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Spanish Football Federation President Angel Maria Villar Llona and his son have been held as part of a corruption investigation, police in Spain say.

Angel María Villar Llona, a former soccer player, was arrested on suspicion of embezzling funds, El Pais and Efe news agency reported.

He has been president of the association since 1988.


His son, Gorka Villar, was among a number of other people also arrested during a number of raids on July 18.

Spain’s High Court told Reuters that one of its investigating magistrates and anti-corruption prosecutors were leading the probe.

Spanish media report that the allegations centre on the falsification of documents and skimming profits from international soccer matches.

Image source Wikimedia

There has been no comment yet from Angel María Villar, 67, or his lawyers.

In his time as president of the federation, Spain’s men’s soccer team has won two European championships as well as the 2010 World Cup, becoming one of soccer’s dominant forces.

Angel María Villar has also served on the council of soccer’s world governing body FIFA for the past 29 years, but was reprimanded by FIFA for failing to comply with its internal inquiry into the 2018/22 World Cup bidding process.

He was acting president of UEFA, Europe’s soccer association, while its chief Michel Platini was under investigation. He lost out on the presidency in an election last year.

UEFA and FIFA said they were aware of the reports.

Gorka Villar served as the director-general of the South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL before standing down last year.

Before standing down, Gorka Villar had been accused of extortion by a number of Uruguayan soccer clubs.

German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer and three others are being investigated by Swiss prosecutors over Germany’s bid for the 2006 World Cup.

As members of that cup’s organizing committee, they are suspected of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering and misappropriation, prosecutors say.

Some of the alleged crimes were carried out on Swiss territory.

Franz Beckenbauer, who headed the bid, has previously denied corruption.

FIFA has banned Franz Beckenbauer from all its activities for failing to co-operate with its inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process

FIFA has banned Franz Beckenbauer from all its activities for failing to co-operate with its inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process

In October 2015, he said he had made a “mistake” in the bidding process to host the competition in 2000 but denied votes had been bought.

In March 2016, soccer’s world governing body FIFA began looking into six men for their part in Germany winning the rights to host the 2006 cup.

Premises were searched in eight undisclosed locations on September 1 with the co-operation of the Austrian and German authorities, the prosecutors said.

Franz Beckenbauer’s home in Austria was among the properties searched, according to the AP.

Several suspects were also questioned, the prosecutors added.

Germany beat South Africa 12-11 in the World Cup vote, which took place in July 2000.

The Swiss investigation centers on the use of 7 million euros ($7.8 million), later reduced to 6.7 million euros, earmarked for a gala event.

In a statement, Swiss prosecutors said: “It is suspected that the suspects knew that this sum was not being used to fund the gala event, but instead to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB.

“In particular, it is suspected that the suspects willfully misled their fellow members of the executive board of the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup.

“This was presumably done by the use of false pretences or concealment of the truth, thus inducing the other committee members to act in a manner that caused DFB a financial loss.”

No further details were given.

Earlier today, Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported the investigation centered on payments made from 2002 to 2005.

In October 2015, Franz Beckenbauer said he did not give “money to anyone in order to buy votes”.

However, in a statement, he said: “In order to get a subsidy from FIFA [for the organization of the 2006 World Cup] those involved went ahead with a proposal from the FIFA finance commission that in today’s eyes should have been rejected.

“I, as president of the then-organizing committee, bear the responsibility of this mistake.”

Swiss prosecutors named four suspects on September 1:

  • Franz Beckenbauer: Former vice-president of the German Football Association (DFB), president of the 2006 World Cup local organizing committee (LOC) and former member of the FIFA executive committee
  • Wolfgang Niersbach: Former president of the DFB, vice-president of the LOC and current member of the FIFA and UEFA executive committees
  • Theo Zwanziger: Former president of the DFB, vice-president of the LOC and former member of the FIFA and UEFA executive committees
  • Horst Rudolf Schmidt: Former secretary-general of the DFB and vice-president of the LOC

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Gianni Infantino has been cleared of wrongdoing following a FIFA investigation into his expenses, recruitment and alleged sacking of whistleblowers.

