TSX REPORT: FIFPRO, leagues ask FIFA to reschedule Club World Cup; Japan’s Uno retires; 2024-25 alpine schedule has finals in Sun Valley!

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1. FIFPRO, WLA threaten FIFA over 2025 Club World Cup
2. Ex-RFEF chief Rubiales to be tried for sexual assault
3. Japan’s skating star Shoma Uno says he is retiring
4. FIS Alpine calendar ‘24-25 has finals in Sun Valley
5. NFL Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson passes at 86

The worldwide football players union FIFPRO and the World League Association sent a strongly-worded letter to FIFA, demanding it reconsider the staging and timing of its new Intercontinental Cup at the end of this year and the greatly-expanded Club World Cup for June 2025, calling them “inherently abusive” to both player health and to their club teams and leagues.

● A Spanish court confirmed trials for former Royal Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales and three other current or former RFEF staff for their roles in the Jenni Hermoso kissing scandal and attempted cover-up after the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in 2023. No date was set, but all four face possible imprisonment.

● Japan’s two-time men’s World Champion Shoma Uno announced his retirement from competitive skating, after three Olympic medals and back-to-back Worlds golds in 2022 and 2023.

● The FIS Alpine World Cup calendar was “provisionally” revealed, with the seasonal finals at Sun Valley, Idaho, which has not hosted World Cup races since 1977! Otherwise, two other women’s stops will be in the U.S. and more one men’s stop among 20 stages for each.

● Pro Football Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson, an NCAA high hurdles champion at UCLA and younger brother of Rafer Johnson, passes at 86.

Panorama: USOPC (coaches of the year named) = Cycling (Sanchez takes Giro stage 6, but Pogacar still leads) = Football (some Estadio Azteca suite owners not giving up boxes to FIFA for 2026) = Shooting (Smith wins Skeet at ISSF World Cup) ●

FIFPRO, WLA threaten FIFA over 2025 Club World Cup

“Players are being pushed beyond their limits, with significant injury risks and impacts on their welfare and fundamental rights.”

That’s from a letter sent by the worldwide football players union FIFPRO and the World Leagues Association to FIFA, concerning the expanded 2025 Club World Cup and the 2024 Intercontinental Cup to be played in December.

The Associated Press reported that it has seen the letter, which calls the added tournaments “inherently abusive” and that FIFA is making “unilateral decisions that benefit its own competitions and commercial interests.” The letter demands:

● FIFA “review its decision” on holding a new Intercontinental Cup competition this December, in which the champion clubs in each of the six confederations would play; the same teams are also scheduled to play in the 2025 Club World Cup.

● FIFA to reschedule the 32-team Club World Cup – expanded from seven in 2023 – slated to be held in the U.S. from 15 June to 13 July.

● The FIFA match calendar, which sets aside periods dedicated to league play and to national-team play, must be reopened and revised: “Leagues and players cannot simply be expected to ‘adapt’ to FIFA’s decisions, which are driven by FIFA’s business strategy. We have reached the point where this situation must immediately be addressed both from a procedural and substantive perspective.”

The letter adds:

“FIFA has ignored repeated attempts by leagues and unions to engage on this issue.

“Should FIFA refuse to formally commit to resolving the issues, as set out above, at its upcoming council, we shall be compelled to advise our members on the options available to them, both individually and collectively, to proactively safeguard their interests.

“These options include legal action against FIFA on which we have now commissioned external expert advice.”

The pressure on top-level players is greater than ever, with club teams expanding their schedules with exhibition games all over the world, now new FIFA events such as the Club World Cup and Intercontinental Cup, as well as the FIFA World Cup expansion to 48 teams and 104 matches vs. 32 teams and 64 matches in Qatar in 2022.

The FIFPRO and WLA demands are deliberately timed to raise questions at next week’s FIFA Congress in Bangkok (THA).

Ex-RFEF chief Rubiales to be tried for sexual assault

Spanish judge Francisco de Jorge confirmed on Wednesday that former Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales is to be tried for sexual assault for his forced kiss of Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso during the victory ceremony of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

Rubiales will face a sexual assault charge related to the ceremony, and then coercion allegations that he and three other officials pressured Hermoso into withdrawing her criticism of Rubiales’ actions.

