(WFI) INSIDER editor Mark Bisson rounds up the ten things you need to know about the global football business today.
Boost for Bin Hammam
FIFA presidential candidate Mohammed Bin Hammam used a press conference in Kuwait City on Sunday to urge world football’s governing body to be more transparent in its decision-making and to give more federations a say in the running of the game. His comments came after a crucial meeting with Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Kuwaiti FA, who has shifted his backing from Sepp Blatter, a stance adopted in January, to the Qatari. Al-Sabah confirmed that he was supporting Bin Hammam’s candidacy. In so doing, he may have swung Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein’s West Asian Football Federation behind the Asian Football Confederation chief. It means that a majority of the AFC’s 46 members appear to be united behind Bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam addresses Caribbean federation
Bin Hammam’s hopes of securing some CONCACAF votes may be enhanced when he explains his manifesto pledges to the 25-member Caribbean Football Union on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Qatari arrives in Trinidad later today. CONCACAF and CFU president Jack Warner last week indicated that his confederation would vote as a bloc for Blatter at the FIFA presidential election on June 1. Bin Hammam’s two-day visit has been hastily organised after he missed last week’s CONCACAF Congress due to a US visa issue. “I have picked up that he has promised increased financial assistance to the member countries, but it also true that Sepp Blatter has said that FIFA is on a better financial footing and therefore he has agreed to increases in assistance and grants to all national associations, so it is more of the same as far as that is concerned,” Horace Burrell, senior vice president of the CFU and head of the Jamaican FA was quoted by the Jamaica Observer. Burrell, a Blatter ally, suggested Bin Hammam had his work cut out to win over CONCACAF voters. “I am not here to tell anyone which candidate the CFU will support, but we must outline the benefits that have come our way as a region through the initiatives of Sepp Blatter, and that is what Mr Bin Hamman is up against,” he added.
Leoz faces allegations of England 2018 bribery
CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz said he would vote for the England 2018 World Cup bid if he was given a knighthood, The Sunday Times reported. The British newspaper says England 2018, which secured just two votes in the Dec. 2 FIFA ballot, received more than five demands for favours in exchange for votes, citing bid sources. Leoz’s demands, apparently made to bid officials in November 2009, could be revealed at tomorrow’s government inquiry into the failed bid. Bid sources told the newspaper that Leoz’s request was “pretty direct”. The newspaper was responsible for uncovering teh cash-for-votes World Cup bidding scandal last autumn which led to a FIFA ethics investigation and eventually led to a three-year ban for Nigeria’s Ex-co member Amos Adamu. David Triesman, former England 2018 World Cup bid chairman, and Mike Lee, strategist behind Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid victory, will appear before the government’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee in a one-off evidence session.
Match-fixing and illegal betting under scrutiny
Blatter is meeting the Interpol secretary general Ronald K. Noble today under efforts to strengthen their partnership in the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing in football. A press conference is scheduled at 4pm CET to announce the outcome of talks.
Beckenbauer and Pele in Zurich
The first meeting of the FIFA 2014
World Cup Task Force takes place on Tuesday at FIFA headquarters in
Zurich. Franz Beckenbauer chairs the 22-member panel, with Pele as his
deputy. The body, established by Blatter last month, will be meeting
every few months over the next year or two to recommend proposals to
improve the game before the Brazilian tournament.
Bosnia FA meeting
The FIFA normalisation committee in charge of the Bosnian football federation will meet at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Thursday. The Bosnia FA was suspened last month after refusing to comply with a FIFA demand to replace its three-member presidency – consisting of a Bosniak, Croat and Serb – with
a single president. Former Yugoslavia and Japan national coach Ivica Osim is expected to update Blatter on progress of talks to revamp the federation’s presidential structure.
Lowy on Australia’s World Cup bid failure
In his first big interview since Australia’s 2022 World Cup bid failure, Frank Lowy says his country was right to spend millions of government dollars in attempts to secure the tournament. Australia won only one FIFA Ex-co vote in the Dec. 2 ballot. The head of Football Federation Australia told the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday that the FFA thought the battle for the 2022 tournament would be between Australia and the USA until Qatar “popped up”. “Not many people thought they would succeed. But the unexpected happened. It was a flawed process. Having two World Cups on the market at the same time gave the opportunity for people to talk to each other, and it was no longer a level playing field,” he said. “Did we make mistakes? Yes. But I could have stood on my head for 24 months and we still wouldn’t have got it. What we didn’t realise was the aspect of lifting it so high above the game [by making it a quasi-government bid]. By the time we realised that it was too late.” Lowy also revealed that he expected the financially-troubled A-League only to expand beyond 10 teams after the country has staged the 2015 Asian Cup. “But we will only do it if we can afford it. In the meantime, we need the support of the football-loving people. At the start , I begged the people to come. Maybe I need to beg again.” The 80-year-old said he will stand in September for another four-year term at the helm of the FFA
Putin: Russia wants 13 World Cup host cities
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has confirmed that the country is not planning to trim its plan to stage the 2018 World Cup in 13 cities – at least not for now. But FIFA will have the final say and it’s likely one host city will eventually be cut to make the tournament more manageable for fans, who already face the prospect of travelling huge distances at significant expense to watch their teams at the tournament.
Makudi faces fight to retain Thai presidency
Former Thailand national team manager Virach Chanpanich says he is ready to be a candidate against Worawi Makudi, head of the Thail Fa, in the presidential election later this month. The proposed election was called off on Friday when the football federation discovered that several members had more than one representative while others did not have proper ID cards. As Thailand coach, Virach guided the team from outside the top 100 in the world rankings to No. 41. The other candidate vying for federation presidency is Pichate Munkong. Makudi, succeeded Vijitr Getkaew in 2007, but the Bangkok Post reports that Getkaew still wields considerable influence and controls enough of the 173 votes to put Chanpanich in power. Makudi, a FIFA Executive Committee member, has faced criticism over his management of the federation and lack of success on the field for the national side. Fueling this disillusionment came last week when Thailand were kicked out of the London 2012 Olympic qualifiers by the AFC for fielding a banned player.
ASEAN joint bid for 2030 World Cup
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has confirmed it will move forward with bid plans for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. “ASEAN foreign ministers are eager to encourage public-oriented initiatives, including ASEAN’s bid for World Cup in 2030,” the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said on its official website on Sunday. Last month, INSIDER reported on the initiative. Failed 2022 World Cup bidding nations, Australia and Indonesia, could yet be part of the regional bid. The 11 members of the Asean Football Federation are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Timor-Leste. Australia is an invited member. Argentina and Uruguay are also examining the possibility of a joint bid of the World Cup’s centenary tournament.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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