FIFA says it has no plans for 100-minute World Cup games

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Reuters file photo)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Reuters file photo)
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Updated 07 April 2022

FIFA says it has no plans for 100-minute World Cup games

FIFA says it has no plans for 100-minute World Cup games

PARIS: FIFA responded on Wednesday to speculation that it might change the format of games in the World Cup by insisting the basic length of matches in Qatar would remain 90 minutes.

"Following some reports and rumors spread today, FIFA would like to clarify that there will be no changes to the rules regarding the length of football matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 or any other competition," said the governing body of world football in a terse statement.

Social media, and some more traditional news outlets such as Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, had reported that FIFA President Gianni Infantino was considering encouraging referees to play more stoppage time, effectively extending games to 100 minutes, to make up for the amount of time the ball is not in play.


Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final
Updated 13 min 34 sec ago

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final
  • Newcastle had all the momentum, sweeping forward in a black and white wave that left Southampton powerless to stem the tide

NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom: Newcastle reached the League Cup final for the first time in 47 years as Sean Longstaff’s double inspired a 2-1 win against Southampton in Tuesday’s semifinal second leg at jubilant St. James’ Park.
Longstaff’s first-half strikes ensured Eddie Howe’s side finished the job after winning 1-0 in the first leg last week.
Che Adams reduced the deficit before the interval and Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes was sent off in the closing stages.
But Newcastle held on to clinch a 3-1 aggregate victory that booked a final date with Manchester United or Nottingham Forest at Wembley on February 26.
United hold a 3-0 lead against Forest heading into Wednesday’s second leg at Old Trafford.
The Magpies’ most recent domestic final ended in defeat against United in the 1999 FA Cup.
Newcastle, who have never won the League Cup, are aiming to lift a major domestic trophy for the first time since the 1955 FA Cup.
Their last major silverware in any competition came in the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
On a cathartic night for Newcastle after decades of suffering, it was fitting that Longstaff, a boyhood Magpies fan, should be the one to send them to Wembley.
With Newcastle legends Alan Shearer and David Ginola joining the celebrations in the stands, raucous Magpies fans were ready to keep the party going all night long in the football-crazy city’s Bigg Market and Quayside bars.
Revitalized by Howe’s astute leadership and the financial muscle of a largely Saudi-backed ownership group, a club once regarded as the laughing stock of the Premier League can finally hold their heads high.
They sit third in the Premier League and look set for a sustained period as contenders for the English game’s top honors.
Reaching their first domestic cup final this century is another significant landmark in Newcastle’s rebirth.
Ramping up an already vociferous atmosphere, Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon was paraded on the pitch before kick-off after completing his £45 million ($51 million) move from Everton.
Howe had labelled the second leg a “season defining” moment for Newcastle and it took his fired-up side just five minutes to raise the decibel levels even further.
Longstaff found Kieran Trippier on the right flank and sprinted onto the defender’s return pass before guiding a low finish past Gavin Bazunu from 12 yards.
Longstaff’s first goal at St. James’ Park in four years was nearly followed by a second moments later when he flashed just wide from Guimaraes’ reverse pass.
Newcastle had all the momentum, sweeping forward in a black and white wave that left Southampton powerless to stem the tide.
Once again it was Longstaff who provided the finishing touch to a breathtaking raid in the 21st minute.
Exposing Southampton’s fragile wing-back system, Joe Willock sprinted into space behind James Bree and found Miguel Almiron, whose cutback was drilled home by Longstaff.
Newcastle keeper Nick Pope had kept 10 successive clean-sheets, but his unbeaten streak ended in the 29th minute.
Completely against the run of play, Willock gifted possession to Adams and the striker smashed a superb shot into the far corner from outside the penalty area.
In a symbolic passing of the torch, Jonjo Shelvey — a veteran of Newcastle’s darker days — waved farewell to fans on the pitch at half-time ahead of his move to Nottingham Forest.
Shelvey has been left behind by Howe’s revolution, an overhaul that has given Newcastle a much stronger spine.
In the past, Newcastle would have wilted when Southampton pushed hard in a tense second half, but they are made of sterner stuff now.
Pope’s brilliant save from Adam Armstrong ensured Newcastle’s long-awaited return to Wembley wasn’t derailed despite Guimaraes’ 82nd minute red card for stamping on Samuel Edozie.


Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals

Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals
Updated 20 sec ago

Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals

Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals
  • Matteo Darmian struck the only goal 11 minutes after half-time

MILAN: Inter Milan set up a potential Italian Cup semifinal clash with arch rivals Juventus after the holders saw off Atalanta 1-0 on Tuesday.
Matteo Darmian struck the only goal 11 minutes after half-time, his low strike across Juan Musso enough to put a tight quarter-final at the San Siro in Inter’s favor.
Simone Inzaghi’s side will take on either troubled Juve or Lazio in April’s two-legged semis, with the pair facing off in Turin on Thursday.
Inter beat Juve in last season’s final to claim their eighth Italian Cup.
The other side of the draw will be decided on Wednesday when Fiorentina host Torino and Roma welcome Cremonese to the Italian capital.
Inter came through a tough test with Atalanta who are a direct rival for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Milan Skriniar was dropped for the match, which was played just after the closure of the winter transfer window in Italy which left him at Inter until the summer.
Slovakia captain Skriniar will leave at the end of the season as a free agent for Paris Saint-Germain.
Inter’s attentions now turn to Sunday’s Serie A derby with AC Milan, whose league title defense has crumbled after a series of bad results culminating with last weekend’s 5-2 home hammering at the hands of Sassuolo.
Defending champions Milan have dropped to fifth with Inter now the closest challengers to league leaders Napoli, 13 points off the pace.


Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day
Updated 31 January 2023

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day
  • "It's an important shirt. It's an amazing club, a big one, and I'm really excited and happy to be here," Jorginho told Arsenal.com

LONDON: Jorginho joined Premier League leaders Arsenal from Chelsea on transfer deadline day on Tuesday for a reported fee of £12 million ($15 million).
“Welcome to The Arsenal, Jorginho,” the club said in a post on their official Twitter account.
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said the 31-year-old Italy international would bring “intelligence, deep leadership skills and a huge amount of Premier League and international experience.”
The midfielder, who is understood to have signed an 18-month deal at the Emirates Stadium, told Arsenal.com: “I’m very excited for this new challenge and I just can’t wait to be on the pitch to be honest.
“Everything has happened so fast. I was a bit surprised, but I took the opportunity of this amazing challenge.
“It’s an important shirt. It’s an amazing club, a big one, and I’m really excited and happy to be here.”
The former Napoli player has made 143 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions League in 2021.
He was also part of the Italy team that won the European Championship the same year.


Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions

Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions
Updated 31 January 2023

Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions

Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions
  • "Russians must participate exactly on the same conditions as all other athletes," Stanislav Pozdnyakov said
  • IOC said last week it was examining a "pathway" for Russians to take part in the summer Games next year

