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Volume 6 No. 197

International Football

Chelsea’s negotiations to secure the return of coach José Mourinho "have reached an impasse over their refusal to pay the buyout clause in their former manager’s contract at Real Madrid," according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. There "are also concerns at Stamford Bridge over the potential composition of Mourinho’s backroom staff." Mourinho’s advisers are demanding that Chelsea "pay compensation to Real in order to secure his departure from the Bernabéu and a rapid reunion," but Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich "is refusing to sanction any such deal." The official buyout clause in the three-year contract extension Mourinho signed at Real last summer is believed to be €20M ($26M), although that "applies only in the event of him leaving during the season." There are "no fixed terms dictating the nature of any post-season departure, which will be left to negotiation, and Mourinho’s representatives have been told by Chelsea that they must sort out the manner of his exit." Mourinho "is still regarded internally as Abramovich’s favoured candidate" to succeed Chelsea interim Manager Rafael Benítez. There are further issues to be resolved before a deal can be completed, such as "the degree of control Mourinho would be granted over transfers and contracts, his wage demands, and requests to sign certain players, all of which will require skilful negotiation, given his history at the club" (LONDON TIMES, 5/8).

South Africa's Premier Soccer League has stopped one of its clubs from playing a prestige friendly against Liverpool this month because "it would take publicity away from the country's cup final," according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. Ajax Cape Town has "been refused permission by the league to play a friendly against the English club in Cape Town on May 21 in a move that was immediately criticised." PSL GM Derek Blankensee said, "We don't allow international friendlies while the season is still on because it competes with our own events and our own sponsors." South Africa's cup final is "sponsored by the banking group Nedbank." The last round of league matches "is on May 18." Blankensee: "This is the biggest game of the season for our sponsor, and we want them to get the exposure they deserve." Cape Town's municipal authorities, which were bankrolling the game, "criticised the decision." Cape Town City Councillor Grant Pascoe said, "I think it's short-sighted because we are trying to build brand South Africa, and getting one of the greatest football teams in the world to play in this country is a massive achievement for us" (REUTERS, 5/8).

Real Madrid footballer Michael Essien "has invited the whole Real Madrid team" and its coach José Mourinho to a charity game June 8 in Accra, Ghana, Essien's home country. Essien is behind the Game of Hope and Inspiration, "in which African players will play against the rest of the world." So far, Real's Luka Modric and Ricardo Carvalho have confirmed their participation. Essien "has also invited his friends at Chelsea, the club which he will be going back to after being loaned out" (MARCA, 5/8). ... A friendly between AC Milan and recently crowned Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam in Beijing "was canceled after the organizers failed to pay an appearance fee on time." The report emerged after the Serie A club announced on its Twitter account on Friday that the game, scheduled for the Chinese capital on May 25, had been canceled for "organizational reasons" (AFP, 5/7). ... Just a month before Kenya plays Nigeria in a World Cup qualifier match in Nairobi, Football Kenya Federation "has raised a red flag" saying its coffers are empty. FKF has put the government and well wishers on notice that unless they get a $2.5M windfall, "then the chances of Harambee Stars honoring their fixtures against Super Eagles, Malawi Flames and Namibia between June 5 to Sept. 6 is nil" (XINHUA, 5/8). ... FIFA has announced that it will not take disciplinary action against the FA "for alleged racist chants from England fans directed at the Ferdinand brothers during the match against San Marino in March." However, the FA has been warned to take "preventative measures" (EUROSPORT, 5/8). ... The likelihood of India hosting the 2017 U17 World Cup "received a boost" as the All India Football Federation's bid received the support of the Indian PM's Office as well as of FIFA's VP Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/8).