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Fifa president Sepp Blatter refuses TV debate invite

Sepp Blatter has rejected an invitation to take part in a live television debate involving all four candidates ahead of this year's Fifa presidency election.

Blatter has refused to take part in a TV debate ahead of this year's election. Credit: PA

The other three candidates - Fifa vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portugal international Luis Figo - had all agreed to take part in the debate but current Fifa president Blatter has refused to do so.

The debate was a joint BBC and Sky initiative and Football Association chairman Greg Dyke had offered to host it at Wembley. Blatter's refusal means it will not now take place.

Blatter did not even respond in writing, instead choosing to communicate his decision verbally through a Fifa official.

Blatter rival gets hefty backing for Fifa presidency

Today is Blatter's 79th birthday. Credit: PA

Sepp Blatter celebrated his 79th birthday on Tuesday as one of his rivals for the Fifa presidency obtained some high-level support for his bid to be the most powerful person in world football.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has secured statements of support from the King of Bahrain and Prince Sufri Bolkiah, a senior member of the Brunei royal family.

Although neither of the royals will have a vote at the election on May 29 there is a history, particularly in Arab countries, of the ruling family influencing football policy.


Fifa hand Michael Boateng lifetime match-fixing ban

Fifa have handed former Crystal Palace youth product Michael Boateng a worldwide liftetime ban from football after he admitted accepting a bribe to fix a match in the Conference South.

Boateng has been banned from football for life. Credit: PA

Boateng was jailed for 16 months in December 2014 and issued with a lifetime ban from the English FA, which has now been extended by world governing body Fifa, after he accepted charges relating to his time at Whitehawk FC.

A statement on Fifa's website read:

A lifetime ban imposed by The Football Association (The FA) against British player Michael Boateng (from England) in relation to match manipulation has been extended by FIFA to have worldwide effect.

Michael Boateng admitted to charges laid against him by The FA for several breaches of The FA Rules, including accepting a bribe, gift, reward or other consideration which was, or appeared to be, related to seeking to influence the outcome or conduct of a match or competition. The player also admitted to the charge of failing to report the offer made to him.

The charges relate to matches in the Conference South in the sixth tier of the English football league system in 2013.

– Official Fifa statement

Blatter wants World Cup final before December 18

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says he wants the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar to be played no later than December 18.

Earlier this month a Fifa task force recommended November-December dates for the 2022 Qatar World Cup following concerns about soaring summer temperatures.

UEFA has proposed playing the final at the tournament on December 23, just two days before Christmas, to lessen disruption to its own international matches.

That sparked uproar in Britain as it would threaten the traditional festive club programme.

Blatter, speaking for the first time since a FIFA task force confirmed November/December for the World Cup, said: "Not until the 23rd, definitely not. We have to stop at the 18th."

The FIFA president was speaking in Belfast ahead of a meeting of the International FA Board.

Football Supporters chief: Qatar is all about money

Football Supporters Federation chief executive Kevin Miles has reacted passionately to news that a Fifa task force has recommended the 2022 Qatar World Cup be staged in November and December.

"If you asked a few years ago about what Qatar can contribute to football," Miles explained, "the only thing people would say would be 'money.' That cannot be a healthy basis as being the only criteria with which decision are made."


European Club chairman wants compensation from Fifa

European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes Europe's clubs will deserve to be compensated if the 2022 Qatar World Cup is staged in November and December.

Rummenigge isn't surprised by recommendations Fifa's task force. Credit: Reuters

Rummenigge, who is also the chairman of German giants Bayern Munich, was speaking after a Fifa task force today recommended the tournament is played between late November and late December.

A Fifa meeting in Zurich next month is expected to confirm those dates, with wide-ranging consequences for Europe's biggest domestic leagues, many of whom enjoy packed schedules during the calendar year's final two months.

In a statement released to the media today, Rummenigge explained:

All match calendars across the world will have to accommodate such tournament in 2022/23, which requires everyone’s willingness to compromise. However, the European clubs and leagues cannot be expected to bear the costs for such rescheduling. We expect the clubs to be compensated for the damage that a final decision would cause.

– European Club Association Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Premier League chief feels 'let down' by Fifa and UEFA

Premier League chief Richard Scudamore has expressed his disappointment after Fifa's task force recommended staging the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November and December.

Scudamore wants minimal disruption to his Premier League schedule. Credit: Reuters

The recommendation is likely to be ratified at a Fifa meeting in Zurich next month and would play havoc with the Premier League campaign, which includes a packed schedule of matches during the last two months of the calendar year.

Scudamore feels the UEFA Champions League has been protected by Fifa's decision rather than domestic leagues such as the Premier League.

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