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Volume 10 No. 25

World Cup

Uruguay striker Luis Suárez "faces being sent home from the World Cup in disgrace" after FIFA charged the Liverpool striker with biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, according to Bonnici, Cue, Barrett & Hawkey of the LONDON TIMES. Suárez could receive a ban of up to 24 int'l matches, "which would keep him out of Uruguay’s remaining matches in Brazil." Suárez’s club, Liverpool, is "making no comment" while the FIFA investigation continues. Although the incident was missed by Marco Rodríguez, the match referee, FIFA’s disciplinary committee "has taken retrospective action only hours after Uruguay’s controversial 1-0 group D win over Italy in Natal." FIFA said, “Fifa can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suárez of Uruguay." FIFA VP & Referees Chief Jim Boyce added that Suárez’s "actions have left him open to severe criticism" as he called on FIFA to "investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary" (LONDON TIMES, 6/25). REUTERS' William Schomberg wrote FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer said the Disciplinary Committee's proceedings were still at "an early stage" and she said that "FIFA would not comment on possible outcomes or any potential punishments for Suárez." Fischer: "We will get an update to you later today or tomorrow or whenever they take their decision." The Disciplinary Committee "has asked Uruguay to send documentation relating to the case" by 5pm local time on Wednesday (REUTERS, 6/25). In London, Tom Lutz wrote the incident occurred "with the score at 0-0." Suárez "leaned into Chiellini before appearing to bite his opponent’s shoulder." Suárez "defended himself on Uruguayan television after the match." Suárez: "These situations happen on the pitch" (GUARDIAN, 6/25).

ON THE DEFENSIVE: FOOTBALL ITALIA reported the Uruguayan FA is "preparing an interesting approach" to its defense. Its lawyers will maintain the images of bite marks were "photoshopped" to make the incident look more serious than it was (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 6/25). REUTERS' Malena Castaldi reported Suárez's lawyer believes that "there is a European campaign against the controversial striker." Uruguay FA board member Alejandro Balbi, who is also Suárez's lawyer, said, "We don't have any doubts that this has happened because it's Suárez and secondly because Italy was eliminated" (REUTERS, 6/25).

FOOTBALL WORLD REACTS: In London, Jack de Menezes wrote former ManU player Paul Scholes said that handing Suárez a 10-match ban or suspending him from the remainder of the World Cup "would not be sufficient punishment." Scholes "blasted the striker," and feels that a lengthy ban -- longer than the 10 matches he received for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic -- "is the only way that the punishment can fit the crime." Another "controversial character" in Queens Park Rangers player Joey Barton expressed his view on what the alleged bite from Suárez was down to, which in his eyes "comes with the territory" of being a "winner." However, former Liverpool player Robbie Fowler believes that "the latest incident could signal the end" of Suárez’s career at Anfield. Fowler admitted that Suárez has left himself indefensible, and that what he did on Tuesday had left the ex-Reds striker "flummoxed" with the difference in his behavior on and off the pitch. With both Real Madrid and Barcelona linked with big-money moves for Suárez, "it remains to be seen whether the Merseyside club are now willing to part with a player who they fought tooth and nail to keep hold of last season, or whether his latest indiscretion has put off the Spanish club’s from pursuing their top transfer target" (INDEPENDENT, 6/25). In London, Mark Ogden wrote "armed soldiers patrolled Uruguay's team hotel in Natal" in the wake of the latest controversy surrounding Suárez. Individual guards "lined the outside of the hotel, with two truck loads of troops also parked outside the team base" (TELEGRAPH, 6/25).

AROUND THE GLOBE: The story received mixed coverage in newspapers globally. The Liverpool Echo splashed the Suárez story across its front page under the headline "He Needs Help." In Italy, most papers played up Italy's defeat in the game instead of the biting incident. In Uruguay, El Pais' front page featured a picture of jubilant Uruguay fans celebrating the club's victory in the street, with no mention of Suárez (SBD Global).

Ghana has sent a plane carrying $3M in cash to Brazil to "pay the World Cup appearance fees" owed to the national team, according to Ekow Dontoh of BLOOMBERG. Ghana Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yammin said, "The players insisted that they will want physical cash." Ghana President John Dramani Mahama "contacted the team and the arrangements for payment were made." The players were expected to be paid on Wednesday and the "government will be reimbursed by money awarded to Ghana by FIFA." FIFA said, "President Mahama waded into the matter after agitation from the Black Stars players. President Mahama personally spoke to the players to assure them the money will be paid by Wednesday afternoon" (BLOOMBERG, 6/25). In London, Stuart James reported Ghana’s players have promised that they will not boycott Thursday’s crucial World Cup group game against Portugal after an "extraordinary row" over appearance money. Ghana coach James Appiah said that "he had suffered sleepless nights dealing with the problem and expressed his dismay that his players had not been paid long before." Ghana’s appearance bonus "was agreed before arriving in Brazil." However, when that money failed to arrive by the start of this week, the players "decided to take a stand." It is understood that they "refused to train on Tuesday" (GUARDIAN, 6/25).

Colombian police said that "at least 10 towns and cities joined Bogota in banning alcohol sales" on Tuesday as the national team won first place in its World Cup group, after "prior revelries left more than 10 people dead," according to Medina & Jenkins of BLOOMBERG. Cali, the country's third-biggest city, "banned alcohol sales for off-site or on-site consumption" until 6am Wednesday. A teenager in Cali was "reportedly killed by a stray bullet as fans celebrated a 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast on June 19." Colombia National Police Head of Citizen Security Jorge Hernando Nieto said, "How can you not celebrate in peace?” (BLOOMBERG, 6/24).

Media tracker Moreover Technologies has come up with a "number of data sets around how the media worldwide is covering the World Cup and what is trending in terms of stories," according to INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The U.K. and the U.S. are the forerunners, "predictably so from their status as media powerhouses," in a map showing the "amount of coverage that each part of the globe" is giving to the World Cup. Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who pulled off a "heroic display to deny Brazil and earn a draw" on June 17, was the "most talked about player within the 24 hours proceeding their game, taking an enormous 20% share of traffic." As of Tuesday, World Cup coverage had reached more than 470,000 articles published, "with more than 20,000 in the previous 24 hours alone." The U.S. team had "dominating coverage among the 32 teams, mentioned in nearly 10% of all articles" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 6/25).

Italy's failure to advance past the group stage "led to the immediate and 'irrevocable' resignations" of both Manager Cesare Prandelli and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Giancarlo Abete. Prandelli: "When a professional project fails, it is right to take the responsibility." This was "the first time in 48 years that Italy had failed in successive World Cups to get beyond the initial round" (London GUARDIAN, 6/24). ... Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi resigned from his post. He stepped down "despite seeing his side come within a minute of qualifying for the knock-out stages" (SKY SPORTS, 6/25). ... Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni "has quit"after his side failed to reach the last 16 at the World Cup. The Italian, 61, who replaced Takeshi Okada in '10, "had said originally he would wait until he returned to Japan before considering his future" (BBC, 6/25). ... Thai police said on Wednesday that they have "arrested more than 1,000 people, including four foreigners, in a crackdown on illegal betting during the World Cup." The arrests come amid a "wider blitz on gambling by the new junta in a bid to 'uphold social order' in Thailand" (AFP, 6/25).