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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. FIFA’s $11 billion 2023-26 budget is 23% committed
2. Russia says no official invites to Asian Games yet
3. Girma gets 3,000 m world record at Hauts-de-France!
4. First-time champs Schmid and Tviberg win Worlds Parallel GS
5. UEFA Champions League security report notes Saint-Denis area crime
The staggering $11 billion revenue target announced late last year for FIFA’s 2023-26 has been detailed in its Annual Report for 2022, with increases of more than $900 million each expected from television rights and sponsorships and a tripling – to $3 billion – of ticket sales and hospitality from the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America. Already, 23% of the total has been contracted: $2.534 billion. The Russian Olympic Committee said that neither it nor any of its national sports federations have been formally invited to compete at the 2023 Asian Games in China, despite reports from diving and wrestling earlier in the week. At the Hauts-de-France indoor meet in France, Ethiopian star steepler Lamecha Girma broke the 25-year-old world record in the men’s 3,000 m in 7:23.81, the highlight of a meet with seven world-leading marks, including women’s vaulter Katie Moon of the U.S. At the FIS Alpine World Championships in France, Germany’s Alexander Schmid and Norway’s Maria Therese Tviberg – neither of whom have ever won a World Cup race – won golds in the Parallel Giant Slaloms. American star Mikaela Shiffrin announced she was separating from her long-time coach Mike Day as of the end of the season; Day left immediately! In the thick independent report on the security chaos and near-mass injury incident at the Champions League Final last May in Paris, some unusually candid descriptions of the “locals” around the Stade de France – where track & field will take place at Paris 2024 – were included, highlighting another potential security headache for the organizing committee and law enforcement. Hopefully, passions for Olympic track & field will not be as high as for football … this time.
● World Championships: Biathlon ●
● Panorama: Paris 2024 (design critique) = Aquatics (Worlds tickets on sale) = Football (SheBelieves Cup starts) = Ice Hockey (Fasel a Russian citizen) = Speed Skating (Stolz wins World Junior Allround) ●
FIFA’s $11 billion 2023-26 budget is 23% committed
On Tuesday, FIFA announced superb results for the 2019-22 quadrennial, ending with a record $7.568 billion in revenue, some 18% higher than the prior (2015-18) period and 17% higher than forecast.
The full, 362-page Annual Report contained fascinating data about FIFA’s projections for its future, which is projected to be much, much richer. Revenues are expected to increase to $11 billion for the 2023-26 period, when the FIFA World Cup will return to North America for the first time since 1994, with matches to be played in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in an expanded, 48-team tournament.
About two-thirds of the way in, the details of how FIFA will grow its revenues by 45.3% were provided:
● $4.264 billion for television rights (up $964 million)
● $2.693 billion for sponsorships (up $927 million)
● $3.097 billion for tickets and hospitality (up $2.589 billion)
● $669 million for licensing royalties (up $66 million)
● $277 million for other income (up $14 million)
Some of this money has already been contracted:
● 43% of the television rights: $1.833.52 billion
● 26% of the sponsorships: $700.18 million
That’s $2.533.70 billion or 23.03% of the $11 billion total, so there’s a ways to go.
The startling increase in the tickets and hospitality numbers, from $949 million in 2019-22 to $3.097 billion for 2023-26 is relying on the expansion of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. With 48 teams, the tournament was expected to go from 64 matches to 80. But after the spectacular group-stage competition in Qatar, new formats are being discussed that could create a FIFA World Cup with as many as 104 matches and a revenue bonanza.
FIFA plans to spend $10.9 billion or 99% of the total:
● $5.618 billion on competitions
● $3.923 billion in development and education
● $850 million on administration and legal
● $342 million on marketing and broadcasting
● $167 million on governance
The 2026 FIFA World Cup is forecast to cost FIFA $3.839 billion to stage, or 35.2% of the total projected costs; FIFA is organizing the event itself. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is forecast at $435 million.
