(WFI) World Football Insider rounds up the 10 things you need to know about the global football business today.

Newlook UEFA website
UEFA’s website has undergone a revamp ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2012 qualifying draw to provide improved coverage of recent, ongoing and future events. The addition of Polish and Ukrainian language sites reflects increasing interest in the two countries co-hosting of the tournament, increasing UEFA.com’s service to 12 languages. There is greater emphasis on addressing current UEFA activities by supplying more relevant background material, as well as the introduction of a dedicated Member Associations section to report and promote activities taking place in each of the 53 national associations. Fully integrated video will further enhance the website in the coming weeks.

Weekend results roundup
Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal Sunday restored their two-point lead
over Manchester United at the top of the Premier league. Didier Drogba
scored two first-half goals. United had briefly gone top on Saturday
after thumping Portsmouth 5-0 at Old Trafford. In Italy, Inter Milan
opened up a 10-point lead at the top of Serie A after defeating
Cagliari 3-0 at the San Siro, while second-placed AC Milan were held to
a 0-0 draw at Bologna. In La Liga, Barcelona beat Getafe to stay five
points clear of Real Madrid who defeated Espanyol. Germany’s Bayern
Munich are level on points with leaders Bayer Leverkusen after their
3-1 win over Wolfsburg, with Dutch winger Arjen Robben scoring his
third goal in consecutive games. It was Bayern’s eighth league win on
the trot. In Holland, Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven moved three
points clear of second-placed FC Twente with a 2-0 win over ADO Den
Haag. FC Twente’s 21-game unbeaten run since the start of season ended
on Sunday when they lost 3-0 at Ajax. In France, Ligue 1 leaders
Bordeaux lost 4-2 to Rennes. With Montpellier winning 2-0 at Boulogne,
they are just three points clear. Lille remain seven points behind
Bordeaux.

Premiership TV rights deal
English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is close to
announcing a 1 billion pound ($1.6bn) for global TV rights to screen
league matches, according to The Sun newspaper. Under the deal, the 20
EPL clubs each stand to get 50 million pounds. Negotiations are still
to be completed for major markets such as China and Russia. The new
deal marks a significant increase on the current £645m contract which
runs out at the end of the season.

US Soccer chief re-elected
Sunil Gulati was unanimously re-elected to a second four-year term as president of the U.S. Soccer Federation on Saturday. Gulati, 50, heads the US bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The vote took place place at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting. Succeeding Bob Contiguglia in 2006, he has more than 30 years of experience at all levels of soccer in the USA.

Euro 2012 newsletter
UEFA has teamed up with Poland and Ukraine to launch an official UEFA
Euro 2012 newsletter, ALIVE, which will keep fans updated on tournament
preparations. UEFA president Michel Platini

and the presidents of the
Polish Football Federation (PZPN), Grzegorz Lato, and Football
Federation of Ukraine (FFU), Grigoriy Surkis, feature in the first
edition out this week. The newsletter also fully explains the current
organisational set-up involving UEFA, local organising committees,
governments, host cities and the Euro 2012 steering group.

Major League Soccer CBA due
Major League Soccer announced its 2010 season scheduled last week but doubts remain if MLS commissioner Don Garber can avoid a work stoppage. The league is keen to resolve several issues to strike a new collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union in time for Friday’s deadline. Any labor strike could impact the March 25 season kick-off. The two sides are deadlocked over the issue of players’ freedom of movement between clubs. The union is unhappy with the MLS operating the league as a single entity, which means it holds the contracts of players rather than the individual teams. It is also demanding the MLS provides guaranteed contracts for its members.

World Cup ticketing
The fourth ticket sales phase for the South Africa World Cup kicks off on Tuesday. It will run for 58 days until April 7. Tickets will be allocated on a “first come, first served, subject to availability” basis. During the third ticketing sales phase, a total of 1,206,865 tickets were requested from 192 countries by the general public (excluding those tickets that have been sold through the participating teams to their fans). Of this total, 585,175 tickets were drawn successfully, and 413,072 (70.6 per cent) were allocated to South African residents.

France v Ireland ref makes World Cup
FIFA has named Martin Hansson, the Swede who missed Thierry Henry’s blatent handball in France’s qualifying win over Ireland, as one of the 30 referees to officiate at the 2010 World Cup. World football’s governing body has implemented a comprehensive programme to ensure that the referees, drawn from 28 countries, are in peak condition come kick off on June 11. In May, a final assessment will be done and a decision made regarding the acting and support referees prior to the first match appointments for this summer’s tournament.

Soccerex European Forum latest
José Maria Cruz, general manager of Sevilla FC, and Ajax Amsterdam commercial director Henri van der Aat are the latest additions to the speaker lineup for the Soccerex European Forum taking place in Manchester, March 2-3. To date Soccerex has confirmed the participation of all 20 Premier League teams; thirty-one Coca-Cola Football League clubs and fifty mainland European football clubs. For more information, visit www.soccerex.com/europe // call +44 (0)20 8742 7100 // email [email protected]

1930 World Cup legend turns 100
Former Argentinean footballer Francisco Varallo, only survivor of the first World Cup final in history celebrated his 100th birthday last Friday. “Pancho” Varallo was Argentina’s youngest player in their 4-2 defeat to Uruguay at the Centenario stadium of Montevideo in 1930. He played for La Plata, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata and finally Boca Juniors, the team in which he retired in 1939 after winning three championship titles. His scoring record of 181 goals for Boca, was only broken in 2008 by Martin Palermo.

Written by Mark Bisson ([email protected])

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