Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vietnam hosts the play-offs

The AFC Competitions Committee has confirmed Vietnam as the neutral venue for the playoff round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games, which is scheduled to be played from March 25 to 31.

Malaysia had originally been chosen but renovations to the proposed stadium as well as the unavailability of other venues due to the scheduling of domestic fixtures meant that a new destination for the three-team playoffs was required.

The runners-up from the three third round groups will face each other in a round-robin format with an additional match earmarked for March 31 should two teams finish equal with the winner of the playoffs advancing to meet Senegal, who finished fourth in the 2011 CAF U-23 Championship, Africa's qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympics.

The AFC-CAF Playoff is scheduled for April 12 at the City of Coventry Stadium in England.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Global Players campaign

For those of you with facebook pages, please support this Global Players Campaign to allow girls to wear the headscarf when they play (and conversely for girls not have to wear the headscarf when they play in countries where it is compulsory) by liking it and spreading the word to as many people as possible.

The newly designed headscarves are safe and it comes back to football being a game for all - let's please just let them play!

Do forward this message and support this cause.

Shahidan's call

Perlis Football Association president Shahidan Kassim wants the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to carry out a thorough investigation into allegations of bribery in football to safeguard the image of the nation.

Shahidan said allegations that Perlis players were involved in football bribery needs to be looked at from a whole perspective instead of just one case.

He told reporters in Kangar today that he believed bribery in football was not just restricted to any one team or association because it involves bookies.

Shahidan, who is also the former Perlis menteri besar, said if allegations that Perlis players were involved in fixing matches were true, they should be punished accordingly.

“Not only the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but the FAM must also look at the prospect of more teams involved in the scandal,” he said.

Shahidan said the Perlis FA was ashamed of the 2-7 defeat to MP Muar in their Premier League match at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Muar on Jan 9.

The result would naturally raise concern and suspicion; as such, the possibility of bookies being involved cannot be ruled out.

Last Saturday, a Perlis player was hauled up by the MACC to give his statement and statements were also recorded from Perlis FA officials.

He said sources had claimed that there could be up to nine players involved in the scandal.
Meanwhile, Perlis FA deputy president Azhar Ahmad said show-cause letters had been issued to a number of players.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

FIFA fed up with Indonesia

After supporting its leadership change, it appears FIFA is fed up with the unending internal conflicts at the Indonesian Football Association.

The world football governing body sent an official letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Jakarta Globe, on Jan. 13 to the association known as the PSSI. In it, FIFA urged the PSSI to hold an ordinary congress “to ensure compliance with its statutes and provide a forum for resolution.”

FIFA noted in the letter that it was aware of the request by PSSI members to hold an extraordinary congress to elect new leadership. While those demanding change said 452 of the PSSI’s 588 members supported the call for an extraordinary meeting, the governing body said only 320 of the signatures were valid, short of the two-thirds threshold.

“We wish to advise that given the information submitted by you, FIFA and AFC [the Asian Football Confederation] are not in a position to comment on the validity of the request,” the letter read.

Instead, FIFA pointed to Article 29(1) of the PSSI statutes, which require an annual ordinary congress. The last such congress took place on Jan. 22, 2011, in Bali.

FIFA and the AFC set a deadline of March 20 for the congress to take place to avoid possible sanctions. In response, the PSSI said it would hold its annual ordinary congress on March 18.

“We will announce it to all voters as long as they are still members of the PSSI and playing in a PSSI-recognized competition. There is a possibility that the number of voters will decrease,” PSSI deputy secretary general Saleh Mukadar said on Tuesday.

Excluding those competing in the Liga Indonesia-organized Indonesian Super League and Premier Division will all but ensure the current PSSI leadership remains in place. The clubs in those competitions broke away from the PSSI over their dissatisfaction with the new leadership.

The Indonesian Football Savior Committee (KPSI) formed by those seeking an extraordinary congress, insisted it would hold its own meeting on Saturday.

KPSI secretary general Hinca Panjaitan said the letter showed that FIFA and the AFC acknowledged the rebel PSSI members.

“There are three points in the letter. First, they acknowledged it’s a legal fact that two-thirds of PSSI members requested to convene an extraordinary congress. Second, FIFA and the AFC didn’t want to comment on the validity of the request,” Hinca said.

“FIFA recognized the result of the Bali congress, which was denied by [PSSI chairman] Djohar Arifin Husin. He said it was illegal. FIFA was generous to give the PSSI until March 20, but it should be held in January.”

However, the venue for the KPSI meeting has been changed from Bandung to Jakarta.