The FIFA Forward Programme is slated to cost $2.250 billion or 57.3% of the development and education budget. This includes $1.688 billion to be given to member federations, $360 million to the regional confederations, $65 million to smaller (zonal) associations and $137 million in travel and equipment support.
Asked at the end of the 2022 World Cup how realistic the $11 billion target is, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino (SUI) replied:
“Let me say, we are bullish on the power of football, so to say. About what we believe that the impact of football – or soccer, as it’s called where we are going to play the next World Cup, or at least in a part of the countries – we are more than bullish, we are convinced that the impact of the game will be massive.”
Russia says no official invites to Asian Games yet
After a Tuesday statement from the head of the Russian Diving Federation that Russian athletes had been invited to compete in the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou (CHN) in September, and a report from the Russian Wrestling Federation that it had also been invited to compete in China (but with no other details), the Russian Olympic Committee applied the brakes.
In a statement to the Russian news agency TASS, the ROC explained:
“At the moment, no invitations with clearly defined conditions for participation in international competitions, including the Asian Games in 2023, have been received by either the ROC or the all-Russian sports federations.
“As soon as official information about certain decisions on this issue appears, the ROC will immediately work it out with the relevant all-Russian sports federations.”
The International Olympic Committee asked all International Federations and continental associations of National Olympic Committees not to allow Russian or Belarusian competitors to participate in their events back on 28 February 2022, four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. In December, the Olympic Council of Asia – the owner of the Asian Games – said it would be willing to extend invitations to Russian and Belarusian competitors to compete in its events, which the IOC agreed only to study.
There is considerable concern in Asia about how such invited athletes would compete and whether they would take places (and medals) away from Asian athletes. Randhir Singh (IND), the acting head of the Olympic Council of Asia – who made the offer to compete at the IOC’s Olympic Summit in December – said in a January interview:
“They won’t interfere in our medal system or Asian quota for the Olympic Games. The IOC will work out quota (policy) with us at the OCA and the international federations. And there will be separate medals. …
“We are devising a philosophy where they’ll… be able to compete in (events) where we can take them on numbers. Not in combat sports like wrestling, for instance. If our wrestler from Asia gets knocked out in the first round, then we lose out on qualification. But if there is a points system like in athletics, shooting … these kinds of sports are where they’ll be able to compete. This is all being worked out.”
Girma gets 3,000 m world record at Hauts-de-France!
The brilliant 1998 world indoor record of 7:24.90 by Kenyan Daniel Komen was on the line at the Hauts-de-France indoor meet in Lievin on Wednesday night in a staged attempt that resulted in Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma and Spain’s Mohammed Katir both breaking the mark!
Girma, 22, the Tokyo Olympic Steeple silver winner, was in full command by 2,000 m and was pressed by Katir, the 2022 Worlds 1,500 m bronze medalist. But Girma held the lead over the final six laps and finished in 7:23.81, shaving 1.09 seconds off Komen’s mark, with Katir at 7:24.68, the no. 2 performance in history.
Kenyan Jacob Krop was third (7:31.35) with American Grant Fisher fifth in 7:35.82, moving to no. 7 all-time U.S.
That was one of seven world-leading marks at the meet:
● Men/1,500 m: 3:32.38, Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)
● Men/3,000 m: 7:23.81, Lamecha Girma (ETH) ~ World Record
● Men/Long Jump: 8.41 m (27-7 1/4), Miltiadis Tentoglou (GRE)
● Women/800 m: 1:57.71, Keely Hodgkinson (GBR)
● Women/1,500 m: 3:57.47, Gudaf Tsegay (ETH)
● Women/Pole Vault: 4.83 m (15-10), Katie Moon (USA)
● Women/Triple Jump: 14.81 m (48-7 1/4), Liadagmis Povea (CUB)
Ingebrigtsen’s mark is the no. 11 performance all-time indoors and he owns three of them, including last year’s world record on the same track in 3:30.60. He was well ahead of runner-up Azeddine Habz (FRA: 3:35.27). Tentoglou increased his world lead by one cm on his fourth attempt, leaving Sweden’s Thobias Montler (8.06 m/26-5 1/2) and American Marquis Dendy (7.94 m/26-0 3/4) well behind.