The sexual assault charge carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison. The coercion charge could carry an 18-month sentence; Rubiales and Jorge Vilda, former coach of the women’s national team; Albert Luque, the Spanish national team’s current sporting director, and Ruben Rivera, the RFEF marketing head, will also face the coercion charge.

The trial date has not been set, but is scheduled to be held at the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid.

Rubiales, 46, has maintained his innocence, saying the kiss was consensual, and despite the international uproar after the 20 August 2023 final, he said he would remain as RFEF President. He finally resigned on 10 September 2023, and was subsequently banned by FIFA from football activities for three years.

Japan’s skating star Shoma Uno says he is retiring

“I have taken the decision to retire.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me and cheered for me as a competitor until now. I discovered skating when I was five years old and am very grateful to have continued for 21 years and have had a wonderful competitive career.”

Japanese figure skating star Shoma Uno, 26, posted his retirement message on Instagram on Thursday and said he would hold a news conference next Tuesday to add to it.

Overshadowed to some degree by 2014 and 2018 Olympic men’s figure skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, Uno was World Champion in 2022 and 2023 and owns Olympic silvers from 2018 (men) and 2022 (team), as well as a bronze from the Beijing 2022 men’s final.

Standing just 5-2, he combined grace and power and is credited as the first to land the quadruple flip in competition and the second to do the quad loop in international competition.

He finished fourth at the 2024 Worlds in March, and Kyodo News noted Uno’s comments: “Maybe it’s my age, or Nathan [Chen’s] and [Yuzuru Hanyu’s] influence, but I wasn’t able to feel strongly like I wanted to win.”

FIS Alpine calendar ‘24-25 has finals in Sun Valley

The first look at the “provisional” FIS Alpine World Cup schedule for the 2024-25 season was posted on X (ex-Twitter) on Thursday, with the all-events final scheduled – but “to be confirmed” – for Sun Valley, Idaho for 22-27 March 2025.

It will be a historic return to Sun Valley, which hosted World Cup races previously only in 1975 and 1977.

There will be only one prior stop in the U.S. during the season for men, at Beaver Creek, Colorado, on 6-7-8 December for a Downhill, Slalom and Super-G. No men’s races are shown at all for Canadian sites.

Two U.S. stops are planned for women’s racing, first for 30 November and 1 December in Killington, Vermont for a Giant Slalom and Slalom, then on 14-15 December for a women’s Downhill and Super-G. In between, two Giant Slaloms are scheduled for Tremblant (CAN) on 7-8 December.

The 20 stops on the women’s tour include:

● 5 in Austria
● 4 in Italy
● 3 in the U.S.
● 1 in Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Switzerland

The men’s stops will be in:

● 4 in Austria and Italy
● 3 in Switzerland and the U.S.
● 2 in Norway
● 1 in Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Slovenia

The World Alpine Championships will be in Saalbach (AUT) from 4-16 February. The calendar remains subject to approval by the FIS Council.

NFL Hall of Famer, NCAA hurdles champ Jimmy Johnson
passes at 86

Jimmy Johnson, a Hall of Fame defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, an NCAA hurdles champion for UCLA and the younger brother of Olympic icon Rafer Johnson, passed away on Wednesday (8th) after a lengthy illness.

Born in 1938, four years younger than Rafer, he moved with his family to Kingsburg, California, graduated from Kingsburg High School and followed Rafer’s path to UCLA.

There, he was a wingback and defensive back and ran track for coach Ducky Drake, winning the 1960 NCAA 120-yard hurdles championship at Berkeley (14.0) as a junior, as well as long jumping. He missed the 1961 NCAA meet due to injuries.

He was drafted by San Francisco and was a star at cornerback from 1961 to 1976, honored as a first-team All-Pro from 1969-72 and a second-team All-Pro from 1964-66 and 1968. He finished with 47 career interceptions and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, after being selected as UCLA Hall of Famer in 1992.

