Friday Kickoff: 2022 World Cup to remain in Qatar; Tottenham, Sevilla continue strong UEL starts; and more

Friday Kickoff: 2022 World Cup to remain in Qatar; Tottenham, Sevilla continue strong UEL starts; and more

FIFA

Friday Kickoff: 2022 World Cup to remain in Qatar; Tottenham, Sevilla continue strong UEL starts; and more

SeppBlatterFIFAExecutiveCommitteeMeeting1 (FIFA)

By DAN KARELL

As far as FIFA are concerned, the 2022 World Cup is staying in Qatar.

With news reports of abuse towards migrant workers in the Middle Eastern country and FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitting himself recently that the World Cup couldn’t take place in the summer in Qatar, it had been thought that there was a possibility for a re-vote.

However, following a two-day summit in Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA’s Executive Committee has decided to appoint a task force to look in-depth into moving the World Cup to winter and keeping it in Qatar.

“We will talk to the leagues, players and clubs but there are other stakeholders and these are economic stakeholders and we should take into account the obligations we have to them,” Blatter said in a press conference. “There has to be a deep consultation and a large one with great attention and diplomacy.”

Blatter also confirmed that the task force won’t return until after the 2014 World Cup next year in Brazil, but that a decision on the scheduling for the 2022 World Cup would have to come by 2015.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

TOTTENHAM, SEVILLA CONTINUE HOT EUROPA LEAGUE STARTS

On matchday two of the Europa League group stages, both Tottenham and Sevilla continued their solid starts to their respective European campaigns.

Jermain Defoe was off the mark again for the third straight Europa League match, scoring in the 34th minute before Nacer Chadli added Tottenham’s second goal five minutes later. That was all the scoring that Spurs needed as they easily took three points back to London after defeating Anzhi Makhachkala, 2-0.

In Spain, Sevilla had to wait a bit longer to score but also finished their match with the same scoreline as above, defeating German club Freiburg, 2-0, at Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.

Diego Perotti opened the scoring for the Spanish club with a 63rd minute penalty kick before Carlos Bacca put the game away in 90th minute stoppage with with a calm right-footed finish.

HODGSON BACKS HART TO BE ENGLAND NO. 1 

Despite some poor form recently, including allowing a somewhat goal to Franck Ribery in Manchester City’s 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich, England manager Roy Hodgson is backing Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart to remain as England’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

Hart was included in the 23-man squad as England look to ensure a place in the 2014 World Cup with wins against Poland and Montenegro in their final two matches, both at home at Wembley Stadium.

“As far as I’m concerned, Joe Hart is my number one,” Hodgson told BBC Sport at a news conference. “He has never let me down.

“I am not blind to the situation, I do realise it is not a good moment for Joe. He is a proud man and a very good goalkeeper and I am sure when he is criticised he is unhappy. I still believe in Joe. I believe he is the right man for the job and I don’t believe he will let England down.”

The 35-times capped goalkeeper has been very successful during his career in the Three Lions shirt, winning 21 times and drawing a further 12 more, losing just twice in his England appearances.

QUICK KICKS

Arsenal will be without their starting right back Bakary Sagna for the next three weeks due to a hamstring injury. (REPORT)

Recent Spain Under-21 graduate Alberto Moreno could make his senior debut for La Roja after being included in their 23-man squad for World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia. (REPORT)

Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta stated that new contracts for midfielders Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba are close to being finalized. (REPORT)

Maccabi Tel Aviv have become only the second ever Israeli club soccer team to win a match in France in a European competition. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Surprised by FIFA’s stance on Qatar? Do you see the World Cup moving to winter? Impressed by Tottenham’s start in the Europa League? Do you believe Hart should still be England’s starting goalkeeper?

Share your thoughts below.

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