Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CONCACAF Play-offs for Brazil 2014 World Cup Draw; Belarus FA Chief Re-elected

By worldfootballinsider.com
CONCACAF has announced that a series of play-off matches will be contested in June to cut the number of its teams for the Brazil 2014 World Cup draw in Rio de Janeiro on July 30.

The region's 10 lowest ranked teams according to March’s FIFA world rankings were paired against each other for the five play-off matches. They will be played over two legs.

The play-offs feature: Montserrat v Belize; Anguilla v Dominican Republic; US Virgin Islands v British Virgin Islands; Aruba v St. Lucia; and Bahamas v Turks and Caicos.

The winners will join the remaining 25 higher-ranked teams from the region in the draw. The first game is scheduled for June 3, with the return leg on June 7.

The Brazil 2014 qualifying draw, a key milestone in the country's World Cup preparations, will take place at Marina da Gloria harbour, close to Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach. Almost all of FIFA's 208 member nations are expected to be involved in the draw, including those currently suspended, Indonesia and Bosnia.

In March, FIFA decided that CONCACAF and the other five continental confederations would have the same allocation of places for the Brazilian World Cup as for last year's edition in South Africa.

Europe have 13 spots, Africa 5, South America 4.5, Asia 4.5, North, Central America and Caribbean 3.5 and Oceania 0.5.

Roumas re-elected as Belarus FA chief
Sergei Roumas says he aims to raise standards in the national league after being elected as the new president of the Football Federation of Belarus.

Roumas was elected unopposed in the association's elections. He replaces Gennadi Nevyglas, who has been named honorary president.

"We have to double the number of people involved in grassroots football. Youth football is hugely important to us. We need to improve the standard of the national league as it is fundamental to all our national teams," Roumas told delegates, according to UEFA.com.

Belarusian football has grown in stature under Nevyglas. The country qualified for a third UEFA European Under-21 Championship this summer. The efforts of FC BATE Borisov in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League have raised the profile of the country's club football.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sports minister criticizes delay in Sao Paulo for World Cup

By news.xinhuanet.com

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's minister of sports, Olrando Silva, on Sunday openly criticized the city of Sao Paulo for its lack of preparations regarding the 2014 World Cup.
Silva cited that the delay in construction of Corinthians' new stadium as irresponsible. Corinthians and the city of Sao Paulo are in the dispute to hold the opening ceremonies and first match of the 2014 World Cup.
The minister added that Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Salvador are also locations that are in contention to hold the inaugural match. Silva emphasized that FIFA will have the final say as to where the opening match will be held.
Corinthians previously issued a statement claiming that its new stadium will not be ready in time to host any of the matches during the 2013 Confederations Cup, warm-up tournament to the 2014 World Cup.
Silva cited that 70 percent of the construction projected in preparation for the 2014 World Cup will have begun in 2011. The delay in construction and preparation for the world's largest soccer event has caused the president of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, to condemn the holdups in Brazil.
Worried about the delays, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff has scheduled a meeting with each of the respective governors and World Cup organizers in each of the host cities. The president hopes to encourage the speedy and successful completion of construction and preparation throughout country so that Brazil can pull off a triumphant World Cup in 2014.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FIFA Task Force Football 2014 members announced

By newdesignworld.com
Following a proposal made by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the FIFA Task Force Football 2014 was approved by the Executive Committee on 29 October 2010. The 22-member think tank comprises representatives from FIFA’s Football, Technical and Development, Medical and Referees Committees and other football experts. Their brief is to carry out an in-depth analysis of the modern game with a view to making proposals designed to improve it at every level.
Chaired by Franz Beckenbauer, the Task Force will work on areas such as the Laws of the Game, refereeing, competition regulations, women’s football, medical matters and fair play. FIFA.com introduces you to its 22 members.

