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Football: Fifa consults to better impose its biennial World Cup



“The most inclusive and in-depth consultation process the football world has ever seen internationally. “ President Gianni Infantino does not hesitate to praise it, this vast program that his International Football Federation (Fifa) has just launched to collect the opinions of all players in the round ball on the reform of international match schedules, and in particular on its flagship measure: a World Cup every two years.

→ READ. Football: the Blues regain victory against Finland

On September 30, at a four-hour online summit bringing together FIFA member associations, Gianni Infantino made sure not to anger anyone, ensuring that “Everyone must come out a winner from this process”, but hammering that his vision “Is to make football truly global”. Between the lines, it is all the stake of the weeks to come which can be read. Because a battle is well underway.

Major hostility to reform

This World Cup every two years is not a new idea. Gianni Infantino’s predecessor, Sepp Blatter, had suggested it in the late 1990s. But no one had dared to touch the legendary competition. Nearly a quarter of a century later, at least one consensus is emerging: the need to change an international calendar that no longer satisfies anyone. Too many appointments, too many periods in the year forcing players to join their national team, generating fatigue and risk of injury at home, and discontent among club managers forced to let them go.

The solution ? Director of development for Fifa since the end of 2019, ex-Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has been exposing it for a few weeks: more than one or two international breaks (against five today), a World Cup every two years, alternating with a continental competition, such as the Euro for example, which would also become biennial. Just like the Women’s World Cup which would follow the same path.

Since the announcement of the project, a few players have shown major hostility. The continental bodies of Europe (UEFA) and South America (Conmebol), the world union of players (Fifpro), associations of supporters. Individually, voices are raised against the change, from coach Didier Deschamps to his Belgian counterpart Roberto Martinez, including former players like Thierry Henry.

For them, a World Cup every two years would dilute the interest of the event, and a major annual international event would exhaust the players. “Have the current players been asked what they think? They are not in favor ”, recently assured the former Bleu on an English channel. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin did not hesitate to wave the threat of a boycott if the reform were to be carried out. Between pro and anti, war is declared.

Playing the rich against the poor

For FIFA, it is first and foremost a matter of communication: convincing that it wants above all a universal development of the game, by responding in particular to the needs of Africa and Asia whose competitions obviously do not have the influence and value of those played by Europeans and South Americans. The bottom line is also largely financial. With a biennial World Cup, Fifa hopes to increase its income, dangling an interesting runoff to neglected continents.

→ ANALYSIS. Football: three European Cups or nothing

A logic that UEFA can afford to denigrate: with its annual European cups, it generates twice as much income as Fifa: $ 12.5 billion from 2017 to 2020, a period that does not even take into account the Euro postponed to 2021, against 6.4 billion for Fifa. Fifa can suddenly play the institution’s card, defending the rest of the world against the interests of the richest.

A vote must finally settle the debates (read opposite). To win, Fifa must convince 106 associations of its 211 members. The African Confederation, whose new president (elected in March 2021), lawyer and billionaire businessman, is known to be very close to Gianni Infantino, declared itself rather favorable last July. She represents 54 votes at the Fifa Congress. The Caribbean Football Union, with its 27 votes, is also won over. The Asian Confederation is still on the reserve, but some of its 47 federations are already applauding with both hands (Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka). The coming weeks indeed promise a lot of backstage turmoil.

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A world summit by the end of the year

At the same time as the launch of the consultation process, Fifa announced a calendar on September 30. The current consultation phase also concerns supporters, Fifa promising an international survey of a sample of more than 100,000 people.

Next November, ” a full report on the process will be published and discussed during a ” world summit “That Fifa must organize” by the end of the year “. Will a vote then be decided to effect a change? The vagueness remains on the subject. Even if Fifa would like to go fast, it still has a little time to impose an upheaval that would come into force in 2028.

