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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

FIFA Exec Committee member Theo Zwanziger said that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a "blatant mistake," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Zwanziger added that "staging the tournament in winter would be just as big a problem." Zwanziger's comments come after FIFA President Sepp Blatter "repeated his view that the finals could not be played in the traditional summer slot." Zwanziger, formerly head of the German football federation, said, "It was a blatant mistake." Zwanziger also said that "shifting the tournament to the winter months would put the unity of German football in danger." Zwanziger: "Changing the World Cup to the winter is going deep into the structures of European national federations and also amateur football in Germany." Moving the World Cup to the winter "would have a seismic effect" on football scheduling in Europe. Many leagues outside Britain "have a winter break but would need a hiatus of at least six weeks to accommodate national teams preparing for, and playing at, the World Cup finals." Zwanziger said, "A winter World Cup would mean public viewing with ice skating boots in freezing temperatures" (REUTERS, 7/24).

The Scottish Professional Football League has "revealed the names of the divisions within the new organization," according to David Gunn of the SCOTSMAN. The divisions will be called the Scottish Premiership, the Scottish Championship, Scottish League 1 and Scottish League 2. The new merged setup "was created last month following a coming together of the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League." The merged league body governs the four senior divisions, as well as the League Cup and the Ramsdens Cup (SCOTSMAN, 7/24). In Glasgow, Gregor Kyle reported the SPFL "have unveiled their new logo and branding." SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster said, "The new branding sets a new identity for the future of Scottish professional league football" (DAILY RECORD, 7/24).

Owners of India's leading football clubs "are expected to meet national football administrators next week to discuss a new franchise-based competition that could overshadow the existing I-League," according to the AP. The All India Football Federation, which runs the I-League, "is considering plans for a franchised version that would be played in parallel with the current league." Next week's meeting with clubs "is an opportunity to set out how this would be done." Pune FC Owner Nandan Piramal said, "We'd like to know how such a league will benefit Indian football and the I-League clubs." Piramal said that any new competition or format "would require negotiations between club owners, the AIFF and sponsors IMG-Reliance," which signed a $140M deal in '10 for the game's national marketing rights. Plans for a similar franchise-based league that was to feature the likes of former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo and Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro "failed to materialise earlier this year" (AP, 7/24).

The Italian football federation "has launched an investigation" after Serie A side AC Milan defender Kevin Constant "walked off the pitch in protest at crowd racism during a pre-season match" (ESPN, 7/24). ... A week after "an emergency meeting" between Nigerian Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi and Nigeria Football Federation board members, the League Management Company and Nigeria Women Football League, "doubts are being expressed about the feasibility of the measures promised by the Sports Minister, which included paying players the money they are owed and instituting a minimum wage" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/24).