Franz Beckenbauer (Chairman): One of the most successful players in the history of the game, the Bayern Munich and West Germany centre-half is the only man along with Brazil’s Mario Zagallo to have won the FIFA World Cup™ as both a player and a coach. Nicknamed The Kaiser during his playing days, Beckenbauer was also the President of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Local Organising Committee.
Carlos Alarcon Rios: Hailing from Paraguay, Mr Alarcon is the President of the CONMEBOL Referees Committee and is one of the most prominent figures in refereeing in Latin America. He is also a member of the FIFA Referees Committee.
Demetrio Albertini: An utterly dependable midfielder in his playing days, Albertini spent 12 seasons at AC Milan, making 415 appearances for the club to go with the 79 he made for his country. The 39-year-old retired in December 2005 but maintained his links with the game by becoming a vice-president of the Italian Football Association.
Massimo Busacca: The 42-year-old Swiss is regarded as one of the finest referees in the world. He took charge of four games at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup finals and speaks five languages in all (Italian, English, French, Spanish and German).
Kalusha Bwalya: The former Zambia international top-scored at the 1996 CAF African Cup of Nations and has held many positions in the game. After taking on the job of national team coach following his retirement, he then became President of the Zambian Football Association and now sits on the CAF Executive Committee.
Cafu: Born Marcos Evangelista de Moraes, Cafu is one of the finest right-backs in the history of the game. Now 40, he won 142 caps for Brazil and appeared in four FIFA World Cup finals, collecting a winner’s medal in two of them (1994 and 2002), the second time as captain.
Sir Bobby Charlton: Regarded as one of the finest English players of all time, Charlton formed part of a fabled trio at Manchester United with Denis Law and George Best and played a central part in England’s FIFA World Cup triumph on home soil in 1966. He also sits on FIFA’s Football Committee.
Ivan Curkovic: The President of Partizan Belgrade and the President of Serbia’s National Olympic Committee until February 2009, this ex-goalkeeper played 19 times for the former Yugoslavia and made 383 appearances for Saint-Etienne. He also sits on FIFA’s Stadium and Security Committee.
Jiri Dvorak: FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer and the Director of its Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), Professor Dvorak has been working with world football’s governing body since 1994 and is also a member of IOC and WADA committees.
Sunil Gulati: A professor of Economics at the University of Columbia, New York, Mr Gulati is the President of US Soccer, the USA’s national association, and also sits on FIFA’s Strategic Committee.
Fernando Hierro: One of the finest central defenders of his time, the Spaniard spent 14 seasons at Real Madrid, winning three UEFA Champions League titles with them. He is currently Technical Director with the Spanish national team.
Charmaine Hooper: A legend in her native Canada, Hooper won 131 caps with the Maple Leafs, scoring 71 goals, and appeared in the FIFA Women’s World Cup three times. She is now a member of FIFA’s Football Committee.
Alex Horne: Horne was appointed English Football Association’s Finance Director in 2003 and was made its General Secretary in May last year. He was also the Managing Director of Wembley Stadium from December 2006 to July 2008.
Christian Karembeu: Born in New Caledonia, and a world champion with France in 1998 and a European champion two years later, Karembeu was a versatile midfielder before retiring to become FIFA Ambassador for Oceania and a member of FIFA’s Football Committee.
Tracy Lu: Hailing from China, Lu is a member of FIFA’s Committee for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's World Cup, and began her career as an interpreter with the Chinese Football Association, where she has climbed up through the ranks.
Ioan Lupescu: The former attacking midfielder is one of the best-known and most successful players in his Romania’s history. Lupescu appeared at two FIFA World Cup finals and at two UEFA EURO tournaments in the 1990s and represented his country on 72 occasions, scoring six goals in the process. He has formed part of FIFA’s Technical Study Group many times.
Peter Mikkelsen: Now 61, the Dane became an international referee after ending his playing career, officiating in two matches at Italy 1990 and three at USA 1994. He now sits on FIFA’s Referees Committee.
Dejan Savicevic: An old-style left winger, the Montenegrin was a skilled dribbler with an eye for goal. The scorer of 29 goals in 56 games for the former Yugoslavia, Savicevic also enjoyed great success with AC Milan. Now the President of the Montenegrin Football Association, he is also a member of FIFA’s Football Committee.
Marina Sbardella: This Italian TV journalist has hosted several sports programmes on TG3, TMC and La7, and sits on the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups. She is also a member of the coaching staff for the Italian national women’s team.
Kohzo Tashima: Formerly the Technical Director of the Japanese Football Association and now its General Secretary, Mr Tashima played an active part in the preparations for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Japan/Korea. He is also a vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation.
Theo van Seggelen: The General Secretary of FIFPro, the worldwide players’ union, which represents some 55,000 players, Mr Van Seggelen also sits on FIFA’s Strategic Committee.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brazilian airport renovations to be completed by 2014 World Cup

By xinhuanet.com
Brazil's Civil Aviation Secretary Wagner Bittencourt said on Friday that the renovations in the country's airports for the 2014 FIFA World Cup are proceeding as scheduled. "The renovations are going ahead as scheduled to meet to the demands presented by the Cup," Bittencourt said. The secretary's statement contradicts a report released on Thursday by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), which stated that out of the 12 airports which are being renovated for the World Cup, nine would not be ready in time for the competition. According to Bittencourt, the government is studying strategies to speed up the projects, and one of the options foresees private investments in the airports. He stressed, though, that no decision has been made. Planning Minister Miriam Belchior agreed with Bittencourt that the renovations are going as expected. She said Brazil will not be ashamed of the airports in the World Cup. "As always, Brazil will do fine," she said. FIFA considered the state of Brazilian airports a critical point in Brazil's preparation to host the World Cup. The International Olympic Committee also expressed worry about the subject, as Rio will host the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Maracana to be renovated in time for Brazil 2014 World Cup

