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Volume 6 No. 215

International Football

After a pregame fight between fans of Argentine first division side Boca Juniors resulted in two deaths and forced the cancelation of Boca Juniors game against San Lorenzo on Sunday, it "was reported that the game would be rescheduled for Wednesday," according to CLARIN. But both clubs' security departments have since "confirmed that the game will not be played on Wednesday." The game's makeup date has not been determined (CLARIN, 7/22). In Barcelona, Aquiles Furlone reported Argentina Security Secretary Sergio Berni announced that for the season starting Aug. 2, fans of visiting clubs will not be allowed to attend games. This measure "was instituted in June after a fan died during a game between Estudiantes and Lanús" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/23). The AP reported Argentina President Cristina Fernández indicated that Boca Juniors' leaders are responsible for what happened, and added that "Boca's leadership is a hostage of the violent hooligans and the government should be in charge of ending this scourge." Fernández: "Those that have to make decisions in this regard are also the leaders of the clubs. It is not fair. ... Justice also has to take action in this matter" (AP, 7/22).

The EPL's opposition to a winter World Cup in Qatar "is looking increasingly isolated after the head of the European Club Association, which represents over 200 clubs across the Continent, re-iterated his organisation's support for switching the 2022 tournament from the searing heat of the summer," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. ECA Chair and Bayern Munich Exec Board Chair Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that "staging the tournament in June and July is a non-starter" -- and has the backing of the German Football League. The ECA holds its general assembly in Geneva in September, when elections for a number of board members take place. Although '22 is not officially on the agenda, the Premier League's ECA representative, Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, "will need all his diplomatic skills to persuade his colleagues among the ECA top brass that retaining a summer World Cup in 2022 is the best option" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/23).

With less than a year to go until the Brazil World Cup kicks off and just three years until Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympics, the country "is already starting to feel the world's attention," according to Senior Dir Global Communications & Expedia Inc. Alison Couper writing for the HUFFINGTON POST. The ongoing preparations for both sporting events "have sparked some debate over whether the country will be ready in time." However, with this year's Confederations Cup showing that Brazil "has the necessary infrastructure and stadiums to host a major tournament" -- albeit on a smaller scale to the World Cup -- some fears "have been allayed." It does not "appear to have dampened the U.K.'s enthusiasm." Last year, there "was a four per cent increase in British travellers visiting the country on 2011 figures." With interest in Brazilian hotels still growing, "further rises could be seen this year." In the first few months of '13, "has seen searches for hotels in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro rise by more than 30 per cent." All of the cities that are hosting World Cup matches "have enjoyed double or triple digit rises in searches at this year." Top of the list is Salvador, where searches have soared by 126%, while Fortaleza and Curitiba have enjoyed strong rises of 108 and 82%, respectively. While increased supply added by building new hotels "should help to keep prices steady, there are fears that delays to some work could mean that hotel rooms will be scarce when the country is besieged by sporting fans next year, which could force prices up." This is a particular concern in Rio de Janiero. Although the city is working toward a target of 50,000 rooms by '16, this is "less than half the number of hotel room that were available in London during the 2012 Olympic Games" (HUFFINGTON POST, 7/22).

UEFA will launch a U19 Champions League tournament this season in "what would seem to be a major threat" to youth football tournament NextGen Series, according to Omar Al Raisi of THE NATIONAL. However, NextGen Series Co-Founder Justin Andrews "does not seem to be fazed by the challenge." The tournament takes the U19 teams from 24 clubs around Europe and pits them in a Champions League-style tournament -- complete with travel, group stage and knockout rounds -- "with the aim of replicating the competitive environment of Europe's top club competition." That is why UEFA's tournament "will operate in much the same way." Andrews: "I don't think the UEFA Under 19 Champions League will affect the NextGen Series. Simply because, as per the rules of the U19 Champions League, [only] the clubs who qualify for the main Champions League can take part in the competition. But in the NextGen Series, we have teams who don't have the chance to get into the Champions League, like Aston Villa." The NextGen Series has struck TV deals with the likes of Eurosport, ESPN and Fox Sports and "there are plans to expand the tournament around Asia, Latin America and Australasia" (THE NATIONAL, 7/22).

Players and officials of clubs involved in two Nigerian promotion playoff games that ended 79-0 and 67-0 "have been banned for life" (BBC, 7/22). ... FIFA "has warned Uganda of a possible suspension if government interferes with the governance of football in the East African country." FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke was responding to a letter sent last week by Uganda's Minister of Education & Sports Jessica Alupo "indicating that they needed audience with FIFA regards to the illegality of the FUFA" (XINHUA, 7/22).