(WFI) INSIDER rounds up the global football business news and previews key moments in the week ahead.
Mutko wants fewer stadia for 2018 World Cup
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko says the 2018 World Cup organizers could cut the number of host stadia from the 16 proposed to 13 to make the tournament more manageable. “Twelve is a more practical number because the more cities you have, the bigger the cost is of staging the tournament,” Mutko, chair of the organizing committee and a FIFA Ex-Co member was quoted as saying by Reuters at a sports forum. “We haven’t made the final decision and in theory all 16 venues still have a chance to be selected. But in the end we would have no more than 13 stadiums.” FIFA will have the final say on the number of host venues for the 2018 finals, with a decision due at a meeting in spring 2013.
Russia crowned beach soccer champions
Russia upset four-time world champions Brazil to claim their first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup title on Sunday. They defeated their more fancied opponents 12-8 at the Stadio del Mare in Ravenna, Italy. Russia scored 44 goals in the tournament, more than any other team.
Bin Hammam appeal
Disgraced former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam will
have his appeal against a life ban from football heard on Thursday. It’s
unlikely the 62-year-old Qatari will show up for the hearing at FIFA’s
headquarters in Zurich; he fully expects to lose and didn’t attend a
FIFA ethics committee hearing in July at which the ban was imposed over
bribery charges. FIFA banned Bin Hammam after an investigation found he
had attempted to bribe Caribbean Football Union members with $40,000
cash bungs at a meeting in Trinidad on May 10. He had been seeking their
votes to help him defeat Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential contest.
South Africa and North Korea head to London 2012
South Africa’s women have qualified for the London 2012 Olympic football tournament after a 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia on Sunday. It means Banyana Banyana secured one of two African berths for the Games. “This will be Banyana Banyana’s first appearance at the Olympics since the team came into being in 1993 and the joy on the players’ faces is a sign of how much this moment means to them,” said South Africa coach Joseph Mkhonza. Cameroon or Nigeria will be seeking to join South Africa at the Olympics. Nigeria take a 2-1 lead into the second leg on Oct. 22.
Meanwhile, North Korea joined Japan as Asia’s representatives at the London 2012 women’s football tournament after thrashing Thailand 5-0 on Sunday. It confirmed their their runners-up status in the six-nation qualifying tournament behind Japan.
New Juventus Arena opens
After a delay due to a players’ strike, Serie A got underway at the weekend with a shock result for Inter Milan who were beaten 4-3 by Palermo. Juventus christened their new 41,000-seat ground – by beating Parma 4-1, their first competitive
game at the Juventus Arena. Juve are now the only Italian club to own their own stadium, which will significantly boost their annual revenues. It was built on the site of the old Stadio Delle Alpi, a ground unloved by Juve fans because of the running track that offered poor sightlines and gave the venue little atmosphere. “Stadium revenues for last season were 11.5 million euros of which 9.8 million euros came through ticketing and 1.7 million euros for other services, an amount that was around 7.5 per cent of total revenue,” Juve CEO Aldo Mazzia said in an interview with Reuters. The new stadium includes 4,000 premium seats and positions fans close to the pitch. “Stadium facilities will be open seven days a week and there will also be plenty on offer for fans, families and companies looking for commercial activity. The idea is to increase income and diversify revenue streams,” he added. “We predict stadium revenues to increase to 15 per cent of commercial income, which is double the current amount, with revenue rising to 32 million euros of which 20 million will come from ticketing and six million from naming rights.”
Asian football chief expects entertaining AFC Champions League
The Asian Football Confederation’s acting president Zhang Jilong is expecting some exciting clashes in the AFC Champions League 2011 knockout stage, which kicks off with the first leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday. “We have three teams from Korea Republic, one from Japan, two from Iran, and one each from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The draw itself has been very interesting and the home-and-away matches should be very entertaining,” Jilong was quoted on the AFC.com. “The title itself has been in the grip of clubs from the Korea Republic since the last two years and it would be interesting to see if their dominance can be successfully challenged by the other aspirants.” Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad are vying for a third AFC Champions League crown against K-League champions FC Seoul in September’s quarter-finals, while Japan’s sole remaining representative Cerezo Osaka renew their rivalry with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Euro 2012 broadcast deals
UEFA has inked deals with Azerbaijan Television, Radio Broadcasting CJSC, Kazakhstan TV and Radio Corporation JSC for the broadcast of all 31 Euro 2012 matches on free-to-air television. In Azerbaijan, live coverage of all games in Poland-Ukraine will be broadcast on AZTV and its main sport channel, Idman Azerbaijan TV. Kazakhstan TV and First Channel Eurasia National TV will provide extensive live free-to-air coverage of the tournament.
Financial problems for top Peru club
Peru’s most successful club was banned from participating in the 21st match of the Decentralizado championship last weekend because of non-payment to its players, FIFAPro, the international players’ union reports. Prior to season kick-off, the Peruvian players’ union had made a schedule of payments with Universitario de Deportes due to its debts owed to players. The Peruvian football league (ADFP) acted as guarantor in this compromise. But payment obigations were not fulfilled on Sept. 8, which forced the league to cancel Universitario’s match with FBC Melgar. Universitario has won a total of 25 league titles.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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