FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Tuesday proposed delaying next year’s revamped 24-team Club World Cup in China after UEFA postponed the European Championship until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
South America’s equivalent of the Euros, the Copa America, also scheduled for this June and July, has also been postponed by a year, ensuring European-based players will be free to finish the season with their clubs.
Moving the tournaments by a year puts them on a collision course with FIFA and its president Infantino, who had planned to stage the inaugural edition of his highly lucrative Club World Cup in June and July next year in China.
Infantino said in a statement he would hold a conference call with FIFA officials on Wednesday, during which he will suggest “to decide at a later stage — when there is more clarity on the situation — when to reschedule the new FIFA Club World Cup, later in 2021, in 2022 or in 2023.”
He also said FIFA will plan “to discuss with the Chinese FA and the Chinese Government the postponement of the new FIFA Club World Cup from 2021 in order to minimise any negative impact.”
Martin Peters, who scored England’s second goal in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, has died aged 76 following a long battle against Alzheimer’s disease.
Peters, whose death was announced by former club West Ham, was part of the Hammers trio of captain Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 victory at Wembley, for England’s only World Cup triumph.
Hurst described Peters as “one of the all-time greats”.
“On behalf of everyone at West Ham United, we would like to express our deep sadness at the tragic loss of Martin Peters, one of the greatest figures in the 125-year history of our club,” a statement from the Premier League club said.
“Martin represented everything that we hold dear to our heart at West Ham United — a local boy who progressed through the academy ranks, played football with class, skill and determination, and provided out supporters with a host of magical memories over the years.
“The fact that he went on to achieve the pinnacle of the beautiful game by winning the World Cup, along with his West Ham team-mates Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, is of course a constant source of pride for our football club and something that will never, ever be forgotten.
“It has been tremendously sad to hear of the health battles Martin had faced in recent years. But he faced them with the same courage and dignity that he showed on the pitch throughout his long and illustrious career.
“The word ‘legend’ is used all too freely nowadays. But Martin Peters is a true legend. A legend of West Ham United. A legend of World football. And his contribution to our club and our game will never, ever be forgotten.”
Peters, who won 67 England caps and scored 20 goals, is the fifth member of England’s World Cup-winning side to pass away after Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks and Moore.
Hurst mourned the loss of Peters, hailing his old team-mate as one of England’s finest players.
– ‘All-time great’ –
“Today is a very sad day for football and for me personally. Martin Peters was one of the all-time greats and a close friend and colleague of mine for in excess of 50 years,” he tweeted.
“A fellow World cup final goalscorer and my West Ham partner for years along with Bobby Moore. RIP old friend.”
Peters came through the West Ham academy, having signed as an apprentice in 1959 and went on to help the east London club win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.
Renowned as the complete midfielder, Peters was good in the air, able to cross with either foot and possessed great movement.
His ability to drift into goalscoring positions unnoticed by his markers would see him nicknamed ‘The Ghost’.
He later joined Tottenham as Britain’s first £200,000 midfielder in 1970, in a deal which saw Spurs’ all-time record scorer Jimmy Greaves going in the opposite direction to West Ham.
At Spurs, he won two League Cups and the first UEFA Cup in 1972 before spells at Norwich and Sheffield United were followed by his retirement in 1981.
Tottenham said they were “extremely saddened” to hear of Peters’ death, tweeting: “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
In 2016, it was revealed Peters had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
A statement from Peters’ family said: “A beloved husband, dad and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared.”
A tweet from the official England account read: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Martin Peters MBE, scorer of the Three Lions’ second goal in the 1966 World Cup final, at the age of 76. Our thoughts are with Martin’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Fly-half George Ford led the way as England ended New Zealand’s eight-year reign as champions with a superb 19-7 World Cup semi-final win in Yokohama on Saturday.
Ford, restored at 10 by coach Eddie Jones, took over goal-kicking duties after England captain Owen Farrell took a knock but he landed four penalty attempts after Manu Tuilagi stunned the All Blacks with an early try.
This was just England’s eighth win in 42 Tests against New Zealand and meant the All Blacks had lost their first World Cup match since a shock 2007 quarter-final defeat by France.
England’s first World Cup win over the two-time defending champions puts them into their fourth final — just four years after their embarrassing first-round exit on home soil.
“Our best form of attack is our defence. We create opportunities through our defence to attack,” said England coach Eddie Jones, who has masterminded the turnaround.
“I’d like to pay the greatest compliment to New Zealand. They’ve won two World Cups in a row. They’ve been a really great team and and we had to dig really deep to beat them.”
England, world champions in 2003 when they beat an Australia side coached by Jones in the final, will now face the winners of Sunday’s match between South Africa and Wales in next week’s showpiece clash.
