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Volume 6 No. 266
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Football Notes: FIFA Rankings 'Loophole' Likely To Disappear

A "loophole that allows national teams to boost their seedings for the World Cup by avoiding friendly matches is likely to disappear" after next year’s tournament in Russia, with changes due to the int'l calendar and a FIFA review of its rankings system. Currently, seedings are based on the FIFA world rankings, "using a points system which calculates average points for each game and is weighted against friendly matches" (REUTERS, 11/16).

A-League side Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp "lashed out" at Football Federation Australia, "accusing it of failing to embrace a proper strategy that will help boost attendances" for the league. Mielekamp’s "displeasure" comes after the Mariners attracted just 5,000 fans to Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to Adelaide United in Gosford. The club "was unhappy that it was forced to play on a night and timeslot that was totally unsuitable" for its supporters (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/18).

Denmark's national women's team "received a four-year suspended ban" from UEFA competition matches "for which it would otherwise qualify" after refusing to play a World Cup qualifying game with Sweden. The Euro 2017 finalist went on strike "over pay and conditions," causing the game on Oct. 20 to be called off (BBC, 11/17).

A total of 159,402 tickets for the 2018 World Cup (98% of those currently available) have been allocated to fans around the world through FIFA.com/tickets. Only special-access tickets remained a few hours after the ticket sales period opened. Some 51% of the ticket applications have been placed by Russian fans, with int'l demand accounting for the remaining 49% (FIFA). 

China officially decided to establish two national women's football teams, the Red Team and the Yellow Team. The Chinese FA said in an official statement that this move "aims to enable China to make it to the top" of women's football, as well as prepare for major int'l events. It is expected the Red Team will act as the first team to participate in int'l games, while the Yellow Team will become the reserves (YUTANG, 11/15).