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Gianni Infantino

FIFA’s Infantino says Italy’s World Cup failure is a wake-up call

GENEVA: FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed on Thursday his despair¬†at Italy's failure to reach the World Cup finals where he had hoped to hand the trophy to Azzurri captain Gianluigi Buffon. "I'm sad, yes I'm sad for the World Cup. I almost cried," Infantino, who holds both Swiss and Italian nationality, said in an interview with Italy's Gazzetta Dello Sport five months ahead of the World Cup final match in Russia. "I think it's a collective sadness. We're talking about a team with a great tradition who give…

Xi meets FIFA boss as China eyes World Cup

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping met with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino on Wednesday as the football world watches for signs that the Asian giant will make a bid to host a World Cup. Xi greeted Infantino in the capital's palatial Great Hall of the People but the two men did not mention China's World Cup ambitions as they exchanged pleasantries before their closed-door meeting. The talks follow widespread speculation that China will bid to host the event either in 2030 or 2034. "President Infantino, since becoming…

Trump ban could hit World Cup bid: FIFA chief

LONDON: US President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban could make it impossible for his country to host the 2026 World Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino warned on Thursday. The United States is the favourite to stage the expanded 48-team tournament in 2026, either on its own or as part of a joint-bid with neighbours Mexico and Canada. But with Trump seeking to ban nationals from several Muslim-majority countries, Infantino says the US may not even be in a position to submit a bid. "Mr Trump is the president…

FIFA’s top woman wants end to men’s World Cup domination

ZURICH: Fatma Samoura, the highest ranking woman at FIFA, is attacking football stereotypes in a way that the sport's male establishment may find uncomfortable and she has her sights set on the World Cup. Samoura, a former UN diplomat who became FIFA secretary general and right hand woman to president Gianni Infantino in June, told AFP in an interview that it was demeaning for women's football to rely on the men's World Cup for finance. Samoura said crowds at the women's World Cup in Canada in 2015 and the women's…

Russian hooligans warn of ‘festival of violence’ at 2018 World Cup

LONDON: Russian hooligans have warned of a "festival of violence" at next year's World Cup, in a BBC documentary aired on Thursday in which the fans celebrate street fights at Euro 2016. Hours after FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was not concerned about violence at the tournament, the BBC's "Russia's Hooligan Army" showed fans predicting clashes between supporters. "For some it will be a festival of football, for others it will be a festival of violence," one such hooligan told the BBC, interviewed close to the…

FIFA to encourage co-hosting for 2026 World Cup

DOHA:¬†FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Thursday he intends to encourage co-hosting for the 2026 soccer World Cup that could divide the tournament up between as many as four countries. "We will encourage co-hosting for the World Cup because we need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term," Infantino said. "(We could) ...maybe bring together two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each. We will certainly encourage it.…

FIFA boss wants video referees at 2018 World Cup

YOKOHAMA: FIFA president Gianni Infantino hopes to see video referees used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia -- if its teething problems have been fixed in time. Colombia's Atletico Nacional slammed the new video assistant referee (VAR) technology being trialled at the Club World Cup in Japan after the first-ever penalty awarded under the system helped knock them out midweek. Real Madrid were also lukewarm after confusion around a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in another game, but Infantino promised FIFA would iron out the…

FIFA chief wants video refs for next World Cup

PARIS: FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he is in favour of introducing video refereeing for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, after previously expressing fears it would break up games too much. The head of world football's governing body told Tuesday's Le Parisien newspaper that he was sceptical at first about using video technology to assist referees in crucial decisions. "But I have come to the conclusion after tests that this is not the case," he said of his initial concerns that video use would slow down matches.…

FIFA chief says 32, 40 and 48-team World Cups on the table

ZURICH: FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday that proposals for a 32, 40 or 48-team World Cup in 2026 were still on the table and that a larger tournament would not mean a drop in quality. Confirming that a decision on the format would be taken in January, he stood by his own idea, first mooted last week, for a 48-team tournament, starting with a playoff round featuring 32 teams in which the 16 losers would go straight home after a single game. A document presented to the FIFA Council, and seen by Reuters,…

FIFA chief backs ‘more open’ 48-team World Cup

ZURICH: FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed on Thursday that he backs expanding the World Cup to 48 teams, giving "more of a chance to more teams". Infantino believes "a fundamental point" for an expanded finals would be to have it co-hosted "by several countries". He also declared himself "quite happy and confident for the future" of the scandal-tainted world governing body of football. "Nobody is perfect, I am the last to be. But I don't steal, I don't profit, I don't cheat and I don't want to allow anyone in this…