Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 211

International Football

FA General Secretary Alex Horne has confirmed that England "will be based in Rio de Janeiro for next summer's World Cup finals," according to Graeme Bailey of SKY SPORTS. After securing its place at the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Poland at Wembley on Tuesday, the FA is "wasting no time in putting their plans in place for the finals." And Horne has confirmed that they already know their training base will be in Rio, with their home during this summer's Confederations Cup -- the five-star Royal Tulip Hotel on Sao Conrado Beach -- "the most the likely destination." Horne: "You have to be ahead of the game on this, FIFA nominate hotels and training grounds and we have been and done our homework and we have selected where were are going to be based in Brazil and that will be in Rio" (SKY SPORTS, 10/16). In London, David Kent reported England will be "situated at the five-star Royal Tulip Hotel." The "plush accommodation boasts 418 rooms spread across 17 floors, overlooking the picturesque views of Sao Conrado Beach or Gavea Stone." The FA chose the Royal Tulip after plans "were revealed for a giant fanzone outside the Windsor Atlantica on Copacabana Beach." But its preferred hotel "is not up to standard and needs a lot of work done to meet the needs of the England team." The facilities at the Urca Military base, where England trained ahead of the friendly in Brazil earlier this summer, "also requires work" (DAILY MAIL, 10/16).

PRICEY TRIP: The BBC's Costas & Mendonca reported as English fans "look for flights and hotel deals, or research prices at local restaurants, they may have a rather unpleasant surprise." Not only has the cost of living "skyrocketed in Brazil in recent years" -- placing Sao Paulo and Rio among the most expensive cities in the world -- but prices "are expected to rise further during the competition." The problem has been "a major cause of concern for some Brazilian authorities involved in the preparations for the Cup, who fear high prices could damage the country's image." On Monday, for instance, after a media report pointed out that some domestic flights during the tournament were 10 times more expensive than flights outside the World Cup dates, the head of the country's tourism board, Embratur, "proposed the adoption of price caps on plane tickets" during the World Cup. Embratur President Flavio Dino "has called for foreign airline companies to be allowed to operate domestic flights in Brazil during the competition." Currently, foreign companies "can own up 20% of airlines operating domestic flights." Both suggestions were "ruled out" by Brazil Civil Aviation Minister Wellington Moreira Franco, but he "promised to ask companies to keep prices to 'reasonable levels'" (BBC, 10/16). In London, Ed Malyon reported within hours, hotel booking website "saw search increases for Rio up 244% through mobile and 93% through the website." The same searches for Sao Paulo had "shot up an astonishing 433% compared to the same time last year." Other cities such as Natal and Brasilia also saw rises of more than 300% as fans "tried to weigh up where to base themselves for next summer's global football showpiece" (MIRROR, 10/16).

World football players' union FIFPro President Philippe Piat said Tuesday that "football clubs should not be allowed to transfer more than one or two players during the January window," according to Julien Pretot of REUTERS. Piat said, "I'm a bit radical so I would say that we should not have a winter transfer window because we want stability for the players' contracts. But obviously there could be some adjustments." Last January, Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger spoke out against the system, saying that "deals should be limited to two transfers per club." Piat: "The winter transfer window is another way for agents to get more commission. It is also another opportunity for players to put pressure on their club. Limiting the transfers would help prevent that happening." Piat said that "there were flaws in the current transfer system." Piat: "There is no freedom in the current system because the market decides everything" (REUTERS, 10/15).

A 141-year-old English football club "may have been saved from closure thanks in part to the generosity of fans from as far afield as Iceland and Vietnam," according to David Owen of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. A "winding-up order" facing Southern League side Kettering Town, "an eighth-tier club with a long and eventful history, has been rescinded" after it agreed to pay debts thought to total close to £70,000 ($112,000). More than £20,000 ($32,000) of the funds needed to keep Kettering going "has been pledged by users of the JustGiving online fundraising platform." Details released by JustGiving show that more than 1,000 pledges of support were made, and while the vast majority came from the U.K., "as one would expect, contributions were also sourced from more exotic destinations, including Iceland, Vietnam, Greece, South Africa and Thailand" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/16).

The A-League is moving toward "appointing full-time referees for next season, in answer to the recurring criticism that the officials have failed to keep pace with the competition's rising standards," according to Tom Smithies of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. A "major review of the A-League's refereeing is close to completion and it's believed will recommend the establishment of a core group of four to five full-time officials." A-League coaches were told at a recent seminar that Football Federation Australia "hopes to have established the group within the next 12 months." It is "unknown at this stage what the salary would be," but in England full-time Premier League officials earn between £70,000 ($111,600) and £85,000 ($135,600) a year. FFA has "made it clear to officials that it will have to set a competitive enough salary to persuade elite officials to turn full time." Not all of the country's "most senior refs may want to abandon or put on hold their current careers, and they have been told that some members of the elite panel of refs will be allowed to stay part-time" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/17).

Brazilian authorities said that they "are tracking a criminal gang that’s threatening to target next year’s World Cup although security officials say an attack is unlikely," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Sao Paulo’s secretariat for security said in an emailed statement that threats to the event, and Brazil’s presidential elections later in '14, "were overheard after police wiretapped calls made by members of a group known as First Capital Command, or PCC." Estado de S. Paulo reported that the gang "was recorded saying sport’s most-watched event would be turned into the 'World Cup of Terror' if its leaders were transferred to tougher prisons." Sao Paulo's public security office said in a statement, "It is a group that should be taken seriously and being fought like any criminal organization. However, the information gathered so far by intelligence services does not point to any indication that any attack will occur" (BLOOMBERG, 10/16).

The staff of La Liga side Osasuna is preparing for Barcelona's visit to Osasuna's El Sadar Stadium on Saturday. The game "will not be played in front of a full stadium due to increased ticket prices," which have risen to between €115 ($155) and €135 ($182). Osasuna player Manuel Ortiz Toribio said that "the prices for fans are very high." Toribio added that fans "have to spend quite a fat" amount of money (AS, 10/16). ... Mexico Secretary of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) Luis Videgaray said in a statement that "prices for tickets to Liga MX games will not change," as there will not be a VAT tax imposed on football. Videgaray: "Public events, including sports, will not have a VAT tax, which had been proposed." The agreement was reached "thanks to cooperation between Videgaray, the Mexico City Government and parliamentary groups" (LA AFICION, 10/15). ... Thirty-five Poland supporters and one England fan "were arrested after Tuesday night's crucial World Cup qualifier." Police "held 16 people for possessing or using flares, six for being drunk and disorderly, and one for pitch invasion after the match at Wembley" (PA, 10/16). ... Zambian football "has been plunged into a bizarre footballing dispute after three international players refused to travel with the national squad ahead of a 2-0 friendly defeat by Brazil in neutral China." The Zambian FA "has written to FIFA complaining that Mazembe did not release its players as they are required to do for international dates" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/16). ... Football Federation Australia Chair Frank Lowy "has confirmed the next coach of the Socceroos will be Australian and will have the job for next year's World Cup and the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil." The decision "will be made quickly; the FFA will not allow it to be dragged out for more than a week, possibly two." Lowy said that he had always hoped Holger Osieck's replacement "would be an Australian" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/16).