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Volume 10 No. 26

International Football

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore "has launched a scathing attack on the FA," accusing the governing body "of passing the buck and seeking a scapegoat for the failures of the England team," according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. Scudamore is "adamant that the lack of success of the national team is not the fault of his organisation 'on any level.'" Scudamore was reacting to suggestions that the Premier League "had denied appeals" by England Manager Roy Hodgson, for "no high-profile fixtures to be played" before the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September. Scudamore: "I have never, in my 15 years with the Premier League, have never said the PL’s success, or lack of, is someone else’s fault. You have to make it yourself. Let’s run the reverse argument. Where does that leave the people at the FA in terms of their accountability? It can’t be our fault" (LONDON TIMES, 7/28). In London, Chris Wheeler reported the Premier League "has kept to FIFA’s five-day rule governing international call-ups in their scheduling of the two fixtures." And the Premier League is "astonished that Hodgson is worried about a game against Moldova, currently joint 125th in FIFA’s world rankings with Cyprus" (DAILY MAIL, 7/28).

WORLD CUP WORRIES: REUTERS' Mike Collett reported Scudamore "also expressed his worries" that the 2022 World Cup will be moved from summer to winter "because of the intense heat in Qatar, thus disrupting his league." Scudamore "is totally opposed to the idea." Scudamore: "I'm not going to say I think it will happen because I'm still working the best I can, garnering enough support, a groundswell of support, to make sure it doesn't happen in winter. We do want to have it in summer -- the summer is the right time" (REUTERS, 7/29). The London EVENING STANDARD reported Scudamore "points out that the heat problem was obvious before the voting." Scudamore: "The idea the technical committee did not know people were going to be exposed to that heat is crazy. The issue should have been thrashed out around the discussion table. If the Qataris are unable to host a proper tournament in the summer, they shouldn’t have been awarded it" (EVENING STANDARD, 7/29). The PA's Simon Stone reported Scudamore "has cautioned against the prospect of taking legal action to prevent a winter World Cup." Scudamore and his counterparts across the ''big five'' European leagues are "furious" at the prospect of the 2022 event in Qatar being shifted to winter. Yet it seems actually taking on FIFA through the courts "is not a palatable prospect." Scudamore: "I wouldn't go there. That is far too contentious really; taking on the world governing body. We will do our lobbying but it is far too premature to be talking about legal action" (PA, 7/29).

Brazilian officials "have guaranteed the Arena da Amazonica World Cup stadium will be ready in time for December's deadline" set by FIFA. Construction work on the venue in Manaus is currently 68% complete, "the least advanced of Brazil's 12 World Cup venues" (XINHUA, 7/27). ... South Korea's "strained football relations with Japan have been damaged further" after a banner unfurled by the home team's fans in Seoul on Sunday during a regional tournament "stoked political tension between the two." Fans at the East Asian Cup game at Jamsil Stadium unfurled a massive banner that read: "A nation that forgets its history has no future" in an apparent reference to what many South Koreans see as Japan's unwillingness to acknowledge its wartime and colonial excesses (REUTERS, 7/29). ... The domestic election crisis that is understood to have prevented acting Thai Football Federation President and FIFA Exec Committee member Worawi Makudi from attending the recent Asian Football Confederation exec meeting "has taken yet another twist." Makudi, whose tenure officially ended in mid-June, "is battling to hold on to his power base at home," but the Local Administration Department has "made it clear that the new regulations he and his supporters want to put in place could be in violation of the national law" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/29). ... Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out will launch a new mobile phone tool for fans and players to report racist or homophobic abuse. The season-long campaign marks Kick It Out's 20th anniversary (PA, 7/29). ... Serie A side Napoli canceled Monday’s scheduled "celebration" due to the bus crash which has killed at least 37 people near Irpinia (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 7/29).