(WFI) World Football Insider rounds up the ten things you need to know about the global football business today.
Downing Street and Wembley visits for FIFA
A FIFA delegation arrived in London today for the start of its four-day inspection of the England 2018 World Cup bid. This morning the group will meet Britain’s deputy prime minster Nick Clegg in Downing Street before it heads to Wembley for a tour of the stadium and a meeting with England boss Fabio Capello. British PM David Cameron said last week he was not prepared to break his holiday to meet with the FIFA commission headed by Harold Mayne-Nicholls. FIFA delegates will visit three other candidate host cities this week; members will inspect stadiums and proposed facilities in Manchester, Sunderland and Newcastle. But all of the 12 cities listed in England’s bid book will be represented in presentations to FIFA and events held through the week. Prince William, president of the Football Association, and LA Galaxy star David Beckham – two of England 2018’s most important ambassadors – are not expected to participate in this week’s bid activities but will play crucial roles in the final 100 days of the campaign to land the 2018 World Cup.
Mayor promotes commercial benefits of England 2018
London Mayor Boris Johnson said today that the British capital has “the heritage, expertise and infrastructure to put on the most commercially successful World Cup FIFA has ever seen”. The mayor, who chairs London United, the group coordinating the capital’s host city submission, is accompanying the FIFA delegation’s visit to the city today. In his discussions with FIFA, he will emphasise London’s mature football market in terms of sponsorship, broadcasting, ticketing and hospitality, and proven track record in managing large scale sporting and cultural events which will include the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Tuesday marks 100 days until FIFA’s 24-man executive committee makes its decision on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. London is turning red and white as part of the ‘Back the Bid Week’ launched by the bid team. City Hall is sporting a giant two-storey red and white banner, seen from the Thames, which reads “England United: The World Invited.” There are also street banners on Whitehall, Park Lane, in and around Parliament Square and Millbank, as well as along Victoria Embankment, around Wembley, the O2 arena and the ExCel Centre.
Big week for UEFA in Monaco
UEFA officially aunches the new European football season in Monaco this week with the staging of the UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Club Football Awards and the group-stage draws for the Champions League and Europa League. The festivities start on Thursday at 18.00 CET with the UEFA Club Football Awards and Champions League group-stage draw ceremony at the Grimaldi Forum, which is streamed live on UEFA.com. The Europa League group-stage draw is on Friday from 13.00 CET. Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, holders of the Champions League and Europa League titles, go head to head for the UEFA Super Cup in a match on Friday evening at Stade Louis II. Ahead of the Monaco draws, 10 Champions League play-offs take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Europa League play-offs are on Thursday.
Poll adds voice to video technology debate
In an English Premier League weekend distinguished by the amount of goals scored – including 6-0 wins for Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United – refereeing again came under the spotlight. Stoke City were denied a deserved draw against Tottenham when Jonathan Walters header was cleared from behind the line by Peter Crouch, but not spotted by referee Chris Foy. Writing in today’s Daily Mail, former EPL and FIFA referee Graham Poll says that the incident provided evidence that the experiment with additional officials is inadequate and that it “really is time to accept and embrace technology to confirm matters of fact.
“Foy was in virtually the same position that one of the two extra assistants will be in under UEFA’s continuing experiment
in Champions League games this season,” Poll writes. “Those extra eyes which the governing bodies hope will mean that goal line technology will not be needed. I think that what Saturday proves is that, when dealing with a fact, the ball crossing the line, match officials need help.”
Ukraine seek new coach for 2012
Following the resignation of Miron Markevich, Ukraine begin the search for a new national coach to lead them into the 2012 European Championships, which they are co-hosting with Poland. It follows the match-fixing scandal which last week saw two of the country’s leading clubs – Metalist Kharkiv and Karpaty Lviv – fined and have points deducted for fixing the outcome of a match in April 2008.
Markevich, who was Metalist manager at the time, said that to continue working for the Ukrainian Football Federation (FFU), who handed out the ban, would be to “betray my native club”. He added: “FFU chiefs completely discredited themselves with their recent decision to penalise Metalist. I have no moral right to continue working in the organisation, which purposely destroys football in Kharkiv.”
Messi form returns on eve of new Spanish season
The form that proved so elusive to Lionel Messi during this summer’s World Cup returned when he pulled on a Barcelona shirt in the Spanish King’s Cup against Sevilla on Saturday. A stunning hat-trick and a Sevilla own goal secured a 4-0 win, overturning the 3-1 first leg defeat a week earlier when Barcelona fielded a weakened team. La Liga kicks off on Saturday when minnows Hercules take on Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona take on Racing Santander 24 hours later, when Real Madrid – now managed by Jose Mourinho, once a translator at the Nou Camp – take on Mallorca.
Inter kick off Serie A season as favourites
New Inter Milan boss Rafael Benitez lifted his first trophy as Nerazzurri boss this weekend after Inter overcame AS Roma in the Supercoppa Italiana. Goran Pandez’s goal and a brace by Samuel Eto’o overcame John Arne Riise’s opener for Roma in a 3-1 win for the champions.
The Supercoppa is Italian football’s traditional curtain raiser and Serie A kicks off this weekend with Benitez’s side hotly tipped to win a sixth successive title. Inter may face challenges from Juventus – this summer’s big spenders with more than €40million of new talent – and Roma, who finished runners up to the Nerazzurri in the league and cup last season. AC Milan have meanwhile been linked with a move for former Inter forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has struggled for form since joining Barcelona a year ago.
FC Gold Pride win US Women’s Professional Soccer championship
FC Gold Pride clinched the Women’s Professional Soccer league
title on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Red Stars in front
of 6,089 fans at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Brazilian striker
Marta scored the decisive goal with a 78th-minute penalty. The San
Francisco Bay Area team needed a fortuitous series of results in order
to win the championship outright at the weekend, needing to win and hope
that Boston lost or drew and Philadelphia lost. Boston went down 3-2 to
Atlanta Beat, while Philadelphia were defeated 1-0 to Sky Blue FC. As
title winners, FC Gold Pride earned the right to host the WPS
Championship on Sept. 26. They will play the winners of the WPS Super
Semifinal from earlier that week.
Youth Olympic Games football finalists
Haiti caused an upset in beating Singapore 2-0 to book their place in
the final of the Youth Olympics U-15 boys tournament. In Wednesday’s
showdown at the Jalan Besar Stadium, they will play Bolivia who defeated
Montenegro 3-1. Singapore take on Montenegro for the bronze medal.
Football Federation elections postponed
Football Federation executive committee elections scheduled to take
place in Abuja on Saturday have been postponed until Thursday following
complaints voiced by some of the candidates about the electoral process.
Former Nigeria World Cup captain and Bolton Wanderers star Jay Jay
Okocha is among the candidates seeking a seat on the executive board of
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