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2022 World Cup: the Blues, the qualifying campaign limping



Almost at the end. From this traveling sequence forcing the Blues to swallow nearly 10,000 km in a week, from these strange qualifications for the 2022 World Cup shifted by the coronavirus and which fall like a hair on the soup in the already tight program of the players, of these locked matches which sequester a deep boredom. The eleven of France faces this Wednesday March 31 in Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina, and for the fun of it, please come back.

To correct their sluggish start against Ukraine (1-1), and their laborious trip to Kazakhstan (2-0), it is above all a question of “Do the job”, if we take the terminology of coach Didier Deschamps. The result, therefore, the essential as always. Because from one generation to the next, so are the Blues: the qualification campaigns are not their cup of tea. Rather a bitter potion, which even the 1998 world champions have indeed sipped.

Chaotic campaigns

From the start of the 1998 school year, their race for Euro 2000 began with a stay in Iceland, under the leadership of Roger Lemerre. The match and the score are zero (1-1) and the former assistant of Aimé Jacquet admits, disappointed, that the Blues “Could not solve the problem posed: eliminate a block”. Yes, already the famous “block”, says more precisely “Low block” today, this concrete defense strategy on which the Blues often crash. They are however in offensive mode in Reykjavik that year (Djorkaeff-Pires-Zidane-Laslandes-Dugarry), but unable to find the solution.

The whole campaign thus unfolds in pain, qualification only intervening in the last day, and again thanks to an incredible twist of fate: a draw between the two rivals of France, Russia and Ukraine, won by the latter on a gag goal at the 87e minute. Russia finds itself eliminated, Ukraine barrage, and France passes through a mouse hole. We know the rest: the European title conquered in extremis against Italy, a good sequence after the World Cup at home.

Another generation, same complication. This time, it is Raymond Domenech at the helm in search of the ticket for the 2006 World Cup. It is necessary to ensure the succession of the golden generation, and the key word is then “Reconstruction”. The foundations are cracked. A 0-0 against Israel, a meager 2-0 brought back from the Faroe Islands, and another 0-0 at home against Ireland. Fighting commotion. The former Zidane, Thuram and Makélélé come back as saviors of the homeland, and the Blues snatch their ticket on the wire. And then comes the superb epic, until overtime under tension in the final lost against Italy.

But the galleys continue. The qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup? The Blues beat Serbia and play-offs against Ireland eliminated (2-1) on the “famous” hand of Thierry Henry. Euro 2012? The Blues of coach Laurent Blanc trample until the last day and a small draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina (1-1). The 2014 World Cup? Second behind Spain, the Blues are still barrage, and against Ukraine, the nightmare of the first leg (2-0 defeat) turns into a thrilling memory thanks to the turnaround of the return (3-0). But the repetition confirms it: the France team limps in qualifying.

A very French exception

None of its great national rivals has exhibited such difficulties since the turn of the century. Over the last eleven campaigns for the Euro or the World Cup, England and Italy certainly miss the boat once completely. England is absent from Euro 2008 and Italy from the 2018 World Cup. But the hitch is an exception. Germany is barrage for access to the 2002 World Cup, and Spain also for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. But they always send the case as a formality. For the rest, their routes are often fitness walks.

The Blues have known only once this type of walk: to go to Portugal to Euro 2004. Eight wins out of 8.29 goals scored and only two conceded. Except that the reward was a surprise defeat in the quarter-finals against the Greeks, future European champions. Demonstration by the counterexample. The Blues are more likely to describe themselves as a Cup team, capable of transcending themselves during the event, or of completely missing out (as at the 2002 or 2010 World Cup).

After the 2018 title, Didier Deschamps especially praised the adaptability of his team. On these qualifiers, these Blues, however, know the strategy of the wall that the opponents are developing, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, even if more playful, should not embark on the attack at full speed. For the moment, however, their adaptability remains very limited. History to keep in reserve for the Euro to come? Strongly the continuation.

