Soccer News & Notes, January 11, 2011

Some EPL Managers Against Moving Qatar World Cup To Winter

Wenger Says Winter World Cup Would Cause Problems Between Clubs, Countries And FIFA

English Premier League managers have "voiced their opposition" to the idea of holding the ’22 Qatar World Cup in the winter, according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. A winter tournament would "clash with established sports events," including the Australian Open and the Winter Olympics, and "would have significant implications for domestic leagues in Europe, which would be midway through their seasons." Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, "It would demand a complete reorganisation of the whole world’s fixtures and I cannot see that happening. It would create many problems between clubs and countries and FIFA." Everton manager David Moyes added of the necessity of a winter tournament, "Was everyone aware of that before they made their choice? Because I think, if that had been put to the relevant countries, there may have been a lot of people not choosing Qatar." O’Connor noted FIFA President Sepp Blatter in moving the tournament’s date would be "picking a fight with powerful European clubs, many of whom are angry about the lack of consultation on the issue." The World Cup’s commercial partners "may be more compliant." But "other broadcasters and sponsors, such as Sky and Barclays, who have paid huge sums for commercial rights to the Premier League, would object" (LONDON TIMES, 1/8). In London, Andrew Warshaw cited FIFA sources as saying that "no fewer than three regular seasons would have to be overhauled to accommodate a switch, with as many as nine free weeks needed to cover the period before and after the tournament as well as the actual matches themselves." Even if the EPL "copied most of Europe and applied a winter break, it would not be nearly long enough." A FIFA official: "You would have to stop playing all the leagues by November. And you would have to start the new structure one season before the World Cup in order for it to be applied to 2021-22. I don’t see how you could suddenly change." FIFA also said that any change of the date "must be agreed by 2015" (London INDEPENDENT, 1/9).

ISSUES FOR FIFA: In London, Paul Kelso wrote the impact of moving the tournament to the winter could be "profound" for FIFA, as "skepticism over the executive committee’s decision to come to Qatar is fueled by the growing belief that the move to winter was a fait accompli, and the bid therefore a false prospectus." Blatter is "shrewd enough to realise this, though probably not to embrace the wholesale reform necessary to restore confidence." Blatter over the weekend "made it clear he recognises the damage the decision" to award Qatar the World Cup has done, but his demeanor suggested that he is "uncomfortable defending a choice most observers believe he did not support." Blatter said that he "was ‘sad’ that FIFA’s reputation was so low in the public mind, but rejected the suggestion that the decision to come to Qatar … had damaged its credibility." He "blamed many of FIFA’s problems on the governance structure, in which the President is elected by all 208 member associations and the executive committee, which controls all decisions, by the Confederations" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 1/8). U.S. FIFA Exec Committee member Chuck Blazer Friday said of changing the tournament’s date, "I don’t understand, frankly, why there is such a rush at this point to try to resolve this. A lot of people have interests that need to be taken into account." Blazer added of why some FIFA officials are "jumping on the winter bandwagon" for the tournament: "Maybe a lot of people felt they had to explain their vote. Maybe this gives them justification" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/8).

Source: www.sportsbusinessdaily.com

FIFA President Blatter "expects" Winter World Cup in Qatar
Mon, 10/01/2011
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted for the first time that he does "expect" the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be staged in the winter.

Blatter, in Doha for the opening weekend of the Asian Cup, said he believes the 2022 World Cup will take place in January instead of June. However, the suggestion has so far drawn a lukewarm response from clubs in major European leagues.

"I expect it will be held in the winter," he said. "We have time to look at this question. It is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year. When you play football you must protect the main people, the players."

Blatter also responded to criticism of FIFA for a lack of transparency by saying the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is dominated by royalty and handles its finances "like a housewife".

"Our accounts are open to everyone," said Blatter, who is an IOC member. "The IOC does it like a housewife. She receives some money and she spends some money."

He added: "In the 115 members of the IOC, only 45 are directly linked to sport. If you need to know where in the world you still have princes, princesses and kings, then you go to the list of members of the IOC. You will find a lot of them."

Source: www.sportbusiness.com

MLS Commissioner Garber plays down Miami fans’ franchise hopes
Monday, January 10, 2011

Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber has told football fans in Miami that there are no immediate plans to bring a team back to South Florida.

Garber scheduled a town-hall meeting with fans in Fort Lauderdale and explained that the soccer landscape was "complicated" and South Florida market "might not be ready for MLS". The Miami Fusion competed in the League for three years, but the Miami-based team was discontinued in 2001.

Garber said, according to the Miami Herald: "We do hope at some point that MLS can get back to South Florida and have success here because it’s hard to imagine a future with no team south of Washington, DC. We want it to work here. It’s an ethnically diverse market that loves soccer and has very high TV ratings for the World Cup. But we tried it and were not successful."

Garber continued: "We need to know the market can show massive support for an MLS team, and we have a long way to go to reach that conclusion. It takes more than just a core of die-hard fans. It takes a groundswell of support like we got in Philadelphia, Portland and Vancouver…There is no plan in place right now to bring a team to Miami. We have had no discussion with any potential owners in quite some time, and no viable stadium opportunities."

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

MLS Columbus Crew loses shirt sponsor
Monday, January 10, 2011

Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Columbus Crew franchise has lost its shirt sponsor after paint-maker Glidden confirmed it would not be renewing its partnership.

Glidden’s logo has adorned the Crew’s jerseys since 2008, and although the company will remain a team sponsor, the club is on the look-out for a new backer. Electronics retailer Best Buy also ended its three-year jersey sponsorship of rival MLS team the Chicago Fire in December.

"Their industry has been really affected by this economy and they’re not going to be on our jersey this year," Crew president and general manger Mark McCullers told The Columbus Dispatch. "We haven’t finalised anything yet, but we expect they will remain as a partner at a significant level."

McCullers added: "We’re talking to some other people. It’s prudent to have a couple of irons in the fire, but it’s a big investment. My guess is that we probably won’t have a jersey sponsor when we start the season, but we do have some people genuinely interested."

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

Liverpool links up with Edit.TV
Monday, January 10, 2011

Liverpool has become the first major football club in England to provide its fans with the ability to create personalised match highlights after agreeing a contract with video search and navigation company Edit.TV for its YourSportTV application.

The cutting edge technology, backed by 17 patents, will be available to subscribers of the Liverpool FC TV website. Fans accessing www.liverpoolfc.tv will be able to search, edit and tag video content to suit their specific requirements, creating personalised match highlights by player and events.

Edit.TV director Matt O’Connor said: "We are delighted to have signed a contract with Liverpool FC for the 2011-12 season following a successful trialling of our technology. Our technology synchronises sports data with video footage to timestamp match events. These events are then displayed as icons via a user-friendly control panel and can be viewed on-demand or added to a playlist to compile a sports video show reel."

Andrew Robinson, Liverpool’s head of digital media, added: "We are excited at the prospect of our LFCTV Online subscribers being able to search within and across matches to collate playlists and share with their friends. YourSportTV will increase the enjoyment of our fans through its ability to offer a more detailed, analytical, user-driven engagement of match content across domestic and European matches."

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

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