Infantino Proposed As IOC Member

Qatar Must Host Best World Cup Ever, Infantino Warns
FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference following an executive meeting of the world football governing body at its headquarters in Zurich. MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP

 

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been proposed as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but World Athletics head Sebastian Coe will have to wait, IOC chief Thomas Bach announced on Thursday.

Bach said Infantino will be officially put forward as a candidate to be a member in January, when he will have to face a vote from the over 100 current members of the IOC.

Bach added Coe has not been proposed for the next session after worries over “the risk of conflict of interest”, adding the “door is still open” for the World Athletics head at the IOC session before next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Infantino’s predecessor Sepp Blatter, who departed from the organisation amid a corruption scandal that swept FIFA, was an IOC member but since succeeding him in 2015 Infantino has never been a member.

Bach also announced 30 athletes are candidates for four seats on the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, which will be decided during the Tokyo Games.

Among the contenders are high jump world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim, Olympic gold-winning swimmer Federica Pellegrini, double Olympic triathlon gold winner Alistair Brownlee and Spanish basketball player Paul Gasol.

AFP

Super Eagles Move Four Places Up In Latest FIFA Ranking

A file photos of Super Eagles of Nigeria during a training session.

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have moved four places up in the monthly The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings released by the world football governing body.

The three-time African champions now occupy the 31st position in the world and third in Africa.

Senegal retained their spot as the best playing nation in the continent and 20th in the world, they are closely trailed by Tunisia who moved two spots to the 27th position.

Algeria also improved in the latest ranking moving three places to the 35th position in the world.

Morocco, despite dropping a spot to the 43rd position completes the continents top five playing nations.

Wenger Ends Bayern Rumours After Being Named FIFA’s Development Chief

Arsenal’s former coach Arsene Wenger has been named FIFA’s world football development director, the Zurich-based body said on November 13, 2019.
Ozan KOSE / AFP

 

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger returned to football on Wednesday after being named FIFA’s chief of global football development, ending any chance of a move to managerless Bayern Munich.

FIFA said the former Arsenal and Monaco coach would be responsible for the growth of the game “for both men and women around the world”, and would also be the “leading authority on technical matters”, including potential changes to the sport’s laws.

It added that Wenger, 70, would also be tasked with coach education and aiding a programme designed to help former players enter management.

“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” Wenger said in a statement.

“Not only because I have always been interested in analysing football from a broader perspective but also because FIFA’s mission as world football’s governing body is truly global.”

Rumours of Wenger making a shock return to coaching had intensified over the weekend after Wenger denied claims by Bayern Munich that they had turned down his offer to take over at the German champions after the sacking of Niko Kovac.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge then said there had been a “misunderstanding” and that the Bundesliga giants would speak to Wenger “in the near future”.

However it is the new FIFA role that brings the Frenchman back to the game for the first time since 2018, when he left Arsenal after 22 years in charge.

Wenger made the Gunners one of the strongest sides in Europe, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups and taking his team to the 2006 Champions League final.

His also won the French league in 1987 with Monaco, adding the French Cup four years later before departing for Japan in 1995.

“I am delighted to welcome him to the team. Since I arrived at FIFA, we have placed football at the centre of our mission, striving to learn from those who know the sport inside out,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“Arsene is someone who, with his strategic vision, competence and hard work, has dedicated his life to football.”

Bringing in famous faces has been a key part of Infantino’s tenure at the head of FIFA. Wenger arrives following the departures of technical chief Marco van Basten last year and former deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban, who became AC Milan’s “chief football officer” in June.

FIFA Name Arsene Wenger Global Football Development Chief

Arsenal’s former coach Arsene Wenger has been named FIFA’s world football development director, the Zurich-based body said on November 13, 2019.
Ozan KOSE / AFP

 

Veteran coach Arsene Wenger has been named FIFA’s chief of global football development, the governing body announced on Wednesday.