Britain’s Hodgkinson lowered her own world-leading women’s 800 m mark to 1:57.71, her second-fastest ever indoors and enough to shake off Kenya’s Mary Moraa (2:00.71). Tsegay had also already been the world leader in the women’s 1,500 m, but ran strongly in the second half to lower the time to 3:57.47, winning by more than four seconds. It’s the no. 8 performance all-time indoors and she has five of them.
New leaders in the field included Olympic champ Moon (nee Nageotte), who took over at 4.83 m (15-10), beating incoming world leader Tina Sutej (SLO), second at 4.78 m (15-8 1/4). Povea also increased her own world lead on her third jump, her best ever indoors.
In the sprints, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala won the men’s 60 m over Olympic 100 m champ Lamont Marcell Jacobs (ITA), 6.54 to 6.57 and Karsten Warholm (NOR) won the 400 m in 45.51. Americans Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts were 1-2 in the 60 m hurdles in 7.39 and 7.43; Holloway was only 0.01 behind his world-leading mark from earlier this season in Boston.
Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis won the men’s vault at 6.01 m (19-8 1/2) and Dutch star Femke Bol won the women’s 400 m in 50.20, the no. 2 mark in the world for 2023 behind her own 49.96.
Not many Americans in this meet as the USATF National Indoor Championships come up this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, beginning today (16th) with the combined events and walks.
First-time champs Schmid and Tviberg win Worlds Parallel GS
Germany’s Alexander Schmid has never won a FIS Alpine World Cup race, but he’s the 2023 World Parallel Giant Slalom champion after defeating Austria’s Dominik Raschner in the men’s final of the FIS Alpine World Championships on Wednesday in Meribel (FRA).
Schmid won all eight of his races and finished ahead of Raschner by 0.50 and 0.90 seconds in the final to win the event. Timon Haugen, who was a member of Norway’s Team Parallel runner-up squad, took the bronze, defeating Adrian Pertl (AUT), by 0.01 seconds and then 0.19 seconds in the small final. Raschner and Haugen both won their first Worlds individual medals.
The women’s Parallel Giant Slalom went to Norway’s Maria Therese Tviberg, who has never won a FIS Alpine World Cup medal, but sailed through three rounds of the Worlds Parallel Giant Slalom without a hitch and into the final. There, she faced Swiss star Wendy Holdener, already a five-time Worlds medal winner. They tied in the first race, with both timed in 23.24, but Tviberg was much the better in the second run, 22.78 to 23.45 and earned her first Worlds gold and second medal in two days, after taking silver in the Team Parallel event.
Tviberg’s teammate, Thea Louise Stjernesund, won the bronze over Marie Lamure of France, so three of the four members of the Norwegian Team Parallel silver medalists won individual medals on Wednesday. The winning U.S. team’s entries, Nina O’Brien and River Radamus, did not advance out of the first round.
The women’s Giant Slalom, with American Mikaela Shiffrin one of the favorites, comes on Thursday.
Shiffrin made news on Wednesday, releasing a statement that “After working with Mike Day for seven seasons, I’ve decided to move forward with new leadership on my team for the next phase of my career.”
Day had been coaching Shiffrin since July of 2016 and was with her last week at the FIS Alpine Worlds in France; the change was to be effective at the end of the season. Said U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director Patrick Riml (AUT):
“Mikaela wants to do something different going forward. She wants a new challenge. And she informed Mike and Mike decided to go home. It’s a shock for me that he took off.”
