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Volume 10 No. 23

International Football

Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari "has called for protesters to remain calm after demonstrations rocked the country during the Confederations Cup," according to Ben Smith of the BBC. Speaking before Brazil's match against Mexico on Wednesday, Scolari "likened the problems to the 2011 riots in London, a year before the Olympics." Scolari: "It is normal in a democracy to accept demonstrations and for them to be seen and heard by the government. My wish is that they stay peaceful and democratic." Tens of thousands of people "have protested across Brazil about the high cost of the tournament and next year's World Cup, in a country still lacking in public services" (BBC, 6/18). In London, John Aglionby reported Brazil "is to deploy federal police special forces in five major states to reinforce security" for the Confederations Cup. The justice ministry said that the National Public Security Force "would be sent to the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Ceara and the capital, Brasília." All are currently hosting Confederations Cup matches. Recife was "the only city hosting matches not to request support." At least a dozen cities across Brazil "have witnessed protests in the last week" (FT, 6/19).

CYBER ATTACK: In London, Adam Whitnall reported the 2014 World Cup has become "a major target for protesters, with a cyber attack bringing down the government's official website for the event." The Brazil branch of computer hackers group Anonymous "posted a series of links on Twitter to other government sites whose content had been replaced by calls to citizens to come out to the streets." In an attempt to quell the unrest, at least four cities "have agreed to reverse the bus fare price increase that sparked the first demonstrations last week" (INDEPENDENT, 6/19).

MORE ON PROTESTS: Recently in Brazil, "big protests have developed out of nowhere, driven by economic injustice mostly, the biggest of them" Monday night and again last night, according to NBC's Brian Williams. NBC's Mark Potter said "an estimated quarter million Brazilians took to the streets in more than a dozen cities. Most were peaceful, though there was violence." Potter noted, "Many in the crowds complained about rampant corruption, crime, low wages and a lack of social services … as Brazil spends billions to build stadiums for next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics." Univ. of Miami School of Law Dir Jessica Carvalho Morris said, "When you have a population of 13 million people who are going to bed hungry every night, it's hard to justify building so many stadiums with public funds." Potter noted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff posted a statement on Youtube that stated the protestors have "valid complaints and needed to be heard." But Potter said that with Brazil "about to move on to the world stage with international sporting events, not to mention hosting the Pope next month, many wonder if it will be ready" as "more protests are expected" ("Nightly News," NBC, 6/18).

The Russian government will pay 664.1B rubles ($20.9B) on stadium construction and infrastructure improvements for  the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The infrastructure program consists of some 292 facilities and events essential for holding the 2018 tournament. This includes 12 stadiums, 113 training sites, 62 hotels, 11 airports, communal and transport infrastructure necessary for FIFA World Cup, and electricity, IT and communications infrastructure. Development of the program has been undertaken by the Russian Ministry of Sport. The overall cost of the preparation program for Russia 2018 will total 664.1B rubles ($20.9B). Just more than half of this sum -- 336.2B rubles ($10.4B) (50.6%) -- will be provided through funding from the federal budget. Eighty-six point two billion rubles ($2.6B) have already been factored into the federal budget and current federal programs and a further 250B rubles ($7.7B) will be added to federal programs and the federal budget (FIFA).

La Liga side Athletic Bilbao will sell pieces of the grass removed from the San Mamés field to the public. The club is currently demolishing the stadium, and once that process is complete, Athletic Bilbao will sell "a limited number" of pieces of the stadium grass in the team's official stores and via the club's website. The price will range from €35-€40 ($47-$54) (EFE, 6/19). ... ManU will face the Swedish outfit AIK "at the Friends Arena in the final game" of its preseason tour (GOAL, 6/18). ... Highlighting Indian footballers' "grievances over non-payment of salaries as per terms laid down in their contracts," former captain Bhaichung Bhutia "recently presented a report at the FIFPro Asia Conference in Melbourne" (PTI, 6/19). ... Cambodian football "was given another kick in the right direction" Tuesday as AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa "pledged support from the regional and global governing bodies to help continue the development of the sport in the Kingdom" (PHNOM PENH POST, 6/19).

OPEN PRACTICE: Newly hired Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola's first two practices on June 26 and 27 with his new team will be open to the public. Bayern Munich will charge fans wishing to attend €5 ($6.70) for admission, with the club hoping to fill its Allianz Arena capacity of 71,000. Proceeds will go toward repairing recent flood damages done in the state of Bavaria (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/19).

WORLD CUP BOOST: The South African national football team "could get a further boost" in its "seemingly doomed bid to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year with Ethiopia potentially set to lose the points from their win over Bafana Bafana." FIFA "is already investigating the eligibility of midfielder Minyahile Beyene for the 2-1 victory in Botswana on June 8." The player "should have been suspended for the fixture, having picked up two yellow cards in the qualification campaign." With plenty of precedence in this regard, it "would seem highly likely that Ethiopia's error in fielding him will cost them the points from the match against The Zebras" (SOWETAN LIVE, 6/19).