By CAITLIN MURRAY
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 SIDELINED FOR 3 WEEKS DUE TO LACK OF FITNESS
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 WAS ASKED TO RUN FOR FIFA PRESIDENT
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.”
YOUNG BELGIAN PLAYER DIES IN CAR ACCIDENT
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?
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