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Saturday Ticker: Winter World Cup would disrupt 50 leagues; Ronaldinho benched after late arrival; and more

Blatter Qatar World Cup 2022 (photo by FIFA)


As the road to the 2022 World Cup stretches on, it becomes increasingly clear just how little FIFA vetted Qatar as host.

With FIFA’s Medical Commission already declaring it unsafe to play the tournament in Qatar during its usual summer slot, there is no choice but to move it. But doing so in winter, FIFA’s preferred solution, would likely disrupt 50 domestic leagues around the world.

That’s according to Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the head of FIFA’s technical investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Any schedule other than the typical June-July World Cup will create scheduling problems, he told Reuters in an interview published Saturday.

“As the tournament lasts 31 days, this means it should start on Tuesday, Nov. 22,” he said. “And taking into consideration a minimum of 15 days for the preparation of the participating teams, it means that leagues across the world must stop their activity on Nov. 6 so players can be released to prepare and then play with their national teams.

“This presents a dilemma. At the last two World Cup finals, players from 52 different leagues participated in South Africa and 51 different leagues in Brazil. Of these, only Canada does not play any matches in November.”

Other issues with scheduling, he points out: Ramadan, when public food and drink are banned during daytime in Qatar, is in spring and Christmas, which is celebrated throughout the world, is in winter.

Here are some other stories from Saturday:


Ronaldinho will not be featuring for Queretaro for three weeks, the club revealed Friday.

The Brazilian legend will be benched as Los Gallos Blancos embark on the upcoming Clausura tournament because he is not match fit, the club’s technical director said. Ronaldinho arrived late to the club and simply isn’t ready, he said.

“Ronaldinho will have three weeks of work and we will not be able to use him,” said Ignacio Ambriz as he dismissed the notion that Ronaldinho was being punished for his late arrival. “I talked to him and he understood. Perhaps much controversy is caused by that, but the most important thing is for him to be well physically.”

Questions arose about his future with the club late last month after he had missed the first three weeks of the preseason and Queretaro had to issue an ultimatum on his arrival.

His problems with Los Gallos Blancos were apparently smoothed over after he arrived and days later the club announced Ronaldinho was not going anywhere.


CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said he was asked to challenge Sepp Blatter in FIFA’s upcoming presidential elections, but declined.

“I have been asked, but as I said my immediate focus is with CONCACAF and my work continues there,” Webb reportedly said. “Who knows what lies in the future, but right now my focus and firm commitment is with being the president of CONCACAF.”

Although Blatter is expected to win re-election, he is being challenged by Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Jérôme Champagne of France, both who are calling for reforms within the controversial worldwide governing body of the sport.

Webb, 50, has served as CONCACAF president since 2012 and is a FIFA vice president and the head of a task force on racism and discrimination. He has played a role in cleaning up after Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, who left the helm of CONCACAF with a trail of widespread corruption and Webb said he wants to continue improving CONCACAF.

“FIFA, I believe, is at a crossroads and whatever happens in these elections,” Webb said, “everyone at every level of the game must never forget that football is bigger than any of us.”


Wolfsburg’s 20-year-old talent Junior Malanda was tragically killed in a Saturday afternoon car crash.

Malanda, who had lined up for the Belgian Under-21 team in the past, was a passenger when the car reportedly veered off the road and hit a tree in heavy wind and rain. The accident happened in the northwest of Germany.

Wolfsburg were due to leave for winter training in South Africa. Malanda played for Belgian side Zulte Waregem until a 2013 switch to the German club. He had appeared for the club 17 times, scoring twice.


What do you think of these reports? Is there a solution to holding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? What do you make of the situation with Ronaldinho at Queretaro?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. And seriously, i was disappointed that england didn’t get it. They remain perhaps the top footballing nation on earth, and 1966 was a long time ago.

  2. One can only hope, lefty… If not it’s another example of the first world r@ping the rest of the world to line their own pockets.