By Goal.com
Brazil's legendary stadium, which was built 61 years ago, will receive a big-money facelift to fall into line with Fifa rules that all stadia must be covered in three years time. Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium will receive a big-money makeover in time for the 2014 World Cup which is to be held in Brazil. The Rio state body for the protection of historical and artistic buildings (Iphan) has granted permission for a new, larger covering to replace the original roofing of the 82,000 capacity stadium. Renovation is compulsory due to Fifa stating that all stadia holding 2014 World Cup matches must be fully covered. The famous Maracana was originally built 61 years ago, in time for the last time the South American nation held the finals in 1950. The news comes after Fifa president Sepp Blatter praised the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) for their work in preparation for the World Cup in 2014. "We have received some very positive reports everywhere, especially in construction, not only of the stadiums but also the airports and hotels in the different regions," the 75-year-old told reporters on a visit to El Salvador. The renovation is expected to be completed by December 2012, in time for the Confederations Cup in Brazil the following summer.

Blatter satisfied with Brazil 2014 progress

By insideworldfootball.biz
April 14 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that world football's governing body "do not have any problem" with progress being made by Brazil in preparation for the 2014 World Cup. 

Blatter is travelling through Central America ahead of the FIFA Presidential election on June 1, in which he faces the challenge of Mohamed Bin Hammam.
And his words contrast with those he used a fortnight ago when he criticised Brazilian preparations, saying that they were far behind where South Africa was at the same stage of organisation for the 2010 tournament.
Following Blatter's previous criticism, Brazil Football Confederation President Ricardo Teixeira said that progress was being made, yet that same week it was announced that there were problems with renovation work being carried out at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana.
And construction is still yet to start on stadiums in Natal and Sao Paulo, but the FIFA President told reporters that he had no concerns at present on any of these issues.
"We don't have any problem because we have received positive reports from all sides - especially in construction," he said.
He added that construction was progressing well "not just for stadiums but for airports and hotels in different regions."
Rio de Janeiro officials said last week that 3,500 extra workers are being hired to ensure renovations at the Maracana will be completed in time for the 2013 Confederations Cup, the traditional test run for the following year's World Cup.
Blatter added that FIFA would be helping to assist with coaching and training in Central America, including the construction of football fields in El Salvador.
The incumbent President is travelling through Belize and onto Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama as he looks to secure votes ahead of the June election, with the Central American region, part of CONCACAF, holding 38 of 208 votes in FIFA.
Perhaps even more crucially, its members are all likely to vote the same way in the election, making it a crucial battle ground between Blatter and his Qatari rival.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

China to Assist Brazil in 2014 World Cup Preparations

By worldfootballinsider.com
A new cooperation and investment agreement between China and Brazil is set to boost preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and Chinese president Hu Jintao signed the agreement at the Great of Hall of the People in Beijing.
It committed both countries to a partnership in infrastructure construction for Brazil 2014 tournament and Rio 2016 Olympics, Chinese media reported.
Rousseff, who is in China on a six-day visit, called on Chinese rail companies to bid to build high-speed railways projects, including a 500km rail link from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, which is expected to cost around $20 billion.
Further opportunities to invest in World Cup-related projects will be on show at this year's Soccerex Global Convention in Rio de Janeiro.
Today, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke confirmed his attendance at the Nov. 26-30 event.
Also attending this year’s event, the second to be held in Rio, will be representatives from all 12 World Cup host cities.
A number of FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games partners and sponsors will also be in attendance as well as executives from leading football clubs and rights holders from around the world.
The inaugural event attracted around 3,700 decision makers from the football business industry.

UK sports minister gets behind Women’s Super League
British sports minister Hugh Robertson says he believes the English FA's Women’s Super League, kicking off tomorrow, will be raise standards and interest in the women's game.

“I am extremely confident that the FA’s Women’s Super League will be a great success and will not only benefit our national team but over time will improve standards at the grassroots level of the women’s game both on and off the pitch,” Robertson said at the launch event at Wembley on Monday.

Eight teams from across the country will play in the WSL, the first semi-professional women’s football league in England.

The FA has spent several years developing the WSL, with the aim to professionalise women’s football and attract more women and fans to the game. New research from the FA shows that 180,000 women aged 16 to 34 are considering taking up football in the next year.

England women’s team manager Hope Powell is excited about the launch of the WSL and says it will help prepare her players for the Women's World Cup in Germany in June.

“Playing summer football is quite a radical change, but I think it will be great for the game,” Powell said in a statement.
“Hopefully it will attract more supporters to women’s football because we’ll have nicer weather and conditions will be more pleasant for people to come and watch the matches as a family.

“More importantly, hopefully it will raise standards.

