FIFA World Cup 2026 will be “the greatest” the world has ever seen: FIFA President


ZÜRICH: FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that the 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup, which starts on 11th June 2026 at the iconic Estadio Azteca Mexico City, would be “the greatest event, the greatest show, the greatest tournament” that the world has ever seen.

In a statement carried on FIFA website, Infantino said he is ‘counting down the days’ like football fans all around the world, with exactly two years to go until the FIFA World Cup 26 kicks off.

It will also be the most inclusive FIFA World Cup ever, featuring a record 48 teams and hosted by 16 cities across three countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Trophy is ready

“I am counting down the days, definitely. Like everyone else. Two years seems far away, but we know it is very, very close,’ said Infantino, standing alongside the FIFA World Cup trophy he will present to the winning team after the final in New York New Jersey on 19th July 2026.

‘In two years from now, the world will stand still and watch what is happening in North Ame
rica. The trophy is already here, ready – we take care of it – and we are all getting ready, gearing up for the competition, preparing everything.”

The Estadio Azteca Mexico City – one of three venues in Mexico along with Estadio Monterrey and Estadio Guadalajara – will make history at the tournament, having also hosted the opening matches of the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986.

“It will be the first stadium to host three inaugural (FIFA) World Cup football matches,’ said the FIFA President. ‘We have never seen this before, and to experience it at an iconic stadium like the Azteca is something very, very special.

“We all know the epic games, (FIFA) World Cup games, that have been played there in the past, absolute champions like Pelé and Diego Maradona who played and won at the Azteca.”

Qualifying matches

As a further reminder that the tournament is approaching, a number of qualifying matches are being played as the milestone was reached. Eighteen games were scheduled to take place in the Asian Football
Confederation (AFC) qualifiers, bringing the second round of qualifying to a conclusion and determining which 18 teams would proceed to the third stage.

Matches in North, Central America and Caribbean (Concacaf), and in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are also scheduled on the day. The ball started rolling in South America in September 2023.

The FIFA President said that preparations are well on course across the three Host Nations. “In the Host Cities, of course, we are working with the authorities, with the stadium owners and operators, with the local communities,” he said of the two Canadian, three Mexican, and 11 US venues.

‘(There is) fantastic collaboration everywhere. They are looking forward to millions and millions of fans from all over the world. The stadiums are absolutely beautiful.’

He added, “Every day, there are events which are being planned, which are taking place, be it with the authorities, be it with our partners, the sponsors, the broadcasters.”

Milestones in 2026

Upcom
ing FIFA World Cup 26 milestones include qualifying draws in both Asia and Oceania. Qualifying in AFC will continue in September with 18 nations vying for eight direct tournament slots, while matches in the Oceania Football Confederation will commence in September with 11 nations competing for one direct slot. UEFA qualifying, meanwhile, takes place between March 2025 and March 2026, with 16 berths available for European teams.

Fans can start to get ready to be part of the biggest FIFA World Cup yet by signing up for ticketing and hospitality updates via FIFA.com/tickets, with hospitality sales scheduled to start later this year.

Source: Emirates News Agency

QSL Partakes in Middle East Sports Investment Forum


Doha: The Qatar Stars League (QSL) participated in the Middle East Sports Investment Forum held in London with the presence of more than 300 senior sports business leaders from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

It aims to bring together sports entities from all over Middle East to develop regional sports and learn how the public and private sectors work together to achieve ambitious sporting goals in the region and enhance the Mideast’s position as a global centre for major sports events.

QSL was represented in this forum by Dr. Ahmed Khellil Abbassi, Executive Director of Competitions and Football Development, who discussed in one of the sessions the process of developing football leagues in Asia as well as Middle East region and its impact on technical levels, in addition to a presentation on the development strategy of QSL. Also in focus were the goals of QSL towards attaining new professional standards, raising the playing standards of all teams and delivering high-quality competitive football entertain
ment.

The discussions witnessed a lot of interactions and participation, and there was praise for the outstanding technical and professional levels of Qatar Stars League in the past seasons.

QSL’s participation in the forum came as part of its keenness to strengthen relations with various parties, exchange experience and learn about the latest developments related to football in the world, besides to participate in the game’s development process in Asia and Middle East region.

Source: Qatar News Agency

SIGA FITS Forum to Kick Off in New York Thursday


The international expert forum on Financial Integrity and Transparency in Sport, commonly known as SIGA FITS Forum, will kick off in New York City Thursday with a broad participation of world leaders, decision-makers, officials and academic experts.

The FITS Forum 2024 is co-hosted by Winston and Strawn LLP and SIGA AMERICA, the continental subsidiary of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), the worlds leading organization for Sport Integrity.

