PA, 4/28). UEFA President Michel Platini recently said that he did not think any of the clubs who breached rules "would be liable to the most powerful sanction of being excluded from European competition next season" (BBC, 4/28). In all likelihood, Man City "will be fined and will accept the fine" (London DAILY MAIL, 4/28).
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke ended his latest visit to Brazil "with an upbeat message," according to Tales Azzoni of the AP. Valcke said that in a few weeks "he would be celebrating the start of a successful World Cup by drinking a 'caipirinha' cocktail with Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo." But it was clear that FIFA's top World Cup official "wasn't fully happy with what he saw in the country, where there was still a lot to be done less than seven weeks before the June 12 kickoff." All 12 stadiums "were supposed to be ready by the end of last year, but three remain unfinished." The Sao Paulo stadium that will host the Brazil-Croatia opener "was still way behind schedule." Valcke: "Yes, Sao Paulo will be ready, last minute, but it will be ready." Valcke arrived at the Arena da Baixada in the southern city of Curitiba, which was nearly excluded from the tournament this year, to find there was "still lots to do inside and outside" the stadium, including the installation of 27,000 seats. Lack of seats "was also a problem" at Arena Pantanal in the wetlands city of Cuiaba because of delivery delays. Valcke gave "a blunt warning" to cities struggling to get their fanfests organized, saying they had "no choice" and faced possible court action from FIFA if they did not fulfil their contracts (AP, 4/26).
Barcelona has "formally condemned the racist abuse" directed at Dani Alves during the team's 3-2 La Liga win at Villarreal on Sunday, according to Dermot Corrigan of ESPN. As Alves "went to take a corner late in the game a banana was thrown onto the pitch at El Madrigal." Alves reacted by "reaching down and picking up the fruit, peeling it and eating it before restarting the game." The incident was "captured live on TV coverage, leading to another debate about racism in Spanish football both inside and outside the country." Villarreal issued a "life ban to the supporter who threw the banana." Barcelona said in a statement it released on Monday, "FC Barcelona would like to underline the civil, cultural, social and sporting importance of two messages which UEFA remind us of before every game: Respect and No to Racism." Villarreal released a statement confirming the ban, which said, "Villarreal CF wants to communicate that the club deeply regrets and condemns the incident that happened yesterday during the match against FC Barcelona in which a fan threw an object onto the field of El Madrigal." Alves said of the incident and his reaction, "If you do not take it like this can you can suffer. I have been 11 years in Spain, and 11 years suffering the same thing. In the end I took it as a joke. We are not going to change this, unhappily, but I think if you do not give importance to it, then they will not achieve their objective. So you must take it like that." Alves also "posted a video of the incident to his personal Instagram account while Neymar uploaded three separate images highlighting what had happened, including a photo of himself and his young son, both smiling while holding their own bananas, with the hashtag #weareallmonkeys" (ESPN, 4/28). The EFE reported FIFA President Sepp Blatter "harshly condemned the fan who threw the banana at Alves" and announced that there will "be zero tolerance for racism during the World Cup." Blatter tweeted, "What @DaniAlvesD2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at #WorldCup" (EFE, 4/28). The EFE reported in a separate piece Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Ángel María Villar said that "Spanish football is against racism and xenophobia." Villar, however, "did not want to comment further on the subject." He said that the incident "will go before the RFEF's Competition Committee" (EFE, 4/28).
UEFA UNABLE TO ACT: In London, Giuseppe Muro reported UEFA on Monday confirmed that it is "down to" the RFEF to punish Villarreal. UEFA will not "open disciplinary proceedings against Villarreal because the game falls under Spanish FA regulations." A UEFA spokesperson said, "It falls under the national association’s regulations. They will take action, if needed, according to their own regulations." The incident is the "latest in a worrying line of racism cases in Spanish football." Real Madrid defender Marcelo was "subjected to racist abuse" from Atlético Madrid fans earlier this season. Supporters also "targeted Italy forward Mario Balotelli at Euro 2012" (EVENING STANDARD, 4/28).
SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT: In Barcelona, Ángel Pérez Serrano wrote "from the exact instant when Alves grabbed the banana and ate it, displays of disgust toward the individual who threw the banana were unleashed on social media and on the majority of sports websites throughout the world." Many "echoed each other and condemned the racist action" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 4/28). In London, David Kent reported Alves received support from "Premier League players including Sergio Aguero, David Luiz, Oscar, Willian, Nacer Chadli and Moussa Dembele." Other figures inside and outside football who posted messages and pictures on social media in support of Alves included TV presenter Marilo Montero, Zenit St. Petersburg's Hulk and Liverpool's Luis Suarez, among others (DAILY MAIL, 4/28).
The Qatar FA announced that the allocation of prizes are worth 3M riyals ($800,000) for the fans attending the matches of the Emir Cup 2014. Spectators "will have the chance to win new mega prizes" including cars from Toyota, iPhones, iPads, BlackBerry phones and coupons from Sony -- Fifty One East and Al Nahdi Group. The raffle draws will take place in the matches of Rounds 2, 3, 4 (quarterfinals), 5 (semifinals) and 6 (final) of the tournament (GULF TIMES, 4/27). ... FIFA "will pass on its message that not enough is being done to prevent injuries and heart problems among footballers at a workshop in Dubai on Tuesday." The one-day event called "Football Medicine UAE" is being held at the UAE FA headquarters at Al Khawaneej (GULF NEWS, 4/28). ... Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Ángel María Villar said in Bilbao that Atlético Madrid and the Madrid city council did not present Atlético's under-construction future stadium, La Peineta, as "a candidate to host Euro 2020 matches." Bilbao and La Liga side Athletic Bilbao's San Mamés stadium is the only Spanish bidder. Villar added that "he knew why no bid was presented by Atlético but preferred to let the club and the Madrid city council be the ones to explain it." The RFEF said in December that "it had chosen Bilbao's San Mamés and Madrid's La Peineta to bid to host Euro 2020 matches" (EFE, 4/28). ... Argentine first division side Boca Juniors confirmed that it will play rival River Plate in Cancún on May 31 in the Copa BBVA. It will be the fifth time the Superclásico has taken place outside Argentina. Copa BBVA's organizer, marketing company World Eleven, had "confirmed the match some time ago, but lacked official confirmation from the clubs" (OLE, 4/28).