Bundesliga club Bayern Munich has appointed Pep Guardiolaas head coach for three years starting July 1. The club's current head coach Jupp Heynckes has decided to retire when his current contract expires on June 30. Heynckes, who had already indicated to Bayern Chair Karl-Heinz Rummenigge prior to Christmas that he was not inclined to extend his contract with the club beyond the expiration date of June 30, but would rather end his coaching career, officially confirmed the decision on Wednesday. Rummenigge said, "We are delighted we’ve succeeded in appointing leading coach Pep Guardiola, who has been pursued and contacted by many big-name clubs, for FC Bayern. Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful coaches in the world, and we’re certain he will add great flair to both FC Bayern and German football. We're looking forward to the partnership from July 2013" (Bayern Munich). In Munich, Draxler & Straten reported Guardiola "is supposed to be similarly successful as he was with ex-club FC Barcelona." In four years with the Catalonia club, Guardiola won 14 titles including the '09 and '11 Champions League. The 41-year-old "left Barcelona in the summer of '12 and took a year off" (BILD, 1/16). The EFE reported Guardiola's agent José Maria Orobitg revealed the contract was signed before Christmas. Orobitg: "The signature was made around Christmas. I don't recall which day exactly, but it was around December 20." He added, "Bayern wasn't the club that offered the most money. Guardiola chose the club for its organization, for the potential he sees and for the players" (EFE, 1/16).
PEP SNUBS PREMIER LEAGUE: In London, Brian Lee reported Guardiola "has snubbed a move to the Premier League." Guardiola "has been linked with Manchester rivals United and City as well as European champions Chelsea since taking a break from the game at the end of last season." Guardiola "was the most sought-after coach in the business after creating arguably the best club side in the world of Catalonia" (DAILY MAIL, 1/16). The London EVENING STANDARD wrote "the news will disappoint Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich, who had hoped to lure Guardiola to Stamford Bridge and was looking to offer a salary worth" £15M ($24M) a year to convince him to move to west London (EVENING STANDARD, 1/16).
FIFA revealed that it was "forced to hold a lottery" for the allocation of Confederations Cup tickets due to overwhelming demand, according to Michael Place of XINHUA. The first phase of ticket sales for the June 15-30 tournament in Brazil closed on Tuesday with 399,525 ticket requests from 78 different countries. The city with most tickets requested was Salvador with 93,567, followed by Rio de Janeiro (88,420), Brasilia (68,912), Fortaleza (68,352) Recife (51,518) and Belo Horizonte (28,756). The "most sought-after match" has been the Confederations Cup opener in Brasilia between Brazil and Japan with 68,912 ticket requests, followed by Italy vs. Brazil (68,114) in Salvador and the final at Rio's Maracanã Stadium (51,388) (XINHUA, 1/16).
Eight-time Chinese Super League champion Dalian Shide has to register for next season in order to keep its name in the league "despite financial problems following a failed acquisition," according to Gong Bing of XINHUA. Shide, "once the most accomplished club" in China's top football league, had not been able to find enough financial support and asked for an acquisition by city rivals Dalian Aerbin late last year. But the acquisition application was negated by the Chinese FA for breaching relative regulations that state that a CSL club "is not allowed to hold another team in the same league." Following the failed acquisition, Shide was "forced to apply for registration for next season," which it may not be able to finish "due to a lack of funds" (XINHUA, 1/16).
FA Chair David Bernstein said the organization will remain at the heart of the game in years to come despite "occasional frustrations" such as World Cup bid failures, according to the PA. Bernstein, speaking at the launch of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations at London's Connaught Rooms, "also stressed the body's commitment to equality after a year of controversy centred around the John Terry racism case." Bernstein said: "One hundred and fifty years ago a group of people met on this site, and they changed the world by producing the first laws of the game. Throughout that extraordinary journey the FA continued to sit at its heart." England Manager Roy Hodgson, at the launch alongside four previous England managers, told those at the event that '13 would be "vitally important" to give the national team the chance to compete for the World Cup in Brazil next year. Hodgson said: "The first thing we have to do is qualify for the World Cup, that's vitally important. And when we qualify we have to give a good account of ourselves in Brazil, and once you are there you have a chance of winning it, who knows?" The "star-studded launch featured the 1966 World Cup winners" Bobby Charlton, Martin Peters and George Cohen, with video messages from the FA President Prince William, England's most-capped outfield player David Beckham and the most-capped player Peter Shilton (PA, 1/16).
HONORING ROBSON: In London, George Caulkin reported the FA is to hold a National Football Day in Bobby Robson's name on Aug. 10 as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations. The governing body is "to highlight the life and work of the former England manager," who died in '09, "as well as his charitable Foundation’s ongoing fundraising in the anti-cancer field, with a series of events based around grassroots football." The Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day "will involve 150 clubs and leagues across the country" (LONDON TIMES, 1/15).
ONLY THE BEST: The London DAILY MAIL wrote the FA has "managed to attract the great and the good from world football" to the start of its 150th anniversary celebrations without "paying anyone appearance money." All the names jetting in from around the globe, including the hugely remunerated former England Managers Fabio Capello and Sven Göran Eriksson, "are only having their travelling and accommodation expenses met." Even Pele, who will be guest of honor next month at England’s friendly with Brazil at Wembley and the inaugural England awards at St. George’s Park and "is well known for his considerable commercial demands, is not receiving a fee for helping to promote the landmark year" (DAILY MAIL, 1/16).
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has confirmed the June 2 friendly against England at the Maracanã. The game will mark the re-inauguration of the stadium and the 150 anniversary of the FA (CBF). ... Brazil will also play Russia in a friendly at Stamford Bridge on March 25 (RT-SPORT, 1/16).