Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Short and sweet today. Is Sepp Blatter really “unbeatable” ahead of the June 1 election for the FIFA presidency?
It would appear so, though under his leadership the sport’s governing body has come under fire for alleged corruption.
That said, you have to admire his workrate. He is no ordinary 75-year-old.
Some transfer speculation now, and with Ligue 1 leaders Lille set to all but clinch the title on Wednesday will they be agitated by rumours that star man Eden Hazard could leave?
And how about Everton’s Leighton Baines to Manchester City for 25 million pounds? Money is no obstacle for the Manchester side as they prepare to sail into uncharted waters in the Champions League next season.
Ask most football fans about what day in the season they looked forward to the most in the past and the FA Cup would have often topped the list, but the grand old competition is on the wane.
Just another night of footballing action and another trophy for the all-conquering Barcelona, who on Wednesday clinched their third successive La Liga title despite a laboured 1-1 draw away to Levante.
Manchester United will be hoping a similarly weary Barcelona turn up at Wembley for the Champions League final on May 28, hopefully having themselves recently won their top domestic honour, the Premier League.
Dominating football news on Tuesday are the allegations by David Triesman to a UK parliamentary inquiry that several FIFA executive committee members asked for favours in return for their votes for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
Startling stuff, especially with the FIFA presidential election less than a month away and a third of the 24-man executive committee having been accused of corruption.
Visitors to the Marriot Marquis Hotel in downtown Miami on Tuesday were greeted by a typical conference ‘Welcome Desk’ in the hotel’s spacious lobby area. Behind the desk was a banner declaring the 50th Congress of CONCACAF – the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean was gathering, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, to review the year, discuss key issues and – top of the agenda – to decide whether to back Blatter in June’s FIFA elections or to support his opponent, Asian soccer chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.
It was the first time I had seen the logo of the congress. There had been no promotion of the event on the Confederation’s website, no communiques from CONCACAF inviting the press to the gathering and, somewhat strangely, the three seats at the welcome desk were empty. A rather odd ‘welcome’ to what was, in world soccer governance, a crucial meeting.
The sport is more global than ever, highlighted in December when Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup ahead of the United States, Japan, Australia and South Korea despite the fact a Middle Eastern country has never before hosted a major global sporting event.
Well well well. Now the Champions League really is wide open..
So here’s that quarter-final draw again:
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Manchester United
Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk
Inter Milan v Schalke 04
As Gary Lineker put it, there will be an English team in the semi-finals, but could Tottenham make it two sides? Real are certainly not invincible.
Now, before taking a look at all the domestic leagues over the weekend, a recap of Thursday’s highlights from the Europa League. Quite a night of upsets.
What Sepp Blatter wants he usually gets. So when the FIFA president said that the Qatari World Cup finals will “probably” be in the winter because of the summer heat you can safely begin preparations now for your trip to the Middle East in January 2022.
The decision to move the date of the first World Cup in the Middle East, which first needs to be ratified by FIFA’s executive committee, is going to have huge ramifications on club and international soccer up to five years before the 2022 tournament as well as on other sports.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is well known for coming up with some odd ideas and this latest seems as strange as any.
Blatter has admitted that there was too much negative football at the World Cup and believes that one way of improving things would be to scrap extra-time after drawn knockout matches.
Anybody who saw the pictures of Aaron Ramsey’s shattered shin will have winced in disgust but the hysterical reaction to Ryan Shawcross’s tackle that caused it has been based on emotion rather than cold analysis.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger muttered dark thoughts about how it was “no coincidence” that Ramsey, Eduardo and Abou Diaby had all suffered terrible injuries as teams tried to kick Arsenal off the pitch.