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Volume 10 No. 23

International Football

Germany's construction industry "has reacted with outrage to the accusations of FIFA President Sepp Blatter," according to FOCUS. Blatter said that German companies "are to blame for the poor working conditions at World Cup construction sites in Qatar." Essen-based construction company Hochtief said that during previous projects the construction sites "were inspected daily and included cooling rooms as well as a medical center to combat the extreme heat." In addition, during Ramadan the working hours "were reduced from eight to six." The Main Association of the German Construction Industry (HDB) said, "German companies do not adjust their regulations downwards to meet local minimum standards." The same "is true for sub-contractors" (FOCUS, 4/26).

Barcelona's Dani Alves has "hit out at Spain for being 'very backward' in its approach towards racism and believes the fan who hurled a banana on the pitch in Barcelona's game away to Villarreal on Sunday should be publicly shamed," according to Tim Hanlon of REUTERS. Villarreal subsequently announced that it had "given the supporter a life ban but Alves, who has criticised the level of racism in Spain before, felt it was not enough." Alves: "If I could, I would put a photo of the fan on the Internet so that he would be shamed. There is racism against foreigners. They sell the country as being first world but in certain things they are very backward" (REUTERS, 4/29).

EIGHTH INCIDENT: The EP reported Spain's Interior Ministry has counted eight incidents of "racism, xenophobia or intolerance at football stadiums" that have occurred during the '13-14 season. Sanctions corresponding to these incidents have fined 23 fans from €3,001-€4,000 ($4,100-$5,500) and "issued bans from stadiums for a total of six months" (EP, 4/29).

ALVES' FATHER REACTS: The AFP reported Alves' father, Domingo, said that he would respond to the incident by "planting bananas." He said, "I plant mangoes, coconuts, melons, watermelons, passionfruit -- and now I'm going to plant bananas" (AFP, 4/30).

ASPROCAN APPLAUSE: The EFE reported the Canary Islands' Association of Banana Producers (ASPROCAN) on Tuesday "applauded the gestures of those who used the fruit on social media to speak out against racism and intolerance." ASPROCAN said in a statement, "We want to bring together these two football clubs, their fans and the thousands who have expressed their disgust with what happened, showing that sports remains an exceptional example of coexistence and respect" (EFE, 4/29).

FIFA Medical Committee Chair Michel D'Hooghe said that FIFA will run up $250,000 in extra costs "as a result of having to send samples from this summer's World Cup across the Atlantic for analysis," as he set out plans for the most extensive anti-doping controls ever at int'l football's flagship tournament, according to David Owen of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. D'Hooghe explained that "almost 1,000 anti-doping controls in all would be effected, with all 736 selected players undergoing out-of-competition blood and urine tests." D'Hooghe confirmed that "testing would be conducted for the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone (hGH), as well as for anabolic steroids." For the first time, information collected at a World Cup "will be used to help to construct footballers' biological profiles, in an attempt to pinpoint suspicious patterns that might be indicative of doping." D'Hooghe said that "FIFA has decided to keep Brazil 2014 samples for eight years, to permit retrospective testing where this is judged necessary" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 4/29).

Ligue 1 side AS Monaco announced that it will participate in this year's Copa EuroAmericana, which will take place after the World Cup and before the start of the '14-15 club season. AS Monaco will play Colombian sides Atlético Junior and Atlético Nacional. The Ligue 1 side will face Atlético Junior in Barranquilla, Colombia on July 20 and will travel to Miami to play Atlético Nacional on July 23. La Liga side Atlético Madrid and Serie A side Fiorentina will also represent Europe in the competition, which debuted in '13 (EFE, 4/28). ... Real Madrid Dir General José Ángel Sánchez and club execs agreed before Tuesday's Champions League semifinal return leg against Bayern Munich that Real's players will each receive a bonus of €800,000 ($1.1M) if the club completes a treble -- which would include winning the Champions League and La Liga, as Real already won this year's Copa del Rey. Real defeated Bayern 4-0 on Tuesday to advance to the Champions League final. Winning the Champions League will mean each player receives €400,000 ($552,300), while the bonus for winning La Liga will be €300,000 ($414,200). These rewards, though, "are not bigger" than the €1M ($1.4M) bonuses PSG players were offered "in case they would have won the Champions League" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 4/29). ... A two-member delegation from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) is in Qatar to meet and forge closer bonds with the Qatar FA "and to discuss new ways in which the two organizations can collaborate and learn from each other." The group "discussed footballing matters and ways in which a memorandum of understanding can be signed and implemented between the two organizations" (THE PENINSULA, 4/29). ... Inter Milan has learned it will have to play its next two home Serie A matches "in front of a closed Curva Nord." The decision comes after the "majority" of Nerazzurri fans sitting in that section of San Siro were judged to have sung "discriminatory chants." The club "has also been fined" €50,000 ($69,000) (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 4/29).