Wednesday, January 23, 2019 | ePaper

FIFA has hectic month of football politics before World Cup

  • Print
AP, Geneva :
Before the World Cup kicks off in Russia, expect a hectic month of football politics that could transform the face of the game.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is driving his agenda of adding new and bigger competitions, even as FIFA prepares a June 13 vote in Moscow to pick a 2026 World Cup host: Morocco or the United States-led North American bid.
It is FIFA's most intense pre-World Cup period since a financial crisis ahead of the 2002 edition.
In his day, former president Sepp Blatter ensured FIFA would not be so distracted so close to a World Cup that almost entirely funds the governing body.
Blatter would use the eve-of-tournament meeting of FIFA member federations to announce bonuses from World Cup profits - effectively starting his campaign to be re-elected the next year.
Infantino could also build toward winning a second term in June 2019 by moving to add 16 teams at the 2022 World Cup. He also wants to defy European skeptics and sign a deal potentially worth $25 billion which includes a new competition for more than 200 national teams.
Here's a look at FIFA's busy agenda:
On June 14, Russia plays Saudi Arabia in Moscow. Finally, some actual games after the politicking.
Russian President Vladimir Putin should be at Luzhniki Stadium with Infantino. They have seen FIFA's expansion talk steer some attention away from this tournament.
Calls to follow England and Iceland by not sending VIP guests to the tournament have died down. The focus on issues such as racism in Russian stadiums and FIFA's inability to sell a full slate of global sponsorships has been low-key.
FIFA says it will beat its revenue target of $5.656 billion, which is less than the total income for the previous four-year World Cup cycle.
Infantino would welcome new income streams to help meet funding promises he gave voters in 2016.
Long-time FIFA watchers were stunned in April to learn Infantino was keen to expand the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 teams to 48.
Qatar cannot realistically provide the four extra stadiums needed. Suddenly, a geopolitical move seemed in play, forcing Qatar to share hosting with regional neighbors currently blockading the emirate. Infantino has met in recent months with the ruling monarchies in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

More News For this Category

Cardiff striker Sala missing after suspected plane crash

Cardiff striker Sala missing after suspected plane crash

AFP, Nantes :Premier League club Cardiff City's record new signing, Argentina-born striker Emiliano Sala, was on board a light aircraft that disappeared over the English Channel on Monday night, police

Ronaldo misses penalty but Juventus beat Chievo 3-0

Ronaldo misses penalty but Juventus beat Chievo 3-0

AP, Milan :Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty saved but it mattered little as Juventus beat last-placed Chievo Verona 3-0 to extend its advantage in Serie A on Monday.Douglas Costa and

Japan top Saudi Arabia, Australia win shootout

AP, Sharjah :Title contenders Japan and Australia scraped through tough last-16 games at the Asian Cup on Monday, joined by the host team United Arab Emirates.Japan advanced to the uarterfinals

Cristiano flashback as Iran book Asian Cup quarter-final spot

Cristiano flashback as Iran book Asian Cup quarter-final spot

Title-chasing Iran survived a first-minute penalty in a chaotic start to eventually dispatch Oman 2-0 and reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.Beanpole goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand saved from the spot

Dembele hurts leg in Barcelona victory

Ousmane Dembele injured his left leg during the second half of Barcelona's 3-1 win over Leganes in the Spanish league on Sunday.The 21-year-old France forward slipped while trying to dribble

Napoli beat Lazio to keep sight of Juventus

Napoli beat Lazio to keep sight of Juventus

Napoli beat 10-man Lazio 2-1 on Sunday to close the gap on leaders Juventus to six points and consolidate second place in Serie A.First-half goals from Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz

Tuchel draws best out of me at PSG:Neymar

Tuchel draws best out of me at PSG:Neymar

Neymar says his strong bond with Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel inspires the Brazilian forward to give his "life on the pitch", as the French giants gear up for a

Messi comes off bench to help Barca beat Leganes 3-1

Messi comes off bench to help Barca beat Leganes 3-1

AP, Spain :Lionel Messi had to cut short a rare rest break to help Barcelona beat Leganes 3-1 and protect its five-point lead of the Spanish league on Sunday.Messi came

Salah fires Liverpool seven points clear, Arsenal rock Chelsea

Salah fires Liverpool seven points clear, Arsenal rock Chelsea

Liverpool moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League as Mohamed Salah's double inspired a dramatic 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace, while Arsenal ignited their top-four bid

Chelsea in talks with Callum Hudson-Odoi

Chelsea are in talks with teenage winger Callum Hudson-Odoi about his future. The 18-year-old, who has made 13 first-team appearances but is yet to start a Premier League game, has