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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Interesting News

8 Years Old G14 disband

Commenting on today's G-14 General Assembly decision to dissolve G-14 and to withdraw from its pending court cases against the football governing bodies, G-14 President Jean-Michel Aulas commented: "A new era in clubs' representation has been confirmed today. G-14 Members were ready to dissolve this organisation because G-14 has successfully achieved its key objective of ensuring that Clubs are fully respected by the international governing bodies and appropriately integrated in the relevant governing structures up to the highest levels.

In recent months the dialogue between the clubs and UEFA and FIFA has intensified. This productive communication has facilitated the recent creation of the European Club Association, fully recognized by UEFA and FIFA, and it also led to the landmark agreement regarding the participation of clubs who release players for World Cup and European Championship final tournaments in the related revenues, generated from central marketing of these events. Noting the change in tone of the dialogue with the governing bodies the G-14 General Assembly had no hesitation in deciding to cease G-14's legal proceedings alongside Charleroi (case "Oulmers") and Olympique Lyonnais (case "Abidal") . By signalling the end of G-14 we wish to pave the way for the newly created European Club Association to become the sole, independent and representative body for clubs at European levels."

Created in September 2000, G-14 was the first representative body to defend the interests of clubs at European and international levels. Its key objective was to correct the democratic imbalance that existed in the governing structures of football at international level by ensuring that clubs, which are the cornerstone of the game, were better respected and adequately represented in said governing structures. As G-14 winds down it is worth noting that its key demands have been heard and accepted or are in the process of being addressed by UEFA and FIFA, namely that clubs are fully integrated, up to the highest level, in the decision making process within FIFA and UEFA, that a harmonised international calendar for club and national team football needs to be mutually agreed between clubs and the federations, that clubs should be compensated for the contribution their players make to international tournaments and that they should be protected from the cost of player injuries suffered on the occasion of national team duty.

G-14 will cease its operational activities upon completion of its liquidation procedure by June 2008.

UEFA pool ball probe after Everton complaints

UEFA are set to investigate claims that a pool ball was hurled at Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard during their win at SK Brann this week. Skipper Phil Neville handed the missile - which landed near keeper Howard - to referee Anton Genov during Wednesday's UEFA Cup tie in Bergen.The Bulgarian official's report is expected at UEFA headquarters this morning when chiefs will launch an inquiry into the incident.

That could lead to a hefty fine for Norwegians Brann or even the possibility of having to play a European game behind closed doors.Euro bosses will also look into the stewarding at the Brannstadion after a pocket of Everton fans ran on to the pitch at full-time to celebrate the 2-0 first-leg win.

Southgate urges Middlesbrough fans: Don't bring balloons!

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate hopes fans do not burst their FA Cup dreams by taking balloons to Bramall Lane on Sunday.A stray balloon from Manchester City fans saw Michael Ball mess up a clearance, which resulted in a Sheffield United goal on their way to a 2-1 fourth-round win. Boro boss Southgate said: "We can get 5,000 fans there and it'll be great to get that level of support, but no balloons please!"

Newcastle boss Keegan set to ditch ProZone

Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan may abandon the club's ProZone system after Gavin Fleig left the club this week.Although Keegan is not certain to abandon the ProZone system, he has the option of using the rival computerised player and game analysis offered by Amsico Pro Sports. Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce's predecessor, installed Amsico at Newcastle about a year ago when the club signed a two-year contract.
Allardyce brought Fleig to Newcastle as his ProZone expert.

FA appoint Quest to look into January transfers

The Football Association have appointed Quest to conduct an audit into transfers taking place in England, beginning with the recent January transfer window.The firm of investigators, led by former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens, will also monitor transfers during the summer of 2008. Quest were appointed after a tender process, and were chosen because of their previous experience in this area, having conducted an inquiry into transfer irregularities between January 2004 and 2006. FA director of governance Jonathan Hall said: "We are very pleased to have engaged Quest given their excellent credentials and experience.
"However, this transfer audit is a very different undertaking to their previous inquiry carried out for the Premier League. "It will focus specifically on reviewing the FA's processes in respect of the new Agents Regulations, assessing compliance with FA Rules and identifying any areas of poor practice within the industry."

The FA have also set up a 'whistleblower' hotline to report "any potential problems with the transfer market and the financial side of football generally". The number for the new line is 0844 980 8218. The FA's statement continued: "Both these new measures form part of the FA's enhanced regulatory capacity, including extra resource in the Financial Regulation department, upgraded database systems, an information hotline and tailor-made guidance notes based around the new Football Agents Regulations." It is understood the audit will focus on a selection of transfers rather than being an exhaustive investigation into all business completed, and will look at Premier League and Football League deals.

Aston Villa apply for Intertoto Cup

Aston Villa have applied to enter next season's Intertoto Cup in case they fail to qualify automatically for Europe via the Barclays Premier League.The competition format has altered since Villa last entered the Intertoto back in 2002 and Martin O'Neill's side would only have to negotiate one round to reach the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. Villa have entered the Intertoto on three previous occasions and won the competition in 2001. O'Neill said: "It's just covering bases, but we've got a chance to qualify automatically for Europe and we're going to try and charge on if we can. "We've got ourselves into a position where we've got a 12-game season and we'll be going into it all guns blazing.

The boys have been magnificent during the first two thirds of the season. "We are making good progress and I couldn't ask any more from the players. They have given me everything.
"We had a superb finish to last season, being unbeaten in the last nine games, and it would be nice if something similar happened again. "Entering the Intertoto is in no way a signal that we've given up hope of qualifying for Europe automatically. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The Great Sevilla player sales

Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido admits he may be forced to sell his star players if they do not qualify for the Champions League. "At least 20 per cent of the budget of the team depends on qualifying for the top continental competition," said Del Nido. "If we do not make it this season, we will have to sell our assets, namely players to compensate for the money we miss out on."

Premiership clubs are sure to scramble for Sevilla's brightest, with Manchester City keen on Luis Fabiano, Tottenham interested in Fredi Kanoute, Andre Palop and Christian Poulsen, Arsenal wanting Diego Capel and Aston Villa the Spanish Liga club's wing-back Jose Luis Crespo.