Global Business of Soccer Recap

Here are some of the top stories from the global soccer industry from last week…


BOS_FIFASwiss Authorities Examine FIFA Grants in Soccer Probe (Reuters)

Swiss authorities are examining development grants made by FIFA around the world as part of their investigation into the sport’s global governing body and its award of World Cup hosting rights for Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, a source familiar with the probe said.

In particular, the investigators are looking at how the money was spent and whether there is any falsification of documents, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The grants mainly go to national soccer associations and are often earmarked for new soccer pitches and related facilities, or for training programs.

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Copa AmericaU.S. Soccer Corruption Probe Creates Copa America Prize Problem (Bloomberg)

Soccer leaders at South America’s Copa America are trying to find a way to pay prize money owed to competing teams after the event rights holder had its accounts frozen following a U.S. corruption probe.

South American soccer governing body Conmebol said it hasn’t been paid $45 million of the $80 million contract by rights holder Datisa after the company’s founding partners were charged in a sprawling U.S. indictment that alleges corruption in global soccer dating back more than two decades.

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Chuck-BlazerBen Affleck, Matt Damon Team Up For Soccer Scandal Movie (Entertainment Weekly)

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are teaming up to bring the FIFA soccer scandal to the big screen, adapting the upcoming book Houses of Deceit by Buzzfeed reporter Ken Bensinger.

As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. picked up the rights to Houses of Deceit, which will be produced by Damon and Affleck’s production company, Pearl Street Films. EW has confirmed that Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) is set to direct the film, reteaming with Affleck in their first project since wrapping up The Accountant. Warrior screenwriter Anthony Tambakis is attached to script. Entertainment 360’s Guymon Casady and Darin Friedman will also produce.

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Atlanta-MLS-2017Atlanta’s New Soccer Team Gets Name (NBC Atlanta)

Atlanta’s new soccer team has a name according to Sports Illustrated. The magazine was the first to report the the MLS 2017 expansion team will be named Atlanta United FC. And within the late Thursday hours, the team itself tweeted about the official name to more than 16,000 fans. Arthur Blank brought this franchise to the city. But the big announcement wasn’t supposed to come until July 7 when the team planed an exclusive launch event.

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mls new logoCould a New Stadium Lure Major League Soccer to Charlotte? (The Charlotte Observer)

The city of Charlotte is considering using tourism money to help demolish and rebuild American Legion Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth to become a home for a Major League Soccer franchise.

A group of local investors that bought a Charlotte minor-league soccer team last year have said they would like to land a Major League Soccer team in Charlotte.

Jim McPhilliamy, president and managing partner of the team, the Charlotte Independence, has had several meetings with Mecklenburg Park and Recreation, which owns the stadium, and the city and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

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footgolfHow the Soccer Ball Could Save the Golf Course (Smithsonian)

On a foggy gray morning in San Francisco, J. Ramon Estevez squats on his hams on the grass, brown and scruffy from years of drought. He squints, lining up a putt on the Gleneagles Golf Course, and in a moment, he stands, backs up a step and takes his best shot. He kicks, and a soccer ball rolls across the grass and drops into hole number 1.

Estevez and game partner Tighe O’Sullivan are just beginning a round of footgolf, a novel fusion between one of the world’s simplest ball games and one of its most exclusive. The game, just several years old, combines the etiquette, rules and rolling hills of golf with the ball and the basic footwork of soccer.

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Delta-Chelsea FCChelsea Take-off with Delta Sponsorship Deal (FC Business)

Delta Air Lines has inked a new three-year deal with Chelsea Football Club as the club’s official airline sponsor, again bringing together two major international brands. Delta and Chelsea FC, the Barclays Premier League and Capital One Cup champions, first joined forces in 2012. “Chelsea Football Club and Delta are both winning brands and since the partnership began three years ago, both have gone from strength to strength,” said Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Europe, Middle East and Africa.

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Atletico Madrid LogoAtlético Madrid Tie-up Plus500 Deal (Soccerex)

Spanish La Liga outfit Atlético Madrid have named Plus500 as the club’s new main partner and sponsor in a two-year deal.

The deal, co-brokered by WH Sports Group, will see the online trading services firm become the front-of-shirt sponsor of the Spanish club. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports indicate the deal could be worth €11 million annually to Atlético.

Plus500 replaces ‘Azerbaijan, Land of Fire’ as the main sponsor of Atlético, who secured the Spanish League title in 2013/14, while also reaching the Champions League final that season, which they lost to local rivals Real Madrid.

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Sepp BlatterFIFA President Sepp Blatter Reverses Course, Says He Has Not Resigned (Major League Soccer)

Sepp Blatter told an audience in Zurich on Friday that his reign as the head of FIFA may not be over, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

“I have not resigned,” he said. “I put my mandate in the hands of an extraordinary congress.”

Blatter was making his first public comments since he seemingly announced his impending resignation, on June 2, just days after being elected to a fifth term as president of the soccer’s governing body amid a crisis that saw a handful of high-ranking FIFA officials indicted in the US on corruption charges. At the time, Blatter said he would “lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress” but would remain president until that time. He also said he would not be a candidate in the election.

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Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images A money-spinning World CupSpanish League Challenging FIFA Switch to a Winter World Cup in 2022 (ESPN FC)

The Spanish football league is challenging FIFA’s decision to switch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to November-December.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says the Spanish league (LFP) has filed an appeal against the FIFA decision, which avoids the Qatari summer heat.

The court has not set a hearing date. A November-December tournament would shut down top European leagues for eight peak weeks and require more summer fixtures.

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Reporting on the business side of the world's game.