FIFA has raised objections to holding the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the summer despite calls by top European clubs and leagues.
FIFA’s medical chief highlighted the health risk of holding matches between May and September, while the governing body’s secretary general Jerome Valke said there would be a clash with the Muslim fasting month.
After a meeting of a task force to decide the dates of the Qatar tournament, FIFA said that a tournament in November-December or January-February was favoured. No firm decision has yet been taken though.
“We are getting closer to narrowing the dates for the FIFA World Cup to two options – January/February 2022 or November/December 2022,” said Valcke.
“But FIFA has also been asked to consider May 2022,” he added.
“We will summarise what we’ve heard today and provide feedback to all parties in order for them to prepare for the next meeting as we progress towards a final decision.”
The European Clubs Association, which groups 214 top clubs including Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, proposed April-May at the meeting.
The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) gave a presentation on holding the matches in May-June.
Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, set out the “medical concerns related to player safety and fan safety if the FIFA World Cup were to be held between May and September,” a FIFA statement said.
The tournament is traditionally held in June and July and the decision to give the tournament to Qatar has faced intense criticism because of the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf State.
Valcke “highlighted the fact that the month-long period of Ramadan would begin on April 2 in 2022, which would have an impact on a number of players in their preparations for any April/May option and with regard to the preparation of the event itself,” FIFA said.
Qatar organising committee chief Hassan Al Thawadi said that “for the Middle East, the ideal situation and circumstances for an all-inclusive World Cup would be for it to be held in the winter.”
But he added that Qatar “remained fully committed to delivering what was promised in its bid and organising the best possible event whatever is decided.”
Valcke and FIFA executive member Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa will now provide recommendations for the next meeting of the task force in early 2015.
UEFA has argued for a tournament in January/February 2022 to minimize disruption to the Champions League. But that could cause a clash with the Winter Olympics which FIFA leader Sepp Blatter has promised to avoid.
European clubs say that a November-December will force them into a costly shutdown when most Champions League games are being played.
“We now have a greater understanding of where each of the stakeholders is coming from and we will carefully consider these opinions as we move forward towards defining the international match calendar,” said Khalifa.
RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports.
He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered.
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents.
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said.
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development.
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.
24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship
The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including; the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran 10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday.
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record. The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster. The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.
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