Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Ligue 1 club Paris St. Germain’s Qatari owners "are confident that they can prise" Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger from the last year of his contract to become their new manager when current Manager Carlo Ancelotti leaves at the end of the season, according to Paul Hayward of the London TELEGRAPH. PSG’s most senior figures "have been telling members of their circle" that Wenger has been persuaded to leave after 17 years in charge of Arsenal. Their "least optimistic scenario" is that Wenger will move to Paris in the summer of '14 when his current deal at Arsenal expires. However, PSG’s owners "have sounded adamant in recent days that they can tempt him to cross the channel 12 months early." The club's proprietors "have told friends that Wenger is on his way to Paris." Le Parisien reported that Wenger "will meet PSG owners next week," with Ancelotti likely to replace Real Madrid Manager José Mourinho. Friction between Ancelotti and PSG Sporting Dir Leonardo "is believed to have encouraged the former Chelsea manager to seize his opportunity in Madrid." Arsenal will "hope any flirtation with PSG is a bargaining device by Wenger to increase his transfer budget this summer." Asked about the rumors in his native France, Wenger said, "At the end of my contract I’ll see what I can do. I’ve always respected my contracts. I can’t see at my age why that should change" (TELEGRAPH, 4/30).

Brazil's sports minister Aldo Rebelo "has reiterated his desire to overhaul the country's football calendar in a bid to revitalize its foundering domestic competitions," according to XINHUA. Rebelo "has set the government on a collision course with the Brazilian Football Confederation" and highlighted "how political maneuvering can shape sport in South America's biggest country." Rebelo said that "it was time Brazil acted to stop the vacuum of home grown talent to European clubs." Rebelo: "We are a country that has participated in every World Cup and that has won the tournament five times, more than any other team. But we have only two percent of football's financial wealth while England has more than 30 percent and Germany 23 percent." The government last week "announced the formation of a football task force charged with addressing the dire financial plight of local clubs." The initiative, "which includes a proposal to cap player salaries," could see the government waive taxes of up to $1B currently owed by clubs to Brazil's treasury. There are also increasing calls for the reduction -- or even abolition -- of Brazil's state championships, "which last almost five months despite drawing dismal crowds and television ratings" (XINHUA, 4/30).

Officials from the 12 Scottish Premier League clubs met Monday in a bid "to implement an isolated piece of the reconstruction package," but only "agreed only to meet again next week," according to Alan Pattullo of the SCOTSMAN. It came two weeks after several owners declared that "there was no appetite for sitting around a table again." Under discussion "was the issue of playoffs," and while SPL CEO Neil Doncaster "remains hopeful some consensus can be achieved next Tuesday, he admits that the cost-versus-benefit equation could be an obstacle to change, with clubs reluctant to commit to such a change without wealth re-distribution helping to soften the landing." This "had been another strand of the reconstruction package rejected just over a fortnight ago." Doncaster said, "What you are effectively asking clubs to do is take on board additional financial risk of relegation but without all of the financial reward they would have had through reconstruction, so I think it is more difficult" (SCOTSMAN, 4/30).