Uefa members rail against Gianni Infantino’s plan for new Club World Cup

• Proposal for revamped calendar meets ‘serious reservations’
• ‘Global Nations League’ also mooted in $25bn schemeA proposal by the Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, to expand the Club World Cup dramatically and to start a league for national teams, for a claimed $25bn from unidentified investors, has met strong criticism from within Uefa. Infantino, who faces re-election next year, presented the proposal in March for a new summer 24-club World Cup every four years, and a “Global Nations League” with a final eight-country round of matches, also every four years. He has told Fifa’s six confederations, including Uefa, that the investors are promising the projected $25bn for four editions of each competition over 12 years between 2021 and 2033. The investors were described as “among the world’s most solid” but are unnamed, as Infantino said he had signed a non-disclosure agreement. Continue reading...

North American bid denies underhand tactics in 2026 World Cup campaign

  • US-governed territories have votes on 2026 tournament
  • Lilian Thuram attacks Donald Trump’s ‘power game’
The North American bid team for the 2026 World Cup has defended the right of four US-governed territories to vote for the host of the tournament after a complaint was made to Fifa that it was a clear conflict of interest. The Fifa hierarchy, including president Gianni Infantino, are widely thought to favour the joint bid from the US, Mexico and Canada. It is understood members of the Morocco delegation privately believe that football’s governing body has repeatedly moved the goalposts with regard to the bidding regulations in an effort to derail their campaign. The Morocco 2026 team has also written to Fifa to complain that the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands should not retain a vote but it has not yet received a response. Continue reading...

‘We will be watching’: Trump defies Fifa with repeat threat over World Cup bid

  • USA aiming to co-host 2026 tournament with Mexico and Canada
  • Trump says US ‘will be watching very closely’ foreign supporters
  • Fifa had warned against political influence over bids in statement
Donald Trump repeated his appeal to foreign nations to support the United States’ joint bid with Canada and Mexico for the 2026 World Cup during a press conference on Monday in defiance of last week’s warning by Fifa against the use of political influence during the bidding process. “I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world, that we also will be supporting you and that they will likewise support us in our bid, along with Canada and Mexico, for the 2026 World Cup,” Trump said in a joint White House press conference with Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. Continue reading...

A radical idea: hold an auction to decide the World Cup hosts to stop corruption | Sean Ingle

In six weeks’ time Fifa will decide the 2026 hosts. But the voting process is more transparent this time round, only an auction would truly end the risk of corruption You can bet on anything these days. Crossfit. Portuguese futsal. Even ByuL versus Rogue in Starcraft II (Rogue is 8-13 favourite for Wednesday’s E-Sports clash). Yet, curiously, finding odds about who will host the 2026 World Cup is nigh-on impossible – even though the vote between the Nafta bloc of the US, Canada and Mexico, and new kid on the block Morocco is only six weeks away. One bookie told me he would be “asking to be picked off” if he offered prices, given the votes for mega-events such as the World Cups and Olympics. As he put it: “You only really get action from people who know something we don’t.” Continue reading...

Are cities starting to see World Cup hosting duties as a poisoned chalice?

Chicago and Vancouver have both declined to be part of a North American World Cup bid, citing financial risks. Will others follow? The North American bid for the 2026 World Cup, a joint venture between the United States, Canada and Mexico, delivered its official pitch to Fifa on Friday with 23 cities listed as potential venues. But behind the fanfare, four major cities – Chicago, Minneapolis, Vancouver and Glendale– told Fifa and the United Bid they didn’t want to be part of a World Cup. Local authorities from those cities cited heavy-handed requests from Fifa and the United Bid that included potentially huge taxpayer bills, as well as hosting contracts that exposed their cities and residents to immense financial and legal risk. Continue reading...

Adrien Silva: ‘I will never understand Fifa’s decision. We’re talking seconds’

Leicester’s midfielder has put a bleak chapter behind him before facing Chelsea, who tried to sign him as a youngster, in the FA CupAdrien Silva is recalling when he was banned from playing after a Premier League club tried to sign him, only this episode has nothing to do with Leicester City and the deadline-day saga that ended with an international footballer running round a field to keep fit between talking to lawyers. Silva is rowing back to 2005 instead, when he was 15 and José Mourinho tried to talk him into joining Chelsea along with two other young Sporting Lisbon players. “It was a very strange moment and I was so young,” Silva says. “To have this club approach me, especially when Mourinho comes to talk to you … at this time, we didn’t know why he came. But when the club wants something, they do everything. He came Continue reading "Adrien Silva: ‘I will never understand Fifa’s decision. We’re talking seconds’"

Fifa delight as VAR finally approved for Russia World Cup

• ‘We are going to have first World Cup with VAR,’ Fifa president says
• Fifa to train 36 referees, plus assistants, for World Cup duty Fifa has finally – and fully – approved video review to help referees at the Russia World Cup. The last step towards giving match officials video assistance in Russia was agreed to on Friday by Fifa’s ruling council. “We are going to have our first World Cup with VAR,” the Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, said. “It has been approved and we are extremely happy with that decision.” It comes two weeks after Fifa’s rule-making panel voted to write video assistant referees into the laws. That move still left competition organisers with the option to use video review in their games, and Fifa’s ruling committee had to sign off on the World Cup decision. Continue reading...

PAOK owner who stormed pitch with gun ordered to testify

Ivan Savvidis is expected to be fined at least €50,000 and banned from stadiums for up to five years The Russian oligarch and football club proprietor who stunned spectators when he stormed on to the pitch carrying a gun during a match in Greece has been ordered to appear to before a public prosecutor on Friday after criminal charges were brought against him.
Ivan Savvidis attempted to confront the referee after a goal by his PAOK Salonika team was disallowed goal in the 89th minute of the Superleague match against AEK Athens on Sunday. The game was subsequently abandoned. Continue reading...

Fifa flexes muscles in Australian football’s governance saga | Jonathan Howcroft

The world governing body has established its authority but we wait to see if Fifa 2.0 really exists We still don’t know how Australian football’s civil war will end, but we now know Fifa will orchestrate its conclusion. “Fifa will now decide on the terms of reference for the congress review working group, including its composition, mandate and timelines,” explained Football Federation Australia’s press release on Thursday, marking the conclusion of three days of talks in Sydney featuring Fifa, the Asian Football Confederation, FFA and an ensemble cast of the local game’s stakeholders. “A decision is expected from Fifa within two to three weeks.”
Related: Governance crisis: A-League clubs seek to ban FFA from reform talks Continue reading...