Chelsea say cooperating with FIFA over youth transfers probe

By: Reuters |

Updated: November 15, 2018 4:02:23 pm





Chelsea has said it is cooperating with a FIFA investigation.

English Premier League club Chelsea has said it is cooperating with a FIFA investigation into possible violations of the global soccer governing body’s rules regarding the signing of foreign players under the age of 18.

Chelsea and four other unidentified Premier League clubs are under investigation by FIFA for the alleged violations and could face transfer bans if found guilty, according to multiple reports in the British media.

French investigative website Mediapart reported on Wednesday that FIFA’s Integrity and Compliance unit would seek to impose a two-year transfer ban on the clubs as well as a fine of 500,000 Swiss francs ($497,364).

Mediapart is one of several media outlets publishing documents obtained by Football Leaks.

The Football Leaks documents were obtained by German publication Der Spiegel and reviewed by Reuters in partnership with European Investigative Collaborations, a network of international media.

Chelsea said in a statement on Wednesday that “the club has fully cooperated with FIFA and has provided comprehensive evidence demonstrating its compliance with the applicable FIFA regulations”.

FIFA’s rules prohibit international transfers of players under the age of 18 unless their parents have emigrated for reasons unconnected to football or both player and club are based within 50 km of a national border.

Spanish clubs Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have fallen foul of the rules in the past, with all three serving transfer bans for violations.

FIFA opened its investigation into the English clubs in September last year and said in a statement on Wednesday that it had not yet reached a decision.

“As communicated in September 2017, investigations were opened concerning Chelsea FC as well as other English clubs in relation to potential breaches of the regulations on the status and transfer of players,” FIFA said.

“The proceedings are ongoing and, to date, no decision has been passed by the FIFA judicial bodies. Thus, the clubs are to be presumed innocent unless decided otherwise. No further information can be provided as the cases are ongoing.”

British media, including the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times, reported that Chelsea broke transfer rules governing players under the age of 18 when they signed Burkina Faso forward Bertrand Traore in 2014.

The reports added that Chelsea were also under investigation for signing 14 under-18 players since the signing of Traore.

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino says women justified protesting cash inequalities

By: AP | Kigali (rwanda) |

Published: October 26, 2018 1:51:38 pm





US football players have urged FIFA to do even more to grow the women’s game. (Source: AP)

FIFA President Gianni Infantino understands why female footballers are unhappy about the lack of gender equality in World Cup prize money but says doubling the cash for finalists to $30 million represents significant progress.

Ahead of the FIFA Council on Friday ratifying the financial package for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, players’ unions in Australia, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand wrote to world football’s governing body to raise concerns about why there is vastly more cash set aside for the men’s showpiece tournament. Players from Women’s World Cup holder, the United States, also called on FIFA to fulfil “statutory obligations on gender equality” over the cash winnings.

“Critical comments are perfectly justified because … the unions and the players they defend their own interests, which is a fair point,” Infantino said Thursday. “We need to try to find what is the most balanced way, and I think we made a step and there will be many more steps going ahead. Maybe one day women’s football will generate more than men’s football.”

For now, the men’s World Cup generates most of FIFA’s billion-dollar income and it is reflected in the prize money.

France earned $38 million from FIFA for winning the men’s World Cup in July. A person with knowledge of the figures said the women’s champion next year in France will earn $4 million, which is twice the amount collected by the Americans in 2015. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to release details ahead of the council meeting.

On top of the $30 million based on the progress of teams in France, FIFA will make two additional payments that have never previously been made for the Women’s World Cup. FIFA will share $11.5 million with the 24 teams for tournament preparations, including training camps, and $8.5 million will be split by clubs releasing players, the person said, confirming figures previously reported by Sports Illustrated.

According to Infantino, that is “a significant step in the right direction.”

“It’s massively higher than the last World Cup,” Infantino told The Associated Press and The New York Times ahead of the FIFA Council meeting. “We are making progress. We have to invest in women’s football to make it even self-sustaining to some extent.”

The prize money for the men’s World Cup in Russia this year rose 12 percent to $400 million. FIFA gave teams $48 million for preparation costs and also shared $209 million with clubs which sent players to the tournament – vastly larger sums than allocated to women’s soccer.

“It’s very complex to find … models where everything is equal,” Infantino said.

But in a letter to FIFA last week, Australia’s players’ union cited FIFA statutes which feature a commitment to “gender equality.” The union pointed out Australian men shared $2.4 million for the group stage at the World Cup in Russia, but the women’s team will only split $225,000 at the same phase in France next year.

“The impact of this discrimination of women players is exacerbated by the dependence of many women players including our members on their income from their national team duties, in contrast to men,” the players unions from Australia, Sweden and Norway wrote in separate letters to FIFA using the same language.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press by international players’ union FIFPro, the U.S. players urged FIFA to do even more to grow the women’s game.

“Substantial investment is required to overcome generations of inequality and discrimination in the game, to make football the world’s pre-eminent sport for women and girls,” the United States Women’s National Team Players’ Association said. “We are committed to working alongside our fellow unions, as well as with FIFA and U.S. Soccer (federation) stakeholders, to have continuous dialogue around how FIFA and USSF can fulfill their respective statutory obligations on gender equality, including the prize money for the 2019 World Cup, which is an area we feel immediate and impactful investment can be made.”

FIFA has recently launched a strategy with one intention to generate more cash for women’s soccer.

