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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

Responding to the assertion of FIFA President Sepp Blatter that the Qatar 2022 World Cup was a "political" choice by European voters, UEFA President Michel Platini has confirmed that "political and economic influences" were a factor, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Blatter said in an interview this week that there was "definitely direct political influence" on European exec committee members to vote for Qatar. Blatter said, "European leaders recommended to its voting members to opt for Qatar, because of major economic interests in the country." Attention is now likely to turn to when the tournament will be held -- FIFA would prefer to hold it in December '22 to avoid the Winter Olympics but UEFA would prefer January and February "to avoid a clash with the lucrative Champions League group stages" (GUARDIAN, 9/20). WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER reported the IOC "has issued a statement that calls for FIFA to consult before it makes a decision that could affect the 2022 Winter Olympics." Neither the host nor the dates of those games "have been determined but February is the usual time frame for the Winter Olympics" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 9/20).

IMPACT LIMITED: The BBC reported FA Vice Chair David Gill said that "the impact of moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter could be limited to one season." The summer heat in Qatar "may force a switch and the Premier League expects the shift to disrupt three seasons." But Gill "has suggested several options," including FIFA cutting the call-up period before int'l matches (BBC, 9/22).

La Liga "has confirmed that attendances during the first four gameweeks of the season were up 5.2%." The 998,456 spectators "surpassed the 949,035 who attended during the same period last season" (MARCA, 9/21). ... Spanish Football League (LFP) President Javier Tebas "will try to strengthen the league's games played at 4pm," with a look toward int'l markets, so that teams playing at this hour will have bigger audiences. Tebas: "I am going to try to compromise with Atlético Madrid, Valencia, Betis, Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Real Madrid so that at least once a month they will play at 4pm. It is a way of trying something that other leagues are not doing" (LIBERTAD DIGITAL, 9/21). ... UEFA President Michel Platini on Sunday "vowed to help football grow in Afghanistan, as he visited the capital Kabul and praised players for keeping the game alive through decades of warfare." Platini's visit "came amid a nationwide surge in interest in football after the national team beat India 2-0 in the final of the South Asian Football Federation championship earlier this month in Nepal" (AFP, 9/22).