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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

The latest FA accounts reveal a £2M ($3.2M) saving "in a period of just six months" from England Manager Roy Hodgson replacing Fabio Capello, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. The operating costs of Club England -- whose "biggest individual expense is the manager’s salary" -- decreased from £8M in '11 to £6M last year after Capello’s departure in February '11. The FA document puts Club England’s total expenditure remaining at £21M ($33.6M), "despite the extra tournament costs of Euro 2012, due to 'savings in the men’s senior team coaching staff.'" Hodgson will be earning around £3.5M ($5.6M) a year compared to "the hugely excessive" £6M ($9.6M) a year paid to Capello. The FA’s overall revenue "dropped slightly" for the '12 financial year -- from £329M to £318M (DAILY MAIL, 9/24). The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported the Olympic football tournament in '12 "also reduced the number of lucrative summer concerts" Wembley stadium could hold. For example, in '11 there were "eight Take That concerts during the summer." The FA may also "face a fight with Wales to host the final and semi-finals of Euro 2020." Wales "has joined England as among seven countries to have declared an interest in bidding to host the climax of the tournament but Horne admitted Turkish city Istanbul is the front-runner" (PA, 9/24).

FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen said that the heat at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar "should be the least" of football's worries "given the more immediate concerns surrounding next year's competition in Brazil," according to REUTERS. Van Seggelen said that "other important issues such as the transfer system and third-party ownership of players were also being shunted out of the limelight by the debate over the timing of the Qatar World Cup." He said, "It astonishes me that the media is obsessed with Qatar in nine years' time and does not seem very bothered about the World Cup in 2014." Van Seggelen said that "travelling and heat were FIFPro's biggest concerns for next year, where some matches are being scheduled to kick off at 13:00 local time in tropical venues." He said that "players had already suffered the effects of the heat at this year's Confederations Cup." Van Seggelen: "I spoke to the Italian and Spanish players after the semifinal and they said it was impossible to play extra time in that heat. The travelling is also a problem, you have four-hour flights in some cases and when you have just played a tough game and only have a few days to recover, that also has an effect" (REUTERS, 9/24).

Scottish FA CEO Stewart Regan "has ruled out a relaxation of the laws that preclude footballers from betting on matches," according to Jonathan Coates of the SCOTSMAN. Regan argued that small-return lays, such as those that led to Rangers’ player Ian Black receiving a 10-match ban last week, "represent the 'thin end of the wedge' in the wider context of corrupt gambling, and should be aggressively stamped out." Regan "is determined not to allow the scourge of match-fixing to take form in Scotland’s national game," and believes that any relaxation in the laws, an idea suggested by Scotland's PFA, might “open the door” to darker practices (SCOTSMAN, 9/24).

A SERIOUS ISSUE: In Glasgow, Scott McDermott reported Regan also revealed that match-fixing in Scotland "is a serious issue after the SFA were made aware of 'activity' at low-level games recently -- where information is being fed back to Asia." Regan said, “We should certainly be aware of match-fixing. What we are seeing is evidence of activity in the stands, where individuals from Asia are commentating on matches into laptops and giving feedback." Regan believes that the three-game ban dished out to Black "will act as a warning." Regan said, “The Black case has brought a lot of attention and profile to the issue. If nothing else, it has heightened the issue and made it clear players shouldn’t bet, full stop" (DAILY RECORD, 9/24).

Bulgaria's CSKA Sofia Supervisory Board Chair Laurence Davis said that the club "will work together" with Scottish Premiership side Celtic, according to Alexander Krassimirov of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Davis said that "he has held talks with his counterparts from Celtic and soon expected both clubs to start cooperating." He revealed that "he had also held talks with Everton and business groups from Qatar, the UAE and other countries from the Middle East." The main task of the new leadership of CSKA "will be to bring back the club in the Champions League and create a strong youth academy" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/24).

La Liga side Atlético Madrid has already received 500 tickets from Real Madrid for Saturday's game at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium, according to Juan Casáñez of AS. These seats will cost €70 ($94) and "will only be available to Atlético fans." Few fans of Atlético will attend "due to the high ticket prices" (AS, 9/23).

CROWDS NOT MEETING EXPECTATIONS: MARCA reported La Liga side Elche "has intensified its promotional campaign for the team's home match against Real Madrid on Wednesday at 10pm." The team is "making its campaign along the coast and in school zones throughout the province with the objective of attracting fans." The "team's expectations are currently not being met." High "ticket prices, Spain's economic crisis and the game being played at 10pm on a Wednesday have decreased the number of fans excited to see Real Madrid's stars." On Monday, from 10am-9pm, "24,487 fans withdrew their seats" (MARCA, 9/24).

OSASUNA DISAPPOINTED: In Madrid, Ciriza and Iríbar reported La Liga side Osasuna, which "on the last matchday earned from the ticket lines half of what it costs to host a game, represents the problems modest clubs have attracting new fans." It could be the "economic crisis, price of tickets, start times controlled by TV or a mix of all those things, but there are facts that raise alarms about the prosperity of La Liga." An example is Osasuna only raising €5,310 ($7,000) on the last matchday, when it costs at least €10,000 ($13,000) to open the stadium. Last Friday, Osasuna hosted Elche and "13,580 fans attended the game, although the crowd consisted of a majority of people who had paid for season tickets, meaning they did not buy individual tickets." Osasuna Dir Ángel Luis Vizcay said, "Other years we had an average attendance of between 15,000 and 16,000 people, but this season it has decreased. The [economic] crisis has an impact." In Osasuna's previous game at the team's El Sadar stadium, against Villarreal, attendance "was only 12,474." It was "one of the worst recorded attendances for a La Liga match in team history, and the single-game ticket revenue was only" €5,380 ($7,000) (EL PAIS, 9/23). 

The Confederation of African Football's exec committee "has revealed the host cities for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco." Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir and Tangier "will host the matches" for the Jan. 17-Feb. 7 tournament. Morocco's largest city, Casablanca, will be the "alternative'' or reserve venue (BBC, 9/23). ... The Greek Super League board of directors, the governing body of Greece's top flight, met Tuesday "to confirm the return of the 16-club format by the 2015-16 season." It has also been reported that "another major change may be on the cards with the SL ruling on whether to bring in a relegation play-off for the ongoing campaign" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/24). ... The KwaZulu-Natal Province, the City of Durban and IEC in Sports Int'l Events & Communications "will unveil details of a new international tournament and world-class sports development centre at the Soccerex African Forum, which takes place at the city’s Moses Mabhida Stadium" on Oct. 1-2 (SOCCEREX, 9/24). ... FIFA said that the Israeli and Palestinian FAs "will each appoint a liaison officer to facilitate the movement of players in and out of the Palestinian territories." Israeli FA Chair Avi Luzon and his Palestinian counterpart, Jibril Rajoub, "met in Zurich on Monday in a session chaired by FIFA President Sepp Blatter." He "has pledged to help ease travel restrictions imposed by Israel, which cites security concerns" (REUTERS, 9/23). ... Spanish Football League (LFP) President Javier Tebas "has claimed that the league’s kick off times could change to reach more fans in the Middle East and North Africa." Tebas also stated that "the region could play host to a number of friendlies between Primera Division clubs, and hopes that a bigger relationship between the league and the Arab world will develop over the next few years" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 9/24). ... The FA of Singapore has announced its plans to host a FIFA World Youth Championships. FAS is eyeing either the '17 or '19 championships (FAS).