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Volume 6 No. 213

International Football

FIFA President Sepp Blatter "wants to get rid of World Cup qualifying playoff ties in future, saying it is a hard way for teams to miss out on the finals," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Twenty teams, plus hosts Brazil, have qualified for next year's tournament via round-robin groups, but the remaining 11 places "will be decided this month, all in two-legged playoffs." Blatter: "It will be drama because you have to eliminate teams now in two matches. I think this is good for television, this is good for the spectacle of football, but I think we should try to find a solution where at the end of the qualification, you are in or out, and not this playoff." Blatter also said that FIFA "was looking carefully at the decision to allow Egypt to play their home tie against Ghana in Cairo because of the security situation." Ghana lead 6-1 from the first leg (REUTERS, 11/5). The AP reported Blatter "has recently urged some FIFA confederations to seek more guaranteed entries in the 32-team World Cup at Europe's expense" (AP, 11/6). ARABIAN BUSINESS' Courtney Trenwith reported Blatter said that he would "raise concerns over working conditions and moving the 2022 World Cup during a visit to meet the new Qatari Emir later this month." Blatter: "There are some social problems linked with working activities there [Qatar]. There are also sporting problems with the calendar, so I will have a very interesting discussion with him and then I will report to the executive committee on the 4th and 5th of December in Brazil" (ARABIAN BUSINESS, 11/6).

The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) "looks to be in serious trouble as more than 40 state officials, including prosecutors and financial crime investigators, raided the EPO headquarters unannounced on Monday in search of evidence of financial irregularities," according to Panos Bletsos of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The governing body of the national game "faces a number of accusations," including the falsification of insurance and tax clearance certificates in 22 different cases, the embezzlement of €28M ($39M) supposed to be invested in player insurance policies, the forgery of several player transfer documents between '03 and '11, "as well as allegations of fixing the charts of Super League officials and vote rigging in local football union elections in Drama, Corinth and Rhodes." EPO "has yet to comment on the matter officially." Off the record, EPO President Yorgos Sarris appears "not worried," but has allegedly informed UEFA President Michel Platini on "yet another government intervention in national association matters" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/6).