Blueberries against Iceland for a place in the quarter

After their disastrous entry into the group stage of Euro Espoirs in Hungary (a 1-0 defeat against Denmark), the Bleuets raised the bar and kept their qualifying chance by beating Russia 2-0. But to get a ticket for the quarter-finals next May, you have to get a good result this Wednesday, March 31 against Iceland. Victory advised, even if a draw may suffice if the Danes, at the top of the group, win against the Russians.

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Sports

Football: should we boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?



The figure is terrible, revealed by a survey of Guardian February 23: 6,500 migrants have died in Qatar since 2010, most from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. A figure probably underestimated according to the British daily, because it lacks statistics from countries like the Philippines or Kenya, which have also sent large numbers of workers to Qatar.

→ READ. In Qatar, the hidden face of the 2022 World Cup

For ten years, more than 2 million foreigners have in fact come to swell the workforce necessary for the construction of stadiums and infrastructures for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They are working in very precarious conditions, in oppressive heat, often without even the certainty of being paid. The recent investigation by Guardian is not the first of its kind. The newspaper has regularly alerted on this subject since 2013 and the death of 44 Nepalese workers on the construction sites of the World Cup.

The Fifa and the FFF indifferent

At the time, the International Football Federation (Fifa) said “Concerned”. Today, less than two years from the event, which will be held from November 21 to December 18, 2022, the tone has changed. “The frequency of accidents at Fifa World Cup construction sites has been low compared to other major construction projects around the world,” cleared the proceedings.

→ ANALYSIS. Despite criticism, Qatar intends to continue its sporting road

The Qatari government, for its part, sees no anomaly in the death rate of its immigrant population and claims that only 20% of these expatriates are employed in the construction sector. It prevents. The debate on a possible boycott of the World Cup in Qatar has returned to the fore.

” Is right, considers Régis Juanico, Génération.s deputy for the Loire, who had already signed a forum in 2019 calling on the French team to boycott. We can no longer tolerate the attribution of major international competitions to these countries still lagging behind in respect of human rights. What governments, in the name of realpolitik and good economic relations, do not dare to do, we can ask sportsmen, who are very popular on social networks and who can shake things up. “

It is true that in recent months, some stars of the France team have not failed – and this is quite new – to position themselves on societal issues, such as Kylian Mbappé on racism or Antoine Griezmann in support of the Uyghurs persecuted in China.

Will they dare to express themselves on the World Cup, the flagship competition in which every footballer dreams of participating? On March 8, in an interview with AFP, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noël Le Graët replied for them: “Qatar has long been designated by officials, we are not going to question the organization within a year. France will be present in Qatar if it qualifies. “

A State sensitive to its international image

To boycott, Amnesty International, which has been working on the subject since 2014, prefers “The pressure on different actors to change things, explains Sabine Gagnier, in charge of corporate and human rights advocacy within the NGO. Qatar is nonetheless very sensitive to its international image, and our numerous campaigns, among others, have enabled labor law to evolve in the country ”.

In two stages, in 2016 and then in August 2020, reforms made it possible to reduce the kafala, this system which prohibits migrant workers from changing jobs without the authorization of their employers. A new law also establishes a minimum wage of € 230 per month.

“These are real advances, but still too slow, admits Sabine Gagnier. And we must remain vigilant. Last February, an opinion from the Shura Council, the parliament of Qatar, recommended limiting the possibility of changing jobs to three times during the stay of workers. It would be a real step backwards. The pressure must not be released. “

In Qatar, the abolition of “kafala” does not sign the end of arbitrariness for foreign workers

Boycotting in order to really make an impression or take advantage of the sporting event to impose gradual changes is a recurring debate, widely present, for example, before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

For Raphaël Le Magoariec, researcher at the University of Tours and specialist in sports policies in the Gulf countries, the effectiveness of the pressure exerted on the occasion of international events exists. “Especially vis-à-vis countries like Qatar, all the same more fragile than behemoths like China. Without the angle of attack offered by the World Cup, the situation would certainly not have changed, and it must be seen that the progress recorded is initiating a dynamic which can also encourage neighboring countries to embark on similar reforms. In this way, movements internal to these societies can occur, which one can judge to be minimal or too slow, but which are nonetheless real ”.

