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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

A new study reveals that Brazil's top football clubs reported a 29.7% increase in total revenue as they "gained a greater share of income" from TV rights, according to Joe Leahy of the FINANCIAL TIMES. A study by investment bank Itaù revealed the country’s top clubs earned total revenues of R$1.93B in the '11 season. This "sudden increase in wealth" is allowing Brazilian clubs to "persuade more top talent to stay at home and to draw some players back from overseas." Itaù Credit Manager César Grafietti said, “The clubs with more money are investing more in their players and this is proving attractive for more players who would previously have been directed to Europe or the Middle East.” The explosion in football revenues in the country comes as "a rising middle class produces rapid growth in telecoms, media and the entertainment industries." The top-earning Brazilian football club last season was Brasileiro club Corinthians, which booked total revenue of R$281M in '11, up 36% from a year earlier. Next were Brasileiro clubs São Paulo, with R$225M, up 15%, and Santos, with R$189M, up 62%. In a separate report, Deloitte said that while Brazilian clubs were "still not earning at the level of the big leagues in Europe and the U.K.," the country’s domestic growth and plans to host the 2014 World Cup "could boost earnings further" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/1).

Scottish Premier League clubs will "try to rush through reconstruction" in time for next season, but there will be no mechanism to allow Third Division Rangers to be "fast-tracked into the proposed new set-up," according to Andrew Smith of the SCOTSMAN. The 12 SPL sides will meet Monday having already agreed “in principle” to a new set-up of two 12-team divisions, which would see each club play twice before splitting into three eight-team playoff sections. The middle eight section would comprise the bottom four from SPL1 and the top four from SPL2. No proposals have been set for any playoff or relegation slots from the third eight into what is left of the Scottish Football League, nor what would operate below the two 12s, with the SPL not wishing to be seen to prescribe to the SFL, which "vehemently opposes the SPL plans." SPL clubs "will be presented with precisely what the financial distribution model would mean for the 24 teams in the new structure" Monday (SCOTSMAN, 12/2).

SURVEY SAYS: In Glasgow, Gregor Kyle reported the Scottish FA, SPL, SFL and fan group Supporters Direct Scotland have collaborated to create a national football survey to "seek the views of those they describe as the lifeblood of the game." The survey will "allow opinions to be heard" on subjects such as league reconstruction, national team performance, rules and regulations and the matchday experience. The survey is being billed as "the most-comprehensive survey ever carried out in Scottish football" (DAILY RECORD, 11/30).

EURO 2020 BACKING: Also in Glasgow, Craig Swan wrote that FIFA VP Jim Boyce has "thrown his weight behind Scotland's ambitious plans to help stage Euro 2020." UEFA President Michel Platini has "put forward the idea of a one-off tournament played across 13 different cities." Boyce said, "When you look at the marvelous facilities at Hampden, I think it would be an ideal venue" (DAILY RECORD, 12/1).

The countdown to the ninth FIFA Confederations Cup began when the draw for the competition was held at the Anhembi Convention Centre in São Paulo, Brazil. The draw ceremony revealed who will face who in the group phase of the tournament, which takes place in Brazil from June 15-30. Brazil will face Japan in the opening match of the competition, to be played on June 15, at Brasilia’s Estadio Nacional. The groups look as follows:

Group A: Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Italy.
Group B: Spain, Uruguay, Tahiti, the next African champions (FIFA).

PROTEST: REUTERS' Andrew Downie reported dozens of people wearing white masks and carrying banners with the word "shame" protested against "corrupt police and rampant violence in Brazil's big cities" outside the Confederations Cup football draw on Saturday. Protesters belonging to the Rio de Paz group, or River of Peace, said that they had "come to peacefully confront authorities because they were not being heard" (REUTERS, 12/1).

Dozens of leading footballers have signed a statement "protesting UEFA's decision" to stage the Euro U21 championship in Israel next year following the country's recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to the AP. Sixty-two players, including Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Abou Diaby and Paris St. Germain's Jeremy Menez, claim that Israel hosting the tournament will be "seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values." The protest statement was promoted Friday by "several pro-Palestinian groups," based in Israel, France and Britain. Titled "European footballers declare support for Palestine," it was not signed by any players due in Israel in June. UEFA President Michel Platini has said that he has "no security concerns" about the eight-team tournament, which will be played from June 5-18 in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Petach Tikva (AP, 11/30).