FIFA increases prize pot
The winners of next year’s World Cup final in South Africa will collect a check for US$30 million, FIFA said on Thursday. The losing finalists will receive US$24 million and all participating teams will receive an extra US$1 million to cover their preparation costs. FIFA Secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the total prize money available to the 32 finalists would be US$420 million, up 61 percent from US$261.4 million in 2006. The semi-finalists get US$20 million, the quarter-finalists US$18 million, second-round losers US$9 million and those eliminated at the group stage US$8 million. Valcke said FIFA would also provide US$40 million for clubs whose players took part in the tournament. “Every club who has a player at the World Cup will receive US$1,600 per day, per player,” Valcke said.
Pompey players not paid
Premier League strugglers Portsmouth announced on Thursday that their players had not received wages for the second time this season. The south coast club, who are bottom of the table, issued a statement confirming that not all their squad had received last month’s salary on time. A similar situation took place two months ago when players were paid their September wages late. “A proportion of their wages will be paid tomorrow [Friday], with the club’s new owners working towards paying the remainder over the next few days,” the statement said. Portsmouth attributed the September payment delay to problems arising from the takeover of the club by former owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim. There were hopes at Fratton Park that such difficulties were a thing of the past, however, after Al-Fahim was brought out in turn by Saudi Arabian businessman Ali Al-Faraj.
Walcott to miss Stoke game
Arsenal suffered a fresh setback on Thursday when it was announced England winger Theo Walcott had suffered a hamstring injury and would miss today’s Premier League match against Stoke City. Walcott, 20, played in the second half of the 3-0 loss to Chelsea on Sunday before, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger selecting reserve players, missing out on the Gunners’ League Cup defeat by Manchester City on Wednesday. Arsenal’s Alex Song is suspended for the Emirates Stadium fixture against Stoke, but fullback Bacary Sagna is set to return after an ankle injury.
League votes on tax protest
La Liga was voting yesterday on whether to suspend matches next weekend to protest a government plan to eliminate a tax break for high-income players. The governing Socialist party wants to eliminate the so-called “Beckham Law” that allows foreign players who earn more than 600,000 euros (US$905,000) to pay only 24 percent tax. If the proposed change goes through, those players would pay 43 percent.
Player jailed for hitting ref
An amateur player was jailed on Thursday for two weeks and fined 3,801 euros (US$5,728) for knocking out a referee in a seventh division game last weekend. Ten minutes from the end of the game between Bocognano and Ghisonaccia, Bocognano player Marcello Cherchi reacted to being shown a second yellow card for a dangerous tackle by punching referee Joel Plantecoste in the face. Plantecoste was left unconscious on the pitch and had to be hospitalized until Wednesday, before filing a complaint with police.