ManU and Chelsea have joined the "Football v Homophobia" campaign for the first time "as the group seeks to gain support from 50% of professional clubs in England," according to Alistair Magowan of the BBC. Of the Premier League's 20 teams, 11 are involved but only 17 from the Football League's 72 clubs plan a "visible anti-homophobia stance." Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and West Ham "have all backed the scheme." West Ham midfielder Kevin Nolan said, "We're passionate about supporting this." The idea of the campaign is to challenge homophobic behavior "while welcoming more lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people to football." Football v Homophobia co-Dir Megan Worthing-Davies said that "she hoped the campaign would avoid football's obsession with players coming out and concentrate on building a more tolerant culture" (BBC, 2/5). The SUNDERLAND ECHO reported EPL side Sunderland "has joined a group of Premier League clubs in the war on homophobia." Sports Minister Helen Grant has backed the campaign, saying, "Football v Homophobia is raising the awareness of important issues and provides ways for everyone in football to get involved" (SUNDERLAND ECHO, 2/5).
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke believes that work on the World Cup stadium in Curitiba "is moving in the right direction," according to the AFP. Valcke issued a warning to the Curitiba authorities last month that "it risked being dropped from hosting the four games" it is scheduled to host in June, before he changed tack a few days later and said that he "expected stadium delivery in late April or early May," but he wanted to see "real progress" by Feb. 18. However, FIFA said Tuesday that "things were beginning to look positive" (AFP, 2/5). IANS reported Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo "vowed to do all to keep Curitiba as a 2014 FIFA World Cup host city." Rebelo: “We are doing all we can so that Curitiba remains in the World Cup. We have until February 18 to make a decision. I am working so that we are successful in our efforts” (IANS, 2/5).
Mexico Football Federation President Justino Compean said Mexico is "95 percent" done with a deal that would pit it against Portugal in a pre-World Cup friendly on June 6 in Boston. A friendly against Chile "was ruled out" after Chile requested the match be played in Santos (Sao Paolo, Brazil) on June 6, which is one day prior to El Tri's scheduled travel date (ESPN, 2/4). ... Second Bundesliga club Greuther Fürth "has added to its record number of season-ticket sales from the summer." The club "sold more than 600 additional season tickets in December." In total, Greuther Fürth "has sold 7,127 season tickets ahead of the start of the second half of the season" (NORDBAYERN, 2/4).