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Volume 6 No. 197

International Football

Brazil Defense Minister Celso Amorim said that a "total of 1,400 security agents will be ready if necessary at each of the 12 sites of the 2014 World Cup," according to the EFE. The "size of the security contingent, which could be increased 'depending on needs' and circumstances in the moment, will be similar to that of the Armed Forces' presence that was employed during the Confederations Cup this summer." The Defense Ministry's total budget for the Confederations Cup and World Cup is approximately $304M. Amorim: "I will say one important thing: thank God nothing happened, but this is what we have to have -- instruments for protection in the event of a chemical, biological or nuclear attack" (EFE, 11/27).

French President Francois Hollande "has suffered a blow in his bid to introduce a controversial ‘super tax’ into the domestic game after the French Senate voted to reject the proposal," according to SOCCEREX. The government of President Hollande "has long sought to introduce a 75% upper income tax rate" that will apply to anyone earning in excess of €1M ($1.4M) per year. The new tax "is seen as a means to aid the ailing French economy," but clubs and the French Football League, which had given its full backing to the strike action, "have repeatedly expressed their concern over its impact." However, while France’s upper House of Parliament has voted against the measure, its lower house, the National Assembly, "is yet to determine its stance" (SOCCEREX, 11/27).

High-risk Spanish football games "will now come at a higher cost to clubs," according to Rebeca Carranco of EL PAIS. Spanish state of Catalonia government official Ramón Espadaler said that the government will charge teams at a higher rate for the use of extra security personnel during "high-risk games, like Barcelona-Real Madrid or Barcelona-Espanyol derbies." For a normal game, clubs "typically use 95 security officials," at a cost of €21 ($29) per agent, per hour, with Spain's Interior Ministry covering the cost. Now, at high-risk matches, clubs will have to pay each security official beyond the standard 95 at a rate of €37 ($50) per hour. Last season, nine Spanish matches were "considered high-risk." Spain's Interior Ministry expects to save €1.5M ($2M) with the new measure (EL PAIS, 11/27).

REAL ADDRESSES ULTRAS: EL CONFIDENCIAL reported Real Madrid execs "are ready to end the problems that have surrounded the 'Ultras Sur' ('South Ultras') in recent weeks." For Wednesday's Champions League game against Turkish side Galatasaray, "club directors have decided not to let season-ticket holders enter the zone reserved for the club's radical followers." All fans looking to enter the reserved zone "will be required to present their National Identity Documents (DNI), and will be denied access without them" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 11/27). MUNDO DEPORTIVO reported "this is Real Madrid's way of controlling those who have been at the root of recent confrontations between Ultras Sur members and other radical followers" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 11/27).

The leading North American match analysis and statistical provider for football is "expanding into the European marketplace with its suite of game and performance analysis tools," according to Paul Nicholson of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Match Analysis, based in San Francisco, is "targeting clubs and leagues in a bid to 'change the culture' of strategic and technical analysis." Match Analysis' core product is now in operation at every MLS club. The company has recently "concluded a long term deal" with Mexico's Liga MX where it will be "installed in 40 grounds to provide video, statistical analysis, real time data compilation, player tracking and performance analysis for its clubs." Match Analysis President Mark Brunkhart said, "In Europe performance analysis is based on studying the game and handing individual pieces of information to the manager that have been boiled down from a mass of data." Brunkhart said that this "doesn't give the manager the full picture of what is taking place in the game." Brunkhart: "We are not producing data for data's sake. We are about producing a set of communications tools. We are giving a manager a mechanism to use his knowledge and get the players on the same page. You have to look at the whole picture" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/27).

Australia's national team, the Socceroos, "could find themselves battling rivals New Zealand on the road to future World Cups with the Asian Football Confederation looking at ways to incorporate Oceania into the AFC's qualifying equation," according to Ben McKay of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said that the two groups "were working on a proposal to combine Asia's four-and-a-half World Cup qualifying slots with Oceania's half spot." New Zealand football figures "have sought the country's direct inclusion in the AFC," but Salman said that it "would be better to combine Asia and Oceania's World Cup quotas." Salman: "We had the Australians in but I think we should look at how can we combine our slot together" (SMH, 11/27). The AFP reported Asia has four automatic World Cup places plus a ''half-slot'' -- a spot in an intercontinental playoff -- while "only one Oceania team is capable of reaching the tournament," also via a playoff. Asia "has the world’s biggest confederation with 46 members, while Oceania groups 11 island teams spread across a wide swathe of the Pacific" (AFP, 11/27).

EAST AND WEST: The AFP also reported the Middle Eastern clubs will be slotted into a “West” zone, while the East Asian clubs will play in an “East” zone, with the two zones separated until the semifinals. Arabian Gulf League clubs "will participate in the West." The UAE "will have three automatic qualification slots," as well as one playoff slot. Australia, meanwhile, "were handed a second automatic spot" for the regional club competition while India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam all get a chance to enter via a broadened playoff system (THE NATIONAL, 11/27). AFC officials decided on Tuesday night that Australia's allocation "would be increased from 1.5 spots to 2.5 for next year." It means Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney "are guaranteed spots in the group stages while Melbourne Victory, which finished third last season, will get the chance to qualify via a playoff against a yet-to-be determined opponent" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/28). THE PENINSULA reported Qatar "will get two automatic berths in the 2014 edition of the AFC Champions League." Qatar was "fielding four teams up until this season but from next year, Qatari clubs will get two automatic berths while two more spots could be earned through qualification" (THE PENINSULA, 11/27).

The Spanish Football League (LFP) has released figures showing that stadium attendance at La Liga and Spanish second division matches has "increased during the current season by 3.23%" with respect to the '12-13 season. Through 14 La Liga matchdays and 15 in the second division, "cumulative stadium attendance has reached 4.7 million." At "this point last season, total attendance was 4.5 million" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 11/27). ... A-League club Wellington co-Owner Gareth Morgan's offer to stump up NZ$5M ($8M) to save New Zealand Football if the government contributes another NZ$10M "has been met with a lukewarm response by Sports Minister Murray McCully." Asked whether the Government intended to pursue the offer, McCully said, "I greatly appreciate the generosity that Dr. Morgan has shown to sport. NZ Football is going through a process of transition at this stage. Dr. Morgan's comments remind us of the high level of ambition that New Zealand should have to succeed in international sport" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 11/26). ... The Polish FA has "decided that clubs playing in the Esktraklasa, the top tier of Poland's football league, will be allowed to include a maximum of three players from outside of the European Union per squad at any time of the match." The regulation "will come into force" in the '15-16 season (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/27). ... Russian police "want to limit their traditionally hardline approach to football fans in favor of a more collaborative approach" at the 2018 World Cup. Clashes between fans and police "are not uncommon at Russian league games, but with the country’s first home World Cup on the horizon, closer ties with fans could usher in a new era of family-friendly viewing" (RIA NOVOSTI, 11/26).