At his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, he shared the honor with his brother (who passed in 2020), who had introduced him:

“Rafer Johnson is in fact my hero and that is an amazing thing in itself. Most young men growing up usually have a hero in another town, another city, another country, and they will write to this individual, receive an autographed photo and then tack that photo up on the wall and worship that photo, play for that photo and get inspiration from that photo. No such problem for me.

“I had a brother living with me on a day-to-day basis that I was able to talk to, ask the pertinent questions, get the pertinent feedback and get corrected in my direction, if needed. I must say I must give brother Rafer credit for everything that I have accomplished in the field of athletics. And I just wish that we could split this trophy, this bust of myself, right down the middle because he surely deserves half of it.”

That says a lot about both of them.


● U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee ● The USOPC named its coaches of the year for 2023, honoring eight coaches and staff members who have made a difference across five sports:

Olympic Coach of the Year: Jenni Meno-Sand (figure skating)
Paralympic Coach of the Year: Ellen Minzner (rowing)

Coach-Educator of the Year: Richard Guy Krueger (archery)
College Coach of the Year: Todd DeSorbo (swimming)
Developmental Coach of the Year: Dr. Robert Park (archery)
Doc Counsilman Science & Technology Award: Garrett Lucash (figure skating)
Service Provider of the Year: Dr. Caroline Silby (figure skating)
Volunteer Coach of the Year: Patrick Wentland (speed skating)

Desorbo, the head coach at the University of Virginia – his women’s teams have four NCAA team titles in a row – won’t have much time to enjoy his award, as he is training swimmers for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials and will serve as the head women’s coach for the U.S. team in Paris.

● Cycling ● Spain’s Pelayo Sanchez won a final sprint among three riders to take the sixth stage of the 107th Giro d’Italia, riding Thursday on a hilly, 180 km course from Viareggio to Rapolano Terme.

Luke Plapp (AUS), two-time World Road Champion Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) and Sanchez broke free with about 40 km left in the race and were never headed. Plapp led late, but was passed first by Alaphilppe and then by Sanchez in the final 100 m for the win in 4:01:08; Plapp was given 4:01:09. It’s Sanchez’s first career UCI World Tour victory!

Race leader Tadej Pogacar (SLO) retained his 46-second lead over Geraint Thomas (GBR), both finishing in a huge group that was 29 seconds back of the leaders. Pogacar will look to increase his lead on the uphill-finishing 40.6 km individual time trial on Friday and more difficult, 152 km course on Saturday with six climbs and another uphill finish.

● Football ● In another of the innumerable issues that will come up prior to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., a lifetime box holder at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium has said FIFA cannot use his suite for the World Cup.

The AP spoke with Roberto Ruano, whose father purchased a box – with a 99-year term – when the stadium was originally built:

“We’ve already paid for the right to be there when we purchased the title and there can be no restrictions for us. We have a title to support us. It’s not up for debate.”

He is the spokesman for 134 box owners with similar rights at the Azteca, which began construction in 1961 and opened in 1966. One report notes that stadium now has 856 “executive suites.”

Discussions are continuing with the stadium ownership, with Ruano pointing out that box owners were allowed use during both the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cups.

● Shooting ● American Worlds Mixed Team gold medalist Austen Smith won the women’s Skeet final at the ISSF World Cup in Baku (AZE), scoring her last 10 shots to defeat Martina Maruzzo (ITA: 50) and London 2012 bronze winner Danka Bartekova (SVK: 43).

China’s Jianlin Lyu won the men’s Skeet with 56 hits to 50 for two-time Olympian Federico Gil (ARG), and China went 1-2 in the men’s 50 m Rifle/3 Positions with Yukun Liu, who set a world record of 467.3 in the final to edge five-time World Junior gold winner Linshu Du (21: 466.1).

Germany’s World Team gold medalist Anna Janssen won the women’s 50 m Rifle/3 Positions at 467.2, ahead of Swiss Tokyo Olympic champ Nina Christen (465.3).

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For our updated, 547-event International Sports Calendar for the rest of 2024 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!