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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

Russian First Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov said that the 540B rubles ($18B) the regions have asked for preparation for the football World Cup in Russia in '18 "is more than the government considers reasonable," according to Vladimir Goryachev of the MOSCOW TIMES. The federal budget "will pay only for infrastructure directly related to the event"-- arenas, team bases, airports, main roads -- while financing general improvements of city infrastructure and transportation networks in host cities "will be left to regional authorities." Shuvalov said that the regions "have asked for money to make large-scale general improvements from refurbishing sewer systems to building public fountains." The Sports Ministry estimated last autumn that the overall cost of hosting the World Cup in Russia in '18 would range from 662B ($20B) to 1.4T ($43B) rubles (MOSCOW TIMES, 3/18).

The Qatar FA has "agreed upon establishing a long-term partnership for the promotion and development of football in Pakistan by providing technical and professional support" to the Pakistan Football Federation, according to PAKISTAN TODAY. The deal was made at a meeting between Qatar FA President Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Al-Thani and PFF President Faisal Saleh Hayat. A PFF spokesperson said, "Training and professional facilities to the Pakistan National Team would be made available in Qatar as and when required. QFA would also assist PFF in up grading its infrastructure and allied facilities vital to the development of football in Pakistan." The spokesperson added that a "detailed presentation on the marketing strategies adopted by PFF was also made during the meeting." The QFA agreed to further study the proposals given by the PFF Marketing Consultant Sardar Naveed Haider Khan in order to "further stimulate the game in Pakistan." The Marketing Consultant has also been invited to visit Qatar for "further in depth studies of the proposals" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 3/18).

Former League Championship Watford Owner Laurence Bassini has been "banned from any football involvement for three years" after he was found to have breached Football League regulations, according to the PA. An independent Football Disciplinary Commission has been investigating the club "over the handling of two financial transactions" in '11, which occurred during Bassini's tenure as owner and director. Watford has not received a points deduction "over the rules infringements." It has, however, been hit "with a transfer embargo, of sorts, which still allows them to buy and sell players" but only with prior authorization of football authorities (PA, 3/18).

German national football coach Joachim Löw believes that "smaller nations should play in preliminary qualifying matches for World Cups and European Championships." Löw said, "The fixture list is overcrowded so we need some sort of remedy. Personally I would like to see the introduction of a preliminary qualification round" (REUTERS, 3/18). ... Two fans "have been arrested over racially-aggravated public order offences" at the Chelsea vs. West Ham United Premier League match (REUTERS, 3/18). ... UEFA "has charged Inter Milan over the racist behaviour of their fans" during the Europa League match against Tottenham last week. Inter fans "taunted Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor and other black players with monkey chants, and the abuse was reported to UEFA by the match delegate and anti-discrimination body FARE" (PA, 3/18). ... Chechen football club Terek Grozny "could face stiff penalties from the Russian FA after officials insulted the referee following Sunday's 0-0 draw against Rubin Kazan, with the stadium announcer labelling him a 'donkey'" (REUTERS, 3/18).