Posts Tagged ‘world cup’

Criminal Proceedings Against Sepp Blatter

Image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1uW3lwNZas

Swiss investigators have begun criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini by searching the former FIFA president’s office while quizzing his UEFA counterpart, Platini.

At the heart of their search is an answer to the legality of a two million dollar payment from Blatter to the French football legend.

“Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on September 24, 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement … and – alternatively – misappropriation,” said a statement from the OGA, Switzerland’s Lawyer General’s Office.

Blatter (now 79) is in the process of handing over the reins of the world football governing body amid accusations of corruption.

The Swiss prosecutor said data had been seized and the FIFA President questioned. He is considered a ‘suspect’; while Platini is considered ‘a person called upon to give information’.

Platini, now 60, is the automatic FIFA vice-president as he has been head of UEFA since January 2007.

Blatter was said, by his lawyer Richard Cullen, to be cooperating with the Swiss authorities and that he was confident a review of the evidence would yield ‘no mismanagement occurred.’

The alleged $2.0 million franc ($2.9 million) is thought to have been made in February of 2011 ‘for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002’.

Michael Platini Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Platini

Michael Platini Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Platini

On Friday Platini said the money had been for ‘contractual’ work.

“Concerning the payment that was made to me, I wish to state that this amount relates to work which I carried out under a contract with FIFA,

“I was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters relating to this with the authorities. I also made clear to the Swiss authorities that since I live in Switzerland I am available to speak with them any time to clarify any matters relating to the investigations.”

Blatter is under investigation by US authorities for links with former FIFA vice-resident Jack warner.

It is being alleged that Warner used the Caribbean Football Union as a power base to which Blatter was suspected of contributing.

But Blatter’s lawyer, Cullen, said the contract was ‘properly prepared and negotiated’ by all FIFA staff required for such matters..

Warner is just one of 14 soccer officials and business executives expected to face US prosecutors. It will be alleged they were involved in more than US$150 million in bribes for broadcasting rights and marketing deals.

More FIFA Corruption Arrests Likely

Sepp Blatter image: en.wikipedia.org

Top US federal investigators are ‘fairly confident’ there will be more indictments against more FIFA officials.

Leader of the US Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Unit, Richard Weber, refused to identify any remaining targets in the high-profile corruption probe or say whether returning president Sepp Blatter was among them.

But he did say, “I’m fairly confidnt that we will have another round of indictments.

“I strongly believe there are other people and entities involved in criminal acts.”

It is now two weeks since 14 people were charged with bribery, corruption and an elaborate scheme of kickbacks involving the global governing body for football.

Weber waved away the idea that the US government was angling to topple FIFA’s leadership. He said the probe involving the FBI and US Justice Department sought only to root out corruption that was part of global football.

“I don’t think there was ever a decision or a declaration that we  would go after soccer.

“We ar going after corruption.

“One thing led to another, led to another … and another.”

The authorities told the Times newspaper that the timing of the release of the indictments had nothing to do with the FIFA presidential elections, and was not a bid to damage anyone’s reputation or election chances.

They did, however, say they thought it better to wait for a gathering of FIFA officials in Switzerland to make the arrests.

Upset in Women’s Downhill

Image: www.telegraph.co.uk

Swiss lightning-bolt Lara Gut capitalised on a mistake by the favourite, American Lindsey Vonn, to snatch the women’s downhill ski race held at St Moritz on Saturday.

Hurtling down the twisting 2.8 km course Gut, an Olympic bronze medallist, dropped a vertical 705 metres. She flashed across the finish line in a staggering 1 minute and 43.82 seconds.

Austria’s Anna Fenninger was achingly close to her time, crossing 0.32 seconds later.

Edit Miklos, from Hungary, held the lead for much of the day with 1:44.40, however she ended with the third best time.

Gut’s first half of the run was sluggish. But where icy patches in the bottom section caught many skiers unawares Gut took a few chances that paid off. She dug the rails of her skis into the ice like knives, stayed low, and hugged the bends and jump contours.