Shiffrin has the Giant Slalom and Slalom remaining on her 2023 Worlds program and four stops remaining on the FIS Alpine World Cup after that to finish the 2022-23 season.
UEFA Champions League security report notes Saint-Denis area crime
The 220-page UEFA-commissioned independent report on the security debacle at the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Stade de France last May identified major issues with the planning and preparations for the match, especially from UEFA and local law enforcement services.
But the report also was unusually blunt about the activities of “locals” living in the Saint-Denis area surrounding the stadium, which will be a centerpiece of Paris 2024 and the site of track & field and the Closing Ceremony for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. From page 177:
“184.108.40.206. The Panel has received widespread evidence that groups assumed to be French residents – locals – were present around the Stade de France and in its general vicinity. Some were involved in attacks on supporters and others in the vicinity of the stadium, and in trying to gain entry to the stadium without tickets, some successfully, by breaking-in, or by climbing fences or jumping turnstiles. According to evidence from [French Football Federation], these problems were apparent from around 13:00 on match day, and continued through the day and evening, including after the match.
“220.127.116.11. The Stade de France is situated in an area with significant social deprivation, and a high crime rate. There has been a history of social unrest and problems between sections of the local community and the police and other authorities. This history has included tensions accompanying major football matches occurring at the Stade de France.
“18.104.22.168. The 2015 Council of Europe mission to France, reported on the problem of attacks on foreign football supporters by locals (albeit not specific to Saint-Denis), and the Panel received credible evidence of such attacks on supporters at previous international and domestic fixtures at the Stade de France.
“22.214.171.124. The Prefecture de Police, FFF and [Consortium Stade de France stadium operator] have all commented on the unprecedented scale of this problem on the night. It is difficult for the Panel to comment on the scale of these problems in the past, however crime targeted at supporters and attempts to force entrance to the ground were foreseeable. These incursions led to gate closures which amplified the throughput problems already encountered.
“126.96.36.199. The Panel notes that no effective action was taken to prevent these issues or when these problems became apparent in the early afternoon of [match day]. The Panel further notes evidence that police officers near to the scene of attacks on supporters failed to intervene, and that the attacks continued in various places around the stadium, and on routes to transport hubs and at the stations, long after the match finished.”
This is not good, although behavior at football matches is often quite different than for track and field, with a major meet – the Diamond League’s Meeting de Paris – held at the Stade de France from 1999 to 2016.
But the report notes a spectator (and visitor) issue that’s just another headache for the Paris 2024 organizers and the City of Paris, Ile-de-France and national security services to deal with. Questions will continue to be asked.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Biathlon ● The women’s 15 km Individual race has been held twice this season at the IBU World Cup, with Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg and Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi the winners, and both ended up on the podium in that event in the IBU World Championships in Oberhof (GER).
Oeberg won in 43:36.1 after taking a penalty on the first stage that left her in 33rd place. But she shot clean the rest of the way and took the lead on the final loop to win over teammate Linn Persson (43:46.4/0) and Vittozzi (44:04.1), who suffered a penalty on the final loop.
Oeberg was the 2018 Olympic champ in this event and had won it at the 2019 IBU Worlds as well, plus a silver in 2021. Persson won her second medal of the 2023 Worlds, after a bronze in the 7.5 km Sprint. Vittozzi won her sixth career Worlds medal (0-3-3), after getting a 2019 silver in the Individual event as well.
Deedra Irwin was again the top American, finishing 20th in 47:10.6 (1). Joanne Reid was 61st in 52:13.4 (6); Kelsey Dickinson finished 67th (52:58.0/2) and Chloe Levins was 68th (53:08.9/4).
The Single Mixed Relay comes next on Thursday, with the men’s and women’s relays on Saturday and the Mass Start races on Sunday.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● Not everyone is thrilled with the new Paris 2024 pictograms and the “Look” of the Games. Lindon Leader, the Design Director for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, a Senior Design Director at Landor Associates in the 1990s and a respected strategic branding and design consultant headquartered in Utah, was not impressed.
