CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb "is focusing on building a foundation" for football throughout the region "with emphasis on developing better coaches and referees," according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. CONCACAF "has identified and trained 12 instructors from throughout the confederation to conduct coaching clinics in the region." Webb said, "We've also allocated $1M a year for referee clinics. We want to ensure and give referees the best potential for their growth. We're doing grass-roots programs for all 41 countries within our confederation. There's no secret to development. You start at a young age, and good coaches make good players." In May, Webb, 48, accepted the responsibility of leading FIFA's new Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force. FIFA "has had several embarrassing instances of racism on the pitch and in the stands throughout the world." Webb said, "I really felt that for the players who work hours and hours to dedicate themselves on a professional level and to come to the stadium and to be discriminated in some way was profoundly sad. For many years I felt that the football family had not taken it on the way it should have. I felt it was time that FIFA stepped forward, and we stepped forward to put an end it" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/14).
Continuing unrest in Egypt has "forced the decision to bring the country's football league to a premature end," according to Hughes & Mazhar of the BBC. Al Ahly and Zamalek "have been declared champions as they were top of their respective nine-team groups; a format that was decided when the league resumed in February after a year's absence following the Port Said stadium disaster in which more than 70 people died." But after "five turbulent months of more football-related riots and bans on fans in continental club matches, the competition has now been cancelled because of the larger political problems and violence in the country." The decision was reached after a meeting of the Egyptian FA board, and after the approval of the majority of the 18 clubs in the league -- although Zamalek -- which was unbeaten, and Enppi were not in favor (BBC, 7/11).
The FA has changed its retrospective action process for the start of the new season to ensure that incidents of foul play will not go unpunished, according to George Martindale of the LONDON TIMES. The changes "will ensure that the FA now reserves the right to take action upon players when referees and officials are not in a position to 'fully assess a coming together of players.'" The FA was quick to point out that the change will not discredit or undermine the power of match-day officials. An FA statement said, "This change is not intended to usurp the authority of the match officials who are, in the vast majority of cases, best-placed to deal with incidents at the time they occur. It will only be utilized in the rare circumstances outlined above." The move is "aimed to allow steps to punish clashes such as the tackle last season" by Wigan Athletic forward Callum McManaman on Newcastle United's Massadio Haidara, which went unpunished after match referee Mark Halsey "did not have a view of the incident" (LONDON TIMES, 7/12).
Yemen's Football Federation "has pulled its national football team from participation in foreign competitions for the rest of 2013 due to financial crisis" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/12). ... Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande published a statement from club owner Evergrande Real Estate Group on its official website on Thursday that "offers rules for the club players" who are summoned to represent the Chinese national football team (GLOBAL TIMES, 7/12).