Organizer of Qatar-hosted Gulf Cup sets deadline

Jassim Al-Rumaihi (Courtesy photo)
Updated 08 November 2017
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Organizer of Qatar-hosted Gulf Cup sets deadline

DOHA: Gulf Cup organizers have given Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain a deadline of Monday to say if they will boycott next month’s tournament, hosted by Qatar.
Gulf Cup Football Federation general secretary Jassim Al-Rumaihi told AFP this week that the three countries have been given notice of the deadline.
“We have sent a letter to all of these countries and we are going to set a deadline of Nov. 13 to participate in this tournament,” he said.
He added the deadline was decided at a meeting held in Doha on Monday.
The eight-team Gulf Cup of Nations — set to begin on Dec. 22 — looks increasingly likely to become the first high-profile sporting victim of the political crisis that has engulfed the region.
Qatar has been diplomatically isolated since June 5 in an increasingly bitter dispute, when a group of countries including Saudi, UAE and Bahrain cut all ties with the World Cup 2022 host.
The countries accuse Qatar of supporting extremism and fostering ties with Iran, charges Doha denies, instead claiming the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.
Regardless, the dispute has now lasted more than 150 days and shows few signs of ending soon.
If the Gulf Cup is canceled it could lead to yet more scrutiny over Qatar’s controversial hosting of football’s biggest tournament in 2022.
The final is due to be played in the Khalifa International Stadium, which will host the World Athletics Championships in 2019 and host matches in 2022.
Al-Rumaihi said organizers would meet again to decide what to do in the event that the three Gulf allies refuse to play.
The tournament could still go ahead without them but only if Kuwait takes part, he added.
To add to the uncertainty surrounding a tournament set to begin in just over 40 days, Kuwait’s football association remains suspended by FIFA and it is unclear if its team can take part in the tournament.
“If they say no, we will have to wait for Kuwait,” said Al-Rumaihi.
“To have this tournament we have to have five teams, we are waiting for Kuwait to solve the problem.”
The tournament, played every two years, was originally meant to be hosted by Kuwait in 2016 but was moved to Qatar because of the FIFA ban.
— AFP


‘Being able to play football is not enough’ — Chiellini urges players to study

Updated 31 min 35 sec ago
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‘Being able to play football is not enough’ — Chiellini urges players to study

  • Giorgio Chiellini: Studying helped me relieve some of the pressure in the world of football, and kept my brain sharp
  • Chiellini: As a footballer, you need to start thinking about life after football at the beginning of your career, not at the end

MILAN: Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini urged players to think more about their careers after football on Wednesday as he helped launch an education campaign led by global players’ union FIFPro.
Chiellini, 34, studied for a degree in economics and a Masters in business administration at Turin University at the same time as winning seven straight Serie A titles with Juventus from 2012.
“Studying helped me relieve some of the pressure in the world of football, and kept my brain sharp,” said the Juventus captain.
But only 13 percent of footballers have a higher education compared to 53 percent of men in Europe, says FIFPro.
“As a footballer, at 20 years old you feel indestructible and able to do anything in football,” said Chiellini.
“But at 35 your career is more or less finished. You then have the rest of your life in front of you, and just being able to play football is not enough.
“Only a few players manage to find a job in football. There’s also the risk of depression, and there are many former players with financial problems because they have not thought about what they are going to do, they have not opened their minds by studying.”
The towering defender from Pisa started his career at Tuscany club Livorno before joining Roma, with a season spent on loan at Fiorentina before signing for Juventus in 2005.
“As a footballer, you need to start thinking about life after football at the beginning of your career, not at the end,” added Chiellini who has also played 99 times for Italy.
“If you are not sharp in matches you can’t make the quick decisions that you need to reach the top level in football.”
As part of the ‘Mind the Gap’ campaign, player development managers (PDMs) will be appointed at several national player associations to help footballers prepare for life after retirement.
“The statistics show each year professional footballers are not as prepared as other workers to enter the employment market outside football,” FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen said.
“With this campaign, we are encouraging players and player associations to work together to correct this.”