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Volume 7 No. 149

International Football

The Premier League agreed to give outgoing Exec Chair Richard Scudamore a "golden handshake" worth £5M ($6.4M) "despite objections from some clubs and supporter groups," according to Murad Ahmed of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Chelsea Chair Bruce Buck, who leads the EPL's audit and remuneration committee, asked the 20 clubs in English football’s top division to contribute £250,000 ($319,000) each to the parting bonus for Scudamore. The payment was "supported and endorsed" by the clubs, according to an EPL statement on Thursday. The payment will be spread over the next three years (FT, 11/15).

AN EYE ON THE FUTURE: In London, Morgan & Burt reported defending the payment to Scudamore, the league said in a statement, "It was vital that a comprehensive set of non-compete clauses were extended, to ensure the best possible protection for the future of the Premier League. It was agreed that it is crucial for the League’s ongoing success that Richard’s unique knowledge and experience remain available in an advisory capacity" (TELEGRAPH, 11/15). In London, Ed Aarons reported Tottenham Chair Daniel Levy defended the payment. He said, "Richard has made an outstanding contribution to English football. The Premier League is the most supported league the world and he has unique knowledge and experience which is going to be an ongoing benefit to the Premier League over the next three years." Previously, the Football Supporters' Federation described the proposed payment as "hugely unpopular" with supporters. The FSF said, "Premier League clubs have always told fan groups that budgets are planned in advance and there's not a surplus of cash lying around from their extremely lucrative TV deal. ... Now it appears clubs can stick their hands down the back of the sofa and find £250,000 at a moment's notice" (GUARDIAN, 11/15).

Expansion of the A-League for next season "is back on the agenda, as hopes rise" that the new board of Football Federation Australia will "give the green light for two new teams to start in October," according to Smithies & Kemp of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. As the 11 candidates for election to FFA’s board "jostle for position ahead of Monday’s deciding annual general meeting," A-League management has made "substantial steps forward in compiling a shortlist of bidders" it believes would be "ready to launch for next season." Once the new FFA board is elected on Monday, a recommendation for preferred bidders will be presented to it "as soon as possible afterwards" -- plus the "strong suggestion that the new teams should be introduced next season." The selections will come from six remaining bidders that have "made it this far:" the two Sydney-based consortiums, Southern Expansion and Macarthur South West Sydney (NSW), three from Victoria including Western Melbourne, Team 11 and South Melbourne, plus Canberra. It "remains unclear whether the new board will meet immediately or take its time" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 11/15).

Premier League clubs "agreed in principle" to introduce VAR from the start of next season, they said on Thursday, according to Baldwin & Vyas of REUTERS. The top leagues in Spain, Italy and Germany "are already using VAR." The English clubs were provided with an update on this season’s VAR trials, with "key examples" of its use in the FA Cup and English Football League Cup "discussed in detail." The EPL said in a statement, "The League will now formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and (world body) FIFA to use VAR next season" (REUTERS, 11/15).

AFC DEBUT: REUTERS' Simon Jennings reported VAR will be used from the quarterfinals of next year’s Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday. The AFC, which initially announced its plans to introduce the system in September, "confirmed that it would be employed at seven matches at the 2019 Asian Cup" (REUTERS, 11/15).

FIFA reforms which include the reintroduction of entrance examinations for football agents are "likely to be imposed" by '20. The step comes "just three years after deregulation," which meant any person could act on behalf of a player regardless of previous qualifications. Though no final decision has been made, it is reportedly "likely" that agents who passed exams before the last changes in '15 will be granted immunity in the new system. Recently-established agents "will be given two opportunities over a 12-month period to pass new tests" (London INDEPENDENT, 11/15).

European clubs are "committed to working with UEFA on the future of competitions such as the Champions League," the governing body said on Wednesday "in the wake of reports that a breakaway Super League was back on the agenda." Following a meeting of the Professional Football Strategy Council, UEFA said that "unity" is the key to European football success "at all levels" (REUTERS, 11/14).

UEFA execs will meet this week to "tackle concerns over clubs in the Champions League charging visiting fans up to three times as much as home supporters." Liverpool is among the clubs invited to the meeting, along with Bayern Munich, Paris St. Germain, Sevilla and Porto, as well as the European Clubs' Association (LONDON TIMES, 11/14).

Football-related arrests in England and Wales have "more than halved in the past decade," according to new figures. Arrests have "steadily fallen this century" and were down 6% in '17-18 compared with the previous season. For the third consecutive year, more League Championship side Birmingham City fans were arrested (95) than any other club in England's top five leagues. The Championship had the most arrests (591), up 22% from '16-17, while Premier League clubs had 374 arrests (BBC, 11/15).