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Conflict beween FIFA, Germany is aired as World Cup nears.Galaxy, Revolution are edged out in Champiosn Cup quarterfinals.

Galaxy's late rally falls short in 0-0 tie with Saprissa.

Revolution draws 0-0 with Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinal series.

CONCACAF chief Warner faces new charges.

World media group threatens legal action on FIFA photo limits.

Embattled CONCACAF chief Warner faces new charges in T&T.

CONCACAF president Warner is censured and could be dropped from FIFA board.

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    Around the World

    Australia will bid for 2018 World Cup; England, U.S. might, also.

    SYDNEY (Saturday, July 22, 2006) -- Australia will submit the required paperwork in the next two weeks to world governing body FIFA to begin the process of bidding on the 2018 World Cup.

    "I think 2018 is realistic and we will be making some announcements shortly," Federation Football Australia chief executive officer John O'Neill told Agence France-Presse

    O'Neill believes the prospect of bringing the men's tournament to the Pacific area for the first time is Australia's strongest bargaining chip. "In the next couple of weeks, the FFA will come out with a definitive statement that we will bid for 2018" he said. "We deserve it as the one part of the world that's never hosted the World Cup, after South Africa has hosted in 2010, is the Pacific Basin. England has been mentioned as the other candidate for 2018 and there's a presumption that the tournament has to go back to Europe every third time, so I'm conscious of that and we have to have our eyes open. . .

    "I think all the soundings that we did during the (recently-completed) World Cup, (FFA chairperson) Frank Lowy in particular with (FIFA president) Sepp Blatter, no one discouraged us from putting in a bid for 2018, in fact there was a lot of enthusiasm.

    Australia's 1ualification for the 2006 Cup in Germany and advancement to the second round boosted the nation's FIFA world ranking from 42 to 33.

    "It's important also that we are a country that's a credible football country on the paddock," O'Neill said. "I doubt that (FIFA) would award the hosting of the World Cup to a country that's ranked 100 in the world, so if we are able to put ourselves in a Top-20 position, put in a very compelling bid, then I think 2018 is entirely possible."

    There was also some belief within FIFA that a bid for 2018 will be submitted by the United States, which last hosted the tournament in 1994. Meanwhile, British sports minister Richard Caborn said this week it was quite possible his nation, the host in 1966, would bid on the 2018 Cup.

    The 2014 World Cup tournament is headed for South America and it has been assumed that Brazil would get to host by default, but now Colombia says it wants to throw its hat into the ring.

    Columbia vice president Francisco Santos Calderón has initiated a dialogue with Nicolas Leoz, the president of South American federation CONMEBOL, to express his country's intention to bid on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    "We have no reason to be afraid of big objectives and challenges, and we must flee from pessimism and the under-confidence of those people who do not think we can overcome difficulties," Santos said.

    So far, CONMEBOL has only championed Brazil's bid to organize the competition. The 10 members of the South American confederation voted in 2003 to back Brazil as their only candidate for the 2014.

    A CONMEBOL spokesman said the federation is unaware of a Colombian bid. Communications director Nestor Benitez said the organization considers Brazil to be its only candidate to host the tournament due to be staged in eight years in South America under FIFA's new rotation system.

    "Brazil is unquestionably the only candidate for the 2014 World Cup," Benitez told Reuters.


    Manchester United to refinance debt

    MANCHESTER, England -- For what is supposedly one of the richest soccer clubs in the world, England's Manchester United is up to its eyeballs in debt.

    According to London's authoritative Financial Times, the Premier League team has finalized a $1.2-billion debt restructuring in order to cut its annual interest payments.

    "The new debt structure will continue to provide team manager Alex Ferguson with "sufficient funds in the transfer market," said a spokesman for the club owner, the Glazer family of Tampa, Fla., according to Reuters.

    The FT, citing people close to the deal, said the club's annual interest payment would fall to $114 million, compared to $166 million under the present debt structure. Under the new deal, United will owe banks about $1.2 billion, up from about $1.07 billion.


    Germans will design stadiums for Cup in South Africa

    Berlin architecture firm Gerkan Marg and Partner says it has been given contracts to design three new stadiums for South Africa to be ready in time for the 2010 World Cup.

    The German firm, which was responsible for the renovation of Berlin's Olympic Stadium for the Cup completed earlier this month, says it will design venues in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

    The Durban stadium would be the largest of the three with some 85,000 seats. The other two will have between 65,000 to 70,000 seats each.

    "We plan to work with local architects on all three stadiums," Gerkan Marg director Volkwin Marg told the BBC.

    The 2010 organizers plan to use 10 stadiums in nine cities with the final to be played in the Soccer City stadium outside Johannesburg.


    Dutch Rijsbergen to coach T&T

    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago -- The Trinidad & Tobago Football Association named Wilhelmus Gerardus (Wim) Rijsbergen as its new national-team coach, awarding him a four-year contract.

    Rijsbergen, who once played for the New York Cosmos, coached widely at the club level in his native Netherlands and in South America, and served as top assistant to Leo Beenhakker for T&T at the 2006 World Cup.

    Beenhakker is moving on to become Poland's coach.


    Osim named Japan coach

    TOKYO -- Former Yugoslavia coach Ivica Osim was unveiled today as coach of Asian champion Japan.

    Osim, 65, coached JEF United Ichihara (now JEF United Ichihara Chiba) of the J-League since 2003, building a club of modest means into a title contender. In 2003, it finished third in the First Stage and second in the Second Stage and the club captured its first major title with the 2005 J-League Cup.

    Osim, who comes from Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, has had a long career coaching clubs in that country, Greece and Austria. In 1986, he took over Yugoslavia's national team and led it to the 1990 World Cup quarterfinals.

    "There will be no radical changes," Osim told reporters. "Japan must start playing to their potential. They should play more to their strengths -- their speed and aggressiveness. We need to get them playing a more high-tempo game.

    "It's like getting married. At the start, the honeymoon is sweet, but I'm not sure how long it's going to last. If the Japan team were a car you could say it has temporarily stalled. We all need to get behind it and give it a push start. If you always set your sights too high, you can end up disappointed. You have to be realistic. It will take hard work from everyone involved for Japan to keep up with the top teams in the world."

    Japan finished last in Group F of the 2006 World Cup with a 0-2-1 record.

    Japan will play its first match under Osim against Trinidad & Tobago in an August 9 friendly in Tokyo before taking on Yemen at home in an Asian Cup 2007 qualifier August 16.

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