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FIFA to consider changes to policy blocking league matches from being played in other countries

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World Cup Was Expanded To Help Scotland Qualify, FIFA's Infantino Jokes -

FIFA said it will consider changes to its policy that blocks league matches from being played in other countries as part of an agreement with a soccer promoter to dismiss the world governing body from a lawsuit challenging that policy.

Relevent Sports lawyer Jeffrey L. Kessler filed a letter Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan stating FIFA and his client agreed to the dismissal. Keller wrote FIFA agreed to abide by any injunction arising from the suit, which also includes the U.S. Soccer Federation as a defendant. The agreement did not alter the suit against the USSF.

“FIFA and Relevent have agreed to resolve this matter as it concerns FIFA, pending FIFA’s consideration of changes to existing FIFA policies with respect to playing official season games outside of a league’s home territory,” FIFA said in a statement. “FIFA has not admitted any liability and continues to deny the legal claims alleged in Relevent’s complaint.”

Relevent, controlled by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, announced in August 2018 it planned to host a Spanish league match between Barcelona and Girona at Miami Gardens, Florida, the following January.

In October 2018, FIFA said its ruling council adopted a policy that “emphasized the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.” Barcelona then withdrew its commitment to play in Florida.

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Relevent in 2019 also was refused permission by the USSF to sanction a league match between two teams from Ecuador.

Relevent sued the governing bodies, claiming violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and tortious interference.

“Bringing official matches from Europe to the U.S. is an exciting proposition but it must be done thoughtfully and collaboratively,” Relevent CEO Daniel Sillman said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with FIFA to support the global growth of the game and the best leagues in the world.”

Caproni in July 2021 granted the USSF’s motion to dismiss the antitrust claim but the case was reinstated in March 2023 by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The USSF asked the Supreme Court in August to take the case, and the Biden administration last month said the Supreme Court should let the appellate decision stand.

“FIFA and Relevent Sports have agreed to resolve this matter specific to FIFA while FIFA considers changes to its existing rules about whether games can be played outside of a league’s home territory,” the promoter said in a statement. “Relevent Sports looks forward to supporting FIFA as both sides work to grow the game.”

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-AP

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Governing Bodies

Blow by blow exchange that thwarted meeting of Eto’o and Marc Brys

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Samuel Eto'o and Marc Brys get into hot exchanges

BY KUNLE SOLAJA. 

Disagreement between the ministry of sports in Cameroon and the leadership of the football federation of Cameroon (FECAFOOT) may have been the cause of the impasse currently going on in that country.

As the clock ticks down to Cameroon’s World Cup qualifying matches with Cape Verde and Angola, the team currently parade two head coaches.

On one hand is Belgium’s Marc Brys who is appointed by the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education. His appointment does not go down well with FECAFOOT led by Samuel Eto’o Fils.

On the other hand is Martin Ndtoungou who on Tuesday was named the new coach by Eto’o. In a press statement, FECAFOOT  chronicled what were seen as infractions on the part of Brys.

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First was his refusal to attend an earlier meeting slated for 10 May and initiated by the Secretary General of FECAFOOT.

Another offence was the Belgian release of players’ list for upcoming matches and holding a press conference in violation of FECAFOOT procedures. He was also accused of not communicating training schedules and taking isolated work initiatives as well as disclosing information of players to third parties and media without FECAFOOT’s approval.

Eto’o also accused the Belgian of not communicating the final list of players within the allocated time.

Press statement issue by FECAFOOT

Those appear the remote causes of the crisis which peaked following a botched meeting of the Belgian and the FECAFOOT officials on Tuesday.

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A technical adviser to the Cameroon Ministry of Sports and Physical Education, Cyrille Tollo who demanded for the agenda of the meeting was fired out on the orders of Eto’o.

He was suspected to be carrying out instructions from the sports minister.  When Tollo was asked to leave the meeting, the Belgian coach opted to also leave.

There and then the hot exchanges ensued.

Samuel Eto’o: “Please stay so we can work. If you leave, you won’t come back.”

Marc Brys: “Why are you talking like that!?”

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Samuel Eto’o: “I am president here.”

Marc Brys: “I’m a coach here.”

Samuel Eto’o: “You are a coach because I appointed you. I ask you to stay in this meeting. Because if you do not stay, I am obliged to question my Executive Committee.”

Marc Brys: “It’s me who decides.”

