French football national team coach Laurent Blanc has left his position following a meeting with the France Football Federation and its President Noël Le Graët, according to the AFP. Blanc said, "We were not able to find a common ground around the management of the France team for the two seasons to come." Blanc coached the squad for two years and 27 matches with the team losing just four times (AFP, 6/30). Le Journal du Dimanche reported that Blanc's departure "has less to do with the attitude of his players during the Euro than that of his president for months." Le Graët found Blanc's "reputation overrated, his operation expensive, his independence annoying and the influence of his agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes, unhealthy." After the meeting between the two, Blanc told someone close to him, "Either way, he did not want to work with me anymore" (JDD, 7/1). The AFP reported that Blanc's former World Cup and Euro teammate Christophe Dugarry "was not surprised" the two men could not reach a deal. Dugarry: "Laurent is neither a manipulator nor a politician, he loves the sport and the goings on on the pitch. He needed support but Monsieur Le Graet's preference was to play politics in order that he be re-elected as president [in Dec.]." He added: "There are two reasons which would have precipitated his departure. If the target set for the Euro hadn't been achieved then he would have resigned of his own volition. The second is that those above him did not show total confidence in him and that is obviously what happened" (AFP, 7/1). L'EQUIPE reported that another former teammate, Bixente Lizarazu, was disappointed in the news. Lizarazu said, "Its a big suprise, a real waste. I think Laurent Blanc had all the cards in hand to decide to continue, with the challenge of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which was an extraordinary objective. Maybe even the Euro 2016 in France." He added: "Its a personal decision. Maybe it has to do with the discussion with Noel Le Graet. Each one waited for a willingness to work together. And since both look to be very stubborn, with character, nobody made the first move. Kind of like a romantic relationship where someone has to say, "I love you," first. Nobody says it, so we leave each other" (L'EQUIPE, 6/ 30).
China's "growing popularity as the preferred destination for aging former English Premier League players shows no sign of slowing" after the Chinese Super League confirmed striker Frederic Kanoute's move to Beijing Guoan, according to the SUNDAY TIMES. The club gave no details of the contract, but Kanoute's former club, Sevilla, said that he agreed to a two-year deal with Beijing. The transfer "adds to the ever growing list of big foreign signings made by Chinese clubs." Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba recently followed his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka "in making a lucrative move to big-spending" CSL Shanghai Shenhua. According to media reports, another African striker -- Blackburn Rovers and Nigerian forward Yakubu Aiyegbeni -- is "close to completing a move" to CSL Guangzhou R&F (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/1). WILD EAST FOOTBALL wrote Kanoute is "arguably Guoan's most well-known foreign signing ever" due to his career in Spain and the U.K. Kanoute is "not coming cheap." Guoan signed a year-and-a-half deal with the the striker that will see him earn $2M a year. It was said that Kanoute was considering offers from the U.S. and Middle East (WILDEASTFOOTBALL.com, 7/1).
German Bundesliga club Hannover 96 "improved its financial foundation" by adding two new shareholders, according to the DPA. The Europa League participant welcomed drugstore chain owner Dirk Roßmann and entrepreneur Detlev Meyer as new shareholders. Additionally, the current shareholders will "increase their investments in the club." According to team, the increase in share capital will be in the "double-digit million" area. Hannover 96 President Martin Kind said, "Through this increase in share capital we now have the necessary means to continue the development of the brand Hannover 96, and to invest in our new youth academy" (DPA, 6/29).
The "gigantic TV screen" that Corinthians will install with its new stadium that will host World Cup games runs the risk of being taken down due to the law "Lei Cidade Limpa," which prohibits external advertising on the streets of São Paulo, according to PORTAL2014.org.br. The investment for the installment of the TV "has not been divulged," but the equipment "would be twice the size of the one in [NFL] Dallas Cowboys Stadium," which cost R$80M ($39.8M). If the club wants to use the screen for advertising after the 2014 World Cup, Corinthians "will have to obtain authorization from city hall, which is practically impossible." As an alternative, Marketing Specialist Rodrigo Barros suggested the team put the screen inside the arena, "just like north American clubs," so any publicity airing on the screen will not be seen from the streets, which is a direct violation of the law (PORTAL2014.COM.ORG, 6/29).
FIFA PERMIT: PORTAL2014.com.org reported that FIFA will allow 2014 World Cup matches to air in public places in Brazil. FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke said that "it is a big innovation in respect to previous World Cups, where games were only shown in what is called FIFA Fan Fest." Valcke also explained that "large screen transmissions will all be allowed as long as there are no commercial purposes" (PORTAL2014.COM.ORG, 6/28).
CHEAPER: PORTAL2014.com.org also reported that Andrade Gutierrez, the construction company in charge of building the Arena Amazônia in Manaus, Brazil will readjust the cost for the stadium. With the revision, "the total cost of the construction will go from R$615.9M ($306.3M) to R$529.4M ($263.2M)" (PORTAL2014.COM.ORG, 6/29).
WC DRAW: PORTAL2014.com.org further revealed that the draw for the 2014 World Cup will be held in Bahia, Brazil in Dec. '13 (PORTAL2014.COM.ORG, 6/28).