Money to burn

A report by Deloitte reveals the opportunities for the construction sector in Qatar as the country prepares to spend £93 billion over the next five years in transport infrastructure and over £130 billion in construction projects, in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.

The report, titled “Are you on the bench? Insight into the Qatar construction market and opportunities for real estate developers” showcases the opportunities available in Qatar, and the need to provide for an estimated 400,000 fans during the tournament.

According to the report: “In anticipation of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, Qatar plans to invest over £93 billion over the next five years in transport infrastructure to transform Qatar. Investments in constructing a new airport, roads and a metro system have been planned as part of supporting an anticipated influx of visitors for the World Cup as well as leaving a sustainable legacy for Qatar.”

Deloitte emphasises the opportunities in construction of affordable residences, with “Qatar planning to invest over £130 billion in the next 10 years in construction projects signalling immense opportunities for real estate developers”

The report also stresses the opportunities in tourism as the “Qatar Tourism Authority plans to invest about £13 billion on tourism infrastructure as the number of tourist arrivals grows at a rate of 15.9% growing annually, to reach 3.7million by 2022.” An estimated 90,000 rooms will be required for the World Cup.

The report also focuses on the environmental legacy which “has become a key item in the government’s agenda.” and which will certainly test the organisers as they aim to stage the first carbon-neutral World Cup.

The details of this carbon neutral World Cup remain frustratingly vague. Presumably, much of the multibillion dollar outlay will go towards extinguishing the sun for the duration of the tournament. Implausible? No more so than some of the outlandish proposals aimed at coping with the rigours of playing the World Cup in the heat of the desert summer.

World Cup legacy

At least five of South Africa’s 2010 World Cup host cities say they want massive refunds from construction companies because they colluded and inflated prices when building stadiums and other infrastructure for the tournament.

The South African Local Government Association says Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane were overcharged on World Cup projects and could seek as much as £261 million in total in damages.

The potential claims follow a larger settlement by South Africa’s Competition Commission, where 15 companies have agreed to pay a total of £97 million in fines for ”rigged” projects between 2006 and 2011.

SALGA, which represents the cities, says it estimates that Cape Town may have been overcharged by up to £146 million for its stadium, which it said cost close to £484 million.

Match fixing latest

Racing Santander have denied an allegation that their 3-0 home win against Hercules on the final day of the second-division season was fixed and said they will cooperate fully with an investigation by the authorities.

Despite the June 8 victory, Santander were relegated to the third division after dropping down to the second division at the end of the 2011-12 campaign and are struggling to stay afloat after several years of boardroom in-fighting.

“Racing has absolute confidence in the players in its squad and rejects any malicious report that calls into question its honesty and professionalism,” the north coast club said on their website.

 “The club is the first to want to clear up the situation and will immediately make itself available to UEFA and the LFP (Spanish professional league) to mount a thorough investigation of the facts published in the media,” they added.

The fixing of games, particularly towards the end of the season, has long been an open secret in Spain though few individuals or clubs have ever been prosecuted.

LFP president Javier Tebas said after being elected in April it must be the priority of the league to stamp it out and Spain needed to abandon a culture of “anything goes” that meant clubs trying to avoid relegation were buying games.

Tebas said on Thursday he believed the Santander-Hercules game was thrown.

“I believe it was clearly fixed and that is what the reports from UEFA and the betting firms say,” he told an internet chat organised by website El Confidencial.

“What’s more, other matches, both in the first and second division, are being investigated and that takes time,” he added. “There will be news.”

Drug conference

FIFA will host an international conference to discuss more effective ways to combat doping.

FIFA says the November 29-30 event involving the World Anti-Doping Agency is titled: ”Time has come to change the strategy of the fight against doping in sport.”

WADA’s role has been criticized recently by some Olympic sports leaders who believe they are spending too much money analyzing too many tests without catching enough drug cheats.

Nowhere is this more true than in the world of football where drug test failures are astonishingly rare.

FIFA says the conference will be organized by ”medical representatives of international team sports federations, the IOC and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.”

Attempted kidnap?

The young man described – somewhat inevitably – as the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Sporting Lisbon’s in-demand winger, Bruma, is reported to have been the target of a kidnap attempt by fans acting on behalf of the club.

The 18-year-old who attracted attention with some impressive performances at the Under-20 World Cup, is reported to be a target for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Turkish outfit Galatasaray.

Bruma’s agent, Catio Balde, has told Portuguese radio station Antena 1 that members of a Sporting supporters group known as ‘Juve Leo’ attempted to snatch his client from his hotel last night, also implying that the whole thing may have been an inside job on Sporting’s part.

“Last night there was an attempted kidnap of Bruma by Juve Leo at the hotel where he lives,” he said. “We have registered a complaint with police and we have been informed it was done at the behest of Sporting’s management.

”We have pressed charges. This is a very serious and unpleasant matter, and it led to this decision.”

According to several sources, Bruma is now keen to terminate his Sporting contract and is hoping that FIFA will intervene and assist him to do so – leaving him free to join another club thus depriving Sporting out of a fee.

Balde said: “I was in charge of presenting offers to Sporting. There are offers from foreign clubs, from Chelsea and from Galatasaray, worth €8million that could reach €12million.”

