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first_imgThe 37-member FIFA Council, which makes strategic decisions for soccer’s governing body, will on Tuesday decide whether to increase the tournament from the current 32 teams to either 40 or 48, starting in 2026.Infantino, elected last February to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter, pledged during his campaign to enlarge the tournament – a promise designed especially to appeal to the bulk of FIFA’s 211 member associations that rarely or never qualify for World Cups.Infantino now says he has “overwhelming support” for his plans.The Council’s nine European representatives seem least likely to support the change.A spokesman for the European governing body UEFA offered little enthusiasm, saying it was “currently gathering feedback from its national associations – which are the ones directly impacted by any change”.The association representing Europe’s most powerful clubs, already struggling to nurse players through long domestic seasons, last month wrote to Infantino to say that “politics and commerce should not be the exclusive priority in football”.But even if the Europeans oppose the expansion, Infantino’s comment suggests they will be in a minority.Critics argue against expansion plansCritics say it would be wrong to change a 32-team format that, in 2014 in Brazil, produced a tournament of exhilarating football, unpredictable results and few meaningless or hopelessly one-sided matches.German football boss Reinhard Grindel said on Thursday that FIFA should stick to its “tried and tested formula”, and that all of the possible alternatives had “considerable weaknesses”.Infantino has said his preferred option is for a 48-team tournament that would start with 16 groups of three teams, where the top two would qualify for a knock-out round of 32.”For this alternative, the draw would probably have to be abolished to avoid tactical behaviour in final group matches,” said Grindel.”But having extra-time and penalties in the group stage is itself problematic, adding organisational difficulties to an already higher number of matches.”Infantino has also proposed a preliminary round of 16 knockout ties, with the winners joining 16 seeded teams in a 32-team group phase.”This would lengthen the tournament by one week for half of the participating teams, and considerably increase the burden on the players,” Grindel warned.There are also two proposals for a 40-team World Cup – the first featuring eight groups of five teams in the first round; and the second with 10 teams of four, where the group winners and six best runners-up would progress.Grindel said the first choice would lead to “a large number of matches where teams would be just playing for pride”, and the latter could leave some second-placed teams waiting for up to four days to find out whether they had qualified.”Past World Cups have always been tournaments that have enthused players, spectators and sponsors alike,” he said. “So why change it?”Reuterslast_img read more

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first_imgPOSTERS TO AN Irish-American website have reacted to a story on increase emigration from Donegal – by suggesting we cure our economic ills with brothels and casinos!The outrageous suggestions are debated on the Irish Central website following a report on how people from this county are being forced to travel to the USA and other countries for work.The reaction is set to cause a storm of protest – especially as the poster also described tourists with carvans at Rossnowlagh as ‘knackers’. The post was still online this morning. One blogger reacted to the Donegal economic crisis like this: “Nobody to be left there but the Clannad crowd and the gay, Irish language poet,Cathal O Searcaigh of Fairytale of Kathmandu fame.“Anyone familiar with the song “The Hills of Donegal”? The lyrics talk about building a wall to keep the people out of Donegal; better yet, building it would keep them in.“The real solution to unemployment in Donegal might be in the words of the chorus: Casinos, chicken ranches, I’d legalize them all We’d have our own Las Vegas in the hills of Donegal Yeah, Las Vegas in the hills of Donegal.“Think about the boost to tourism: jobs, new restaurants and hotels, A veritable Monte Carlo, unfortunately with lousy weather. Wait a second, John Gormley of the Greens could get the EU to concentrate all global warming in Donegal. “Rossnowlagh Beach could be the Malibu of Ireland, once you cleared out the knackers in the caravans. Just think of the possibilities.”Another poster to the site reacts: “That’s good…..Their could be legalized brothels (tho that would give jobs to Africans and Russians–not Irish). Gambling, too, though I don’t think there’s a single race track in the entire county.“Still, they could have slots, blackjack etc. And they could bus in punters from across the border. I’ve been in places like Reno, Vegas, Atlantic City. Donegal can match them. Plus, since that’s an indoor lifestyle, it wouldn’t matter if it was howling rain outside, just like it doesn’t matter if it’s 110 on the street outside the joints in Vegas. And maybe an Irish language casino sa Ghaeltacht. You’re on to something.”EndsOUTRAGE AT ‘BROTHELS & CASINOS’ CURE FOR DONEGAL RECESSION was last modified: December 12th, 2010 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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