The FAI were making no comment yesterday on Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that the UK and Ireland could jointly host the 2030 World Cup.
Their official silence is hardly a surprise considering the idea was being floated by the banned former Fifa president but if such a proposal were to be given substance and credibility by England’s FA, there’s every reason to expect it would receive serious consideration and support from Irish football’s governing body.
Blatter, who is currently serving a six-month ban from all football activities following the corruption scandal which engulfed Fifa three years ago, told Sky Sports that with the planned expansion of the World Cup finals to 48 teams, it would make sense for more than one country to host the 2030 event.
“I spoke with one of your colleagues and he said if Wales and Scotland joined together and I said, why not Ireland.” Clarifying that he meant the Republic and Northern Ireland, Blatter continued: “All of Ireland together. They will be a candidate I’m sure (for 2030). And I think with 48 teams, you need more than one country, definitely.”
For the FAI, the more immediate challenges in terms of hosting big international tournaments are next year’s U17 European Championships in this country and, of course, those historic four games in Dublin at the Euro 2020 finals.
However, with the changed sporting landscape in Ireland recent years, including the building of the Aviva Stadium — which has already hosted a Europa League final — and international football being played at Croke Park and Thomond Park, the possibility of Ireland being in a position to co-host a World Cup in 12 years’ time is certainly no longer the stuff of fantasy football.
Muller’s food for thought on German cliques
Thomas Muller might have played down the idea of a rift in the German camp, suggesting the Munich and Dortmund players had once “eyed each other suspiciously” but all was now well between then. But the Bayern man was still ready to discuss eating arrangements in Jogi Low’s camp.
“There is a Bayern group. A solid Bayern group,” Muller said. “And there are several tables where we eat. There is no such thing as one major table with 23 sitting around. Of course the tables of five or six or seven who regularly sit together for lunch and dinner. It’s a natural thing.
Southgate dislocates shoulder
England boss Gareth Southgate has suffered a dislocated right shoulder while running near England’s World Cup base in Repino.
The Three Lions boss was making the most of a day off from training when he sustained the injury, which left him in a local hospital.
FA team doctor Rob Chakraverty attended to oversee the treatment and Southgate returned to camp in good spirits but sporting a black sling.
Southgate took his tumble light-heartedly, joking he may not be allowed to show the same kind of emotion on the touchline which accompanied Harry Kane’s stoppage-time winner against Tunisia.
“The doc has made it clear that punching the air is not an option. I am just a bit gutted because I was on for my record 10k time!”
Southgate’s unexpected injury news caused no great disruption to team plans — with a scheduled meeting taking place on time in the evening as preparations continue for Sunday’s clash with Panama.
“We are lucky we have a top-class medical team around us, so it was fine,” said Southgate.
Burger King apologise for whopping sexism
Burger King says it’s sorry for offering a lifetime supply of Whoppers to Russian women who get pregnant from World Cup players. Critics slammed the offer, announced on Russian social media, as sexist and demeaning.
The ad promised a reward to women who get “the best football genes” and “ensure the success of the Russian team for generations to come”.
The fast food company removed the post from its social media account, saying: “We offer apologies for the announcement we made. It was too offensive.”
Messi urged to back LGBT community
Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been urged to wear a rainbow-coloured armband as a sign of solidarity with Russia’s LGBT community in tonight’s Group D clash with Croatia (7pm).
In an open letter to Messi, Buenos Aires politician Maximiliano Ferraro wrote that “members of Russia’s LGBT community are harrassed, discriminated against, jailed and sometimes even murdered under the guise of laws approved by their own legislators.”
The Ireland and USA teams had rainbow colours filled into the numbers on the backs of their shirts for the friendly fixture in Dublin three weeks ago.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved