SBD Global/April 21, 2017/International Football

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  • FIFA Distances Itself From Controversy Surrounding 2014 World Cup Venues

    FIFA "has distanced itself from the construction of stadiums used in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil" after investigators in the country alleged that "at least half were built on the back of corrupt contracts," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Building companies and local government officials "rigged the tender process that led to certain firms being picked to build the arenas in return for kick backs," according to allegations made as part of plea bargains by execs of Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction firm that is "at the heart of a nationwide graft scandal." That resulted in building costs "becoming vastly more expensive than initially planned." Upgrades to Rio’s Maracanã stadium "ended up costing more than $300M, a third more than the $200M estimate." FIFA, which is "battling to regain its own reputation" following a corruption scandal in '15, said that it had "nothing to do with the stadium projects, even though they were designed to meet its specific requirements for the World Cup." The organization said in a statement, "The procurement of such services were under the sole discretion and control of the respective stadium authorities without any influence or control of FIFA" (BLOOMBERG, 4/20).

    AVOIDING BLAME: INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw reported Russian Deputy PM Vitaly Mutko, who also heads the World Cup organizing committee and the Russian Football Union, said that FIFA's "difficulties in securing commercial backers" were "directly linked" to the ongoing corruption crisis rather than "anything to do with the fact that the World Cup is taking place in his country" or Russia's own recent doping scandal. FIFA's problems, Mutko said, "are tied to the fact that there was a huge and big attack" against it. Mutko: "FIFA is running into difficulties not for the 2018 World Cup in Russia but in general" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 4/20).

    SUSPENDED BANS: The BBC reported Olympique Lyonnais and Beşiktaş were given suspended bans from European competition by UEFA after "crowd trouble marred" their Europa League quarterfinal first leg in France on April 13. The bans are suspended for two years and both clubs were also fined €100,000 ($107,200) (BBC, 4/19).

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  • Premier League Clubs Make Limited Progress On Improving Access, Campaigners Say

    Premier League clubs "have made limited progress on improving access for disabled fans," campaigners said, according to the BBC. The Equality & Human Rights Commission said that 13 out of the 20 sides "are failing to provide the required number of wheelchair spaces." It added that "only seven clubs have larger, fully equipped toilets, while seven clubs are breaking Premier League rules on providing information to fans." The EPL said that clubs "were working hard to improve facilities." EHRC Chair David Isaac said that the commission would "launch an investigation" into clubs that had failed to meet the minimum requirements and "did not publish a clear action plan or timetable for improvement." Isaac: "The end of the season is fast approaching and time is running out for clubs" (BBC, 4/20). The PA reported the findings "were based on responses to questions put to all 20 Premier League clubs." Isaac: "What is clear is that very few clubs are doing the minimum to meet the needs of disabled supporters. The Premier League itself does not escape blame. They need to make the concerns of disabled fans a priority and start enforcing their own rule book." Learning disability charity Mencap Activism Manager Clare Lucas said, "For too long, Premier League clubs have neglected the needs of their disabled fans, many of whom are forced to be changed on toilet floors, because clubs are yet to install proper changing places facilities. It is simply inexcusable" (PA, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: International Football, United Kingdom
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