Samuel Eto’o: “You don’t decide. What you do, I take responsibility. In your country, you can’t do that. And you don’t talk to me like that. As a footballer, you can’t never talk to me. Stay, we’re working. Which country do you think I can do this in?

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Marc Brys: “No!”

Samuel Eto’o: “How can you do that in Cameroon? I was a coach.”

Marc Brys: “For 3 weeks.”

Samuel Eto’o: “I was a very great player.”

Marc Brys: “I’m leaving.”

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Samuel Eto’o: “If you leave, don’t come back.”

A source in Cameroon informed Sports Village Square that Eto’o may have shut himself in the hips as he is seen to be heading into confrontation with the government.

  It is gathered that that the minister in charge of internal affairs has instructed council heads not to permit any meeting of FECAFOOT.

  It is further gathered that the government was in the process of auditing the FECAFOOT accounts owing to fund disbursed but not accounted for.

  It is gathered that prior to Qatar 2022 World Cup, FECAFOOT collected 2.5 billion cfa which is about $4,142,675. The money which was to be refunded at the end of December 2022 has not been repaid.

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Governing Bodies

Cameroon football crisis lingers as Eto’o appoints Ndtoungou as interim coach after Brys is sidelined

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The Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) have sidelined newly-appointed Belgian coach Marc Brys and replaced him with Martin Ndtoungou on an interim basis ahead of 2026 World Cup qualifiers next month, the organisation said in a statement.

The decision follows a heated exchange between Brys and federation president Samuel Eto’o on Tuesday, the culmination of a stand-off between the pair after the Belgian was appointed by the country’s sports ministry in April, against the wishes of Eto’o.

Brys had been invited for a working session on Tuesday but several of his support staff, also appointed by the sports ministry, were refused entry to the building in Yaounde.

FECAFOOT later called a meeting of its Emergency Committee, who decided to make the change.

The move could put Eto’o on a collision course with the sports ministry, who have so far stood their ground on the appointment of Brys despite opposition from the federation.

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Normally, football federations appoint and pay their coaches but in some African countries this is done by the government, especially when federations are short of funds.

Cameroon have four points from their first two qualifiers and next host Cape Verde on June 8 and travel to Angola three days later.

Only the winners of each of the nine six-team groups qualify automatically for the finals in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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Governing Bodies

Cameroon football crisis gets messier as  Eto’o and coach get in angry exchange

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President of the Cameroonian Football Federation and former professional footballer Samuel Eto'o speaks on the day of the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha,/File Photo

Cameroon football was plunged deeper into crisis on Tuesday when a meeting between football federation president Samuel Eto’o and the country’s new Belgian coach Marc Brys turned into an angry showdown.

It was the first time Eto’o was meeting Brys, who was appointed by the country’s sports ministry in early April without any input from the Cameroon Football Federation, setting up a standoff between the two.

Brys had been invited for a “working session” by Eto’o as Cameroon prepare for World Cup qualifiers next month, but several of his support staff, also appointed by the sports ministry, were refused entry to the FECAFOOT federation building in Yaounde.

Video circulating on several social media sites (@AllezLesLions), filmed by reporters, show Eto’o welcoming Brys but their exchanges quickly turned into a melodrama.

First Eto’o angrily kicked out a ministry official who wanted to attend the meeting, and then he had a fiery exchange with Brys, who left immediately.

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A statement is expected later from FECAFOOT, who had expressed a willingness to work with the Belgian despite initially slamming his appointment as a unilateral decision by sports minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombito.

Normally, the football federation would appoint and pay its coaches but in some African countries this is done by the government, especially when federations are cash-strapped.

Former African Footballer of the Year Eto’o, who had a storied career playing in Europe, has tried to assert some independence but has also had to tread carefully in a country where matters around the football team are high priority for the government.

Long-standing Cameroon president Paul Biya has often weighed in on team affairs, famously demanding that 38-year-old Roger Milla be included in the squad for the 1990 World Cup.

The veteran striker went on to score key goals as Cameroon became the first African country to reach the quarter-finals.

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Cameroon have qualified for eight World Cup tournaments, more than any other African country, making the Indomitable Lions one of the country’s major assets.

They are due to play the Cape Verde Islands in Yaounde on June 8 and Angola away three days later in their latest qualifying games for the 2026 finals in North America.

They beat Mauritius at home and drew away with Libya in their opening two Group D qualifiers last November under Rigobert Song, whose contract was not renewed after Cameroon went out in the last-16 at January’s Africa Cup of Nations final

-Reuters

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