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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

The South African Football Players Union came out on Thursday "in support of those calling for the scrapping of the rule that says all teams in the National First Division" should have five U23 players in the starting line-up, according to Sello Rabothata of SOWETAN LIVE. SAFPU General Secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe said that the union "has been and still continues to call for serious changes within the South African Premier Soccer League, including but not limited to the scrapping of the under 23 rule." Gaoshubelwe: "In most instances this rule is used to fire senior players under the pretext they are old and therefore don't meet the requirements to play in the National First Division. We would like to reiterate our position that we are not against young players getting promoted to the professional ranks, however we cannot allow a situation where this rule is used to justify the exploitation of players by paying them salaries which are not compatible with the work they do, because they are young and not in a position to enter into sound negotiations with their bosses" (SOWETAN LIVE, 7/5). In Johannesburg, Rabothata reported Premier Soccer League Football GM Derek Blackensee answered several questions about the league.

Q: What were the reasons/motivation for introducing the U23 rule?
Derek Blackensee: The rule came out of a recommendation from a sub-committee, broadly: to assist South African football in general by having a professional breeding ground of young players; to avoid having many players "retiring" from the Premier Soccer League clubs to the National First Division; to attract sponsors based on this developmental policy being an attractive asset.

Q: Has it yielded any positive results?
Blackensee: Other than the sponsorship aim the other three have been a success in that the average age of the league is now considerably younger.

Q: As far as the initial reason/motivation is concerned -- is it a success or failure in the eyes of the league?
Blackensee: It probably requires more time to fully achieve the proposed benefits.The league hasn't carried out a formal review of the system so I wouldn't want to express what would be purely personal opinions (SOWETAN LIVE, 7/4).

Argentine FA President Julio Grondona on Thursday said that "FIFA wants to celebrate its 100 year anniversary of the World Cup in Argentina and Uruguay" (CLARIN, 7/4). ... Argentine First Division side Racing Avellaneda has been sanctioned with two games away from its home stadium, without fans, for violence during a game against Independiente. The punishment was determined by the league's APREVIDE (Agency for the prevention of violence in sport) (CLARIN, 7/5). ... The nine-month ban imposed on Paris St. Germain's Brazilian sporting director Leonardo for barging into a referee last season "has been extended by five months and will now run until June 30, 2014, ruling him out of next season entirely, following a French Football Federation appeals hearing" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/5). ... The Court of Arbitration for Sport "has ordered the Togo Football Federation to pay former national team coach Jean Thissen 200M Central African francs ($400,000) for 'abusive termination of contract'" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/5). ... FIFA "has suspended Cameroon temporarily citing government interference in the running of the country's football." FIFA in a release Thursday said that "the suspension which prohibits the country from taking part in regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches, takes effect immediately" (AFRICA REVIEW, 7/5). ... FIFA has "re-imposed its ban on Iraq hosting international friendlies following a surge in violence, including bombings aimed directly at players and fans." FIFA notified the Iraqi FA, "citing over 2,500 deaths in violence from April through June and at least 123 people killed in the first three days of July" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/4).