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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

The 2018 World Cup host Russia was "grappling with a new football hooliganism scandal after the unruly behavior of fans who threw fireworks on the pitch forced the abandonment of a top-flight cup match" Thursday, according to the AFP. The incident is "a huge embarrassment for Russia" days before it hosts a top FIFA delegation, including President Sepp Blatter, for a glitzy ceremony to announce the final list of the host cities for the 2018 World Cup. The referee called off the fourth-round Russia Cup match between Dinamo Moscow and their local rivals Torpedo Moscow in the 51st minute "amid chaotic scenes with parts of the pitch blanketed in smoke and fireworks crackling on the turf." In a statement the police said that "20 fans were arrested as fights broke out between rival fan groups on the streets around the stadium" before the match late Wednesday. Another six were arrested after the match was stopped (AFP, 9/27).

Brasileiro club São Paulo has changed its strategy "and invested R$45M ($22M)" in reinforcements this year, according to Marcelo Prado of GLOBO ESPORTE. In addition to the signing of Paulo Henrique Ganso from Santos, which was the highest transfer fee in Brazilian football, the club has signed another 10 players. Since his arrival in '06, club President Juvenal Juvêncio "has always been known for his rigid posture in negotiations." In his first years in charge, Juvêncio "was known for contracting players that were at the end of their contracts from other teams," saving São Paulo large amounts of money in transfer fees. The problem was that the players would finish out their contracts for the club then leave for more money. This was the case with Argentinian midfielder Dario Conca in '08. The player cost São Paulo R$650,000 on a loan with the possibility of buying his rights at the end of the year, but the club declined as Juvêncio believed "he was too expensive." Conca ended up playing for Fluminense, where he became the "best player in the Brasileiro." Fluminense sold the player to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande for R$24M ($11.8M). Now "everything has changed." For the year, São Paulo has spent R$45M on 11 players, "the most the club has spent in the past five years" (GLOBO ESPORTE, 9/27)

In preparation for the World Cup and Olympics, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism announced new criteria for evaluating hotels and accommodations, according to the guidelines of the Brazilian System for the Qualification of Accommodation. The goal of SBClass is to increase competitiveness in the Brazilian hospitality industry and inform consumers about the standards of establishments. Brazil Minister of Tourism Gastao Vieira said, "With major events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics just around the corner, we need to upgrade our facilities and services (SECOM). ... The Bulgarian Football Union said that CSKA Sofia will be "thrown out of the domestic championship" if UEFA bans the club from European competitions. On Wednesday, UEFA gave the club until the end of September to pay off their debts or face a three-year European ban (AFP, 9/27). ... EPL club Stoke City CEO Tony Scholes has confirmed the club will be "self-sufficient by the start of next season." Stoke City Chair Peter Coates and his family have injected more than £60M ($97.3M) into the team to help transform the club from a mid-table Championship side into one enjoying a "fifth successive season in the Premier League." With a new TV deal, Stoke is "on course" to generate enough of its own funds next season (, 9/27).