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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Scottish FA CEO Stewart Regan admits that "he would be reluctant to see Scotland players participate in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the height of summer," according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Regan said, "I think our preferred position would be that we would not want our players to be playing football in the height of the summer. That means you would have to consider another part of the year, potentially a winter World Cup." Regan did admit, though, that discussions over Scotland's participation in a World Cup "would be a nice problem to have." Regan: "As far as Scotland are concerned, we would quite happily play the World Cup in the North Pole on Christmas Day if we were part of the qualification." Asked how disruptive a switch to winter would be in terms of domestic football fixtures, Regan said, "Clearly there would be a lot of logistical challenges and that's why a consultation group has to be established and why FIFA have agreed to talk to all of the confederations and, indeed, why we were debating the matter in Dubrovnik last week." Regan "did not feel that putting the 2022 World Cup out to tender again was a realistic option" after the decision was made to name Qatar as host nation. Regan: "I think that horse has bolted" (DAILY RECORD, 9/23).

ON THE AGENDA: REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported FIFA "has confirmed that it will discuss the timing" of the 2022 World Cup at its next exec committee meeting. The agenda for the meeting on Oct. 3-4, published on Monday, included the item "FIFA World Cup Qatar, period of the competition" (REUTERS, 9/23). SOCCEREX reported Qatar 2022 "has maintained that is committed to delivering the cooling technology it promised" for staging the World Cup, "regardless of whether it remains in its current calendar slot or is switched to a winter event." Qatar 2022 said that while it is "open to a switch to winter dates to lessen the impact of the nation’s sweltering summer temperatures, it is still keen to deliver air-conditioned stadiums using new environmentally-friendly technology." The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said, "We bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in summer and are fully committed and working hard to deliver on these promises" (SOCCEREX, 9/23).

Brazil "has struck a deal with Swiss authorities to outsource part of the anti-doping program at next year's FIFA World Cup," according to XINHUA. The Lausanne anti-doping laboratory "will analyze blood samples and create biological passports" -- an independent blood profile of tested athletes -- during the June 12-July 13 tournament. The Swiss laboratory "worked closely with the 2014 World Cup organizing committee during the Confederations Cup in June." It "is still unclear if the samples will be flown to Switzerland, or analyzed at a Brazilian laboratory" (XINHUA, 9/23). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's David Owen wrote FIFA "is resigned to running up unexpected extra costs" to ensure that an effective drug testing program is in operation at next year's FIFA World Cup. FIFA medical committee Chair Michel D'Hooghe "acknowledged as much." D'Hooghe said the cost issue was one of the reasons FIFA was "not happy" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/23).

El Salvador's football federation has "banned 14 national-team players for life for their role in alleged match-fixing," including games against the U.S. and Mexico, according to ESPN. Among those banned Friday from all football activities were goalkeepers Miguel Montes and Dagoberto Portillo, Christian Castillo and William Osael Romero. The bans are connected with suspected match-fixing in four games involving the national team, including a 2-1 loss in an exhibition against the U.S. in '10 and a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup. Carlos Carillo was acquitted (ESPN, 9/20). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw reported El Salvador FA President Carlos Mendez said that the sanctions "followed 'exhaustive' work." Mendez: "We have used valuable information which has come from interviews, video accounts from people who have had the strength to declare and help us find those people responsible." Central America, "where many players struggle financially, has become particularly susceptible to match-fixing." Last year, Guatemalan footballers Guillermo Ramirez, Gustavo Cabrera and Yony Flores "were banned for life." El Salvador has already been eliminated from next year's World Cup, "but that has not lessened the impact." The bans have "ripped the heart out of El Salvador football and the national federation is allowing a period of 15 days for the clubs affected to hire new players" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/23). DIEZ reported three of the four games "involving suspected match-fixing were played in the U.S." In addition to El Salvador's 2-1 loss to the U.S. in Tampa in Feb. '10, El Salvador's 1-0 loss to Major League Soccer side D.C. United was identified. The third time match-fixing occurred in the U.S. was during the 5-0 loss to Mexico in '11, which took place in Dallas. El Salvador's "other match-fixing charge comes from a 4-1 loss in a road friendly against Paraguay" in '12. A fifth game under investigation "was a friendly against Venezuela in May, which El Salvador lost 2-1" (DIEZ, 9/21).

The UEFA exec committee decided at its meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia that "the loser of the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) final will not automatically participate in the Europa League anymore, starting with '15-16 season" (SPORT1, 9/20). ... UEFA has chosen SecuTix 360º for "the management and electronic sale of tickets for Euro 2016 and for the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup." The application was created by SecuTix. SecuTix 360º was "selected after a six-month process that included 30 bidders" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 9/23). ... Argentine football's AFA Plus ticketing enrollment system debuted on Monday in Santa Fe at Argentine first division side Colón's stadium, "the initial building block of a measure that is drawing both praise and doubts from execs." Asking whether "AFA Plus is good or bad depends on the angle of observation." However, as the idea "is applied in an unorganized environment, the cracks will appear" (CLARIN, 9/23). ... Turkey's "hopes of being granted the Euro 2020 semifinal and finals suffered a public relations blow at the weekend when the Istanbul derby between Galatasaray and Besiktas was abandoned after supporters invaded the pitch at the Ataturk Stadium" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/23). ... Ukraine "could be docked points or forced to play a potentially decisive World Cup qualifier behind closed doors after FIFA launched an investigation into racism" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/23). ... The Perak FA (PAFA) has "suspended all the players and officials of the state team with immediate effect in the wake of the 6-1 Malaysia Cup loss to Sarawak last Saturday." PAFA is "also going to lodge reports with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and will be requesting both bodies to conduct investigations on the Perak squad" (THE STAR, 9/23).