Saudi FA Asks FIFA To Withdraw Referee From World Cup For Offering To Fix Match

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has asked FIFA to remove referee Fahad Al Mirdasi from the list of referees for the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia after he was involved in a bribery incident.

SAFF has already banned Al Mirdasi for life after he asked for bribe to influence the outcome of a match.

Al Mirdasi, 32, was hit with a life-long suspension by the SAFF having confessed to offering to fix last Saturday’s King’s Cup final between Al-Ittihad and Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia.

Denied from participating in any football-related activity for life, the SAFF has also called on FIFA to withdraw Al Mirdasi from next month’s World Cup, while approving his life ban on an international level.

“Following the appointment of the referee, Fahad Al Mirdasi, to manage the match between Al-Ittihad and Al-Faisaly in the Cup final, Mr. Hamad Al-Saniaa, the president of Al-Ittihad club, addressed the Saudi football federation,” a statement from SAFF reads.

“He confirmed that he had evidence which highlights Al Mirdasi offering help for money.

“After the president of Ittihad club presented what was in his possession to the Federation of Football, the Saudi Federation sent this conversation to the Chairman of the General Directorate of Sport, who in turn informed the competent authorities in all details.

“Al Mirdasi was in custody and had been presented to the administrative investigation. Following the investigations, the Saudi Federation received the report of the competent authorities, which proved the charge against the referee under his personal confession of the request for bribery.”

Al Mirdasi was one of the referees in last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia, where he oversaw the third-place match between Mexico and Portugal. He also also officiated in the 2016 Olympic Games.

It is now up to FIFA to determine what action should be taken on the global level.

FIFA Bans Brazilian Federation Chief Over Corruption Charges

Football’s world governing body FIFA said Friday it had banned the head of the Brazilian football federation, Marco Polo Del Nero, for life following a graft probe.

FIFA said in a statement that the probe revealed that Del Nero had violated multiple articles of the body’s ethics code including those relating to bribery and corruption.

“As a consequence, Mr Del Nero is banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level,” the statement said.

“Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF (swiss francs) 1 million (835,880 euros) has been imposed on Mr Del Nero.”

 

AFP

Fifa Secretary General Reported To Ethics Chiefs Over World Cup Bid

One of Fifa’s most senior executives, Fatma Samoura, has been reported to the organisation’s powerful ethics committee.

Samoura, who was appointed secretary general of football’s world governing body by its president Gianni Infantino in 2016, is accused of alleged breaches of its ethics code relating to “duty of disclosure, co-operation and reporting” and “conflicts of interest”.

The claims stem from allegations relating to Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The North African country wants to host the tournament but is up against a North American joint effort comprising Canada, the USA and Mexico.

Morocco logo

Members of a Fifa World Cup evaluation taskforce – which recently visited the bidding countries – are said to have discovered an undeclared family link between Samoura – whose full name is Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura – and the former Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf, who is working in an ambassadorial role for the Moroccan bid.

Both Samoura, 55, and Diouf are from Senegal. They are both now the subject of an ethics complaint.

A senior Fifa source has told BBC Sport the allegation is “tenuous”, while Samoura said she is “fully aware of this upcoming complaint” and has “a good idea who is conveying this message”.

She added: “The whole country of Senegal will laugh at Fifa Ethics… because everyone in my country knows the origin of El Hadji Diouf.”

The same senior source, who wishes to remain anonymous, also alleges Infantino “encouraged” the evaluation taskforce to find evidence that could block Morocco’s candidacy.

It is claimed Infantino was motivated to do this as he favours the rival North American bid given the enormous financial advantage it has over its African rival.

Fifa Set To Meet Over $25bn Offer To Launch Two Tournaments

Fifa is planning to hold a special meeting next month at which two lucrative tournaments could be given the go-ahead.

Football’s world governing body is said to have held “promising” consultations in recent weeks with regional confederations, individual football associations and leading clubs over the creation of a revamped Club World Cup and a new ‘Nations League’.

The tournaments would generate $25bn (£17.9bn) in revenue.

A source close to the organisation told BBC Sport that if the governing body believes there is an appetite for the competitions, it will invite its ruling council members to an extraordinary session which will likely be held at its headquarters in Zurich and is tentatively scheduled for mid-May.

Europe’s elite clubs have recently called for fewer matches, mandatory rest periods for players, and the alignment of confederation tournaments but Fifa officials are confident their proposals meet those demands and have held “positive” talks with top sides in recent days.

“Not everyone will agree with this but we want to give an opportunity to discuss the offer that has been made,” said the source.

“The discussions so far have been promising. This is not about selling football. We have serious investors and the secure finances would be shared with everyone involved in the game.”