The FITS Forum serves as a crucial and timely event to tackle the most critical Financial Integrity challenges in Sport. Expert insights will be shared by senior representatives from government, international organizations, financial institutions and professional service providers, as well as Sport bodies and the wider sports industry to articulate a path forwards and to help lay the groundwork for much needed reform within the realm of sports.

The Forum’s panel sessions will discuss several crucial topics, including key challenges and pressing reforms in the
field of financial integrity and transparency in sport, safeguarding sport from money laundering and criminal infiltration, and championing integrity in sport through good governance, transparency, and independent scrutiny.

Commenting on the occasion, SIGA Vice-Chairman Mohammed bin Hanzab said the SIGA FITS Forum reflects the great efforts made by SIGA in the areas of financial transparency, governance and integrity in global sports. These efforts have become a global reference in the international efforts to combat corruption, in line with the State of Qatar’s pioneering status among the advanced countries in various fields, including combating corruption and promoting integrity in sports.

The Forum enhances the close strategic cooperation with the United States in the field of sports integrity, bin Hanzab added, hoping that the participants will come out with important recommendations to find the best solutions and practices capable of protecting integrity, enhancing transparency, and combating corruptio
n in the sports.

For his part, CEO of SIGA Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros expressed pleasure at hosting the FITS Forum in New York City, the birthplace of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), in an ambitious step that highlights the expansion of the international organization which was founded by Qatari efforts in 2016, led by the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and its President Mohammed bin Hanzab.

The organization of this forum comes at a crucial time to pave the way for much-needed reforms in the areas of integrity, financial transparency and governance in the global sports industry, he added.

The forum will be attended by senior representatives of the largest and most prestigious American financial institutions, most notably Richard Weber, Former Chief Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation at the US Department of the Treasury; Tyler Hatcher, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge at the US Department of the Treasury; Kaitlin Farrell, Deputy Chief of General Cr
imes at the US Attorneys Office; Marlyen Habib from New York Federal Reserve; Mohammed Ahmed, Global Anti-Corruption and Financial Crime Compliance Leader at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, and David D. Chenkin, Chair of Government Investigations at White Collar Defense and Anti-Money Laundering Group, Zeichner, Ellman and Krausse LLP.

Source: Qatar News Agency

Aspire Academy Celebrates Graduation of 17th Batch


Doha: Aspire Academy will organize a graduation ceremony for the 17th batch of its student-athletes tomorrow evening (Wednesday) at the end of the current academic year 2023/2024.

The ceremony will be held at the academys headquarters in Aspire Dome, in the presence of HE Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Jassim bin Rashid Al Buainain, who is also President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), along with a number of personalities, federation presidents, managers, coaches, teachers and families of graduates.

This year’s batch of academy graduates includes 50 students from various disciplines and includes 26 student-athletes in football, 9 student-athletes in track and field, six student-athletes in football refereeing, four students in fencing, two students in swimming and the same in squash, and one student In table tennis.

Source: Qatar News Agency

FIFA President Announces Countdown to World Cup 2026


Zurich, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said he is “counting down the days” with exactly two years to go until the FIFA World Cup 26 kicks off.

In a statement posted on the FIFA’s website, the FIFA President said that the 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup, which starts on 11 June 2026 at the iconic Estadio Azteca Mexico City, would be “the greatest event, the greatest show, the greatest tournament” that the world has ever seen. It will also be the most inclusive FIFA World Cup ever, featuring a record 48 teams and hosted by 16 cities across three countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States, he added.

The Estadio Azteca Mexico City one of three venues in Mexico along with Estadio Monterrey and Estadio Guadalajara will make history at the tournament, having also hosted the opening matches of the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986.

“It will be the first stadium to host three inaugural (FIFA) World Cup football matches,” said the FIFA President. “We’ve never seen this before, and to experience it at an iconi
c stadium like the Azteca is something very, very special.” “We all know the epic games, (FIFA) World Cup games, that have been played there in the past, absolute champions like Pele and Diego Maradona who played and won at the Azteca,” he said.

The FIFA President said that preparations were well on course across the three Host Nations. “In the Host Cities, of course, we are working with the authorities, with the stadium owners and operators, with the local communities,” he said.

“(There is) fantastic collaboration everywhere. They are looking forward to millions and millions of fans from all over the world,” Infantino said.

Upcoming FIFA World Cup 26 milestones include qualifying draws in both Asia and Oceania. Qualifying in AFC will continue in September with 18 nations vying for eight direct tournament slots, while matches in the Oceania Football Confederation will commence in September with 11 nations competing for one direct slot. UEFA qualifying, meanwhile, takes place between March 2025 and March 20
26, with 16 berths available for European teams.

Source: Qatar News Agency