(WFI) World Football Insider rounds up the 10 things you need to know about the global football business today.
On the scene at Leaders in Football
INSIDER will be reporting from Leaders in Football at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge this week. Eight of the nine bidders for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup will be attempting to raise their profiles at the Oct. 6-7 event. The conference brings together around 1,000 senior executives from football clubs, leagues, federations and sponsors. Australia bid chiefs will be absent as they are hosting CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz in Sydney, where Paraguay are playing a friendly. Day one of the conference is dominated by sessions on the bid race for 2018 and 2022. In keeping with their lavish spending spree on football conferences, Russia and Qatar have spent thousands of dollars on sponsorship of a networking break and official reception respectively. Conferences speakers include FIFA vice president Chung Mong-Joon, Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan, and UEFA’s Euro 2012 operations director Martin Kallen.
Scrutiny of Euro 2012 preparations
UEFA president Michel Platini will give his verdict on the progress of preparations for the Euro 2012 championship in Poland and Ukraine after today’s executive committee meeting in Minsk, Belarus. Euro 2012 organisers on Friday issued the 53 UEFA member associations with a dossier of 38 potential team bases for the final tournament. The 21 bases in Poland and 17 in Ukraine are said to meet UEFA’s exacting requirements. Team camps should include 4-5 star hotel or sport complexes and training facilities close to the hotel and up to UEFA standards. National associations are encouraged to review the sites in the Euro 2012 catalogue and to conduct site visits before the finals draw in December 2011. They can provisionally book team bases with UEFA. Polish tournament chief said they had finalised its list of team bases after receiving 160 applications from Polish cities. UEFA and the LOCs recommend that teams are based in the country in which they play their group stage matches.
Boost for Australia World Cup bid as PM meets Blatter
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said FIFA president Sepp Blatter had compared her country’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup to a Formula One driver at the starting line with the car is fully fuelled and ready to go. Gillard met Blatter on a quick visit to FIFA headquarters in Zurich en route to a meeting in Brussels. “I, obviously, urged him to see the merits of Australia’s bid for the World Cup,” she was quoted by AFP on Sunday. “Whether we’ll win the race, we’ll know in December.” Gillard, who became the country’s first female Prime Minister on 24 June, told FIFA.com: “I confirmed to Mr Blatter my government’s total support for Australia’s candidature for the 2022 World Cup. Everyone in Australia is very enthusiastic about it. Football is growing in Australia and we proved by hosting the Olympic Games in 2000 that we know how to organise major sporting events.”
Brazil 2014 looks to support of Dilma Rousseff
Brazil World Cup organisers must wait a few more weeks to gauge the level of support of the country’s next president. Presidential elections on Sunday did not produce an outright winner. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chosen successor Dilma Rousseff failed to win a majority of votes and now faces a runoff against centrist rival Jose Serra. Rousseff, who served as president Lula’s chief of staff, is still expected to become Brazil’s first female president when the two go to the polls again in four weeks time. President Lula, who is stepping down after two terms in office, played a major role in Brazil securing the 2014 FIFA showpiece and has since pledged billions of dollars to accelerate stadia and infrastructure preparations
for the tournament amid concerns the country will not be ready. Meanwhile, in state elections in Brazil over the weekend, footballing legend Romario won a seat to represent Rio de Janeiro in the lower house of Congress.
Scudamore: Winter break is not an option
English Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore says that the EPL has “no problem in principle” to following Italy and Germany in instituting a winter break, but believes that fixture congestion in England renders the idea impossible. “The whole point about English football is that we’ve got a busy football calendar,” he told BBC Sport. “Nobody has yet to prove that playing less games helps. There’s a lot of debate about the winter break. We have no problem in principle to having the winter break, but you just can’t see where in the calendar this is going to come.” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told the same TV programme that he feared some clubs would merely use a break for commercial gain. “What bothers me if we had a winter break is that we’d be jetting off to play games in Dubai, or Abu Dhabi or China – there’d be games fixed up there because commercially there’s great money playing those games.”
Coca-Cola drops Rooney
Wayne Rooney has been dropped from its Coke Zero advertising campaign following allegations about his private life in the British tabloid press. The endorsement, reportedly worth £600,000 per year, is one of the longest standing in the forward’s portfolio, dating back to his time with Everton. The Sunday Mirror and the News of the World last month both published allegations that the England and Manchester United star consorted with prostitutes while his wife Coleen was pregnant. Other endorsements have not suffered as a result of the scandal with Nike reportedly standing by him, while Rooney last week appeared as the face of EA Sports’ new FIFA 2011 video game.
David Beckham scored a stunning free-kick to seal victory for the Los Angeles Galaxy against Chivas USA and a return to the top of the Western Conference. Beckham curled his 25-yard free-kick around a nine-man wall into the top corner to score the decisive goal. It was his first goal for the Galaxy since September, 2009. “I knew as soon as I hit it, it was in,” Beckham was quoted by AFP. “Even though they’ve got a very good ‘keeper, I think he expected me to put the ball over the other side, so he was cheating to the right.”
Real Madrid goal feast
Real Madrid moved ahead of Barcelona into third place in La Liga thanks to a 6-1 demolition of Deportivo La Coruna at the Bernabeu. After netting only nine goals in their previous seven league games, Madrid banished their scoring problems in style with Cristiano Ronaldo bagging two goals and new signing Mesut Ozil also among the scorers. Barca could only draw 1-1 with Real Mallorca at the Nou Camp.
Bin Hammam disappointed with Singapore FA
The Football Association of Singapore has withdrawn its application to take part in the 2011 AFC Champions League because it has failed to meet the Asian Football Confederation’s strict criteria. The FAS could not satisfy one of the revamped ACL’s criteria that the top league of any national association should not contain any foreign teams. FAS chief Zainudin Nordin told AFC.com that foreign teams remained vital to the S-League, chiefly to provide more excitement and competitiveness to attract more fans and help secure non-Singapore sponsors. AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam expressed disappointment at the lack of Singapore’s involvement in the AFC Champions League. “It is hard to see Singapore out of AFC’s professional football activities in spite of their great potential. We will work hard towards seeing them playing an active role in our professional football programmes in the future.”
Messi starts voting for World XI
Reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi started voting for this year’s FIFA/FIFPro World XI, casting the first vote to decide the ultimate dream team at Barcelona’s training ground on Friday. A total of 55,000 professional players worldwide will receive ballot papers this week asking them to pick their team based on a 4-3-3 formation. The results will be unveiled at the FIFA Gala on Jan. 10 in Zurich. The first winner of the FIFA Ballon d’or – a new award that follows the merger of the FIFA World Player of the Year Award and France Football’s Ballon d’or – will also be announced.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson and James Corbett
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