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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

ManU Manager Alex Ferguson, who spent three years playing for Scottish First Division team Dunfermline AFC in the '60s, has offered to send a full ManU team to play his old club "who face a winding up order from the taxman because of unpaid debts," according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. Ferguson learned of the club's "desperate plight last month after a visit from his former Pars teammate Roy Barry." The match with ManU is planned to take place at Dunfermline's East End Park ground in the summer, "presuming Dunfermline ride out their immediate financial problems." Barry told a "Save Our Club" public meeting on Monday night: "I went down a few weeks ago to see Man United and Everton play, and I finished up getting quite drunk with Sir Alex, as normally happens when we meet. Sir Alex said: 'I tell you what I will do, I will send a strong team up there and that will raise you a few quid.' I just looked at him and I couldn't believe him for a minute" (REUTERS, 3/12).

The world’s leading football clubs "are to be offered enormous financial inducements to participate in a 24-team tournament every two years in Qatar and neighbouring Gulf states," according to Oliver Kay of the LONDON TIMES. The "Dream Football League" will be backed by the Qatari royal family, who will release plans next month for a new club tournament "that it hopes to establish as a rival to the Champions League and the Club World Cup." The move is the latest attempt in Qatar's bid to become "a dominant player in world football," and it presents "a clear threat" to FIFA and UEFA. It is unclear if any Premier League clubs would sign on, but DFL "is prepared to offer elite clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester United an astonishing €200M ($260M) per two-year cycle"  to gain support. The goal is for four of England's top clubs to be among 16 “permanent” DFL members, with a further eight global clubs competing on an invitational basis.The project "is being driven from Doha and Paris after the recent takeover of Paris Saint-Germain by Qatar Sports Investment (QSI)." The sums under discussion would "dwarf those in the Champions League"(LONDON TIMES, 3/13).

The Scottish FA "plans to invest in training officials rather than expensive goal-line technology in a bid to minimise the type of error" that denied Hibernian a second derby victory over Hearts earlier this season, according to Gavin McCafferty of the SCOTSMAN. FIFA has had tenders from four companies to install systems for the Confederations Cup and World Cup in Brazil, while the FA and Premier League "are in talks over putting the technology into English top-flight clubs and Wembley." However, with the systems set to cost at least £100,000 ($150,000) for each stadium and FIFA still opposed to using TV evidence, Scottish football is "unlikely to follow suit." SFA head of referee operations John Fleming said the organization is in favor of goal-line technology. Fleming, “Firstly, as an association we are in favour of goal-line technology. However, as the general secretary of FIFA himself, Jerome Valcke, outlined in Edinburgh last week, the installation of each system will cost a six-figure sum on top of any maintenance costs. That would make it prohibitive, I would suggest, for the respective league bodies in Scotland, the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League, to consider rolling out any time soon (SCOTSMAN, 3/12). Fleming added, "In the meantime, we will continue to reinforce the training we give to referees (DAILY RECORD, 3/12).

Barcelona President Sandro Rosell has been accused by Brazilian prosecutors of "illegally benefiting from a contract without a bidding process and using a false document to organize a friendly" of the men's national football team, according to Filipe Coutinho of FOLHA DE S. PAULO. Rosell is the owner of Ailanto Marketing, which was hired to organize the '08 friendly between Brazil and Portugal in Brasilia. The company was hired without a proper bidding process and received R$9M ($4.6M) from the government. Rosell's company is also accused of providing a false document in order to receive the contract for the match. If charged and found guilty, he "could face up to eight years in prison" (FOLHA DE S. PAULO, 3/12).