(WFI) INSIDER editor Mark Bisson rounds up the ten things you need to know about the global football business today.
Bin Hammam hopes for boost from BBC Panorama
Mohamed Bin Hammam’s campaign to oust presidential incumbent Sepp Blatter in the June 1 FIFA elections appears to be fizzling out. His lack of PR activity has been playing into Blatter’s hands for several weeks now, and the Qatari could receive fresh calls this week to withdraw his candidacy. Against Blatter’s multimillion dollar PR effort, the 62-year-old is largely promoting himself through infrequent updates on his social media sites – a blog and his Twitter and Facebook pages. Two tweets on Monday morning exemplified this lacklustre approach, “Time for a fresh approach” and “Time to restore pride in FIFA”. They came 12 hours before a BBC Panorama documentary is scheduled to be screened, which is expected to claim FIFA attempted to block the release of a document revealing the identity of two officials forced to repay bribes following the 1990s International Sports and Leisure scandal. According to the Panorama programme, which airs eight days before 208 FIFA members choose between Blatter and Bin Hammam: “The organisation they want to head is facing the biggest crisis in its history over allegations of corruption in its senior ranks. At its heart are questions over the World Cup bidding process and the multimillion dollar bribes scandal which FIFA refuses to investigate.” Reporter Andrew Jennings will examine “whether either candidate is up to the job”.
Kenya FA rebels and goes for Bin Hammam
Bin Hammam has pointed to the example of Kenya, rejecting the Confederation of African Football executive’s backing of Sepp Blatter, to warn the Swiss he should expect the unexpected when it comes to Africa’s voting in the secret ballot in Zurich next week. Football Kenya chairman Mohammed Hatimy believes Bin Hammam will bring more changes to Kenyan football. “Bin Hammam is our choice since his manifesto is geared towards helping the developing countries such as ours,” he was quoted by The East African. “I feel it’s unfair for Kenya with a population of more than 34 million people to be given $250,000, same as Saudi Arabia which has slightly over one million people.” Bin Hamman pledges to double the annual handout to FIFA members to $500,000. On Saturday, Blatter was in South Africa for to lobby the regional football federations for support; four federations endorsed his campaign for another four years as FIFA president over the Asian Football Confederation president. Discussions also focused on the legacy of World Cup 2010. Blatter has strong support among CAF members after bringing the World Cup to Africa for the first time and seems assured of gaining a majority of its 53 votes. FIFA has invested about $468 million in the last 12 years in African football through various programmes.
Blatter in Tokyo
Blatter has taken his campaign to Tokyo today where is meeting with Japanese FA president Junji Ogura. He is expected to offer assurances that Japan’s hosting of the Club World Cup in December will go ahead on schedule. The devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami had threatened the city’s hosting role.
Nine French cities for Euro 2016
The French Football Federation has selected nine cities to host the UEFA Euro 2016 finals. Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nancy, Nice, Paris and Saint-Denis were chosen. But Toulouse and Saint Etienne lost their bids to be part of the tournament. Delays in building Lyon’s new stadium did not affect its inclusion. Other new venues for the championships will be built in Bordeaux, Lille and Nice. Euro 2016 is the first UEFA European Championship to feature 24 teams. The 2012 edition in Ukraine and Poland is a 16-team competition.
FIFA turns 107
FIFA celebrated its 107th anniversary on Saturday. World football’s governing body formed on May 21, 1904, when football officials from France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland signed the foundation act at the Union Francaise de Sports Athletiques
headquarters in Paris. Two days later, the first FIFA Congress was held at which Frenchman Robert Guerin became the organisation’s inaugural president. FIFA moved from Paris to Zurich in 1932 and to new headquarters in the Swiss city in 2006.
CAF inspectors happy with 2012 preps in Equatorial Guinea
African football leaders say they are satisfied with the pace of preparations Equatorial Guinea for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations that will be co-hosted by Gabon. A CAF inspection team led by Almamy Kabele met with government officials and football chiefs in Equatorial Guinea on Friday. He praised the country’s preparations and applauded the collaboration between the two Local Organising Committees. Deputy Prime Minister Aniceto Ebiaca Moete said Equatorial Guinea’s hosting of the tournament would be showcase the country to the rest of the world. “The support of CAF has been enormous and I am very confident that we would organize an excellent tournament,” he told the CAF website. The inspection continues this week, ending in Gabon on May 26. The final draw for the tournament will take place in Equatorial Guinea in late October. The competition runs Jan. 21 to Feb 12.
Scudamore says Premier League is ready for goal-line technology
Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore is preparing for FIFA to introduce goal-line technology by the start of the 2012-13 season. He told a BBC radio programme on Sunday that he had been encouraged by FIFA’s more open attitude to the video technology following Sepp Blatter’s previous reluctance to embrace it. “We’d like it now, and the good news is FIFA are now prepared to listen,” he said. “It’s gone on far too long, it’s an embarrassment to us as football administrators. We feel the technology is there, we should be able to use it and it’s just a question of how we can persuade FIFA it can be done.” EArlier this month, FIFA invited suppliers of the systems to participate in a two-phase testing programme. Trials are scheduled between September and December, with companies then shortlisted for further tests in March to June 2012. The final results of this evaluation will be presented at the International Football Association Board’s meeting in July.
Football League’s Thomson dies
The English Football League’s chief commercial officer, Stewart Thomson, had died at the age of 48, after a long battle with illness. In a statement, Football League chairman Greg Clarke said: “Stewart was a widely respected and popular figure throughout English and Scottish football and his passing is a huge loss.” Thomson, who joined the league in 2005 from Glasgow Rangers where he was head of commercial media, is credited with negotiating record broadcasting and sponsorship agreements with Sky Sports, BBC Sport, npower, Coca-Cola and Carling that delivered in excess of £300m of revenue to The Football League and its clubs.
Ronaldo nets La Liga record
Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged a La Liga scoring record. The Portuguese hit a brace in Real Madrid’s 8-1 drubbing of Almería, bringing his tally for the season to 40 from 34 appearances. He captured the record for the number of goals in a single season in the Spanish top-flight, previously held by Athletic Club’s Telmo Zarra (1950/51) and Madrid’s Hugo Sánchez (1989/90). Ronaldo finished the season with nine more goals than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Real Madrid scored 102 goals during its league campaign, seven more than Barca.
Champions League economic impacts
On Friday, MasterCard will launch its UEFA Champions League final annual economic impact research, which will outline the benefits of staging the Barca v Manchester United showpiece at Wembley Stadium.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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