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Volume 24 No. 156
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          FIFA President Sepp Blatter "wants the next Women's
     World Cup tournament to take place before the men's World
     Cup in 2002," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO
     TRIBUNE, who notes Blatter's stance "represents a change in
     the position announced last week by FIFA officials." 
     Blatter noted the 2002 Men's World Cup starts June 1, and
     said the women's tournament "could begin in late March or
     early April."  Blatter: "It is better to play this before
     the men's World Cup and bring people's attention to soccer. 
     It will be a curtain-raiser" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/13).  U.S.
     women's team member Brandi Chastain said that FIFA never
     discussed moving the Women's World Cup from 2003 to 2002
     with departed USSF President Alan Rothenberg.  Chastain: "He
     was as shocked as we were" (S.F. EXAMINER, 12/12).  
          COACHING CONTROVERSY: In N.Y., Jere Longman noted
     speculation has Univ. of Portland men's and women's soccer
     coach Clive Charles being named to replace Tony DiCicco as
     the U.S. women's team coach and called the move "a mistake." 
     Longman: "[The women] are more successful and more popular
     that the men, deservedly so.  After earning next to nothing
     for so long, they have the right to a bigger slice of the
     financial pie.  The [USSF] has no reason to resent their
     achievement or to punish their assertiveness by hiring a
     coach from the outside and cleaning house."  Longman added
     that the "best way to achieve Olympic success is an orderly
     transition" from DiCicco to assistant coach Lauren Gregg:
     "It is not the politically correct thing to do, just the
     correct thing" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12).  In San Jose, Ann
     Killion cited sources within the federation as saying that
     there "has been internal criticism of how the U.S. women
     played during the World Cup."  Killion: "Sure, they won, but
     apparently it just wasn't dominating enough for some folks. 
     That works against Gregg" (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 12/12).  In
     L.A., Grahame Jones wrote that while Gregg is the "obvious
     successor ... sexism looms large in the federation's
     thinking."  There is "immense jealousy, not to mention
     resentment, among some at U.S. Soccer headquarters ... over
     the success of the women's program, compared to the frequent
     failings ... of the men's teams" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).
          NCAA FINAL: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote on
     Ericsson Stadium hosting the NCAA men's soccer tournament
     and wrote that the "only disappointing aspect was
     attendance."  Fowler: "Organizers had dreamed of 20,000-
     30,000 fans [for Friday's semifinals] at one point.  They
     got 13,231 officially, and that was a generous estimate." 
     (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/12).  The two-day total was 28,670,
     down from last year's two-day total of 32,818 in Richmond.
     NCAA spokesperson Mark Bedics: "We would have liked to have
     seen more people and that's one of the things we'll look at
     how we can improve" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/13).