Sport FIFA has hectic month of soccer politics before World Cup

23:40  11 may  2018
23:40  11 may  2018 Source:   ap.org

FIFA boss says Russia 'absolutely ready' for World Cup

  FIFA boss says Russia 'absolutely ready' for World Cup FIFA boss Gianni Infantino said Thursday Russia was "absolutely ready" to host the World Cup and thanked President Vladimir Putin for his commitment to the football showpiece. Infantino met Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as Russia races against the clock to put the finishing touches on preparations for the June 14-July 15 final.The first World Cup staged in eastern Europe will be the most expensive ever and comes in the heat of flaring tensions between Russia and the West.It has also been shadowed by stadium construction delays and fears ranging from hooliganism to racist chants at matches.

The 2010 South Africa World Cup (highlights, politics , lessons for Brazil). -Craig Thomson, FIFA referee and 2014 World Cup candidate. Thomson is not the only referee that has been forced to make a major decision about his career outside of soccer .

The Confederations Cup , currently staged every four years in a year before the World Cup , would be abolished. (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge). Tags: fifa , soccer , World Cup Story © 2018 Reuters - Images © 2018 Reuters.

ADDS LOCATION - FIFA President Gianni Infantino talks during Conmebol, South America Soccer Confederation, 69th Congress, in Luque, Paraguay, Friday, May 11, 2018. The Congress has gathered to select new leaders. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)© The Associated Press ADDS LOCATION - FIFA President Gianni Infantino talks during Conmebol, South America Soccer Confederation, 69th Congress, in Luque, Paraguay, Friday, May 11, 2018. The Congress has gathered to select new leaders. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

GENEVA (AP) -- Before the World Cup kicks off in Russia, expect a hectic month of football politics that could transform the face of the game.

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino is driving his agenda of adding new and bigger competitions, even as FIFA prepares a June 13 vote in Moscow to pick a 2026 World Cup host: Morocco or the United States-led North American bid.

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed staging what would effectively be a mini- World Cup , featuring eight international teams, every two years in addition to the traditional event. Tags: fifa , soccer , World Cup Story © 2018 Reuters - Images © 2018 Reuters.

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It is FIFA's most intense pre-World Cup period since a financial crisis ahead of the 2002 edition.

In his day, former president Sepp Blatter ensured FIFA would not be so distracted so close to a World Cup that almost entirely funds the governing body.

Blatter would use the eve-of-tournament meeting of FIFA member federations to announce bonuses from World Cup profits — effectively starting his campaign to be re-elected the next year.

Infantino could also build toward winning a second term in June 2019 by moving to add 16 teams at the 2022 World Cup. He also wants to defy European skeptics and sign a deal potentially worth $25 billion which includes a new competition for more than 200 national teams.

Here's a look at FIFA's busy agenda:

FIFA fines Russia over racist chants at France friendly

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Politics . More Sections. Music. Since 1998, FIFA has refrained from updating their rankings during World Cup months . But as the world turns their attention to Brazil, FIFA has put out one last set of rankings before the tournament begins.

The 2010 South Africa World Cup (highlights, politics , lessons for Brazil). Before the 2010 World Cup , South African journalists questioned FIFA ’s press accreditation rules, which included that newspapers could not “If the USA hosted the 2022 World Cup …” at Soccer Politics Pages, 24 Oct.

2018 WORLD CUP

On June 14, Russia plays Saudi Arabia in Moscow. Finally, some actual games after the politicking.

Russian President Vladimir Putin should be at Luzhniki Stadium with Infantino. They have seen FIFA's expansion talk steer some attention away from this tournament.

Calls to follow England and Iceland by not sending VIP guests to the tournament have died down. The focus on issues such as racism in Russian stadiums and FIFA's inability to sell a full slate of global sponsorships has been low-key.

FIFA says it will beat its revenue target of $5.656 billion, which is less than the total income for the previous four-year World Cup cycle.

Infantino would welcome new income streams to help meet funding promises he gave voters in 2016.

2022 WORLD CUP

Long-time FIFA watchers were stunned in April to learn Infantino was keen to expand the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 teams to 48.

