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Showing posts from November, 2012

AFC focusses on election rather than reform

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Still pulling strings: suspended AFC president Mohammed Bin Hammam
By James M. Dorsey In a defeat of proponents of badly needed reform of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the soccer body’s executive committee stalled moves to reorganize its governance structure, investigate Mohammed Bin Hammam, its president suspended on charges of financial mismanagement and potential corruption, and challenge a controversial marketing rights agreement. Instead it focused on scheduling presidential and committee elections for April.

“Bin Hammam’s people successfully pushed back. They may now be stronger than they were. They are protecting vested interests,” one reformer said. In the battle to obstruct reforms that would have tackled the Asian soccer body’s troubled governance structure and helped improve its tarnished image, the executive committee deferred decisions on an internal audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers that raised serious questions about a $1 billion master rights agreement (M…

Bin Hammam and AFC future on the line in KL (JMD quoted on AP)

JOHN DUERDEN, Associated Press Published 11:34 p.m., Tuesday, November 27, 2012 SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A divided Asian Football Confederation gathers for its annual awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday amid an increasingly toxic atmosphere, with suspended chief Mohamed bin Hammam calling those in charge puppets and claiming he has the support of most AFC national associations. On Thursday, Asian football will laud its player, coach and team of 2012 but beyond the glitter and red carpet will be more intense political maneuvers, as the AFC's decision-making Executive Committee meets to discuss the bin Hammam imbroglio that has now dragged on for 18 months. Bin Hammam, who took the post in 2002, was found guilty of vote-buying during his challenge against FIFA president Sepp Blatter in May 2011 and FIFA's Ethics Committee suspended him from all football activity for life. After an appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned that ban in July. Bin Hammam, 63, was sub…

Naciones del Islam: el fútbol, trinchera de lucha, revolución, vida y muerte

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Naciones del Islam: el fútbol, trinchera de lucha, revolución, vida y muerte, por Mike Arista November 27th, 201212:02 pm@ 0
Imagine que de pronto está en algún país del Medio Oriente o Norte de áfrica y es fanático de fútbol; es sábado y quiere ir al estadio a ver un partido. Al llegar se da cuenta que debe pasar por rigurosos cacheos de jóvenes que no superan los diecisiete años y que con un AK-147 al hombro decidirán su suerte. Si su comportamiento es tranquilo y no parece sospechoso de apoyar al gobierno autócrata de turno podrá ver 90 minutos de fútbol; si, en cambio, se poner nervioso, comete un error o efectivamente apoya al gobierno, es probable que sea ejecutado a metros del estadio y que la noticia no sorprenda a nadie. Imagine que descubre en la tribuna, antes de que empiece el partido, que el hombre al lado suyo es, en realidad, una mujer disfrazada, que en un momento levanta una pancarta para reclamar la igualdad de género: no se sorprenda si se entera que es…

AFC executive committee meets to discuss sweeping reforms to root out corruption

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By James M. Dorsey
The Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) executive committee meets on Thursday for initial make-or break discussions of proposed reforms that threaten to weaken the grip on the organization of its suspended president Mohammed Bin Hammam and could initiate the unravelling of its controversial ties to a Singapore-based sports marketing company.
The meeting could also determine the fate of an uphill battle by reformers for sweeping change in the organization that sources say “is still riven with corruption.” The reformers were boosted earlier this month when they succeeded in getting responsibility for an investigation into Mr. Bin Hammam’s financial management of the AFC and his relationship to the group’s marketing partner, Singapore-based World Sports Group, which has a $1 billion marketing rights agreement (MRA) with the AFC, transferred to world soccer body FIFA.
"The AFC is so divided that it is incapable of investigating itself. Th…

Morsi fails to prevent renewed street battles between Egyptian police and ultras

Thousands of ultras join protesters on Tahrir Square
By James M. Dorsey
A pledge by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to re-open all cases against those responsible for attacks on anti-Mubarak and anti-military protesters in the last 21 months did little to prevent militant soccer fans clamoring for justice for hundreds of dead protesters, including 74 of their own, from joining the outpour of anger against the president’s unilateral decision to grab wide-ranging powers.
Mr. Morsi had hoped that the re-opening of cases, which largely failed to condemn those responsible for repeated crackdowns on protesters, would soften the blow of his power grab and would prevent the militant, highly politicized, street battle-hardened soccer fans from taking to the streets.
The fans or ultras, one of Egypt’s largest civic groups after Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, played a key role in last year’s toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak and subsequently emerged as the most militant opposition to…

Egypt considers splitting premier league to reduce fan attendance

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Egyptian Sports Minister El-Amry Farouk: Minimize fan attendance By James M. Dorsey

Egyptian soccer appears posed for renewed conflict with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) and the government floating a proposal to split the premier league into two groups in a bid to reduce fan attendance and weaken militant, highly politicized, street battle-hardened support groups.
The EFA said the proposal was part of discussions with the ministers of sports and interior El-Amry Farouk and Ahmed Gamaleddin aimed at agreeing on a resumption next month of professional soccer that has been suspended since 74 fans were killed in February in a politically loaded brawl in the Suez Canal city of Port Said.
The EFA said in a statement published on its website that it would meet with the ministers again in the next ten days to set a date for the resumption. Militant supporters of crowned Cairo club Al Ahly SC have vowed to prevent the return of domestic matches as long as justice has not been served for …