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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Germany's Bundesliga "has warned that any attempt to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter could lead to legal challenges by European leagues," according to the BBC. UEFA President Michel Platini said that the World Cup could be moved, "but European leagues might be disrupted for up to three seasons if that happens." Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert said, "I am not sure legally you can say 'we'll just play in winter.'" Seifert said it is "impossible" to play in Qatar in the heat of the summer, adding that the decision to hold the tournament in the Middle East country is "not for the good of the game" (BBC, 5/22). The AP's Rob Harris wrote Seifert, speaking in London ahead of the all-German Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, said that "staging the tournament in the tiny desert nation's summer heat could endanger the health of players and fans." If the tournament was moved to the Gulf winter, it would likely be played in Jan. and Feb. '22 -- "splitting the Bundesliga season and impacting the start and finish dates of leagues across Europe." Seifert said, "From other leagues I do have the feeling they are also very upset with the situation." Seifert said that moving the dates to winter "could also spark calls for a re-vote." Seifert: "I am absolutely sure if countries like England see a chance of a re-vote they will force a re-vote" (AP, 5/22).

The Football League "is facing mounting pressure to back trials for safe standing after an overwhelming majority of Championship clubs went against the League's stance" and voted in favor of permitting trials at a meeting earlier this season, according to Robin Scott-Elliot of the London INDEPENDENT. Standing is banned in the top two divisions in England, "but a significant number of clubs in the Championship and a growing number in the Premier League support allowing a return to limited terracing if trials are successful." The Premier League and the Football League remain steadfastly opposed, "but the Football League's position is being potentially undermined by its own members." A motion supporting safe-standing trials could be included on the agenda at next month's meeting of all 72 Football League club chairmen and, if it is, "its supporters are increasingly confident it will be passed." In that case, "member clubs would expect the League to lobby for the necessary change in the law." At a meeting of Championship clubs in Leicester in February, 21 of the 22 CEOs present voted in favor of a motion proposing the Football League "encourage and support the instigation of a rail seat/safe-standing trial period at any League club" (INDEPENDENT, 5/21).

The Competition Committee decided to sanction Real Madrid coach José Mourinho with a two-game suspension, while suspending Cristiano Ronaldo for one game for their actions in last week's Copa del Rey final against Atlético Madrid. Ronaldo was punished for a collision with Atlético's Gabi. Mourinho was suspended for leaving the bench to challenge an official's call. Ronaldo and Mourinho will be able to participate in the last two games of their La Liga season, as they can serve the suspensions in Copa del Rey competitions (EL MUNDO, 5/22). ... UEFA Wednesday confirmed that La Liga Malaga "will not face the possibility of a second season banned from European competition" (FOOTBALL ESPAÑA, 5/22). ... The Indonesian FA (PSSI) President Djohar Arifin Husin said that the organization "is begging fans to behave during international matches after it was slapped with thousands in fines for crowds' rowdy conduct" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 5/22). ... Claims of match-fixing in a Malaysian league will be investigated by the country's FA and sports minister on Thursday, "with the police urged to protect players from bookmakers." The second tier Malaysian Premier League match between Kuala Lumpur and Slime Darby "was under suspicion" (REUTERS, 5/22). ... La Liga Espanyol obtained its UEFA license Tuesday, meaning that for one more year, the club has permission to play in Europe as long as it qualifies. This is contingent on the club meeting "all its financial, economic and facilities requirements" (EP, 5/21).