HOT DEALS

“I can understand from the players’ perspective certainly because for them it’s affects how much they’re paid,” said Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s chief women’s football officer. “People want to feel valued for what they do and part of that is remuneration.

“The vast majority of women’s football players across the world are still amateur,” Bareman added. “That’s the most important thing for us. If we want to build the whole ecosystem of the women’s game, it has to start there.”

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IOC elects nine new members but snubs FIFA and IAAF again

By: Reuters | Buenos Aires |

Published: October 10, 2018 1:21:48 am





Despite presiding over two of the most popular sports in the world, FIFA and the IAAF have been embroiled in a range of scandals in recent years. (Source: Reuters)

The International Olympic Committee admitted nine new members on Tuesday but snubbed both soccer’s FIFA and athletics’ IAAF again as both have struggled with widespread corruption and doping scandals.

Greece, host of the first modern games, was also left out in the cold for the third year running, in the wake of bitter disputes there over control of the national Olympic committee.

Morinari Watanabe and Andrew Parsons, the heads of the international gymnastics federation FIG and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) respectively, were among those to join the committee.

They were joined by Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago, whose country is bidding for the 2026 winter Games. The other IOC inductees were senior national Olympic committee members Samira Ashgari from Afghanistan, Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck from Bhutan, Daina Gudzineviciute from Lithuania, Camilo Perez Lopez Moreira from Paraguay, Felicite Rwemarika from Rwanda and William Blick from Uganda. While membership of the IOC for the heads of soccer and athletics, two of the world’s largest federations, was seen as almost automatic for years, the committee did not propose FIFA President Gianni Infantino or IAAF President Sebastian Coe this time.

Despite presiding over two of the most popular sports in the world, FIFA and the IAAF have been embroiled in a range of scandals in recent years. The IOC also snubbed Greece – host of the first modern Games – for the third year running, leaving it without a representative since 2015.

HOT DEALS

Greece, which provided the first President of the IOC in 1894 and stages the Games’ torch-lighting ceremony on the ancient site of Olympia, had at least one IOC member continuously from 1894 to 2015.

But infighting in recent years over who runs the national Olympic committee as well as a complete lack of international lobbying by the country are seen as the main reasons for it not being on the IOC since 2015.

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FIFA World Cup 2022: Dozens of workers from India, Nepal, Philippines unpaid in Qatar, says Amnesty

By: Sports Desk |

Updated: September 26, 2018 1:16:05 pm





FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament will take place in Qatar. (File)

In the latest rights accusations against the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar, Amnesty International said that dozens of migrant workers were left unpaid for months in the city of Lusail which will host the final of the tournament. According to the London-based rights group, Mercury Mena “failed to pay its workers thousands of dollars in wages and work benefits, leaving them stranded and penniless” in the country.

According to news agency AFP, the Amnesty alleged that at least 78 employees from Nepal, India and the Philippines were not paid since February 2016 and were owed approximately $2,000 (1,700 euros). The Amnesty added that the failure to pay the workers had “ruined lives”.

One of the workers, Ernesto, who hails from the Philippines, told Amnesty that he is under more debt than he was before he started working in the country two years ago. Other labourers from Nepal were also forced to make their children drop out of school or sell land to repay their debts incurred by working in Qatar. “By ensuring they get the wages which they are owed, Qatar can help these migrant workers to rebuild their lives,” Steve Cockburn, Amnesty’s director of global issues, was quoted as saying by AFP.

The statement from Amnesty added that Mercury MENA “took advantage” of the ‘Kafala’ system in Qatar, which prevents the workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without getting permission from the bosses. It further adds that the workers had to leave the country at their own cost.

The footballing body FIFA has denied the claims made by Amnesty, citing them as “misleading”. The body added that the non-payments were not connected to the 2022 tournament. “We have no reason to believe the reported violations of workers’ rights are in fact linked to FIFA and the 2022 World Cup,” a FIFA spokesperson told AFP. “We regret Amnesty chose to frame its statement in such a misleading manner,” he added.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar in 2022 between November 21, 2022, and December 18, 2022, across 8 to 12 cities, featuring 32 nations.

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Luka Modric beats Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah to FIFA The Best award

By: Sports Desk |

Updated: September 25, 2018 2:40:56 am





Luka Modric is the first player since Kaka in 2007 to beat Ronaldo and Messi to the top prize. (Source: Reuters)

Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric won FIFA’s best player award in London on Monday. Modric pipped Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to the title. The 33-year-old helped Real Madrid win a third straight Champions League title last season. He then led Croatia to their first ever World Cup final in Russia, which they lost 4-2 to France.

Modric is the first player since Kaka in 2007 to beat Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to FIFA’s top prize, both of whom were not present at the award ceremony. Earlier, Ronaldo had also missed UEFA’s award show where Modric pipped him to the men’s player of the year award.

Luka Modric, Didier Deschamps and Marta pose with their awards (Source: Reuters)

France’s World Cup winning coach Didier Deschamps was chosen as best men’s coach, pipping his former team mate Zinedine Zidane to the title. Deschamps became only the third person to lift the World Cup as both a player and a coach in the men’s game in Russia. Egypt and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah won the Puskas award for the best goal of the year.

The FIFPro team of the year was also announced at the FIFA Best ceremony, wherein the goalkeeper of the team was Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. The defenders were Dani Alves, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo while the forwards were Modric, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Brazil great Marta won The Best Women’s player of the year award. This is her sixth award, having won the World Player of the Year five consecutive times between 2006 and 2010.

 

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