(WFI) INSIDER rounds up the global football business news and previews the week ahead.
Man Utd the team to beat in race for title
The English Premier League kicks off this weekend with Manchester United again expected to win the league. An online poll by the Premier League revealed that 40.7% of readers (16,806 at midday on Monday) thought the reigning champions would win a 20th league title. Only 19.2% believe Chelsea will land the prized piece of silverware. Arsenal, trophy-less since 2005, are tipped to win the championship by 16.6%. Manchester City are only expected to have a real chance of taking the title by 6.1%.
Mixed views on future of new Chelsea boss
Nearly two-thirds of respondents to an INSIDER poll on Chelsea’s young new manager Andres Villas-Boas think his appointment is a gamble that will pay off; 59.6% (177 votes) consider him to be a good prospect as Chelsea go in search of silverware this season. But 40.4% (120 votes) believe he will fail.
FIFA U-20 World Cup reaches round of 16
New Zealand and Uruguay, Austria, Panama, North Korea, Mali, Australia and Croatia are out of the FIFA U-20 World Cup following the conclusion of the group phase. The round of 16 gets underway on Tuesday with Cameroon playing Mexico, Portugal v Guatamala, hosts Colombia v Costa Rica and Argentina v Egypt.
Big week of friendlies
The pick of this week’s international friendlies on Wednesday Germany’s meeting with Brazil and England’s clash with the Netherlands at Wembley. Ghana v Nigeria is the biggest African game of the week. In Asia, Japan play South Korea and in the CONCACAF region USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann gets a baptism of fire with his side taking on arch rivals Mexico who beat them in last month’s Gold Cup final.
Qatar appoint another manager
Brazil’s 1990 World Cup manager Sebastiao Lazaroni has been appointed to succeed Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac as Qatar coach, despite the Serbian taking the Gulf state through to the third round of 2014 Asian Zone World Cup qualifying. Lazaroni was manager of local club side Qatar SC before getting the call to manage the national side. Rajevac, who was only installed in the wake of Qatar’s AFC Asian Cup 2011 quarter-finals defeat, has paid the price for recent losses to India and Vietnam. As Brazil coach, Lazaroni won 21 of 35 matches, drawing seven and losing seven.
Expanded Egyptian league for one season only
The Egyptian FA has announced there will
be no relegation from the just-ended Premier League. Next season will boast 20 teams in the top-flight. The existing 16 teams will be joined by three promoted teams from division 1’s three leagues, namely Ghazl ElMahalla, El Dakhleya and Telephonat Bani Suef. The Confederation of African football website reported that the 20th team will come from a play-off tournament between the three runner-up teams from division 1’s three leagues. The Egyptian FA decided that the 2011-2012 will see the relegation of five lowest-ranked Premier League teams to Division 1. Three winners of the division 1’s three leagues will be promoted and, in so doing, the number of Premier League clubs will be reduced to 18 for the 2012-2013 season. The federation’s decision comes after the bottom-ranked Premier League teams for the season just over – Ettihad of Alexandria, Smouha and Arab Contractors – were not relegated because of the repercussions of the January revolution.
Sochi club folds jeopardising Russia 2018 World Cup legacy
Zhemchuzhina Sochi in the southern Russian city of Sochi have folded because of financial problems, casting doubt on the legacy of one of the proposed Russia 2018 World Cup stadiums. The second division side was expected to move into the main stadium being built for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and then converted for the Russia 2018 World Cup. Last September, INSIDER visited the Metreveli Stadium, a little more than a glorified athletics facility that was home to Zhemchuzhina Sochi, and was told about the grand ambitions of club president Dmitry Yakushev. The club were to move into the 46,000-seat World Cup stadium, which was planned to be downsized to a 25,000-capacity venue after the FIFA showpiece. Yakushev has pumped millions of dollars into the club and invested heavily in multimillion dollar retail and hotel projects in Sochi.
Soccerex announces travel partner
MATCH Services AG has been appointed the official travel and accommodation partner for the Soccerex Global Convention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from Nov. 26-30. The company works for FIFA to handle to provide travel and accommodation solutions alongside ticketing, hospitality and tourist packages for its showpiece tournaments; it offered those services for South Africa 2010 and will do so for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. “Their logistical expertise coupled with their knowledge of the football industry makes MATCH the perfect partners to help our delegates travel to Brazil and source accommodation for their stay during the Soccerex Global Convention,” said Soccerex CEO, Duncan Revie. Around 4000 delegates will attend the Rio convention, including representatives from clubs, sponsors, leagues and federations. For more information about the event, Tel: +44 (0)208 742 7100 or visit www.soccerex.com/global
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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