Umberto Gandini is also a vice-chairman of the European Club Association’s governing board. (Getty Images)

European clubs consider breakaway from FIFA, UEFA
Top clubs in Europe may be considering a departure from both FIFA and UEFA unless the governing bodies answer their concerns. “We are the ones who invest the money, we are the ones who develop the players, we are the ones who give the players a reason to play,” AC Milan director Umberto Gandini told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “Without the clubs, what do you think they are going to do?” According to the Guardian, sides such as Bayern Munich are reportedly fed up with FIFA’s scandals as well as the possibility of an expanded international calendar that would force players to pick between their clubs and their national teams more often than they already must.

Russian official calls for stronger match-fixing legislation
Russia must tighten up its laws against match-mixing ahead of the 2018 World Cup, a top government official tells Vladimir Putin. “It has become more necessary to examine enforcing criminal responsibility for match-fixing and introducing these changes into the Russian criminal code,” national audit office head Sergei Stepashin wrote Thursday in an open letter to the prime minister. Without giving examples of specific matches, Stepashin called match-fixing “a problem characteristic of Russian football” and pointed to the newly strengthened legislation now netting top Turkish officials behind bars as a model for his country to follow.

FIFA U-20 World Cup ready for kickoff in Colombia

Colombia 2011 chief organizer Rafael Salguero. (Getty Images)

Colombia is ready for the FIFA U-20 World Cup kicking off Friday, says chief organizer Rafael Salguero. “What we can confirm today is that nothing has been overlooked in terms of organization,”
he said Wednesday during a press conference. “We’re ready for the big kick-off.” A total of 24 countries representing all six confederations will square off across eight host cities with the final to be contested Aug. 20 in Bogota.

2014 World Cup qualifying marches on in Asia
China is a step closer to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil after cruising to a 13-3 aggregate victory over Laos. Middle Eastern sides Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Oman, United Arab Emirates and 2022 hosts Qatar joined Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Thailand among Thursday’s
winners in Asian action. A draw for the third-round group stage will follow Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, at which point the continent’s big guns such as Japan, Australia and South Korea enter the picture.

Opening ahead for Euro 2012 stadium in Lviv

The stadium in Lviv will host its first match Nov. 15 – a friendly between Ukraine and Austria. (UNA)

Lviv’s stadium for Euro 2012 is now scheduled for an Oct. 28 opening, several months later than originally planned and only seven months before the championships kick off June 8. Ukrainian infrastructure minister Borys Kolesnikov announced Thursday that president Viktor Yanukovych will open the venue. Euro 2012 co-host Ukraine has spent $286 million on the stadium, which will see three group stage matches during next year’s finals. Ukraine and Poland are staging Euro 2012 games in eight host cities.


By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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