Goal-line technology

FIFA today confirmed goal-line technology will be introduced by the time of the 2014 World Cup.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, had previously stated his commitment to bringing in goal-line technology for the tournament in Brazil.

FIFA said in a statement: “After a successful implementation of Goal-Line Technology (GLT) at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December 2012, FIFA has decided to use GLT at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

“The aim is to use GLT in order to support the match officials and to install a system in all stadia, pending the successful installation, and pre-match referee tests.

“With different technologies on the market, FIFA has launched a tender today, setting out the technical requirements for the two forthcoming competitions in Brazil.”

Hawk-Eye and GoalRef both have FIFA approval and are set to compete against each other, and possibly other manufacturers, for the World Cup rights. FIFA said a third system, developed in Germany, had already passed examinations and that the providers were in licensing discussions. A fourth system, also German, has also been tested with the results due this week.

Whatever else happens, it would appear that German technology firms are determined not to suffer a repeat of the injustice of 1966.

Job on the line

FC Twente coach Steve McClaren is coming under growing pressure with the club’s fans demanding he be sacked.

Twente have not won a match since December 21, with McClaren and his Twente side’s team bus targeted by angry fans following their draw at PEC Zwolle on February 10.

Supporters have started boycotting the start of matches and prior to the team’s 1-1 draw at home to Willem II on Saturday, a banner reading ‘Clean s*** – we want football’ was unveiled.

It was in reference to McClaren’s upbeat reaction to Twente keeping clean sheets in back-to-back goalless draws against RKC Waalwijk and Feyenoord in January.

McClaren is in his second spell as Twente manager – he won the league during his first stint in 2008, following his dismal reign as England boss.

Another banner reading ‘Steve go home’ was unveiled at a recent match as well and McClaren admits he is on borrowed time.

“This is Murphy’s Law. It’s the middle of a storm and we’re in the eye of it and we have to keep going on, paddle and get through this storm,” he said in a metaphor-mixing triumph of stating the obvious.

Goal of the day

In the 99th minute Moshe Lugasi fired in from long range to give Maccabi Tel Aviv a 3-2 win over Bnei Yehuda.

Quote of the day

“The biggest problem is that I was manager of Liverpool and I’m paying for the success I had at Anfield. Nevertheless, I just continue working hard and focusing on being successful with Chelsea. All we can do is show complete dedication. When we win, there’s no one in the world happier than me.”

A deluded Rafa Benitez explains to Radio Gaceta de los Deportes why he believes he is so unpopular among Chelsea fans.

With friends like this…

One person who appears to be less enamoured of Benitez is a man whose support he could do with at the moment, and that man is, of course, Chelsea skipper John Terry.

Terry believes the club’s fans are within their rights to boo the boss if the team continues to perform poorly. The Chelsea skipper has previous when it comes to undermining a vulnerable manager: at the 2010 World Cup, it was he who led a feeble, and eventually aborted coup attempt, on England coach Fabio Capello.

So, no one, least of all Benitez, should be surprised to learn that Terry is at the forefront of any Stamford Bridge insurgency.

“That falls on us because if you are winning games, that gets taken away,” the Chelsea skipper told The Independant.

“If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager. He has to take responsibility because he is the one who picks the team. So if we are not [winning], naturally with all managers, it falls on his head unfortunately.

Since Benitez’s arrival, last season’s European champions have slipped to 16 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United and Terry says that such a run invites criticism from the terraces.

“[The fans] pay their money so they are entitled to echo their thoughts. All we can do is concentrate on our jobs and that is winning games. If we can do that, it completely takes that away. We won [against Brentford] and I didn’t hear much – it takes it away,” Terry said.

“The fans have their opinion and the players and the most important thing is the team winning games.”

The Chinese way

Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua will take its fight against striker Didier Drogba’s move to Galatasaray to FIFA this week, according to reports in China.

The Ivorian left the club in acrimonious circumstances in January, with Shanghai officials saying he had breached his contract.

“We now have evidence which we believe will give Shenhua a 99 per cent chance of winning a lawsuit at FIFA,” a lawyer acting for the club told the Sina web site.

The anonymous source from “Shenhua’s legal team” said that papers would be submitted to the sport’s governing body on Wednesday.

Shenhua will provide evidence that Drogba breached his contract and that Galatasaray had violated FIFA rules by luring a player away from his current club, according to the report.