He took charge of soccer’s world governing body in February after the disgraced Sepp Blatter resigned.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

FIFA’s ethics committee found no “conflicts of interest” and no breaches of the organization’s ethics code.

“The benefits enjoyed by Mr. Infantino were not considered improper,” it said.

A leaked internal FIFA memo outlined a series of claims relating to 46-year-old Gianni Infantino. The claims were that he: left himself exposed to claims of a possible conflict of interest by using private jets laid on by a World Cup bidding country; filled senior posts without checking people’s eligibility for the role; billed FIFA for mattresses, flowers, a tuxedo, an exercise machine and personal laundry; demanded FIFA hire an external driver, who then billed the governing body for driving his family and advisors around while he was abroad.

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Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has become FIFA’s first female secretary general as she was appointed to succeed former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was banned from soccer-related activity for 12 years.

The 54-year-old Senegalese spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will start at soccer’s governing body in June.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organization.

“She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization.”Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura FIFA secretary general

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organization which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Jerome Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter.

Sepp Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down in 2015 and was later suspended from soccer for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.

She started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Program in Rome in 1995 and has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.

At her appointment, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honored to take on this role.

“This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high-impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.

“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA.

“FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work – and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.”

UEFA offices have been searched by Swiss police.

It follows the naming of ex-secretary general Gianni Infantino – now president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA – in papers leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Meanwhile, a FIFA official also named in the papers – Juan Pedro Damiani – has resigned.

Gianni Infantino has denied wrongdoing while the European soccer’s governing body says it is helping police.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

While working for UEFA, Ganni Infantino co-signed a TV rights deal in 2006 with two businessmen who have since been accused by the FBI of bribery.

Cross Trading – owned by Hugo Jinkis and his son Mariano – bought TV rights for UEFA Champions League football in 2006 for $111,000 and immediately sold them to Ecuadorian broadcaster Teleamazonas for $311,170.

The company also paid $28,000 for the rights to the UEFA Super Cup, selling those to Teleamazonas for $126,200.

The contract came to light after 11 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonseca.

A statement from Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said a “co-operative search” of the Nyon building took place “for the purpose of securing evidence”.

It said its criminal proceedings were connected to the acquisition of television rights and were “directed against persons unknown, meaning that for the time being, no specific individual is being targeted”.

The statement added: “The suspicion is based on the result of findings that have emerged from other proceedings, as well as the corresponding financial analyses carried out by the OAG.

“Current publications in the media subsequently revealed still other elements that made it possible to complement the existing findings in a decisive manner.

“The final impetus was provided, in particular, by confirmation on the part of UEFA that it had concluded contracts with Cross Trading SA.”

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has decided to suspend its president Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini for 90 days.

The sanctions were handed out by the FIFA’s ethics committee, which is investigating the three over corruption allegations.

It also banned ex-FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon for six years.

Issa Hayatou, who heads Africa’s soccer confederation (CAF), will act as FIFA president during Sepp Blatter’s ban.

Spain’s Angel Maria Villar is expected to perform the same role at UEFA – European soccer’s governing body – while Michel Platini is suspended.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Both Chung Mong-joon and Michel Platini are hoping to replace Sepp Blatter when he steps down as president in February 2016.

“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,” the FIFA said in a statement.

Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Michel Platini are banned from any soccer activity in the interim. They deny any wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, US authorities indicted 14 FIFA officials and associates on bribery and racketeering charges. A simultaneous Swiss investigation was started into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Michel Platini and South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-joon – who was also fined 100,000 Swiss Francs by the ethics committee – are two of the leading candidates to replace Sepp Blatter in February.

Soccer’s governing body FIFA has decided to provisionally suspend its president, Sepp Blatter, for ninety days.

Members of FIFA’s ethics committee met this week after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter, 79, in September. They have recommended a 90-day provisional suspension.

Swiss Sepp Blatter is accused of signing a contract “unfavorable” to soccer’s governing body and making a “disloyal payment” to UEFA president Michel Platini, 60.

Sepp Blatter, who has run FIFA since 1998, and Michel Platini, who wants to succeed him, deny any wrongdoing.

A final decision will be made on October 9 by Hans Joachim Eckhert, the head of FIFA’s ethics adjudicatory chamber, according to a close friend of Sepp Blatter.

