(WFI) INSIDER rounds up the latest global football business news.
Uruguay favourites for Copa America title
Liverpool’s Luis Suarez netted a second-half brace in Uruguay’s 2-0 win over Peru to reach the Copa America final. La Celeste remain on course to secure a record 15th South American title. Uruguay, who reached the last four of the 2010 World Cup, play the winners of tonight’s semi-final between Paraguay and Venezuela. The teams drew 3-3 during this year’s group stage. The final is on Sunday in Buenos Aires.
Salguero heads FIFA U-20 World Cup
Rafael Salguero, the FIFA Executive Committee member from Guatemala, is the new chairman of the organising committee of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia. He replaces Jack Warner as head of the committee. The Trinidadian quit FIFA last month amid accusations of bribery in the cash-for-votes scandal involving Mohamed Bin Hammam. The 18th edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup runs from July 29 to Aug. 20. “I’m sure that this competition, the first that Colombia have hosted at this level, will be a complete success and will leave an important legacy in the host nation,” the 65-year-old was quoted on FIFA.com.
Match-fixing scandal forces postponement of Turkish Super Cup
The Turkish Football Federation has postponed the Super Cup match between league champions Fenerbahce and Cup winners Besiktas while it awaits the outcome of an investigation into match-fixing allegations that have engulfed the country’s top clubs. Federation chairman Mehmet Ali Aydinlar may yet delay the start of the season from Aug. 5. The football federation released statement after its meeting on Tuesday saying it had “decided to postpone the 6th TFF Super Cup which was announced to be played between Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş on 31 July 2011”. Turkish police have arrested more than 80 footballers and club officials in the past two weeks following the match-fixing probe into 19 Spor Toto Super League matches, including the chairman of Fenerbahce. UEFA is monitoring developments; confederation officials met with the TFF top brass on Monday. Fenerbahce could be stripped of its Turkish title and banned from the Champions League if found guilty in the match-fixing probe.
Prison term for Asian match-fixer
Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal has been given a two-year jail sentence after being convicted of bribery, forgery and illegal border crossing following a match-fixing investigation in Finland. Helsinki court officials heard that he banked around $210,000 for rigging Finnish league matches from 2008-11. The conviction is a major breakthrough for FIFA in its bid to crack down on match-fixing worldwide, as Perumal also suspected of involvement in rigging matches involving African and Asian national teams. . FIFA and Interpol believe organised crime networks in Southeast Asia are heavily involved in match-fixing. FIFA signed a $20 million cooperation deal with Interpol in May to open a special unit in Singapore with the specific task of tackling corruption in Asia. A number of high-profile Chinese football officials have been punished following their part in rigging matches in the past year. Taking up his position as Asian Football Confederation’s acting president Zhang Jilong last month following Mohamed Bin Hammam’s suspension, the Chinese official vowed to clean-up football on the continent.
Euro 2012 stadium ready to open its doors
The delay-hit Gdansk Euro 2012 stadium is now finished and ready to open next month. The PGE Arena was meant to be operating last month, but construction delays meant a June 9 friendly between Poland and France had to be switched to another venue. The 40,000-seater is one of four Polish venues for the UEFA tournament. Co-host Ukraine is also staging games in four cities. The $316 million PGE Arena is notable for its moniker – the first naming rights deal in Polish football. meanwhile, Polish media have reported that more than 9,000 people have applied to be volunteers at Euro 2012 championships.
TV audiences increase for Asian Champions League
AFC Champions League audiences for the group and round of 16 stage matches are up 15% to 155 million across Australia, China Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. So far, 104 matches have been played this season. According to research by the AFC’s marketing partner World Sport Group, Japan topped the ratings list with 69.85 million viewers, 45.2% of the total audience. The matches were broadcast by TV Asahi on their BS and CS Asahi platforms. Japan also topped ratings for this year’s AFC Asian Cup 2011, which they won, with 43.2% of the total audience.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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