Over the many suspicions of how the 2018 and 2022 World Cup venues were allocated to Russia and Qatar, the International Federation (FIFA) called in a US lawyer, Michael Garcia to investigate. He produced a 430-page report, but the FIFA would only publish a few minor details of it and none implicating the world soccer body.
Now a German newspaper has published more parts of this lengthy report and they may continue to do so. For the moment it says that two members of the committee to pick the venues said they would trade their votes for payment. The report also mentions deceased Argentine FA president Julio Grondona 216 times over corruption. At the time he was also a FIFA vice-president and in charge of this entity’s finances.
Six River Plate players failed to pass drug tests in an international cup match and the rules stipulate that in this case the team has to be thrown out of the competition. River Plate said that the pills, which the players had been taking all the time,
were contaminated which must be difficult to prove, but — they have sent their vice-president, two lawyers, the club doctor and the players involved, together with their agents, to the South American Soccer Confederation in Paraguay. A private plane took them which was to land close to CONMEBOL.
Paraguay’s Guarani, against whom River Plate played, said they would rather win the match on the field instead of in an office, but they have sent two messages to CONMEBOL, and, like other clubs, they think that River Plate has a lot of influence at CONMEBOL.
NATIONAL B DIVISION CHANGE
AFA officials often make quick decisions before studying them thoroughly. They had agreed to play next season’s National B Division with 40 teams in two groups — one for Metropolitan teams and the other for provincial teams. The two group winners would be promoted and the bottom teams, up six would be relegated as the 30-team top division is also relegating more teams to reduce its numbers. For one thing it would save travelling expenses and for another it would produce more regional derbies.
Many clubs were not in favour of each club playing the other twice, home and away, but no reason was given and in yet
another version of the 25-team tournament was that only the top team would be promoted directly, while the second to ninth would play for a second promotion place, similar to what is done now. But to make the matter a little more confusing, a season of two parts was also planned with first teams would play each other and then the top nine would play for two promotion places and the other 16 would play to avoid relegation.
Perhaps, when the tournament actually starts, we will know how it is going to be played.
FIRING MORE PLAYERS, COACHES
Defensa y Justucia fired coach Sebastán Beccacece, although really he moved to be assistant coach in the national team. But they also fired 13 players which had just helped the club into the South American Cup. They will play with a lot of players which come up from their junior divisions.
Also expected to play with a lot of juniors next season in the National B Division is Quilmes. They drew 1-1 last week in a creditable performance with Estudiantes de La Plata, but of course there was nothing much to play for.
TENNIS DAVIES CUP FINAL CHANGES
The International Tennis Federation(ITF) announced that the finals of the Davies Cup and Federation Cup, the international
championships for men and women will be played on the same week-end at the same venue. At least from next year to 2020 the venue will be Genebra where the Palexpo stadium will have capacity for 18,000 spectators. The format for the rest of the two tournaments will remain unchanged. All this has yet to be approved at the ITF’s Annual General Meeting in August in Vietnam.
This could concern Argentina next year. They won the Davis Cup last year and then became the first country to win it one year and then have to play to avoid relegation the next year. They could even lose and be relegated to the South American zone. It could be other way round next year. They could become the first country to be involved in relegation one year and win the trophy the next
THIS HAPPENED IN SOCCER
In 1978, a journalist asked usually rebellious René Houseman why he never tried to escape from the three month long concentration they had prior to the World Cup in Argentina that year. “Why was I going to risk my life that way? The place was surrounded by soldiers and I was afraid they would shoot men,” Houseman said.
° ‘Beto’ Alonso, the River Plate midfielder, was asked at a press conference what had been the biggest disappointment of
his soccer career. “Not to be able to demonstrate in the World Cup in 1978 that I was the best player in my position in Argentina because I was injured” he said.
° Actually, the writer of this column saw the World Cup match at the River Plate stadium in which Alonso was injured. This was a bad mistake. Coach Cesar Menotti sent him off the substitutes bench straight onto the field as the match was continuing. It was a very cold night which caused him to get a muscle strain almost immediately and he took no further part in the World Cup.