No decision has been made on whether to suspend Michel Platini.Sepp Blatter suspended by FIFA

On October 7, Sepp Blatter told a German magazine that he was being “condemned without there being any evidence for wrongdoing”.

The ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber had been meeting in Zurich since October 5.

The investigation is centered on allegations believed to be around a 2005 TV rights deal between FIFA and Jack Warner, the former president of CONCACAF, the governing body of football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

It is also examining a payment of 2 million Swiss francs that Michel Platini received in 2011 for working for Sepp Blatter. He claims it was “valid compensation” for work carried out more than nine years previously.

Michel Platini has provided information to the criminal investigation but said he has done so as a witness.

Swiss prosecutors said Michel Platini is being treated as “in between a witness and an accused person” as they investigate corruption at FIFA.

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Soccer’s governing body chief Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini are facing an investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee.

The move comes after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against 79-yar-old Sepp Blatter.

Sepp Blatter is accused of signing a contract “unfavorable” to FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to UEFA President Michel Platini, 60.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The FIFA president denies wrongdoing and his lawyer says he is co-operating fully.

The ethics committee is looking into the circumstances of a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) that Michel Platini received in 2011 for work said to have been carried out more than nine years previously, reported the Press Association.

Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter on September 25.

Michel Platini – who worked as Sepp Blatter’s technical advisor between 1999 and 2002 – was interviewed as a witness by officers from the attorney general’s office.

Michel Platini is yet to explain the nine-year delay in payment but he too denies any wrongdoing.

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Interpol has suspended its 10-year partnership with FIFA over allegations of corruption against the soccer’s governing body.

The international police agency had a €20 million anti-match-fixing program with the soccer’s governing body.

Interpol is now freezing the money donated by FIFA in 2011 for the program.

The “Integrity in Sport” agreement was intended to combat match-fixing and illegal gambling.Interpol suspends FIFA partnership

FIFA is under investigation by authorities in the US and Switzerland for alleged bribery and corruption.

Jurgen Stock, the head of Interpol, said in a statement: “In light of the current context surrounding FIFA, while Interpol is still committed to developing our Integrity in Sport program, I have decided to suspend the agreement.

“All external partners, whether public or private, must share the fundamental values and principles of the organization, as well as those of the wider law enforcement community.”

The agreement between Interpol and FIFA stated that the soccer body must be “compatible with the principles, aims and activities of Interpol”.

Last month, 14 current and former FIFA officials and sports marketing executives were charged over allegations of corruption and bribery following a years-long US-led investigation into the organization.

The scandal has raised questions over the legitimacy of the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

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Pele has left a Sao Paolo hospital after undergoing prostate surgery.

The 74-year-old Brazil soccer legend was admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paolo on May 5 for the second time in six months.

Pele, the three-time World Cup winner, was treated for a urinary infection in November 2014 after having kidney stones removed.Pele prostate surgery

He was named FIFA’s Player of the Century and won 91 caps for Brazil, scoring 77 goals.

Widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, Pele scored a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during his 21-year career.

He played 14 games at the World Cup, scoring 12 goals, and was awarded the FIFA Golden Ball as the best player at the 1970 tournament.

Pele has only one kidney, having had one removed towards the end of his playing career.

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A FIFA taskforce has recommended the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should take place in November and December.

Key football officials met in Doha to discuss a number of options following fears a summer event would endanger the health of players and fans.

Summer temperatures in Qatar can exceed 40C (104F) while those in November and December drop to around 25C (77F).

Today’s recommendation is expected to be ratified by FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on March 19 and 20.

Taskforce chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa also recommended that the 2022 tournament should be shortened by a few days.

There has already been speculation that the tournament could start on November 26 and end on December 23.

However, FIFA has already said there are no plans to reduce the size of the tournament from 32 teams or 64 matches.

The other dates under consideration were May and January-February.

