(WFI) INSIDER editor Mark Bisson rounds up the ten things you need to know about the global football business today.
England 2018 leader gets BOA position
Andy Anson, CEO of England’s failed 2018 FIFA World Cup bid, has been appointed as an independent non-executive director of the British Olympic Association. The move has been an open secret for some time but was only confirmed today. For the former commercial director of Manchester United, it’s his first major role after England’s humiliating defeat in the Dec. 2 FIFA World Cup ballot where they picked up only two votes. It’s a voluntary position for a two-year term. Anson’s first board meeting is on Wednesday. The national Olympic committee said in a release that “his undoubted expertise in commercial matters will add significant value to the BOA as the organisation seeks to deliver a lasting sports legacy for British Olympic athletes in the years ahead”. It is hoped Anson will help the cash-strapped BOA reverse its financial fortunes. Anson said: “I will use my global commercial insight from my work in football, tennis and the media to provide advice and guidance to support the wider family of Olympic sports and look forward to strengthening connections with the BOA’s key stakeholders.”
FA to choose between Blatter and Bin Hammam
The English Football Association’s 12-member board meets on Thursday to decide who the FA will back in the FIFA presidential race. David Bernstein, the FA chairman, has admitted a vote for Sepp Blatter over his Asian rival Mohamed Bin Hammam would not go down well in the wake of the backlash directed at the Swiss and FIFA following England’s embarrassing first-round exit in the World Cup vote. He has hinted that the FA may abstain.
No plans for rerun of World Cup vote
Blatter insisted over the weekend that there were no plans for a revote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar. FIFA is waiting for evidence of corruption from former English FA and 2018 World Cup bid chairman David Triesman and the Sunday Times. Triesman last week made allegations of “improper and unethical” behaviour in the bidding race, while the Sunday Times made claims that two FIFA Ex-Co members had accepted bribes from Qatar. Blatter was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the bribery claims were a matter of investigation, “once we have evidence and results we can go back” and reconsider further measures. His comments came during a trip to Ramallah in the West Bank where he restated his confidence in being re-elected as FIFA boss on June 1. The 75-year-old opened the West Bank’s first international club tournament in the company of new FIFA vice president, Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan, and Palestinian football chiefs. Blatter was scheduled to visit Israel today for talks with football leaders.
Blatter comments leave Bin Hammam fuming
Bin Hammam has hit back in the war of words with Blatter. On Friday, Blatter told Gazzetta dello Sport that FIFA would suffer “irreversible damage” if he was not re-elected on June 1, saying: “It is still worth considering what the alternative would be: no one.” The 62-year-old Qatari, in his Sunday blog post, fumed: “To make the declaration “it’s me or no one” is a selfish, false and incorrect way of thinking.” He went on: “No one person is so fundamentally important to the future of our game that its very future depends on their involvement. To suggest otherwise is to seek to disenfranchise the countless millions who take pride and pleasure from our great sport. We are all merely guardians of the sport and it is in all our interests to work together for the good of the game.”
“None of us are bigger than football and we should, instead, act as its humble servants, safeguarding its future for the generations to come. To do otherwise would be a dereliction of our duties.”
West Ham relegated but committed to stadium move
West Ham’s relegation from the Premier league, which will cost the club around £40million, will not affect their expensive preparations to move to the 2012 Olympic Stadium, club officials said
today. Manager Avram Grant was sacked after the London club lost its top-flight survival fight following a 3-2 loss at Wigan on Saturday. The club’s top players, including, Footballer of the Year Scott Parker, are on their way out. West Ham are already heavily in debt and club owners David Gold and David Sullivan must now restructure its finances to advance plans to revamp the stadium from its 80,000-seat Games configuration to 60,000 seats. West Ham United say that relegation from the Premier League will not scupper their plans to move into the Olympic Stadium. A club spokesman told PA Sport: “We remain totally committed to it. Our target is to move there in three football seasons time and we would hope that we would return to the Premier League as soon as possible. Our bid [to move into the stadium] was based on several different areas. It was modelled on Premier League, Championship and different scenarios – that has been the case from day one.”
Goal project in Serbia
Blatter joined UEFA president Michel Platini and Serbian sports minister Snežana Samardžić-Marković to inaugurate the new Sport Centre of the Football Association of Serbia on Saturday. The centre in Stara Pazova, near the capital Belgrade, covers 12 hectares and includes five grass pitches and one artificial surface. It’s mostly funded by FIFA’s Goal programme, UEFA’s HatTrick initiative and the Serbian FA.
Euro 2012 costs down
Ukraine’s government has revised down estimates of the final cost of preparations for the Euro 2012 championship it is co-hosting with Poland. The latest figure is $14.5 billion, $5.5 billion less than the previous estimates that would be borne by taxpayers. Most of the funding is coming from the public purse, with the rest from the private sector. The Kyiv Post reports that the massive decrease is due to less money needed for building hotels, training facilities and road infrastructure. The newspaper said the Euro 2012 government program has undergone at least 20 revisions since April 2010 and says that Poland is spending about $30.4 billion on Euro 2012 preparations, with some financing help from the European Union. UEFA’s Euro 2012 director Martin Kallen told the Kyiv Post that European football’s governing body was indifferent to who was funding preparations. “The important thing is that things are finished on time. We have no real view how things are actually done,” Kallen was quoted as saying.
The Oceania Football Confederation had an $11 million turnover with an operating surplus of $975,930 in 2010, according to annual audited accounts. The OFC agreed at its executive committee meeting that there would be no change to the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualification process. New Zealand will play off with the three top-placed teams from the 2011 Pacific Games to find Oceania’s representative. The play-off series will start in June 2012.
Extra places in Europa League
Norway, England and Sweden have each been granted an additional place in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League as the top three nations in the UEFA Respect Fair Play rankings. The standings cover all matches played in UEFA competition at club and national-team levels from May 1 2010 to April 30 this year. They take into account assessments made by official UEFA delegates on criteria such as positive play, respect for the opposition, respect for the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals.
Maradona secures Middle East coaching job
Dubai-based Al Wasl have confirmed that Diego Maradona will become their new coach. The Argentinian 1986 World Cup winner met with club officials and players over the weekend and signed a two-year, multimillion dollar deal. It will be his first coaching role since he left Argentina following their 2010 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Germany. “The value of the contract is worthy of the stature and reputation of the great legend,” Al Wasl chairman Marwan Bin Bayat was quoted by Reuters.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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