Sepp Blatter opts for November-December World Cup

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be played in autumn rather than moved forward to the winter months.

Blatter, in UAE for the final of the Under-17 World Cup, said FIFA officials and others “are starting now the consultations” on whether to move the World Cup from its traditional June-July slot to avoid summer heat in the Gulf.

“And when I say winter, I mean it can only be November and December,” he told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Friday before the final of the Under-17 World Cup. “It can no way be January or February.”An IOC member, Blatter opposes the first two months of the year because it would clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics.An April-May option has been proposed by Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association, which will be one of the bodies consulted by FIFA. When Qatar hosted the 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship for players under 20, the tournament was held in April.UEFA president Michel Platini favours the tournament being held in January, so as to avoid a clash with the Champions League.Organizers in Qatar claim their plans for air-conditioned stadiums and other cooling measures could allow them to stage the finals in the traditional summer months.

Not content with telling the world when the 2022 finals will be held, Blatter also suggested that the tournament could be staged across the entire gulf, after revealing several countries had offered to co-host the tournament with Qatar.

“I have just passed through Iran and, even on a political level, people told me they would be happy to host some of the matches.

“So not even in the Gulf state but in the Middle East in general people care about this. The UAE would also be very eager but let’s go step by step.

“The first step is to see how it can be played in November-December and this shall be until the next World Cup: we have six, nine, months’ time to do so.”

It is unclear how Qatar will react to the latest outpourings from the FIFA president, but one can assume that they won’t be best pleased to be told that the tournament they won the right is to stage, is once again up for grabs.

Player brutally attacked for missing penalty

A bizarre story has come out of Peru following a cup match which was settled by penalty shootout.

Unión Fuerza Minera were knocked out of the cup by Saetas de Oro in a 4-3 penalty shootout after the sides had drawn 1-1 on aggregate.

The match was settled by a penalty shootout, with the unfortunate Martin Dall’Orso missing the crucial spot-kick. Little did he know what lay in store for him after the game.

According to Dall’Orso’s father, several fans attacked his son on the team coach, but what made this assault even more sinister is that it was allegedly carried out at the behest of the club’s president.

“We lost the match and several fans boarded the bus,” he said. “My son was held at gunpoint and they smashed his head with the butt of the gun. My wife has bruises on her arms and legs.

“The president, Serapio Sucasaire, Omar and Ramiro Sucasaire were the perpetrators of the attack. He commanded them to beat us.

His son subsequently spoke to Peruvian TV explaining what had happened. You can see that interview along with the penalty miss itself.

The leg breaking challenge that earned a 10-match ban

Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma has been given a 10-match ban after breaking the leg of Sochaux’s Thomas Guerbert.

The 24-year-old was left with a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg, together with a dislocated ankle, following a reckless challenge from the France under-21 international in last weekend’s Ligue 1 match.

The Professional Football League (LFP) plumped for an extended suspension as part of their ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to tackles that cause players to sustain serious injuries.

Nice’s Valentin Eysseric was given an 11-match ban last season for a leg-breaking challenge on Saint-Etienne’s Jeremy Clement.

Zouma’s ban will be served across all domestic competitions and means he will not play again until 2014.

Looking at the challenge (see the clip below) it’s undeniably a red card offence as Zouma flies in wildly with both feet off the ground. However, it is not obviously a leg breaking challenge and arguably, there does not appear to be the malicious intent to harm the opponent. The damage, severe though it is, appears to have come about mainly as a result of the unfortunate Guerbert falling awkwardly.

Goal of the Day

Amazing acrobatic overhead kick from Eric De Oliveira put Pandurii Targu Jiu ahead against Fiorentina in their Europa League encounter.

Quote of the Day

“Ozil wasn’t comfortable. I knew he’d been speaking with another club because he wanted to leave. Mesut understood that he had competition, that he wouldn’t be able to play every game, and ‘I’m off’ was his answer.”

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti claims that Mesut Ozil left the club because he was afraid of the competition.

Carlos Tevez is top dog in unusual challenge

Carlos Tevez has beaten team mates Fernando Llorente, Andrea Barzagli and Fabio Quagliarella in a specially designed football obstacle course.

bwin were in Turin to give Juventus the chance to show off their talents in the ‘Skills Series’.

The players were presented with a series of challenges, including an obstacle course which tested their precision and ball control. Ultimately, it was Argentine striker Carlos Tevez who emerged victorious.

“Juventus is one of Europe’s elite clubs, so we welcome competition whatever form it takes,” said a delighted Tevez. “Normally we reserve our efforts for the opposition, but it was fun to go head-to-head with my team-mates in this bwin challenge and of course, I’m happy to win!”

The challenge was part of bwin’s ‘Skills Series’ and to celebrate the Juventus leg of the tour, bwin are offering great odds on whether Tevez will score in Juventus’ match against Napoli this weekend.

Eriksson blames media for ruining his reputation

Sven-Goran Eriksson believes media intrusion into his private life during his time as England manager affected his chances of getting other big jobs.

Eriksson, now coaching Guangzhou in China, was in charge of England from 2001 to 2006, leading them to two World Cup quarter-finals and the same stage at the European Championship.

He achieved a degree of infamy during his time in England, becoming a target for the tabloid press, not least when England’s fortunes on the pitch were at a low ebb.

“There were a lot of articles about things other than football,” said Eriksson, who was publicising his autobiography ‘Sven: My Story‘.

“I became a hot potato – a little too hot for many. But the same has happened to many other national team coaches.

“Before I got the (England) job I was seen as a great coach. Then after five-and-a-half years, the offers don’t come. All of a sudden I had become a poor coach.”

No, all of a sudden you became a greedy coach. The perception, heightened when Eriksson accepted a provisional offer to become manager of Manchester United – only to subsequently accept an improved offer from England – was that your motivation had drifted away from tactics and gravitated towards personal enrichment. A perception that has not really altered in the intervening years.

“When I was in England, there were a lot of things said and written – mostly written – about my private life. Some of it was true, but an awful lot of it wasn’t,” the Swede told Reuters.

“So when I decided to write the book, I wanted to correct that part of it. It wouldn’t have been good to write a book and not cover the things that were written about me in England.”

Eriksson denied he had lost his touch as a coach during his time as England boss, and said: “One gets a little burned, especially in my case.

“They (the media) are always searching for something.

“(Former England manager and Eriksson’s successor) Steve McClaren opened an umbrella and there was uproar. They always find something.

“I suppose (current England coach) Roy Hodgson has done OK, but they’re always digging for something.”

They are, but they usually stop digging if England actually deliver results.

After once being considered one of the elite football coaches, Eriksson’s recent appointments have been less-than-stellar. He attributes that to a bad career choice he made in 2008.

“When I left Manchester City I had an offer from Benfica and from Mexico, and I chose Mexico. That was a mistake,” he said.

“If you want to be on the big football stage, that is Europe. Benfica are not the biggest club in Europe, but they are a big club that always play in the Champions League or the Europa League. If you go to Mexico, you’re quickly forgotten.

“There’s nobody in Europe who knows. ‘Svennis went to Mexico, who are they playing against?’ They don’t know.”

After leaving Mexico, Eriksson was involved in a short-lived project as director of football at Notts County before taking over as coach of the Ivory Coast and then at Leicester City.

That was followed by spells at Thai club BEC Tero and Al Nasr in Dubai before he arrived at Guangzhou.