Qatar wants FIFA talks on logistics of a 48-team World Cup

FIFA President Gianni Infantino will hold talks with Hassan Al-Thawadi, the head of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body overseeing organisation of the 2022 tournament, about plans to increase the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup. (AFP)
Updated 15 April 2018
0

Qatar wants FIFA talks on logistics of a 48-team World Cup

  • Enlarging the tournament would see the number of games rise from 64 to 80
  • 'We are confident in our ability to deliver a successful World Cup in 2022'

Qatar wants talks with FIFA to discuss the feasibility of increasing the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams after soccer’s governing body expressed interest in enlarging a tournament already having to overcome operational challenges.
The Gulf nation took two days to publicly respond to calls on Thursday from South American football nations to fast-track the jump from 32 to 48 teams at World Cups by four years.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who has already secured approval for World Cup expansion from 2026, has said he is receptive to the CONMBEOL request while acknowledging a feasibility study was required.
Qatar’s infrastructure, which is being rapidly developed to cope with the World Cup, will already be stretched by the requirements of staging the Middle East’s first World Cup. Enlarging the tournament would see the number of games rise from 64 to 80.
“Before any decision is taken it is important that discussions are held on the operations and logistics of an increase in size of the tournament in Qatar,” the Qatar World Cup organizing committee said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday. “Regardless of the outcome, we are confident in our ability to deliver a successful World Cup in 2022.”
The tiny desert nation has only eight stadiums planned for the event and expanding the tournament might work only if the additional games are shared in the region.
The tournament is already due to operate on a tight 28-day schedule to minimize the disruption caused to the European season. Rather being staged in the usual June-July slot, the 2022 World Cup was shifted by FIFA to November-December because of the extreme summer heat.
Preparations for the event are being disrupted by the ongoing boycott by neighbors, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who severed diplomatic and travel links with Qatar in June 2017.
Kuwait, which retains ties with Qatar, would be a possible option to take on the burden of additional World Cup matches. But bringing another nation into the hosting, or requiring Qatar to build more stadiums, could increase the human rights scrutiny that has dogged it since winning the FIFA vote in 2010.


Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs

Updated 21 April 2018
0

Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs

  • Manchester United come from behind to make FA Cup final.
  • Mauricio Pochettino yet to win a trophy as manager.

A third cup final with Manchester United for Jose Mourinho. More FA Cup semifinal misery for Tottenham.
While Mauricio Pochettino wins admiration for his style of football, the manager has yet to actually win a trophy in management.
A 2-1 collapse to United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday left Tottenham reeling from an eighth successive loss in the FA Cup semifinals.
Pochettino is responsible for two of the setbacks, having also fallen short against Chelsea last season.
At the stadium where Tottenham have been playing their home matches this season, Dele Alli's goal gave the 1991 FA Cup winners hope of turning around their miserable record in world football's oldest knockout competition.
But Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 24th minute and Ander Herrera struck the winner in the second half. It ensured Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at United, has a chance to also end this campaign with silverware against Chelsea or Southampton in the FA Cup final.
"We're getting used to being in finals," Herrera said. "This club is all about titles and finals."
While Mourinho has fallen short in the English Premier League behind newly crowned champion Manchester City, United are second and on course for their highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Tottenham would settle with holding onto fourth place to secure a third season in a row in the Champions League.
Liverpool missed a chance to considerably stretch its advantage over Tottenham in one of Saturday's two league games. Juergen Klopp's side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with last-place West Bromwich Albion 2-2 and move only three points ahead of Tottenham.
Chelsea, who plays Southampton in the other FA Cup semifinal on Sunday, are five points behind Tottenham with four games remaining.

POGBA TRANSFORMED
When United fell behind to Tottenham, Paul Pogba was culpable.
A high ball was launched forward by Tottenham, a lethargic Pogba didn't try to break sweat in an attempt to prevent it reaching Eriksen. It allowed the Dane to whip in a cross for Alli to slide onto at the far post and strike past David De Gea in 11th minute
Had Harry Kane made a connection at the far post with Son Heung-min's cross three minutes later, Tottenham might have extended their lead.
Instead, United were able to draw level. Pogba made amends for his earlier inertia by dispossessing Mousa Dembele and delivering a cross that Sanchez headed past static goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Sanchez did the hard work to create the winner in the 62nd, holding off Kieran Trippier and rolling the ball into the penalty area where Jesse Lingard teed up Herrera to shoot past Vorm.