Leaders in Football 2011

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Post by ErPupone Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:11 am

Football figures from across the world joined together this week for a two day conference at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge in London in which the most current topics regarding football were discussed: Financial Management, Governance, Ownership, Euro 2012, World Cup 2014, etc. Figures such as Fabio Cannavaro, Jamie Carragher, Ray Wilkins, UEFA Secretary Gianni Infantino, referees Frank De Bleeckere and Pierluigi Collina and club chairmen Thomas Di Benedetto and Bruce Buck all spoke at the conference. I've tried to gather as much information as possible about the event. Here's what I have so far:


During a two-day conference at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge in London players, referees, chairmen and UEFA members shared their visions for the future of football.

After cutting through the perfectly media-pitched speeches on offer, a number of new initiatives and interesting revelations came out of the conference.

Here are the stories that made the headlines and some of the issues to look out for in the future.

1) UEFA looks to introduce "Week of Football"

UEFA announced that they are planning to reorganise qualifying fixtures for international football tournaments from 2014.

Gianni Infantino, UEFA's general secretary, said he hoped qualifiers for the European Championship and World Cup would be played across six days from Thursdays and Tuesdays so that TV revenue would increase and fans could enjoy watching more weekend matches.

Currently, double-headers take place on Friday and Tuesday meaning a large number of matches take place at the same time.

A "Week of Football" spread over the weekend would be more profitable for broadcasters, sponsors and beneficial for fans who want to enjoy their weekend by watching an international match.

"It will be a great benefit to all. This has been unanimously supported by all 53 national associations," said Infantino.

2) Goal-line technology is some way off

The English FA general secretary Alex Horne told the conference that it is unlikely goal-line technology will be ready until at least the 2013-14 season.

The English Premier League had been keen to see the new technology implemented next season to avoid controversial goal-line decisions but Horne said the International Football Board (IFAB) are not set to give the green light until after the European Championship.

"I think it'll be 2013-14 because there's then a big capital decision-making process for any league or any competition who want to apply it," said Horne.

Referee Franck de Bleeckere is hoping that the technology has improved on the device he tested in 2005.

"I had a match with two goals and my watch showed five goals. Every time the ball went over the crossbar, it was a goal," Bleeckere said at the conference.

3) Referees need more support

Well-respected former referees Pierluigi Collina and David Elleray used the conference to stand up for the officials of the game who they believe face too much criticism.

Italian Collina, one of the games top officials before retiring in 2005, was quick to emphasise the value of referees.

"One of the things we have to consider is that we cannot buy referees at the supermarket.

"One of the things we have to consider is that we cannot buy referees at the supermarket"

Pierluigi Collina

"If you kill referees every week we can finish referees," Collina said.

"We need years to build up referees and one second to destroy them. To keep them we need to protect them."

The FA referee's committee chairman David Elleray supported the warning from Collina.

"Last season in the Premier League 98 per cent of offside decisions were correct," he told the conference.

"Two per cent of so-called mistakes attracted huge publicity."

Collina also said he was strongly against offensive chanting from the stands and that he would support drastic measure that targeted the problem, such as suspending the game until the culprits were identified or stopped.

4) Watch out for Arsenal in the future... and Chelsea

Despite their top players deserting them and a bad run of form, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told the conference that his club certainly did not have to worry about money.

Although Gunner fans will be hoping they can still qualify for the Champions League, Gazidis said Arsenal could cope financially and compete even if they did not make the cut.

Arsenal are one of the few clubs in the English Premier League to make a profit which puts the club in a strong position when UEFA introduce their Financial Fair Play rules in 2012-13. The new legislation requires clubs to break even and not make persistent losses.

"We would rather qualify for it but (if we didn't qualify) we have got a really stable model that could not just cope but do well and compete," Gazidis said.

London rivals Chelsea are also ones to watch said chairman Bruce Buck. Also speaking at the Leaders in Football conference, Buck said new manager Andre Villas-Boas "can be the Fergie of Chelsea" and could lead his team to Champions League success in the next four years.

5) And finally… always ensure that a translator is up to scratch

Carlos Tevez's advisor Kia Joorabchian did not reveal what the Argentinean player is planning to do with his future but he left us in no doubt as to how important a good translator was, especially when dealing with foreign players in English football.

Joorabchian did not blame Tevez or Man City boss Roberto Mancini for the confusion after the unsettled Man City striker failed to come off the bench against Bayern Munich in the Champions League but pointed his finger at the translator.