Their victory ended the tenure of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is stepping down after overseeing a sensational run when they lost only 10 of 106 Tests.
‘Take that on the chin’
“I’m really proud of our team. They’ve done a tremendous job for their country and tonight we just weren’t good enough,” said Hansen.
“So we have to take that on the chin and so does everybody back home and our fans.”
England led 10-0 at the break thanks to Tuilagi’s converted try and the first of Ford’s penalties after a superb forward effort led by locks Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje saw them dominate territory and possession.
Another Ford penalty early in the second half made it 13-0 but the All Blacks eventually broke a defence coached by former New Zealand boss John Mitchell in the 57th minute, when Ardie Savea crashed over for a converted try.
But Sam Underhill’s tackle on the recalled Scott Barrett led to a simple penalty in front of the posts that Ford duly kicked.
Jones had recalled Ford at fly-half following the 40-16 quarter-final win over Australia, moving Farrell to inside centre.
Before kick-off England, unusually, lined up in an inverted ‘V’ formation, crossing the half-way line as the All Blacks performed their traditional pre-match haka.
And there were fewer than two minutes on the clock when England scored a brilliant team try.
Fullback Elliot Daly made a fine break down the right that was carried on by wing Anthony Watson before the ball was worked across field, with hooker Jamie George charging forward.
Ford then found prop Kyle Sinckler and he in turn released Lawes, who took the ball to the All Blacks’ line.
From the ensuing ruck, powerhouse centre Tuilagi — one of England’s try-scorers when they last beat the All Blacks seven years ago — forced his way between guard props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala for a fine try.
Farrell converted and England led 7-0.
They almost had a second try minutes later when Tuilagi intercepted and found Farrell who passed to Jonny May.
But great corner-flagging by recalled flanker Scott Barrett stopped the wing in his tracks.
England made several more early visits to New Zealand’s 22 only for their own errors to cost them the chance of further points.
Underhill, who had a try against New Zealand last year controversially disallowed, went over in the 25th minute but referee Nigel Owens correctly ruled out the score for crossing by fellow flanker Tom Curry in the build-up.
Ford’s drop goal attempt sailed well wide of the right post but he made no mistake with a 45-metre penalty after a limping Farrell was unable to take the shot.
England thought they had their second try when, following a drive off an attacking line-out, scrum-half Ben Youngs went over after selling centre Anton Lienert-Brown a dummy.
But Owens ruled it out for a knock-on in the maul.
Another Ford penalty extended the lead but George’s overthrown line-out near England’s line was collected by Savea, with fly-half Richie Mo’unga converting.
That, however, was as close as New Zealand got as two more Ford penalties created an unbridgeable gap for the defending champions.
The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have landed in the city of Gioania, Brazil, where the team will tackle Hungary at the Estadio Olimpico in Saturday’s opening match of Group B at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup.
Players and the officials were received by FIFA and local organizing committee officials at the airport, before heading to their hotel at the Metropolis area of the city.
The Eaglets have been in Brazil since October 10, precisely in the city of Sao Paulo, where they had their training camp and played three warm up games against Sao Paulo U 17 side, which they lost 1-2, before defeating South Korea 4-2 and then losing by the odd goal to Japan.
Nigeria, champions in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015 will tussle with Hungary, Australia and Ecuador in Group B of the competition that has 24 countries competing for glory.
First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, has unveiled the athletes that will compete in the 2020 World Para-Powerlifting World Cup being hosted in Abuja, early next year.
She unveiled the athletes at an event which held at the State House on Wednesday, October 17, 2019, as well as the mascot and logo of the competition.
The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted that hosting the 2020 championship will be an enormous task, with para-lifters coming from Europe, the Americas and Africa to converge in Abuja.
She, therefore, charged the organisers to put all hands on deck to ensure the success of the event.
A clothing line was also unveiled as a way to source revenue for retired athletes and the First Lady called for patronage, saying that it will help the athletes not to retire into poverty.
She vowed that “as an advocate for women, children and vulnerable groups, I will continue to champion their cause with all my strength.”
She also expressed gratitude to the Federation for naming the event after her and giving her the privilege of hosting the championships.
Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Para Power Lifting Federation, Mrs Queen Uboh, in her address said the choice of the First Lady to host the event was deliberate, because of her commitment to the cause of the vulnerable Nigerians.
She said most of the team members are also female and will draw inspiration from her involvement.
She further stated that as a result of the respect which Nigeria has in the world of para-lifting, the nation has secured an approval to host the global event for the next three years.
Uboh, therefore, called on Nigerians to support the clothing line initiative which will usher in a new phase of life for retired athletes.
