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Saudi and Infantino Caught Smearing FIFA World Cup Red Handed

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Saudi Arabia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino

The FIFA World Cup 2022 began as a peace prospect to bring closer the Gulf nations, but is now witnessing ambush of unexpected events, as internal feuds continue to multiply. With less than 4 years before the penultimate bonanza in footballing history kicks off, the efforts to denounce its host have multiplied to an unexplainable event.

Laying ground on the basis of what transpired in June 2017, the charges against the host nation of sponsoring terrorism are still in place. However, the roots of such claim still remain unclear.

Besides, what was first billed as an event to host 32 teams, is now widely rumored to become a 48-team event.

Having said that, hosting more teams than expected challenges Qatar, which is pretty much on time with the deadline with a precondition to entertain 32 teams. With the ongoing facade across boundaries, the sensitivity of the decision questions what could be the real motive behind the move.

As FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino would state, the concept of expanding the tournament is directly linked to building the peace from the scratch in the Middle East. His notion of peace in the East is a plan with a great outlook. However, if seen logically, the decision made demands sharing the tournament with Kuwait and Oman.

Under the plan being considered currently, Qatar will host the majority of matches while the remaining ones will be played in Kuwait and Oman. The reason for it is beyond explanation because diplomatic tensions won’t heal in such a process.

Saudi Behind the Scenes

Now, while Infantino and his bid of stability is spread as a great initiative, the reality appears to be otherwise. His bid for expansion is allegedly linked to the money he was offered in the process. According to the account published by the ‘New York Times’, the President told his top board that a fund of investors from Middle East and Asia wanted to pay about $25 billion to buy an expanded version of FIFA’s Club World Cup.

Further, without revealing the identity of investors, Infantino tried hard to convince them and said that they do not have much time up their sleeve. However, the technique did not work as the council rejected the proposal saying that ‘it need more information’.

Nonetheless, Infantino’s bid for accepting such a proposal illustrates how the current state of flux in international soccer has added money to the equation.

At first, only a few details came forward about the deal that was struck by the FIFA President. However, as per the people briefed in the matter, the money offered was a covert way of expanding the tournament to China and Saudi Arabia.

Surprisingly, as soon as complete details emerged it became evident that the Saudis by using their Japanese conglomerate Soft Bank Group, tried to hollow FIFA. The gulf nation aimed at creating its committee using the $25 billion bid. The sole reason for it – to create international tournaments for the governing body of football, FIFA.

The influence of such a move would have directly hampered Qatar’s image, especially in the West. A region where the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has already been exposed for hoaxing his modernization agendas; also a region he tries to influence the most.

The fight for 2022 FIFA World Cup has been mired in controversies since Qatar won the hosting rights. Now, as consideration from Saudi and UAE reaches Kuwait and Oman, the extent of lobbying to hamper the interest of FIFA for personal use continues to raise eyebrows. Moreover, the additional income estimated at $400.1 million if the tournament is expanded, is only justifiable to state how Infantino is lured into spearheading Saudi’s bid for expanding the tournament to 48 teams.

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In a Game Turned Disgrace, Coach Phil Neville Criticises Cameroon Players

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Phil Neville

Following the latest match between England and Cameroon during the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup, England women’s national football team’s coach Phil Neville openly voiced his thoughts and concerns about the game. The game between the two teams soon became a disgrace for the eighth edition of the World Cup.

The 39th match of the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup witnessed England qualifying to quarterfinals with a score of 3-0 and an unprofessional game by Cameroon women’s football team.

While the Cameroon team got indulged in spitting, physical altercations and refusing to play with players of England, their England counterparts won the game and hearts of the fans with their calm and composed self.

Phil Neville, who is proud of the game, said, “We’ve handled ourselves with pride; the players with the best humility, class and quality have won. I’m not here to criticise a national team but we want the image of women’s football to be good for little girls.”

“Cameroon’s actions were so bad for the image of the game I’ve fallen in love with. I hope they will learn from this,” he added. The erratic behaviour was seen almost from the starting of the game when Yvonne Leuko of Cameroon elbowed Nikita Parris as she (Parris) moved past her.

