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Volume 10 No. 26

International Football

The FA expects to complete its investigation into Chelsea's claim that Mark Clattenburg made a racist comment to Mikel John Obi during last month's defeat by ManU by close of business on Friday, according to Dominic Fifield of the London GUARDIAN. FA Head of Governance Jenni Kennedy and her team have received witness statements from those involved at Stamford Bridge, with Obi interviewed at Stamford Bridge on Monday. Other Chelsea players "have similarly given their testimonies to the FA" while Clattenburg "is expected to conclude his interview on Friday." The governing body will scrutinize the evidence before announcing early next week if he is to face a charge. Clattenburg, who denies any wrongdoing, is understood to "have been baffled by the allegation," and has liaised heavily with the officials' union, Prospect, over the course of the week in preparation for his interview. He will also be interviewed by the Metropolitan police, which has acted upon a complaint lodged by the Society of Black Lawyers.The other members of the refereeing team -- the assistants Michael McDonough and Simon Long, and the fourth official Mike Jones -- have also been interviewed "to ascertain if they heard Clattenburg use inappropriate language over the referee's open-microphone system" (GUARDIAN, 11/8).

A survey by football restructuring specialists revealed that "the financial plight of Scottish football clubs is worsening just as the health of their counterparts in England is showing signs of improvement," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian "became the latest Scottish club imperilled by financial crisis." Research from Begbies Traynor found that "six of the 32 clubs in Scotland’s top three tiers are in financial distress, two more than were reporting acute problems six months ago." Begbies Traynor Partner Ken Pattullo said, "The plain fact is that if a club is in trouble at this stage, it looks very bleak for the prospects of financial survival when cash flows are really put under pressure in the spring and early summer." He attributed part of Scottish football’s problems to Rangers’ relegation but said that "lower attendances and reduced television income were also adding to clubs’ financial problems." In contrast, English clubs "are looking financially healthier than in recent years, with only two out of the 72 clubs surveyed in the three tiers below the Premier League reporting severe difficulties" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/8). In London, Tony Evans reported that "the knock-on effect of Rangers' demotion to the fourth tier of the game has hurt Scottish football and stripped the nation of its most explosive and marketable match, the Old Firm game." Many observers felt that Glasgow’s big two "were the Siamese twins of spite: they may detest each other, but they were so inexorably linked that ripping them apart could be fatal." Financially, at least (LONDON TIMES, 11/8).

LEGAL ACTION: In Glasgow, Keith Jackson reported that former Scotland national team Manager Craig Levein has threatened to sue the Scottish FA over his sacking. Levein said, "I’m extremely disappointed by the process of the last week. I note the position as stated by the Scottish Football Association but do not concur, and I am taking legal advice as to my options. I will make no further comment" (DAILY RECORD, 11/8).

The classic emblem of Torpedo Moscow FC, which was designed in '30, "has been suddenly outlawed by the city police," according to Scarves, flags and banners with the symbol "were banned from sale or to be brought into the stadium during the club’s latest home match in the Football National League," Russia's second league. Torpedo fans said that the police now believed that "the gear symbol in the background of the club’s classical logo is similar to one used by the Nazis." The fans "are currently in consultations with Torpedo's management trying to collect documentation on the logo." Football Development Foundation President Alisher Aminov explained: "This increased attention by the police is caused by the recent fans’ misconduct at the Torpedo stadium, and nothing more" (, 11/7).

The head of Qatar's 2022 World Cup organizing committee said that "FIFA must decide in the next two years" if it wants to move the tournament to winter (London DAILY MAIL, 11/7). ... German public broadcaster ZDF's broadcast of Wednesday's Champions League match between Bayern Munich and OSC Lille "attracted an average of 7.52 million viewers." This number equals a market share of 24.8%. In the target demographic 14-49, ZDF's coverage of Munich's 6-1 victory was watched by 2.47 million viewers for a 20.3% share (, 11/8).