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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

West Ham United Manager Sam Allardyce has "spoken out about the anti-Semitic chanting" that took place at White Hart Lane on Sunday and defended himself for not doing so earlier, according to Simon Rice of the IRISH INDEPENDENT. Immediately after the game, Allardyce claimed not to have heard the chants, saying: "If I didn't hear it, I can't condemn it." Supporters and pundits on Twitter Monday felt "this was not good enough, and Allardyce was under pressure to make a statement" Tuesday. Allardyce did and "joined those who have called for heavy punishments for those who appeared to mock Jews being gassed during the Holocaust." West Ham co-Owner David Gold said such actions "will not be tolerated" among the club's support, and the teams' Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun said he was "embarrassed" by the chanting (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 11/27).

The next head coach of the Brazilian national football team will be someone that has coached the Seleção in the past, "and it will not be a foreigner," according to Rizzo, Fernandez & Rangel of FOLHA DE S. PAULO. CBF President José Maria Marin and CBF VP Marco Polo del Nero "do not want" to hire someone that has no experience with the national team. This "reinforces the reports" that Luiz Felipe Scolari, who currently coaches Brasileiro club Palmeiras, will be hired for the job. Scolari led Brazil to its fifth World Cup title back in '02. The other Brazilian coaches rumored for the job have no prior experience with the Seleção (FOLHA DE S. PAULO, 11/27). The AP reported that despite reports former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is a candidate for the job, Marin said that "he prefers a local name" to replace the recently sacked Mano Menezes. Marin said he really "respects" Guardiola, but "all five world titles won by Brazil came with Brazilian coaches (AP, 11/27).

The FA is "adamant that England’s pivotal friendly match in Brazil will go ahead as planned next summer," according to George Caulkin of the LONDON TIMES. On Tuesday, FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke warned that delays in stadium rebuilding "may have an impact on their preparations for the 2014 World Cup." England is due to play Brazil at the Maracanã Stadium on June 2, "four months after hosting the South Americans at Wembley." Work at the Maracanã is scheduled to be done in late February, with the Confederations Cup, which begins on June 15, "viewed as a dry run" for the World Cup. Because England’s match "falls so close" to the start of the Confederations Cup, football's governing body has the final say over whether it proceeds. Valcke said, “I know England want this game, but we have not yet approved the fixture. We will not give a certificate for this game unless we are sure that the stadium is ready and that all the proper safety and security measures are in place" (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).

UEFA President Michel Platini has admitted that his organization is "considering scrapping the Europa League in favour of extending the Champions League," according to the London TELEGRAPH. In an interview to appear in Wednesday's Ouest-France newspaper, Platini was asked about possible plans to extend the Champions League at the expense of the second-tier Europa League. Platini said: "There is an ongoing debate to determine what form the European competitions will have between 2015 and 2018. We're discussing it, we will make a decision in 2014. Nothing is decided yet." The Europa League generates "far lower revenue for clubs than the Champions League" and has been criticized since it evolved from the UEFA Cup in '09 (TELEGRAPH, 11/27).

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) "is mulling an important offer" for the friendly match in February against Uruguay to be played in Doha, Qatar, according to Miguel Ángel Lara. of MARCA. The offer "is very appealing" to the federation as it has been offered approximately €3M ($3.9M) for the game to be played in the Middle East. Also, the travel would be manageable for the players as the flight from Madrid to Doha is six-and-a-half hours long. It has been "a long time" that the Middle East has tried to bring the World Cup holders to its part of the world. In the upcoming days, the RFEF "will decide if it accepts the possibility of playing in the Middle East" (MARCA, 11/27).

Posters have been released for each Brazil city that will host World Cup games in '14, according to Rik Sharma of the London DAILY MAIL. Each poster "features something which ties in with the history or the nature" of that city. The host cities are: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Manaus, Salvador, Fortaleza, Natal, Cuiaba, Porto Alegre and Recife (DAILY MAIL, 11/26). On Sunday, each host city staged an individual event at which the host city posters were launched (FIFA).