However, soon the England players gained a lead against Cameroon. During a free kick, England’s captain Steph Houghton made a smooth pass to Toni Duggan, who effortlessly scored a goal as she sent the ball past the line near the bottom corner.

Following this event and out of what might be a sheer frustration, Cameroon’s Augustine Ejangue spat at Duggan. After Duggan complained about the incident, Enjangue argued that it was by mistake. The only question that arises is, since when is spitting on fellow players considered “accidental”.

As the game neared half-time, Lucy Bronze with a skilful pass, created the opportunity for Ellen White to score a goal which was considered by VAR, after the referee disallowed it. Previously, in their match with Japan, White displayed a striking performance helping the team move to the round of 16.

While Phil Neville and his players were admirably calm, the reaction from the Cameroon team after the goal could be seen as an insult to the game. They refused to play further as they gathered at the centre.

While Neville openly criticised the Cameroon players, Djeumfa blamed the referee citing that she wanted England to win.

While many took to Twitter, condemning the behaviour of Cameroon players, it appears that Phil Neville has taught his players about the spirit of sportsmanship along with tips to improve the game-play. The players and England fans are now looking forward to the next game between England and Norway on June 27.

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Brazil Player Marta Represents Women as She Break Records

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Marta Vieira da Silva

Sports, the area believed to be standing on the bricks of equity, is also infected by the disease of ‘gender equality’. Brazil forward Marta Vieira da Silva used her sport to set both an example and a record.

On Tuesday, the Orlando Pride player scored her 17th Women’s World Cup goal in a 1-0 win against Italy, becoming the all-time leading scorer at both men’s and women’s finals. She was not only happy about breaking the record, but for representing woman through this.

“I am very honoured, happy to write the history in a sport that for some people is still seen as a men’s sport,” she stated. The 33-year-old stated that the “struggle for reality” is real across board, and that the platform is a golden opportunity to “push for more equality and women’s empowerment”.

After the penalty in second half, Marta secured a 1-0 win and broke the tournament record of 16 goals set by Germany’s Miroslav Klose.

The Brazil skipper has now scored more than a quarter of her country’s total Women’s World Cup goals. She has also been a runner-up in the annual global player awards five times. The six-time world player of the year; she celebrated her victory by kissing her boot.

Equality has been a demand of women players and has emerged as a major concern in Women’s World Cup 2019. Norwegian footballer, Ada Hegerberg is not playing at the quadrennial international football championship this summer. She had left the national team in 2017, stating that the move was for her own mental health.

The Women’s Ballon d’Or winner boycotted the game as a protest for a change. “The gap is enormous, but at the same time you need to give young women and girls the same opportunity as the men. That’s where we need to do the change,” she said.

This year, the Women’s World Cup has come in a different shade of strength and a demand for empowerment. The players are not standing for their rights, but are also hitting goals that could make them stand out.

Other than Marta, Australian player Sam Kerr also scored terrific four goals against Jamaica, becoming the top scorer of the tournament. Besides, no Australian has scored more in a single Women’s World Cup.

This year’s tournament has a total pot of £24m for prize money, which is higher than 2015’s figure yet too short of the 2018 Men’s World Cup prize money of £315m.

Where women are striving to ensure equal working conditions as men, the gaps are real and huge. Besides, the efforts of players should not be allowed to go in vain, and the members working at different levels of the sport to ensure the progress.

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FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup: Stellar Performances by ‘Group D’ Teams

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Women's World Cup

The eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup witnessed brilliant performances by the teams on Wednesday. The tournament, which is being hosted by France for this first time, saw the teams of ‘Group D’ in a face-off against each other.

The matches on Wednesday led to the elimination of Scotland, while Japan and England fought for the top position in the group, qualifying for the next round.