FIFA said the former Arsenal and Monaco coach would be responsible for the growth of the game “for both men and women around the world”, and would also be the “leading authority on technical matters”, including potential changes to the sport’s laws.

It added that Wenger, 70, would also be tasked with coach education and aiding a programme designed to help former players enter management.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Beat Squirrels Of Benin 2-1

“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” Wenger said in a statement.

“Not only because I have always been interested in analysing football from a broader perspective but also because FIFA’s mission as world football’s governing body is truly global.”

The new role brings Wenger back to the game for the first time since 2018, when he left Arsenal after 22 years in charge.

Wenger made the Gunners one of the strongest sides in Europe, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups and taking his team to the 2006 Champions League final.

On Saturday Wenger denied claims by Bayern Munich that they had turned down his offer to take over at the German champions after the sacking of Niko Kovac.

FIFA Doesn’t Care About Racism In Football, Says Toure

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

Yaya Toure says FIFA is not doing enough to stamp out racism and that England should have walked off the pitch in the face of monkey chants during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria.

The 36-year-old former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder made the comments to AFP after Qingdao Huanghai clinched promotion to the Chinese Super League at the weekend.

England’s 6-0 victory in Sofia earlier this month was marred by racist chants and Nazi salutes from a section of Bulgarian fans.

The game was halted twice during the first half but England players opted to complete the match instead of walking off the pitch.

“This is a shame, why are you playing for England?” Toure, who has been outspoken on football’s racism problem, said of the decision.

“They are always talking, ‘Blah, blah, blah’, and what? Nothing changes.”

Turning his real fire on football’s decision-makers, the four-time African player of the year said: “People from FIFA don’t care anyway because we’ve been talking about this, but it’s still continuing.

“I don’t want to say that I’m not concerned, I’m concerned,” said the former Ivory Coast international.

Raheem Sterling, the England and Manchester City forward, has been widely praised for playing a prominent role in calling out the racists at home and abroad.

But Toure, his former team-mate at City, said that was “not good enough”.

Toure, whose trophy haul includes three Premier League titles with City and a UEFA Champions League with Barcelona, believes it is time the players took more decisive action.

“They have to be serious about it, players need to make serious moves about it otherwise they (the racists) will continue to do that,” he said.

“They have to get the players out of the field.”

FIFA did not immediately reply to an AFP request for comment.

 ‘They respect nobody’ 

Toure was speaking after he played a pivotal role for Qingdao in a 2-0 win on Saturday at Shanghai Shenxin, attended by just a few hundred spectators.

Victory ensured promotion to the top-tier Chinese Super League for the team that Toure joined in July, but he is unlikely to make the move up with them next year.

“I think I’ll finish in December or January, then go, have another challenge,” he said, vowing to play on until he is 40.

“People are thinking that I’m done, but I’m not done yet,” he said.

Toure has enjoyed his spell in Chinese football and stressed that he has never experienced any form of discrimination in the country.

“It’s been a nice experience because I’ve seen people with a different mentality from Europe — the way to play football, the way they feel and their behaviour on the field,” he said.

“When I play in the stadiums, nobody boos me because I’m black, it’s a different culture, they respect.

“In Europe, they respect nobody.”

AFP

‘I Am Very Proud Of You’, Buhari Congratulates Golden Eaglets

President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting with APC governors at the State House in Abuja on September 13, 2019.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria for a fantastic beginning in the group opening match of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2019.

Nigeria Under-17 football team opened Brazil 2019 with a 4-2 win over Hungary, signaling their readiness to win the FIFA Championship for an unprecedented sixth time.

In a message to the team after the spectacular performance on Saturday night, President Buhari praised the boys for the determination to excel which they displayed throughout the match despite the brilliant performance of their opponents.

“It was a wonderful display that I am very proud of. You showed that there is nothing that cannot be achieved with determination and perseverance.

“I have followed your journey leading to your arrival in Brazil for the competition. I have equally noted your determination and confidence throughout your preparations.