"There are eight teams in the League and the geographical spread of those teams is quite good. Players will want to play, so they will probably move clubs if they want to get regular games at a high level and that puts a good pressure on every member of the squad to perform when they are in the team.”

Teams representing Arsenal, Birmingham, Bristol, Chelsea, Doncaster, Everton, Liverpool and Lincoln will play each other twice over 14 match rounds, kicking off with Chelsea Ladies against Arsenal Ladies on Wednesday.

A venue fit for a Preliminary Draw

By FIFA.com
The picturesque setting of Rio de Janeiro’s Marina da Gloria has been selected as the location for the first official event of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the Preliminary Draw, which will take place on 30 July.

The harbour offers a truly spectacular venue for what promises to be a special occasion. Situated at the foot of the world-famous Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Marina da Gloria will provide a stunning gateway to the city for the many visitors expected to flock to Rio in 2014.
However, there is more to Marina da Gloria’s selection than just its aesthetic appeal. The harbour area also boasts 9,000 square metres of floor space for hosting the event, lies within easy reach of Santos Dumont Airport and several hotels in southern Rio, and offers excellent infrastructures for visitors.
The Preliminary Draw is an important step in the countdown to the world finals, with hundreds of journalists from all over the world expected to attend an event sure to please some of the participating nations and disappoint others. All will be revealed in sun-kissed Rio on 30 July.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Brazil's World Cup 2014 preparations hit by new blow as Maracana project is delayed by at least a year

By telegraph.co.uk

Delayed: Building work at the maracana stadium is to over
run by a year. Photo: Reuters
Alarm bells are ringing over Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Plans have already been criticised by Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, and it emerged on Thursday that the Maracana stadium, which is to host the final, will require a new roof and may not be ready until 2013.  

It was expected that the ground in Rio de Janeiro, which has not been used since last September because of renovation work, would be ready by the end of this year, but Ricardo Teixeira, the Brazilian football federation president, said the target now was the 2013 Confederations Cup.

The initial project was to keep the roof but Teixeira said “unexpected” problems had led engineers to conclude that it would be easier to install a new one than carry out repairs. The project will cost an estimated £400 million in total.
Blatter complained this week that “the World Cup is tomorrow and the Brazilians are thinking it’s the day after tomorrow”, as he compared Brazil’s state of readiness unfavourably with South Africa’s at a corresponding stage.
His comments follow a warning from Pele, who is expected to be an ambassador for the tournament, that the country “is running a huge risk of embarrassing itself in its handling of the World Cup. It has the obligation to host a successful World Cup.”
Misgivings were echoed by those assessing the technical side, with a report finding that most of the stadiums were behind schedule.
The reaction in Brazil has been mixed, with O Globo newspaper advising Fifa to “stay calm”. There are also suggestions that Blatter’s criticism needs to be viewed in the context of internal Fifa politics with Teixeira, a former Blatter ally, reportedly changing sides to vote for Mohammed Bin Hammam in the coming Fifa presidential election.
Orlando Silva, Brazil’s sport minister, said: “This is more a question of diverting attention from internal issues that involve Fifa than a realistic analysis of the work being done.”
But a consultant from the respected Fundacao Getulio Vargas institute, which has collaborated on the planning for World Cup 2014, acknowledged that “up until now it’s promising to be a mess. We need to move fast to work this out. But the first thing to do is to admit the problem exists.”
Another view is that the plan to stage the tournament in 12 cities was overblown. While some grounds are making encouraging progress, Fifa alarm has been triggered by the fact that work has yet to start in Natal and Sao Paulo.
The latter is planned to be the Corinthians stadium at Itaquera but there has been controversy both over the venue and the cost to transform the projected venue from a capacity of 45,000 to 65,000 as the stage for the opening game in June 2014. A sticking point has been facilitating extra funding.
It is widely believed in Brazil that problems over stadiums and other issues, such as security and transport infrastructure, can be pinned on the country’s Byzantine politics. Last year progress to 2014 appeared paralysed as the country went to the polls to replace President Lula. His successor, Dilma Rousseff, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the project but budgets cuts of around £20 billion are likely to have an effect.
Critics also blame the Brazilian FA and Teixeira for the problems, arguing that neglect of Brazil’s domestic football structure and personal ambitions are complicating preparations.
Juca Kfouri, a leading journalist, said: “The main problem is the lack of credibility of who is running the local organising committee. In France it was Platini. In Germany Beckenbauer. In Brazil it’s Ricardo Teixeira.”
Teixeira is also the centre of attention in Brazil’s Congress, where there are attempts to set up an inquiry into the handling of preparations for 2014 and the sale of television rights. Among the controversies are questions about where the profits from 2014 will go.
While Teixeira still has powerful allies, some feel complacency is still Brazil’s biggest problem.