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South Africa. FIFA . But this wasn't the first time, and definitely won't be the last, that the worlds of football and politics collide with remarkable results. Who will win the World Cup ? Rachid Maflouki had won the French championship with Saint Etienne before getting the call from Les Bleus, but

The FIFA World Cup is actually a multiyear tournament. The month -long finals occur every four years and 2014 is a championship year. Since the last Cup in 2010, soccer teams from around the world have competed in the qualification phase — a series of tournaments that determine the final field of

Qatar cannot realistically provide the four extra stadiums needed. Suddenly, a geopolitical move seemed in play, forcing Qatar to share hosting with regional neighbors currently blockading the emirate. Infantino has met in recent months with the ruling monarchies in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Sports and politics are being mixed, at a much higher level than the inevitable anger from European soccer leagues who see four extra World Cup playing days in November 2022 eating into their schedules.

In Moscow, Infantino will likely seek — at a June 10 FIFA Council meeting or the June 13 congress — permission for a "feasibility study" to change the 32-team tournament Qatar began building more than seven years ago.

2026 WORLD CUP

The 48-team World Cup was meant to start in 2026, and extra demand for FIFA-standard stadiums and training bases created a clear favorite to host.

The United States-Canada-Mexico bid already has a surplus of venues. Morocco was a late entry with government-backed plans to construct or renovate all playing areas.

UEFA council criticises Infantino's competition plans

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James Sharman of Soccer Central breaks down the issues that are plaguing World Cup preparations a mere 24 hours before it is supposed to kick-off in Brazil. 2014 FIFA World Cup : Sportsnet.ca is your home for in-depth “The joy that people have of watching their country play at the World Cup , and

World Cup Soccer Shop. Welcome to our new online store, where we have a wide variety of licensed FIFA World Cup 2006 Soccer (Football) items. A partial list of the items you will find: flip-flop sandels from Rider, H.A.D bandanas, Country Flags, Baseball Caps, Scarfs, etc.

The North American bid forecasts setting World Cup records of $14 billion revenue and $11 billion profit for FIFA.

Moroccan officials suspect Infantino is so tempted by those numbers he would meddle in the selection process.

FIFA created a system to score the candidates, in fallout from the controversial 2010 picks of Russia and Qatar. It also let all member federations vote, instead of the closed circle of elected FIFA board members, and it is unclear if they care about evaluation scores.

More voters also means more factors affecting the June 13 ballot, including resentment toward policies and comments from U.S. President Donald Trump. Russia and its allies could also help inflict an American defeat in Moscow.

Potential FIFA presidential candidates might also think a Moroccan win weakens Infantino, if he is believed to have supported a losing American bid.

CLUB WORLD CUP

A $25 billion, 12-year offer from unnamed investors (a Japanese-led, Saudi-backed consortium) with just 60 days to close the deal.

Infantino presented this to council colleagues in March, met resistance, and began a series of secretive meetings to win over skeptics.

A 24-team Club World Cup would be worth at least $3 billion for each edition, played in June-July every fourth year from 2021 through 2033. It could be played in China, Saudi Arabia, or the U.S.

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Explainers. Politics & Policy. Millions of soccer fans around the world have been waiting four years for the 2014 World Cup , which begins on Thursday. FIFA claims half of humanity tuned into one match or another during the last World Cup .

The 2010 South Africa World Cup (highlights, politics , lessons for Brazil). He then served as technical director and Secretary General for FIFA before being elected as President. He has been reelected three times, most recently in 2011.

It would make an elite group of teams worldwide much richer, and widen a wealth gap critics say unbalances national and continental competitions. It would also challenge UEFA's Champions League as the top club competition.

Infantino is forcing the pace of consultations, and on Wednesday FIFA will take part in a UEFA-hosted meeting of leaders from clubs, leagues and players' union groups.

NATIONS LEAGUE

The other half of the $25 billion deal is a competition for national teams from the federations who are FIFA's voters.

The global Nations League idea was developed by UEFA last year to replace most friendly games, and could now come under FIFA control.

In a two-yearly competition, worth $2 billion per edition, each continent would play qualifying games in tiers with promotion and relegation. Group winners would advance to eight-team intercontinental finals in each of eight tiers.

The top-tier finals tournament would look like a mini-World Cup played in October every second year. It could be approved within weeks.

Infantino wants to call a special council meeting to agree on the $25 billion deal in Zurich even before heading to Moscow.

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