Despite losing out on the 2016 Olympics, Qatar will bid for the 2018 World Cup. (ATR)

Qatar Weighs Up World Cup Bid Chances

Doha’s failure to make the IOC short list of candidate cities for the 2016 Olympics will not dent Qatar’s ambitions to stage the FIFA football World Cup. But a bid for the 2018 World Cup may come too soon, a Qatari sports insider tells Around the Rings.

Reports this week suggest the tiny Gulf state is preparing to formally announce its intentions to bid for the next edition of the World Cup after Rio de Janeiro’s football festival.

But the source suggests that fierce competition to land the 2018 World Cup may prompt Qatar to channel its energies into a bid for the 2022 edition when it would have a more realistic chance of winning.

“It will go after the World Cup but I’m not sure about 2018 because a lot of countries have expressed an interest,” the source told ATR.

England, who has not hosted the tournament since 1966, are the early favorites to secure the 2018 edition. Strong competition is likely to come from Australia, China, a joint Holland-Belgium bid, Russia, Spain and the U.S.

FIFA will select the host country in 2011.

Qatar has made no secret of its ambitions to bring all the world’s major sporting events to the state, including the World Cup. It has already hosted the 2006 Asian Games.

But government and sports leaders will want to ensure they avoid anything similar to their humiliating IOC snub in bidding to stage FIFA’s flagship tournament.

“After the 2016 decision we need to regroup, sit down and think about things carefully,” the source said, admitting that the IOC announcement in Athens last week had been a major blow for Doha.

The IOC Executive Board cut Doha from the race for 2016 because the October dates proposed for the Olympics were outside its recommendations, despite an evaluation report rating the bid equal third with Chicago and ahead of Rio de Janeiro.

Coach, Prime Minster Infuriated by Ref

The Prime Minister of Poland is not happy with the officiating from the June 12 match between his country’s side and Austria at the Euro 2008 Championship. A disputed late penalty enabled Austria to score the tying goal against Poland in injury time.

An injury-time goal off a penalty tied the Poland-Austria match. (Getty Images)

“As the prime minister I have to be balanced and collected, but last night I was speaking very differently about the whole thing. I wanted to kill,” Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Reuters.

Polish coach Leo Beenhakker said referee Howard Webb’s decision likely cost his team its place in the tournament.

“I’ve never had a problem in 43 years of being in football but this is something I cannot understand,” Beenhakker said.

UEFA is supporting its officials on the call, and Beenhakker may be punished by UEFA.

Referee Webb called a Polish player for pulling the shirt of an Austrian.

Euro Status

Sixteen teams in four groups are still working toward the June 29 final in Vienna and the European Champion title.

Portugal leads Group A after winning two matches. The Czech Republic and Turkey are tied with one victory each and will play Sunday to determine which team will come out of Group A with Portugal. Host Switzerland is in last.

Croatia is certain to advance from Group B, and Germany is in second with one victory. Austria and Poland played to a controversial draw Thursday night. Poland will play Croatia and Austria will face Germany Monday to decide the second team to advance from Group B.

Group C is wide open after the Netherlands, the clear favorite to advance. Romania is in second with two draws so far. Italy and France are tied for last, as each have a draw and a loss. Group C will shake out when Romania meets the Netherlands and France battles Italy on June 17.

Spain and Sweden both won their first Group D matches against Russia and Sweden, respectively. The top two teams will see each other Saturday with Russian and Sweden playing afterwards.

The top two from each group will advance to the next round.


North Korea Asks for Change of Venue

In their last 11 matches, North Korea is 1-9-1 against South Korea. (Getty Images)

South Korea and North Korea are slated to play a June 22 World Cup qualifying match in Seoul, but North Korea says it doesn’t want to play there due to political tension between the nations.

FIFA and South Korea’s football federation have been unresponsive to North Korea’s call for a venue change.

If North Korea wins its game against Jordan on June 14, the team would make the final qualifying round and could boycott of the South Korea Game. But North Korea would then run the risk of a heavy fine and possible FIFA suspension.

A March 26 match between the two teams was moved to Shanghai despite being set for Pyongyang. The game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Briefs…


Two years to the June 11 opening of the 2010 World Cup , the Local Organizing Committee in South Africa trumpeted the successes it has had in preparing the country to host the football tournament. The LOC head Danny Jordaan emphasized the opportunities the World has provided South Africa, but also touched one of his worries. “The escalation of costs. Unfortunately it is a reality that we cannot escape. It has an impact on you, me and everyone and whatever we do these days,” he said.


From June 13 to 22, about 100 qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be played in every zone except Europe. The scheduled qualifying for the North American and Asian zones will be complete. Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania have matches extending into 2009.

FIFA upheld the ban of Australian goalkeeper Danny Vukovic for striking a referee. The Australian Football Federation appealed the structure of the ban, trying to get the punishment broken up so he could compete in Beijing. According to FIFA, it is contrary to the spirit of sport to allow Vukovic to serve the ban over two periods. Vukovic will appeal again.

FIFA says it’s not in the spirit of sport to allow Danny Vukovic to split his ban so he can play in the Olympics. (Getty Images)

North Korea won the women’s Asian Cup on June 8, beating China 2-1. Japan beat Australia 3-0 for third place. The matches took place in Vietnam.


FIFA inspectors approved Calabra, Nigeria’s U.J. Esuene Stadium for the 2009 under-17 World Cup Finals. “I’m glad to hear that FIFA are impressed with the state of our facilities,” said Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State where matches will be played.

In response to massive debt built by the Samoa Football Soccer Federation , a FIFA Emergency Committee organized a nominalization committee to reorganize administration and settle debts. The SFSF’s financial situation threatened the FIFA Goal Project in Samoa and the existence of the federation.

Media Watch…

FIFA President Sepp Blatter talks about “6+5” rule before Euro 2008.

Written by Eric Connelly and Mark Bisson

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Your best source of news about the business of World Football is www.WorldFootballinsider.com; a publication of Around the Rings.

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