Today’s win is Gut’s 12th World Cup victory.

The day’s favourite, Lindsey Vonn, was fresh from her 63rd World Cup win. She had dominated the previous two intermediaries and was expected to blast away the today’s competition. But she swung wide on one bend and her skis stuck. It was only with the greatest effort she managed to avoid cartwheeling into the safety nets. However, the mistake bled time she was unable to recoup in the lower sections.

Marion Rolland, the reigning world champion, was unable to compete after an njury sustained during last week’s World Cup race at Cortina d’ Ampezzo. She tore ligaments in her right knee and is expected to miss the world championships in Colorado next week.

Schumacher Junior Secures Second in German Carting Championship

Michael Schumacher Junior. Photo: www.news.com.au

Michael Schumacher Junior. Photo: www.news.com.au

15 year-old Michael Schumacher, son of Formula 1 racing legend of the same name, has just been pipped for the German Junior Carting title.

The final race of the season was held on Sunday, Michael junior was eighth in the penultimate round. His main rival, David Beckmann, needed to finish fourth to win the overall title.

It all came down to the final race. In fact it all came down to the final lap!

Both boys raced hard. Schumacher was able to edge in front of his rival, but was unable to shake him. Beckmann threatened to pass him several times, but he held off until it mattered most.

In a gutsy manoeuvre he surged past the younger Schumacher with less than a lap to go. There was no track left for Schumacher to fight back. Schumacher flashed across the line behind Beckmann after an incredibly entertaining and hard fought race.

Michael Junior also finished runner up to the British racing prodigy Enaam Ahmed in this year’s junior world championship category, held in Essay France last month.

It is a credit to the son of the famous driver that he obviously wants to earn his place as a driver. Schumacher junior has only recently begun using his father’s surname. Until now he raced under the surname Betsch (his mother’s maiden name) and under the adopted name of Mick Jnr.

Second place is still highly creditable; especially when the racing was this close.

SBW Keen to Play for Counties Manakau

Andrew Maddock, chief executive of the Counties Manakau Rugby Union side, received a nice surprise recently. After their defeat by the South Sydney Rabbits on Friday night footballing sensation Sonny Bill Williams is off contract from the Sydney City Roosters.

New Zealand Rugby Union had previously ruled Williams didn’t have to play a game in the NPC to still be eligible for All Black selection. The team is to tour the northern hemisphere in November.

Andrew Maddock. Photo: www.steelers.co.nz

Andrew Maddock. Photo: www.steelers.co.nz

But Williams phoned Maddock to assure him of his readiness to play for Counties Manakau.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Maddock.

“I think he just felt he wanted to win that (All Blacks) position on merit and also get some rugby time under his belt.

Maddock believed Williams would want to play if the Steelers made the top-four play-offs.

Williams has played in the NPC with Canterbury in 2010. Prior to this he spent a season with French side Toulon. Williams ran on for the All Blacks in that same year (2009). Since then he has represented his country 19 times and was integral to winning the 2011 World Cup. Williams then left his home shores to play the 2012 rugby union season in Japan; then joined the Roosters in 2013.

SBW Cleared to be Selected for All Blacks

The best Rugby Union team in the world just got better.

New Zealand Rugby has cleared the way for footballing sensation Sonny Bill Williams to rejoin the All Blacks squad at the end of the NRL season.

And why wouldn’t they?

Sony Bill Williams. Photo:www.theguardian.com.au

Sony Bill Williams. Photo:www.theguardian.com.au

The 29 year-old South Sydney Rooster hasn’t played a domestic game of rugby union this year. But his footballing prowess, fitness, and game sense are without question. Williams has been outstanding for the Roosters this year and has shown he can make the swap to the 15 man game without any problems.

The New Zealand Rugby board granted Williams an exemption, making him available for representative duties. Steve Tew, New Zealand Rugby boss, said this would make Williams eligible to be picked for the World Cup end-of-season squad.

