Europe should host the 2030 World Cup, not the country who is the highest bidder, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has told journalists.
The 49-year-old Slovenian, who replaced disgraced Frenchman Michel Platini at the top of European football last September, added he didn’t want to single out China with regard to the money factor.
This week, smartphone maker Vivo became the latest World Cup sponsor from China following conglomerate Wanda and electronics company Hisense. That has lent more ammunition to those who believe they will bid for the 2030 edition.
China’s President Xi Jinping is a devoted football fan and is eager to host the tournament with his ultimate desire for the country to win the trophy itself.
“I didn’t want to speak just about China, but the most important thing is that the World Cup should go to the country that has the best bid,” Ceferin told the BBC ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final in Cardiff between holders Real Madrid and Italian giants Juventus.
“Rules cannot change just because we have some big sponsors.”
However, Ceferin is adamant that Europe should host the 2030 showpiece and believes that based on FIFA’s rotational policy it is their turn.
Russia will host 2018 and Qatar — who fall under the auspices of the Asian Football Confederation — will host 2022, with 2026 yet to be allocated though likely to go to North America, who have a historic joint United States, Canada and Mexico bid in the ring.
“It’s simply time for us (Europe) to host the World Cup in 2030,” said Ceferin.
“I cannot say which country will place a bid from Europe, but we cannot just sell the World Cup to the ones who want to pay the most.”
The Slovenian added that if England or a joint British bid were to declare an interest in 2030 they would receive his full backing.
“It just has to be a decision not just of the (English) FA, probably also the government and others too,” said Ceferin.
“But they deserve to have a World Cup in the near future.
“They are capable of organising the World Cup, of that I’m sure. If they decide to go, we will strongly support them.”
EPL: Guardiola reveals Tottenham manager that made title hard to win
Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola has claimed it is now harder to win the Premier League.
Guardiola was speaking to the media on Friday, ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
According to him, Spurs have “always been up there” since Mauricio Pochettino became their manager.
“It [the Premier League] is a more difficult competition to win and I have said many times that every season it is getting better. So more teams involved and every single game is so difficult.
“Ever since Mauricio Pochettino has arrived, I would say Spurs have always been up there, so yes, they are a fantastic team.
“Of course, they have a lot of absences now, but I saw the first 15-20 minutes against Aston Villa and they created a lot of chances, especially in their approach.
“So it is definitely really good for football,” Guardiola said.
Rivers United’s Odeh makes CAF Confederation Cup Goal of the Week
Rivers United’s Paul Odeh’s goal against Academica Petroleos club do Lobito has been selected among the best of matchday one fixtures in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Odeh scored a fantastic long-range strike in Rivers United’s 3-0 victory at the Godswill Akpabio International, Uyo.
Other goals selected are USM Algiers’ Islam Merili screamer against Al-Hilal SC, Mordern Future’s Ghanam Mohammed’s goal versus Supersports, Sagrada Esperanca’s Simone Lepau’s close-range strike against CO Coyah SC and Zamalek’ Yusuf Obama’s header against Abu Salam completes the list.
The former Nigeria Premier Football League champions will battle Dream SC of Ghana in their matchday two fixture on Sunday.
The match is billed for the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi.
He reminds me of Berbatov – Michael Owen lavishes praise on Arsenal star
Former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker, Michael Owen has heaped praises on Arsenal’s Kai Havertz, comparing him to former Tottenham Hotspur attacker Dimitar Berbatov.
Owen likened Havertz’s touch and ability on the ball to that of Berbatov, who also played for Manchester United during his football career.
This is coming after Arsenal’s recent 6-0 thrashing of RC Lens in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“It is a bit of a conundrum with him, I don’t think he scores enough goals to be a centre-forward, has he got the pace to be a wide man? Maybe ghosts in and plays inside a little bit, there is no doubt about his talent,” Owen said on TNT Sports about Havertz.
“He’s got a lovely touch, a lovely way about him. He reminds me a bit of Berbatov, the way he takes the ball and his lovely touch. There is definitely a brilliant player there.”
Havertz joined Arsenal from Chelsea in the summer transfer window for a reported fee of £65 million.
The German endured a difficult start to life at the Gunners, scoring just one goal in his first 19 appearances for the club.
However, Havertz has seen an upturn in form recently, scoring the match-winner in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Brentford last weekend.
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