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Emirates to sponsor FA Cup for next 3 years
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 31 - 05 - 2015

LONDON — Dubai's Emirates airline will sponsor the FA Cup for the next three years until 2018, the English Football Association announced Saturday.

The FA had been looking for a new sponsor for football's oldest knockout competition after Budweiser's three-year deal came to an end last year.
The FA, which will rebrand the competition as The Emirates FA Cup, did not release any financial details.

However, British media estimated the deal was worth a total of at least 30 million pounds ($45.87 million).

“Emirates' commitment to our sport is evident and securing such an iconic and forward-thinking lead partner for The FA Cup is great news for us, the fans and for the whole game,” FA chairman Greg Dyke said in a statement.

“The partnership will help take the tournament to new audiences, inspire interest in football from across the globe and allow us to continue our investment into the game at all levels.”

Rio Ferdinand retires

Former England and Manchester United center back Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement, ending a 20-year professional career in which the ball-playing defender established himself as one of the top English players of his generation.

The 36-year-old Ferdinand announced his decision on British broadcaster BT Sport Saturday.

Ferdinand was absent for the closing stages of his final season in football, with Queens Park Rangers, after his wife died on May 1 following a battle with cancer.

Ferdinand became the most expensive English player when he joined United from Leeds for 29.1 million pounds in 2002. He started his professional career at West Ham in 1995.

Ferdinand was released by United last summer after 454 appearances and was signed by QPR, where he struggled to hold down a regular place in a team that ended up getting relegated from the Premier League.

FIFA suspends Indonesia

The Indonesian Football Association has been suspended by soccer's world governing body FIFA because of government meddling in the Southeast Asian country's domestic league.

The ban means Indonesia will be ineligible to compete in the next round of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup, starting on June 11, unless it meets FIFA's demands.

However, FIFA did allow Indonesia's national team to continue playing at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore because the tournament has already started.

“The Executive decided to suspend the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) with immediate effect and until the PSSI would be able to comply with its obligations under arts. 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA announced Saturday.

“This decision resulted from the effective “take over” of the activities of PSSI by the Indonesian authorities.

“However, and as an exceptional measure, the national team would be allowed to continue their current participation in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.”

The dispute between the PSSI and the Sports and Youth Ministry is over which teams are eligible to compete in the Indonesian Super League (ISL).

An administrative court in Jakarta has scheduled a June 8 hearing to try and resolve the row, which has led to the cancelling of the domestic soccer season after the ministry suspended PSSI.

The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), sanctioned by the ministry, wanted Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Indonesia teams blocked from playing but PSSI resisted.

FIFA takes a dim view of government interference in football affairs and threatened Indonesia with a ban, saying only the PSSI was recognized to make decisions. — Agencies


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