Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 213

International Football

The "battle to pull off one of the biggest coups in Australian sport has begun as five A-League clubs kicked off the race to sign David Beckham," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Negotiations "are still at an early stage, but the A-League's bid to lure Beckham from the California coast to Australian shores is gathering momentum." Fairfax Media understands that "one club has submitted its offer to Beckham's representatives, and four more are expected to tender bids by Tuesday night." Which club made the official offer "remains unknown," but Melbourne Heart, Adelaide United and Perth Glory have all confirmed their intent to sign the football star. Heart CEO Scott Munn publicly expressed his interest in luring the star to AAMI Park, "and believes he could leave a long legacy after a stint in Melbourne." Meanwhile, Glory CEO Paul Kelly has outlined his desire for Perth to outdo its rivals' marquee signings, and "will pull out all the stops to snare Beckham" (SMH, 11/19). In Sydney, Ray Gatt reported Glory Owner Tony Sage said that it would be "one of his greatest personal achievements in the sport if he can pull off a deal to sign" Beckham. Sage said that Glory, last season's beaten A-League grand finalist, "is preparing a bid for Beckham" following news that Beckham was "interested in coming to Australia once his commitments" with Major League Soccer club L.A. Galaxy end next month. Sage said, "On a personal level, signing David Beckham would be up there ... the number one thing other than my decision to buy Glory in the first place. It's a huge commitment, but something I would love to pull off" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/19). In Melbourne, David Davutovic noted Glory "is the first A-League club to table an offer" to Beckham. Glory's offer "is believed to be for a 10-game guest stint." Advertising guru John Singleton told News Ltd. that "he'll back any move" to get Beckham to the Central Coast. Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory are the only clubs that have ruled themselves out of the race, while it is believed Wellington Phoenix will not be "bidding for his services" (HERALD SUN, 11/19).

IN DENIAL: THE ADVERTISER's Val Migliaccio noted Adelaide Chair Greg Griffin said that the club had "instructed its football director Michael Petrillo to make contact with the superstar's agent" once his contract ends. Despite Beckham's agent "denying reports Australia may be a destination, it's understood his management doused the A-League flame because Beckham is still in season with L.A. Galaxy." Griffin said, "Once David Beckham ends his season with L.A. Galaxy, the race is on" (THE ADVERTISER, 11/19). The AP's Rob Harris noted that Beckham's representatives "ruled out the former England captain moving to an Australian club as uncertainty surrounds his future" at his current club. Football Federation Australia had claimed that it had "received an approach by an agent representing the 37-year-old to play some matches with an A-League team this season" (AP, 11/16). FFA CEO David Gallop responded to the denials on radio and said that "there was no need for A-League clubs to be disheartened." He said that a "similar situation arose earlier this year" when Del Piero's camp tried to distance themselves from speculation linking him to Sydney FC. Gallop: "A similar thing happened with Del Piero in terms of the contact and, as we all know, that came to be. So let's just see how this one plays out. It's certainly an exciting proposition -- no one would deny that" (AAP, 11/17).

FIFA’s top investigator has been called upon "to examine evidence that the winners of the right to host the 2022 World Cup secretly offered $1M to the son of one of the voters," according to the Calvert & Blake of the SUNDAY TIMES. Documents "passed to FIFA by the Sunday Times show the Qatar bid team offered the cash" to 26-year-old Samson Adamu, the son of FIFA exec committee member Amos Adamu. The money was "to fund a dinner and workshop on the eve of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, though it cost a fraction of the sum offered." The deal was brokered by Qatar 2022 Deputy CEO Ali al-Thawadi "months before the contest in Dec. '10." He "denied knowledge of the offer when contacted last week." However, after reviewing the evidence, Qatar 2022 lawyers "accepted there had been discussions and a contract had been drawn up," but said the team had later backed out of the deal after considering the "relevant FIFA rules" (SUNDAY TIMES, 11/18).

FIFA INVESTIGATES: In London, Owen Gibson noted FIFA said that it was "contacted with the allegations on Friday and the Sunday Times immediately provided all evidence relating to them." A spokesperson said, "After receiving these documents, FIFA has immediately forwarded them to Michael J. Garcia, independent ethics committee chairman of the investigatory branch." However, the Qatar 2022 organizing committee has accused the Sunday Times of being "malicious and reckless" in its presentation of the discussions, but they "admitted that they took place." The committee on Sunday insisted it "operated to the highest standards of integrity during the bidding process for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup, strictly adhering to all FIFA rules and regulations for bidding nations." It added it was making "good progress" with preparations for the tournament. Garcia will look into the "opaque and controversial bidding process" (GUARDIAN, 11/18).

EXAMINING THE PAST: Also in London, Adam Shergold noted Samson Adamu spoke at the June '10 dinner in Johannesburg, South Africa "assuring a star-studded crowd of African football legends that his companies had 'no commercial affiliates.'" His father Amos Adamu was "among 300 eminent guests at the free event who enjoyed a three-course dinner and traditional African music to celebrate the achievement" of past heroes. He was "secretly filmed in Sept. '10 offering to sell his vote for the 2018 World Cup, which went to Russia for an £800,000 payment into a personal bank account." He claimed that he would use the money "to build football pitches in his native Nigeria." He was "also filmed saying that his bid for the 2022 finals was not for sale because it was going to Qatar." As a result, "he was sacked from the exec committee, stripped of his World Cup vote and banned from football for three years" (DAILY MAIL, 11/18).