Thursday Kickoff: UEFA backs winter World Cup; Influential match-fixer reportedly arrested; and more

JimBoyceFIFAVP1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

After a meeting of the member nations of UEFA in Croatia this week, the European footballing body has officially agreed to back a move to a winter World Cup in 2022.

“There were certain reservations regarding the World Cup in Qatar but everyone agreed that it would be impossible to play in the severe heat of Qatar in the summer,” FIFA Vice-President Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland said to Sky Sports News. “What the member associations want to see at the FIFA ExCo in October is that a task force is set up for everyone involved in Qatar to sit around the table and come up with the best solution with the minimum disruption.

Boyce lamented the fact that the World Cup is set for Qatar, however he conceded that it’s not going to be moved and that FIFA and it’s constituents will have to make the best of the situation.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

INTERPOL REPORTEDLY HAVE MATCH-FIXING LYNCHPIN DAN TAN IN CUSTODY

A man who is allegedly at the heart many match-fixing scandals across the world has reportedly been arrested by Singaporean authorities.

Interpol, the international crime police organization, announced on Wednesday evening that 14 people were arrested by Singaporean police, with an anonymous source in Interpol telling the AP that Tan Seet Eng, also known as Dan Tan, is one of those arrested.

“Singapore is now taking serious action. It’s really pleasing,” former FIFA head of security Chris Eaton told the AP. “These people bridge the match fixers and the betting fraud.”

Tan is wanted in a number of countries including Italy, who reportedly believe that Tan was at the head of a crime syndicate that made millions of dollars fixing matches in Italy between 2008-2011.

MARTINEZ AND GÖTZE RETURN TO BAYERN TRAINING

Building off their Champions League matchday one success, Bayern Munich have received some more good news over a number of players currently rehabbing injuries.

Both Mario Götze and Javi Martinez are a few days away from first-team training and are likely one week away from a return to the field. Götze, acquired from Borussia Dortmund this summer, hasn’t played since the UEFA Super Cup on August 30, while Javi Martinez has missed time since the international break, when he had a minor operation on his groin to repair a recurring problem.

Thiago, who is still sidelined for another three weeks, is wearing a special boot on his foot as he recovers from torn ankle ligaments, but is back working out in the gym, while Holger Badstuber’s recovery from a second torn ACL is continuing in the United States.

QUICK KICKS

UEFA will approve the bid candidates for the 2020 European Champions on Thursday or Friday. (REPORT)

Juventus forward Carlos Tevez has denied criticizing teammate Fernando Llorente over his soccer ability. (REPORT)

A day after a big Champions League victory, Atletico Madrid announced that midfielder Arda Turan has signed a new and improved deal with the club through 2017. (REPORT)

Australia will take on Canada in a friendly match on October 15 at Craven Cottage in London. (REPORT)

Former Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham has made himself available for selection for the Gibraltar National Team. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with UEFA’s decision? Happy to see Dan Tan arrested? Do you see Martinez and Götze returning to the starting lineup next week?

Share your thoughts below.

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45 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: UEFA backs winter World Cup; Influential match-fixer reportedly arrested; and more

  1. Travis in Miami says:

    I guess one could spin a winter world cup in a positive light this way:

    All healthy players will be in good form. The European leagues will be in mid-season form and the players form the leagues that play in the northern hemisphere’s summer months will simply go straight to national teams camps like the Euro based players do during Summer WCs. If looked at in this light it could be the most entertaining WC – and might even help the USMNT. Already the USMNT has many MLS based players. If growth continues like it has, many of the MLS based players for WC 2022 (assuming qualification) such as grizzled US captain Luis Gil won’t have to look for a European loan after winning MLS Cup with the Real St. Louis City United FC. The USMNT team players will fit and ready to go!

    Might be a stretch but instead of whining about the inevitable (hard to return bribes so FIFA has to make it work) maybe we should all grasp at what we can move forward.