FIFA Investigate Russia Over Racist Chants Against Pogba

World football governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations(FIFA)  are investigating  2018 World Cup hosts Russia after their fans were accused of ranting monkey chants at black French players, including Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

Russia lost the friendly 3-1 to France at the Krestovsty Stadium in St Petersburg  with Paul Pogba scoring one of the goals, while another black player Kylian Mbappe scored twice.

The Mail reported on Thursday that FIFA are gathering reports and contacting Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) after Pogba and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele were subject of attacks at Krestovsky Stadium.

The same venue will host seven World Cup matches this summer, including Nigeria versus Argentina on 26 June and a semi-final.

French Minister for Sport Laura Flessel has called for action.

“Racism has no place on football pitches,” Flessel said on Wednesday. “We should act together at a European and international level in order to stop this intolerable behaviour.”

A spokesperson for world football’s governing body confirmed: “FIFA is collecting the different match reports and potential evidence in regards to the discriminatory incident reported in the media, including the one from the FARE observer who was present at the game. Please understand, until we have evaluated all information available, we cannot comment further.”

Several eye witnesses have claimed that they heard racist chants aimed at France’s black players, a situation that has become a regular occurrence in Russia.

In October, UEFA charged Spartak Moscow after fans made racist chants during a UEFA Youth League fixture against Liverpool and Zenit were charged over accusations that their fans threw objects and engaged in racist behaviour during their Europa League clash with RB Leipzig.

FIFA Organizes Summit In Lagos

The FIFA Executive Football Summit holds in Lagos at the Eko Hotels and Suites on Tuesday.

According to the Nigeria Football Federation, will presiding over the meeting is FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF President Ahmad and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura will also be in attendance.

Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland and  Dominican Republic football associations’  leaders  arealso expected to grace the summit.

Others are the presidents of Grenada, Guyana, Turkey and Caicos Islands, Denmark, Macedonia, Lithuania, San Marino, Sweden and Nigeria’s football associations.

“The summit, one of only 12 being staged across the universe between November 2017 and March 2018, is part of FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s vision of bringing FIFA back to football and football back to FIFA,”  the NFF said on their official website on Monday.

“ It comes less than 24 hours after the inaugural edition of the Aiteo-NFF Football Awards that shook the same facility to its foundation on Monday night.”

 

 

FIFA Congratulates Moses On Aiteo/NFF Player of the Year Award

Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has congratulated Nigeria and Chelsea star Victor Moses for blinching the NFF Player of the year Award for men at the inaugural 2018 Aiteo/NFF Awards held on Monday.

The event was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Moses was won the award beating  his national team mate and Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, and Home-based Eagles striker, Anthony Okpotu.

“Congratulations, Victor Moses! How far do you think Victor and Nigeria Super Eagles will go at the WorldCup this summer?” FIFA tweeted on their official World Cup Twitter handle on Tuesday.

Other recipient at the awards included Asisat Oshoala who was crowned Player of the Year for Women, Kennedy Boboye and Ann Chiejine won Coach of the Year for Men and Women respectively.

Super Falcons up and coming star, Rasheedat Ajiboye, was presented with Young Player of the Year with Home-based Eagles defender, Ikouwem Udoh was picked in the men’s category.

Other awards saw MFM’s Sikiru Olatunbosun awarded Goal of the Season, El Kanemi Warriors won Fans of the Season, Remo Stars were awarded with the Fair Play award and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino went home with the Platinum award.

Also, there was awards for Nigeria’s eleven greatest players which had Ann Chiejine, Austin Eguavoen, Christian Chukwu, Okechukwu Uche, Felix Owolabi, Segun Odegbami, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Thompson Usiyen, Mercy Akide, Austin Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu.

FIFA Congratulates Moses On Aiteo/NFF Player of the Year Award

Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has congratulated Nigeria and Chelsea star Victor Moses for blinching the NFF Player of the year Award for men at the inaugural 2018 Aiteo/NFF Awards held on Monday.

The event was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Moses was won the award beating  his national team mate and Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, and Home-based Eagles striker, Anthony Okpotu.

“Congratulations, Victor Moses! How far do you think Victor and Nigeria Super Eagles will go at the WorldCup this summer?” FIFA tweeted on their official World Cup Twitter handle on Tuesday.

Other recipient at the awards included Asisat Oshoala who was crowned Player of the Year for Women, Kennedy Boboye and Ann Chiejine won Coach of the Year for Men and Women respectively.

Super Falcons up and coming star, Rasheedat Ajiboye, was presented with Young Player of the Year with Home-based Eagles defender, Ikouwem Udoh was picked in the men’s category.

Other awards saw MFM’s Sikiru Olatunbosun awarded Goal of the Season, El Kanemi Warriors won Fans of the Season, Remo Stars were awarded with the Fair Play award and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino went home with the Platinum award.

Also, there was awards for Nigeria’s eleven greatest players which had Ann Chiejine, Austin Eguavoen, Christian Chukwu, Okechukwu Uche, Felix Owolabi, Segun Odegbami, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Thompson Usiyen, Mercy Akide, Austin Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu.