"If you don't have a very professional interpreter you have a problem. The interpretation was incorrect. Both questions and both answers from Carlos were interpreted incorrectly," said Joorabchian.

While Sky News' independent interpretation of the interview did back up Joorabchian's claims, it also left no doubt as to what decision Tevez made on the night.

Sky's translation states Tevez saying: "It's just that I didn't want to go in because I thought I was unwell. I wasn't emotionally well, and I thought it better not to. I felt that it wasn't suitable that I go on because my head wasn't in the right place."

However, Tevez must have welcomed the attention being diverted to the translator for a couple of days.

- Al Jazeera


After 14 years and 676 appearances, Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admits he could retire at the end of next season.

The 33-year-old has been a regular in the Reds backline since making his debut in the League Cup against Middlesbrough in 1997.

But the ex-England international concedes his long and glittering career may be nearing its end.

Carragher was asked at the Leaders in Football conference in London how long he had left in the game, he replied: ”Ask (Liverpool boss) Kenny (Dalglish).

“He picks the team. It will be up to the coaching staff I suppose. You want to try to get as much out of your career and play as long as possible.

“The time will come in the next 12, 18 months, maybe two years.

“That won’t be down to myself. It will be down to the people around me, the staff, the manager. They will decide.”

Carragher’s leadership skills have seen him touted as a future Liverpool boss, and the vice-captain admits he would love to go in to management when he retires.

“Do I want to go in to coaching or management?” he added. “Yes, I think so. “I’ve taken my first steps to coaching and the B licence.

“We all love the game, you want to stay involved in the game.”

- Caught Offside


October 5 - Goal-line technology could be put back a year because the accuracy of ongoing tests will not be ready on time, English Football Association general secretary Alex Horne revealed today.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he would ideally like goal=line technology in place for the 2014 World Cup but individual leagues were hoping to bring it in for the start of the 2012-13 campaign, spearheaded by the Premier League.

That now will now happen, says Horne, with the 2013-14 season a more realistic target.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's lawmakers, must agree any change and are not set to give the green light until after next summer's European Championships.

Speaking here at the Leaders in Football conference, Horne said: "I think it'll be too late for season 12-13.

"I think it'll be 13-14 because there's then a big capital decision-making process for any league or any competition who want to apply it.

"There's not going to be one technology for all of world football.

"Multiple technologies, if they meet the criteria, will be available then to go into the market and people will buy.

"IFAB will licence them as successful products and other products could join in later if they can reach the standards."

He added that there would be big decisions for competition organisers to take.

"Do you have one technology for a competition, do you have multiple technologies for multiple competitions?" he said.

"There's a phase of testing that will run up until March that will establish, basically, whether technology can actually achieve reasonable accuracy of 90 per cent, 99 per cent, maybe even 100 per cent."

With tests now taking place in stadium environments, Horne was optimistic the IFAB would finally agree after years of foot-dragging.

"The tests are being carried out live in stadia all around Europe," he said.

"They can simulate light, they can simulate dark, they can simulate balls rolling across the line, balls being fired in from all different angles.

"The testers can move in and spend three or four hours testing their system."

Earlier, FA chairman David Bernstein told the panel there was "very little chance" of convincing FIFA and UEFA to extend scientific methods, such as video replays, beyond goal-line technology.

"There's no enthusiasm for it at all," he said.

- InsideFootballWorld


Former top referee Pierluigi Collina has warned that the issue of match fixing was “the future of football” and that everybody associated with the sport had to act to look after the game.

On the day that Wayne Rooney’s father and uncle were arrested by police investigation into suspicious betting activities, Collina, now a member of the UEFA Referees Committee, said the matter was an issue not just for referees but for the whole game.

He added: “Match fixing is very important. We have to be careful. The day football is not trusted any more, we can all go fishing. Nobody will trust football if it is not reliable. Everyone who loves football should look after the game”.

Wayne Rooney senior, 48, was detained at his home in the West Derby area of Liverpool by Merseyside Police in a joint operation with the Gambling Commission.

The investigation relates to a match between Motherwell and Hearts last December, according to Merseyside Police.

Also arrested at his Glasgow home was Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings as part of the probe into suspicious gambling patterns in the SPL fixture.

Jennings, who denies any wrongdoing, was sent off late in the game for directing foul and abusive language at the referee as his side lost 2-1.

Bookmakers reported a series of ‘suspicious’ bets, most placed in the Merseyside area, on a red card being shown in the match.

