The way FIFA did business in order to secure a top Chinese sponsor for the World Cup has been "seriously called into question by the man who claims he brokered the deal but was cut out from receiving commission in return," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Agents may have acquired "bad press" across European football but Tony McGill has taken legal action claiming "misuse of confidential information." McGill is seeking to find out "why FIFA overlooked him" in its multi-million pound agreement with Chinese smartphone company Vivo for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. McGill claimed he was the intermediary who "brought the two parties together," having already brokered a similar deal between Vivo and Premier League clubs via marketing rights company Lagardère. FIFA was issued with a court order to appear on Monday in Newcastle, close to McGill’s hometown of Sunderland, to "explain how it conducted negotiations." However, it instructed a firm of London lawyers, Couchmans, to dispute U.K. jurisdiction and "refused to attend" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 2/12).
Ligue 1 side Nice footballer Mario Balotelli's booking for "complaining about alleged racist chanting" during his club's defeat at Dijon on Saturday was described as "unacceptable and wrong" by anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, according to the PA. Balotelli was seen gesturing to the crowd while talking to referee Nicolas Rainville during the second half of the match but the former Man City, Liverpool and Italy striker was "cautioned for his actions." Nice later tweeted a picture of Rainville booking Balotelli with a caption that said he was given the yellow card for "getting annoyed with racist insults from the public." Kick It Out said that it was "shocked" to see the 27-year-old striker receive a booking for trying to inform an official about chanting he believes was racist. In a statement, the organization said, "It is unacceptable and wrong to see that once again, a match official has failed to apply the Uefa protocol -- in place for a number of years -- which requires action to be taken to stop the game to deal with the offending abuse" (PA, 2/12).
Atlético Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium was chosen as the venue for this season's Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Sevilla, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Monday. The game, which will take place on April 21, "will be the first final to be held at the 68,000-capacity arena," which opened in September and will also host the 2019 Champions League final (REUTERS, 2/12).
The Qatar FA and the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) signed a cooperation agreement on Monday. The deal focuses on cooperation in several key areas, including technical and professional exchanges, national teams, exchange of expertise (including coach education and youth development), game development, player development and referee development (QFA).
Two bomb threats were reportedly made via phone calls -- at virtually the same time -- to the home stadiums of Argentine first division clubs River Plate and Lanús "just before a game between the two teams." The match was "able to take place, with Lanús winning 1-0." Police "denied the presence of any explosives after a security operation carried out two hours before kickoff." The "same thing recently happened at River Plate's stadium, when a phone call falsely claimed there was a bomb" (DPA, 2/12).