In a statement, FIFA said a number of options had been discussed but felt that November-December was the best one because:

  • A January-February tournament would clash with Winter Olympics
  • The month of Ramadan begins on April 2 in 2022
  • Hot conditions prevail from May to September in Qatar

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said there were “pros and cons” for all options but said the “one solution” was November and December.World Cup 2022 Qatar

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa added: “We are very pleased that, after careful consideration of the various opinions and detailed discussions with all stakeholders, we have identified what we believe to be the best solution for the 2018-2024 international match calendar and football in general.

“It was a challenging task and I want to thank all members of the football community for their productive input and constructiveness in helping to find a solution that we believe can work for everyone.”

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said moving the World Cup to the winter was a “common sense” decision but that a final on December 23 would be too close to Christmas and the traditional festive matches.

He said a tournament in November and December would “cause a lot of disruption” but added: “It is eight years away and people should have enough time to make it work.”

Many of Europe’s top leagues wanted an April-May solution to minimize disruption to their domestic programs.

There is also the Champions League and Europa League to consider, with group games usually taking place in November and December.

However, European governing body UEFA came out in support of the taskforce recommendation.

It issued a statement insisting it “sees no major issues in rescheduling its competitions for the 2022/23 season”.

African officials agree with the taskforce’s recommendation, despite the fact they will almost certainly have to move the 2023 African Cup of Nations from its January-February slot.

Confederation of African Football’s director of communications Junior Binyam said it was backing the proposal “100%”.

As for North America, the Major League Soccer season in the United States will be unaffected given it runs from March until the end of October.

Average temperatures in November are around 29C (84F), dropping to around 25C (77F) by mid-December, slightly cooler than the 35C (95F) averages in May.

Tournament organizers had planned to use air-cooling technology they claimed would lower temperatures within grounds to about 23C (73F).

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World football’s governing body, Federation Internationale de Fooball Association (FIFA), agreed to publish a “legally appropriate version” of a report into allegations of World Cup bidding corruption.

However, FIFA insisted Russia and Qatar will stay as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments respectively.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he asked the executive committee to vote in favor of publishing the report.

“We have always been determined the truth should be known,” he said.

“That is, after all, why we set up an independent ethics committee with an investigatory chamber that has all necessary means to undertake investigations on its own initiative.”

Only a disputed summary of Michael Garcia’s 430-page report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has so far been published.

Releasing the full report, which is likely be heavily redacted to preserve witness confidentiality, is a change in FIFA policy.

However, it will only be published once ongoing investigations into five individuals are completed.

“We need to ensure that we respect the rules of our organization and that we do not breach confidentiality in a way that will prevent people from speaking out in the future,” added Sepp Blatter.

The 78-year-old Swiss, seeking a fifth term as president, insisted later that there was no reason for Russia and Qatar to lose their rights to stage future World Cups.

“At the current time, there is no reason to go back on our decisions,” he told a news conference, speaking in German.

“The two World Cups are in the calendar, the only thing missing is the precise dates for 2022, but these two World Cups will take place.”

Addressing Qatar specifically, Sepp Blatter added that only an “earthquake” could change FIFA’s decision to hold the 2022 tournament in the Gulf state.

“It would really need an earthquake, extremely important new elements to go back on this World Cup in Qatar,” he said.

The Ameican lawyer, Michael Garcia, was appointed FIFA’s independent ethics investigator in 2012 and spent two years investigating all nine bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups following claims of corruption and collusion.

Michael Garcia travelled the world speaking to bid officials and appealing for evidence of wrongdoing.

He eventually submitted a report to FIFA in September 2014.

FIFA subsequently released a 42-page summary that cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption.

However, Michael Garcia was unhappy with it, claiming it was “incomplete and erroneous”.

Earlier this week, Michael Garcia resigned, citing “lack of leadership” at FIFA.

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Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has submitted a criminal complaint to Switzerland’s attorney general after a two-year investigation into possible World Cup corruption.

The complaint concerns individuals linked to awarding the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

However, FIFA said the move does not impact negatively on the decision to name Russia and Qatar as hosts.

FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert maintains there is not enough evidence to question the entire bidding process.

Last week, Hans-Joachim Eckert released a 42-page report that cleared Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing, confirming their status as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively.

That report drew criticism from Michael Garcia, the American lawyer who spent two years investigating allegations of corruption.

He claimed it contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations” and said he would be appealing to FIFA.

