January 30, 2013

Del Piero to leave Sydney for Doha engagement

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Sydney FC marquee player, Alessandro Del Piero, will have a busy week between the Sydney team’s return Melbourne Victory game on 16th March and the Sydney Derby on 23rd March.

Del Piero is one of the key  speakers at a Securing Sport conference in Doha in his capacity as ‘Head of Global Sport’ for Red Bull.

The conference, which also lists Gerard Houllier and Qatar 2022 CEO Hassan Al-Thawadi as speakers, is organised by the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security. The Centre was established in 2011 to be a centre of excellence in sport integrity and security. Its senior executives include former Head of Security at FIFA, Australian Chris Eaton.

The news comes as Qatar 2022 was embroiled in more controversy over its winning bid for the World Cup on Wednesday. A French football magazine has published a 20-page feature article detailing the various allegations surrounding the Qatar bid. However, veteran football observers say the exposé contains nothing new and there is still no evidence to support the long-running allegations.

“Unless someone can produce the bank accounts, these allegations can go nowhere, despite (new FIFA Ethics Head) Michael Garcia investigating them,” said a veteran FIFA observer. “People have spent a lot of money trying to find the smoking gun and they haven’t.”

The French Football article highlights the issue this writer has long brought to public attention: the FIFA bidding guidelines set up an inappropriate environment for competitive bidding of which most bidding nations took advantage.

Meanwhile Del Piero’s absence at the Securing Sport conference on 18-19 March was news to Sydney FC coach, Frank Farina. He told SBI he wasn’t aware of it and would be surprised if his marquee man is missing in such a crucial week.

With flight times, Del Piero can be expected to be absent from his Sydney FC commitments for no more than three days.



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