Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 13th 2013 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, September 13, 2013
BARCELONA---Gareth Bale is
ready to make his debut for Real
Madrid following his world-
record transfer when the Spanish
club visits Villarreal tomorrow.
The match at El Madrigal Sta-
dium comes three days before
Madrid travels to Turkey to play
Galatasaray in its Champions
"We have to wait until the
match day to see whether I m
picked or not," Bale said Thursday.
"But hopefully I can get my fitness
up straight away and get a place
in the team."
Bale practiced for the first time
with Madrid on Wednesday, the
day after making his first official
appearance this season as a sub-
stitute for Wales in a 3-0 loss to
Madrid said forward Cristiano
Ronaldo was the first to greet Bale
on his arrival to the club s training
"He s a nice guy," Bale said. "He
made me feel welcome just like
everybody else did. They made
me feel settled straight away, and
I m just looking forward to getting
on the pitch and doing well."
Bale will likely still need time
to get fully fit after not playing
during the drawn-out negotiations
with Tottenham that ended in
Madrid breaking its own transfer
record for Ronaldo with a 100 mil-
lion euro ($132 million) payout for
the Wales winger.
Madrid has won its first three
games of the Spanish league sea-
son, but it faces a Villarreal which
has also made a perfect start in
its return to the topflight after one
season in the second division.
"This is a chance to show that
we can compete with anyone and
fight with a team like Madrid,"
Villarreal captain Bruno Soriano
said. "Last season we dreamed of
playing against teams like this.
Now our chance has arrived and
we want to play a great match."
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti
will still be without injured mid-
fielder Xabi Alonso and will now
also be missing defender Marcelo
after he picked up an injury with
Brazil. Madrid midfielder Asier
Illarramendi could also make his
debut after recovering from injury.
Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and
Real Sociedad also play on Sat-
urday to warm up for their Cham-
pions League openers.
Barcelona hosts a Sevilla side
looking for its first win of the sea-
"Playing against Sevilla is always
special for me," said defender
Adriano, who joined Barcelona
from Sevilla in 2010. "(Coach
Unai) Emery s teams always give
us a hard time, home or away.
This time will be no different."
Lionel Messi has scored a
league-leading five goals in two
appearances to have the Catalan
club in first place on goal differ-
ence. He also scored two more
goals for Argentina in the past
Barcelona hosts Ajax on
Wednesday in the Champions
"(Camp Nou) is one of the
toughest grounds to visit in the
league, but we are going there
with hope that we take away a
positive result," Sevilla midfielder
Jairo Samperio said. "We can t try
to fight them for possession of
the ball. We have to be well posi-
tioned in defense and look to hit
on the break, that s their weak
Atletico hosts a frisky Almeria
side looking for its fourth win in
as many rounds. It then welcomes
Zenit St. Petersburg in its return
to the Champions League on
Sociedad, meanwhile, visits
Levante before the Basque club
plays Shakhtar Donetsk in
Europe s top tier club competition
On Sunday, it s: Granada vs.
Espanyol; Getafe vs. Osasuna;
Malaga vs. Rayo Vallecano; and
Real Betis vs. Valencia.
Athletic Bilbao inaugurates its
new San Mames Stadium against
Celta Vigo on Monday, while Val-
ladolid plays at Elche.
ZURICH---A FIFA task force
against discrimination is not
contacting 2018 World Cup host
Russia about a controversial
anti-gay law, panel chairman
Jeffrey Webb said yesterday.
Instead, FIFA President Sepp
Blatter and top official Jerome
Valcke will lead handling of the
issue, which has threatened to
affect preparations for the Sochi
"We have been advised that
the FIFA administration, the
president and secretary general,
are in discussions with the Russ-
ian authorities," Webb said after
the panel s six-hour session.
FIFA joined the IOC seeking
clarification from Russia ahead
of next February s Winter Games
and the World Cup about how
it would apply a new law banning
promotion of "nontraditional"
lifestyles to minors.
Webb said FIFA "does not tol-
erate or accept any form of dis-
Still, his panel which met on
Thursday doesn t plan to send
guidelines to Russia and 2022
World Cup host Qatar, where
homosexual acts are illegal.
"Whatever we do as a task
force has to have the universality
of the 209 (nation) membership
of FIFA," said Webb, a vice pres-
ident who leads the regional foot-
ball body for North and Central
America and the Caribbean
"If there is an infringement in
regard to the FIFA statutes, that
is for the FIFA disciplinary bodies
and FIFA executive committee to
address," he said. One of Webb s
FIFA board colleagues is Russia s
sports minister, Vitaly Mutko.
Thursday s meeting was a sec-
ond for the task force, which suc-
ceeded in May pushing through
recommendations for tougher
sanctions following racist inci-
dents in football.
needs key at
ZURICH---Players are the most impor-
tant factor in a deepening debate on
switching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
from summer to winter, FIFA vice pres-
ident Jeffrey Webb said yesterday.
"If something is not good for the players
then it s not good for the game," Webb
said at FIFA headquarters.
The CONCACAF president said that
FIFA s 27-member executive committee
will receive detailed proposals at its Octo-
ber 3-4 meeting.
"It s obvious that there is a lot of con-
cern," Webb said. "I know a number of
analysis has been done, some research
has been done, some surveys have been
done. So we will sit down and listen to
FIFA President Sepp Blatter told The
Associated Press last month that the board
should agree in principle not to play the
World Cup in June-July, and request wide-
spread consultation on a better time to
play in Qatar. Blatter has favored a
One of Webb s colleagues on the board,
medical committee chairman Michel
D Hooghe, is likely to present a case for
switching tournament dates to protect
the health of the players.
"From a medical point of view, I can
say we are concerned," D Hooghe told
the AP in March.
The Belgian doctor has worked for sev-
eral years on a report documenting risks
in playing football in extreme conditions,
including heat, cold and altitude.
Much of the winter World Cup debate
has centered on forcing wealthy European
clubs and leagues, plus the Champions
League, to alter their traditional sched-
Webb acknowledged that some of his
member leagues also would be required
to change. Major League Soccer, which
currently runs from March to November,
is one of the least affected.
"No one likes change, but really if there
needs to be an adjustment because of the
World Cup, whatever is in the best inter-
ests of the game, is also going to be in
the best interests of CONCACAF," the
Cayman Islands official said.
to second in
ZURICH---Argentina has climbed to sec-
ond place behind World Cup champion
Spain in the monthly FIFA rankings, and
Belgium has surged to No. 6.
The United States moved up six places
to No. 13 after joining Argentina this week
in qualifying for the World Cup.
The Argentines rose two places from
fourth, knocking Germany down to No. 3.
Italy also qualified for the World Cup
and jumped two spots to No. 4, while
Colombia dropped two to fifth.
Belgium, Uruguay, Brazil, Netherlands
and Croatia round out the top 10.
Bale ready to make
Real Madrid debut
Wales' Gareth Bale controls the ball during their World Cup Group A
qualifying soccer match against Serbia at Cardiff City Stadium in
Cardiff, Wales, Tuesday. AP PHOTO
FIFA panel leaves Russia anti-gay issue to Blatter
Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt,
right, meets with FIFA President
Sepp Blatter, left, at the FIFA
headquarters in Zurich,
Switzerland. The get-together
took place in the run-up to the
IAAF Diamond League meeting in
Zurich last month. AP PHOTO
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