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Volume 7 No. 149

International Football

Concerns "are growing among some A-League expansion bidders" that Football Federation Australia will opt for the consortiums that "pledge the most money upfront," after several were advised to offer higher bids by FFA’s corporate advisers, according to Tom Smithies of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. But A-League execs insist that "all bids which are deemed financially viable will be assessed on their merits when the final decision is made next month." With the governing body’s new board "poised to rubberstamp the addition of two new teams for next season" at its first meeting on Dec. 12, FFA management will recommend two of six bids whose offers are understood to "span a broad range in value" from A$10M ($7.2M) to A$20M ($14.5M). All bidders have been told that the license fees they pay "will have to cover all of the running costs of the new teams for the four years until a new broadcast deal is signed," though FFA will receive a "small amount more" from its current TV deal in two years’ time if the league expands. Some expansion bidders are believed to have "offered an added premium in the hope of securing" a license, while others have been asked if they "can raise their bids" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 11/26).

Genoa, Italy, offered to host the postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors, "stressing the role immigrants from the city had in founding the two Buenos Aires clubs," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. CONMEBOL is due to meet both clubs on Tuesday to "discuss rescheduling and the venue." The first leg at Boca's stadium ended 2-2. The Genoa city government confirmed in a statement on Monday that it had written to the clubs offering to host the game. Genoa Sports Dir Stefano Anzalone said, "We would be very proud to host important clubs like Boca and River in our city by welcoming them in what, in some ways, is also their first home" (REUTERS, 11/26). In N.Y., Rory Smith reported Tuesday's meeting will decide "when -- or if, really -- the game will go ahead." Boca is reportedly "discussing possible legal challenges if the resolution is not to its liking" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/26). In Madrid, Andrés Burgo reported although "he did not make it explicit," Boca President Daniel Angelici "wants River to be sanctioned with the loss of points," and for Boca to be declared the winner of the final without the second leg being played (EL PAÍS, 11/25).

Spanish football clubs' collective debt decreased from €635M at the end of '10 to €218M at the end of '17, a 66% drop, Spain's Court of Auditors announced Monday. The court said that in '10, 92% of the tax debt of the clubs was concentrated in La Liga and Spanish second division sides, while in '17, La Liga clubs owed less than those in Spain's third tier (EFE, 11/26).

La Liga side Alavés and Kagoshima United "joined forces to help the Japanese club develop its sporting project for its senior team and youth program." The clubs' collaboration will feature "information technology being applied to both sports and marketing." Alavés also has a partnership with Croatian side Istra and owns an 85% stake in Ligue 2 club Sochaux (MARCA, 11/25).

VAR has "many more available eyes for judging critical errors" at "big ticket" A-League matches like Sunday's game between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. Marquee matches have up to seven cameras more than an "average" match. Fox Sports Exec Producer of Football Murray Shaw said that the exclusive A-League broadcaster is providing VAR every requirement demanded by FIFA and the Int'l FA Board. Shaw said that Fox Sports has eight cameras for every A-League match (THE ADVERTISER, 11/25).

ManU is "struggling" to sell tickets for Tuesday's Champions League match against Young Boys at Old Trafford. ManU can book its place in the knockout rounds with victory over the Swiss champion but the club has "failed to sell out" and is offering tickets on general sale (ESPN.com, 11/26).

League Championship side Birmingham City's "fight against potential points deduction" will be heard in February. The club is facing the prospect of being docked up to 12 points after being found to have breached the English Football League's profitability and sustainability rules on spending. Birmingham City was "hit with a transfer embargo" at the end of last season after exceeding the permitted losses of £39M over a three-year period (London TELEGRPAH, 11/26).

FIFA, the Int'l Centre for Sport Studies (CIES) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) partnered to launch the Football Exec Program -- a new professional development course designed to enhance football administration across the Caribbean region. The program will start in January (FIFA).