ManU looks set to make its "first appearance in Australia for 14 years next summer," according to Simon Stone of the PA. ManU officials have been in talks with the Football Federation Australia counterparts for a "number of months now" about Manager Alex Ferguson's men heading to Australia as part of the club's '13 preseason tour. Although the team has yet to confirm its plans, it has been reported in Australia that the "finishing touches are now being applied to a match that would see United take on an A-League All Star team at ANZ Stadium" on July 20. The fixture would come "just three days" after the final State of Origin rugby league match at the same venue, which currently holds 84,000. It has been suggested ManU could make around £2M ($3.2M) for the game, which is "almost certain to include current A-League star attraction Alessandro Del Piero and maybe also Emile Heskey if he extends his stay with the Newcastle Jets" (PA, 12/6).
European football's governing body said that the idea of a new competition made up of teams from the Commonwealth of Independent States' strongest leagues is "interesting," according to RUSSIA TODAY. The idea "has received the support of the Kremlin, Premier League leaders CSKA Moscow, two-time champions Rubin Kazan, reigning Belarus and Ukraine champions BATE and Shakhtar, as well as the Russian Premier League itself." The fate of the project depends on UEFA and FIFA, and UEFA "apparently takes it seriously." A UEFA official said, "The idea is interesting. It needs to be worked through, the format should be decided upon." The source stressed that UEFA President Michel Platini is "open to innovative ideas" (RT, 12/6).
Officials said Wednesday that the "missing" Eritrean national football team "has applied for asylum in Uganda rather than return home," according to the AFP. Uganda's Junior Minister for Refugees Musa Ecweru said, "The 18 members have told us their country is not safe for them once they return, and they want political asylum. They are in the hands of the Ugandan government and United Nations, and we have given them protection." He said that if the players pass an eligibility test, "they will be given refugee status" (AFP, 12/6). SUDAN TRIBUNE's Tesfa-Alem Tekle reported this is the third time that the Eritrean national team "has chosen to claim asylum in an African nation when playing outside the Horn of Africa nation." The Ethiopia-based Eritrean opposition group, Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization, on Tuesday said that the latest defection of the Eritrean football team shows the level of "political oppression in Eritrea, as well as the nation's worsening economic and social crises." Human rights groups "have repeatedly labeled the Red Sea nation one of the world's most-repressive regimes and worst violator of human rights" (SUDAN TRIBUNE, 12/4).
FC Barcelona's football academy, FCBescola, will travel to India and train young football players, "so that they can tap precocious talent at a young age and place them under the same model" that players like Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez followed. After conducting clinics all over India, including in the capital of Delhi, the FCBescola "has decided to initiate a football camp in Chandigarh (TIMES OF INDIA, 12/6).
OUT OF AFRICA: Rwanda's Ministry of Sports and Culture Permanent Secretary Edward Kalisa said that the country "is committed" in its bid to host the 2013 CECAFA Challenge Cup. Rwanda FA Chair Celestin Ntagungira said that Rwanda "would be able to announce the name of a Challenge Cup sponsor within two weeks of being chosen as hosts" (NEW TIMES, 12/6). ... Ghana joins the few African countries devoted to women's football with the launch of its first National Women's League. The 12-club league, organized by the Women's League Board of the Ghana FA, will kick off on Dec. 16. The clubs have been divided into a Southern and Northern zone, with six teams each (Confederation of African Football).