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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

A Copa Libertadores crown could "bring in close to R$30M ($14.4M)" for São Paulo based Corinthians, according to iG. If they can get past Argentinian rivals Boca Juniors, the sum of prize money from the tournament given to them by event organizer CONMEBOL, plus sponsorship money and the money that will be awarded for participating in the FIFA Club World Championships as a result of winning the tournament, will "guarantee a large fortune" for the club. Presently, Corinthians has already "scooped close to R$10M ($4.8M) from the games played in the Pacaembu" stadium. Hosting the decisive game will bring in another R$2M ($960,000). CONMEBOL has already awarded the team R$220,000 ($105,600) for the group stage games, R$325,000 ($155,900) for the round of 16, R$420,000 ($201,500) for the quarter finals, R$560,000 ($268,700) for the semifinals and R$580,000 ($278,300) for the finals appearance. In addition, "the champion receives a prize of R$4.2M ($2M)." The team also "took advantage of the visibility" from competing and doing well in South America's largest club competition to profit from sponsors. The marketing department "succeeded in bringing in close to R$7M ($3.4M)." Finally, winning the competition would also result in "extra money" because the club would be entered in the FIFA Club World Championships, which results in another R$4M ($1.9M) from FIFA for competing (iG, 6/28). Corinthians traveled to Argentina Wednesday, and tied the first leg with Boca Juniors 1-1. They will play again in São Paulo next Wednesday and a win will guarantee the Brazilian club their first Copa Libertadores title ever (SBD Global).

The growth of football in Cuba is examined by Sarah Rainsford of the BBC, who wrote that you are currently as likely to see a "young Cuban in a replica football shirt as in a baseball top." Student Manuel Alejandro said, "It's a football revolution. There are more fans here every day." Euro 2012 has made this "clearer than ever" with people "glued to their TV sets" across the country. State TV carries the Euro Championships live and the games are played in bars, homes and supermarkets since it is "illegal to have satellite TV at home." Football only started to be shown live in '98, but now El Clasico [The Barcelona-Real Madrid matchup] is broadcast live, and one European league game is "chosen for rebroadcast every week." Havana's main football stadium is a "neglected, sorry-looking place, its facade faded and its rough pitch covered in long grass better suited to Sunday league football" than int'l matches. Although Cuba has not reached the World Cup since '38, a couple thousand fans showed up "faces painted, flags and hooters in hand" to see the national team take on Canada in a recent World Cup qualifier. Cuba Football Association VP Antonio Garces Segura said, "Our football pitches and stadiums need improving for football competitions. And we need to work from the bottom up with young players." Segura added that he expects "work on a new, FIFA-funded synthetic pitch to be approved soon" (BBC, 6/28).

FC Barcelona and ManU will "play a friendly in Gothenburg," according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The match-up on Swedish ground will take place on Aug. 8 in the Ullevi stadium. It will mark the "third time Barcelona faces ManU in the preseason." The other two times were in '03 in Philadelphia and last summer at the FedEx Field near Washington, D.C. (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/28). The PA reported that the "pair have met in two of the last four Champions League finals, plus the '08 semi-final." ManU CEO David Gill said, "Manchester United against Barcelona is one of the top fixtures in world football, and we are delighted to work with GotEvent to bring this match to the beautiful city of Gothenburg" (PA, 6/28). The BBC reported that the fixture will be Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova's "first experience of United as Barcelona's new coach after taking the reins from Pep Guardiola" (BBC, 6/28).

It will come as "little consolation" to Ukraine, but goal-line technology will be "given the green light", according to Peter Lansley of the LONDON TIMES. Int'l Football Association Board sources indicated that they are "satisfied with exhaustive tests completed by Hawk-Eye and GoalRef." They are still questions as to whether the systems will be "completely accurate in every circumstance," but the test results are believed to be "positive enough even for the doubters" on the IFAB to give it the green light. The IFAB will make sure that the systems are approved as an aid to officials "rather than as automated decision makers" so referees will still be the ones making the final call on goal line plays. The IFAB will also look at whether UEFA's "experiment with extra officials has been a success" (LONDON TIMES, 6/28).

New plans are being put in place that would allow the Rangers to "move directly into Scottish Division One in the coming season," according to the BBC. Charles Green's Rangers newco has "not gained support to replace the old club in the Scottish Premier League." Senior Scottish football figures are proposing that the Rangers start the '12-13 season in "the second tier." The main points of the proposal documentation are the team's relegation "with immediate effect" and its replacement in the SPL "by Dundee." The sale of TV rights for Rangers matches in Scottish Football League Division One to the SPL for "£1M ($1.6M)" and that the "SPL and SFL will merge into one body" at the start of '13-14 (BBC, 6/28). The PA reported that the Rangers have confirmed that only "13 players have reported for the first day of pre-season training" at the club's Murray Park training ground (PA, 6/28). In Edinburgh, Michael Grant reported that the Int'l Federation of Professional Footballers (FiFPro) head of legal department Wil van Megen said that Green's threat to "sue the Rangers players who refused to join his newco" amounted to him seeking "modern slavery." Despite Green's threat of court action, the players who decided to leave were advised that their departures are "legally sound." Van Megen said that "Green would inevitably lose any court cases against the departing players" (SCOTLAND HERALD, 6/28).