(WFI) INSIDER rounds up the ten things you need to know about the global football business today.
Kroenke launches Arsenal takeover
American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke is set to take over Arsenal after increasing his shareholding in the north London club from 29.99 percent to 62.89 percent. After his Kroenke Sports Enterprises bought the stakes of Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, he will now move ahead to purchase the remaining shares (costing £11,750 a share). The London Stock Exchange today valued Arsenal at about $1.195bn.”We are excited about the opportunity to increase our involvement with and commitment to Arsenal. Arsenal is a fantastic club with a special history and tradition and a wonderful manager in Arsene Wenger. We intend to build on this rich heritage and take the club to new success,” said 63-year-old Kroenke in a statement on Monday. Kroenke also owns Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids as well as teams in American’s NFL, NBA and NHL.
Warner declares CONCACAF intentions in FIFA race
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has restated that CONCACAF will vote as a bloc at the FIFA presidential elections in Zurich on June 1. As reported by INSIDER four weeks ago, Warner is the key powerbroker in the battle between Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam for the top job in world football. He controls 35 of the 208 federations who will vote at the FIFA Congress; a candidate needs 105 federation votes to win the FIFA presidency. “There are two men vying for the position at this time, both with compelling arguments why they should or should not be allowed to be at the head of FIFA,” Warner, a close friend of Blatter, was quoted as saying by the Trinidad Express on a visit to Guatemala City on Sunday where he watched the final of the CONCACAF Under-20 tournament between Costa Rica and Mexico.
Blatter, who is touring Central America this week, was also at the match. “All I will reveal at this time is that CONCACAF will vote as a united block. We are a unified confederation and we will be discussing the matter in more detail at the CONCACAF Congress in Miami,” Warner added. Warner will be re-elected unopposed to lead CONCACAF for a sixth successive term at the congress on May 3.
Rio to host Brazil 2014 World Cup draw
FIFA has finally confirmed that the preliminary draw for the Brazil 2014 World Cup will take place in Rio de Janeiro on July 30. Last month FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke cast doubt on Rio as host city of the draw. Today, FIFA revealed it will be held at the Marina da Gloria as it launched the media accreditation process for the event. The organising committee led by Ricardo Teixeira will meet and hold a press conference to update media on World Cup preparations the day before the draw. Brazil 2014 organisers are facing a race against time to get some of their delayed stadium projects ready for the 2013 Confederations Cup, including Rio’s Maracana. Another major concern for FIFA is the slow pace of progress in building and renovating airports in the 12 host cities.
English Women’s Super League kicks off
The best eight English women’s sides in the country are competing in a summer league for the first time – with kick-off on Wednesday – “a move which is set to revolutionise and grow women’s football so that the game can become more commercially sustainable”, says the Football Association. The FA has invested more than £3 million into the new semi-professional set-up, which will run through to September with a break in June and July for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. ESPN will broadcast the opening game between Chelsea and Arsenal at Tooting & Mitcham Stadium on April 13. Chelsea has made tickets available to children for £1 and families for £5. The other six teams are: Birmingham City Ladies, Bristol Academy, Doncaster Rovers Belles. Everton Ladies, Lincoln Ladies and Liverpool Ladies.
Ghana fail to reach London Olympics
South African World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics after losing 2-1 to Sudan on aggregate over two legs.
They exited the Olympic qualifying rounds when they drew 1-1 in Khartoum on Saturday. Cameroon are also out after a shock defeat to Tanzania on penalties. Meanwhile, Nigeria thrashed Equatorial Guinea 4-1 yesterday (9-1 on aggregate) to advance to the next qualifying phase; they lost to Argentina at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The second round Olympic qualifying draw for Africa takes place in Cairo on Wednesday. Sixteen teams will enter the draw with home and away matches to be played in June. Three teams will eventually represent CAF at the London Games with a fourth African team set to meet a team from Asia in a play-off.
Torres misfires again
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, the most expensive player in British football history, has now played 447 minutes of Premier League action for his new club without scoring. The club’s £50 million-pound buy from Liverpool failed to find the net again against Wigan Athletic. It means misfiring Torres, 27, has extended his goal drought for Chelsea and Spain to 817 minutes.
World Cup reps at Leaders in Football
Leaders in Football is theming this year’s conference on preparations for the next three World Cups. Representatives from Brazil 2014 organizers, Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 will be among the keynote speakers at the event. With the 2012 European Championships looming, football officials from co-hosts Poland and Ukraine are also participating. The conference agenda will also include sessions on club ownership, financial management, governance and a look at the game from the players’ perspectives. It takes place at Chelsea FC for the fourth successive year on Oct. 5 and 6. Around 1,000 football executives linked to clubs, leagues and federations are expected to attend.
AFC’s China project faces review
Officials leading the AFC’s Vision Asia project are in China this week to assess the success of the initiative in different cities around the country. A meeting with the Chinese Football Association is scheduled for April 16.
Award for FIFA initiative
FIFA’s Football for Hope programme received a Spirit of Sport Award by the SportAccord Convention in London on Friday. The honour acknowledges the achievements of the social responsibility programme that has benefited projects across 60 different nations. FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou, who was at SportAccord to accept the award, paid tribute to the organisations and individuals who have helped ensure the programme’s success. “Since 2005, FIFA has supported over 170 programmes in 60 countries, providing thousands of children and young people with valuable tools to actively make a difference in their own lives and in their communities. FIFA’s efforts would not be possible without the many community-based organisations and young leaders that implement the programmes on the ground. We are proud to have them as partners, and we dedicate this award to them.”
2022 World Cup Work Up for Grabs at Qatar Convention
Bidding for the countless construction projects demanded by Qatar’s 2022 World Cup will heat up at a summer convention in the tiny Gulf state. The Doha Exhibition Center will host the 8th International Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition, also known as Project Qatar 2011, from May 2 to 5. “Project Qatar 2011 will be a key platform for regional and international suppliers, contractors and investors to capitalize on local opportunities represented by the World Cup and other growth factors such as increased demand for luxury developments and a rising population,” event manager Michel Gebrael said. More than 40,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors from at least 45 countries are expected in Doha for the four-day convention. Qatar is expected to spend upwards of $100 billion in the next five years alone in preparations for the tournament.
By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson and Matthew Grayson
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