FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said that "too much democracy can be a hindrance" when organizing a World Cup, according to REUTERS. Valcke said that "one of the reasons FIFA had encountered difficulties in organising the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was due to the various levels of government in the South American nation." He "expected fewer problems for Russia 2018 with President Vladimir Putin." Valcke said, "I will say something which is crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organizing a World Cup. The main fight we have (is) when we enter a country where the political structure is divided, as it is in Brazil, into three levels, the federal level, the state level and the city level. (There are) different people, different movements, different interests and it's quite difficult to organize a World Cup in such conditions" (REUTERS, 4/24).
Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers has accused the FA and PM David Cameron of "prejudicing Luis Suárez's hearing by an independent panel that wanted to 'throw him to the garbage,'" according to Andy Hunter of the London GUARDIAN. Rodgers "issued an extraordinary defence of his leading goalscorer on Thursday" following a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Liverpool "received the written reasons for the punishment after Rodgers spoke, and Suárez has until midday on Friday to decide whether to appeal." The publication of the reasons "could be delayed until after any appeal is heard." Rodgers claimed that Suárez "is being victimised by the FA." Rodgers said the FA punished "the man rather than the incident" with a disproportionate sentence compared with previous incidents (GUARDIAN, 4/25). In London, Tony Barrett reported the FA "would not comment on Rodgers’s claims," and he "will not face any censure for his words." Rodgers believes that the presence of FA officials on the panel "made it a fait accompli that the governing body’s demand for Suárez to receive more than the statutory three-game ban for violent conduct would be rewarded." Rodgers: "You’ve got an FA Council member, an FA county representative and an ex-player. So I don’t know how it is independent. But that is something that needs to be looked at and isn’t the first time it’s been said" (LONDON TIMES, 4/26).
Research institutes and universities in Brazil for years "have been isolated from a high-speed broadband network which links their counterparts in the rest of the country," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Thanks to the 2014 World Cup, "they are now connected." Brazil Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes said, "One of the things we have been able to do through telecommunications investments for the World Cup was to establish fiber optics connections to the Amazon region. So we will now have a national broadband research network, something we always wanted to do in science and technology, because of the World Cup." He added, "These are benefits [one] would not usually think about or associate with the World Cup." Fernandes said that such benefits were more important to the government than winning the World Cup. Fernandes: "The most important thing is to seize the opportunity the World Cup gives us to spur a number of strategic projects, that's more important than the image we project and it's more important than winning the World Cup" (REUTERS, 4/24).
FC Barcelona has a new kit for the '13-14 season, according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The club will revert back to its traditional vertical stripes and the shirts will feature a yellow neck. This year's kit featured the name of club sponsor Qatar Foundation in yellow, while next year's version will feature new sponsor Qatar Airways in white letters (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 4/25).
A League Championship Millwall fan who hurled "shocking and disgusting" racist abuse at Birmingham City striker Marlon King has been banned from football matches for three years and handed a £300 ($463) fine (London DAILY MAIL, 4/24). Sixteen supporters and seven police officers were injured -- two people seriously -- in a mass fight on Wednesday when fans of rival Bosnian football clubs clashed in a central Bosnian village while heading to first division matches. Police detained 62 of approximately 120 supporters of rivals Borac Banja Luka and Zeljeznicar Sarajevo who took part in a brawl in the village of Oborci, where they stopped on their way to different matches (EUROSPORT, 4/25). ... League One side Brentford has confirmed there will be an increased number of police and stewards at Griffin Park for Saturday’s sell-out promotion decider against division rival Doncaster. Almost two weeks ago hundreds of Portsmouth fans invaded the Griffin Park pitch following its 3-2 defeat and there were scuffles with stewards and police (London EVENING STANDARD, 4/25).