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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Ligue 1 Week 5 saw Olympique Marseille "demonstrate the power of its supporters" as they brought 1,030 fans to AS Nancy's Marcel-Picot stadium, according to Another "enormous" number for the Ligue 1, especially when you consider that the match "was not one of the highlights" of Marseille's calendar for the season. To put things into perspective, the sum of the visiting fans for the nine other clubs who played on the road this weekend was not able to match that number. Furthermore, through three road games, Marseille has an average of more than 1,000 fans for their road matches. That doubles Lyon and ASSE, which are both tied for second with an average of 445 fans when they go on the road. Week 5 in its entirety saw Ligue 1 gather 193,074 fans and fill stadiums to 71.9% of their capacity (, 9/17).

Zhu Jun, the billionaire chair of Chinese Super League football team Shanghai Shenhua, "insists the mystery boardroom dispute threatening the future of foreign stars," including former Chelsea pair Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka has not been resolved, according to the AFP. Shenhua Coach Sergio Batista had previously said the row had been "basically resolved," and Drogba started Saturday's game against Liaoning Whowin, scoring the third goal in a 3-0 win. But Zhu, a "flamboyant online gaming tycoon who has bankrolled the club for years and reportedly threatened to withhold the salaries of foreign players," denied any deal. He is believed to be demanding other shareholders "grant him majority control of the club." Also, on his microblog, China's equivalent to Twitter, he "issued a new deadline for agreement to be reached by the end of the month." Without giving details of the dispute or saying to whom the message was aimed, Zhu wrote, "Now, I made a difficult decision to believe you one more time, one last time! And this time I have a deadline: two weeks" (AFP, 9/17).

FC Barcelona is the Champions League club with the "largest number of followers" when it comes to social media, according to the EFE. The Catalan side has 47.3 million followers followed by rival Real Madrid and its 38.2 million. The two clubs account for 46.2% of the total Facebook and Twitter followers when it comes to Champions League clubs. ManU is third with 27.4 million followers, which does not have a Twitter account. Apart from the two Spanish rivals, the English Premier League dominates the top 10 with four clubs: ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City (EFE, 9/17).

Club Total Facebook Twitter
1. FC Barcelona 47.345,043 35.112,719 12.232,324
2. Real Madrid 38.288,596 31.694,048 6.594,548
3. Manchester United 27.456,554 27.456,554 N/A
4. Chelsea FC 13.531,758 12.160,411 1.371,347
5. Arsenal 13.184,809 11.376,805 1.808,004
6. AC Milan 12.381,157 11.691,768 689,389
7. Galatasaray 9.215,191 7.489,182 1.726,009
8. Bayern Munich 4.929,190 4.896,834 32,356
9. Juventus FC 4.596,479 4.329,356 267,123
10. Manchester City 3.823,222 3.322,087 501,135

Brazil has selected an "endangered armadillo as the mascot" for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. FIFA said that the mascot, which was unveiled Sunday night on a TV program by former Brazil F Ronaldo, "represented the three-banded armadillo, an endangered species indigenous to Brazil." The animal is actually light brown, but the mascot is "yellow with green eyes and a blue shell," the colors of the Brazilian flag. He will be depicted "holding aloft a soccer ball" (REUTERS, 9/17). FIFA indicated that Brazilians "will have until mid-November to choose the name from three choices -- Amijubi, Fuleco and Zuzeco." Amijubi is a "representation of friendliness and joy," while Fuleco and Zuzeco are "linked to an 'ecological message'" (AP, 9/17).