Showing posts from November, 2011

Iranian Azeri soccer protests raise spectre of Turkish-Iranian-Syrian proxy war

Nationalist fans demand unification with post-Soviet Azerbaijan By James M. Dorsey Nationalist and environmental soccer protests in recent months in the Bagh Shomal and Yadegar-e-Emam stadiums in Tabriz, the capital of the Iranian province of Eastern Azerbaijan, have raised the spectre of ethnic strife in the Islamic republic and a Turkish-Syrian-Iranian war using ethnic proxies. The sporadic protests come as regional tension is mounting over the crisis in Syria as a result of President Bashar al-Assad’s eight month-old brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. With increasing pressure on Turkey to intervene in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutuoglu on Tuesday appeared for the first time to leave the door open for possible Turkish military intervention, Mr. Davutuoglu warned at a news conference that Turkey was "ready for all possible scenarios" but had as yet not considered military intervention and didn’t want to. Mr. Davutuoglu appeared in statements

Australian soccer boss says Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup is likely to be challenged

Challenging Qatar;s bid: Australia's Frank Lowy (Source: By James M. Dorsey Australian soccer federation president Frank Lowy, speaking days after world soccer body FIFA head Sepp Blatter opened the door to an investigation of Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup, believes that the Gulf state could be deprived of the right to host the tournament. Speaking immediately after his re-election as Australia’s soccer czar, Mr. Lowy said that the "last word hasn't been heard yet'' on FIFA’s controversial vote last December in favour of the Qatari bid. Mr. Lowy’s remarks followed statements by Mr. Blatter suggesting for the first time that FIFA could investigate the Qatari bid as well as demands for an investigation by the British parliament’s media and culture committee as well as German soccer federation boss Theo Zwanziger. Australia, alongside the United States, South Korea and Japan was one of the bidders that lost out to Qatar. Mr. Low

FIFA opens door to investigation of Qatar’s World Cup bid

FIFA President Sepp Blatter By James M. Dorsey In a worrying development for Qatar, world soccer body FIFA president Sepp Blatter has for the first time opened the door to a possible investigation of the Gulf state’s successful but controversial bid to host the 2022 World Cup. In a series of interviews with media including Fox Soccer and Germany’s Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, Mr. Blatter said the soccer body’s newly created Good Governance Committee would have the authority to review the bid process that resulted last December in the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.   Qatar’s bid has been mired in controversy prompted by questions about its well-funded bid campaign as well as potential problems because of its searing summer temperature, sour grapes on the part of its competitors and allegations made by a disgruntled employee of its bid committee. The banning in July by FIFA of Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam,

Former national goalkeeper leads chants on Tahrir Square

Former Egyptian national soccer team goalkeeper Nader el-Sayyed leads protesters on Cairo's Tahrir Square

Play the Game – Developments in Sports in the Middle East

Play the Game – Developments in Sports in the Middle East Filed under  CHRISTER AHL COMMENTARY { NO COMMENTS } A less sinister issue: Iran and Turkey with different ideas about proper uniforms In the past, issues related to sports in the Middle East have often tended to focus on the impact of religion and culture on the opportunities for athletes. In particular, the impediment for aspiring women athletes have been the subject of discussion, from outright prohibitions to the complications caused between the mismatch between traditional garb and the prescribed uniforms in different sports. There have also been reasons to discuss political aspects, including strife or tensions between different Muslim countries or in their relations with Israel or with East Asia, the latter given the importance of continental Asian competitions. But over the past year, I have had reason to write articles about the impact on sports during the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, both of which are prominent ha

Other face of Tahrir

Other face of Tahrir Thursday, November 24, 2011 James M. Dorsey Hürriyet Daily News Egyptian demonstrators determined to unseat the country’s military rulers  have found a battle-ready ally, ultras from the country’s biggest football  clubs Egyptian army soldiers stand guard atop a concrete block barricade while protesters chant slogans near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which is bracing for a ‘last chance’ rally today. AP photo It was mid- afternoon on  Saturday, the  second day of mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand  an end to military rule, when a cry went out for help from the  ultras, Egypt’s militant, violence-prone, highly politicized football  fans. Under attack by security forces, protesters, unwilling to back down, were looking at what amounts to the Egyptian revolt’s  shock troops for protection. “We initially stayed away when the families of the people killed  during the uprising went back out to Tahrir. The police violence  changed our m

Randale für die Revolution (JMD in German)

DIE WELT Autor: Tobias Heimbach | 06:33 Randale für die Revolution Vom Stadion zum Tahrir-Platz: Wie radikale Fußballfans die Umwälzungen in Ägypten beeinflussen "Die Ultras haben eine wichtigere Rolle gespielt als alle politischen Parteien" Wenn Fußballfans singen, möchten sie meist ihre Mannschaft unterstützen. Doch die ägyptischen Ultras, die derzeit auf Kairos Straßen grölen, haben weder Tore noch Pokale im Sinn, sondern Politik. Sie gehörten zu den wichtigsten Protestgruppen auf dem Tahrir-Platz und hatten entscheidenden Anteil daran, dass Präsident Hosni Mubarak am 11. Februar zurücktrat. "Die Ultras haben eine wichtigere Rolle gespielt als alle politischen Parteien", sagte Alaa Abdel Fattah, der prominente ägyptische Blogger, dem Fernsehsender Al Dschasira. Dennoch stehen die Fußballanhänger selten im Fokus der Berichterstattung, viele politische Beobachter konzentrieren sich auf die islamistische Muslim-Bruderschaft. Dabei gibt es Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen F

AFC mandates push for compromise on FIFA ban of hijab

Iranian women play soccer By James M. Dorsey The Asian Football Confederation's women's committee has mandated world soccer body FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, to seek FIFA endorsement request to allow observant Muslim players to wear a headdress in line with their religious or cultural beliefs. Endorsement by FIFA would allow Prince Ali to present the request the secretive International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's lawmakers, to rule in favour of a headdress that meets the board's health and safety standards as well the demands of observant female Muslim players. The AFC's women's committee, headed by AFC vice president Moya Dodd, requested Prince Ali to seek the "favourable reconsideration of the issue by the IFAB at the earliest opportunity." Prince Ali is expected to raise the issue at FIFA's next executive committee meeting in Japan on December 6. If backed by the world soccer body, Prince Ali,

Stepping up Sanctions: Arab and Turkish Pressures on Syria

RSIS presents the following commentary Stepping up Sanctions: Arab and Turkish Pressures on Syria by James M. Dorsey. It is also available online at this link . (To print it, click on this link .). Kindly forward any comments or feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, at No. 175/2011 dated 24 November 2011 Stepping up Sanctions: Arab and Turkish Pressures on Syria   By James M. Dorsey Synopsis Pressure is mounting on Turkey to lead a potential military intervention to stop the bloodletting in Syria. However, sanctions by Arab states and Turkey on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad could become an effective policy tool. Commentary The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is looking to Turkey rather than the United States and Europe to intervene militarily to stop the Assad regime’s violent suppression of a nine-month-old rebellion.  In meetings with Turkish officials, the leader of the MB, Mohammad Riad Shakfa, and representatives of the Syrian N