European rugby "enters new ground" on Saturday when England's Saracens play a home match in Brussels, according to Philip Blenkinsop of REUTERS. The match is designed to "spread interest in the game and enhance Belgium's status as an emerging rugby nation." Saracens will host Racing Metro 92 of Paris in a "pool-phase tie" in the King Baudouin Stadium. The arena is "normally a venue" for football and athletics. Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans believes that the match "will place the city on the rugby map internationally, persuading other clubs to come." Saracens, who has held coaching sessions in Brussels in the past weeks, said that it expect some 2,000 traveling fans. A similar number "are predicted to arrive from Paris." Organizers estimate the crowd will be between 20,000 and 30,000, "drawn from Belgium's rugby community" and the many expatriates who live in the country's capital (REUTERS, 10/18).
Events and Attractions
Japan will host the inaugural Int'l Women's Club Championship in November, with "ambitions of eventually turning it into a worldwide FIFA-sanctioned event," according to KYODO. The tournament will be a straight knockout format, with the first games scheduled for Nov. 22 at Urawa Komaba Stadium. The winners "play for the $60,000 title three days later" at Nack5 Stadium. Japan Women's Football League General Secretary Yoshinori Taguchi said that the event will be held for "at least three years" and hopes it will include teams from other confederations in the future, with the "aim of becoming the women's counterpart of the Club World Cup" (KYODO, 10/18).
Thailand's government sports authority said that it has struck an in-principle deal to host an F1 race in Bangkok in '14, with negotiations ongoing about the hosting fee, according to the AP. Sports Authority of Thailand Gov. Kanokphand Chulakasem said, "Formula One has decided to include Thailand in its 2014 season calendar." The race is "slated for November." He said that the government will fund 60% of the cost, with the rest coming from sponsors such as Red Bull, which is "half Thai-owned" and brewing company Singha. Kanokphand said, "Once the negotiations are complete, we will bring this before the cabinet for discussion and approval. We will sign a deal only after we get the nod from the government" (AP, 10/18). In Bangkok, Kittipong Thongsombat reported that Ratchadamnoen Avenue and Muang Thong Thani "are among potential venues" to host the race in '14 (BANGKOK POST, 10/18).
The South Korean field hockey team has withdrawn from the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha, Qatar from Dec. 21-27. Asian Hockey Federation Secretary General Tan Sri P. Alagendra said that it has "now invited Bangladesh" to play instead (THE STAR, 10/18). ... London's Wembley Stadium is scheduled to host two NFL games in '13 "in a deal that is a blow to Croke Park's hopes of holding a game." The Dublin stadium "had been hoping to host a game" involving the Pittsburgh Steelers, owned by U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, next fall (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 10/17). Swimming's governing body FINA has received bids from the federations of Hong Kong, Windsor/Detroit (Canada/U.S.), and the UAE (city to be confirmed) for the FINA World Swimming Championships in '16 and eventually '18. The vote will be made on Dec. 11, in Istanbul after the presentations of the three projects (FINA). ... The name of an int'l team playing two Twenty20 matches in Pakistan this weekend was changed on Wednesday, but "World XI" was retained "despite an objection" from the Int'l Cricket Council. Organizer and Sindh Sports Minister Mohammad Ali Shah said, "We have changed the name to Int'l World XI" (AFP, 10/18).