Sports Minister: South Africa Won’t Be Bullied

South Africa’s sports minister says he’s not afraid to interfere with his country’s sports governance, including that of the South African Football Association.
South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula. (Getty Images)
“[FIFA president] Sepp Blatter is not going to tell me that when SAFA is [not performing] in South Africa and the people are hurt, I must not intervene,” Fikile Mbalula was quoted by Times of South Africa.
“He must go and run his Zurich office. The people of South Africa must live large and be happy about football.”
Mbalula was speaking in Johannesburg before a crowd of sports administrators and businesspeople, who he urged to inject more capital into football development.

He also promised them his ministry would not bow down to FIFA, who he claimed bullies other countries.

“We know in Nigeria they lost [in the 2010 World Cup] and then the government there was going to intervene, but Blatter came in and said that they don’t want government intervention in football because he is a government on his own,” Mbalula said.
“You can see when you are next to him that he is a real government of the world,” he said.

Co-Host Through in Africa Cup of Nations

Equatorial Guinea are the first quarter-finalists of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Iban Randy Iyanga of Equatorial Guinea (left) scores the match’s first goal. (CAF)
The co-hosts secured their berth in the knockout rounds Wednesday with a 2-1 upset of heavily favoured Senegal on a soggy pitch at Estadio de Bata.
Thursday’s matches in the capital of Malabo saw Angola draw 2-2 with Sudan and Ivory Coast booking their quarter-final spot with a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso.
Group play shifts back to Gabon (3) on Friday when the home team takes on Morocco (0) and Niger (0) faces Tunisia (3), both in the capital of Libreville.
Botswana versus Guinea and Ghana (3) versus Mali (3) follow Saturday in Franceville.
The top two teams per group will advance to knockout rounds beginning Feb. 4 with semifinals slated for Feb. 8 and a final on Feb. 12 in Libreville.

from Red for Bundesliga

Bundesliga clubs rebounded from a $103 million loss last year to post $69 million in profit, according to the German Football League (DFL).
“The measures for an improved cost control approved by the clubs in August 2010 have borne fruit,” said Christian Seifert, CEO of the DFL executive board.
“With that, professional football continues to have a strong outlook of remaining a success story, also because the Bundesliga is as popular as never before with fans, sponsors and media partners.”
The profit stems in part from a seventh straight year with record revenue across the DFL’s 36 clubs and capital companies. For last
season, that’s $2.93 billion with nearly $2.63 billion coming from the Bundesliga.
Click here to read the entire “Bundesliga Report 2012”.

MLS All-Star Games Bound for Philly

Philadelphia will host the 2012 MLS All-Star Game as Major League Soccer’s top stars face an as-yet-unnamed international opponent.
“Philadelphia has become a destination for hosting major soccer events in recent years, and we are pleased to bring the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game to a region with incredibly passionate soccer supporters,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said at the announcement.
“The Sons of Ben and the rest of the Union fans will provide an enthusiastic home-field advantage at PPL Park, and we look forward to celebrating our sport with this vibrant soccer community.”
Kickoff is scheduled for July 25 at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2, Galavision, TeleFutura, TSN, RDS and ESPN International.

By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson 

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