Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 27th 2013 Contents A45
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MADRID---FIFA president Sepp
Blatter said he was "sickened" day that
supporters of Spanish club Real Betis
had racially abused their own player.
TV footage showed Betis fans
appearing to make racist gestures and
noises at defender Paulo, a Brazilian
player who is black, as he left the field
after being sent off in a 4--0 loss to city
Blatter wrote on Twitter yesterday
that he was "sickened to learn of 'fans'
racially abusing a Real Betis player. I
condemn their actions."
Blatter added it was "nonsense to
fight racism with fines. This has to be
tackled by ALL competition organisers."
Betis re-tweeted Blatter's words a
day after it had also condemned the
actions by several of its fans on Twitter.
"Real Betis condemns any act of
violence or racism which goes against
the spirit and values the club has
always, and will always, represent with
a team that has traditionally included
players of various nationalities and
ethnicities," Betis told The Associated
Press in a statement. "Real Betis is
certain these are isolated chants that do
not identify with its principles or fans.
Blatter condemns racist behaviour by Betis fans
SAO PAULO---Brazil s traditional
yellow jersey has lost its all-con-
The most famous shirt in football,
which graced the shoulders of Pele,
Garrincha and Tostao, Romario,
Ronaldo and Rivaldo, now isn t
attractive enough to lure Diego
Costa, the striker who would rather
play for Spain.
A decade ago, it would have been
hard to find a player willing to say
"No" to the Selecao. But when
Costa chose a few weeks ago to play
for Spain instead of Brazil, not many
people were even surprised.
Quarterfinal losses at the last
two World Cups left big dents,
still visible today, in the golden
aura of the national team which
reached three straight World Cup
finals from 1994-2002, winning
two of them.
At its own World Cup next year,
Brazil s team will be far from a sure
thing. It has star forward Neymar.
It brought back coach Luiz Felipe
Scolari to try to repeat his success
from 2002. It convincingly won the
Confederations Cup in June, beating
world champion Spain in the final
of that World Cup warm-up tour-
But FIFA ranks the Selecao 11th
in the world---behind Colombia,
Switzerland and England. Brazil
wouldn t even be seeded in the
World Cup draw on December 6 if
it wasn t the tournament host.
The five-time world champions
can t even claim to be the most
stylish team in football anymore.
Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and
the rest of the Spanish national
team commandeered that label as
they took over as the dominant
football power. Brazil s enduring
reputation as home to the "Jogo
Bonito"---the beautiful game---owes
more to its glorious past than its
The 2002 winners arrived as a
top contender at the 2006 World
Cup. Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira,
the World Cup-winning coach in
1994, packed his team with stars---
Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, Adriano
and Roberto Carlos. But they fell to
France and Zinedine Zidane in the
Brazil s glow didn t return at the
2010 World Cup. Coach Dunga
revamped the team after the dis-
appointment of 2006, picking few
stars and relying mostly on Kaka
and Robinho. The result was iden-
tical---elimination in the quarterfi-
nals, this time by the Netherlands.
Brazil s current squad would be
the envy of lesser nations but
doesn t impress compared to its
most illustrious predecessors.
It must be considered a candidate
for the world title in seven months---
because Brazil is still Brazil, because
it will be at home and because of
The defence should be solid, with
Paris Saint-Germain s Thiago Silva
alongside Chelsea s David Luiz. AS
Roma veteran right back Maicon
will be Daniel Alves reserve, while
Real Madrid s Marcelo is set to play
on the left.
Tottenham s Paulinho and Wolf-
burg s Luiz Gustavo will protect the
defence. Chelsea s Oscar will feed
the attack. Neymar carves through
opponents with his speed and ball
But the weaknesses are glaring.
The goalkeeper will be Julio Cesar,
whose mistake led to Brazil s loss
to the Netherlands in 2010. He isn t
playing at Queens Park Rangers, a
lack of action prompting concern.
Neymar, the top player at the
Confederations Cup, will be only
22 next June, carrying a lot of weight
for such young shoulders.
One of Neymar s partners up
front will likely be Fred, who didn t
even make the 2010 team and hasn t
played in nearly three months
because of a muscle injury. The
other is Hulk, extremely effective
in Scolari s scheme but not as
impressive as past Brazil strikers.
With few attacking options avail-
able, Scolari again picked Robinho
to play in the team s latest friendlies,
and the 29-year-old striker now
has a chance to make the World
Cup squad despite playing sparingly
with AC Milan.
With his goal-scoring skills, Costa
could have walked into Scolari s
starting line-up. Instead, in becom-
ing an asset for Spain, his natural-
izsed country, Costa demonstrated
that football s centre of gravity no
longer lies with Brazil.
To wrest it back, Brazil must win
its World Cup. (AP)
In World Cup spotlight...
Brazil's jersey loses shine LONDON---A delegation from the
international footballers union is
going to Qatar to challenge authorities
over concerns players rights are being
abused in the 2022 World Cup host
FIFPro is demanding action is taken
to stop players who are in dispute with
Qatari clubs from being prevented from
leaving the country.
The "kafala" employment system
has been thrust back onto the inter-
national agenda by the case of
French-Algerian player Zahir Belou-
nis. He is under contract at Al-Jaish
until 2015, but has been denied the
chance to leave Qatar because he is
suing the club in order to recover
FIFPro said yesterday that its del-
egation plans to meet Belounis as it
tries to "resolve the deplorable situ-
ation" during the four-day visit to
Qatar from tomorrow.
FIFPro is seeking "urgent talks" with
Qatar s football leadership and organ-
isers of the 2022 World Cup to ask for
the "kafala" system to stop applying
to footballers and to establish an inde-
pendent players association in a bid
to ensure their human rights are
"The World Footballers Association
will not sit idly by as the rights of our
players are being abused," FIFPro said.
The FIFPro delegation, led by board
member Mads Oland, will also include
members of the International Trade
Union Confederation concerned about
the plight of migrant workers in Qatar.
Focusing on projects linked to the
2022 World Cup, rights group Amnesty
International recently published a
report cataloging how some construc-
tion workers in the Gulf nation are
exposed to dangerous working condi-
tions, poor living standards and the
non-payment of wages.
"While FIFPro s primary concern
must be the players, we will not over-
look the tragedy which is currently
unfolding in Qatar," FIFPro said in a
statement. "FIFPro is seriously con-
cerned by allegations of human rights
violations in the construction of World
Cup stadia and related infrastructure."
Atletico de Madrid's Brazilian
born Spanish Diego Costa
celebrates his goal during a
Spanish La Liga football match
between Atletico de Madrid
and Getafe at the Vicente
Calderon stadium in Madrid,
Spain, Saturday. AP PHOTO
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