The 2022 World Cup date has now swung decisively towards November-December of 2021 or ’22 after organising committee chairman Hassan Al-Thawadi admitted winter was the better option.
FIFA has poo-pooed the European Club Association’s preference for April-May 2022 on the grounds of the still difficult heat and the holy month of Ramadan starting on the 2nd of April that year.
With the IOC adamant FIFA will not tread on its Winter Olympic toes in January-February ’22, that leaves the November-December slot the only viable option.
Whether it is in 2021 or 2022, the staging will eat into European club and country schedules and a battle still looms.
The easiest option of course would be to strip Qatar of hosting rights on health and safety grounds. Summer temperatures in the USA are not ideal either if played like in 1994 at times to suit European television audiences, although evening kick-offs are possible.
Australia would be the ideal choice as June-July is their rather mild winter, but if winter it must be, runners-up the US & Australia surely have a case in taking FIFA to court for breach of contract. The bidding document explicitly stated the tournament must take place in June and July of 2022.
Neither federation has expressed any Judi Online interest in rocking the boat. US Soccer’s Sunil Gulati is now on the Executive Committee and Australia’s Moya Dodd, vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation, a co-opted member.
What does seem certain however is that the much-vaunted boast of climate-cooled stadia employing dazzling new technology has bitten the dust.
The English Premiership moves in to a busy schedule of Christmas and New Year fixtures with the matches coming thick and fast from now on in over the holiday period.
Most pundits have written off the season as a two-horse race between Mourinho’s revived Chelsea and last year’s winners Manchester City, with third place Manchester United too inconsistent and too fragile at the back to mount a real challenge and Arsenal and Liverpool battling with surprise packages Southampton and West Ham for European places.
At the wrong end of the table, Leicester City look nailed on for relegation as the gap between them and survival grows with every defeat either home or away following their 5-3 win over Manchester United.
Burnley look favorites to join them in the drop with QPR, Palace, WBA, Villa and Hull also in the mix for relegation.
Friday, 26 December 2014
Chelsea 2 v West Ham 1
Burnley 1 v Liverpool 3
Crystal Palace 1 v Southampton 1
Everton 2 v Stoke 0
Leicester 1 v Tottenham 2
Man Utd 3 v Newcastle 1
Sunderland 1 v Hull 0
Swansea 2 v Aston Villa 1
West Brom 0 v Man City 2
Arsenal 2 v QPR 0
Soccer – Monk eyes triple swoop
Garry Monk is hoping to strengthen his Swansea City squad in January with up to three new signings. Wilfried Bony will be representing Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts next month, while Monk is keen to snap up a left-back to provide cover for Neil Taylor. In addition Ki Sung-Yueng will be representing South Korea at the Asian Cup in January. Swansea are currently ninth in the Premier League table and can be backed at 15/2 with bet365 to finish in the top six this season. “We need to strengthen,” said Monk. “We’ve talked about having two players for every position so the levels of competitiveness are right. “I won’t rush anything – they have to be the right players coming in because I don’t just want a stop-gap – but we do need those two or three bodies to come in.” Swansea play Hull City at the KC Stadium on Saturday and Bony is 7/4 to score at any time against the Tigers.
Soccer – Koeman confirms Rodriguez complication
Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez has suffered a setback in his recovery from serious injury. Saints boss Ronald Koeman is unsure when the former Burnley player will be able to return to action but it will not now be until February at the earliest. Rodriguez, who scored 15 times in 33 Premier League appearances last season, had anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery in April. “I think now, in this situation, he will not be available before the end of January,” said Koeman. “It is difficult because it’s not good to fix on a special date to come back. To fix a date increases the pressure on the player and the medical staff.” Southampton, who have lost their last four Premier League matches and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Sheffield United on Tuesday, are 2/1 with bet365 to keep a clean sheet against Everton on Saturday and 11/1 to beat Roberto Martinez’s side 2-0.
Soccer – Gerrard keen to keep the winning habit
Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool can take heart from the improved performance in the 3-1 Capital One Cup victory against Bournemouth and start to surge up the Premier League table. Brendan Rodgers’ inconsistent side are currently 11th in the table, seven points behind fourth-placed West Ham. However, after facing Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday, Liverpool have a relatively easy set of fixtures until the end of January. Former England midfielder Gerrard said: “It was nice to get a win at Bournemouth as it’s been tough of late, I can’t deny that. “We need to keep going and keep winning. We have a tough game at the weekend against Arsenal and then we’ve got a run of fixtures which are a bit more kind to us.” Gerrard is 3/1 with bet365 to score at any time against Arsenal in a game Liverpool can be backed at 11/1 to win 1-0.