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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

A three-way showdown "is looming between Football Federation Australia, Sydney FC and Alessandro Del Piero over the star forward's availability" for the match between the A-League All Stars and ManU at ANZ Stadium on July 20, according Sebastian Hassett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The 38-year-old Italian "is being widely promoted as the star attraction for the A-League side, but it appears he is unlikely to play against the world's biggest club." Instead, Del Piero -- and the entire Sydney FC squad -- "are expected to be preparing for a friendly match in Japan." Del Piero's staff has "put the final touches on a match for Sydney FC against J-League side Sagan Tosu on July 24." Del Piero's profile in Japan is "enormous," where the Serie A "remains extremely popular." But having heavily used Del Piero’s image in promotional material for the All Stars match, the FFA "will be fuming if he fails to show up for the sold-out event." On Tuesday, Del Piero "attracted the most votes of any forward in an online fan poll to help determine the make-up of the side." FFA CEO David Gallop has not "given up hope of Del Piero showing up." Gallop said, "The question of availability is something we are working through at the moment. We certainly haven’t ruled out any players at this stage" (SMH, 5/8).

Scottish Premier League's 12 clubs have unanimously agreed on a package of measures that would deliver a merged league body in time for next season. The package includes a merged 42-club league and top-flight playoffs. The 12-10-10-10 divisional structure includes a pyramid for the entire game. A formal proposal will be brought back to SPL clubs in a month for voting (SPL). In Glasgow, Gregor Kyle reported with no announcement on sponsorship and TV contracts, the hurried plan could "still hit the buffers." The SPL said in a statement it was "looking forward to working with the Scottish FA and Scottish Football League to deliver vibrant change for the game as a whole" (DAILY RECORD, 5/7).

BACK FROM THE DEAD: In Glasgow, Graeme Macpherson reported "the prospect of one governing body being created in time for next season is alive again," just a week after SPL CEO Neil Doncaster "emerged from another day of fraught and fractious debate to state that the matter was finally dead for good." Perhaps, given their uncertainty on whether things are still alive or not, "we should be grateful they don't operate a sideline as undertakers" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 5/7). The BBC reported the single governing organization "would oversee the 12-10-10-10 divisional structure that is presently in place." However, there "would be greater financial redistribution to the second tier" (BBC, 5/7).

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Giancarlo Abete has insisted that "the number of teams in Serie A will not change." Abete "was looking to reduce the number of sides in the top flight down to 18," but the administrator has Tuesday confirmed that "those plans have been scrapped" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 5/7). ... South Africa "will complain to the Confederation of African Football over the treatment of Orlando Pirates club on a 'terrifying' trip to Congo to play four-time African champion TP Mazembe." Players and officials "described Sunday's African Champions League game as 'hell' after two traveling reporters were arrested and another had equipment confiscated, and the team was allegedly intimidated throughout the trip" (AP, 5/7). ... The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general assembly accepted the Iran Football Federation's request "to lift a ban on development projects for Iranian football teams (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/7). ... La Liga club Real Betis is "quickly taking the lead in terms of fan interaction through social media." Following the "successful use of hashtags that let their fans vote on which color kits the team was to face Real Madrid in," it now has two more promotions. The first promotion "offers all of the club's social media followers a maximum of two tickets" for as low as €10 ($13). The second promotion "is all about the kids." This promotion, exclusively for season ticket holders, offers children between the ages of 5-14 tickets for €3 ($3.90) using hashtags (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 5/7).