Qatar will inaugurate the third of its eight World Cup stadiums when the Education City ground hosts the Club World Cup semi-final tie on December 18, FIFA said on Monday.
The 40,000-seat venue seven kilometres (four miles) outside central Doha will also host the third-place play-off and the final of the tournament which gets underway on December 11.
The inaugural game will see Liverpool, as European champions, face either CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey, Al Sadd of Qatar or minnows Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia who are Oceania champions.
The 2022 hosts have so far inaugurated the newly-built al-Janoub stadium in May, as well as the Khalifa International stadium which opened in 1976 and was relaunched in 2017 after a full refurbishment.
“With all three venues located a maximum of 12 kilometres from central Doha, the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 will provide a glimpse of Qatar’s compact nature ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022,” FIFA said in a statement.
“Taking place around the same time of the year and with matches kicking off from 17:00 local time (1400 GMT), this year’s tournament will also give teams and fans alike the chance to experience Qatar’s mild winter.”
Average temperatures are expected to range between 15 and 24 celsius (59 to 75 Fahrenheit), it added.
Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said following Al-Janoub’s opening in May that two further new stadiums would be ready “by the end of this year (or) first quarter” 2020.
The exact date would depend on the timing of events to launch the two venues, he added.
“By 2021 all our stadiums will be ready,” he said.
France produced some champagne rugby before almost losing the plot and had to survive a last-gasp penalty to pip Argentina 23-21 in their World Cup opener on Saturday.
Fly-half Romain Ntamack paced a schizophrenic French performance with 10 points as the three-time finalists hung on to win a pulsating Pool C clash in Tokyo and leave the Pumas staring into the abyss in the tournament’s so-called ‘group of death’.
Argentina, who will now likely need to beat England to avoid an early exit, almost pulled off an astonishing comeback after being sent into battle by an emotional rallying cry from football legend Diego Maradona.
Trailing by 17 points at half-time, they fell just short after a last-minute penalty from Emiliano Boffelli sailed just wide, allowing France to claim a crucial victory.
“I thought the game was finished, I thought we’d lost the game,” admitted France captain Guilhem Guirado, referring to the late penalty Australian referee Angus Gardner awarded to Argentina.
“But I am very, very proud of my boys. It was a tough game tonight but we are very happy to start the competition with a win.”
A cagey opening was punctuated by some bone-shuddering tackles from both sides, Argentine fly-half Nicolas Sanchez sent sprawling by prop Jefferson Poirot in a monster collision.
Lock Guido Petti was a one-man wrecking crew for the Pumas in the early skirmishes and his bulldozing run led to a 15th-minute penalty that Sanchez slotted over to put the 2015 semi-finalists on the board first.
But France hit back quickly through Gael Fickou, who showed great feet to beat two Argentina defenders and score after good work from fellow centre Virimi Vakatawa.
Their tails up, the French extended their advantage with another sumptuous try four minutes later when flying winger Damian Penaud caused panic in Argentina’s defence before flipping the ball to Antoine Dupont to crash over.
Ntamack added a pair of penalties that sent Les Bleus into half-time leading 20-3, book-ending a key passage of play where France’s giant front row stopped Argentina’s scrum on their own goal line.
A bruising game was played in a carnival atmosphere, with many travelling fans sporting colourful national garb, including a noisy group of French fans dressed as Gallic roosters.
But Argentina were all business and came out firing in the second half as Petti marked his 50th cap by trundling over from a driving lineout to reduce the deficit.
Another driving maul allowed Julian Montoya to dive before a Benjamin Urdapilleta penalty on the hour-mark made it a two-point game.
Urdapilleta stroked another three-pointer to give Argentina the lead with 12 minutes to play, completing a remarkable turnaround.
But Camille Lopez dragged France back in front moments later with a superb drop goal that just had the legs in his first involvement after coming on.
Ntamack missed a late penalty before Boffelli hooked his long-range effort just wide to allow France to escape after an ill-tempered affair which boiled over after the final whistle as fighting broke out between the two sets of players.
Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma accused Gardner of favouring France with his decisions.
“It’s a shame to be refereed like a small nation,” he fumed.
“But we didn’t do anything in the first half, defended badly, didn’t attack well — lost every ball into contact,” added Ledesma, who was left to rue fine margins.
“We created many opportunities, scored, missed two points, missed three points in the first half. It comes down to that.”
Japan are learning to live with the pressure of being World Cup hosts as they prepare for their tournament curtain raiser against Russia this week, flanker Pieter Labuschagne said Tuesday.
The Brave Blossoms have gone into very few World Cup matches as favourites down the years, but are expected to beat a Russian team smashed 85-15 by Italy in a recent warm-up.
With the eyes of the world on them, Labuschagne promised Japan would rise to the occasion in Tokyo on Friday.
