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ESPN FC  By ESPN

FIFA confirms 2022 World Cup dates, but size still undecided

FIFA president Gianni Infantino tells Gab Marcotti about his hopes that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups change negative perceptions of Russia and Qatar.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played between Nov. 21 through December 18, FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed on Friday, though the number of participating teams is still unconfirmed.

The next edition of the tournament will switch to the winter months because of the summer climate in Qatar, and Infantino announced the exact dates.

"The dates for the World Cup are set. It will played in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, 2022," he said. "The leagues are all aware and they will have to...

 By Reuters

Russia World Cup has set bar 'very, very high' for Qatar in 2022 - FIFA chief

Relive the highs and lows from Russia's unexpected but memorable World Cup journey through the eyes of ESPN's Charlie Gibson.
Russia's Artem Dzyuba and Igor Akinfeev believe the side played with their souls to make history by reaching the World Cup quarter finals.

MOSCOW -- FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said on Wednesday that Russia's staging of the 2018 World Cup had set the bar high for Qatar, the tournament's next hosts in 2022.

"I feel for Qatar, because [Russia] has set the bar very, very high," Samoura said at a meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house of Russia's parliament.

Samoura asked Matviyenko to convey to Russian President Vladimir Putin FIFA's "profound appreciation for everything that he has done to make it possible...

Gabi Fernandez: Xavi Hernandez convinced me to join Al-Sadd

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti questions if Atletico Madrid would have much of a case against Barcelona for approaching Antoine Griezmann.
The FC guys answer your tweets on Arsenal's next No. 1 goalkeeper, what a 48-team World Cup will be like, Antoine Griezmann's decision and more.
Antoine Griezmann has finally announced his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid, and the FC panel can't quite believe how he went about it.

Gabi Fernandez has said new Al-Sadd teammate Xavi Hernandez convinced him to leave Atletico Madrid and play in Qatar.

Madrid-born Gabi played 413 games for Atletico in two different spells, winning six trophies including the La Liga title and two Europa Leagues.

He has agreed a two-year contract with Al-Sadd with an option for a further 12 months, with the deal reportedly worth a total of €19 million.

Speaking to the Al-Sadd website, the 34-year-old said he was looking forward to winning more...

 By Reuters

FIFA accuses BeoutQ of illegally broadcasting World Cup matches

MOSCOW -- Football's governing body FIFA on Friday accused television channel BeoutQ, which is widely available in Saudi Arabia, of illegally broadcasting the opening games of the World Cup.

Following FIFA's announcement, officials from Qatar -- where a TV station holds the regional rights to air the tournament -- traded barbed comments online with allies of Saudi Arabia in the latest episode of a long-running feud.

FIFA said in a statement that it was "exploring all options to stop the infringement...

 By Reuters

FIFA Congress won't discuss 48-team 2022 World Cup in Qatar this week

FIFA president Gianni Infantino tells Gab Marcotti about his hopes that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups change negative perceptions of Russia and Qatar.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the governing body would not discuss the possibility of having a 48-team World Cup in Qatar in 2022 at its congress next week, saying it would first discuss the matter with the host country.

"The FIFA administration will discuss with the hosts and then we will see," Infantino told reporters in Moscow. "For the moment, what there is is a World Cup with 32 teams."

Infantino, who said it was premature to discuss the issue at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday,...