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Opinion: Blatter still isn’t beaten

He’s finally gone, and the football world has breathed a collective sigh of relief. However, the ban imposed onJoseph S. Blatter is nowhere near the end of the story, according to DW sports editor Joscha Weber.

Deutsche Welle

Gilberto Silva announces retirement

 A former star with the Brazilian national team and the Premier League’s Arsenal FC, Gilberto Silva, 39, announced his decision to retire from football, after a 20-year career. Over the past two years Silva has been bothered by a chronic knee injury, preventing him from regular time on the pitch. Silva won the World Cup, …

Daily News Egypt

AFC Salman’s FIFA candidacy puts integrity checks to test

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa’s candidacy for the presidency of world football body FIFA is likely to serve as a litmus test for newly introduced integrity checks on the group’s executives. Sheikh Salman was a former football player and consistently refused, like other members of his ruling family, to respond …

James Dorsey

Egyptian football fans put youth disillusion with elections on public display

As Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi struggled this week to get Egyptians to cast their vote in parliamentary elections, militant football fans put widespread youth disillusionment with the president’s autocratic rule on public display. More than 10,000 fans rushed in response to a call by Ultras Ahlawy, the militant support group of storied Cairo club …

James Dorsey

Syrian football: Succeeding against the odds

  By James M. Dorsey Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s political fortunes are looking up on more than one battlefield. Even as Russian military intervention appears to have given Al-Assad’s government a new lease on life, sending its football team out to play World Cup qualifying matches allows it to project an image of normality, despite four …

James Dorsey

Staunch Al-Sisi supporter calls for opening of stadia and dialogue with ultras

A staunch supporter of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has called on the government to allow football fans, a pillar of anti-government protest, back into stadia that have largely been closed to the public for nearly five years. Sawiri’s request on the eve of two African Confederation Cup semi-finals in Cairo in …

James Dorsey

Middle Eastern conflicts spill onto Spanish football pitch

Inevitably, the mass exodus of refugees from conflict areas was going to provoke the spilling into Europe of multiple disputes in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Spanish football is the first to feel the weight of the baggage that has turned vast numbers into destitute refugees. Kurdish rebels have accused a Syrian coach …

James Dorsey

Religious support for Qatari labour reforms puts Gulf states on the spot

  A panel in Doha of religious scholars, officials of Qatar’s government-sponsored human rights committee, and international labour activists has called on Qatar to radically alter its controversial labour policies. The call serves to support Qatari government promises of labour reform in response to World Cup-related international criticism, and increases moral pressures on Gulf states …

James Dorsey

Militant football fans are on a roll across Eurasia

Militant football fans are on a roll in the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. Fans in Turkey and Egypt have defeated legal efforts to criminalise them as terrorists while Malaysian ultras are tackling corruption in and mismanagement of their country’s football association. In Germany, the pitch anticipated the government’s shift in policy towards the …

James Dorsey

Israel’s fault lines spill onto the football pitch

Israel’s multiple fault lines – secular vs religious, Jewish vs Palestine, and controversial calls for a boycott of the Jewish state – are exploding on the football pitch. The spill-over comes as President Reuven Rivlin warned in a recent speech that Israel was being fragmented by four tribes that view each other’s worldview as a …

James Dorsey

Turkish football supports Erdogan’s war against the Kurds

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF), in a demonstration of the inseparable ties between sports and politics, has effectively declared its support for renewed Turkish-Kurdish hostilities designed to enhance the prospects of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party in forthcoming snap elections. With armed Kurdish youth effectively taking control of at least one predominantly Kurdish city …

James Dorsey