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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

FIFA President Sepp Blatter "responded to criticism" of the cost of staging the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by pledging to give at least $100M from profits back to the country, according to Rob Harris of the AP. FIFA gave South Africa $100M to invest in development projects after the 2010 World Cup, but had not previously said it would establish a similar "social fund" after the 2014 tournament to Brazil. Blatter: "We have left a legacy [in South Africa], a special fund of $100 million. This fund is controlled by the Football [Association] of [South] Africa, the government of South Africa and FIFA." He added, "I am sure an amount like that, or even higher, will be possible to have here ... the aim from FIFA is not to take profit out of the country, but to put into the country." The government is projecting that $13.3B will be spent on stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup, with an estimated $3.5B spent on the 12 venues (AP, 7/1).

ROUSSEFF APPROVAL LOW: In London, Joe Leahy reported Brazil's 3-0 victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup final Sunday was a "rare piece of good news" for President Dilma Rousseff, whose approval ratings "have fallen 27 percentage points since early June when Brazil’s nationwide political protests started." The sudden swing in the opinion polls "represents the end of a long honeymoon" for Rousseff as slowing economic growth, rising prices, perceived corruption and poor public services "have led to a once quiescent electorate becoming more restive." Rousseff and the Confederations Cup "were not the original targets of the demonstrators," but they were "quickly included after she was booed at the opening match in Brasília and protesters began decrying the cost of holding the World Cup" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/1).

NO LEGACY FOR HOSTS: INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw reported FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has accused UEFA of "opportunism and irresponsibility" after Europe's governing body denounced FIFA for "asking World Cup hosts to fork out a fortune on infrastructure to the detriment of more important social needs." Valcke: "It's irresponsible to make such declarations and to use the demonstrations in Brazil to justify a decision to organize a competition like the Euro 2020 in more than one country." A senior UEFA official, saying he was speaking for the confederation, said the mass demonstrations that have been sweeping through Brazil proved that single-nation hosting was too great a burden on the population and that it was "absurd in this day and age to ask for huge capital investment for a tournament that lasts three weeks and leaves no legacy" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/1).

Police and medics said that "a bomb planted near a yard where people were playing football" in Iraq killed 12 people on Sunday, according to Kareem Raheem of REUTERS. A "further 24 people were wounded in the blast in the town of Nahrawan, south of the capital Baghdad." In recent days, men playing in local football fixtures and watching matches "have been the targets -- after spates of attacks on Sunni and Shi'ite mosques, markets and the security forces." The reason for targeting football players "is not clear" (REUTERS, 6/30). CNN reported May was the deadliest month in Iraq "since the peak of the sectarian violence" in '06 and '07. The bloodshed "comes amid a recent uptick in violence, much of it stemming from discord between Sunni and Shiite Muslims" (CNN, 6/30).

Barcelona player Andres Iniesta stopped his childhood club, Spanish third division side -- second division B -- Albacete, from being relegated by shelling out the €240,000 ($312,000) it owed its players. Friday was the deadline to pay the amount owed to the Spanish Footballers Association's (AFE) bank account (MARCA, 6/29). ... The Ethiopian Football Federation has been sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player in the preliminary competition match for the 2014 World Cup between Botswana and Ethiopia on June 8. The match will be forfeited, and Botswana will be awarded a 3-0 victory with the EFF also receiving a fine of CHF 6,000 ($6,300) after it was found liable for breaching art. 55 par. 1 (FIFA). ... The Cameroon Football Federation "is in chaos and faces potential suspension from FIFA" following the annulling by a judicial authority of Iya Mohammed's "overwhelming re-election" as president (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/1).