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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

ManU Manger Alex Ferguson believes that "the demands of live television have made the English domestic fixture list so daunting for teams involved in Europe that their chances of success are being jeopardised," according to Louise Taylor of the London GUARDIAN. Ferguson said, "We're not giving our teams a chance to be successful in Europe." ManU played at home against Everton in a Premier League game at 4pm on Sunday, and then the team will "travel to Spain for a Champions League match at Real Madrid on Wednesday." Ferguson added: "There's no fairness at all. It's ridiculous to think that we play on the Sunday and Real Madrid play on the Saturday with that extra day's rest. Other countries in Europe make sacrifices for their top teams in Europe." Ferguson claims that "the physical demands of facing Everton and Real in such close proximity dictate that he will have to indulge in radical squad rotation." Ferguson said, "What can you do? Not turn up? I've complained about it. Do you think they listened?" (GUARDIAN, 2/8).

A trade unionist warned that scores of migrant laborers facing "slavery" conditions "will likely die" to build Qatar’s stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, according to the AFP. Int'l Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow said, "More labourers will die during construction than the footballers who will step on the pitch. Qatar is a 21st-century slave state." Burrow, a former president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said that construction workers faced temperatures up to 50C (122F) outdoors during the summer months. Burrow: "They work at risk of heart attacks and dehydration ... many die at night from heat strokes" (AFP, 2/10).

Despite "country-wide outcry over the racism" at Beitar Jerusalem football games, "most fans defiantly shouted for the new Muslim players to go home as they streamed into Sunday night’s game at Teddy Stadium against the Bnei Sakhnin team," according to Melanie Lidman of the JERUSALEM POST. Over the past two weeks, more than 20 fans "have been arrested for attacking" Beitar Jerusalem’s guards, "throwing rocks at player’s cars, and in the most extreme example, torching the offices" at the Beitar Jerusalem practice fields in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem. Some fans "are furious" that Beitar "signed two Muslim players, Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev, from the Chechen team Terek Grozny." Other fans "cautioned that these extreme views were not representative of all" Beitar fans. Reut Moshe, a fan from Kiryat Gat said, "This is really a shame, it’s taking away from the good name of Beitar." Police "escorted some of the more rambunctious fans out of the stadium even before the game started." In a show of support for the Chechnyan players and Beitar management, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, and Chechnya Mayor Ramzan Kadyrov "all attended the game" (JERUSALEM POST, 2/10). In London, Sheera Frenkel wrote, Russian club Owner Arcadi Gaydamak has "refused to back down to pressure from supporters and instead ordered extra security" at games and two full-time bodyguards for the two players. At Sunday night's game against Arab-Israeli team Bnei Sakhnin, 400 police officers and 200 private security guards were on hand (LONDON TIMES, 2/11).

HEADQUARTERS TORCHED: RUSSIA TODAY reported the headquarters of Beitar Jerusalem were "torched on Friday by a group of racist fans." The arson attack "occurred hours after prosecutors filed charges against four Beitar supporters accused of racist chants during their team’s league match" on Jan. 27. The Israeli media reported "serious damage to Beitar’s museum, which holds trophies, championship plates and historic team uniforms" (RT, 2/8).

The Football Supporters Federation said that "Premier League clubs could cut the cost of every ticket" by £32 ($50) with the upcoming increase in TV money, according to Simon Austin of the BBC. Domestic TV revenue will increase by £1.266B ($2B) for the next cycle, from '13-14 to '15-16. FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke said, "This figure shows what could potentially be done with this money. Yet we've just had new cost control measures, but no mention at all about how to tackle high ticket prices." Clarke said clubs "are highly unlikely to use the increased television money to fund decreases in ticket prices." In fact there are concerns that new Premier League cost controls -- introduced to stop the TV money being used to fund player wages -- "could lead to higher ticket prices." Former Liverpool CEO Rick Parry said: "With any form of cost constraint, one of the possible consequences is a rise in ticket prices." Liverpool University's Business School Professor Tom Cannon said: "These measures will put a lot more pressure on ticket prices" (BBC, 2/8).