“It’s a long weekend and all the hotels in Bandung are fully booked. We decided to move the event to Jakarta. We will hold the congress to remind FIFA that we met its deadline,” Hinca said. -JG.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winners at FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011

Argentina’s Lionel Messi collected the FIFA Ballon d’Or, his third consecutive title while Japan’s Homare Sawa claimed her first FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala held at the Zurich Kongresshaus, Monday (9/1/12).

Pep Guardiola, the Spanish coach of FC Barcelona, and Japan’s women’s national team coach Norio Sasaki were the respective winners of the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football.

Messi’s and Guardiola’s FC Barcelona side concluded 2011 with victory in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, sealing another fine year which also included the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup titles.

Japan’s women’s team claimed their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup with a thrilling performance, twice coming back from behind to eventually defeat the USA on penalties after extra time.

These awards were decided after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men’s (for the two men’s football awards) and women’s (for the two women’s football awards) national teams, as well as international media representatives selected by French football magazine France Football voted for candidates in each of the four categories. Each group’s votes represented one third of the final result.

It was an unforgettable night, with many former and current football stars on the stage and on the red carpet. The international audience were entertained by Swiss music group TinkaBelle and British singer/songwriter James Blunt.

The FIFA Ballon d’Or was awarded for the second time tonight, following the amalgamation of the FIFA World Player of the Year award with the France Football Ballon d’Or in 2010.

Lionel Messi won the FIFA Ballon d’Or after polling 47.88 of the votes, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (21.6)%) and Xavi (9.23%).

Sawa, winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award, led Japan to the title at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 in Germany, where she also won the adidas Golden Ball as the best player of the competition and the adidas Golden Boot for her five goals. She collected 28.51% of the votes, ahead of Brazil’s Marta and Abby Wambach from the USA, who received 17.28% and 13.26% respectively.

Pep Guardiola secured the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award with 41.92% of the votes, ahead of Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson, who received 15.61%, and Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese coach of Real Madrid (12.43%).

Meanwhile, Norio Sasaki led the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football category with 45.57% of the votes, ahead of Pia Sundhage, the Swedish coach of the USA women’s national team (15.83%), and France’s women’s team coach Bruno Bini (10.28%).

FIFPro, the world players’ union, had invited 50,000 professional players from all over the world to select their best team of 2011, the FIFA/FIFPro WORLD XI. The honours went to the following all-star squad: Iker Casillas (Spain) in goal; Dani Alves (Brazil), Gerard Piqué (Spain), Sergio Ramos (Spain) and Nemanja Vidic (Serbia) in defence; Xabi Alonso (Spain), Andrés Iniesta (Spain) and Xavi (Spain) in midfield; and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Wayne Rooney (England) up front.

The FIFA Puskás Award for the “most beautiful goal” of the year as voted for on and by more than 1.5 million fans was also handed out.

This prize, created in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, went to Brazil’s Neymar for his fantastic goal in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A match between Santos FC and Flamengo in São Paulo on 27 July 2011.

Sir Alex Ferguson received the FIFA Presidential Award from President Joseph S. Blatter for his outstanding dedication, commitment and service to football. On 6 November 2011 Sir Alex Ferguson completed 25 years as manager of Manchester United.

During that period the club have won over 30 different trophies, including 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two UEFA Champions Leagues and the FIFA Club World Cup.

The FIFA Fair Play Award was given to the Japan FA, who had to endure many hardships following the earthquake which struck their country in March 2011, and during which many people lost their lives. The team showed great courage to make it to the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011, ultimately lifting the trophy for the first time. The award was collected by the President of the Japan FA, Junji Ogura, and by the captain of the team, Homare Sawa.

Simone Farina was recognised on stage for his courage in denouncing an attempt to get him to fix a match. The player of Serie B club AS Gubbio in Italy was complimented by the FIFA President for his action and applauded by the audience.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

100 Year Vision

There is plenty of talk about football leagues. Today, I had the oppurtunity to read the J-League Profile, which the organizers sent to me. Really impressive, they put their achhievements - which the world knows - on paper and most importantly their vision.

I am sure many of us have heard about J-League's 100 Year Vision. This is their explanation about the 100 Year Vision.

"Professional sport is not only about entertainment. The stadiums stand at the core of the J-League's work in building a richer sporting environment for Japan. We are nurturing a new sporting culture rooted in community - based sports clubs. The J-League has adopted the Hundred Year Vision - A happier Nation  Through Sport, as a lucid way toexpress the vision the vision behind its activities for realising the league's founding principles."

As of July 2011, a total of 1,111 players are registered with J-League clubs, including 112 from countries like Brazil, Korea Republic and Australia.

Well, Japan is too far in front already and now they want to move further in front. Hope other nations in Asia will catch this vision and move ahead. Football should be run by professionals.