  3. This is kind of the flip side of all the people clamoring for MLS to take up the same season as the Euro schedules. If I recall correctly the US domestic league played during the 2014 and 2010 WCs without players. Let the Euro teams do the same. It’s their turn for their teams to “test their depth”. Why should it be acceptable for leagues in colder climates to have to decide to alter schedules every for years and for those other leagues to NEVER (not once in the history of the WC) have to deal with this issue.

    Too bad Europe and the rest of the world. Deal with it and stop your whining!

    • I say this on every article but I still don’t think Qatar 2022 is happening. At some point, they’ll find some way to change it. It’s too ridiculous and will cost too many people too much money.

  4. The U.S. has supplied the most foreign visitors to the last few Cups, and the U.S. hosted Cup remains the most attended. So its not very smart to have a Cup in a small country halfway around the world with no tourist appeal for during a time of year when Americans (and everyone else with a job or kids in school) cannot travel. Add that a late fall/ winter Cup conflicts with the height of the NFL season and possibly the bowl games, and good luck to Fox trying to get everything on tv in a way that doesn’t upset advertisers and viewers.

  5. Does this 50 league figure include Champions and Europe? It would really interfere with the last two group stage fixtures. Ultimately, IMO the Champions League, and, to a lesser extent, the Super Clubs like Real Madrid, Barca, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Inter, AC, etc. would be making the decision for FIFA. If they don’t want a Nov-Dec WC, they have the power to shut the idea down completely.

    The other major stakeholders for 2022 are the TV rights holders. In the US, that is Fox. Forgetting the horror that is Gus Johnson covering futbol, Fox has invested a great deal of money, hoping to even increase the ratings over the what ESPN has consistently improved each mundial. Fox did this on the natural assumption the WC would follow the NORMAL SCHEDULE. What FIFA did was bait-and-switch. The value of a Nov-Dec. WC is probably only about half that of June-July tournament. Unless FIFA is going to make good with Fox and renegotiate or somehow make them whole for in essence over-paying, then Fox can sue for fraud.

  6. The road to hell (and the 2022 World Cup) are paved with 3 things:

    1. FIFA’s good intentions (possibly) to use the most popular sport in the world to open up more closed off society’s

    2. Bribe money (proof of which will never see the light of day–although considering what a sh*tshow this has become it’s clear somebody was paid something to stop thinking).

    3. The bodies of migrant workers who are still dying in deplorable working conditions.

    Folks need to tell all the major FIFA sponsors this is unacceptable and this blood and corruption is just as much on their hands as it is on Blather’s.

  7. These things didn’t need to have a technical investigation…it’s basic knowledge. Unreal. Have to laugh at him saying Canada doesn’t play in November. Talk about a lack of technical details…

    Speaking of, xmas is in December. Saying it’s in winter is only 50% correct 😉

  8. “…therefore, to align ourselves with the religious holiday of Ramadan, all matches will be played between the hours of midnight and 6am when fasting stops.”

  9. “This presents a dilemma. At the last two World Cup finals, players from 52 different leagues participated in South Africa and 51 different leagues in Brazil. Of these, only Canada does not play any matches in November.”

    Lol, that’s just because TFC can’t make the playoffs!

  10. Bring the World Cup here you incompetent FIFA leaders. Bring it!!!!!!!!!!
    By 2022 MLS will have 24 teams or even 26 teams and have more soccer stadiums, and if it comes, it will be the last piece of the puzzle to be the number 2 sport of the U.S. And I know people are expecting me to mention ronaldinho, so here I go, ronaldinho is supposedly punished for arriving late and he is on his last season with the team. He wanted to quit the team but they hold him back for marketing reasons and contract rules but sure I see ronaldinho in NASL or some awkward league.
    In other news, I heard fire are after chicharito, and if chicharito comes to MLS, gio will follow for sure and if MLS is smart, they would pay mexicos goalkeeper DP money.
    Guillermo Ochoa is a pop soccer star and he would do wonders in MLS with the mexican fans. He would actually become the best goalkeeper in MLS and galaxy would look good with him, and he’s looking for a team.


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