FIFA continues to reject calls for Michael Garcia’s full findings to be published.

“We have examined this matter very carefully from a legal point of view,” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

“The result was clear: If FIFA were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as state law.”

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Soccer’s global governing body FIFA has rejected Luis Suarez’s appeal against a four-month ban from all football-related activities for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was also banned for nine international matches after the incident at the World Cup in Brazil.

The Uruguayan FA had described FIFA’s ruling as an “excessive decision” for which “there was not enough evidence”.

Luis Suarez can now make a further appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA also imposed a fine of 100,000 Swiss Francs ($105,000) on Luis Suarez, who has apologized for his behavior.

FIFA rejects Luis Suarez's appeal against bite ban

FIFA rejects Luis Suarez’s appeal against bite ban

Under the terms of the suspension, Luis Suarez cannot train with his club and is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium, although players’ union FIFpro argue the details “lack clarity”.

Should Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA decide to appeal further, ordinarily the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) would sit and hear the matter while the player adheres to the terms of his ban.

However, as the World Cup is still ongoing, they could apply to the CAS “ad-hoc” division, which exists for the duration of the tournament to hear matters such as this.

The ad-hoc division could suspend the sanctions pending a full hearing later in the year, allowing Suarez to play and take part in “football related activities” in the meantime.

Since Luis Suarez was suspended, Liverpool has been in transfer negotiations with Spanish giants Barcelona, who have told the Anfield club they are willing to meet a buy-out clause of $120 million to sign the 27-year-old.

He has now been found guilty of biting three opponents in his career.

Luis Suarez was banned for 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League match in 2013 and was also suspended for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in 2010.

Including this latest punishment, Luis Suarez will have missed 32 games through four separate bans since arriving at Liverpool in 2011.

The ban is the biggest in World Cup history, beating the eight games given to Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for elbowing Spain’s Luis Enrique in 1994.

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Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica has insulted FIFA over Luis Suarez’s four-month ban.

Jose Mujica, 79, described the punishment, which also included a suspension for nine international matches, as a “fascist ban”.

Luis Suarez received the harshest sanction in World Cup history for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Jose Mujica is renowned for his plain-speaking manner.

President Jose Mujica has insulted FIFA over Luis Suarez's four-month ban

President Jose Mujica has insulted FIFA over Luis Suarez’s four-month ban

The president made the comments to state TV at a reception for the Uruguay team, following their elimination from the World Cup last 16 by Colombia.

Jose Mijica covered his mouth to feign shock at what he had said, but told journalists to “publish it” when asked if he wanted to rectify his remarks.

He admitted that Luis Suarez deserved to be disciplined, but said his suspension was too harsh.

“They could have punished him, but not given him this fascist ban,” he said.

The former leftist guerrilla had previously said Luis Suarez was being punished by FIFA because of his humble background.

President Jose Mujica also denounced the ban in his weekly radio address as an “eternal shame” in the history of the World Cup.

Uruguay’s team suffered a 2-0 defeat in their last-16 tie against Colombia after being forced to do without their star striker because of the ban.

Uruguay’s football federation said it would appeal against FIFA’s punishment.

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Luis Suarez has been urged by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke to seek treatment after being found guilty of biting an opponent for a third time.

Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy on Tuesday and has been banned from all football-related activity for four months by world football’s governing body.

“He should go for treatment,” Jerome Valcke said.

Luis Suarez has been urged by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke to seek treatment after being found guilty of biting an opponent for a third time

Luis Suarez has been urged by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke to seek treatment after being found guilty of biting an opponent for a third time

“It’s definitely wrong.

“The first time, it’s an incident. More than once, it is not.”

International players’ union FIFPro called for Luis Suarez to “receive all the support he needs”.

“The focus should be on the rehabilitation and serious treatment of the player. FIFPro believes that treatment must be a part of any sanction,” a statement read.

FIFPro said Luis Suarez’s prolonged absence from the game “must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work”.

Luis Suarez was banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April 2013 and seven matches for doing similar to PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in 2010.

“That is why the sanction has to be exemplary,” Jerome Valcke added.