Peter Coates, Stoke City’s owner, told Sportingintelligence today: “The professional integrity of football and sport and betting industry is paramount. It [the Rooney Snr case] is an allegation but I believe integrity in UK football is at a high level.”


Roma’s owner & president Thomas DiBenedetto has commented on various issues regarding his club at the Leaders in Football conference at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground.

“I am a great admirer of Francesco and I have been extremely pleased with how hard he has been working,” he told reporters.

It’s not unusual to hear the club’s owner extolling the virtues of their club’s greatest ever player but things were different just a few weeks ago when Di Benedetto backed his new coach Luis Enrique in a row with Totti regarding his position in the team.

The saying goes ‘No player is bigger than the club’ but then no player is bigger or has done more for Roma their history than Francesco Totti.

It’s fair to say that despite the glowing tributes from Di Benedetto to Totti their relationship has not got off to the best start, due mainly to the spat between Totti and Enrique at the start of the season.

A couple of victories under the belt though and everything in theEternalCity’s garden appears rosy again.

“The growth of the team has been especially pleasing. The players have taken to Enrique’s style of hard work and team play. Everybody from Francesco Totti down has worked very hard. Francesco has probably worked harder than anybody. Unfortunately, he is out [injured] right now” continued the American.

“Anybody who watched the last couple of matches saw how hard he was playing for nearly 90 minutes and that was very impressive. That set a very good example for a lot of the younger players, who have also been working very hard.“

Whilst singing the praises of il Capitano he also commented on the forthcoming Rome derby on the 16th October, his first as owner.

“Obviously, Rome-Lazio is special,” he explained. “The other day (sporting director) Walter Sabatani asked me did I understand what Roma-Lazio was. He said, ‘What can you compare it to?’ I said, ‘a civil war’.

“I think it is a match between two teams this year who are both very good and extremely competitive. We hope to win, I know both teams will play very hard and it will be very exciting.”

Nothing wrong with his knowledge about theRomederby then. A civil war is pretty much about right!! In fact it makes Julius Caesar and Pompey The Great’s disagreement look like a minor spat in comparison!!

Di Benedetto was full of compliments and praise for not only his captain but also his new coach.

After two back-to-back wins in Serie A the pressure has eased some what on Luis Enrique and the owner is looking forward to what will come from his team with the Spaniard in charge.

“I was always confident about Luis Enrique. I believe that Luis is someone who is a tremendous competitor, extremely intelligent and very hard working who demands no more from his players than he gives himself. I believe in Luis, so that hasn’t changed at all.”

Part of the project at Roma is to turn the club into a world famous name to sit alongside Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid & Barcelona with fans from all over the world.

“Rome is a city which has universal acceptance and recognition. Most people in the world study about Rome, so it is a name they are familiar with. The historical preservation of the city means it is a place that people come and visit. Virtually everybody in the world one day wants to visit Rome.

“We believe that gives us an advantage to be able to reach out to them. Also, Rome, uniquely, has the most embassies of any city in the world, with the Vatican, Italy and the United Nations. Those people – the diplomats who come toRome– we would like to make them Roma fans so that when they go back to their countries they will become our diplomats.”

In terms of recent speculation regarding a move away from the Stadio Olimpico or a renavation of the ground, Di Benedetto offerd the following thoughts:

“I don’t think it is possible for us to redevelop Olimpico. It is an Olympic stadium and hopefully it will host the 2020 Olympics. I’m sure that there will be a lot of refurbishments to Olimpico.

“We believe we need a new football stadium that has its fans close to the pitch and where the energy of the fans gets transferred to the players. I believe that really does result in an advantage to the home team because those players, when they feel that energy late in the match when their legs are tired, it gets their adrenaline going and allows them to continue to compete.”

So the future of Roma seems secure and under the leadership of Thomas Di Benedetto the good times should be just around the corner.

Roma supporters can be very hard to please but if his plans come off then a new glorious chapter in Rome’s history may just have begun and even the legend Er Pupone wouldn’t grumble at that.

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Post by El Chelsea Fuerte Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:27 am

ErPupone wrote:"We would rather qualify for it but (if we didn't qualify) we have got a really stable model that could not just cope but do well and compete," Gazidis said.

I am not too sure of that.

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Post by Magricos Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:50 am

A next Arsenal member saying have money.

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Post by rwo power Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:34 am

Thanks for collecting that info and posting it! +1
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Post by McLewis Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:40 am

Wonderful job, Mike!

That must've been some conference. Uncle Tom did us proud.

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