Infantino Says FIFA Will Decide VAR Endorsement In March

FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday said football’s governing body will decide next month whether to officially endorse the video assistant referee, a move that could see the controversial technology used at the World Cup.

VAR, so far trialled in nearly 1,000 matches, reviews key moments linked to goals, penalty decisions, straight red card decisions and cases of mistaken identity.

Its merits have been vigorously debated by football fans and pundits across the world, with some criticising the introduction of tech for slowing down the game.

Speaking in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, Infantino raised the prospect of VAR being co-opted into the rules of the global game well in time for the World Cup in Russia.

“On the 3rd of March, we will decide whether the video assistant refereeing will be part of the laws of the game and will become an official help for referees or not,” the FIFA chief told reporters.

Infantino, who has previously endorsed the system, said he is “confident and positive” ahead of next month’s meeting.

“In 2018 we cannot anymore afford that everyone in the stadium and everyone in front of a TV screen can see within a few minutes on his phone whether the referee has made a big mistake or not, and the only one who cannot see it is the referee.

“So if we can help the referee then we should do it,” he said.

Infantino heads to Cambodia after his one-day trip to Vietnam, where he congratulated the country’s Under-23 squad for making it to the the finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship last month.

Though the team lost to Uzbekistan, the tournament sparked fervour in football-mad Vietnam, which has yet to clinch any major global titles.

Infantino raised the prospect of Asian nations joining the World Cup in 2026 when the number of eligible teams will jump to 48.

He also lavished praise on the next World Cup hosts, Russia, saying the tournament in June would be the best yet.

“Preparations in Russia are very, very well on track, the stadiums are beautiful, the infrastructure is there, the airports are operational, hotels are there,” he said.

AFP

New York Jury Finds 2 Ex-FIFA Chiefs Guilty Of Corruption

A jury in New York has found two South American ex-FIFA chiefs guilty of corruption. They are Jose Maria Marin, former head of Brazil’s Football Confederation and Juan Angel Napout, former head of Paraguayan football.

And promptly, the once-powerful pair were remanded into custody.

The panel will return after Christmas to deliberate on the fate of a third defendant, former Peru boss Manuel Burga.

The seven-week trial in a Brooklyn federal court exposed endemic criminal activity at the heart of the world’s most popular sport, two and a half years after the United States unveiled the largest graft scandal in the history of world soccer.

On the sixth day of deliberations, Marin, 85, was convicted on six of seven counts, and Napout, 59, on three out of five, in connection with bestowing television and marketing rights to soccer matches.

They were quickly remanded into custody, as marshals in plain clothes burst into the room to surround the men. Napout had just enough time to hand a watch, neck chain and belt to his wife, who sat in the gallery for the verdict with their children.

“The defendants are facing very significant potential sentences,” said Judge Pamela Chen, dismissing pleas from defense lawyers against immediate incarceration. Marin takes medication for depression and hypertension, his lawyer said.

Under federal regulations, Marin and Napout each face at least 10 years in prison. Each conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

“I don’t think there are real reasons for appeal,” said Chen.

Manuel Burga: to know fate next week
But the jury said they had not yet reached consensus on Burga, 60, who faces one count of racketeering conspiracy. They will return to resume deliberations on Tuesday.

Government prosecutors indicted 42 officials and marketing executives, as well as the sports company Traffic, and detailed 92 alleged crimes to the tune of more than $200 million, but so far only these three defendants have faced trial.

Marin and Napout betrayed no emotion as they heard the verdicts.

2018 FIFA World Cup: 1.3m Tickets Requested In 24 Hours

Less than 24 hours of resumption of sales of the 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets, a total of 1,318,109 tickets have been ordered.

Ticket sales for the world football tournament in Russia resumed on Wednesday exclusively on FIFA website and the excitement sparked by Friday’s final draw brought another wave of worldwide interest.

As the random selection draw sales period goes on until January 31, 2018, fans are able to apply for individual match tickets for all matches (except for the opening and the final), venue-specific tickets and supporter tickets.

In the event that the number of tickets requested exceeds the available inventory, allocation will be based on a random selection draw procedure.

Fans are advised that during the current sales period, ticket applications could be submitted at any time until midday (Moscow time) on January 31, 2018.

No preference was given in respect of the date of submission (i.e. earlier submissions would not be preferred or have better chances of success than later submissions).

Currently, most applications have come from Russia, while international demand remains high and accounts for 34 per cent.

Fans from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, USA, Colombia, Brazil, Morocco, Egypt, China and Poland all currently rank in the top 10.

Tickets could be purchased online using Visa payment cards or Visa Checkout.

Visa is the official payment services partner of FIFA.

More details related to the sales timeline, ticket products, prices, payment methods and other important information would be available on FIFA website. (NAN)