League Notes: Divided Asian Football Confederation Gathers Amid 'Toxic Atmosphere'
A divided Asian Football Confederation is gathering for its annual awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday "amid an increasingly toxic atmosphere." Suspended President Mohamed bin Hammam has called those in charge "puppets" and claims he has the support of most AFC national associations. On Thursday, Asian football will reveal its player, coach and team of '12 but "beyond the glitter and red carpet will be more intense political maneuvers, as the AFC's decision-making Exec Committee meets to discuss the Bin Hammam imbroglio that has now dragged on for 18 months" (AP, 11/28). ... The Int'l Rugby Board has welcomed the UAE Rugby Federation as a full member union after council approved its application during its meeting in Dublin, Ireland (UAERF). ... The official ball for the U-21 UEFA European Championship was unveiled Wednesday in Tel-Aviv. The ball is designed in the blue and white colors of the host country Israel. It earned praise for its "eye-catching and modern look" (UEFA).