“I have no doubt in my mind that you are determined to win the competition for an unparalleled sixth time,” the president said in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Read Also: Nigeria Beat Hungary 4-2 In FIFA U17 World Cup

Speaking further, he assured them of his continuing personal support and that of Nigerians for the entire period of the tournament.

The President also urged the team to continue demonstrating the resilient spirit of the Nigerian, and bring the cup home, adding that he will personally be monitoring their progress in the tournament.

President Buhari equally congratulated the handlers of the team, urging them to be sensitive to the needs of the youngsters in their burning desire to bring victory and honour to their fatherland.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles Drop One Spot On FIFA Ranking

A file photo of Super Eagles. AFP photo

 

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped by one spot on the latest FIFA world ranking.

According to the report published by the world’s football governing body on Thursday, the Eagles slipped to 35th spot in the month of October.

The team scored garnered 1,481 points as against 1482 points recorded in the month of September.

READ ALSO: Casemiro Denies Super Eagles Victory Over Brazil

Despite the slight drop, Nigeria remain the third-best team in Africa behind leaders Senegal and Tunisia who sit 20th and 29th with 1,546 and 1,495 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, world leaders Belgium, France, and Brazil maintained their positions following the over 180 international matches played recently.

England, Uruguay, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Argentina, and Colombia complete the list of top-10 best teams in the football world.

Similarly, four teams Ukraine (22nd, up 3), Japan (28th, up 3), Turkey (32nd, up 4) and Russia (37th, up 5), recorded the most significant rises in the month of review.

FIFA To Invest $1Billion In Women’s Football In The Next Four Years – Infantino

File photo of FIFA president Gianni Infantino. PHOTO: Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

FIFA will double its funding for women’s football to $1 billion over the next four years, president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday following a meeting of the world governing body’s council.

“The Council decided to put 500 million in addition to the 500 million already budgeted,” Infantino told reporters in Shanghai.

FIFA had earlier this week said it is hoping to renegotiate contracts already signed for the next women’s World Cup in 2023 as it looks to increase the amount of money going to players, sources have told AFP.

“FIFA plan to renegotiate contracts for the women’s World Cup in order to offer much greater bonuses to players,” a source said ahead of a FIFA Council meeting in Shanghai on Thursday.

Women’s football will feature heavily on the agenda at the meeting as world football’s governing body plans to increase the number of competing teams at the World Cup to 32, up from 24 at this year’s tournament in France.

Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, has already promised to double the prize fund for the next tournament having initially raised overall contributions from $15 million to $50 million in time for this year’s competition.

The money will come from the organisation’s vast cash reserves of more than $2.7 billion. “We don’t need all this money in the Swiss banks, they have enough money,” said Infantino in July.

In addition, FIFA are also exploring the possibility of creating a women’s World League — along the lines of UEFA’s Nations League — as well as a Club World Cup for women.

A decision on the creation of these tournaments will be made in March next year.

Thursday’s meeting will also see FIFA appoint a host for the 2021 men’s Club World Cup, which will feature 24 teams for the first time.

AFP

Racists Must Be ‘Kicked Out’ Of Stadiums – Infantino

(file photo) FIFA president Gianni Infantino has pushed for a worldwide ban on spectators who abuse black footballers. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

Racists must be “kicked out” of stadiums, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday, as he pressed for a worldwide ban on spectators who abuse black footballers.

Speaking days after England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria was twice stopped because of chants targeting English players, Infantino insisted the world body would punish racism.

“If there are racists that abuse footballers, we have to stop the game,” he told a press conference on a visit to Dhaka.

“We cannot let the racists win. The football has to continue and we have to punish the people,” Infantino said.

He added it was now easy to identify the culprits in modern stadiums with closed circuit TV and that a “strong message” must be sent.

“They have to be taken, kicked out of the stadium, they must not be allowed to enter into football stadiums any more, and criminal proceedings should be brought against them.