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FIFA has banned German legend Franz Beckenbauer from all its activities for “failing to co-operate” with its inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

Franz Beckenbauer had been asked to help with a FIFA ethics investigation led by lawyer Michael Garcia.

The 68-year-old was part of the FIFA executive committee that voted to give the tournament to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

FIFA has banned Franz Beckenbauer from all its activities for failing to co-operate with its inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process

FIFA has banned Franz Beckenbauer from all its activities for failing to co-operate with its inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process

He has been banned for 90 days.

Franz Beckenbauer captained West Germany to victory as hosts at the 1974 World Cup, and was coach when they next lifted the trophy in Italy 16 years later.

He then managed at Olympique Marseille and Bayern Munich, where he is now honorary president.

FIFA said Franz Beckenbauer ignored “repeated requests” to assist with an independent investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

No details have been given on what Michael Garcia wanted to speak to Franz Beckenbauer about.

In a statement, FIFA said: “The apparent breach relates to Mr. Beckenbauer’s failure to co-operate with an ethics committee investigation despite repeated requests for his assistance.

“The case is now the subject of formal investigation proceedings being conducted by investigatory chamber member Vanessa Allard as chief of the investigation.”

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Mayor of Brazilian city Porto Alegre, Jose Fortunati, says his city may drop out of June’s football World Cup if key legislation is not approved this week.

Mayor Jose Fortunati told a local Radio Gaucha that “there was no plan B” to find much-needed extra funding.

He says a bill creating tax breaks for companies investing in temporary structures for the tournament must be voted on Tuesday.

The Brazil World Cup starts on June 12 but some cities are behind schedule.

Porto Alegre’s Beira Rio stadium is nearly ready, but it still needs temporary structures to house the media, sponsors and other requirements by the world football governing body, FIFA.

Porto Alegre's Beira Rio stadium is nearly ready, but it still needs temporary structures to house the media, sponsors and other requirements by FIFA

Porto Alegre’s Beira Rio stadium is nearly ready, but it still needs temporary structures to house the media, sponsors and other requirements by FIFA

The outside of the stadium in the southern Brazil city, due to host five matches, including fixtures with France, Holland and Argentina, is still unfinished.

However, in an interview with local Radio Gaucha, Jose Fortunati said he was more worried about the temporary structures.

“If the project is not voted, we won’t have the World Cup in Porto Alegre. There’s no Plan B, nor C nor Z,” he warned.

The legislation that allows tax exemptions to firms that invest in the structures was poised to be voted by the Rio Grande do Sul state legislative assembly on Tuesday.

The authorities are not allowed to use public money in structures that will not be used after the World Cup.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said on Friday that delays were most worrying in Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians – set to host the opening match – and in Porto Alegre’s Beira Rio, just under three months before the tournament.

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World football’s governing body FIFA has decided to allow the wearing of head covers for religious reasons during football matches.

The ruling was made following a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich and will apply to male and female players.

The wearing of head covers had been banned, but a two-year trial started in 2012 has proved successful.

In 2011, Iran’s women’s team withdrew from an Olympic qualification match against Jordan in protest at not being allowed to wear headscarves.

FIFA has decided to allow the wearing of head covers for religious reasons during football matches

FIFA has decided to allow the wearing of head covers for religious reasons during football matches

There have also been calls from the Sikh community in Canada for the ban on the wearing of turbans to be lifted.

FIFA had claimed the wearing of head covers while playing competitive football posed too great a risk of injury to the head or neck.

However, following a request from the Asian Football Confederation, the IFAB allowed for their safety to be tested during the trial.

At the annual general meeting at FIFA’s headquarters, IFAB members also voted to introduce a new law that will punish players who display messages on T-shirts underneath their club’s kit.

The new rule change – which will come into effect from June 1st – amends Law 4 of the game, which relates to players’ equipment.

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FIFA has admitted that Sao Paulo stadium where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup is due to be played in Brazil will not be ready until April.

“We have received information that it will be ready on 14 or 15 April,” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

However, Sepp Blatter reaffirmed that “there’s no plan B” and the opening match will go ahead as planned in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.

Five other stadia are still under construction.

