By DAN KARELL
Despite a number of extensions from FIFA over the last 12 months for the completion of Brazil’s 12 World Cup stadiums, at least two are still behind schedule and likely won’t be finished by FIFA’s current deadline of the end of the year.
Stadiums in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon, and Cuiaba, in Southwestern Brazil, are targeting finish dates in January. In Manaus, they’re fighting through the tropical rail season that sends bucketfuls of rain all day and night, which has delayed construction even more. FIFA mandates a minimum of eight stadiums in every World Cup hosting nation, but Brazil pushed for 12, a move that could backfire in spectacular fashion.
While the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro was finished in time, FIFA still don’t have an exact count of seats available for the World Cup, leaving fans in the dark over whether they actually have tickets or not. Worse, in Cuiaba, the local organizers don’t have enough hotels to handle the expected fans that will come visit the city.
Last summer during the Confederations Cup, the Brazilian public took to the streets, protesting the use of public money to build stadiums as opposed to social services, better hospitals, and better schools, among other things.
Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:
FIFA PRESIDENT CALLS FOR TOUGHER RACISM SANCTIONS
Following reports of alleged racist abuse from Real Betis fans towards their own players last Sunday, FIFA President Sepp Blatter says it’s time for tougher sanctions.
Last-placed Betis were rolled over by city rivals Sevilla, 4-0, on Sunday, with Brazilian defender Paulao sent off three minutes before halftime. The reports state that Paulao, who has dark skin, was racially abused by the visiting Betis support at the ground. Upon hearing the reports, Blatter took to Twitter to call for new racism sanctions.
“Sickened to learn of ‘fans’ racially abusing a Real Betis player,” Blatter tweeted on Tuesday. “I condemn their actions, which were seen on TV/online by millions. FIFA’s members approved a resolution at Congress in May to tackle discrimination. It’s time for tougher sanctions. I will say (it) again: It’s nonsense to fight racism with fines. This has to be tackled by all competition organizers.”
Currently, UEFA and each domestic league have their own racism protocols depending on where the match is played. In May, FIFA signed a resolution outlying the appropriate responses to those found guilty of committing racist abuse, either from the stands or on the pitch.
The resolution states: “For a first or a minor offense, the sanctions of a warning, a fine and/or the playing of a match behind closed doors shall be applied. For reoffenders or for serious incidents, sanctions such as point deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation should be applied. Furthermore, any person (player, official, match official, etc.) who commits such an offense shall be suspended for at least five matches combined with a stadium ban.”
BLANC COULD EARN NEW PSG CONTRACT
Laurent Blanc has only been the Paris Saint-Germain manager for four months, but according to reports in France, the club have seen enough to offer him a new contract.
According to a report in Le Parisien, Blanc is set to be offered a new two-year contract with a club option for another year on the condition that they win Ligue 1 in 2015. The report states that his salary could be around €6 million per season.
Since replacing Carlo Ancelotti this past summer, the former France National Team boss Blanc has led PSG to first-place in Ligue 1 with 34 points from 14 games and no losses so far to start the season in all competitions. PSG are currently in first place in their Champions League group as well.
The report cited the strong relationship between club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Blanc as another reason for the contract offer.
MAN CITY INTERESTED IN SIGNING CASILLAS NEXT SUMMER
With Manchester City’s goalkeeping situation still up in the air, manager Manuel Pellegrini has identified his goalkeeper of choice that he’d like the club to sign next summer.
According to a report in Spanish publication Diario AS, Pelligrini would like to sign Real Madrid captain and current backup goalkeeper Iker Casillas next summer after the World Cup. The Man City boss was head coach of Casillas at Madrid for one season, and would like to bring him to the City of Manchester Stadium if the Spanish international decides he’d like to leave the only club he’s known.
Casillas, who so far has only played for Madrid this season in UEFA Champions League matches, could move away from the club as soon as January if he isn’t receiving regular playing time. However, if he does leave in January, it wouldn’t be to Man City, as Pelligrini has reiterated that Hart won’t be leaving the club on loan.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed the reports from Monday that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t suit up for the Spanish club in their Champions League match against Galatasaray due to a minor knock. (REPORT)
Everton left back Leighton Baines is set for a six-week spell on the sidelines after breaking his big toe in the Merseyside derby. (REPORT)
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho says that he “wouldn’t have changed my choice (to join Liverpool) for anything in the world,” and admits that he’s settled in England very well. (REPORT)
Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany is still at least a week away from returning to the field, according to Pellegrini. (REPORT)
For the first time since the opening weeks of the season, AS Roma are not in first place as they finished in a frustrating scoreless draw against Cagliari at home. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you see the World Cup stadium delays dragging into next year? Do you see FIFA coming out with tougher sanctions? Do you believe that Man City should sign Casillas next summer?
Share your thoughts below.