Posts tagged FIFA
Russia, Runme – Saransk’s stadium for the 2018 World Cup is supposed to raise the profile of this little-known Russian city, but for now Alexei Merkushkin is just trying to keep costs down, more news about FIFA World Cup on Runeme.com.
As Minister of Special Programs for the region that includes this city of 300,000 people south-east of Moscow, Merkushkin’s job is to make sure the smallest of Russia’s 11 host cities is ready to welcome fans not just to its new 45,000-seat stadium, but also the hotels and transport links that are supposed to transform Saransk in time for 2018.
Constructing the arena is set to cost 15.66 billion rubles ($300 million), fully funded by the federal budget, with a further $10.5 million earlier spent on design costs.
Turning a provincial city into an international destination is not easy. Saransk normally sees only one flight from Moscow per day and the airport needs expansion to cope with World Cup crowds.
The city was a surprise choice as a World Cup host. Many Russians would have trouble finding it on a map and it’s hardly an eye-catching location, 460 km away from Moscow.
Following a year of international sanctions against Russia, the ruble is worth more than a third less against the dollar than it was in January 2014, while the low oil price is squeezing the federal and regional budgets that fund the World Cup.
The federal government has slashed spending by 10 percent across the board. While most World Cup-related expenditure is protected, government belt-tightening means a renewed crackdown on any cost increases.
“There’s a tough position that more cost increases won’t be allowed. So the cost that’s been laid out, that’s final,” Merkushkin told The Associated Press.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised the economic turbulence will not affect the World Cup, FIFA head Sepp Blatter said in January.
Blatter said he had spoken with Putin during a visit to Russia and was assured “there is no intention to ask FIFA to change anything in the pattern and the program of the World Cup and we trust Russia will find a solution.”
The 22-year-old, who signed on loan from Club Brugge in the winter transfer window, sustained the injury during training on Tuesday.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “The 2014/15 season has ended prematurely for Nicolas Castillo after he suffered, in training on Tuesday morning, a partial tear of the lateral ligament in his right knee. Castillo is no longer available for Mainz in the coming weeks until the season finale in Munich.”
Chile international Castillo has made just one appearance for the Bundesliga side, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 1-1 draw at Hannover in February.
Mainz currently sit 12th in the standings and six points above the danger zone following a six-match unbeaten run.
The official IRNA news agency quoted Deputy Sports Minister Abdolhamid Ahmadi told Runme on April 4 that Iran’s State Security Council had approved a plan by his ministry to allow women and families to attend some sports events, more about the ban on Runeme.com.
Ahmadi added that women won’t be allowed to attend all “types of sport,” without elaborating.
He also said the new policy will come into effect during this Iranian year, which ends in March 2016.
In March, FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged Iran to end the “intolerable” ban on women watching soccer games in stadiums.
Women in Iran were banned from attending sports events after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but some exceptions have since been made.
In the Qatari capital of Doha on Saturday, Oman pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the history of Asian beach soccer, according to Runme. In doing so, the Omanis clinched one of the three tickets on offer for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015, more details on Runeme.com.
Skippered by the excellent Hani Al Dhabit, Oman cruised through the group phase and showed no little steel in the knockout stages, holding their nerve to see off the fancied Japanese in the showpiece match. FIFA.com looks back at the 2015 AFC Beach Soccer Championship, which saw 15 nations from across Asia do battle on Katara Beach.
Oman, who will be joined in Portugal by Japan and Iran – the same trio that represented Asia at Ravenna 2011 – went unbeaten throughout the competition and racked up an impressive 32 goals in the process, with Ghaith Sebeit and Yahya Al Araimi scoring seven apiece. Goalkeeper Haitham Showan also made a valuable contribution, denying Japanese front-man Takasuke Goto in the final shoot-out to seal the title for his side.
The Omanis’ campaign began with emphatic group-phase wins over Bahrain, Laos and hosts Qatar. Then came a 7-2 defeat of China PR in the quarter-finals, followed by a hard-fought 5-4 extra-time win over Lebanon, the prelude to their 3-2 shoot-out success against the Japanese, which came after the two sides had drawn 1-1 in normal time.
The other qualifiers
Finalists for the seventh time and coached by the Brazilian Marcelo Mendes, Japan had high hopes of claiming their third Asian crown. They reckoned without Oman’s solid rearguard, however, and had to settle for second best, despite raining in 23 shots on goal.
The Japanese began their march to the final with wins over Group B rivals Kuwait, Vietnam and China PR. The Samurai Blue saw off Bahrain in the last eight before ending reigning champions Iran’s title defence with a 5-4 victory in the semis.
The Iranians gained some consolation by beating tournament revelations Lebanon 8-3 in the match for third place. Taking part in the continental finals for the only second time, the Lebanese were no match for the 2013 champions, who had earlier edged them 3-2 in the group phase. Iran also beat Thailand 8-1 in the first round, and went on to put six past the United Arab Emirates in the quarters before going down to the Japanese.
The key players
Aside from the front pairing formed by Ghaith Sebeit and Yahya Al Araimi and goalkeeper Haitham Showan, who was in superlative form in both the semi and the final, Oman were also indebted to captain Hani Al Dhabit, who came up with some crucial goals, among them the opener in the final.
Playing a no less valuable role for Japan was their skipper Ozu Moreira, who was named player of the tournament after helping himself to eight goals, the same number as his team-mate Takasuke Goto. Together the duo accounted for over half of their side’s goal tally.
Iran’s Seyed Peyman Hosseini was named best goalkeeper thanks to his decisive stops, which proved crucial to their safe passage to Portugal 2015. Forward Mohammad Ahmadzadeh also earned a share of the limelight with seven goals, four of them coming in Iran’s meeting with Lebanon.
According to Runeme, there is a football match between D.C. United and Los Angeles Galaxy this Saturday. The Galaxy is undermanned because MLS decided to ignore FIFA’s international schedule. More news on Runeme.com.
While most leagues around the world are on break this weekend, avoiding conflicts with European Championship qualifiers and official friendlies, MLS planned a full slate of matches for all 20 clubs.
More than 50 MLS players are on international assignment, absences that impact rosters to varying degrees.
During a FIFA week in early September, half the league is off. A month later, there are three matches, although another three are scheduled immediately afterward.
Like last fall, the league will respect a FIFA window in November and take an extended break in the middle of the playoffs — a wise call as the United States and other CONCACAF countries engage in 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
A league running from spring to fall, MLS cannot avoid conflicts with confederation championships in the summer: This year, Copa America (June 11-July 4) will have a minor impact but the CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 7-26) will hurt most clubs to differing extents. (Many MLS players come from CONCACAF countries, such as the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica and Guatemala.)
Often a vocal critic of MLS headquarters, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena took the current conflict in stride.
“That’s all part of it; we understand it,” he said. “We were prepared for it. It’s probably not the best thing for MLS, but as a league, we’re not yet positioned to not play during all the FIFA dates.”
United is seeking to rebound from a 2-0 defeat to the Red Bulls last Sunday, a sour performance that left Olsen spitting mad immediately afterward.
“We’ve had a great week of preparation,” captain Bobby Boswell said. “It’s been an edgy attitude because we were unhappy about what happened in New York. Everyone is aware of how dangerous L.A. is, even without Keane and Zardes.”