Sao Paulo stadium where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup is due to be played in Brazil will not be ready until April

Sao Paulo stadium where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup is due to be played in Brazil will not be ready until April

Two people died last week at the opening match venue – Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, or Itaquerao – as a construction crane collapsed.

Sepp Blatter said the venues will be ready in time: “We believe it is a question of trust. It will be done.”

He was speaking at Costa do Sauipe, a seaside resort in Bahia state where on Friday FIFA will carry out the draw that will define the groups for the opening stage of the World Cup.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said six venues – in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Cuiaba, Manaus and Natal – would miss FIFA’s original December 31 deadline and only be ready in January.

Brazil’s other six stadiums, including a revamped Maracana stadium in Rio, were opened ahead of last June’s Confederations Cup.

The Brazilian government’s preparations for the World Cup have been repeatedly criticized, as they have run over budget and behind schedule.

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Addressing the delegates of the European Olympic Committees at the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis has warned that the commercialization of sport may undermine its spiritual values.

Pope Francis told Olympic leaders that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes “to mere trading material”.

“Sport is harmony, but if money and success prevail as the aim, this harmony crumbles,” the Pope said.

The pontiff has struck a different tone to his predecessor on a range of issues.

Pope Francis said recently the Church was too focused on preaching about abortion, gay people and contraception.

He played basketball as a young man and is a keen supporter of his local San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires.

Pope Francis told Olympic leaders that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes to mere trading material

Pope Francis told Olympic leaders that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes to mere trading material

Pope Francis had two days of meetings with leaders of the world of sport. He met Sepp Blatter, the head of the International Football Federation (FIFA) and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

He has also been talking about the spiritual values of team games with the rugby squads of Italy and Argentina – ahead of their encounter in Rome.

“Rugby is like life because we are all heading for a goal. We need to run together and pass the ball from hand to hand until we get to it,” Pope Francis told the rugby players.

Addressing the delegates of the European Olympic Committees at the Vatican on Saturday, the Pope said: “When sport is considered only in economic terms and consequently for victory at every cost, it risks reducing athletes to mere trading material from whom profits are extracted.”

Thomas Bach presented the Pope with the Olympic Order in Gold, telling him: “You truly understand the joy in human spirit that sport can bring but just as much the deeper values that it can nurture.”

Sepp Blatter gave Pope Francis a special Latin edition of the FIFA magazine.

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UEFA has rejected The Independent on Sunday claim that it wants to revamp the European Championship to rival the World Cup.

The newspaper said the European governing body was considering expanding the tournament to include Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Japan.

UEFA has rejected The Independent on Sunday claim that it wants to revamp the European Championship to rival the World Cup

UEFA has rejected The Independent on Sunday claim that it wants to revamp the European Championship to rival the World Cup

A spokesman said: “UEFA is not aware of the plans mentioned in the story.”

The US and Mexico, of North and Central American federation Concacaf, have previously competed in the South American Copa America.

World governing body FIFA could regard a European Championship that recruits nations from outside the continent as a threat to the World Cup, its biggest source of income.

Euro 2016, hosted in France, is set to expand to 24 teams from 16, while in 2020 the tournament will be played across some of Europe’s major cities rather than in one country.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that move could mean the European tournament “lacks heart and soul”.

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Head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Hassan al-Thawadi has rejected calls for the tournament to be awarded to another country.

FIFA is expected to move the tournament to winter to avoid Qatar’s high summer temperatures.

And Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said the tournament might have to move location if a suitable time to play in Qatar could not be agreed.

But Hassan al-Thawadi insists there is “no reason” why Qatar should not host the event as planned in 2022.

“We’ve worked very, very hard to ensure we’re within the rules of the bidding, within the rules of the hosting agreement,” he said.

Head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Hassan al-Thawadi has rejected calls for the tournament to be awarded to another country

Head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Hassan al-Thawadi has rejected calls for the tournament to be awarded to another country

“At the same time we’re delivering on all the promises that we’ve made. We’re working very hard to deliver it. The commitment is there.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is determined to switch the 2022 World Cup to the winter as summer temperatures can reach 50C in the Middle Eastern country.

Sepp Blatter, 77, has admitted the governing body may have made a “mistake” in awarding the tournament to Qatar in the summer.

