The FIFA World Cup™ is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world and its impact on society and the environment is indisputable. Staging such a world-class event requires careful consideration of all aspects to ensure a balanced approach and sustainable outcome. FIFA and the LOC take this responsibility very seriously and are committed to delivering a sustainable event in Brazil in 2014.

Through its worldwide reach, the FIFA World Cup also offers a unique platform to raise awareness and highlight selected social and environmental concerns on a global scale. Considering the interest and expectations that such an occasion arouses among a whole host of stakeholders, there is a risk of becoming overwhelmed by the large number of requests and opportunities. Therefore, it is essential for FIFA and the LOC to define a clear, ambitious and yet realistic focus for their approach.

Over the coming years, the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Sustainability Strategy will guide our efforts towards staging a sustainable event and, ultimately, contributing to building a better future.

A few examples of selected activities 

• Green buildings: Many stadiums in Brazil are planning to achieve LEED certification for green buildings and many are installing solar panels on their roofs to generate renewable energy. In addition, FIFA and the LOC will organise certified training courses on sustainable management for stadium managers.

• Waste management: The objective of a new waste law in Brazil is to better control the handling and the destination of waste. FIFA and the LOC will ensure that waste management in stadiums and other venues will be dealt with according to the new regulations and will promote recycling in collaboration with local cooperatives.

• Volunteer training: Becoming a volunteer for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and welcoming the world to Brazil will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all participants. FIFA and the LOC will organise additional training modules to supplement the basic volunteer training and help enhance the future employment opportunities of the participants.

• Community support: Numerous local organisations in Brazil are tackling social challenges in their communities with the aid of football. FIFA and the LOC will support such organisations with funding and know-how, through FIFA’s well-established Football for Hope initiative.

• Climate Change: Global warming is one of the most pressing issues of our time. One of the main factors in the change in temperature is the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that is released into the atmosphere through human activities. FIFA and the LOC will estimate the carbon footprint of the tournament and develop measures to avoid, reduce and offset its emissions.

• Capacity development: Through its Football for Hope initiative, FIFA will organise various forums for community-based organisations in Brazil and abroad to discuss and exchange ideas on the effective use of football as a tool to tackle social challenges.

• Reporting: FIFA and the LOC will jointly produce a comprehensive sustainability report according to the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines & Event Organisers Sector Supplement developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Le Roy leaves Congo DR post

Claude Le Roy has stepped down from his role as the manager of the Congo DR, the Frenchman told AFP on Thursday.

“I told my players that I would stop after two years,” said Le Roy, whose contract with the African country was set to expire shortly.

“With the team and the federation we’ve had some terrific moments. I haven’t made a decision regarding the next continent I’ll work in,” he added.

Le Roy, 65, took over the reins in September 2011, leading the country to the CAF African Cup of Nations 2013 after three previous failed attempts to qualify.

However, in what was Le Roy’s seventh appearance at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations after also taking Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana to the tournament, Congo DR failed to advance from the first round despite finishing the group stage undefeated.

The contract of his assistant Sebastian Migne was also terminated.

Disciplinary proceedings opened against New Zealand Football

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against New Zealand Football (NZF) for having allegedly fielded an ineligible player in the preliminary competition match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ between Solomon Islands and New Zealand played on 26 March 2013.

The disciplinary proceedings relate to article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and article 8 of the Regulations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

NZF has been invited to provide its position to FIFA, together with any documentary evidence it might deem appropriate.

New Zealand finished top in Round Three of the FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers for the Oceanian Zone, six points clear of New Caledonia in second place.

As such, New Zealand will proceed to the inter-continental home-and-away play-off against the fourth placed team from North, Central America and the Caribbean regardless of the result of the disciplinary proceedings.

FIFA will communicate any updates on the proceedings in due course.

Iconic Hong named Korea Republic coach

Korea Republic on Monday named former skipper Hong Myungbo the new coach of the national side, tasked with preparing the out-of-form team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

The Korea Football Association said Hong, 44, had been given a two-year contract to replace Choi Kanghee who quit as coach last week after South Korea scraped through to qualify for its eighth straight FIFA World Cup.

As a player, Hong represented the national team at four consecutive FIFA World Cups from 1990 and became a national hero as captain of the side that reached the semi-finals of the 2002 competition in South Korea.

He faces a tough challenge in injecting fresh confidence and motivation into the current national team that only managed to qualify for Brazil on goal difference.