  2. slowleftarm says:

    WC 2022 = USA. Who’s with me?

  3. BamaMan says:

    Rupert Murdoch is not going to stand for it and he has an enormous amount of influence over soccer in the region via Sky Sports and its many subsidiaries. The big time clubs (apart from those bought and paid for like Barca) are also going to fight back. FIFA can do whatever they want regarding sporting disputes and the Court of Arbitration for Sport but this is not a sporting dispute. Every Murdoch entity is going to sue FIFA in regular court for breach of contract and they are likely going to win. I could see the European Football Clubs Association doing the same. Mark my words – this is going to get a lot worse before it gets fixed.

  4. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Nine years to sort out a one time shift. And people act like they’re kicking Baby Jesus in the manger…

    It should never have been awarded to them, but omce it was, winter makes sense

    • Rudy says:

      Exactly. Nine years is a long time. I might not even cara about soccer by then but if I do I hope the WC is played in winter.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      And of course what I would rather see is Man U — Sunderland and not Italy–Brazil. Priorities.

    • Judging Amy says:

      you’re so above it all tony :)

      i think what is happening is this is the outrage still seething from the corrupt process. i mean during the bid process itself the committee flat out assured everyone there would be no winter world cup (that’s why the a/c stadium claims were such a huge deal).

      there also is some sort of precedent for a host venue being changed (colombia ’86) and although those circumstances aren’t strictly analogous, it’s not crazy to think a similar change in venue could occur with qatar.

      people are upset about the winter world cup thing not because of the tv watching/league inconveniences which you dismiss as trifling, but because it’s a bs situation and they’re mad about it. the winter world cup is yet another straw breaking the camel’s back.

      but i guess the reaction could just be all…well, fifa’s corrupt let’s not whine about it.

  5. SubwayJared says:

    I’m sorry, but that headline is flat out wrong. Did you even read the article, Dan? UEFA did not back the Winter World Cup. They did, however, agree that no World Cup would be played during the summer. There’s a huge difference. A quick skim through of the piece would have revealed these kind of important quotes–including the first quote below, which was the highlighted quote on Sky.

    “What the 54 countries do not want FIFA to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.”

    “There were certain reservations regarding the World Cup in Qatar but everyone agreed that it would be impossible to play in the severe heat of Qatar in the summer.”

    “Boyce revealed the 54 UEFA associations, who have been meeting in Croatia, want FIFA to consult much further with the game’s major stakeholders before making their decision about an exact date for the controversial tournament.”

    “It’s wrong to speculate at the moment when this is going to be played. The stakeholders need to sit down and come up with the best solution.”

    And there is no official statement. It directly contradicts what the heads of the major European federations stated just last week–and article this site had up.

    • jason says:

      This is when an editor comes in handy.

    • bryan says:

      i will agree all the titles are misleading but the article does make it clear the only discussion regarding timeframe is January 2022 vs. November/December. FIFA wants to avoid January but some UEFA nations prefer January or February. But the Olympics are during that time, so good luck. Obviously Fox would be okay with February because the NFL would be done.

      “It’s wrong to speculate at the moment when this is going to be played. The stakeholders need to sit down and come up with the best solution. Many leagues in Europe have a break but my own preference would be for the end of January and early February. Hopefully FIFA will come up with the right solution.”

      that quote tells me they absolutely plan to pick a month and a half during the winter of 2022. it may not have been decided officially, but it seems clear that is the route they are going to take. right?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think the editors/reporters read just fine:

      “What has come out of this meeting, and what I think is sensible, is an agreement by the Uefa countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.

      “But what the 54 countries do not want Fifa to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.”

      So, not in the summer for sure, but disagreement about where in the “winter” to play the tournament, varying from January 2022 to November/December 2022.

      One interesting aspect of this not being discussed is how it might shorten or extend traditional cycles. 3.5 or 4.5 years instead of 4.

