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Friday, 22 September 2017
 

Diego Maradona and Co's Health 'Put at Risk' by FIFA During Legends Matches at Zurich Headquarters

(Mail Online) - FIFA's medical chief has slammed world football's ruling body for staging Legends matches at their own headquarters in Zurich

without a pitchside defibrillator.
Belgium's FIFA council member Michel D'Hooghe was visibly angry at the lack of emergency medical equipment on the touchline for the tournament held at FIFA House, especially considering the ages and physical shape of those playing — notably Diego Maradona, 56, once the world's greatest player.
Along with Maradona, the former stars taking part included Spain's Carles Puyol and Michel Salgado, South Africa's Lucas Radebe, Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta and Croatia's Zvonimir Boban, now FIFA deputy secretary general.
They were joined by a number of top football administrators led by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Other suits on the pitch were CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, Brazil football chief Fernando Sarney, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and America's Sunil Gulati.
There were two defibrillators, used to revive heart-attack victims, stored nearby in the offices and the gym.
But D'Hooghe, chairman of FIFA's medical committee, said: 'FIFA are not setting a good example. The equipment should be ready for use beside the pitch, not in the building. The first three minutes are the most important in the event of the heart stopping.
'And this is a dangerous day, with many of the legends and the football officials not being particularly fit. It's high risk.'
 
How much longer can the FA allow high-profile figures like Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to do TV commercials for gambling companies, as he has done for club sponsors Bet Victor since the start of the season, when all in football are banned from betting?
The FA consider it a difficult issue but are aware of the money that betting companies pour into the sport.
Liverpool declined to comment but see the ads for Bet Victor, their training wear backers, as being a club issue rather than a matter specifically for Klopp.
 
Since FIFA president Gianni Infantino blatantly uses Legends matches to promote his election pledge to bring football back to FIFA, at least Zurich officials are now allowing the media to watch the games from a decent vantage point.
This was not the case for the first Legends match in Mexico City ahead of the 2016 FIFA Congress, when the Press were herded behind barbed wire in a partly derelict tier in the Azteca Stadium.
Whatever Infantino's PR motives, England's only representative, Alex Scott, was delighted to be on the same side as Maradona.
She said: 'I just wanted to keep passing him the ball. Then he came up to me after the game and said what a good player I was. I think he was genuine. What a dream.'
 
The Best Awards, despite the money FIFA are throwing at a ceremony that is heading for London next year, cannot yet match the resonance of the European Ballon d'Or.
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale was a surprise absentee from the Best World XI dominated by his club team-mates and Barcelona.
But even Welsh fans can't argue with a front three of Messi, Suarez and Ronaldo.
No Barcelona players attended the event, where former Real Madrid player Roberto Carlos said: 'FIFA is the highest authority in football. So everyone should be here.'
 
How the 48 divvy up
The number of teams each confederation would receive in an expanded 48-team World Cup are not due to be decided at Tuesday's FIFA Council meeting.
But informal discussions seem to have already worked out how the extra places would be divided among the six confederations.
UEFA would have the most with 16, giving them one place in each of the 16 groups of three. Africa would be allocated nine, Asia eight and a half, North and South America six and a half each and Oceania one and a half.
There is also a suggestion that Asia — in whose qualifiers Australia already compete — and Oceania should combine their tournaments.
Far more complicated and less likely is that the same idea should apply for the Americas.