(WFI) INSIDER rounds up the global football business news and previews the week ahead.
Blatter to announce reforms
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will unveil his much-touted anti-corruption reforms after the FIFA Executive Committee meeting on Oct. 20-21, FIFA confirms to INSIDER. Changes to the ethics committee structure and details of his so-called “Solutions Committee”, designed to advise on ways to root out corruption in the FIFA family, are expected to be revealed after his proposals are discussed with Ex-Co colleagues. Blatter is battling to restore the reputation of world football’s governing body after the worst crisis in its 107-year history. A series of bribery scandals have damaged FIFA’s global standing, including several linked to the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process. Mohamed Bin Hammam, a former FIFA presidential candidate and Asian confederation chief, was handed a lifetime ban from football in July following an investigation into allegations that he attempted to bribe Caribbean football officials. Former CONCACAF boss Jack Warner quit after being implicated in the scandal. FIFA has also launched a probe into 16 Caribbean Football Union members for allegedly accepting cash bungs from Bin Hammam.
Beach Soccer World Cup prepares for kick-off
Blatter will likely be asked about reform issues at a press conference in Ravenna, Italy on Thursday to launch the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Also attending are FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Beach Soccer Committee chairman Ricardo Teixeira and president of the Italian FA Giancarlo Abete.
Bin Hammam accuses Valcke of interfering
Bin Hammam, meanwhile, continues to criticise FIFA over its treatment of him in the fall-out from his lifetime ban. In a blog published today, he prints a letter from Valcke to the Caribbean FAs on July 25 – two days after he was convicted of bribery – “threatening them to either admit that they have been bribed or he will open an investigation to find out if I have bribed them or not!!”, Bin Hammam writes. “From the language of the letter, one can see who has the power and who is the decision maker in the Ethics Committee or the Appeals Committee,” he goes on, before adding, “By the way, Mr. Louis Freeh, hired by Jerome Valcke to conduct the investigation, testified during the cross-examination, that his “investigation did not identify a single National Association representative who believed that cash was being offered as inducement to support Mr. Bin Hammam’s candidacy for President of FIFA.” Last week, the 62-year-old Qatari finally received the FIFA Ethics Committee’s explanation for his ban and promptly launched his appeal to the FIFA Appeals Committee. He expects to lose but has promised to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Bribery cases go before CAS
CAS has set the date for the hearing of former FIFA Ex-Co member Amos Adamu, who is contesting FIFA’s three-year ban for bribery handed down last November during the 2018/2022 World Cup bid race. His case will be heard on Oct. 4. The Nigerian’s ban followed an expose by Sunday Times journalists posing as lobbyists for the USA 2022 bid asking for an $800,000 bribe in return for his support in the Dec. 2 vote. The appeal hearings for two other senior football administrators – Mali’s Amadou Diakite and Tonga’s Ahongalu Fusimalohi, who received two-year bans after being caught out by the newspaper’s reporters, will take place on Oct. 19 and Nov. 7 respectively.
Qatar wants to stage Olympics before World Cup
On Sept. 2, the International Olympic Committee will confirm Doha as one of the five bid cities for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The Qatari government’s decision to bid against Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo came after the IOC granted permission for the Gulf state to propose hosting the Games outside of the usual period for an Olympics to avoid the fierce desert heat. The bid plans a Games between Sept. 10 and Oct. 20. Confirmation of Qatar’s bid comes 10 months after Qatar won hosting rights for the 2022 World
Man Utd boss at coaches forum
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola are among Europe’s leading club coaches attending an Elite Club Coaches Forum at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon on Wednesday and Thursday. The meeting provides an opportunity for the coaches to discuss the latest trends in the game and express their views on the major issues affecting top club football. A press conference is scheduled for Thursday lunchtime. Also this week at UEFA headquarters and in Geneva is the annual summer gathering for Europe’s top referees.
Football League reveals agents’ fees
The Football League’s latest publication on agents fees reveals that clubs in the three divisions below the Premiership committed a total of £16.7m to agents during the 2010/11 season. Championship clubs accounted for £14.1m (84.6%) of this total, with League 1 and League 2 clubs spending £2.3m (14.1%) and £0.2m (1.3%) respectively. Clubs committed to pay agents in 570 (19.6%) of the 2,910 player transactions that took place. Only eight clubs did not spend any money on agents’ fees at all (Accrington Stanley, Barnet, Cheltenham Town, Crewe Alexandra, Hartlepool United, Macclesfield Town, Stevenage and Stockport County).
Commenting on the figures, Football League chairman Greg Clarke said: “This highlights the importance of the work Football League clubs are doing to establish a ‘breakeven’ business model across all three divisions. No-one is trying to prevent clubs from paying agents where they feel it is appropriate, however we must make sure that clubs are not spending money they simply do not have.” At their summer conference, Football League clubs agreed to adopt UEFA’s Financial Fair Play framework. This will see clubs in League 1 and League 2 operating the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP), which has been in use in the latter division since 2002/03. The SCMP limits spending on total player wages to a proportion of each club’s turnover. Championship clubs are currently engaged in discussions about establishing a new break-even financial model.
Oman FA chief re-elected
Sayyid Khalid Hamed Al Busaidi has been re-elected unopposed as the president of the Oman Football Association for another four-year term. Sheikh Naif Bin Saad Al Marhoon and Sheikh Salim Bin Hamada Al Alawi were elected as the two Vice-Presidents.
Goal-scoring record in MLS
Columbus Crew striker Jeff Cunningham has set the Major League Soccer goalscoring record after a penalty kick against Seattle Sounders on Saturday took his tally to 134. the record was previously held by D.C. United’s Jaime Moreno.
Arsenal win first Women’s Super League title
Arsenal have been crowned the first-ever champions of new FA Women’s Super League title after a 3-1 win over Liverpool on the final day of the season. Arsenal manager Laura Harvey said winning the first WSL was “the biggest moment in my career, without a doubt”. “The girls have been here a long time and this title means so much to them because the league is so competitive,” she told the FA.com. Following their 13th national title, Arsenal have become the first team to book their place in the 2012/13 UEFA Women’s Champions League. In this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League, Arsenal face a round of 32 tie with Belarusian side FC Bobruchanka.
Marta’s Western New York Flash win WPS championship
In their debut Women’s Professional Soccer season, Western New York Flash became the third team in league history to clinch championship silverware. The Flash, who had won the regular season title and the right to host the final match, ended their season with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory over Philadelphia Independence.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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