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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme



Organised crime and football

Sepp Blatter and Fifa have a mission to develop football in the Global South.   That's fair enough: the international organisation of which I am vice-president has a similar mission in its field of activity.

However, in some countries football faces particular challenges from criminal organisations.  One such country is Colombia where the Fifa under-20 World Cup kicks off on July 29th.  It is the biggest sporting event ever held in the country and 250,000 tickets have been sold.

Winning the war at Fifa

Konstanz, BRD: Now that the dust has settled after last week's events in Zurich, and sitting just a few miles from the Swiss border, it is perhaps a good time to review the way ahead at Fifa from an English perspective.

FA challenge Blatter

The English and Scottish Football Associations are undoubtedly right to call for Fifa's presidential election tomorrow to be postponed but whether they will get anywhere is another matter.  

Blatter stalks out

A badly rattled Sepp Blatter has just stalked out of an extraordinary press conference at Fifa headquarters in Zurich.   This follows a day in which various allegations have been made, not least by the suspended Jack Warner who increasingly looks like an unguided missile that could hit any target.  

Blatter is cleared

Fifa's Ethics Committee has cleared Sepp Blater of turning a blind eye to possible corrupt behaviour within football's world governing body.   However, it has found that two executive committee members, Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner, do have a case to answer and they will be investigated further.  As a consequence, Mohamed bin Hammam has stepped down as an opponent to Sepp Blatter in this week's election of a president.

Should the World Cup be auctioned on eBay?

The Football Association has decided that it cannot support either of the candidates for the presidency of Fifa, the current incumbent Sepp Blatter and his rival Mohamed Bin Hammam.  Blatter has failed to tackle the serious governance problems at Fifa and there are doubts about whether the Qatari candidate would either.

Brazil behind schedule for World Cup

Brazil is behind schedule with its preparations for the 2014 World Cup.   The 12 host cities have among them nine airport developments which are well behind schedule.   Sao Paulo has not even started to build the new stadium that is supposed to stage the opening match.  The contract for Natal's proposed arena was signed only on April 15th.

Brazil lags on World Cup preparations

Brazil is lagging behind with preparations for the 2014 World Cup.   The country is spending $13.3bn on preparations in 12 cities for the tournament.   

 However, most of the projects are behind schedule and construction of some of the stadiums has not begun.   This is the case at Sao Paulo's Corinthians club which is to be the venue for the opening match.   Preparations at Sao Paulo are already at least 12 months behind an ideal schedule.

Fifa backtracks on winter World Cup

Under pressure from European clubs, Fifa is backtracking on the idea of staging the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter.   It has put the ball in Qatar's court, stating that any decision would require an application from their national association to the Fifa executive.   It is likely that Qatar will shelve a final decision until after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Fifa is a fashion victim

In the latest example of how well run it is, Fifa's venture into the world of fashion has ended in disaster.   The business that was given exclusive rights to create a Fifa clothing brand has collapsed.

Singapore-based Global Brands Group won a seven-year exclusive deal in 2007 and permission to operate Fifa's stores.   It has now gone bankrupt with debts estimated at not far short of £100m.   It is thought that Fifa is owed tens of millions of euros.