The Asian Football Confederation "finally looks ready to turn the page on an era of bribery allegations and intrigue by announcing moves to replace suspended President Mohamed bin Hammam," according to the AFP. The AFC exec committee said that if it reaches a unanimous decision to hold presidential elections next year it demonstrates "unusual unity" in a body "better known for in-fighting." A witness, who did not want to be named, said, "Even his (bin Hammam's) ardent supporters said they wanted to go ahead... I was pretty surprised. It was the quickest item on the agenda." Leadership elections, at a congress meeting in April, would "banish a long period of turmoil and uncertainty" after bin Hammam was accused of bribery during FIFA's '11 presidential vote and banned from football activities. The Qatari businessman's long fight to clear his name "appears to be wearing thin" among the 46 member associations of the AFC. The witness added, "Everybody's fed up. I have spoken to all the member association presidents, they're all fed up" (AFP, 11/30).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Irish government has allocated almost €26M ($33.7M) of new funding for sports projects, according to the IRISH TIMES. It is the first round of money in four years and will allow clubs to build facilities or buy equipment, "with a particular emphasis on clubs in disadvantaged areas." Further allocations of €4M ($5.2M) will be made to national and regional projects "in the coming weeks." Between '98-10, €140 per person was provided in sports capital funding across the country. However, "the allocations to individual counties varied significantly." While the best performing county (Kerry) got €196 of sports funding per person, other counties only received a little more than half of that. Now funding is being allocated on a per-capita basis to each county "with a weighting for past performance." Around "615 projects will benefit" from the change. The allocations include funding for natural grass pitches, tracks and courts (including pitch drainage); floodlighting; artificial sports pitches, tracks, courts and multi-use games areas as well as security fencing and ball stop netting (IRISH TIMES, 12/2).
The HRT F1 team "does not figure in the list" of teams subscribed for next year's F1 season, according to Raymond Blancafort of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Friday was the last day for teams to submit their applications and make the necessary deposits. In HRT's case, motorsports' governing body FIA needed $500,000, which the Spanish team was not able to provide (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 12/1). EFE noted that HRT's owner Thesan Capital put the team up for sale before the last race of the season in São Paulo, Brazil. The official list for next season reveals 22 cars, "with half still not having a driver assigned." (EFE, 12/1).
The UEFA Club Financial Control Body investigatory chamber has released prize money payments for 16 teams involved in the '12-13 UEFA club competitions. Sixteen of the 23 clubs that had the payment of prize money from the '12-13 UEFA competition season temporarily suspended by the CFCB investigatory chamber have had their suspensions lifted, after the body's review process adjudged that the necessary financial requirements had been implemented. As a conservatory measure, the investigatory chamber had temporarily suspended the distribution of prize money, as information provided by the clubs to meet the deadline of June 30 revealed the presence of significant overdue payable balances. However, based on new information provided by the clubs to meet the subsequent deadline of Sept. 30 and following its investigations, the CFCB decided, given that no overdue payable balances remained, to close the cases involving the 16 clubs. As a result, conservatory measures affecting the following teams have been lifted with immediate effect: FK Željezničar (BIH), FK Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina), FK Borac Banja Luka (Bosnia-Herzegovina), PFC CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria), Club Atlético de Madrid (Spain), Maccabi Netanya FC (Israel), FK Shkëndija 79 (Macedonia), Floriana FC (Malta), FK Budućnost Podgorica (Montenegro), FK Rudar Pjevlja (Montenegro), Ruch Chorzów (Poland), Sporting Clube de Portugal (Portugal), SC Vaslui (Romania), FC Rubin Kazan (Russia), Fenerbahçe SK (Turkey) and Eskişehirspor (Turkey) (UEFA).
NOT SO FAST: The AP's Graham Dunbar reported Champions League contender Malaga is facing UEFA sanctions for "failing to pay millions of dollars in players' wages on time, and will likely have some prize money withheld." Malaga, which is owned by a Qatari investor Sheik Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, has "reportedly failed" to pay players a combined €9M ($11.6M). Team officials declined to comment (AP, 11/30).
The Pakistan Cricket Board has laid down "some strict guidelines for its players" for the upcoming tour of India, which includes restrictions on attending private dinner parties and not entertaining any friends at the team hotel (TIMES OF INDIA, 12/2). ... Senegal's national football team was banned from playing in the Dakar stadium, where last month crowd trouble "blighted their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ivory Coast." The punishment also includes a €100,000 ($130,000) fine handed down by the Confederation of African Football. Additionally, the CAF had already disqualified the team from the 2013 Nations Cup (AFP, 11/30). ... FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said he had some "concerns" on the progress of preparations for the 2014 Brazil World Cup host city Manaus. Valcke: "We are a little concerned about Manaus -- the delivery date will be difficult to meet" (AFP, 11/30).