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2022 World Cup: the Blues stumble against Ukraine


The French world champions stumbled against Ukraine (1-1) in the inaugural summit of their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Wednesday March 24 in Saint-Denis. A hitch that will have to be erased from next Sunday in Kazakhstan.

Antoine Griezmann may well have put the Blues in orbit early with a sublime wound shot (19th), the “Zbirna” did not let go and equalized on a “csc” from the unfortunate Presnel Kimpembe (57th).

→ ANALYSIS. Football: Ousmane Dembélé back to the Blues just in time for the Euro

By letting the victory slip away against Ukraine, a priori the toughest rival in qualifying group D, the French failed to take the lead, while Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina also shared the points (2-2).

Double displacement awaiting them on Sunday

Didier Deschamps’ troops must now fill up with points and confidence during the double trip that awaits them with the modest team of Kazakhstan, Sunday March 28 in Nur-Sultan (ex-Astana), then in Sarajevo the following Wednesday to challenge the Bosnia of Miralem Pjanic.

→ READ. Football is finally back on the pitch

In the meantime, they were faithful to the history of the France team on Wednesday, punctuated by qualifying phases which are often difficult, sometimes laborious, and which are in any case “Always hardships”, to use the expression used Tuesday by Captain Hugo Lloris. “I’m not darkening the picture, the situation is not obvious, but the qualification course is a long course and not a long quiet river, it has never been”, also noted Didier Deschamps after the match, on TF1.

2022 World Cup: the Blues stumble against Ukraine

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The results of the qualifying matches on Wednesday March 24

Finland-Bosnia (2-2)

Estonia-Czech Republic (2-6)

Belgium-Wales (3-1)

Latvia-Montenegro (1-2)

Gibraltar-Norway (0-3)

Turkey-Netherlands (4-2)

Cyprus-Slovakia (0-0)

Malta-Russia (1-3)

Slovenia-Croatia (1-0)

Serbia-Ireland (3-2)

Portugal-Azerbaijan (1-0)

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Handball: France stopped by Sweden in the semi-final of the World Cup



Weakened by the absence of Timothey N’Guessan and Luka Karabatic, the French handball team saw its dream of a title fly away at the World Cup in Egypt, beaten in the semi-final by a young and talented Sweden (26-32 ), Friday January 29 in Cairo. Twenty years after its last final, Sweden will face Denmark or Spain on Sunday to try to win a fifth title and make up half of its delay over France (6 crowns) at the top of the list.

The Blues have not yet finished with their Egyptian campaign, which will remain successful in the event of a podium. This will go through a success on the loser of the Spain – Denmark match, and therefore a bronze medal in this first World Cup with 32 teams and behind closed doors.

A third place would be a great reward for Guillaume Gille, appointed coach in January 2020 in the wake of the historic elimination in the first round of the Euro. For a group that came to Egypt without the icon Nikola Karabatic, injured in his right knee in October, and who lost along the way goalkeeper Wesley Pardin, injured against Switzerland, as well as left-back Timothey N’Guessan and the pivot Luka Karabatic, affected in the quarterfinals against Hungary.

The prejudicial absence of the Karabatic brothers

Without Karabatic or great goalkeeper at the rendezvous, the Blues first sank in defense. In attack, they fell to a great Andreas Palicka. In a high-flying start to the match as on Michaël Guigou’s kung fu for Dika Mem (3-4), the Swedes took a first advantage thanks to Jonathan Carlsbogard and Daniel Petersson, completely off-center on the wing to deceive Vincent Gérard (4-6).

→ READ. Handball: the new collective force of the Blues

With a strict defense, the French responded with two goals in quick succession, including a superb roucoulette, from Luc Abalo (7-6) who thus made up for a previous exclusion. But the Swedish defense slipped perfectly and recovered the balls, when it was not Andreas Palicka who stopped them. And Felix Claar increased the lead for the Scandinavians (8-12).

