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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

FIFA Medical Committee Chair Michel D'Hooghe has warned that "anti-doping measures at next year's World Cup could be seriously compromised as a result of having to transport samples halfway round the world for testing," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. FIFA last week announced that "blood and urine samples from players competing in Brazil will have to be analysed thousands of miles away in Lausanne, Switzerland." D'Hooghe said that the move could cause a "logistical nightmare." D'Hooghe: "It's by no means ideal but we have no other choice. It brings us obvious logistic problems and won't be easy" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/20).

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore has insisted the league remains "quintessentially English" despite an influx of foreign players, managers and owners over the past two decades, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Appearing before a Lord's committee looking into "soft power" and Britain's diplomatic influence abroad, Scudamore said that "foreign owners, now in control at a majority of the 20 clubs, were attracted to the top flight precisely because it had a clear identity." He said, "We have a pretty sophisticated marketing machine at the Premier League … but anywhere outside this country it is known as the English Premier League." The proportion of homegrown players in the Premier League "has dropped to around a third, while 11 out of 20 Premier League clubs have foreign owners." Scudamore: "You can't have it all ways. David Cameron talks about Britain being open for business. If this country does business overseas, these people have to be able to do business here." Scudamore told the Lord's committee that the Premier League "gave away" £268M ($433M) a year of its £1.9B ($3.1B) revenue -- although that total includes parachute payments to relegated clubs -- including £20M ($32.3M) that is invested overseas (GUARDIAN, 11/19).

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and German Trade Unions and Int'l Trade Union Confederation President Michael Sommer agreed that fair working conditions must be introduced quickly, consistently and on a sustained basis in Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup. Blatter mandated Exec Committee member Dr. Theo Zwanziger to continue talks with the ITUC and involve human rights and labor organizations in the talks. After the meeting, Blatter said, "Economic and political leaders must contribute to improving the unacceptable situation in Qatar." German Football Federation (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach said, "The awarding of the World Cup and the considerable public exposure gives us the opportunity to point out irregularities and to exact lasting change. If we succeed, then a lot will have been achieved." Sommer said, "Qatar must guarantee the ILO's core labor standards and thus eliminate discrimination and forced labor as well as allow freedom of associations for its 1.3 million migrant workers" (FIFA).