In its last four qualifying games, it was beaten twice by Iran, drew with Lebanon and was lucky to scrape through with wins over Qatar and Uzbekistan.

Hong began his coaching career as an assistant on the senior national team from 2005 to 2007.

He coached South Korea to bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and led an under-23 team to a bronze medal at the London Olympics last year. It was the country’s first Olympic football medal.

Ghoochannejhad, Iran’s new savior

A true star is made for hard times. Looking back at Iran’s four qualifying successes for the FIFA World Cup™, it seems that each time Team Melli’s hopes are hanging by a thread there is a hero who duly rises to the occasion to rescue their campaign.

In reaching their maiden global showpiece at Argentina 1978, the West Asians were indebted to the legendary Hassan Rowshan, whose goals and assists helped his country through Asia’s mammoth qualification. Then on the road to France 1998, trailing hosts Australia 2-1 with little more than 15 minutes remaining in the decisive AFC/OFA play-off, the livewire Khodadad Azizi scored the equaliser which sealed their berth at the expense of the Socceroos. Vahid Hashemian would be the next savior, firing Iran through to Germany 2006 with his powerful headers and shooting.

All these players had been established stars before their qualifying heroics. When it came to their bid for Brazil 2014, though, it was an unsung forward that took up the rescuer’s mantle. Reza Ghoochannejhad, a relatively unknown Belgian-based striker, revived Iran’s fortunes with his first qualifying goal in this June’s 1-0 victory in Qatar, before being on target again a week later in their 4-0 home defeat of Lebanon. The 25-year-old Standard Liege man would maintain his form against hosts Korea Republic seven days later, scoring the only goal of the concluder which booked their passage as group winners.

“It is an honour to play for Iran, whenever and wherever,” Ghoochannejhad told in a recent exclusive interview. “I am blessed for having this opportunity, especially now that we can represent our country at the World Cup in Brazil.”

Salute to Queiroz
Born in Iran but growing up in the Netherlands, Gucci, as he is now affectionately known to fans, was a fresh face on the Asian scene when he was called up by coach Carlos Queiroz last October. Impressed by his performance in a Belgian League game against Lierse last season, the former Portugal and Real Madrid boss, then scouring Europe for players eligible to play for Iran, immediately made contact with the player.

“It was a surprise that Mr. Queiroz called me,” Gucci recalled. “The coach told me ‘playing for your country should be an honour if you love Iran, and I think you can help us’. What he said was simple, but after hanging up the phone I immediately called my parents telling them the good news.”

The coach’s appreciation of him was such that he started Reza in his international debut in a crucial home qualifier against Korea Republic, which Iran won 1-0. Even after their disappointing home defeat to Uzbekistan, a result which put Iran’s campaign in jeopardy, Queiroz maintained his faith in Ghoochannejhad. And he was eventually proved right, with Gucci scoring three goals in as many games across two weeks, including two match-winners, as Iran progressed in unexpected fashion.

“It was a difficult campaign with a lot of ups and downs,” he reflected. “We lost two important games against Lebanon and Uzbekistan. But we defied all odds to make it. We have a good team, we respect and help each other. Certainly, it was impossible for me to score the goals without support of my team-mates.”

Having seen his meteoric rise to prominence, he paid tribute to the man who guided Iran through and showed unwavering belief in him. He said: “As Iranians, we should be thankful to coach Queiroz. He’s the main reason for this success. He was always there (with us), in both good and bad times. He never ran away from his responsibilities.”

Golden boy
With his decisive goals and man-of-the-match performances, Ghoochannejhad, now Iran’s golden boy, has already been likened to the aforementioned legends. Particularly, his goal against Korea Republic was reminiscent of Azizi’s golden moment in Melbourne 16 years ago.

Indeed, the goal against the Koreans was the embodiment of Gucci’s predatory talents. With Iranlargely on the back foot and approaching the final half-hour, Gucci stole the ball from Kim Younggwon, darted to the edge of the penalty area, before unleashing a trademark left-footed shot past the goalkeeper.

“I love scoring goals,” said the cool-headed marksman, who has achieved some 50 goals with a series of clubs in the Netherlands and Belgium. “It is my job to put the ball into the net. I have scored goals everywhere but I am still working hard to improve my skills.”

With his first FIFA World Cup beckoning, Gucci is optimistic that Iran can continue to make history. He said: “I am really confident about our team. There is a perfect balance in this squad, with youth talents and experienced players. We can achieve more as long as we stay united as a group.”