Guillaume Gille then moved the lines: exit the leader Kentin Mahé and goalkeeper Vincent Gérard, as well as left-back Romain Lagarde, with insufficient support and replaced by Nedim Remili, Yann Genty and Jean-Jacques Acquevillo.

Having become an option at the center-half during the tournament, Remili kept the Blues afloat with two entry goals (10-12) and by bringing more depth in the attacks. But the Swedes, carried by the counter-attacks and a few individual exploits like that of Hampus Wanne on the left wing, remained in front, galvanized by the fantastic stop of Palicka – right foot at 2 m high, at the bar. – on Valentin Porte, just before the break (13-16).

Red card for Adrien Dipanda

The absence of Karabatic clearly weakened the defense of the Blues, often perforated in the axis. At the break, Sweden only missed one shot (16/17) while the French, countered by Palicka (7 saves) posted a low percentage of 54% in attack. Often in this World Cup, the Blues managed to gain the upper hand at the start of the second period. Not this time. Palicka did not slow down, neither did Wanne and Jim Gottfridsson increased the Scandinavian lead to 5 goals (18-23).

Remili did try to sound the revolt but was too lonely: Gille tried all the combinations, including the substitute Nicolas Claire, author of the goal of hope (20-23, 45e), or by bringing Gérard back in place of Genty. But each time, the Swedes replied (21-25) to keep a good margin in advance.

Only Descat (4/4) regularly found the net. Remili ended up lowering the pace, while the opponent played at his own pace (22-26). With Adrien Dipanda’s red card, a walk from Claire and a missed shot from Mem, their luck had passed (24-28, 24e). With a splendid defensive return from Gottfridsson who had just lost the ball, Sweden had a quiet end to the game.

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More than 40.6 million people are infected with nCoV globally


Globally, more than 40.6 million people have been infected with nCoV, of which more than 1.1 million people die, the epidemic situation in many European countries is complicated.

215 countries and regions recorded 40,610,238 cases and 1,122,192 deaths caused by nCoV, an increase of 352,881 and 4,117 cases after 24 hours, while 30,334,224 people have recovered, according to the site’s statistics. Worldometers real-time data updates.

America, the largest epidemic region in the world, recorded 8,447,194 cases and 225,170 deaths, an increase of 60,216 and 442 cases compared to a day earlier.

Experts warned that many states are able to prepare for a new outbreak, especially the alarming trend in the northeastern US. The average number of new infections per day in the US in mid-October was more than 46,000, up 12% from the beginning of the month. Hospital admissions are also on the rise.

NCoV test in New Delhi, India, on October 19. Image: AFP.

India, the second largest epidemic region in the world, reported an additional 46,046 cases and 593 deaths, bringing the total number of people infected and dead from Covid-19 to 7,594,284 and 115,235 respectively.

The number of infections in India is growing faster than any other country, but the Health Ministry still shows a positive sign that the cure rate has increased by almost 100% last month and more than 6.5 million people have recovered. . However, experts predict that India can surpass the US in the severity of the pandemic

India began easing anti-nCoV measures nationwide in June, amid a devastating economy and millions of people losing their jobs. The epidemic broke out at first in big cities, but then spread to the countryside, where the health care system was still weak. Movie theaters in this country reopened on October 16.

Brazil, the third largest epidemic region in the world, recorded an additional 321 deaths from Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 154,226. The number of people infected with CoV increased by 15,783 cases in the past 24 hours to 5,251,127.

Statistics show that Brazil’s nCoV figure is on track to decline after skyrocketing in the summer. However, this decline is slower than those in Europe and Asia, meaning that Brazil may not be over the first wave of Covid-19.

Russia recorded an additional 179 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 24,366, while the number of infections increased by 15,982, to 1,415,316. Like many countries in Europe, Russia is seeing an increase in cases as the cold weather returns.

