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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

The European parliament "has passed an emergency resolution condemning the widespread abuse of migrant workers in Qatar" and urging FIFA to "send a clear and strong message to Qatar to avoid the football World Cup 2022 [being] delivered by the assistance of modern slavery," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The resolution reminded FIFA "that its responsibility goes beyond the development of football and the organisation of competitions." FIFA said that it "welcomed the resolution." Despite previously saying there was "plenty of time" to sort out the issue, FFIA President Sepp Blatter this week said it "should be addressed as a matter of urgency, following a meeting with trade union leaders in Zurich" (GUARDIAN, 11/21). REUTERS reported the resolution "stopped short of calling for the abolition of the Kafala, or sponsorship, system under which employees cannot change jobs or leave the country without the permission of their sponsors." The European Green Party "had wanted the resolution to mention the Kafala system." Green MEP Barbara Lochbihler said in a statement, "The resolution adopted today sends an important signal both to the Qatari government and international football authorities on the need to take urgent action to address the situation regarding forced and slave labour in Qatar" (REUTERS, 11/21).

The Association of Football Agents is set to lobby FA Chair Greg Dyke over its "proposals for self-regulation in a bid to 'safeguard the future of the game,'" according to James Olley of the London EVENING STANDARD. The AFA was formed by Jon Smith and Mel Stein in '05 "to unite agents across the country in collective action on key issues affecting the industry." While agents "are often accused of a self-serving agenda, there is also a desire among them to come together under the AFA banner and act as one on matters affecting the game’s ­management." FIFA’s proposal "to scrap the tough qualification exam for agents by February 2015 is one such development." Football’s governing body "insists this is not deregulation but a shift in the emphasis." The AFA believes its "enormous influence in the game should be rewarded with a seat on the FA Council," which would give it "a more powerful voice in decisions including self-regulation." Smith said, "No regulation without representation is our simple goal. It seems ridiculous that in an era of inclusivity, the people working closest with the players throughout their careers have no representation on the FA Council" (EVENING STANDARD, 11/21).

Spain's national police force, which held an annual meeting with security coordinators from La Liga and second division clubs, revealed that during the last season, "there were a total of 139 arrests and 511 ejections for fights or racial behavior at games, primarily in La Liga," according to the EFE. Spain's National Sports Office, which worked with the State Committee Against Violence, also indicated that "there were 767 requests for sanctions, which was 224 less than during the previous season." Last season, 60 matches were declared "high-risk," 26 from La Liga, with this number "also representing a decrease from the previous year." The National Police "increased its presence at football matches by 5.7%, using 24,840 agents for match security" after using 20,916 during the '11-12 season. National Police Dir General Ignacio Cosidó said, "Spain sets an example in managing security at major sporting events thanks to the specialization, coordination and efficiency of the agents involved" (EFE, 11/21).

FIFA has confirmed that "it is to allow referees to use vanishing spray to mark out the distance for defensive walls at the Club World Cup next month." The spray allows officials "to paint a white line on the field that marks out the minimum 10-yard (9.15 meters) distance opposition players are required to stand from a free kick." The line "disappears after one minute" (ESPN, 11/21). ... The UEFA Club Financial Control Body investigatory chamber announced that six clubs involved in the '13-14 UEFA club competitions have been referred to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber. The clubs are Skonto FC (LVA), WKS Śląsk Wrocław (POL), Vitória SC (POR), CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu (ROU), FC Petrolul Ploieşti (ROU) and FC Metalurh Donetsk (UKR). A final decision is expected to be taken before the end of the year (UEFA). ... FIFA have reportedly downgraded South Africa’s 1-0 win over Spain on Tuesday night "to a practice match, after substitution rules were broken" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 11/21). ... The Asian Football Confederation, "blighted for years by a series of match-fixing scandals among member associations, has struck a deal with Sportsradar to help prevent further fraud." The partnership will see Sportsradar, which says "it processes 432 million odds movements per day at over 350 bookmakers in Asia and Europe, monitor matches at regional tournaments, including the 2015 Asian Cup, AFC Champions League and AFC Cup" (REUTERS, 11/21).