World Sports News in Brief

FIFA agrees to work with Qatar on 48-team World Cup in 2022

Saturday, 2019-03-16 09:32:33
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FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to enlarge the tournament from 32 to 48 teams. (Photo: Reuters)
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The FIFA Council on Friday decided to work with Qatar to explore the expansion of the 2022 World Cup roster from 32 to 48 teams.

The world soccer governing body said Friday on its website that after being presented with a thorough feasibility study on the increase of the number of teams from 32 to 48 at the 2022 World Cup during its council held in Miami, FIFA acknowledged the study's conclusion that expanding the tournament to 48 teams was feasible, provided that neighbouring countries host some matches.

* Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics organisers launched their ambitious Robot Project on Friday, unveiling two of the robots designed to assist supporters, workers and athletes at the Games. The two products, Toyota’s Human Support Robot and the Power Assist Suit from Panasonic, were demonstrated to the public for the first time in Tokyo.

* Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets for Mercedes at the first free practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Friday, edging rivals Ferrari in an eventful session. The Briton lapped Albert Park in one minute 23.599 seconds, pipping championship rival Sebastian Vettel by 0.038 seconds on a warm and sunny afternoon at the lakeside circuit.

* Europe's leading clubs will not take part in the new 24-team Club World Cup, announced by FIFA on Friday, the European Clubs Association said following the decision.

* FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Friday that video assistant referees would be used at this year’s Women’s World Cup in France. It will be the first time that the tournament will use the system, employed for the first time in the men’s World Cup at last year’s edition in Russia.

* Formula One and the governing FIA will present teams with a 'global package' of proposed rules for the 2021 season at a meeting in London on March 26, FIA president Jean Todt said on Friday. The sport is set for major change when the current commercial agreements expire at the end of 2020 as rights holders Liberty Medias seek to create a more level playing field and more competitive racing.

* Germany coach Joachim Loew on Friday called up three newcomers to his squad for this month's internationals. Lukas Klostermann, Niklas Stark and Maximilian Eggestein were included in a 23-man squad for a friendly international against Serbia on March 20 and the Euro 2020 qualifier against Netherlands in Amsterdam four days later.

* Sevilla have sacked coach Pablo Machin, the La Liga side said on Friday, the day after the team were knocked out of the Europa League by Slavia Prague. The club have placed director of football Joaquin Caparros in charge until the end of the season.

* Cristiano Ronaldo was recalled by the Portuguese national squad for the first time since last year's World Cup on Friday. Ronaldo, who was not included in the squad for the Nations League matches against Poland and Italy between September and November, was among the players named by coach Fernando Santos for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Ukraine and Serbia.

* Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has a foot problem and faces a late fitness test ahead of Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final clash at Wolverhampton Wanderers, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday. The in-form Belgian international, who has scored six goals in his last four matches in all competitions, joins a long list of injured players at the club.

* Spain coach Luis Enrique has dropped Real Madrid midfielder Isco and Atletico Madrid pair Koke and Saul from his squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Norway and Malta while handing a return to Sevilla veteran Jesus Navas.

* Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will miss Sunday's Premier League match at Fulham after failing to shake off an ankle injury, manager Juergen Klopp said on Friday. Midfielder Henderson went off early in Liverpool's last-16 second-leg clash at Bayern Munich on Wednesday which Klopp's side won 3-1 to reach the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition.

* Club Necaxa goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez was added to Mexico's squad on Friday for friendlies against Chile and Paraguay in California. The 28-year-old replaces Jonathan Orozco, who suffered a right hamstring tear while training with his club Santos Laguna, the Mexican football federation said in a statement.

* Uncapped Porto full-back Alex Telles has been drafted into Brazil's squad for friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic, the South American country's football confederation said on Friday. The 26-year-old replaces Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis, who suffered a calf injury in his team's 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad in La Liga earlier this month.

* Alassane Plea's first-half equalizer secured Borussia Monchengladbach a 1-1 draw with Freiburg at the curtain raiser of the 26th round in Bundesliga on Friday.

* Carlos Vinicius' last-minute strike gifted Monaco a 1-0 win away to second-placed Lille, while Nice conceded a late goal to draw Toulouse 1-1 at home in the 29th round of Ligue 1 on Friday.

* The Chinese Football Association has officially filed the bid to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup after detailed preparations.

Reuters, Xinhua