“We’ve been working a really long time towards the World Cup and it’s going to be a special event,” said the Pretoria-born Labuschagne.
“Whether we’re favourites I don’t think it makes any difference,” he added. “We set our goals out before the World Cup and we know exactly what’s expected and what we need to do.
“Pressure makes you feel alive and brings out the best in you — hopefully we can show that on Friday night.”
Scrum coach Shin Hasegawa also shrugged off any fears of Japan cracking under the strain this week.
“Everyone will be feeling the pressure,” he shrugged, admitting he was more concerned with staying in the good books of match referee Nigel Owens.
“It’s a World Cup: England, New Zealand, South Africa — they will all be feeling it. Obviously it’s how we react that counts.”
Once tournament pushovers, Japan famously stunned two-time champions South Africa in their opening fixture four years ago on England’s south coast before producing further victories over Samoa and the United States under Eddie Jones.
Current coach Jamie Joseph has targeted a first-ever place in the quarter-finals, but to achieve that Japan will likely have to topple Scotland in Pool A, which also involves Samoa and Ireland, the world’s top-ranked team.
“We have an important first step this weekend,” said Labuschagne, refusing to look past a hulking Russian side who gave Japan a scare in a narrow 32-27 win last November.
“It’s going to be a physical battle against Russia. They’re a good team and it’s about absorbing their pressure and trying to apply some of our own.”
If Joseph, who will be without winger Kenki Fukuoka with a calf strain, has looked a little fraught since a thumping 41-7 defeat by the Springboks earlier this month, his players were displaying no such signs of stress.
“I just want to play the game,” growled Tongan-born lock Isileli Nakajima, flashing a gold-toothed smile.
“I don’t take Russia lightly — they’re as big as South Africa, so we will have to show them the same respect.”
Nakajima at least will be one of the most recognisable players at the World Cup, having raised a few eyebrows by bleaching his hair and beard blond.
“I like it, my friends tell me it looks good,” grinned the 30-year-old, who has been delighting Japan fans by following them back on social media.
“If someone follows me on Instagram I’ll follow them back — all it takes is a push of a button. It proves I’m not fake!”
France blew the Basketball World Cup wide open Wednesday by handing the United States their first loss in the competition in 13 years in their quarterfinal clash, powered by a double-double from big man Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.
The historic 89-79 win for France eliminates the Americans early from the competition in China, dashing their hopes of a third straight title.
The prospect of an American exit had looked increasingly possible after the USA sent a squad of second-tier stars and the loss is likely to prompt soul-searching in USA basketball.
Gobert, the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, had three blocks, including a key rejection down the stretch to help France seal the victory in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan.
The 7ft, 1in centre called the win “unbelievable”.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for a while. I was thinking we might never get the opportunity (to beat the USA) again and I told that to the guys,” Gobert said.
“It doesn’t mean much if you don’t win the gold, but it will go down as one of the biggest wins of my career and one of the biggest wins for French basketball for sure.”
In a hint of the sniping that may result in the United States over the debacle, shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who lead the Americans with 29 points, hit back at critics of the team.
“You guys are going to go on and say who we didn’t have but why don’t you all focus on who we do have?” he told reporters.
“We have 12 guys that want to compete for America, just like every other country. It sucks that some of our country people don’t feel that way about us, but we don’t care. We wanted to compete and we did.”
France will play Argentina on Friday, who made it to the final four by defeating Serbia.
The USA loss sets up an enticing consolation match with Serbia on Thursday. Packed with NBA players, the two were tournament favourites and will be trying to salvage pride.
Wednesday’s contest was marked by big lead changes, and Mitchell’s jumpers and slashing moves to the basket helped the Americans cut down a 10-point French advantage in the third quarter to seize back the lead.
But Mitchell cooled in the fourth and the French came back, led by Gobert and sharp-shooting small forward Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic, who led France in scoring with 22 points.
Fournier slashed to the hoop for a driving lay-up to give France the lead again at 78-76 with about three minutes remaining in the game.
With under a minute left and down by four, Mitchell squirted into the lane for a layup but Gobert smothered the shot by his Jazz teammate and the Americans were never able to get any closer.
The win raises the prospect of France adding a Basketball World Cup title to the football World Cup hardware they won in Russia last year.
They will first have to get past Argentina. In the other bracket, Spain will face the winner of Australia-Czech Republic, who tipped off later Wednesday.
The writing was on the wall for the United States which, lacking big names like LeBron James and Steph Curry, lost to Australia two weeks ago in an exhibition.
The loss in Melbourne was the first for the United States in 78 consecutive games in major competitions and exhibition games.
They also struggled to defeat Turkey in overtime earlier in the World Cup.