      Also, I’m not sure if the critics are factoring in what an off-normal world cup would do to international dates. That is to say, if you hold an early cup maybe we don’t have all the international dates that spring. Or if we have a late cup maybe you hand the clubs back some fall dates. Plus, the seasons already float a little. They’ll survive.

  6. Mike R says:

    That Qatar bribe money sure goes far

  7. Travis says:

    UEFA was never going to be the organization that FIFA is going to have troubles with for the Qatar WC, it is the individual FAs that are going to be creating a massive issue for them

    • AcidBurn says:

      Yeah, I mean who heads UEFA anyway? Platini? No reason why he would support the Qatar WC. None whatsoever.

      (Sorry, I tried to use FIFA reasoning but can’t do it, the sarcasm is too thick.)

  8. Will says:

    I hereby declare myself eligible for the Gibralter National Team as well. Tonga and Guam, don’t sleep either.

  9. Will says:

    I hereby declare myself eligible for the Gibralter National Team as well. Tonga and Guam, don’t sleep on your boy.

    • Beto says:

      How about getting some US fringe players to play for the USVI; free vacation to the carribean every so often

  10. dude says:

    2022: Countdown to Ragnarok.

  11. Dave says:

    What a corrupt process…

  12. eddie says:

    Get the HELL OUT of QATAR! The World Cup doesn’t belong there.

  13. DC Josh says:

    If Qatar gets a winter World Cup then Russia should get one too. It’s only fair FIFA, come on…

    • AcidBurn says:

      Costa Rica has filed a preliminary protest about a winter WC in Russia due to the unplayable conditions.

      Oh wait, they forgot to get the official FIFA stamp, so carry on.

  14. Socom 2 says:

    Anyone else think the guy in the picture looks like IVES ?

    LOL

  15. AcidBurn says:

    Ok, so let’s play out how this would work out. You need one full month for the WC, plus ~3 weeks for training camps (at least) and at least 2 weeks rest afterwards. Let’s try to make it convenient and make the “rest” be Dec 15 – Jan 1, since some leagues have winter breaks. So the WC is Nov 15 – Dec 15, with warmups from Oct 22nd or Oct 23rd to Nov 15th. So basically a full break with no other football from Oct 23rd to Jan 1.

    So here’s what needs to be rescheduled:
    All the European Leagues (FYI, the PL has 12, that’s right, TWELVE matchdays in that time period).
    Champions League group stages.
    All the domestic cups also need to be altered too.

    A big time club like Manchester United might have 16-18 games during that period that need to be moved. When are you going to play them, except stretch the leagues out? So players then get almost no rest for the season before and the season after.

    If I’m a club owner I am screaming about this until I can’t scream any more.

    • Beto says:

      Not only clubs but the entire fifa calendar will need to scraped. Basically everything in pro soccer around the world will be changed for two years… I hope the Qatar oil money is worth it

    • Mike E. says:

      As that Sounders guy explained on previous articles, yeah. The domino effect will be tremendous. Everything for at least 3 years will be disrupted.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      UEFA’s leagues have one of the bigger axes to grind and they don’t seem to care. They will bump the season up front end and back on the back end.

      Dirty little secret, many teams ease some of their players back into the season before/after tournaments anyways. Or run out B sides for CL or Cup games. So they probably give players the rest and fudge the rosters.

    • Northzax says:

      And you think the EPL is going to be amused losing Boxing Day matches then? Might as well take away nfl on thanksgiving. And with two months off, you’d need at least two weeks of training especially for the players who weren’t at the World Cup, two months is basically another offseason, so in reality, you couldn’t play before mid-January. It’s a logistical nightmare.

  16. John says:

    The US is going to win its first World Cup in 2022 because the MLS players will be the only professionals in the tournament.

  17. Scott A says:

    Oh, you fatcats.

  18. Travis says:

    I dont know if anyone else watches much ESPN but that guy looks like an older version of Mike Golic