The week in football: Fifa stay noble; Barça fish for kids; how to handle a sacking; plus debut single of the week
Russian gas giant Gazprom – dubbed by US cables leaked in 2011 as an "inefficient, politically driven, corrupt" cornerstone of an economy run on "rampant bribery, extortion and kickbacks" – named an official Fifa partner.
• Helping launch the union: Vladimir Putin, on why the two firms fit. "The work Fifa do is noble. Unlike many other associations that proclaim nice, well-intentioned goals, they actually work to realise them. This has no precedent in humanitarian spheres."
• Not mentioned during the launch: Fifa's pledge to tackle Putin over Russia's anti-gay laws. Last year fans of Gazprom-owned club Zenit revealed their public policy on discrimination, issuing a "manifesto" demand for "an all-white, non-gay team".
£4.4m: Qatar's reported spend on celebrity bid ambassadors ahead of winning the 2022 World Cup vote, plus a £250k gifts budget for "VIPs and VVIPs". 32: Number of Nepali labourers who died there in July, working in alleged "slave labour conditions".
Australia's 2022 World Cup bid team, claiming compensation for their defeat by Qatar – unhappy that the bidding process lacked "fair play" and "transparency". (£1,100: Value of the necklace Australia gave Mrs Jack Warner before the voting began.)
Al-Jazeera frontman Richard Keys, on why he likes his life in Qatar, away from the agenda-driven British media. "It's a huge thing for me, to live in a country now where that sort of hypocrisy doesn't exist. It just doesn't exist."
New last week in modern football:
1) Cayman Islands giants Manchester United launching their new United-branded credit cards in Qatar and the UAE, and reporting "very powerful" annual results – cutting their total gross debt by 11%, to just £389m.
2) Venkateshwara Hatcheries Ltd pledging to shore up Blackburn's holding company Venky's London Ltd after it posted a £27m loss.
3) Planners confirming a proposed $1bn Real Madrid-branded resort in the UAE may be built in Abu Dhabi instead. Real's motivation for the development: "To aid the eternal and universal legend of this club."
French FA head Noël Le Graët, asked why five agents convicted of crimes including embezzlement, tax evasion and fraud still have their licences. "It's no drama … our rules are almost always respected." Le Graët said agent Pierre Frelot, convicted in a football tax evasion case, is "a really nice guy, really nice. I know him well. He's done his time – let him get on with his work."
Last week's moves:
• Germany, 29 Aug: Hamburg president Carl-Edgar Jarchow on coach Thorsten Fink: "We never overreact to defeats. Thorsten has our confidence, and our choice is continuity. We support him and we encourage him." 17 Sept: They sack him.
• Portugal: Coach Zé Nuno Azevedo, reacting to his dismissal by Vilaverdense by calling the police. Local media say Azevedo initially left the training ground, "then returned with the National Guard to demand a pay off". Owner Manuel Leão: "This coach failed. There will be no compensation."
Barcelona – signing nine-year-old Zico Junior Marecaldi from Swedish club BK Olympic with no compensation, two years after calling Arsenal "immoral" for poaching their youth-teamer Jon Toral in return for £300,000. Barça told the press in 2011: "There are two philosophies: ours is to invest in [our academy]; the other is to fish all over Europe for kids like Arsenal do. It's legal, but a little immoral."
Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin, asked to assess the France national team: "They annoy me, then they bore me. Liking them is impossible. I prefer to watch a western."
Romania: Under-pressure Cluj coach Ionel Ganea, responding after Romania international Razvan Cocis made a public offer to help by signing for the troubled club without wages. "Who do you think you are? First, it's 'Mr Ganea' to you. Second, I don't want you. Go play somewhere else."
Belgium: Royal Antwerp Ladies, aiming to raise the profile of the women's game by releasing a 2014 lingerie calendar. Antwerp offered to do the shoot if the attendance for their opening game topped 2,000. Publishers say the product "will be classy".
Spain: Katia Aveiro, sister of Cristiano Ronaldo, launching her debut single Non-stop Boom ("Heart is beating boom boom boom boom non-stop"), with one aim: "I'll show people I'm not just his sister; I'm a serious artist."