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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Professional footballers have been warned by the world players' union FIFPro "to think twice before signing to play for clubs in Cyprus, Greece or Turkey," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Players were advised to be especially wary of clubs who were not playing in European competition, with FIFPro saying that "many of those teams have failed to keep their promises." In a statement, FIFPro said, "Cyprus has for years occupied the first position, by a wide margin, as regards the number of disputes submitted to FIFA's dispute resolution chamber (DRC), while Greece and Turkey are vying for second position. In all three countries, the number of disputes increases every year. The only exceptions are those clubs that play in European football: these accept the UEFA club licensing system, which reduces the risks." FIFPro said that players had trouble getting paid and were forced to take out legal proceedings at FIFA, "which could be drawn-out and expensive" (REUTERS, 8/21).

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said that "it is a shame" his city will host the 2016 Olympics because Brazil "lacks a sports policy," according to the BBC. Paes said that "his city should not pay for high performance athletes." Paes said, "That is the role of the federal government." However, the mayor said that "the Olympic Games would be good for the city because of the infrastructure that was being built." Paes: "Rio will have to look after the legacy of infrastructure. But it's unclear who will run the sports centres after the Olympics." A year before Brazil hosts the football World Cup, he was also critical of FIFA, complaining "they only care about stadiums" (BBC, 8/21).

FIFA FOCUS: BLOOMBERG's Biller & Goodman wrote FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke "dismissed criticism" from Paes over FIFA's focus on stadium readiness for next year's World Cup. Valcke said, "If he hasn't yet understood what is the legacy of the World Cup, I'm speechless. Maybe he should just look at the Olympic Games and just forget about the World Cup." Valcke said that the lesson FIFA has learned from Brazil is that "the organization should require national approval before analyzing a bid to host international sport's most watched-event." The organization "may ask countries to submit their bids to host the 2026 World Cup for approval by their legislatures" (BLOOMBERG, 8/22).

A report by the University of Bedfordshire said that "teams contesting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will need a month to prepare for the country's sweltering heat," according to the AFP. The study recommends that teams arrive in Qatar at least four weeks in advance of the tournament, "which is currently scheduled to take place amid temperatures that could reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit)." University of Bedfordshire Director of Sport Professor John Brewer said, "Physical performance and decision-making will be impaired in hot conditions. ... The results are unsurprising; but we've also found that players' bodies could adapt to the extreme conditions if the squad arrives in Qatar early enough." Brewer said that in order for England to prosper at the Qatar tournament, "the entire domestic footballing calendar would have to be rejigged" (AFP, 8/22).

Brasileiro club Náutico has "threatened to boycott Brazilian championship matches after being scheduled to play two games in three days in a re-arranged fixture list." Internacional was also angry after it were left facing four games in eight days as the Brazilian Football Confederation "re-scheduled fixtures which had been postponed so that some clubs, including Sao Paulo and Santos, could play friendly matches in Europe" (REUTERS, 8/22). ... El Salvador's football federation FESFUT has provisionally suspended 22 footballers, nearly all of them experienced internationals, for 30 days "each in connection with possible match-fixing" (REUTERS, 8/22).