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Volume 6 No. 216

International Football

With the World Cup less than a year away, FIFA is "pledging to increase its monitoring of stadium construction in Brazil," according to Tales Azzoni of the AP. FIFA wants "all 12 stadiums ready for the June 2014 kickoff" of football's showcase event. There were "several stadium delays for the Confederations Cup earlier this year and FIFA has made it clear that it will not tolerate the same problems again." Brazil "has to deliver the final six World Cup venues by the end of the year." FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said, "'For us organizers a key focus is now on the 12 stadia, with a tighter monitoring naturally on the six arenas still under construction. You cannot expect everything to run perfectly in brand new stadia. That is where we will concentrate our efforts, as we seek to ensure the FIFA World Cup will be a roaring success for the teams, the fans and, most importantly, for the host nation Brazil" (AP, 8/2).

FIFA Chief Medical Officer Jiri Dvorak "has insisted that doping is not a significant problem" in football, according to the AAP. While "athletics has suffered some high-profile positive tests over the last two months and cycling began the year with that Lance Armstrong finally owned up to his spurious past, football has largely avoided any negative publicity with regards illicit drug-taking." Dvorak said that is "because there isn't much of it happening." Dvorak: "I am confident that there is no systematic doping in football. There is no systematic doping culture in football. I am confident of this. We do more than 30,000 sampling procedures every year and we have between 70 to 90 positive cases, most of them for marijuana and cocaine and we have also anabolic steroids, but these are individual cases" (AAP, 8/3).

The new governing and exec body of Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia "has kept its promise and revealed the monthly salaries of the team's players and coaching staff." CSKA "is the first club in Bulgaria to disclose the salaries." The highest salary is for head coach Stoycho Mladenov, who will receive €10,000 ($13,000) per month. The highest paid players "are captain Valentin Iliev, Emil Gargorov and Apostol Popov." They receive monthly salaries of €7,500 ($10,000) (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/5). ... The Ghana FA and Premier League Board "have cancelled the end-of-season awards" because Globacom has still not paid up sponsorship allocations. The Nigerian telecom company "has not paid any of the 16 clubs of the league the monies due them" (MODERN GHANA, 8/3). ... Myanmar football supporters "tore up seats and invaded the pitch of a stadium due to host the opening ceremony of this year’s Southeast Asian Games." Brawls "brought a chaotic end to Sunday’s game" -- the first to be held in the Wunna Theikdi stadium since it was built in the capital Naypyidaw for the regional sporting tournament (AFP, 8/5). ... Serie A side AS Roma has "given season ticket holders the opportunity to vote for their choice of third jersey" for the '13-14 campaign. The capital club has "given fans a shortlist of three shirts to pick from." The winning design "will be worn by the club during the second half of the season" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 8/5). ... An EPL Sunderland fan who made a racist monkey gesture at Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku "has been banned from football matches for three years despite trying to claim in his defence that he had been doing a 'chicken dance.'" As well as a three-year banning order, the Sunderland fan "was given an 18-month conditional discharge for causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/5). ... Relegated South African National First Division side Dynamos Managing Dir July Malabela said that "they have resolved to sell the club's status to focus more on business." Malabela, the younger brother of club Chair Pat "Co" Malabela, said that "they have decided to take a break from football" (SOWETAN LIVE, 8/5).