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The fear of government meddling in sport is not an idle or capricious one. Consider the Soviet Union, which once again has allowed politics to confound its athletics. After the military coup in Chile overturned the Marxist government of Salvador Allende, the U.S.S.R. called the new rulers "brutal reactionaries" and broke diplomatic relations. Embarrassingly for the Soviets, on Sept. 26 a soccer team from Chile was in Moscow to play the Russians in the first game of a home-and-home series, part of the elimination round competition for the 1974 World Cup. It was a taut game, with the Chileans holding off the superior Soviet team to achieve a 0-0 tie.
But despite intense interest, the match was neither televised nor broadcast in Russia, and newspapers gave only the score and a paragraph or so of details. The situation is decidedly awkward for the Soviet politicians, because the second game between the two countries is scheduled to be played later this autumn in Chile. Obviously, the Soviets would prefer not to go there. But if they don't, they face almost certain elimination from the World Cup.
Southern California Attorney Gary Davidson, a founder and first president of both the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association, will shortly move on to his most ambitious project yet—the World Football League.
Davidson envisions an innovative league of 12 teams kicking off on three continents next fall. He says franchises are already being developed in Tokyo, Honolulu, Toronto, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Tampa. Cities under consideration for the remaining sites are London, Osaka, Mexico City, Chicago, Houston, Memphis, Birmingham and Charlotte.
Davidson expects five more owners to join within the next few weeks, each paying more than the founders' rate of $100,000 but a whole lot less than the $12 million it would take to get into the NFL. Already signed up are: