FIFA Sanctions Mexico For Homophobic Chant

Fifa, World Cup Draw

Mexico will play two home games in empty stadiums after they were sanctioned and fined by the FIFA disciplinary commission for homophobic chants, the Mexican football federation said Friday.

“We have received a sanction from FIFA for the shouts heard during the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games,” federation president Yon de Luisa told reporters.

The qualifiers were held in March at the Akron and Jalisco stadiums in Guadalajara in western Mexico.

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The sanctions, which include a fine of around $65,000, are linked in particular to Mexico’s games against the Dominican Republic and the United States, De Luisa said.

He urged Mexican fans to cease all anti-gay slurs.

“We must stop this now,” he said.

“The effect can be devastating for the Mexican football industry. Let it be the last sanction that FIFA gives us.”

Mexico has been repeatedly sanctioned over the years for a homophobic slur shouted by fans at the opposing team’s keeper.

De Luisa said that if the chants continued Mexico was in danger of being disqualified from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and losing its role as joint host of the 2026 World Cup.

AFP

Super Falcons Arrive In America For Super Series Tournament

A file photo of Super Falcons players posing for a photograph.

 

Nigeria’s Super Falcons have arrived in the United States of America for this year’s Summer Series – a 4-Nation Tournament involving hosts USA, Jamaica and Portugal’s senior women teams.

The team’s Head Coach, Randy Waldrum and a number of overseas – based players are expected to join up with the squad in Houston ahead of Nigeria’s first match of the series against Jamaica at the BBVA Stadium on Thursday.

Three days later, the Falcons, one of only seven teams to have featured in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals since the competition was launched 30 years ago, will tackle Portugal at the same BBVA.

Their last match is against the USA squad, four-time winners of the FIFA World Cup and four-time winners of the Olympic football gold, at the Q2 Stadium on 16th June.

Matches will be played at the BBVA Stadium in Houston and at the brand-new, $240million Q2 Stadium in Austin built by the newest club in the Major League Soccer, Austin FC. Both cities are in the State of Texas and the clash between the Super Falcons and the US Women A team will be the first-ever football match at the state-of-the-art Q2.

The USA is the only one of the four teams in the Summer Series that will compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The match against Nigeria will mark the first time the USA has ever faced the Super Falcons outside of a world championship and it will be just the third-ever friendly against an African country for the Americans, with the previous two coming against South Africa.

Nigeria’s Ayotunde Phillips Re-Elected Into FIFA Ethics Committee

A photo combination of the FIFA logo and Justice Ayotunde Phillips.

 

A former Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has been re-elected as a member of the FIFA Ethics Committee for another four-year term in office.

Her re-election was ratified at the virtual 71st FIFA Congress held in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday and monitored by Channels Television.

The election followed a motion – to sanction the proposal to elect members of the committee – read at the congress by FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.

“The congress was asked to approve the proposal to elect the persons whose names are presented on the screen (see the screengrab below) as members of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee four a term of office of four years,” said Infantino, who chaired the congress.

Two hundred and nine members were entitled to cast their votes in the election, but 203 were counted as valid votes cast – six votes short of the total figure.

A further breakdown of the figure showed that a significant number of members voted in favour of the motion while just a few others were against it.

 

A Comfortable Yes!

Addressing the congress, FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, said, “The total number of valid votes cast for this motion was 203, of which 199 voted in favour of the motion while four member associations rejected the motion.

A screengrab taken from the FIFA congress held in Zurich, Switzerland on May 21, 2021.

 

“For that motion, we needed a simple majority of valid votes of 102; so this is a very comfortable yes for the election of the members of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.”

Justice Phillips was elected along with four other members – Mohammad Ali Al Kamali of the United Arab Emirates, and Malta’s Stefan Buontempo.

Other members of the committee were Pamela Camus of Chile, Gregory Delzin of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Michael Goodwin of Papua New Guinea.

At the congress, Vassilios Skouris of Greece was re-elected as the chairperson of the committee for another four-year term.

He polled 137 of the total valid votes cast to beat his French counterpart, Jean-Michel Marmayou, and three other contenders.

Maria Claudia Rojas from Colombia and Fiti Sunia of American Samoa, who both scored seven votes in the chairmanship category, garnered 151 and 146 votes respectively to emerge as the deputy chairpersons of the committee.

FIFA Postpones June World Cup Qualifiers In Africa

 

FIFA confirmed on Thursday that the 2022 World Cup qualifiers scheduled for Africa during June have been postponed until September due to the coronavirus and stadiums not meeting international standards.

There will now be double matchdays in September, October, and November with the 10 group winners advancing to the final round next March.

Africa has been allocated five places at the 32-nation tournament in Qatar, which has been moved from its traditional mid-year setting to November and December because of extreme summer heat.

Had two matchdays been staged in June, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone would not have been able to stage qualifiers.

The main stadiums in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, and Uganda were also ruled out, but they had alternate venues capable of hosting internationals.

Recently elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe from South Africa has prioritised improving poor facilities and pitches at many national stadiums.

-AFP

Court Removes Prosecutor Investigating FIFA President, Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. Infantino on Friday confirmed plans to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 following a meeting in Miami. The new tournament, which has drawn threats of a boycott from leading European clubs, is to be staged in June-July 2021 instead of the Confederations Cup. RHONA WISE / AFP.
(File Photo) FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

The prosecutor who was investigating FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been removed for public statements that were ‘biased’ against the head of world football’s governing body, a Swiss court announced on Wednesday. 

Stefan Keller opened an inquiry into Infantino in July 2020 over three informal meetings with the former head of the Swiss public prosecutor’s office (MPC). In March he started investigating Infantino’s use of a private jet paid for by FIFA.

Keller had not yet started formal proceedings in either case.

The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona “admitted Gianni Infantino’s request for recusal against Stefan Keller” in a decision taken last Friday and published on its website on Wednesday.

The judgement centred on four press communications and a statement to a legal journal by Keller, which, the court said in its judgement, did not constitute “objective, neutral and correct information in the public interest”.

“It appeared obvious that there was not only the mere appearance of a possible bias, but that he was in fact biased towards the applicant,” said the decision.

In particular, Keller had noted in mid-December “indications” that the FIFA boss had been guilty of “unfair management” for using a private jet, funded by the body, to fly between Suriname and Switzerland in 2017.

FIFA was quick to welcome the ruling.

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“Mr Keller had clearly violated the presumption of innocence and damaged the standing of the FIFA President, contrary to his personal rights protected under the law,” it said in a statement.

Keller rejected the accusation in the ruling that he “communicated misleading and factually incorrect information”.

Keller said in his own statement that he would discuss the further procedure with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (AB-BA) and with the Judicial Commission.

“It must be clarified what effects the decision from Bellinzona will have on the various proceedings as well as the other parties involved,” said his statement.

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has not yet examined FIFA’s request for the “nullity of the procedural acts carried out so far”.

Infantino was being investigated for “incitement to abuse authority”, “violation of official secrecy” and “obstruction of criminal proceedings”.

Keller was appointed as “extraordinary prosecutor” in July last year to investigate suspicions of collusion between FIFA and the former head of the MPC, Michael Lauber.

The investigations focused on three secret meetings held in 2016 and 2017 between Lauber and Infantino.

Lauber resigned last summer while FIFA’s internal justice system cleared Infantino.

The executive Infantino just wanted to show Lauber how much FIFA had changed since the “corrupt” rule of his predecessor Sepp Blatter.

AFP

FIFA Suspends Pakistan Football Federation

 

FIFA suspended Pakistan’s membership Wednesday and ordered an unrecognised committee to vacate the national football federation’s headquarters in the country.

Pakistan football has been run by a FIFA-appointed committee since 2019, but members were evicted from their Lahore office last week by a group claiming to have held legitimate elections.

“The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has been suspended until further notice,” FIFA said in a statement from its headquarters in Zurich.

“PFF representative and club teams are therefore no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.”

The ban means Pakistan — whose last international match was against Cambodia in June 2019 — will no longer get FIFA development funding, worth around $1.25 million a year.

Pakistan, a giant at regional level in the 1960s and 70s, has been suspended twice before because of government interference in the sport.

The country is currently ranked 200th out of FIFA’s 210 teams.

Pakistan’s supreme court ordered the national football body to hold elections in 2019, which were claimed by a group led by a businessman, Ashfaq Hussain.

But the Asian Football Confederation refused to accept the result, and FIFA appointed a normalisation committee to run the federation’s affairs until recognised elections could be held.

Ashfaq’s group claimed to have done that last week, and took possession of the headquarters.

“It’s shameful,” former international Aurangzeb Shahmir told AFP, calling the latest suspension a “black day” for Pakistan football.

-AFP

Germany Escape FIFA Sanction After ‘Human Rights’ Protest

Iceland’s goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson fails to save the 3-0 during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification football match Germany v Iceland in Duisburg, western Germany on March 25, 2021. (Photo by Ina Fassbender / AFP)

 

 

World football’s governing body FIFA on Friday said it will not sanction the German national team for its T-shirt protest in support of human rights before a World Cup qualifier.

Germany head coach Joachim Loew said he supported the players after they wore black T-shirts with white lettering to spell out “Human Rights”, aimed at 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar, before Thursday’s 3-0 win over Iceland.

“It was a sign that we stand up for all human rights in the world, no matter where,” said Loew after the qualifier in Duisburg.

FIFA prohibits political statements during its matches, but the governing body told AFP subsidiary SID they will not sanction the Germans.

“FIFA believes in freedom of expression and in the power of football to drive positive change,” it said in a statement on Friday.

FIFA had already also said it will not penalise the Norway team for a similar protest connected to human rights issues in Qatar.

Human rights groups have been heavily critical of Qatar for its treatment of migrant workers. Qatar disputes the claims.

Norway’s coach Staale Solbakken on Friday welcomed the Germans echoing his team’s message.

On Wednesday, the Norway team wore T-shirts bearing ‘Human rights, on and off the pitch’ before their qualifier against Gibraltar.

“It’s good that the Mannschaft (German team) are following on from us. They are really one of the big teams,” said Solbakken.

“I don’t know how many people watched Germany play their first World Cup qualifier, but it was probably between 10 and 12 million.

“It’s having an effect.”

Norway are planning another protest for their next World Cup qualifier against Turkey in Malaga on Saturday.

In Berlin on Friday, the German government welcomed their national team’s protest in “making it clear once again what values they stand for,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert.

“That’s something good, because the national team” represents Germany, and so “it’s good if it professes the values of our liberal democracy,” Seibert added.

However, Dagmar Freitag, chair of the German parliament’s sports committee, saw an element of double standards in the football team’s protest.

Freitag welcomed the stance, but pointed out that it put the Bayern Munich players involved “in a difficult situation” as Qatar’s national airline sponsors the club world champions.

FIFA Extends Ban On Blatter By Six Years

A file photo of former FIFA chief, Sepp Blatter.
A file photo of former FIFA chief, Sepp Blatter.

 

International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) said on Wednesday it had extended the ban on its former president Sepp Blatter and former secretary-general Jerome Valcke by six years and eight months, in relation to the receipt of huge bonuses.

Blatter, who is 85, received 23 million Swiss francs ($24.6 million) in “extraordinary bonuses” linked to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as well as the Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil that preceded it, FIFA’s Ethics Committee said in a statement.

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Valcke, the 60-year-old Frenchman who was Blatter’s right-hand man during his 17-year reign at the head of football’s world governing body, received 30 million Swiss francs over the same period, the committee said.

The Ethics Committee said Blatter and Valcke had broken rules in FIFA’s Code of Ethics including “offering and accepting gifts or other benefits” and “abuse of position”.

The new bans will only come into force when the current bans on Blatter and Valcke, which last till October this year and October 2025, end.

The Ethics Committee said it had also fined each man one million Swiss francs.

AFP

FIFA Launches Global Integrity Programme To Fortify Fight Against Match-fixing

Football's Laws Body Approves VAR For World Cup
File Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino makes a speech during a visit to the Vietnam Football Federation in Hanoi on February 8, 2018. Giang HUY / AFP

 

World football governing body, FIFA, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), have launched the Global Integrity Programme – a comprehensive international initiative aimed at providing all 211 member associations with enhanced knowledge and tools to fight and prevent match manipulation.

In line with FIFA’s vision of making football global, as well as its ongoing commitment to protecting and promoting the integrity of the game, the FIFA Global Integrity Programme is designed to improve education and build integrity capacity within all 211 member associations by sharing advanced know-how and resources with integrity officers.

As part of its ongoing integrity initiatives, FIFA signed a memorandum of understanding with the UNODC in September 2020 to step up their joint cooperation to address the threats posed by crime to the sport.

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations
FIFA Logo

 

The programme also reflects the UNODC’s objective of supporting governments and sports organisations in their efforts to safeguard sport from corruption and crime.

With the objective of setting up successful and sustainable integrity and anti-corruption initiatives at the local level, the new programme is organised regionally per confederation and includes a series of three-module virtual workshops to be delivered to all FIFA member associations.

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The first edition of the programme, dedicated to the member associations from the Asian Football Confederation, started with the first module on 4 March and will continue with the second module on 16 March.

Speaking about the FIFA Global Integrity Programme, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “Match-fixing is an issue that is very real and threatens the integrity and credibility of football in many countries around the world.

“Working in close collaboration with experts at the UNODC and alongside other ongoing efforts that FIFA is taking, the FIFA Global Integrity Programme is another important step by FIFA to protect the integrity of football and will play an important role in educating and building capacity within member associations to help fight match-fixing at a local level.”

Alongside the FIFA Global Integrity Programme, FIFA has also announced today that it will shortly be launching the FIFA Integrity Officers Community Platform. This will be the first-ever community-driven online platform dedicated exclusively to integrity officers across all member associations and confederations worldwide.

This confidential platform will bring together a global network of integrity officers to share their experience and exchange best practice related to preventing and fighting match manipulation and promoting integrity in football.

Infantino Kicks-Off Visit To Africa With Stadium Inauguration In Mauritania

 

President Gianni Infantino has arrived in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the first stop on an itinerary that will see him visit FIFA member associations in several African countries along with heads of state and African Union (AU) Chairperson Félix Tshisekedi over the coming days.

Upon arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM) Ahmed Yahya, and travelled to the Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou to officially inaugurate the venue which was featuring a new artificial turf pitch that received FIFA Forward support.

“We have enjoyed some impressive youth football in a modern and well-equipped stadium which is a very good and concrete example of how FIFA Forward funds are used to develop football all over the world, and particularly in Africa,” the FIFA President said following the inauguration, which was also attended by Taleb Ould Sid´Ahmed, the Mauritanian Minister of Employment, Youth and Sports.

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“FIFA is very proud that the FIFA Forward programme was used to invest in the new Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou which and is an excellent setting for the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations. I compliment the FFRIM and its President Ahmed Yahya, and also CAF, on staging this competition especially given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The competition is a great platform to showcase the amazing young talent of African football, and I look forward to seeing who will take the U20 trophy.”

“This facility, both the stadium and the technical centre, are important facilities for the development of football in Mauritania, and I would like to thank FIFA for helping to make this project come to life through FIFA Forward,” FFRIM President Ahmed Yahya added.

Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou, along with Nouakchott’s Cheikh Boidiya Stadium and Stade Olympique, is currently hosting the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from 14 February until 6 March 2021. In staging the event, CAF also benefitted from FIFA COVID-19 Relief Fund support with funding provided for the maintenance and running of stadiums, as well as training of referees and security officers for tournaments.

Pinnick Declared Eligible For Membership of FIFA Council

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - Dalung
A file photo of NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick.

 

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has been declared eligible for membership of the FIFA Council.

In a letter dated January 26, the Chairman of the FIFA Review Committee, Mukul Mudgal, informed Pinnick of his eligibility for the position.

“We refer to our correspondence dated 18 November 2020 regarding the subject matter. In this regard, we kindly inform you that the Review Committee has declared you eligible for the position of member of the FIFA Council,” the letter read in part.

Pinnick had disclosed his intention to vie for membership of the FIFA Council, which is the highest decision-making body in world football, back in November 2020.

He had initially been tipped to join the race to become President of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), but opted to join the FIFA Council instead.

With his eligibility confirmed, the NFF President is inching closer to his plan of claiming one of the two positions on the Council for the CAF Anglophone group.

Acting CAF President, Constant Sélémani Omari (Congo), and Almamy Kabélé Camara of Guinea are both seeking to return to their positions in the world football governing body as CAF Francophone group representatives.

Pinnick was elected NFF President in 2014 and successfully ran for re-election in 2018.

Atletico To Appeal Again After FIFA Confirm Trippier 10-Week Ban

Sevilla’s Moroccan forward Youssef En-Nesyri (L) vies with Atletico Madrid’s English defender Kieran Trippier during the Spanish League football match between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on January 12, 2021. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

 

Atletico Madrid will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after Kieran Trippier’s 10-week ban for breaching betting rules was upheld by FIFA on Monday.

Atletico will request Trippier’s suspension is again put on hold while the appeal is being heard, raising the possibility of the defender again returning to action.

As it stands, Trippier is banned until February 28 and is due to miss eight La Liga fixtures, as well as Atletico’s first leg at home to Chelsea in the Champions League last 16.

FIFA said in a statement on Monday the suspension handed to Trippier by the English Football Association (FA) applies worldwide.

But Atletico will now submit a fresh appeal to CAS, according to a club source, and request Trippier’s ban is again put on hold again until it is completed.

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Trippier was able to play for Atletico against Sevilla last week after the English FA had failed to delay enforcing his ban until the result of Atletico’s appeal to FIFA was known.

FIFA said in a statement on Monday: “The FIFA Appeal Committee has dismissed the appeal lodged by the club Atletico Madrid in a case concerning the player Kieran Trippier.

“As a consequence, the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee passed on 23 December 2020 is confirmed, extending sanctions imposed on the player by the English FA to have worldwide effect.”

An extended absence for Trippier would be a huge blow to Atletico Madrid, who sit four points clear at the top of La Liga, with two games in hand over their closest rivals Real Madrid.

Trippier has become a key player for coach Diego Simeone, who said in December he felt the ban was “unfair”.

The England right-back was suspended for 10 weeks and fined £70,000 ($94,000) by the FA for breaching betting rules.

In the written reasons for its decision, the FA said Trippier, 30, exchanged WhatsApp messages with friends about his impending move from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid in 2019.

In one of the messages, Trippier told a friend to “lump on” (bet heavily) regarding his move to Spain.