The Gamaleya Institute, which develops the Sputnik V vaccine, said the results of the first Phase Three clinical trial are expected to be released in November, which includes statistics from 5,000-10,000 people out of 40,000 volunteers participating. experiment.

South Africa, the world’s 12th largest epidemic region and the country most severely affected by the pandemic in Africa, recorded 705,254 cases and 18,492 deaths, up 1,461 and 21 respectively. The number of cases in this country accounts for nearly half of all cases in Africa.

The South African government decided to open borders with most countries from October 1, while gradually loosening the world’s top strict restrictions, in an effort to revive the economy. Passengers arriving in South Africa are required to present a negative nCoV made within 72 hours of departure, or subject to mandatory isolation and pay for your own fee.

The epidemic was complicated again in European countries. France recorded an additional 13,243 nCoV cases, bringing the total to 910,277 cases, of which 33,623 died, an increase of 146 cases. It is estimated that patients will soon fill the entire hospital beds in Paris.

First lady Brigitte Macron had to quarantine herself yesterday after having been in contact with someone with nCoV infection. The Elysee Palace has not released the test results, but revealed she has no symptoms.

Brother 741,212 cases and 43,726 deaths are recorded, increasing 18,804 and 80 cases respectively. This is the country with the highest number of deaths from COV in Europe. Millions of people in the UK are facing tighter restrictions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on October 14 that a new nationwide blockade would be “catastrophic”, but did not eliminate this case when the epidemic was complicated.

Virtue said daily cases in the country were at an all-time high since the onset of the pandemic. Germany currently records 373,821 cases and 9,896 deaths, an increase of 6,840 and 40, respectively.

When Covid-19 first hit Europe earlier this year, Germany was noted to have taken early and targeted measures to help contain the virus better than many other countries. However, as the second wave hits Europe’s biggest economy, cracks in the federal institution are starting to show.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 17 urged people to minimize social contact and travel to prevent the second wave of Covid-19. According to the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, although Germany’s nCOV prevalence is still lower than in most other European countries, the number of cases in this country is growing rapidly.

IranThe Middle East’s largest epidemic zone, reported 30,712 deaths, an increase of 337, while the total number of infections was 534,631, an increase of 4,251. The number of nCoV infections and deaths in Iran has been on a strong trend since early September, with increases reported in nearly all 31 provinces.

The capital Tehran and four other major cities last week were partially frozen until midday 18/10. Most of the public places in the capital, a city of about 9 million, have been closed since October 3.

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the region’s largest epidemic area with 365,240 cases, up 3,373 from the previous day, of which 12,617 people died, an increase of 106 cases.

Jakarta started to impose restrictions to prevent nCoV in early April and then loosen it up in June. However, a few weeks later, the number of new infections in the capital skyrocketed. Thousands of soldiers and police deployed to enforce restrictions were often ignored, but forcing citizens to comply is still difficult due to the slumping economy.

Philippines 359,169 cases and 6,675 deaths were reported, increasing 2,638 and 26 cases, respectively. Restrictions in the capital Manila and surrounding areas last until October 31. The Philippine government’s Covid-19 dedicated team said it could not ignore it, despite wanting to boost the economy. The Philippines lifted its ban on foreign tourists from October 21.

Most businesses have been allowed to reopen since Manila ended the blockade on August 19. However, people still have to wear masks, maintaining a safe distance, while children, the elderly and pregnant women are advised to stay at home. The government aims to test 10 million people, or one-tenth of the population, by the second quarter of next year.

Mike Ryan, director of emergency situations at the World Health Organization (WHO), said that Europe and North America need to learn from Asian countries in maintaining measures against Covid-19 and quarantine. CoV-infected schools close contact.

“The people of this region have high confidence in the government even though the preventive measures are long lasting. They have crossed the finish line for a long time but continue to race because they understand that the race is not over, that the finish line is not over. Too many countries have set an imaginary goal and reduced activity after passing it, “he said.

Vu Anh (Follow Reuters)

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