SBD Global/August 15, 2014/International Football

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  • Football Fans March On EPL Headquarters In London, Demand Lower Ticket Prices

    A demonstration against ticket prices in English football "kicked off for the second successive summer on Thursday as angry fans marched on the Premier League's London headquarters," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Hundreds of "disgruntled supporters from up and down the country" put club rivalries aside and united in protest against the spiraling cost of attending matches in England. As happened at a similar protest just over a year ago, Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore "made plans to meet with representatives of the demonstrators," including his Football Supporters' Federation counterpart, Kevin Miles. Miles said earlier this week, "Nine out of 10 fans think football's simply too expensive. There's always the odd deal that clubs can quote to play it down, but the truth is supporters tell us they think tickets cost too much. It's not just top-flight football either, fans throughout the leagues tell us prices are too high" (TELEGRAPH, 8/14). In Liverpool, Joshua Taylor wrote Everton’s Blue Union Secretary Simon Magner said, "We want a commitment from the Premier League to put money aside to bring down ticket prices. In an ideal world, all fans would be charged exactly the same as all other clubs in the same league" (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 8/14). REUTERS' Martyn Herman reported "according to figures published last month, 11 of the 20 top-flight clubs have increased the cost of their lowest-priced season tickets" for the '14-15 season. FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke said, "Basically, football has eye-watering amounts of money coming in at the top mainly through Premier League media rights but still we see very high prices and prices going up ahead of the rate of inflation. It's about time that the match-day fans, without whom there wouldn't be these big media incomes because that's part of the attraction, got some benefit from this, rather than players and agents." Clarke said clubs are guilty of cashing in on "brand loyalty." Clarke: "Fans will not take their custom elsewhere because of their 100 percent loyalty. Football clubs effectively exploit that" (REUTERS, 8/14).

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  • Champions League Dreams Under Threat As Danish Lockout Looms

    A labor dispute between the Danish League and the country's professional players "leaves FC Copenhagen facing the prospect of taking on the might" of Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in a Champions League qualifier with a squad of youth team players, according to Philip O'Connor of REUTERS. If the league cannot agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by midnight on Thursday, "players who are union members will be locked out" from Tuesday. Aalborg player Patrick Kristensen said, "No one wants to play football more than us, that goes without saying. But all players stand together because our collective bargaining agreement is so important." With huge financial benefits for clubs qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League, FC Copenhagen and Danish league champions Aalborg "are anxiously awaiting the results of negotiations to see which players will be available." Kristensen said, "Missing the Champions League is a situation no one wants to be in but we have to look at the broader picture." The union "wants any new agreement to limit the amount of time spent training and playing matches, as well as improved conditions for part-time players in the lower divisions." The Danish Football Association (DBU) said that "in the event of a strike or lockout, it will back the Danish League and that players locked out by the clubs will not be considered for selection to the national team" (REUTERS, 8/13).

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  • CAS Upholds Luis Suárez's Four-Month Ban From Games But Allows Him To Train With Club

    Barcelona striker Luis Suárez has "failed in an attempt to reduce his four-month suspension" following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, according to Chris Bascombe of the London TELEGRAPH. He will, however, "be allowed to train" with his team following an "amendment" to his FIFA punishment. Suárez is also "available for friendly matches." Suárez, who joined Barcelona in a £75M ($125M) transfer this summer, "was suspended from all football related activity for four months for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup" (TELEGRAPH, 8/14). In London, James Orr reported Suárez will "now be eligible to play in a Barcelona shirt for the first time as soon as Monday," when the club meets Liga MX side Leon in a home preseason friendly, "as it is not classed as an official match." However, he will "have to wait until after his ban ends" on Oct. 25 to make his competitive debut. CAS allowed him to train after "ruling that FIFA's ban from all football-related activity was 'excessive'" (INDEPENDENT, 8/14). Also in London, Matt Cotton reported before the hearing, Suárez's legal team was "confident of significantly shortening the suspension on the ground that FIFA does not have the power to ban him from domestic club games." He will miss "as many as 11 matches for Barcelona at the start of the season, including three Champions League ties following their opening La Liga match against Elche" on Aug. 24 (LONDON TIMES, 8/14). The BBC reported Suárez's legal team "said the appeal was a success" after they argued FIFA had "misapplied its own rules when considering the case and the sanction it imposed was disproportionate." Though his legal team "confirmed the possibility" of appealing against the CAS decision at the Swiss Supreme Court, the grounds for appeal are "very restricted." TV presenter Gary Lineker tweeted, "Luis Suarez's appeal against a four-month ban has failed. He is though, sensibly I think, now allowed to train with the team" (BBC, 8/14).

