Argentina's hopes of reaching next year’s World Cup were given a huge boost on Friday after FIFA overturned Lionel Messi’s four-game ban for swearing at an assistant referee, but is not good news for Uruguay and Ecuador, Argentina's next rivals and with chances of qualifying.
Fifa hit Chile with a two-match stadium ban and a 30,000 Swiss franc (US$29,000) fine on Monday for a fresh bout of homophobic chanting by their fans. The Copa America champions are barred from playing at their Santiago home stadium for matches against Paraguay and Ecuador next year.
A strong social media push propelled a wolf named Zabivaka to victory in the mascot race for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Zabivaka, or ‘the one who scores’ in Russian, received more than 530,000 votes, nearly doubling the second-place finisher the tiger. A cat received the fewest votes in the three-mascot race.
Le Floc’h, UEFA’s former marketing director until 2010, leaves Dubai-based Customised Solution FZ to take up the role of FIFA’s chief commercial officer on Oct. 11. The position was created as part of the restructuring of world football’s governing body in the wake of the corruption scandals that brought the federation to its knees.
Head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee says World Cup hosts could change as a result of ongoing investigation. Domenico Scala says if any evidence of wrongdoing is found by the ongoing criminal investigations into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the rights to host the tournament could be stripped.
Russian president Vladimir Putin waded into the FIFA scandal by accusing the United States of interfering in FIFA affairs after the US Justice Department ordered Swiss police to arrest seven senior FIFA officials on Wednesday. They were among nine current and former FIFA officials indicted.
European football's leaders are to meet on Thursday in a bid to postpone FIFA's presidential election. UEFA said Friday's vote should not go ahead after bribery and racketeering charges were laid against senior officials in football's governing body. “These events show, once again, that corruption is deeply rooted in FIFA's culture,” UEFA said.
FIFA has ruled out a re-vote on awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar as Swiss authorities prepare to question ten executive committee members about the corruption-tainted bidding process.
The 2014 World Cup helped create a record revenue of 2 billion dollars for FIFA last year, with 337 million in profits coming from the four-year cycle leading up to the finals in Brazil.
FIFA has ended more than four years of uncertainty over the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by announcing that it would be played in November and December with the final on December 18. It also anticipated that it will release funds to clubs for release of players.