USMNT set to play friendly in Austria; U.S. Soccer financial figures; more news
Some quick news and notes from the soccer world:
• It hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m told the U.S. men’s national team will most likely play at Austria in a friendly on Nov. 19. The U.S. meets Scotland four days before that. The hold-up on the Austria game is whether the Austrians will be eliminated from World Cup qualifying next month. If they lose at Sweden, they will indeed be available for the U.S. game.
(The Washington Post first reported the Austria game possibility.)
The U.S. will also split its January camp between Los Angeles and São Paulo, Brazil. Though there won’t be any friendlies in Brazil, the visit will give the U.S. a chance to test the infrastructure there ahead of the World Cup. The U.S. will be based in São Paulo next summer.
• U.S. Soccer released its financial figures this past week, and a few things stood out. First, coach Jurgen Klinsmann will get a $10.5 million bonus if the U.S. wins the World Cup. It’s part of a sliding scale of bonuses based on how far the team goes to add to his $2.5 million base salary.
Secondly, U.S. Soccer made $12.9 million in the past year from its Nike deal and $11.1 million from its deal with Soccer United Marketing, which includes TV rights. Both the Nike contract and the SUM contract terminate at the end of 2014, so look for some movement on those negotiations fairly soon. I’m told by a few sources that U.S. Soccer plans to continue tying its TV rights to MLS TV rights, which is a huge value-added favor for MLS.
• Sir Alex Ferguson is currently in the midst of a two-week trip to the United States. He spoke last week at Harvard Business School for the second straight year, and Ferguson got some questions about David Moyes’ less-than-impressive start as his replacement. Ferguson answered by preaching patience and added that he had his own 5-1 loss to City early in his United tenure in 1989. He said he hid in his house for a day and felt like he had “committed a robbery.”
Ferguson owns an apartment in New York City, and he’s responding well to his recent hip surgery. He has a book coming out soon, so look for him to be in the public eye.
• World Cup ’22 in Qatar is in the news again this week with the possibility that FIFA could vote to move the tournament from the summer to the winter months as early as Thursday. Horrible treatment of migrant workers in Qatar has been an ongoing story on CNN.com and in The Guardian, and so has treatment of workers in general.
I spoke yesterday to Stéphane Morello, a French soccer coach who has been trapped in Qatar since 2009. He coached two Qatari clubs starting in 2007, and his sponsor was the Qatari Olympic Committee. He tells me when those club jobs ended, he was unable to get an exit visa and his guaranteed salary as part of his contract. He has been in limbo with his family ever since, and only in the next few weeks might he finally be able to leave Qatar now that French president François Hollande has gotten involved. Morello tells me he plans to sue the Qataris once he gets back to France for taking nearly five years of his life away. I’ll have more on this story on SI.com this week.