Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 193

International Football

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg "has demanded that Russia be stripped of the right to host the 2018 World Cup following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet by Moscow-backed rebels," according to Shipman & Leppard of the SUNDAY TIMES. Clegg said it would be “unthinkable” for Putin to enjoy the prestige of hosting the global football tournament and called for “tougher sanctions” on Moscow. He said the Russian president’s behavior had "reached a tipping point" and was "beyond the pale in this day and age."  He warned that failure to “pull the plug on the World Cup” would “make the rest of the world look so weak and so insincere.” Clegg: “You can’t have the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.” Clegg did not rule out targeting London-based oligarchs such as Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, "who has a large stake in Arsenal." He said, “We’re looking at all options and we’ll do so without fear or favor” (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/27). In London, Sam Coates wrote British PM David Cameron "has refused to join calls for Russia to be stripped" of hosting the Cup. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister does not believe we should reach immediately for boycotts, but it is also not surprising, given Russian behaviour, that people are starting to raise the issue. It shows the importance of Russia changing course, before its international standing is damaged even further” (LONDON TIMES, 7/28). BLOOMBERG'S Sara Marley wrote FIFA said the 2018 World Cup in Russia can be “a force for good,” rejecting calls to boycott or move the tournament amid the crisis in Ukraine. In a statement, FIFA said, “The hosting of the FIFA World Cup with the global attention it attracts can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments. We have seen that the FIFA World Cup can be a force for good and FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia” (BLOOMBERG, 7/25).

FA Chair Greg Dyke "has delivered a damning indictment" of the FA’s key figures and warned that "there must be drastic changes made at the top if the game is to progress," according to John Percy of the London TELEGRAPH. Dyke insisted that the governing body’s members were "overwhelmingly male and white" in a "blunt assessment" at the Supporters Summit. Dyke "also defended the England Commission, the controversial four-point plan to revolutionise football which has polarised opinion, and reiterated that more must be done to increase the number of young talents" in the country (TELEGRAPH, 7/26). REUTERS' Martyn Herman wrote Dyke said the governing body was in danger of becoming "irrelevant." Dyke: "If you look at who's supporting, who's playing, football and then you look at the FA Council -- it doesn't represent them. It's still overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly white in a world that isn't overwhelmingly male and white and somehow that has to be changed." The FA Council consists of around 120 members from both the professional and amateur circles of the game "and are responsible for helping to make policy decisions for the organisation" (REUTERS, 7/26). The BBC's Richard Conway wrote it also comes after FA independent board member Heather Rabbatts "complained last year about the lack of diversity on the FA chairman's flagship England commission." The Football Supporters Federation campaigns on behalf of football fans, and Chair Malcolm Clarke "sits on the FA Council as the fans' representative." Clarke "declined to comment on Dyke's claims." However, an FSF spokesperson said, "It is important that the FA Council is an influential voice but it is important that it is representative. Football fans are a diverse group and the FA Council should reflect that" (BBC, 7/26).

Former FIFA Deputy Secretary-General Jerome Champagne said that China must successfully bid for a World Cup and host FIFA club and youth tournaments "to fast-track football's development," according to Matthew Hall of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Champagne, who intends to run against FIFA President Sepp Blatter in next May's election, said that "China must be at the forefront" of any future FIFA strategy to develop the sport globally. Champagne said that the China FA "should restructure based on Germany's model that proved successful at the World Cup in Brazil." Champagne: "The objective must be for China to bid for the World Cup. Bidding for the World Cup and hosting it is a huge speeding-up process for the development of the sport" (SCMP, 7/26).