European Commission Endorses UEFA's Tough Financial Rules; Race for African FIFA Seats

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(WFI) The European Commission has backed UEFA's financial fair play rules in a new report published today.

The European Commission Communication on Sport proposes ways in which the new EU competence in sport, created by the Lisbon Treaty on the functioning of the EU, could be implemented.

Crucially, the report endorses UEFA's financial fair play regulations being phased in over the next three years. Under the rules, clubs must not spend more than they earn. The 'break-even' requirement in club's finances will be scrutinised during the 2013/14 season when clubs face a ban from the Champions League if they don't comply.

The commission's report also recommends centralised selling of media rights, which UEFA claims is essential for the stable financial future of European football at all levels.

"I am very happy to see the European Commission on our side on so many important issues for the future of European football," said UEFA president Michel Platini.

"The commission recognises the need to put football's finances in order, something that the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations will help to do. The commission's positive approach to the European sports model is also great news for football."

The European Commission Communication on Sport gives backing to four cornerstones of the European sports model: open competitions, the pyramid structure of competitions with the principles of promotion and relegation, organisation of sport on a national basis, and financial solidarity between grassroots and professional sport.

It also supports the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing.

UEFA said it stands ready to contribute to any EU policy developments in this field, in particular with regard to a pan-European approach to fight any kind of sporting fraud. UEFA also noted that the report also explicitly mentions sports organisers' specific rights in the context of betting, something that European football's governing body has been advocating.

UEFA said the report will help form the basis of a more coherent legal structure for sport in the EU.

Platini added: "Financial stability has to be combined with legal stability, one of the remaining crucial issues for us. We also need urgent action on a topic close to my heart, the fight against match-fixing. I look forward to working with all relevant partners on these issues, as the world of sports cannot solve them alone."

Race hots up for African FIFA Ex-Co seats

Former Nigeria FA chairman Ibrahim Galadima may put himself forward as a candidate to replace Amos Adamu on the FIFA Executive Committee. Adamu was given a three-year ban by FIFA's ethics committee following the cash-for-votes World Cup bid scandal that rocked world football's governing body three months ago.

Adamu is appealing the suspension. But
America's FIFA Ex-co member Chuck Blazer (Getty)
the Confederation of African Football confirmed today that Galadima will be nominated for the FIFA Ex-co seat if Adamu's appeal fails.

The other Ex-Co seat up for election at the CAF Congress in Khartoum, Sudan next month is that of Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, who is hoping to be re-elected.

South African World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan is also in the running for a FIFA Ex-co seat. Other candidates are Kalusha Bwalya of Zambia, Mohamed Raouraoua of Algeria and Suketu Patel from the Seychelles, reports Reuters.

Blazer: Qatar 2022 winter plans discussed before FIFA vote

FIFA Ex-Co member Chuck Blazer has claimed that the idea of staging the Qatar 2022 World Cup in the Gulf state's winter months had been discussed informally before the Dec. 2 FIFA vote.

The idea to switch the tournament from the sizzling Qatar summer heat to January or February to protect players was first proposed by Franz Beckenbauer and has since gained support from FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

But AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam has said Qatar is sticking to its plans to hold the 2022 competition in the summer in air-conditioned stadia.

"If you look at the timing of some of these announcements; pronouncements immediately after the vote from Beckenbauer and Platini and everyone else one after another, I am sure that these were ideas that had been discussed before," Blazer told Reuters.

"The issue of the heat trouble were never addressed by the candidate... there was a certain incongruity to me that there are people who are really dedicated to their teams and to the sport who were not having any difficulty with the idea of playing in that level of heat on an ongoing basis throughout the tournament," said Blazer.

"They very quickly, after the fact, made these statements saying 'oh yeah let's just switch.' I have some level of difficulty with that."

Blazer warned that any change in the schedule for the 2022 tournament would have a huge impact on the international football calendar and domestic leagues.

"This isn't a matter of taking four weeks out of the winter and saying here is the World Cup. It is more a matter, at that point, of taking 10 weeks out of the winter and saying here, we are carving out an entire new summer in order to have proper preparation for the teams." Blazer said.

"The ultimate damage that we would be doing isn't something that should be done without due consideration."

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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