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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

FIFA President Sepp Blatter plans to ask the governing body's exec committee to consider moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter "in order to avoid the searing summer heat," according to the AP. Blatter said, "If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can't play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country." Moving the tournament to the winter would have a major impact on the schedule of European football leagues, "which would have to change things for at least one season." Blatter: "There is still enough time. I will bring this up to the executive committee." Air-conditioned stadiums to beat the heat were a defining theme of Qatar's bid, "but the cooling technology only resolves the problem in venues for players, fans and officials." Blatter: "We have to protect our partners, our commercial partners, our TV partners. We have to be tough on this." Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al-Thawadi said that Qatar bid for a tournament in the summer, "but left the option open of a possible switch to another time of the year" (AP, 7/17).

Portuguese Association of Professional Footballers President Joaquim Evangelista said that delays in wage payments by cash-strapped football clubs in Portugal "have forced dozens of players to ask their union for money for rent and food," according to Daniel Alvarenga of REUTERS. Evangelista warned that "the depth of the country's national sport is under threat due to poor management at smaller teams." Evangelista said, "The vast majority of professional clubs in Portugal had salary delays last season, with six-month delays in the most extreme cases." Evangelista, also a board member of world players' union FIFPro, blamed "blind ambition and poor management." Evangelista: "Most Portuguese clubs live far beyond their means and don't make an effort to adjust." Portuguese clubs such as Olhanense, Naval, Vitoria de Setubal and Vitoria de Guimaraes "were some of those hit by financial troubles." Evangelista said that by the end of '12, his union had distributed over €350,000 "in support to hard-up players." Evangelista: "Is this the professional football that UEFA promotes and that the Portuguese League wants? Enough is enough" (REUTERS, 7/17).

Brazil's controversial World Cup law "has again fallen into the spotlight with the country's federal prosecutor challenging the legality of the legislation." The law, which critics say gives FIFA too much power, "was delayed several times by various objections before being signed off by Brazil President Dilma Rousseff with a number of amendments, one of which relaxed the rules on the sale of alcohol in and around stadiums" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/17). ... Chelsea FC Foundation and U.S.-based FC Harlem announced a partnership to develop community initiatives for young people in N.Y. The partnership is an extension of Chelsea's "Here To Play, Here To Stay" initiative, and will build education and football platforms for children worldwide (Chelsea). ... Nigeria Sports Minister Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has called for clubs "unable or unwilling to pay the backlog in players' salaries to be barred from competing in the coming season." Players of FCT Queens, a club owned by the Abuja administration, had not been paid for more than 18 months and have been forced into "begging and, in some cases, prostitution, to get money for food." A visibly angry Abdullahi said at the meeting, "This has to stop. We cannot behave as if we live in a jungle" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/17).