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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Northern Premier League semi-pro club FC United GM Andy Walsh "believes that co-operatives can help provide the solution to the crisis now crippling" England's national game, according to Simon Birch of the London GUARDIAN. Walsh said: "All football clubs should be run co-operatively and no one should be afraid of allowing democracy into the boardroom." FC United was launched in '05 by disenchanted ManU fans who were "angered by the takeover" of ManU by the American Glazer family, and who "alienated thousands of fans by what they saw as the rampant commercialisation of the club." Walsh: "Along with a couple of thousand other people, I wanted to establish something which will be a reminder to those who run the game that there is an alternative, one that puts fans first." Since its launch, the club "has played an active role in its local community," rolling out an active program of community involvement including running coaching courses for refugees, setting up mental health well-being projects and working with local schools. Following a "highly successful community-share issue," which raised almost £2M ($3.2M), FC United is now "looking at building a new 5,000 seat stadium in north Manchester" (GUARDIAN, 11/5).

Dalian Aerbin Group Chair Zhao Mingyang has bought Chinese Super League club Dalian Shide, according to the CHINA DAILY. At a meeting with players on Friday, the day before the club's last match, Zhao said: "Aerbin has already bought the Dalian Shide football club with 320M yuan ($51M)." Aerbin will reportedly "make decisions on the future of players" at an Aerbin Group meeting on Wednesday (CHINA DAILY, 11/5). WILD EAST FOOTBALL wrote the sale of Dalian Shide to the Aerbin Group, which owns Dalian's other CSL club, "has many implications for football in China." The purchase included Dalian Shide's "famed academy and training facilities." Zhao has "encouraged all the players to stay in Dalian and be a part of the merged team," while promising "that nobody, both players and staff, will be left jobless by the merger." It is "still left to be seen" whether Shide will just merge into Dalian Aerbin club or if a new entity, a Dalian United or FC, will be created instead (, 11/5).

Football's authorities spent years agonizing over "whether to introduce goal-line technology, yet its use would not have solved any of the recent refereeing controversies which have blown up in Italy, England and Brazil," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Video replays, on the other hand, "would instantly have cleared up any doubts, yet they have barely been discussed by football's rule-makers and remain firmly off the agenda." The "paradox has been highlighted in Brazil where the result of a match has been put under investigation because, although match officials made the right decision, there is a suspicion they used information from TV replays to do so." Other sports "have embraced video umpires, notably the two codes of rugby and cricket." In rugby union, for example, "a Television Match Official can rule on whether the ball has been grounded for a try, while in rugby league officials can go further back to check for offside or knock-ons during the build-up to a score." Awaiting the video verdict on a batsman's fate "has become part and parcel of cricket, as officials use a combination of TV replays and other technology, while teams are allowed a set number of challenges to umpire's decisions." FIFA has argued that "video evidence would disrupt the flow of the game," but that has not been the case in rugby and cricket. After years of debate and a U-turn by FIFA President Sepp Blatter in '10, the Int'l Football Association Board "finally gave the go-ahead to the use of goal-line technology in July." However, IFAB "was also adamant that the use of technology would stop there." English IFAB member Alex Horne said, "None of us are considering any type of technology which would interfere with the free-flowing nature of our game" (REUTERS, 11/5).