Sounds like this one will run and run.

China crisis

Still in China, the country’s football association has banned 33 players and officials for life after a three-year investigation into match-fixing.

The Shanghai Shenhua club was also fined 1m yuan (£103,000) and stripped of its 2003 league victory for fixing a match on its way to the title.

In recent years, China has increased efforts to clean up its football, which has been hit by a series of scandals.

Over the past year, more than 50 officials, referees and players have been jailed.

Shanghai Shenhua were found guilty of offering bribes to officials to secure a 4-1 victory against Shanxi Guoli, Chinese media report.

In addition to the fine, the club was given a six-point penalty for the coming season, as was another top-division side, Tianjin Teda, which was also fined 1m yuan, said China Daily.

Among the officials banned for life were two former heads of the Chinese football league, Nan Yong and his predecessor Xie Yalong, who are already serving 10-and-a-half years each in jail after being convicted of accepting bribes.

Another 25 players and officials have been given five-year bans.

China’s football authorities hope that by cracking down on corruption cases they will raise standards and attract foreign talent to play in the country.

Getting them to stay in the country is another matter altogether.

Match fixing latest

The seemingly never ending global match fixing saga moves to Thailand, where the country’s Football Association has begun an investigation into claims that match fixers attempted to rig the result of November’s FA Cup final.

Japanese official Yoshida Toshimitsu was in charge for Buriram United’s 2-1 win over Army United and reported to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that he was offered money to favour one of the two teams, the Nation and Bangkok Post said.

Thai FA president and FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi said that he would inform FIFA and Interpol, the international police organisation, of the allegations.

“We have already received the report the Japanese referee sent. I’ll discuss the incident with FIFA and AFC officials as well as with Interpol when I travel to Malaysia on Thursday for a seminar about the problem of match-fixing,” Worawi was quoted as saying by the Nation.

“We have already sent them all the relevant evidence we have about the game in question. However, we will also be discussing the issue at the association’s board meeting. We already have a committee to take care of the matter.”

Army United manager Col Worawut Withisiri said his side had nothing to do with the allegation.

“Military officers have discipline and we will never resort to ungentlemanly conduct,” he was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.

“Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, as Army United chairman, has a clear policy that we must play entertaining football in a straightforward manner.”

Come to Barcelona

Dani Alves has encouraged Jack Wilshere to come join him at Barcelona by naming the Arsenal midfielder as a player he would personally choose for the club.

“He is a great player who we have met playing against Arsenal and without doubt he can reach the height of the players we have here at Barcelona like Xavi and Iniesta,” Alves said.

“He has a lot of quality and a great personality. If I was given the chance to choose, he is a player that I would sign for Barcelona.”

Let’s hope Arsene Wenger doesn’t hear about this attempt to tap up one of his players – that really could send him over the edge.

In a busy day of muckraking for the Brazilian, Alves has also urged Brazil team-mate Neymar to reject overtures from other European clubs and join him at Barcelona.

Bayern Munich, soon to be managed by ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola, are the latest to be linked with the 21-year-old Santos forward.

“I’ve been at it for ages,” he told FIFA.com. “When the rumours of him making a move to Europe started I told him he should come to Barcelona.

“It’s more than a club. The motto says it all: they look after you, they pamper you and they always treat you and your family well. Look, it’s got values that virtually no other club has, and that’s what makes it unique.

“Everyone says you can’t compete with Barcelona, but if you go to the club, you’ll see that they work from the bottom up and that’s why we’ve got all these great players. If you look at the signings they make, they just buy what they need.

“The rest of the players are all from the youth set-up. They made a commitment to it and the results are there.”

Oh spare us the sanctimony, Dani. Arsene Wenger, who has lost four players to the Catalan outfit in recent years, would struggle to recognise the values you extol.

Finally…

Uganda has granted asylum to the 15 players from the Eritrea football team and the team doctor who defected last December during the 2012 Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup.

Apollo David Kazungu, the Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister in Uganda, said that the Refugee Eligibility Committee had found the group’s claims valid and granted them refugee status.

“This is very good news if they have finally been sorted by the relevant authorities. But next time teams should come and play football and return to their countries,” said Uganda Football Association’s vice-president in charge of youth, Patrick Ogwel.

Kazungu explained that two of the players who had applied for asylum returned home, but the rest refused to return because they feared they would be conscripted into military training.

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