England vs Japan face-off gave viewers a chance to witness the mesmerising performance of Ellen White, England’s forward player, as she scored two goals against Japan. Even though White was the only player to score goals in the last match against Japan, Georgia Stanway and Rachel Daly justified their selection in the team for the Women’s World Cup.

Georgia Stanway was placed right of White and helped her in scoring a goal in the 14th minute. While going towards the Japanese goal, when she covered the half of the opponent’s side, turned and waited for the pressure to lessen before passing the ball to White which resulted in the first goal for England.

Later in the match, Daly came close to seeing her set-up successful as she made a pinpoint cross to White for the header. However, White was not able to make the most of the pass and steered the ball far-wide.

In another match between the teams of the ‘Group D’ – Argentina and Scotland, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 saw a game of fighting spirit. Argentina’s football team made a comeback right when the chance to take hold of the match again was very bleak.

While Scotland managed to mount up pressure and have a steady performance throughout the match, dramatic comeback from Argentina turned the game a lot more interesting. Florencia Bonsegundo led team made a magnificent comeback and scored two goals within 10 minutes of the third goal scored against them in the 69th minute.

Milagros Menéndez, forward player of Argentina, scored the first goal as she moved the ball past Scotland’s goalkeeper. In the final minutes of the match, Bonsegundo scored a penalty in a re-taken shot, resulting in a levelled score and elimination of Scotland from the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Soon after the match it was believed that the draw has led to the elimination of the Argentinean team as well, but its fate depends upon the games between New Zealand v Cameroon and Chile v Thailand. However, Argentina’s chances to qualify for the next round look quite bleak as both the matches need to result in a draw for Argentina to qualify to the round of 16.

With a magnificent comeback from the Argentinean team and a strikingly spectacular performance by the England team, FIFA Women’s World Cup has surely got the fans sitting on the edge.

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After Rape Neymar is Accused of Threatening the Victim

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Neymar Jr.

Multi-millionaire football star Neymar Jr. is confined by a lot of media drama lately, following the rape accusations from a 26-year-old woman. The victim who remained unnamed all this while, has finally emerged out of the dark and claimed to have not just been raped, but also of receiving threats after filing charges against the footballer. A brand himself, Neymar in fighting hard against the ever building controversy fell deeper into the pit.

First there were allegations that he raped a woman at a Parisian hotel, which was paid for by the PSG forward along with the plane tickets required to get there. Defending himself, Neymar immediately released a video of himself, clarifying his side of the story by showing chat messages (at times graphical) exchanged between the two. This led to a lot of sympathy flowing in for the footballer and anger towards the complainant. He claimed that everything was well between the two even after the night of the alleged rape, as they exchanged normal text messages on the following day.

However, he isn’t the only one exposing multimedia in defence. A video released by the 26-year-old victim, now recognized as Najila Trindade, has emerged. The accused can be seen being hit by the victim, while screaming at him. The video seems to have been recorded from the bathroom of the hotel room in which the two stayed during the course of the time. She can be heard accusing and hitting the multi-millionaire PSG forward of ‘misbehaving’ with her and ‘assaulting’ her on the previous night. Meanwhile, Neymar puts his feet up in the air and towards the face of the victim, in defence.

Neymar, who has denied the charges all along, and said that he has been trapped. He added that whatever happened between the two on ‘the night’ is something that happens between every other couple behind closed doors. On the other hand, while Trindade admits to have agreed to having a physical relation with PSG star Neymar, she also claims of being a victim of “aggression followed by rape”.

Allegedly, the fight broke out over disagreements between the two that sparked on the night of March 15. Najila states that she insisted Neymar used protection, while the PSG forward denied and became aggressive in return. He started hitting her and ended up forcing himself upon the 26-year-old rape victim.

Now, what was an attempt by PSG forward Neymar to defend himself and come clean to everyone, ended up turning up against him. The video he released on his social media containing multimedia messages exchanged with Najila after being accused by her of rape, is a potential violation of law. The law makes it illegal to “offer, exchange, provide, transmit, sell or exhibit for sale, distribute, publish or divulge, by any means — including mass communication or computer or telecommunication — photograph, visual or other audiovisual record containing a scene of rape or of vulnerable [people] or that makes an apology or induces its practice, or, without the victim’s consent, sex scene, nudity or pornography.”

