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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

Football Federation Australia "has confirmed the A-League All Stars match will return next year," and Italian Serie A side Juventus "are red-hot favourites to be brought to Australia for the showpiece event," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Sydney or Melbourne will likely host the game "with a venue yet to be determined but it is believed ANZ Stadium is the front-runner for the marquee event." The FFA "was delighted with the success of the concept's debut last July," featuring ManU, and "confirmed the event would return next winter with opponents of a similar calibre." The governing body "would not comment on the potential opponents, but it is understood the Serie A champions are all but locked in to make the trip." The initial schedule "is set for a date in mid-August next year in order to allow for Juventus to bring a full-strength squad to Australia" (SMH, 10/30).

FIFA has imposed global bans on four players and a coach from Australia's Southern Stars Victorian Premier League side "in an escalation of the most serious match-fixing scandal to hit the country," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The five individuals -- all four players are English -- "are barred from taking part in any football-related activity until further notice following a similar Australian ban handed down last week while a court case is ongoing" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/31).

Premier League Football supporters who take flares or smoke bombs into stadiums "are risking banning orders or even prison," according to the BBC. It is "launching a campaign aimed at eradicating the growing trend of fans taking pyrotechnic devices to matches." Recent incidents involving flares "have occurred at Wembley and Villa Park." EPL Head of Supporters Services Cathy Long said, "We will say to fans we understand you think this is a bit of fun but they are dangerous. We want people to be aware of what the dangers are, both to themselves and the people around them. It will also make people aware of what the consequences of their actions are -- that this can carry a banning order, it can carry a custodial sentence, there can be really quite serious consequences for fans and we want to avoid that." So far this season, pyrotechnics "have been used at or in connection with 131 matches at English league grounds, compared to 199 for the whole of last season" (BBC, 10/31).

Panama "wants to prevent Mexico from qualifying for the 2014 World Cup," according to OLE. Panama is "protesting that Mexico's Chaco Giménez previously participated in a game with Argentina, and is therefore asking for Mexico to lose points." This would "prevent the Mexican team from playing in the playoff against New Zealand." Panama is claiming that "because Giménez had played with Argentina, his inclusion on the Mexican roster in the CONCACAF Hexagonal (fourth round) qualifying was illegal." Giménez played for Argentina in '01 in the South American U20s. The "only thing left to be seen is whether FIFA will accept Panama's claim" (OLE, 10/31). LA AFICION reported FIFA's rulebook's Article 15 indicates that "no player who has participated (partially or completely) with an association in an official competition at any level should be able to participate in an international game with a team representing another association." Giménez's participation with the Argentine U20s "in theory disqualified him from the Mexican roster in the Mexico-Panama qualifier" played on Oct. 11 (LA AFICION, 10/30).

FIFA has provided funds worth $500,000 "to build infrastructure" to update a football academy in Pyongyang, North Korea. The Int'l School of Football "opened earlier this year and has been training North Korean youths between the ages of 6 and 13" (KOREA HERALD, 10/31). ... The 2014 Thai Premier League season "will kick off on Feb. 15 and end on Nov. 2." There "will be 20 teams, two more than the current season" (BANGKOK POST, 10/31). ... FIFA said that "it was postponing the second round of ticket sales for next year's World Cup to comply with a request by Brazilian authorities to monitor the process." FIFA said on its website, "In order to ensure the Brazilian authorities' involvement in supervising the procedures for the allocation of tickets following the first sales period, FIFA have had to postpone the draw" (SOWETAN LIVE, 10/31). ... The Yaroslavl region interior ministry head said that police "detained 78 football fans in connection with crowd violence during the Russian Cup match between Shinnik Yaroslavl and Spartak Moscow on Wednesday." Spartak fans "threw flares and smoke bombs before the match and during the first half with the situation worsening a few minutes after the break when visiting supporters clashed with riot police, ripping out seats and hurling them onto the pitch" (REUTERS, 10/31). ... Egypt has "been cleared by FIFA to host the World Cup playoff return match against Ghana in Cairo despite safety concerns." The Ghana FA had urged FIFA to find "a safe and secure venue" on neutral territory for the Nov. 19 game following recent violence in the Egyptian capital. However, FIFA on Wednesday "confirmed Cairo as the venue after a visit by inspectors and a demand that Egypt provide security guarantees, it said in a letter to both countries released by the Ghana FA" (REUTERS, 10/30).