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Volume 6 No. 194

International Football

FIFA "placed the future of Australian football firmly back in Football Federation Australia's court" and issued a "subtle reminder it is not a stakeholder in the political reform process," according to the AAP. It comes as Professional Footballers Australia on Wednesday wrote to state member federations stating it had "received member backing for a compromised expanded congress model in which it would get only one vote." In a letter dated Aug. 22, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura described this month's "heated meetings" in Sydney as "productive and fruitful," implying there are "no plans at this stage to disband the FFA board" before the Nov. 30 deadline it has imposed. The letter said, "While Fifa and AFC remain committed to providing you with our continued and full support, the responsibility -- as communicated by the joint Fifa/AFC visit in line with the aforementioned decision of the Fifa Member Associations Committee -- to reach agreement on a consensual membership model lies with FFA and the stakeholders (member federations, A-League clubs and PFA)." On three separate occasions in the letter, Samoura specifically identified the stakeholders as the state member federations, A-League clubs and the PFA. FFA, which held a board meeting on Wednesday, "maintained its position that board directors have a right to be actively involved in any debate about the structure of the board they sit on" (AAP, 8/23). In Sydney, Ray Gatt reported FIFA is determined that FFA's congress "is brought in line" with all its member federations around the world -- one that provides for a "far wider representation of stakeholders than is currently in place in Australia." As it stands now, the FFA congress is made up of 10 votes -- nine for the federation members and one for the ­combined 10 A-League clubs. They have the power to nominate and "vote in members" of FFA's independent board. FIFA wants a "more inclusive congress model" that would ­include votes for the likes of PFA, the women's game and other stakeholders such as futsal and the referees (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/24).

STEERING CLEAR: The AAP also reported Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou does not "want any part of the governance dispute." But he is "confident -- one way or another -- football will thrive in the country." Postecoglou "has been conspicuous in his absence from the debate, which could have huge ramifications" for Australian football. He said, "I've stayed out of it. I think my role is to make sure we do well over the next couple of games and see this team and our nation play at the next World Cup. That's where I fit into the puzzle. ... I'm not fearful of the health of the sport. The sport has had far greater issues than it's had at the moment" (AAP, 8/23).

England's all-time leading goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, retired from int'l football "after turning down the chance to be part of the squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers," according to the BBC. The EPL side Everton striker was asked by England Manager Gareth Southgate to be "involved against Malta and Slovakia." Rooney said, "Every time I was selected was a real privilege but I believe now is the time to bow out." The former ManU captain scored 53 times in 119 internationals. His announcement comes two days after he scored his 200th Premier League goal in a 1-1 draw at Man City. After that game, he said that he was "focusing on Everton" rather than an int'l recall. In a statement, Rooney said, "Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton. Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful. I will always remain a passionate England fan. One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side."

COMMENTARY: The BBC's Phil McNulty wrote Rooney retired from int'l football as England's record goalscorer -- and "perhaps with his contribution undervalued." The 31-year-old's career was a "mixture of highs and lows after he truly burst on the global scene as a teenager at Euro 2004, and Rooney will forever be associated with an outstanding group of club players who could not replicate their domestic and European success" at int'l level. England's "lack of success" during his time on the int'l scene "will always be a source of frustration and regret, but history may be kinder to Rooney on reflection upon an stellar career" (BBC, 8/23).

Premier League clubs have "broken their own spending record for the transfer window," a sports analyst group said on Wednesday, with "more deals expected before business closes next Thursday." Southampton's £15M ($19.2M) purchase of Serie A side Lazio centre-back Wesley Hoedt brought the overall spend to £1.185B ($1.52B), website Sporting Intelligence said. The figure exceeded the £1.18B the clubs spent in last summer's window (REUTERS, 8/23).

The head of the video assistant referee project in Germany suggested that "unacceptable" problems with the new technology "could ultimately bring a premature end to the trial period." VAR Project Head Hellmut Krug, a former referee, said that he is "already running out of patience" after problems also occurred at the German Super Cup in early August. He added, "We can't go on like this week in, week out" (, 8/23).

The steroids used by ex-Premier League players Carlos Tevez, Dirk Kuyt and Gabriel Heinze during the 2010 World Cup "should be completely banned," former FIFA Chief Medical Officer Jiri Dvorak said. Tevez, Kuyt and Heinze were given therapeutic use exemptions. Dvorak added the use of the steroid "should be stopped -- full stop" (BBC, 8/23).

Argentine first division side Boca Juniors President Daniel Angelici threatened to take Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to "demand payment" of more than $3M related to the transfer of Tevez. The striker joined Shenhua in January for a transfer fee in the region of €11M and Angelici claims the Chinese side has not paid the Argentine club "since the initial payment was made when the transfer was completed" (REUTERS, 8/23).

The exec committee of the Ukrainian FA voted 28-2 in favor of "continuing to hold Ukrainian Premier League matches in Mariupol, notwithstanding Dynamo Kiev's apparent decision not to play in the city this weekend." Dynamo Kiev VP Andriy Madzianovsky announced that his team would not travel to the southeastern port city for Sunday's game against Mariupol (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/23).