Palestine-Israel stand-off eases slightly as FIFA mediates next steps

Border wall

By Andrew Warshaw
September 24 – A rapprochement between Israeli and Palestinian football officials has moved a vital step closer – but only as a result of FIFA’s involvement as mediators. Delegations from both countries met FIFA officials in Zurich on Monday and agreed to each appoint a liaison officer to facilitate the movement of players in and out of the Palestinian territories.

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FIFA expects to run up extra World Cup drug testing costs

Michel dHooghe

By David Owen
September 23 – FIFA is resigned to running up unexpected extra costs to ensure that an effective drug testing programme is in operation at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Michel D’Hooghe (pictured), the governing body’s leading medical expert, acknowledged as much in a short telephone conversation with insideworldfootball at the weekend. D’Hooghe said the cost issue was one of the reasons FIFA was “not happy”.

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Gazprom signs 4-year deal as official FIFA partner

Vladimir Putin and Sepp Blatter

By Mark Baber
September 16 – Russian state-controlled natural gas company Gazprom has officially became a FIFA partner at a ceremony on Saturday at the Black Sea resort of Sochi attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Gazprom chief executive Aleksei Miller.

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Gulati calls for more information before any 2022 decision is taken

Sunil Gulati

By Andrew Warshaw
September 16 – The United States’ most influential football administrator says he will try to block any move by FIFA to switch the Qatar 2022 World Cup to winter. Sunil Gulati, whose country was unexpectedly beaten by the tiny Gulf state to stage the tournament when the vote was taken three years ago, says he will oppose any attempt by FIFA’s executive committee to change the dates of the tournament when it meets on October 3 and 4.

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Webb’s task force finds its feet in battle of ‘human kind’

Jeffrey webb 4

By Andrew Warshaw
September 13 – FIFA’s recently established anti-discrimination Task Force will not get involved in the furore over 2018 World Cup host Russia’s controversial so-called anti-gay legislation. The task force, meeting in Zurich yesterday, has identified a series of key priorities including allocation of resources, a best practice manual and identification of high risk games.

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Blatter reaffirms Qatar’s 2022 right, it was no mistake

Sepp Blatter 5

By Paul Nicholson
September 12 – FIFA President Sepp Blatter has further clarified his comments regarding the Qatar 2022 World Cup, first reported in Insideworldfootball. Speaking to reporters at the International Olympic Committee Congress in Buenos Aires he again confirmed the right of Qatar to hold the World Cup in 2022.

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[b]Exclusive with Sepp Blatter:[/b] Everyone complains about winter 2022, but what about discrimination

JSB interviewed

September 9 – The recent heated debate about potentially playing the FIFA World Cup 2022 in what would be the European winter (note European) has generated some agreement and considerable dissent among football pundits, administrators and politicians alike. Insideworldfootball’s Paul Nicholson spoke exclusively to FIFA’s President, Joseph S. Blatter, and asked him what repercussions he is expecting – if any – to his proposal to shift dates.

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Exclusive: Rajoub pours scorn on Israel’s commitment despite FIFA talks

Jibril Rajoub

By Andrew Warshaw, chief correspondent
September 6 – Palestine football’s leading figurehead has poured scorn on Israel’s commitment to easing the plight of his country’s players and officials – and says the FIFA initiative to resolve the deep divisions between the two Middle East neighbours will never work unless Israel stops its “bullying” tactics. Earlier this week, FIFA president Sepp Blatter hailed initial talks aimed at easing travel restrictions for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as “historic”

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