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Volume 6 No. 215

International Football

FIFA ditched bonuses for its exec board, a group that has "come under scrutiny in recent years because of several corruption cases," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. The FIFA Exec Committee, responsible for approving billions of dollars’ worth of TV and sponsorship agreements, "is made up of 25 officials from six continents." Domenico Scala, appointed head of a new audit and compliance body in '12, said that execs "agreed to scrap the bonuses after he argued that they created a risk of unethical behavior." In its '12 financial report, FIFA said it paid $33.5M to “key management personnel,” who included the exec board and finance committee. The officials do not have "employment contracts that specify bonuses" so they can not appeal the change. FIFA President Sepp Blatter determined the bonuses "based on the organization's financial performance." Scala did not say how much the bonuses were worth, but said the were "significant" (BLOOMBERG, 2/6).

A non-profit group that monitors regional water resources said that Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, "is on the verge of water rationing because of a severe drought and shortages are seen possible" when the country hosts the World Cup tournament in June and July, according to Alerigi & Goy of REUTERS. An "unusually strong high-pressure system over southeast Brazil has blocked the summer rains in recent weeks," causing Sao Paulo's main reservoir to fall to just 20.9% of its capacity as of Wednesday, its lowest level in a decade. Some small cities in Sao Paulo state "have already seen water shortages and rationing imposed." Any decisions about water rationing in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, which has an estimated population of 20 million, "ultimately reside with the state government and Sabesp, the region's water utility." Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin said on Tuesday that if rains return to the region by Feb. 15, "rationing in the city of Sao Paulo should be avoidable." PCJ Consortium, a non-profit group that monitors rivers feeding into the Cantareira System, said that "water levels are so low that rationing should have started already." The group "is supported by area municipalities and several large companies" (REUTERS, 2/5).

The EPL "derives most of its power from the simple truth that more people want to watch it than any other league," according to Sam Pilger of BLEACHER REPORT. Per's '11 data, on average, each Premier League game has a global audience of 12.3 million people, "which far outstrips La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A." In fact if you added together the average global audience per game for these leagues -- La Liga with 2.2 million (via, the Bundesliga (via '12's economic report) with 2 million and Serie A (via Alessandro Baroncelli and Raul Caruso) with 4.5 million -- it still would not overtake "the all-powerful Premier League." This exposure "gives the Premier League an unprecedented power" to negotiate both its centralized TV-rights deal and the clubs' individual sponsorship deals. On the actual pitch, the EPL is not as dominant, and for all its global appeal, "astronomical" TV deals and the wealth of its sides, "the majority of the very best players in the world still seek to ply their trade elsewhere." The great success of the Premier League "is that it manages to be the best league in the world without the best players." The power and enduring appeal of the Premier League "is not in the quality of its football but rather in the excitement it provides and its inherent competitiveness" (BLEACHER REPORT, 2/6).

Palestine FA Chief Jibril Rajoub "has warned he will call for Israel's expulsion from FIFA unless it shows greater willingness to ease the plight of his country's players and officials" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 2/6). ... Members of the Afghan and English football families met in Dubai and agreed to a development program in Afghanistan. The partnership between the FA, EPL and FIFA will support the Afghanistan Football Federation and Afghan Premier League (FA). ... The trade union 'Manos Limpias' (Clean Hands) will file a lawsuit against former Barcelona President Sandro Rosell "and the club's entire Board of Directors for the signing" of Neymar (MARCA, 2/6). ... Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said of the poor attendance for the team's Copa del Rey semifinal first-leg defeat of Real Sociedad on Wednesday, "If I were a fan of Barça, and a game was played at 10 at night and I was working the next day, I would not come to the Camp Nou." The match drew a crowd of 38,505 (MARCA, 2/6).