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  • UEFA Denies Legia Warsaw's Appeal; Scottish Club Celtic To Remain In Champions League

    UEFA has "booted out" Polish side Legia Warsaw's appeal against its Champions League exit, meaning Scottish Premiership side Celtic will face Slovenian club NK Maribor in the Champions League playoff round, according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Legia had "appealed the severity of their punishment for fielding an ineligible player in the second leg of their 6-1 aggregate win over the Scottish champions." UEFA heard Legia's case on Wednesday but "agreed not to overturn last week’s decision" (DAILY RECORD, 8/14). REUTERS' Sam Holden reported Legia will "now appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)." Legia co-Owner Dariusz Mioduski said, "It looks like the Court of Arbitration will be busy with our case because that's what we intend to do (appeal it there). We believe this is not just about Legia but football generally and the sense of fairness and justice" (REUTERS, 8/14). The BBC reported Legia appealed on the basis of three separate UEFA regulations and made reference to "the objective and subjective aspects of the offence; in cases where all aspects of the offence have been revealed by the party charged and after taking into account both aggravating and mitigating circumstances." Legia had hoped to have the punishment "scaled down, nullified or suspended." Mioduski said, "Huge disappointment, procedures seem to be more important than football." Legia Board President Bogusław Lesnodorski said, "We hope that CAS will judge our case as soon as possible. We don't give up and keep fighting" (BBC, 8/14).

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  • Confederation Of African Football Moves Site Of Games Due To Ebola Concern

    The Confederation of African Football asked Sierra Leone and Guinea to play football matches scheduled for next month "on neutral ground as the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola widens in those countries," according to Andres R. Martinez of BLOOMBERG. The Ghana FA said that Sierra Leone’s Sept. 10 match against the Democratic Republic of Congo "will be played in Ghana." The site for Guinea’s game on Sept. 5 versus Togo has not been determined. The association said that the ban on matches in the Ebola-affected nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea "will be reassessed in mid-September." It "follows advice from the World Health Organization against large gatherings of people that might help spread Ebola" (BLOOMBERG, 8/14).

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  • Football Notes: Football Assocation Of Indonesia Signs Agreement With Sportradar

    The FA of Indonesia (PSSI) signed an agreement with Sportradar. Under the agreement, Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System will provide the PSSI with intelligence about global betting on the Indonesia Super League and various other competitions until the end of '16 (Sportradar). ... UEFA "will reveal the 13 countries chosen to host Euro 2020" on Sept. 19 in Geneva. Nineteen countries "have put forward one city each to host the new Europe-wide format," the brainchild of UEFA President Michel Platini, to celebrate 60 years of the tournament that began in '60 (AFP, 8/14). ... La Liga side Valencia Manager Nuno Santo thinks that "clubs' dressing rooms should be open to TV cameras as they are in American sports." Some FA Cup games in England "have cameras in the changing rooms but it does not happen in the Premier League, La Liga or Champions League." Nuno: "I think eventually it will happen. It's part of the sport. It's part of the show. Why not? It will be a big challenge to all of us. There are no secrets in football" (BBC, 8/14). ... In a bid to awaken the "sleeping giant" of world football, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called India "another market" for the beautiful game and endorsed the upcoming franchise-based Indian Super League (PTI, 8/14). ... Russia's EMERCOM has begun preparations for the 2018 World Cup and said that "it will draw on the experiences of the Brazil World Cup, the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2013 Kazan University Olympiade in its planning." More frequently known as the Russian Emergencies Ministry, "the government department is responsible for dealing with the aftermath of disasters, whether from terrorist attack or natural causes" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/14). ... World players union FIFPro has questioned whether "newly-elected" Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Carlo Tavecchio is "suitable to lead" the federation after his "allegedly racist comments about African players." FIFPro Dir Tony Higgins said, "The comments attributed to Mr. Tavecchio raise major concerns about his suitability to lead Italian football, one of the most important nations in world football" (REUTERS, 8/14).

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