Year Ahead in the Global Football Business
January 3, 2012
Euro 2012 kicks off in Warsaw on June 8 (Getty)
(WFI) Euro 2012, the London Olympics and Africa Cup of Nations are the major tournaments on the calendar. Scrutiny of FIFA's reforms process continues, with a decision on introducing goal-line technology in football among the key moments ahead in the global football business in 2012.
The FIFA Ballon d'Or awards ceremony in Zurich next Monday is the first major event of the year. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi are in contention to be named the world's best player of 2011. World football's governing body will also name the recipients of the men's and women's coach of the year awards.
The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon on Jan. 21. With the absence of African powerhouses such as Nigeria, Cameroon and defending champions Egypt, the 28th edition of the tournament is set to be an open one, with new African champions crowned on Feb. 12. The Confederation of African Football's annual congress takes place Feb. 10 in Libreville, capital of Gabon.
Jan. 23 is a significant date for FIFA. Mohamed Bin Hammam's appeal against his lifetime FIFA ban will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport that day. The disgraced former FIFA vice president and head of the Asian Football Confederation has vowed to clear his name following the cash-for-votes scandal during the FIFA presidential race that led to his downfall.
The introduction of goal-line technology in football could move a step closer in the first few days of March when the International Football Association Board convenes in London. Nine companies from Europe were involved in the first testing phase of the systems over the last two months. The results will be announced in a report by the Swiss institute conducting the testing at IFAB's AGM on March 3.
The second phase of testing is due to take place between March and June. The outcomes of the two test phases will be revealed at a special IFAB meeting after Euro 2012 where the future of goal-line technology and the additional assistant referees experiment with finally be decided.
UEFA president Michel Platini, a fierce opponent of goal-line technology, seems set to continue raising his objections in the coming months in a bid to influence decision-making.
One opportunity will come at the UEFA Congress in Istanbul on March 22. He will also update the 53 member nations of European football's governing body about the progress of his Financial Fair Play concept. Final preparations for the 16-nation European Championships in Poland and Ukraine and the growing threat of match-fixing and illegal betting in European football are expected to be other major topics under discussion.
West Ham will likely be one of the parties submitting a bid to take control of the London 2012 stadium by March 23, the deadline set by the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
Soccerex holds its European Forum in Manchester, March 28 to 29.
The official draw for the London Olympic football tournaments is slated for April 24.
Football leaders will gather in Budapest on May 24 to 25 for the annual FIFA Congress. The progress of president Sepp Blatter's anti-corruption reforms will be one of the main talking points. The work of Blatter's four task forces and Independent Governance Committee will be the focus for debate among delegates and the international media. The Oceania Football Confederation and CONCACAF hold their annual meetings the day before.
With one year to go to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, the dress rehearsal for the World Cup, there will be plenty of focus on Brazil's preparations.
Euro 2012 kicks off a few weeks later, the first major football tournament ever to be staged in Eastern Europe.
It opens at Warsaw's National Stadium with Poland playing Greece on June 8. The final is at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium on July 1.
Two days before the London Olympics opening ceremony on July 27, the group stages of the women's Olympic football tournament take place; the final is scheduled for Aug. 9. The men's tournament runs from July 26 to Aug. 11.
Sixteen men's teams and 12 women's teams are participating in the Olympics, with games spread around six UK venues: City of Coventry Stadium, (Coventry); Hampden Park (Glasgow); Millennium Stadium (Cardiff); Old Trafford (Manchester); St James' Park (Newcastle); and Wembley Stadium.
FIFA's big tournaments this year are the U-20 Women's World Cup in Uzbekistan, running from Aug. 18 to Sept. 8, and the U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan, Sept. 22 to Oct. 13.
Leaders in Football, the annual gathering of 1,000-plus executives from all parts of the global game, is slate for October. Dates have yet to be announced.
Soccerex stages its Global Convention in Rio de Janeiro from Nov. 26 to 30.
The Dec. 6 to 16 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan rounds out the year of major football events.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER
Get Free WFI news bulletins Click Here
(Copyright 1992 - 2013, all rights reserved. The information in this report may not be published, excerpted, or otherwise distributed in print or broadcast without the express prior consent of World Football Insider and Around the Rings, Inc.)