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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Austrian football "is being shaken by a betting scandal," according to the SID. Defender Dominique Taboga, who plays for Austrian Bundesliga club SV Grödig, "filed a complaint with police that he was blackmailed to fix a game and revealed the news to his club on Monday evening." During a fictitious money delivery on Tuesday, police "arrested three individuals." Former Austrian national team player Sanel Kuljic, 36, "is also under suspicion." The police "are currently investigating." Grödig Sport Dir Christian Haas said, "It came out of nowhere for us. We were all shocked. Mr. Taboga consulted us yesterday, then told us that he's being blackmailed by the betting mafia over match-fixing. He also went to the police on Monday." Haas also said that the club "has released the player for the time being" (SID, 11/12). KRONE reported according to the internal police report, Taboga, 31, told police that "he is being blackmailed by Kuljic and Czech native Sulim D." He "was supposed to fix matches through his behavior and continuously pay the blackmailers -- otherwise it would have 'serious consequences' for him and his family." His career also would have a "sudden end." He also said that he "was forced to admit to a previous match-fixing incident on tape under the threat of a firearm." He has paid €87,000 ($117,000) to the blackmailers so far (KRONE, 11/12).

Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop "has admitted the governing body has concerns over security at next year's World Cup with ongoing violence and civil unrest in Brazil," according to Angela Habashy of the AAP. The Socceroos "recently experienced first hand the nation-wide protests when they played Brazil in Brasilia in September." Much "will depend on the draw" Australia is dealt on Dec. 6, which "will determine what cities the Socceroos will play in and where they'll set up camp, with the small coastal city of Vitoria north of Rio the likely base." But while security planning "will intensify after next month's draw," Gallop admitted that the FFA "was concerned and already had plans under way for the month-long tournament." Gallop: "We've engaged local people in Brazil as well as our own staff who've been through World Cups before. It's certainly going to throw up some challenges and we need to make sure that things are run as smoothly from our end as possible" (AAP, 11/11).

The Premier League "is a global league in which the players from nearly 70 countries have come to earn wages they would not get in their own lands," according to Rob Hughes of the N.Y. TIMES. Everyone "is welcome, as long as they have the talent and the owners (also increasingly non-British) pay the money." But "isn’t this just the way of the world?" Surely the free movement of players "is to be applauded, not denigrated?" And "doesn’t it apply across Europe?" Answers to those questions, and more, "can be gleaned from numbers from Bloomberg." As football gains a foothold in the U.S., and as the EPL "becomes more widely televised there, Bloomberg Sports has begun throwing the full weight of its statistical analysis to what is happening in European" football. Even the Bloomberg data technicians said that "they were surprised by the minute-by-minute assessment of playing time in the big five leagues of Europe: England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France." English players "fare worse than their European counterparts in getting time on the field, either in their own league or in any other." The Bloomberg Sports data shows that Spanish and French players "get twice as much playing time in Europe as English players." ManU's Wayne Rooney "is perhaps the only British soccer player who could fit into most leagues abroad." English players "have logged a total of 69,246 minutes in the top leagues, far behind the 178,611 of the Spanish and the 173,085 of the French." The Italians (120,309 minutes) and Germans (111,737) "get significantly more time too, both in their own and in other top European leagues." The Bloomberg Sports data "also show that one English player -- just one -- has had any game time" on the fields of the other four leading football nations in Europe so far this season, for a grand total of 90 minutes. That player, Charlie l’Anson, "has played one game in the Spanish league for Elche this season" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/12).

Parts of the Juventus Stadium "will be closed for the club’s next two league games after the Bianconeri were punished for territorial discrimination." The two sections of the ground "have been found guilty of being responsible for derogatory chants aimed at the city and people of Naples" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 11/11). ... The Guangzhou Super Football Club, a non-profit organization consisting of retired football players, coaches and referees, "was launched on Nov 11 at the landmark Yuexiushan Stadium." The club, based in the capital city of Guangdong province, "will launch a series of charity activities" to promote football culture in schools and residential communities, according to Peng Weiguo, a club member and retired Chinese national team player (CHINA DAILY, 11/12).