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Volume 10 No. 24

International Football

Argentine football "remained in a state of shock" after the death of Argentine FA President Julio Grondona on Wednesday, who had led the body since '79, according to LOS ANDES. According to AFA statutes, 1st VP Luis Segura will take over as president and "work with the rest of the directors until a decision is made." Juan Carlos Crespi will "move up one position to fill Segura's role as 1st VP." Grondona had said he would be retiring in '15. It is "currently unknown who will apply to be the replacement for Grondona." AFA spokesperson Ernesto Cherquis Bialo confirmed the body's next steps, saying, "Luis Segura will be president, as the statutes mandate. Later there will be an assembly in October and an election will be called." The question of "What will happen in Argentine football when Julio Grondona dies?" has been asked by directors, fans and "all football people for some time." To start, Bialo said that the new president of the AFA will serve until Oct. '15, when a new election will be held (LOS ANDES, 7/31).

FOOTBALL WORLD MOURNS DEATH: LOS ANDES reported many "top personalities in football" took to Twitter to comment on Grondona's death. Argentine Man City footballer Martín Demichelis tweeted, "My condolences and a big hug for the Grondona family. I lament the loss of Don Julio. Pain for Argentine football."

The Argentine national team tweeted a message announcing that all AFA games scheduled for the weekend "will be delayed for a week" to honor Grondona.
Buenos Aires Provincial Governor Daniel Scioli tweeted about the way Grondona "helped bring football to every Argentine home" (LOS ANDES, 7/31).

EPL Everton's signing of Romelu Lukaku is "not just an indication of the ambition of the club... it is the dawn of a new financial reality in the Premier League," according to David Maddock of the London DAILY MIRROR. Welcome to the "brave new world of English football." The reason behind it "is simple: TV money." The top flight clubs have "received a massive windfall in excess" of £25M ($42.2M) from deals agreed by the Premier League for "overseas revenue." Next year, "there will be even more." That is why West Brom has spent an "eye-watering" £12.5M ($21.1M) on Ideye Brown, West Ham £15M ($25.3M) on Enner Valencia and Hull £10M ($17M) on converting Jake Livermore's loan deal. It is football "on steroids." Everton, though, has taken a "step further than those clubs because they have other ambitions, driven by their manager." Everton Manager Roberto Martinez knows the "middle pack of teams will use their money to buy several players in order to take small steps forward." He wants "not just to outpace them, but to stride towards the teams at the very top" (DAILY MIRROR, 7/30).

FIFA has said that it will monitor Qatar's "treatment of migrant workers building the 2022 World Cup facilities closely, following revelations that labourers on the first stadium under construction have been earning as little as 45p an hour and working up to 30 days a month," according to Robert Booth of the London GUARDIAN. A FIFA spokesperson said that it had "repeatedly urged the Qatari authorities to address any unacceptable conditions for migrant workers in the country." The spokesperson added that while Qatar's reforms of workers' welfare represent a "significant step in the right direction," it would monitor implementation closely for "concrete actions in the months ahead." FIFA said in a statement, "We are doing everything in our power to improve the welfare of migrant workers and to use the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for positive social change." Labour Shadow Int'l Development Secretary Jim Murphy said that the revelations were "utterly devastating for FIFA and Qatar 2022." Murphy: "When abuse of workers was first unearthed, football authorities assured us there would be change." Qatar's World Cup organizing committee said, "There are challenges with calculation of overtime pay and hours and we are working with the contractor to rectify any non-compliance" (GUARDIAN, 7/30).

The German Statistics Office said that beer sales rose in Germany, Europe's biggest producer, in the first half of the year "thanks to a big jump in demand" during the FIFA World Cup in June, according to Emma Anderson of REUTERS. The increase "is good news for brewers in Germany, whose sales have suffered for most of the last two decades." Around 48 million hectoliters of beer "were sold in the first six months of the year," an increase of 4.4% from the same period last year. The office said, "The rise in sales in the first half of the year was driven by (a sharp increase) in June, when the World Cup tournament began in Brazil." The DBB brewing association said that the last annual rise in beer sales was in '06 "when Germany hosted the World Cup." Germans "still drink more beer per head than most of the world, trailing only their neighbours in the Czech Republic and Austria" (REUTERS, 7/31).

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has summoned Luis Suarez, "currently serving a four-month ban" from all football-related activities, to a hearing on Aug. 8. Sources said that CAS will "apply its fast-track procedure and should rule on Suarez's appeal against his suspension in mid-August" (EFE, 7/31). ... South Korean FA technical chief Lee Yong-soo said on Thursday that South Korea has "narrowed the search for a new national team football coach to three foreign candidates." Lee said that the committee had "considered 17 local and 30 foreign coaches to come up with their shortlist." Lee: "All three are foreign coaches. One Korean coach met the requirements but after the technical committee discussion we have decided to rule him out this time" (REUTERS, 7/31). ... Neymar said on Thursday that his injured back is "healing well and he is aiming to return to action in a friendly for his club Barcelona on Aug. 18." He said, "I am recovering bit by bit from the injury and I will arrive in Barcelona at 100 percent" (REUTERS, 7/31).