The All Blacks end-of-season tour begins on November 1 against the United States. Tests against England, Scotland and Wales follow over successive weekends.

Williams’ contract with the Roosters finishes with their final game of the year. The Roosters are guaranteed to make the finals and are posing as real threats to win the premiership. Should they go all the way, Williams will play his final game will be the NRL Grand Final on October 5.

He will play for Counties Manuka in the domestic New Zealand competition in 2015, under coach Tana Umaga.

World Cupdate: Spain Bows Out In Spectacular Style!

Eduardo Vargas, far right, getting through Spain's Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas .

In a stunning turn of events, Spain (reigning World Champions) has been eliminated from the 2014 World Cup after losing 2-0 to Chile. The topic has been trending online and around the world, with the New York Times also reporting on a strange event that happened in the lead up to the match.

A mob of nearly 100 excited Chilean fans barged a stadium gate a few hours before a match. The unruly gang of die-hard supporters broke fences and crashed the news media center inside the arena (just imagine the scene!). A temporary wall was destroyed and all out chaos broke out inside the Brazilian arena. The police then promptly arrived to lead the excitable fans back outside.

Later, during the game, the vibrations in the air were downright vitriolic. Chilean fans yelled “El-im-in-a-do! El-im-in-a-do!” (eliminated), their red shirts an intimidating ocean swallowing the Spanish team whole. The game was practically a whitewash, with Spain seemingly tired and perhaps in a bad head space. The majority of the crowd in the stadium were boisterous Chilean fans, sure, but the previous 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Netherlands would’ve shattered the confidence of any professional sportspeople under enormous pressure to live up to a previous victory.

The pressure of the game and the massive sensation that is the World Cup can take winners and turn them into losers overnight. Though the team is now legendary, it’s become apparent that Spain’s prize winning crew is maybe a bit too old and soft for the speedy style of football played in Latin America.

In a thick press conference after the disappointing match, star player Casillas said he couldn’t explain to fans exactly what had happened. The obviously wounded icon seemed genuinely bruised, even going so far as to apologize to the team’s fans for letting them down in such a public and inconceivable way.“They should know that we gave all we had,” he said. “This squad didn’t deserve to go out like this.”

All of this puts Australia in good stead to try and finish third in the table, a solid and noble result in what was once considered to be a nightmarish pool. But with Spain practically down and out, they’ve got nothing to lose. The bedraggled team might try a final push for dignity and redemption, a rally that might not work against Australia’s younger and leaner team (sans star striker Cahill). Today, a lot of online chatter has been building around Cahill’s surprise yellow card, an incident that will no doubt have ramifications on the game with Spain.

Whatever the outcome of this year’s World Cup, it’s always amazing to watch the world game played at such an incredible level. Champions can bite the dust and Davids can rise up against genuine Goliaths. This is the appeal and glamour of an event that is drawing in millions of new followers with each progressive tournament. Here’s hoping the rest of the game play is just as exciting and shocking!

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Going to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

FIFA_world_cup_stadium

The absolute frenzy surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup is indicative of the monumental popularity surrounding the sport of football and the thrilling competition that is to be expected at this momentous sporting occasion. Millions of people all over the world have attempted to buy tickets to become part of the action of the FIFA World Cup on June 12-July 13 2014 and immerse themselves in the unparalleled atmosphere of this quadrennial event.

The combination of this rare and exhilarating sporting event along with an exotic and popular travel destination will easily make Brazil one of the most travelled to hotspots in 2014. Although it is an expensive endeavour, making the trip to this truly priceless event will instil in you incredible memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. However, understanding the ticketing system and the best ways to travel to Brazil during he FIFA World Cup can be incredibly confusing and difficult to navigate. Here are a few tips to make planning your trip to the FIFA World Cup much easier.