He also spoke on whether Bruma would be terminating his current contract.

“From this moment on, considering that he is a highly-coveted player, it is possible that more offers will arrive, because I know that several clubs were waiting for the best moment to make a move,” he added.

And when asked whether he would exit the club in the near future, Balde admitted: “Right now, Bruma’s mind is not on Sporting.”

And, if there is any truth in the kidnap story, who could blame him?

Goal of the day

Ali Adnan opened the scoring for Iraq against Uruguay in the Under-20 World Cup semi-final with a perfectly struck free-kick that left the goalkeeper floundering at his near post.

Quote of the day

“The Ballon d’Or? One could say that it’s now or never for me. I have had a very good season. I notice that a lot of people would like to see me win this award.”

Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery believes he is in with a good chance of winning this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or.

Death threat

The Montreal Impact and Major League Soccer have filed a complaint with police after captain Davy Arnaud received death threats on Twitter.

The team said Montreal police opened an investigation and will interview the individual who posted the tweet.

The threats were made after a June 29 home defeat to Colorado in which Arnaud lost possession to set up winning Colorado goal in injury time.

Arnaud retweeted a message that said: “I hope your family dies in a fire.” The author appears to be a local fan.

Arnaud answered: “wow. I know we lost and I made a mistake but I deserve this? I forgive you.”

“The Impact is taking this incident very seriously,” the team said in a statement, “and will not accept threats of any kind made by individuals in regards to its players, coaches or administrative staff in order to ensure their safety.”

Arnaud’s teammate Patrice Bernier called the threats unacceptable.

“You can have your opinion on a performance, good or bad,” said Bernier. “But when it passes the line and there are threats against your family, even though people may say they’re joking around, I don’t think it’s something that you can joke around with.

“You never know what could happen. People have to have (responsibility) for their words, what they say or what they put out on Twitter or social media. It’s important that they realize that you can’t just go out and make blatant attacks on a person or his family or anybody else.”

Pep talk

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara is his No. 1 transfer target, with the European champions hoping to hijack Manchester United’s bid for the Spaniard.

Thiago, 22, has been tipped to leave the Catalans this summer and most reports indicated that he was bound for United.

But Thiago, who was a member of Spain’s victorious side at the European Under-21 Championships in June, could instead be set for a reunion with Guardiola.

“I want Thiago Alcantara,” Guardiola told a press conference on Thursday. “I have told [chief executive] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and [sporting director] Matthias Sammer that I want that player. I don’t know what will happen next. We will have to wait and see.

“It is either Thiago or no-one. I know him very, very well. He is a super, super player. He can play three, four, five positions.”

Guardiola said he felt Neymar’s arrival at Barcelona would hinder Thiago’s chances of featuring regularly for the Spanish champions, adding: “No player wants to leave Barcelona. That only happens when a player feels he will not play too much in the upcoming season.

“With Neymar, a big player has joined Barcelona. Thiago wants to play and at Barcelona his chances would be worse.”

Falling out

Pep Guardiola has launched a scathing attack on Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and accused him of using Tito Vilanova’s illness as a weapon to use against him.

The former Blaugrana boss left Camp Nou last summer and took a 12-month sabbatical from football in New York – the same city in which Vilanova received treatment in his battle against cancer.

But Guardiola has been upset by several stories that have appeared in the press suggesting the pair were not in contact during his illness because of a breakdown in their relationship, an allegation the current Bayern Munich coach lays at the door of Rosell.

“This year there have been too many times when they [Barcelona & Rosell] crossed the line,” Guardiola said. “Using Tito Vilanova’s illness to hurt me, that I will never forget. I saw Tito Vilanova in New York, and if I didn’t see him more it’s because it was not possible for me to do so.

“Do I have to justify wanting a partner I’ve had for so long and helped me so much to do well? That was something in very, very bad taste.”

And Guardiola has ordered his old club to bring an end to their apparent smear campaign against him and allow him to focus on his new life in Germany.

“Let me enjoy my job and these players that Bayern gives me to do the best I possibly can,” he added. “If any of the things I’ve said is not true, come out and rebut it. But it has to be them [Rosell and his board], not intermediaries or Barcelona messengers, them.

“They have to focus on making their team work and leave me alone.”

Rather than face questions about this and other issues such as the cut-price departure of David Villa to Atletico Madrid, Rosell sought refuge in the bathroom – the ladies bathroom.


The Football Association has joined forces with The National Forest Adventure Farm to create a major leisure and tourism attraction in the Midlands, situated just two miles from The FA’s new £105 million facility at St. George’s Park.

St. George’s Park chairman David Sheepshanks joined former players from the region at a community event with local school children to unveil a giant FA themed Maize Maze, which is set to attract up to 30,000 visitors from all over the country this summer.

The Maize Maze celebrates the FA’s 150-year anniversary and will be open to the public from July 13 to September 8, 2013.

The 10 acre maze includes a number of puzzle boards on the skills needed to be a top footballer – shooting, passing, dribbling and tackling. When you answer correctly the answers send you in the right direction. Get them all right and you get to play for England.

In choosing a metaphor to represent 150 years of its existence and the way in which the FA has guided English football, could there be anything more apt than a maze?