“It’s a crime and it should be a crime in all countries of the world to commit a racist abuse,” he said.

Infantino reaffirmed that if a country bans a spectator because of racism, “FIFA will extend it worldwide because racists have no place in football in any country and no place in any football stadium or arena in any part of the world.”

Six Bulgarians have been indicted for abuse at Monday’s Bulgaria-England game when monkey chants and apparent Nazi salutes overshadowed England’s 6-0 win. Three more are being sought.

One 18-year-old was indicted on Wednesday for using Nazi salutes and four others have been fined and banned from sports events for two years.

Infantino had already condemned the incident in a statement on Tuesday, calling racism an “obnoxious disease that seems to be getting even worse in some parts of the world”.

He said Thursday that on top of stadium action better education was needed.

“We have to educate our youth, our children and those who are a bit older as well,” he said.

Infantino also said that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar “will be the very best World Cup ever” despite new controversy over the heat and empty stadiums after the world athletics championships in September saw some long distance races badly affected.

The FIFA boss insisted that it would be cooler as the football tournament would be in November and December.

“I am sure in Qatar we will witness from a technical point of view, the very best World Cup ever.” He also expressed confidence that the stadiums would be “full”.

“Football is the number one sport in the world. We will fill the stadiums in Qatar and anywhere else in the World easily with the World Cup.”

AFP

Indonesia Slapped With FIFA Fine Over Match Crowd Trouble

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

 

Indonesia’s national football association has been fined by FIFA over crowd trouble during a World Cup qualifier against Malaysia, the organisation said Wednesday.

The Football Association of Indonesia was slapped with a $45,000 sanction over the chaos in Jakarta last month, when Malaysian fans were threatened and pelted with projectiles during the visiting side’s 3-2 win.

Malaysia’s visiting youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq had to be evacuated from the match as violence broke out, sparking a formal apology from his Indonesian counterpart.

“PSSI respects the legal process and FIFA’s decisions,” the association’s secretary general Ratu Tisha Destria in a Wednesday statement, adding that changes were being made so violence “will not happen in the future”.

An qualifier match against Vietnam slated for next week has been moved from Jakarta to holiday island Bali to avoid similar crowd problems.

It also came after the PSSI said earlier this year that Indonesia and Australia were in preliminary talks about making a joint bid for the 2034 World Cup.

The incident marked another black eye for football in Indonesia, where the professional league has been tarnished by a host of problems, including match fixing scandals and deadly hooliganism.

AFP

FIFA Fines Hong Kong After Fans Whistle Chinese Anthem

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

 

FIFA fined the Hong Kong Football Federation on Wednesday after local fans booed and whistled the Chinese national anthem at a World Cup qualifier against Iran.

The Disciplinary Commission of world football’s governing body handed the federation a 15,000 Swiss francs (13,700 euros) fine, reprimanding Hong Kong fans for “disturbance during national anthems; use of objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports events.”

Hong Kong fields an independent team but because it is an administrative region of China, the Chinese national anthem is played before matches.

The territory has been engulfed by anti-Beijing demonstrations for months and China’s national anthem, ‘The March of the Volunteers’, was whistled by fans on 10 September, before Hong Kong lost 2-0 Iran, FIFA said.

Hong Kong is third in Group C of the Asia zone and after playing in Iraq on Wednesday, their next home game is against Bahrain on 14 November.

AFP

Sierra Leone To Play Next Match Behind Closed Doors

 

Sierra Leone were ordered by FIFA on Wednesday to play their next home match behind closed doors following disturbances at the World Cup eliminator against Liberia last month.

FIFA cited a number of incidents including “invasion of the field of play, throwing of objects, lack of order or discipline observed in or around the stadium” as they also imposed a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs (45,700 euros).

Liberia, who won the tie 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the second round of African qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, complained that their team had been attacked by Sierra Leone supporters and prevented from training.

Peter Butler’s side are one of 40 that will be drawn into 10 groups of four with qualifying set to continue in 2020.