(WFI) INSIDER rounds up the global football business news and previews the week ahead.
Ukraine finally open delay-hit Lviv
Arena Lviv, Ukraine’s fourth and final Euro 2012 venue, was opened on Saturday with a concert featuring US pop star Anastacia. Months of delays due to financing and construction issues had given UEFA a major headache over the project; work began on the 33,000-seater in November 2008. Oleh Blokhin’s Ukraine side will test the venue when they play Austria on Nov. 15. It will stage three Group B matches at next summer’s tournament which is being co-hosted with Poland. Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kyiv are Ukraine’s other Euro 2012 host cities.
First match at Polish Euro 2012 venue
The first competitive game at the Municipal Stadium Wroclaw, one of Poland’s Euro 2012 venues, resulted in a 1-0 win for WKS Śląsk Wroclaw over KS Lechia Gdańsk. The sell-out crowd of 42,771 was the biggest in Poland’s top-flight since the Ekstraklasa was established in 2005/06. Poland take on Italy in the first international at the stadium on Nov. 11.
Tough Africa Cup of Nations draw for co-hosts
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, co-host nations for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, have been handed difficult draws for the tournament kicking off in January. Gabon will face tough North African contenders in Morocco and Tunisia as well as Niger in Group C. Equatorial Guinea, the lowest ranked team in Africa, will do battle with Zambia, Senegal and Libya. The draw was conducted by Confederation of African Football secretary general Hicham El Amrani in the Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, on Saturday. Tournament favourites Ghana and Ivory Coast should progress comfortably from their groups. Equatorial Guinea and Libya kick off the three-week tournament on Jan. 21 in the city of Bata. This will be followed by an evening match between Senegal and Zambia.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations draw
Group A (Bata) – Equatorial Guinea, Zambia, Senegal, Libya
Group B (Malabo) – Ivory Coast, Angola, Burkina Faso, Sudan
Group C (Libreville) – Gabon, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger
Group D (Franceville) – Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Botswana
Hayatou praises tournament co-hosts
CAF president Issa Hayatou has praised the governments of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations hosts for their cooperation in organising the tournament. “I have no doubt that together you can achieve a successful co-hosting and serve as model for future co-hosts,” he said at the draw. “I believe that we will witness a festive CAN which will for long leave indelible traces in the memories of those who will be witnesses. I know that you will spare no effort to ensure that supporters throng the stadiums in great numbers.
Warner backs Camps resignation amid ethics probe
Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner says Oliver Camps, former president of Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, was right to quit the FA he has run for 19 years. FIFA has opened ethics proceedings against Camps and another nine other Caribbean officials amid allegations they were caught
up in the Mohamed Bin Hammam bribery scandal. Camps was due to be interviewed by the ethics panel and faced the possibility of a FIFA ban from football in mid-November. “He understood where the real conflict in this whole thing is, at the level of FIFA in Zurich. While there are guys who want to play politics with the matter, he was more dignified in his approach,” Warner was quoted as saying by the Trinidad’s Newsday. Camps, who quit the federation less than 24 hours after learning that he would face an ethics investigation, said in a statement: “While I have been extremely satisfied and pleased to offer myself for service to the T&TFF, the current climate within FIFA has given me reason to rethink my position and thus give notice of my immediate resignation as the president of the T&TFF.”
Messi set for FIFA Ballon d’Or award shortlist
The 23-man shortlist for the men’s FIFA Ballon d’Or award and the shortlist for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award will be revealed tomorrow. Last year’s gongs went to Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid coach José Mourinho. FIFA is staging the awards in Zurich on Jan. 9.
Club World Cup Japan tickets
The final phase of ticket sales for the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011 will kick off this Saturday via FIFA.com. The eighth edition of the tournament will take place in the Japanese cities of Yokohama from Dec. 8 to 18. It will feature CF Monterrey of Mexico (CONCACAF Champions League winners), Santos FC of Brazil (CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores winners), Auckland City FC of New Zealand (OFC Champions League winners), FC Barcelona of Spain (UEFA Champions League winners), the winners of this Saturday’s AFC Champions League final between South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Qatar’s Al Sadd and the CAF Champions League winners. A club from Japan’s J.League will represent the host nation.
Qatar 2022 showcase
The Qatar Football Association will use an international friendly between Brazil and Egypt in Doha in two weeks to showcase its 2022 World Cup hosting potential. The QFA made the match announcement today. “We’re excited to host these two teams for what promises to be a strong game. The month of November will be a feast for football fans in Doha, with our national team playing two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the city playing host to a top-class international friendly,” said QFA president Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani. The staging of the match coincides with Doha’s Aspire4Sport conference, the only event of its kind in the Middle East dedicated to sports and the sports industry. Commenting on the staging of the game at Al Rayyan stadium on Nov. 14, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee’s general secretary Hassan Al Thawadi said: “The staging of the friendly is another opportunity for our countrymen to demonstrate why we succeeded in winning hosting rights for the ’22 FIFA World Cup.”
Mauritius pull out of Brazil 2014 prelims
Mauritius have withdrawn from 2014 World Cup qualifying, allowing their opponents Liberia to get a bye into the group stage of the qualifiers for Africa. FIFA announce the news today but did not give any reasons. Mauritius, host of the 2013 FIFA Congress, is the second country to withdraw from qualifying after Bahamas pulled out of its CONCACAF group. Their national stadium was deemed not suitable to host the matches.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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