Ticketing

889,305 tickets were sold during the first phase of ticket allocation, the random draw. 71.5% of these were sold to Brazilian residents. Australia came in as the country with the fifth highest number of tickets drawn, a total of 15,401. During the second window of ticket sales, which was based on a first-come, first-served basis, nearly 230,000 tickets were sold within a mere seven hours.


fifa world cup
Now, after the final draw has been released, the second phase of ticket allocation for the 64 matches begun on December 8. This window will last until 12.00 (CET) on 30 January 2014. even though nearly 1.2 tickets were requested within 24 hours of the ticket sales opening everyone who applies for tickets within that timeframe, regardless of the date, has equal chance. On top of this, special tickets for people from participating member association (PMA) have also gone on sail. FIFA has reserved 16% of the tickets for each match for fans from both teams. This means that if a country you are either a resident of or national to is playing in the competition, you will have increased chances of acquiring tickets to their game.

Visit www.FIFA.com/tickets to learn more or apply for tickets now.

Travel and Accommodation

There are 12 cities and stadiums at which the FIFA World Cup will be held. Take a look at the World Cup prices and matches to check who is playing where, when and how much tickets are. The key to having an enjoyable time in Brazil over the FIFA World Cup is to conduct plenty of research and plan as far in advance as you can. If you have secured yourself tickets, you should already have organised travel and accommodation, as they are only going to become more scarce and expensive as it gets closer to the event. Similarly, if you are waiting to hear if you have acquired tickets in this second phase, you should pre-organise all your flights and accommodation plans to be able to book them the second you find out about the tickets.

FIFA world cup2Alternatively, you could always simply take a gamble and book a trip to Brazil in June/July next year regardless. You’d want to pray the ticket allocators go in your favour. Or else just simply soak up the intoxicating atmosphere of the biggest sporting event in the world by being in the country at the time and watch the games in what I’m sure would be some the most electrifying pubs on the globe.

You want to be particularly careful when booking anything or giving any credit card details to guarantee it is a safe and legitimate company. Tickets for the games are only sold through FIFA so don’t be tricked by the bargain ticket prices you may see elsewhere. Similarly, there is much concern that profiteering amongst hoteliers and airlines will be rife during this period. You need to be wary of overpricing, and the Brazilian Government is doing its best to increase the number of flights running to reduce costs and avoid hyper-inflation. Also keep in mind that the prices will experience an enormous hike during the second fortnight of competition – so if you’re on a budget or want to secure yourself a seat to cheer on your home country, the first two weeks would be a much safer and more worthwhile option.

Other Travel Tips

When it comes to travelling overseas, one of the best ways to make the trip more enjoyable and keep costs down is to ensure you acquire an international sim card. Rather than spending hundreds or even thousands on calling home with global roaming or not being able to call local numbers, travelling overseas with an international roaming SIM will make life a helluva lot easier. Rather than having to compete with billions of other people for one of the few spots at in internet cafe or sharing wifi with every single other person in Brazil, a United Global Sim will make communicating during the world cup infinitely easier. It is also a fantastic option if you are planning to make a more worthwhile trip out of the FIFA World Cup and visit other exotic locations in South America while over there.

Also ensure you acquire your Brazilian visa well in advance, as Australians are required to get a visa for the country prior to entering Brazil. However, the Brazilian Government has put in place special visa arrangements for Australians who hold tickets to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, check out the Embassy of Brazil’s website for more details.

In terms of health and safety, the Australian Government recommends exercising extreme caution when entering the country of Brazil on account of the high levels of serious and violent crime present in the country. It is also recommended that you get vaccines for Yellow Fever before travelling – check with your doctor for what other vaccinations you may require. It is also essential that y

ou get travel insurance for your trip to Brazil and it is highly recommended that you register your travel and contact details to the Australian Government prior to departure.

The simple fact of the matter is that although tickets may not be guaranteed and there are a huge amount of costs and planning involved in making the trip to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the experience would be a once in a lifetime sporting experience that would provide unparalleled excitement, competitive fervour and sporting spirit.