Sepp Blatter: the movie

One of those stories we couldn’t make up, but apparently, plans are afoot to make a movie of the life of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

British actor Tim Roth will play Blatter, while Gerard Depardieu will play Jules Rimet – FIFA’s longest-serving president, and whose name adorns the World Cup trophy.

The movie is expected to be released in 2014 to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil. The genre is unclear, though looking at Blatter’s handling of FIFA, the producers have probably narrowed it down to one of the following: horror, farce, tragedy or deeply black comedy.

Leuviah Films is in charge of the film, along with Thelma Films. According to the report in today’s Guardian, the French company does not appear to have any previous movie credits, so perhaps it would be better to treat the project with a degree of scepticism.

A video on FIFA’s official website shows that the 77-year-old Blatter approves of the casting of Roth.

“It was a very interesting get-together,” Blatter said in the video. “I had read a lot of the CV and all the realisations [films] that this Tim Roth has made. I was very eager to meet him, and I have just realised that really we have something in common.”

Blatter said in the video that Roth agreed that the pair had “some common, let’s say, qualities”.

Roth’s latest role seems him play Prince Rainier in the movie Grace of Monaco. His next role, as Blatter, has the working title Disgrace of Zurich.

Platini orders probe into handling of CSKA-Manchester City tie

UEFA President Michel Platini has ordered an investigation after a Champions League referee failed to follow guidelines and stop a match to warn Russian fans about racist abuse.

UEFA said its protocol for match officials to handle racism incidents “was not applied” during the CSKA Moscow-Manchester City match on Wednesday.

“This protocol empowers the referee to stop the match and ask for a public address system announcement to be made urging spectators to stop such racist conduct,” UEFA said in a statement.

Platini’s request puts 33-year-old Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan in the dock as well as the Russian club.

UEFA has opened a disciplinary case against CSKA, after receiving by complaints Man City and midfielder Yaya Toure.

The Ivory Coast midfielder said he told Hategan during play about monkey noises being targeted at City’s black players by home fans.

Hategan did not stop play and ask stadium officials to broadcast a warning, the first part of UEFA’s guidelines to deal with racist abuse in stadiums.

Toure described as “unbelievable and very, very sad” the monkey chants reportedly directed at him by fans of the Russian capital club during the game, won 2-1 by City.

“We want to stop that and UEFA have to be strong, maybe close the stadium,” Toure told Britain’s Sky television at the end of the match.

Toure later said he did not exclude the possibilty of black players boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia as a result of their treatment at the hands of Russian fans.

Santiago Bernabeu Microsoft?

Take with as many pinches of salt as you like but computer company Microsoft are reportedly in talks with Real Madrid over the naming rights for the Santiago Bernabeu.

Club President Florentino Perez has confirmed he intends to renovate the stadium in the coming years and is also on the look out for sponsorship to part-fund the project.

El Confidencial suggest that US computer giants Microsoft are in negotiations with Madrid, although these are described as at a preliminary stage.

What’s more, the two organisations have already teamed up for an initiative that promotes education through sport and technology in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Of course if the upgrades to the stadium are not to the liking of the patrons, Madrid could always call the refurbished ground the Windows 8 Santiago Bernabeu.

Red mist descends and referee attacks players

The community of long suffering, hard done by referees have found a new patron saint. His name is Saad Al Fadhi. He hails from Kuwait and match officials around the world will be toasting him after a quite demonic performance during a match between Alnaser and Alarabi.

The clip speaks for itself. Stay with it until the end though because you won’t want to miss the final indignity suffered by Al Fadhi.

Goal of the Day

A neat stepover from Andriy Yarmolenko followed a left foot shot rifled into the roof of the net.

Kenny Dalgish back in management

Kenny Dalglish is to return to management in the new Indian Super League, according to reports.

The former Liverpool player and manager was recently appointed non-executive director at Anfield.

You’ve heard of marquee players but, according to Indian media outlet IBN Live, Dalglish will be appointed as a “marquee” manager, and will joined by Peter Schmeichel and Marcel Desailly in the new League.

The Times of India reports that Dwight Yorke, Fredrik Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Louis Saha and Hernan Crespo have already signed up to compete, with Thierry Henry and Michael Owen also in talks.

Looking at the ages of some of those players, Dalglish may also fancy also fancy his chances of becoming the league’s first marquee player-manager.

The league will feature eight city specific teams and will tap the burgeoning interest among the country’s young population.

The league will kick off in January 2014 and will run until March.

Each team will have one marquee player, international footballers and the best of Indian talent.

Dalglish may have to relinquish his role as a director for Liverpool if he accepts a position in India. Although, given the club’s growing Asian support, the prospect of the Scotsman working in India might help raise the profile of the club.

Provided he doesn’t wear his Luis Suarez t-shirt.

Quote of the Day

“It cannot be that the European and South American confederations lay claim to the majority of berths at the World Cup (18 or 19 teams), because taken together they account for significantly fewer member associations (63) than Africa and Asia (100). Africa, the confederation with the most member associations (54), is woefully under-represented at the World Cup. As long as this remains the case, African sides may never win an intercontinental trophy regardless of progress on the playing side. This flawed state of affairs must be rectified. At the end of the day an equal chance for all is the paramount imperative of elite sport.”

Reading between the lines: FIFA president Sepp Blatter appears to be kicking off his re-election campaign with an appeal to the numerous votes of Africa and Asia. If recent history is anything to go by, expect Michel Platini to respond by offering to double the number of World Cup final places to 64.

Brazil investigates possible FIFA hotel cartel

It’s been a couple of days since Brazil ‘s last row with FIFA, so today’s bust-up between the 2014 World Cup hosts and football’s governing body is long overdue.

The Brazil government is to investigate whether FIFA’s official accommodation agency was involved in “cartel” practices that could lead to hotel price hikes during the 2014 World Cup.

The government announced on Thursday that a committee recently created to monitor excessive price rises during the World Cup will check whether the actions by MATCH Services “can be characterized as cartel.”

Government officials said they also will meet with the airline industry next week to make sure there are no excessive rises in travel prices during next year’s tournament.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff created the monitoring committee following complaints by consumer advocates and amid reports of  price increases during the World Cup. A study by Brazil’s tourism board earlier this year showed that some hotel rates will be up to 500 percent more expensive during the tournament in some hotels offered by the FIFA-appointed agency.

The government wants to know how many rooms MATCH has reserved in the host cities because, according to Brazilian legislation, anything more than 20 percent of the local market can be considered a cartel.

“We want to make sure that the prices will be fair and won’t be abusive to the Brazilian and the international consumers,” said Gleisi Hoffmann, Rousseff’s chief of staff.

MATCH and FIFA did not immediately answer a request for comment, but, in the spirit of Lord Astor they have previously denied all accusations of wrongdoing.

Incidentally, if you’re currently employed, you could do worse than head for Brazil to seek work on their committee to monitor rip-offs during World Cup year. They are not going to be short of work throughout 2014.

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