MOSCOW: The head of Russia's Olympic Committee said Tuesday that athletes representing Russia must not be subjected to different conditions from those of other countries, amid a growing row over their participation in the 2024 Paris Games.
"Russians must participate exactly on the same conditions as all other athletes. Any additional conditions or criteria are unwelcome, especially any that have political overtones, which are completely unacceptable for the Olympic movement," Stanislav Pozdnyakov said, according to Russian news agencies.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last week it was examining a "pathway" for Russians to take part in the summer Games next year, probably as neutral athletes rather than under their national flag.
Russia and its ally Belarus, which allowed its territory to be a stage ground for the offensive, have been sidelined from most Olympic sports since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last February.
That announcement sparked an immediate backlash from Kyiv, with a Ukrainian presidential aide accusing the IOC of being a "promoter of war".
Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Games if Russians are allowed to take part.
Pozdnyakov said his organisation welcomed efforts by the IOC to allow Russian athletes to compete.
"But as for additional conditions, we strongly disagree. The Olympic Charter states that all athletes must participate on an equal footing," he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia's participation in the Paris Olympics would amount to showing that "terror can allegedly be something acceptable".
Zelensky also last week said he had invited IOC president Thomas Bach to visit the frontline Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, "so that he can see for himself that neutrality does not exist".
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday that of the 71 medals that Russian competitors won at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 45 were won by athletes who were members of the Central Sports Club of the Russian Army, or CSKA.
"The army that commits atrocities, kills, rapes, and loots," Kuleba said. "This is whom the ignorant IOC wants to put under (the) white flag allowing (them) to compete."
The Olympic Council of Asia, however, last week offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in this year's Asian Games, arguing that "all athletes, regardless of their nationality or the passport they hold, should be able to compete in sports competitions".
That was a significant move because it would allow athletes from those two countries to achieve qualifying standards they would need to compete in the Paris Olympics.
The IOC reiterated last week that the international federations for each Olympic sport were "the sole authority for its international competitions".


Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional

Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional
Updated 31 January 2023

Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional

Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional
  • National team stars looking to lead new generation of players into professional arena

JEDDAH: The PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers will provide the stage for the first steps into the professional game for Saudi golfers Faisal Salhab, 26, and Saud Al-Sharif, 23, after the pair announced their decision to turn professional ahead of the Asian Tour’s flagship event.

The duo become the second and third Saudi Arabian golfers to join the paid ranks, following in the footsteps of national teammate and friend, 36-year-old Othman Almulla.

All three will continue to be supported by Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation given the important role they play in demonstrating the benefits of the sport to the Saudi public, who now have more opportunities to try golf thanks to a number of mass participation programs and new access points.

Having had successful amateur careers, turning professional was the natural next step on the career pathway of Salhab and Al-Sharif, and should allow both players a platform to test their games against, and learn from, some of the world’s best players.

Salhab said: “This is another exciting step on our journey and where better to turn professional than in our home country at the PIF Saudi International?

“It has been a long journey to get to this point but the continued support of Golf Saudi, the Saudi Golf Federation, my coaching team, and friends and family has made all the difference.

“I want to thank them for everything and hope that I can continue my amateur success in the professional game, starting this week,” he added.

Al-Sharif echoed Salhab’s sentiments, adding: “Turning professional has been my goal since I first caught the golf bug as young kid, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to fully pursue golf as a career.

“There are so many people to thank but Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation have been integral to growing the game within the Kingdom and allowing both of us the opportunity to play golf and reach this point,” he said.

“I can’t wait to be on the road with Othman and Faisal testing ourselves against the best players and on the best courses, and hope that our story can help others to see and believe they can do the same and follow in our footsteps,” Al-Sharif added. “As well as winning on the international stage, we each share the dream of inspiring the next generation, and professional golf gives us the platform to do that.”

Both enter the professional game in impressive form, following December’s Saudi Open at Riyadh Golf Club, where Salhab clinched the overall title, with Al-Sharif, Saudi Arabia’s leading amateur, finishing second.

Following their first professional event at Royal Greens, both players will enjoy a full schedule of events on the Asian Tour, traveling from Saudi Arabia onto the International Series Oman and International Series Qatar, before venturing further east to the International Series in Thailand.

Almulla, who became the first-ever Saudi professional in 2019, praised his compatriots in taking the next steps in their careers, and hopes to be able to share advice as the two forge new paths.

“Turning professional is the biggest decision I’ve ever made and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support I have received from everyone at Golf Saudi, the Saudi Golf Federation and my sponsors.

“Life on tour is a pretty demanding one, so I’m hoping that I can help the guys avoid some of my mistakes and do whatever I can to help them overcome some of the early challenges of turning professional,” he said.

“More than anything, I’m looking forward to competing on the world stage alongside my countrymen and, hopefully, seeing one of them lift a trophy in the very near future,” Almulla added.