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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

The Premier League's top sides went on tours of Asia this month in six countries or territories, but there was "one glaring omission: mainland China," according to the AFP. EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said many businesses see the fast-developing country as "the holy grail," but he didn't "quite see it in the same way." Football and marketing experts said that there "were a number of commercial, logistical and sporting reasons for staying away." Scudamore: "It's not just a broadcasting entity, it's a marketing entity and we are working out in the regions in China because you cannot really describe China as a single entity, given the size, the scope and the expansion of it." Beijing sports marketing analyst Tiger Tian said that "a combination of factors had kept English teams out of China," adding fans in major cities were becoming increasingly "picky." Tian: "They're fed-up with big names but poor performances, which unfortunately had been the case on several occasions when Premier League teams visited before. Rapidly rising costs and limited sources of revenue are also threatening promoters' bottom lines." Sports marketing agency Total Sports Asia Exec VP of Media Julian Jackson said there was "a fairly easy reason" why China had not got in on the Premier League jamboree. The league's failure to strike a deal to have games shown on China's state broadcaster CCTV means that "it simply does not have the same following as elsewhere in the football-mad region." Jackson: "Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand traditionally have stronger support for the teams that come here." Red Lantern Digital Media Founder Lewis Hannam said, "China is still a maturing market in terms of holding sports events" (AFP, 8/1).

The Argentine FA has decided that only "local season ticket holders and fans with memberships in their favorite clubs" will be able to attend football games on the first two gamedays of the upcoming season, according to OLE. This "is being added to the measures preventing the attendance of opposing fans at football games" following the death of a fan prior to a first division Estudiantes-Lanus game in June. The Argentine FA's decision "means the local public will see its access to games restricted." Only "fans that have membership cards and are associated with the clubs" will be able to see their respective teams. Next Friday, Argentine FA President Julio Grondona will meet with Argentina National Ministers Cabinet leader Juan Abal Medina to "determine the next steps in the process" of eliminating violence from football (OLE, 7/30). CLARIN reported the Argentine FA on Tuesday "demonstrated that it is a box of surprises." Tickets "will not be sold and only fans associated with home teams will be able to enter stadiums." This measure "arrives as a consequence of the AFA and government's decision not to let visiting fans enter stadiums, with the goal of preventing local stands from being infiltrated" (CLARIN, 7/30).

The Korean FA has defended the country's ManU supporters group "for unfurling a politically-charged banner at Sunday's East Asian Cup game against Japan" and said that Japanese fans had incited trouble by raising the "rising sun" flag, according to Narae Kim of REUTERS. Korean fans "unfurled a massive banner" at Jamsil Stadium that read, "A nation that forgets its history has no future." The Japanese FA "lodged a complaint." However, the KFA said that "Japanese fans had to shoulder some of the blame." In a statement to the East Asian Football Federation, the KFA said, "The rising sun flag is a reminder of South Korea's painful history. This all started because Japanese supporters raised the flag right after the game started, which inflamed the South Korean supporters." The KFA said it was "extremely disappointing that even senior members of the Japanese government denounced South Korea." The KFA said, "They should stop criticizing only what South Korea did while ignoring the fact that the Japanese supporters raised a large rising sun flag in the center of South Korea's capital" (REUTERS, 7/31).

La Liga side Rayo Vallecano had its appeal for a UEFA license with the Spanish Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) on Tuesday. The club will not, however, receive a decision because the CAS said that "the case is considered outside their jurisdiction." Rayo Vallecano has been appealing the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) decision not to award the club a UEFA license for '13-14 "due to the club's debt and administration status" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 7/31). ... Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb has been fined €25,000 ($33,000) and ordered to close the east section of its stadium for its European home game against FC Sheriff for its fans' "racist chanting during a recent qualifier against Luxembourg's CS Fola Esch" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/31). ... Tour de France promoter Match Hospitality and Amaury Sport Organisation has been appointed an authorized sales agent for official 2014 World Cup hospitality packages in Belgium and Luxemburg (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/31).