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Gianni Infantino Wins FIFA Presidency Running ‘Alone’

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Gianni Infantino Wins FIFA Presidency Running ‘Alone’

Surrounded by applauds in Paris, the former Swiss UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino won another term as the President of FIFA. Pretty much the only person running for the position, it is of no surprise that Infantino turned out to be the undefeated winner at the end. Where there is a win, there is a loss, and some lost when Infantino won, but who they is not known yet.

Replacing Sepp Blatter who pledged to sail FIFA’s boat away from menace and watch his departure from corruption charges, Infantino’s arrival at the stage brought new hope. Now, in his re-election speech, the President boasted about all that he has done.

“We have turned things around,” he maintained. “FIFA has gone from being toxic, almost criminal, to what it should be: an organization that develops and cares about football,” the FIFA president said.

While his hymns of progress received multiple rounds of applause in Paris, the definition of a non-toxic organization presents a prospect that must be studied, especially before it is concluded. Taking nothing away from Infantino, his accession to power has seen the launch of several projects allowing millions to come together with the help of the world’s football funds.

Now that is what progress in any sport demands – the unity to come under a roof and survive it on your own. This notion also gives everybody an equal opportunity, establishing a realm that’s much invincible.

However, in his speech, which weaved around the monotonous notion of progress, there were no signs of his uncanny bids, which likely look even worse than what Blatter did with his power at the first place.

A Worthy President?

Last month, it was announced that the FIFA World Cup 2022 would remain a 32 team tournament, and that the bids for the expansion are adjourned. At that time, Infantino was seen getting caught midst geopolitics of the Gulf, or maybe, he just made the best use of an opportunity that was up his sleeve.

In his decision, the FIFA World Cup hosts seemed apparently disinterested in the idea of expanding the tournament. However, the decision that came on the lines of unpracticality, has more than just a notion to it.

As per the ‘New York Times’ account, Infantino told his top board that investors from Middle East and Asia wanted to pay FIFA $25 billion, in order to buy an expanded version of FIFA’s Club World Cup. Besides, conveying that they do not have much time and, therefore, the decision must be made quickly.

Surprisingly, post disclosure of details, it came forward that Saudi’s by using their Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group were trying to hollow FIFA. The move, if was accepted by the Football body, would have led to FIFA giving up some of its rights to Softbank and lose sole control on its decision making. Such a move would have raised the probability of sharing the FIFA World Cup 2022 and winning the hosting rights for Club World Cup.

However, this is not where Infantino’s efforts to hollow FIFA stop. As per the football leaks investigation, two secret meetings took place in 2016 between Gianni Infantino and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber. Lauber’s office is investigating numerous cases of alleged corruption against Zurich-based FIFA since 2015.

According to Swiss Media, Autorité de surve illancedu Ministère public de la Confédération, “the mere fact that two meetings took place is not problematic. They took place in the context of an extremely complex procedure, on the one hand to review the situation after the change of the complainant’s [FIFA] president and, on the other hand, to settle procedural questions relating to FIFA’s willingness to cooperate in the delivery of internal documents”.

In November, Lauber told reporters that two meeting were only required for clarification on investigation. Besides, at that time he also stated that he hadn’t held a meeting with Infantino since March and April of 2016.

However, the Swiss Media reported a third meeting between the Infantino and Lauber in April. Contacts between Lauber and Infantino had been facilitated by Valais prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, a close friend of FIFA’s boss. He has been re-elected for the job, after charges of the first two cases were dropped.

Nonetheless, the case raises a moral issue on FIFA’s ethics more than anything else. Should the FIFA Ethics Committee not interfere in the case? Should they not demand transparency in transactions? For a game that is a religion to millions, should a candidate running alone be really trusted? Laded by one question after the other, even if we only suspect Infantino over his calls to maintain transparency, is he seriously a wise choice?

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