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FIFA Scandal Spills Over to San Francisco, Cancelling Friendly

6 Aug, 2015

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Rights-Holders for Event Remain Under House Arrest in Argentina; Teams at a Loss as to Whether to Proceed

And here we thought the FIFA scandal was on the back burner for the time being. Apparently not.

According to an Associated Press account, a friendly between Brazil and Argentina that was to have been held in the U.S. in September has been canceled as part of the continuing fallout from the investigation.

The company handling logistics for the Argentine national team said on Tuesday that the match has been called off as the two Argentine businessmen who own Full Play, the sports marketing company which had the rights for the event, remain under house arrest in Argentina after being indicted in May by the U.S. Justice Department.

This year's edition of the Superclassic of the Americas was originally scheduled to be played on Sept. 5 in San Francisco.

''It's public knowledge all the problems involving Full Play right now,'' Guillermo Tofoni, CEO of World Eleven, told the AP in a telephone interview, adding that there is still a chance the South American rivals will play, but not with Full Play's involvement.

''We are still trying to make sure the game happens between the two teams somewhere in the United States,'' he said. ''It just wouldn't be called the Superclassic, because that belongs to Full Play.''

Another sports marketing company involved in the Superclassic of the Americas was Rio de Janeiro-based Klefer, which after the FIFA scandal broke was forced to turn over documents to Brazilian authorities related to its contract with the local football confederation for marketing rights linked to a domestic football championship.

Klefer, which has denied any wrongdoing, also wouldn't be involved in the new friendly, Tofoni said.

''We are waiting for an answer from the Brazilian football confederation,'' Tofoni said. ''Argentina wants to play, but it depends on Brazil. Hopefully we will hear from them by the end of the week.''

The Brazilian confederation said the friendly was never officially announced, so it could not comment on its cancellation. It said it was still uncertain whether Brazil would play another national team on the FIFA date originally scheduled for the Superclassic against Argentina. It said the team could end up using the time just to practice.

The Argentine football federation recently said it also could not officially confirm the cancellation of the Superclassic against Brazil, although a source who asked not to be named because an announcement has not been made, said the game was ''virtually canceled.''

Both nations already have friendlies scheduled in the United States on Sept. 8. Argentina will play Mexico in Dallas and Brazil is set to face the United States in Boston, Tofoni said.

''There is no reason the teams shouldn't play; they will be in the United States already,'' he added.

Confusing? Yes, but perhaps that’s par for the course. Just ask Russia, whose sports minister, Vitality Mutko, recently remarked on the administrative complications caused by the FIFA crisis.

"(Communicating with FIFA) is not as easy as it was before," Mutko said through a translator. "If you expect that there will be a change in administration in February, then communication is somewhat thwarted. But on the whole, it's not that critical; we do manage to cope."

The Swiss are investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process, but Mutko said: "We are in no doubt that Russia will host the World Cup."

Discussing Blatter's successor, he added: "We need a president that will be able to unite the organization, to improve its image, and we will be doing everything to this effect."

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