Long-time AFA president Julio Grondona (Getty Images)

Challenger emerges against Argentine football boss
FIFA senior vice president Julio Grondona apparently won’t go unchallenged in his bid for a ninth straight term at the helm of the Argentina Football Association. According to an Associated Press report, the president of top-tier club Velez Sarsfield plans to run against the 80-year-old incumbent in elections scheduled for Oct. 18. ”We are a group of leaders looking for an alternative to the actual leadership of AFA,” said Fernando Raffaini in reference to the support he enjoys from at least four other first-division clubs in Argentina. This marks only the second time since 1979 that Grondona has faced opposition for the federation presidency. “Don Julio” is still expected to beat Raffaini.

CAF approves new marketing deal, aid to Horn of Africa
IFAP Sports Company will market some of African football’s biggest events for another five years. CAF’s executive committee decided this week to renew the seven-year-old relationship in a contract that includes the 2012, 2014 and 2016 African Women’s Nations Cup; the 2013 and 2015 U-17 African Championship as well as the 2012, 2014 and 2016 African Futsal Championship. Also in Cairo, CAF approved a $200,000 donation to help drought victims in the Horn of Africa, a region that includes Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Qatar welcomes AFC taskforce

The AFC mission team meets with Qatar Stars League officials Tuesday. (AFC)

A special mission team from the Asian Football Confederation is in Qatar this week as part of an ongoing drive to improve the Gulf state’s football ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “All Qatari teams have expressed their gratitude for this unprecedented project of the AFC,” the Qatar Stars League’s AFC Committee Chairman Hani Balan told his AFC colleagues Tuesday upon their arrival in Doha. They will remain in Qatar through Monday to help clubs qualify for the next edition of the AFC Champions League. “We will try our best to share our experience with your league and clubs, but at the same time we also like you to share your knowledge and experience with the other leagues and clubs,” said taskforce spokesman Maksat Klychmamedov. Besides the massive construction projects and infrastructural overhaul already underway in Qatar, the country still has a long way to go performance-wise to prepare for the FIFA finals. As hosts, the Gulf state receives an automatic berth into the tournament.


delegation bound for Qatari sports business conference

FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell will head to Doha on Nov. 15 to address ASPIRE4SPORT 2011, organizers of the four-day sport business exhibition have announced. “It’s a unique opportunity for the global sport business marketplace to connect and network with senior decision makers in Qatari sport,” ASPIRE4SPORT 2011 executive director Ward Abdallah said. Joining Rosell from Barca will be legendary goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, VP of economics and strategy Javier Faus as well as some of the club’s coaches, who will lead a series of football clinics in the Gulf state capital.

INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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