Soccer-FIFA aims to line up behind and focus on the Qatar World Cup

A man takes a picture of the official tournament logo for the Qatar 2022 World Cup as it appears on the wall of the amphitheater in Doha, Qatar, on September 3, 2019. REUTERS / Naseem Zeitoun / Files

March 30, 2022

By Simon Evans

DOHA (Reuters) – FIFA officials will try to put aside division and controversy and focus on the finals of this year’s World Cup when they hold their annual congress in Qatar’s capital on Thursday.

Over the past year, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been criticized by critics, especially in Europe, for his proposals to turn the World Cup into an event held every four years in a biennial tournament.

At one stage last year, those plans seemed destined to be voted on in Congress, risking a split in the game, but FIFA abandoned the idea after widespread, and often fierce, criticism.

Another possible source of controversy in the congress was the continued membership of the Russian Football Union in FIFA despite the fact that its teams were suspended from playing after the invasion of Ukraine.

Although there have been calls for Russia to be excluded from the governing body, with the CEO of Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk calling for them to be isolated in the same way as in apartheid-era South Africa, FIFA has not received any motion proposing their removal. .

A source said that it may still be possible for such a call to be made from the congressional plenary by a delegate, but that such a call could not be heeded according to the organization’s bylaws.

Although Russian delegates will be present, Ukrainian football officials have not been able to travel to Doha and their organization will be represented by an embassy official.

Infantino, who is facing an election at next year’s congress, is expected to focus his speech on praising Qatar’s preparations for the November tournament.


Despite the ongoing controversy over the host rights bidding process, voted in 2010, and concerns over migrant workers and other human rights issues, Infantino will argue that the first World Cup in the Middle East will be a major milestone for the game. .

“When I hear some voices say that an Arab country does not deserve to host the World Cup because there is no history of football, or any such nonsense, I do not completely agree with that because the whole world deserves to have the World Cup,” said Infantino a Reuters Television.

“This time it’s in an Arab country. There were some issues, but we were able to help a little bit to address them,” he said.

Qatar organizers will use the congress as an opportunity to reassure FIFA delegates that their preparations are on schedule and to tell fans who are still skeptical that they can expect a pleasant visit to the Gulf country.

“I think many fans, especially those living in the Northern Hemisphere, will be excited to be able to leave their cold countries to come here, enjoy the weather, go to the beaches, enjoy the food here, enjoy the different cultural attractions, nightlife “Nasser Al-Khater, CEO of Qatar’s organizing body, told Reuters.

“It’s going to be a special World Cup and we’re looking forward to welcoming the fans here.”

(Information from Simon Evans, additional information from Iain Axon, edited by Ed Osmond)

Soccer-FIFA aims to line up behind and focus on the Qatar World Cup

Source link Soccer-FIFA aims to line up behind and focus on the Qatar World Cup

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