“The Look of the Games is exceedingly busy and needlessly complex, especially compared to the Paris Games’ absurdly simple symbol. The pictogram system is a disaster. A function of pictograms is to facilitate accurate, efficient wayfaring even at a mere glance and from a distance.
“These bowls of spaghetti are difficult to decipher when right in front of one’s nose. I expect there to be a lot of lost souls at Paris 2024 venues. Furthermore, the Olympic Games are not about sports equipment, they are about people.”
● Aquatics ● Ticket sales have begun for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, from 14-30 July, with pricing now available for all sessions.
For swimming, finals-session tickets range from ¥14,000 down to ¥4,000 (about $104 down to $30 U.S.) for a single day, with a “Platinum Seat” for all sessions (eight days) next to the pool at ¥300,000 (~$2,237 U.S.).
Very limited seating is offered for diving, with only non-reserved seats available for single-day sales at ¥3,000 and ¥1,500 (~$22 to $11 U.S.), and semifinals and finals seats at ¥2,000 (~$15 U.S.).
Artistic Swimming finals tickets range from ¥10,000 down to ¥4,000 (~$75 to $30 U.S.), with Water Polo final-round seats going for ¥5,000 to ¥3,000 (~$37 to $22 U.S.).
What about High Diving? Standing-room only tickets are offered at ¥2,000 a day (about $15 U.S.).
All pretty reasonable.
● Football ● The eighth SheBelieves Cup begins Thursday in Orlando, Florida, with ninth-ranked Brazil meeting no. 11 Japan at 4 p.m. and the no. 1-ranked U.S. women facing No. 6 Canada at 7 p.m. Eastern time.
There’s considerable drama here, as the American women lost three straight games late last year for the first time in decades, while the Canadian women declared a strike over equal pay conditions last week, only to be threatened with a lawsuit by their federation if they did not play in this tournament! They decided to play, under protest.
All games are on HBO Max and Peacock in English and Universo in Spanish. The U.S. matches on the 19th and 22nd are also to be shown on TNT.
The second doubleheader comes on Sunday (19th) from Nashville, Tennessee, with the U.S. and Japan at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and Canada and Brazil at 6:30 p.m.; the finale is on the 22nd in Frisco, Texas, with Canada vs. Japan at 4 p.m. and the U.S. and Brazil at 7 p.m.
The U.S. has won this tournament five times in seven editions; Brazil was second in 2021 and Canada third in its only other appearance.
● Ice Hockey ● To the surprise of no one who was paying attention, the Russian news agency TASS confirmed that former International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel of Switzerland, 73, was granted Russian citizenship in January 2022.
President of the IIHF from 1994 to 2021, Fasel made no secret of his admiration for Russia, which hosted the IIHF men’s Worlds three times during his tenure. TASS reported that 46% of a Russian premium apple-growing company was “passed to Fasel” last week.
● Speed Skating ● Another impressive performance for emerging American star Jordan Stolz at the ISU World Junior Championships held in Inzell (GER) last weekend.
Stolz, 18, won seven medals in all, taking the World Junior titles in the men’s 500 m, 1,000 m, 1,500 m and the Team Sprint (with Jonathan Tobon and Auggie Herman) plus bronzes in the 5,000 m and Mass Start. He won the Allround title easily at 142.914 points, to 147.222 for Korea’s Ho-jun Yang.
The women’s competition was highlighted by the youngest Allround Junior Champion ever, 15-year-old Angel Daleman of the Netherlands. She won the women’s 1,000 m-1,500 m-Mass Start, was on the winning Team Sprint and Team Pursuit squads and took an additional silver and bronze, scoring a medal in every event!
She won the Allround title by 158.636 to 160.903 over American Greta Myers, 18, who also had an excellent meet, with bronzes in the 1,000 m and 1,500 m and a silver on the American Team Sprint squad.
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