Germany's Mesut Özil said in a Facebook post that he is supporting the surgery of 23 children in Brazil, as a "thank you to the hospitality of the people of Brazil," according to Carmen Fishwick of the London GUARDIAN. Reports that Özil would give his £237,000 ($406,000) bonus for helping Germany win the World Cup final, and the £118,000 ($202,000) for the team's semi-final win, to the children of Gaza "were denied by the player's representative." The Algeria World Cup team "will donate" its entire World Cup prize fund to Gaza. Greece's national team rejected its World Cup bonuses, "instead asking for the money to be used to build a new national training centre" (GUARDIAN, 7/17).
UEFA said that it's Emergency Panel "has decided Russian and Ukrainian clubs cannot be drawn against each other in a UEFA competition in the upcoming season," according to Dmitriy Rogovitskiy of REUTERS. The decision was taken "after months of tension between the two countries following Russia's annexation of Crimea and civil unrest in the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine." UEFA said in a statement, "In light of the current political situation, the Russian Football Union and the Football Federation of Ukraine have expressed concerns about safety and security in the case of Russian and Ukrainian teams being drawn against each other in UEFA competition." As a result, Russian Premier League side Zenit St. Petersburg and Ukrainian Premier League side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk "will be prevented from being pitted together" when the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw is made on Friday (REUTERS, 7/17).
NO MATCHES IN ISRAEL: The AP reported UEFA "is barring Israeli teams from playing European matches at home while the fighting between Israel and Hamas continues." The decision by UEFA's emergency panel "will affect Israeli teams playing in the Champions League and Europa League." Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Tel Aviv "had been due to host a qualifying game in the Champions League and Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the Europa League this month" (AP, 7/18).
FIFA announced on Thursday that Germany's World Cup triumph has seen the team "rise to the top of the world rankings for the first time in 20 years," according to Tony Goodson of REUTERS. The 1-0 victory in the final has taken it up one place to top spot, ahead of its opponent in the Brazil final, Argentina, which rises three to second. The Netherlands moves up "a hefty 12 rungs on the ladder to third" after its World Cup third-place finish. Spain has "paid the penalty for not progressing from the group stages in Brazil" by dropping from first to eighth place, with Colombia, Belgium and Uruguay occupying the places above it (REUTERS, 7/17). The London TELEGRAPH wrote England is "officially worse" than the U.S. and Costa Rica. The team's "disappointing display" at the World Cup "has seen them slump" 10 places to 20th in the latest FIFA rankings. England's average position since the start of FIFA's world ranking system is 10, "with the lowest recorded position 27" during Feb. '96. Scotland, meanwhile, remains 27th and Wales 44th, with Northern Ireland up one spot to 89 while the Republic of Ireland is ranked 70th (TELEGRAPH, 7/17).
Spanish lawyer Xavier Albert Canal, who specializes in sports law, said of the sanctions Luis Suárez is facing, "I believe the Court of Arbitration for Sport could reduce the penalty," according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Canal: "Before the season starts I believe the CAS could rule in Barcelona's favor. It is not right that Suárez cannot practice and that they cannot present him. You can't stop a person from doing an activity. He can be sanctioned to be prevented from playing but not in this manner. It is absurd that he cannot practice or be introduced. FIFA has us accustomed to some strange resolutions" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/17). In Barcelona, Josep Capdevila reported attorney Octavio Fragata of Brazilian law firm Tozzini Freire, who has "experience with CAS proceedings," believes that the Suárez case "will end up being decided by the CAS." Fragata said, "The question of justice is difficult to answer, but we could say that in the case of Suárez, the sanction has been applied in the correct manner. ... The applicable regulations authorize a temporary suspension of the sanctions until a ruling from the CAS, so Barcelona could be able to achieve this" (SPORT, 7/16).
Ex-Sierra Leone captain Ibrahim Kargbo "is among 15 players and officials who have been suspended indefinitely over allegations of match-fixing." The three other players implicated "are Ibrahim Koroma, Samuel Barlay and Christian Caulker." The allegations "relate to a World Cup qualifier against South Africa in 2008 which ended goalless" (BBC, 7/16). ... The vanishing spray "used by referees at the World Cup could appear in the S-League and Malaysian Super League." Officials from the FA of Singapore and FA of Malaysia "have lauded the spray's use" and are considering introducing it in their domestic competitions (STRAITS TIMES, 7/17). ... Pakistan's football team is "set to tour India for a two-match series" as the two nations resume their rivalry after a nine-year hiatus. The last time the two sides met "was in 2005." The Pakistan team will visit India from Aug. 16-21 and play matches on Aug. 17 and 20 in Bangalore (AFP, 7/17).