Sunday's African Champions League final in Tunis, Tunisia will have a restricted crowd of 35,000 due to "fears of stadium violence and civil unrest," according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. After the first leg in Cairo, Egypt ended 1-1, home side Esperance is "poised to take the title for a second successive year" in the second leg against Al Ahli of Egypt in the 65,000 seat Rades Stadium. After confining most professional football to be played behind closed doors over the last year, Tunisia's Interior Ministry has "granted permission for the selling of tickets" for more than half the capacity of the ground. Officials said that the Interior Ministry was planning to allow 27,000 tickets to be sold, but that number has been increased after complaints from the Confederation of African Football, keen to ensure its showpiece final, is "played against a backdrop of a noisy and excited crowd" (REUTERS, 11/12).
Events and Attractions
The New South Wales government has "agreed to tip in" A$3M ($3.1M) as part of a deal to help the Football Federation Australia bring ManU to Sydney for a preseason game in July, according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. The deal "will be announced in several weeks." The game will be played against an A-League all-stars side at Sydney's ANZ Stadium. The match is "expected to reap" as much as A$12M in revenue from ticket sales, TV rights and tourism. ManU Manager Alex Ferguson is "looking to use the match as part of the Red Devils' preseason campaign" for the '13-14 season. ManU officials visited Sydney in September and were "keen for the club to return to Australia after an absence of more than a decade" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/13).
German Tennis Club Weissenhof, the host venue of the annual MercedesCup, "wants to switch from clay to grass starting in '15," according to the SID. MercedesCup Tournament Dir Edwin Weindorfer said, "It is correct, we are looking to become a grass tournament. We will submit a corresponding request to the ATP." Germany already has one grass tournament, the Gerry Weber Open, which has been played annually since '93. The proposed switch from clay to grass is made possible by the Int'l Tennis Federation's plan to put an extra week between Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The two Grand Slam tournaments are currently played only two weeks apart from each other. Increasing this gap to three weeks would increase the grass tennis season by an additional week. The ATP wants to reveal its decision about the proposal in April (SID, 11/10).
Brazil's Audit Court revealed the cost of construction for the 2014 World Cup has increased by 14.7% in relation to the original estimates, according to REUTERS. A total of R$27.3B ($13.3B) will now be spent on stadiums and infrastructure for the event. The R$3.5M ($1.7B) increase from original estimates is largely due to the R$1.8B (900M) increase in airport construction costs and R$1.1B ($536M) in stadium costs. Apart from the elevated costs, officials also revealed there are "significant delays" in airport construction in the World Cup host cities. The Audit Court released a statement that read, "Airport construction continues at a slow rate. Of the four privatized airports, only Natal and Brasilia have started investments planned for the World Cup. The delays are also noticeable in airports administered by the Empresa Brasileira de Infraestrutura Aeroportuária (the company responsible for operating Brazilian commercial airports)" (REUTERS, 11/9).
Chinese Athletic Association VP Shen Chunde refuted Japanese reports, saying that the Beijing Marathon "did not refuse Japanese runners' applications." In an interview on the front page of CAA's website, Shen said that the race has welcomed runners from every nation since its inception in '81 and that Japanese entrants "have not been blocked" from the event. The race will be held Nov. 25 (CHINA DAILY, 11/12). ... ASPIRE4SPORT 2012 Congress and Expo kicked off Monday at the Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar. An inauguration was led by senior officials, "following the first of many all-star panels." The event will last through Thursday (GULF TIMES, 11/12). ... Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes "has confirmed plans to try and bring F1 back to the Brazilian city." According to reports over the weekend, Paes "is now looking to enter into talks" with F1 CEO "to see if Brazil could have two races" (CRASH.net, 11/12).