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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Bundesliga club Hannover 96 has been the league's first club "to test the GoalRef goal-line technology," according to the SID. Hannover 96 replacement goaltender Markus Miller said, "I had the feeling that the ball was a little bit heavier. As a result it is flying straighter." With the GoalRef technology the referee "will receive a signal that indicates the ball crossed the goal line." This is made possible through a copper coil inside the ball. GoalRef, which was invented by the Frauenhofer Institut, "is one of the two goal-line technologies that was approved by FIFA." The other one is the Hawk Eye technology, used in tennis. Hawk Eye technology costs €250,000 ($322,000) to install, twice the cost of GoalRef (SID, 10/10).

Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez and Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes "have closed the fringes" on a contract extension that will "make the Portuguese smile again," according to A. Alcázar of SPORT.es. The striker will earn €5M ($6.5M) more a year with the new contract. His current €10M ($12.9M) salary will jump to €15M ($19.4M), and his deal that was due to expire in '15 will now go through '17. The new agreement will see Ronaldo become the second-best paid footballer in the world behind Russian Premier League Anzhi Makhachkala's Samuel Eto'o who earns €20M ($25.8M) annually (SPORT.es, 10/11).

The Qatar 2022 World Cup Supreme Committee insisted on Thursday that it "would not ask FIFA to move the tournament from the summer due to the extreme temperatures in the country," according to the PA. However, former Holland star Ronald de Boer, who became an official ambassador for Qatar's bid after ending his playing career there, "effectively broke ranks." Qatar 2022 Communications & Marketing Dir Nasser al-Khater had "just finished outlining the country's cooling technology plans" at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge in London when De Boer interjected. De Boer: "Sometimes, a change is good, and let's see what it does to the world of football. I don't see, really, difficulties. I think it's also beneficial for the tournament itself if it's in the winter. I played there. You can play, especially with the technology, it's amazing what's going to happen. Especially for the fans -- because football is for the fans -- it would be great if it's in the winter." Al-Khater was "adamant it was up to the game's governing body to act." He said, "We're a host and, at the end of the day, the questions you're asking should be asked to the people who govern world football" (PA, 10/11).

A sell-out crowd of 90,000 fans will watch Friday's match between England and San Marino at London's Wembley Stadium, according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. The World Cup qualifier will see Manager Roy Hodgson's side, ranked fifth in the world, take on a side ranked 207th by FIFA, making them the worst side in the world alongside Turks and Caicos Islands. The 90,000 at Wembley "can expect goals." England's only two games against the European minnows ended 6-0 and 7-1. Achieving a sell-out for the match is "all the more commendable" considering England's last match at Wembley against Ukraine had an attendance of 68,102 (INDEPENDENT, 10/10). The FA had described the match as "the one you can't afford to miss" following England's 1-1 draw with Ukraine last month, and lowered prices to £25 ($40) for some sections of the ground. San Marino Manager Giampaolo Mazza said that he hopes 2,000 will turn up to support the visitors, though this estimate "appears somewhat far-fetched as only 100 will travel with the team on their chartered flight" (TELEGRAPH, 10/10).

Italian Serie A Juventus President Andrea Agnelli "questioned UEFA's willingness to ban big-spending clubs from the Champions League if they breach its Financial Fair Play regulations," according to Rob Harris of the AP. Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference, Agnelli highlighted that throwing a major club out of the Champions League "would risk antagonizing the broadcasters," which have bought their rights from UEFA. Agnelli said, "Even if you have FFP, are [UEFA] going to ban three teams from participating in the UCL? Who will go to say to the broadcasters we (UEFA) haven't got the three teams playing? Is there going to be a correction in the overall value of the TV rights?" He added, "We, as Juventus, are working with FFP in mind. I am curious to see who is working with FFP in mind -- really. And once the FFP rules come into effect, I am curious as how effective that will be and how the actual punishments will be distributed in case someone breaches financial fair play" (AP, 10/10). SPOX.com wrote that the goal of UEFA's FFP is to make sure club's "do not become highly indebted anymore." UEFA will start auditing clubs' balances in '13 (SPOX.com, 10/10).

Football match-fixing in Singapore has "been reduced by compulsory lie detector tests for players as the country tries to stop criminal syndicates infiltrating the game," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Lie detection tests were introduced to the players' code of conduct in Singapore's S-League in '01 after revelations that "several matches had been fixed." Singapore FA General Secretary Winston Lee told delegates at the Leaders in Football conference at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, “It is now compulsory for all players to go through polygraph tests.” The measures "haven’t stopped criminal groups from trying to influence" Singaporean games. Lee said, “Recently some foreigners flew into the country and offered a large sum of money to a goalkeeper. He reported this to our FA, and we had these people arrested, and they are now in jail in Singapore.” An umbrella organization for professional players, FIFPro, "questioned the efficacy of polygraph tests." FIFPro lawyer Wil van Megen said, "Experts say that people can cheat at these tests, that people can be influenced while taking these tests, that these tests can give the wrong results" (BLOOMBERG, 10/10).

The Serie A disciplinary committee club revealed that Genoa has been hit with a €30,000 ($38,691) fine and "seen striker Giuseppe Sculli banned for a month," according to the AFP. The sanctions stemmed from  incidents during the club's home league game against Siena last April when "hardline 'ultra' fans, having seen their side concede four goals," started to cause problems in the stands. Fans launched flares and "demanded the shirts off the Genoa players' backs" because they did not believe the players were worthy of wearing them. Sculli was the only player who did not give in to the demands. Sculli is known to be the grandson "of a notorious Calabrian mafia boss," and during the incident he went to the stands to negotiate the return of the players' shirts. League execs originally sought a €300,000 ($386,910) fine for Genoa and a ban of three months for Sculli. The prosecutor claimed Sculli had "known all along about the planned protests" (AFP, 10/9).

Dutch Eredivisie club Ajax Amsterdam is "charging fans more" to watch Manchester City than it did at last week's match with Real Madrid. Man City fans are being asked "to shell out an eye-watering €80 ($103)" for the Oct. 24 match, which is €15 ($19) more than Real Madrid fans paid. Blues supporters believe that "the hike is part of a cynical ploy by their opponents to cash in with the thousands expected to make the trip across the North Sea" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 10/10). ... Italy's national police chief Antonio Manganelli has warned that "more football match-fixing is about to be revealed, with the country's favourite sport already reeling from scandal." Speaking alongside Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble at a meeting of foreign media, Manganelli said, "Some illicit behaviour has already been uncovered to remarkable effect" (AAP, 10/10).