“[Qatar] is the right place, the Middle East is the right place,” said Hassan al-Thawadi, who is Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Organizing Committee.

“We are representing the Middle East, it is a Middle Eastern World Cup, so it is the right place. The Middle East deserves to host a major tournament.”

The Premier League has taken an opposing stance, with chief executive Richard Scudamore insisting the tournament should go ahead in the summer.

However, Europe’s leading clubs have said they are “open” to the possibility of a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) believes it is “probably” better to switch the finals to winter.

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Ticket prices for international fans attending the football 2014 World Cup in Brazil will start at $90 for initial group matches.

Football’s governing body FIFA announced that the cheapest ticket for overseas fans for the final on 13 July 2014 was $440 and the most expensive $990.

The tournament starts on 12 June 2014, with the first game being played in Sao Paulo.

Tickets will go on sale from 20 August 2013.

Fans have until 10 October 2013 to apply and a ballot will be held to decide which of these applications are successful.

Only later will tickets be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Ticket prices for international fans attending the football 2014 World Cup in Brazil will start at $90 for initial group matches

Ticket prices for international fans attending the football 2014 World Cup in Brazil will start at $90 for initial group matches

In total about three million tickets will be available for fans.

For Brazilian nationals the cheapest tickets start at $15. These are only available for students, those aged over 60 and people on social welfare programmes. For other Brazilians tickets start at $30.

The lowest price paid for a ticket in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was $20, also for group stage matches in the special category set aside exclusively for residents.

The governing body had previously said that tickets in Brazil would be the “cheapest ever”.

The FIFA ticket website will include a map of the ground that shows the location of different categories of tickets.

This meant there would be “no surprises” over where fans would end up sitting, said FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil, who is in charge of ticketing strategy.

He said there would be a reselling system run by FIFA, if people were unable to attend games for which they had bought tickets.

About 500,000 tickets will be reserved exclusively for residents of Brazil, including about 50,000 for construction workers who were involved in building and upgrading the grounds for the tournament.

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Football teams could be relegated or expelled from competitions for serious incidents of racism after tough new powers were voted in by FIFA.

First or minor offences will result in either a warning, fine or order for a match to be played behind closed doors.

Serious or repeat offences can now be punished by a points deduction, expulsion or relegation.

Jeffrey Webb, head of FIFA’s anti-racism task force, said the decision was “a defining moment”.

He added: “Our football family is fully aware that what is reported in the media is actually less than 1% of the incidents that happen around the world.

“We’ve got to take action so that when we look to the next 20 or 50 years this will be the defining time that we took action against racism and discrimination.”

FIFA, world football’s governing body, passed the anti-racism resolution with a 99% majority at its congress in Mauritius.

Jeffrey Webb said of the vote against the measures: “I would like to think it was a mistake but I’m glad it wasn’t the other way. I’m glad only 1% went that way.”

Nonetheless, FIFA president Sepp Blatter accepted more must be done to eradicate racism.

Football teams could be relegated or expelled from competitions for serious incidents of racism after tough new powers were voted in by FIFA

Football teams could be relegated or expelled from competitions for serious incidents of racism after tough new powers were voted in by FIFA

He said: “We need zero tolerance and strict punishments everywhere. We must lead. We must set a tough, uncompromising example.

“We can make a difference. We can send a strong signal to the racists that their time is up.”

FIFA commissioned a task force to address the issue of racism after a friendly game between AC Milan and Pro Patria was abandoned due to racist chanting.

Their verdict includes putting an official inside the stadium to identify potential acts of racism and ease the pressure on the match referee.

The new rulings standardise punishment across the members, meaning federations will lose the power to impose their own judgements.

Further to the regulations that relate to clubs or international teams, the new measures will see any individual who commits a racist offence banned from stadiums for a minimum of five matches.

The five-match suspension is one that has been introduced by the Football Association, whose chairman David Bernstein sat on the task force in Mauritius.

Also on the task force was Kevin-Prince Boateng, the AC Milan player who led the walk-off in the game against Pro Patria in January.

Former England international striker Luther Blissett, an ambassador for anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card, admitted to reservations about the new measures.

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