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

QSL General Assembly Meeting Elects Representatives of Club Companies

Doha: The Ordinary General Assembly Meeting of Qatar Stars League (QSL) on Monday elected representatives of club companies who are members of the QSL Executive Committee via electronic voting and they are: Faisal Ali Al Shuaibi, Rashid Issa Al Dossari and Arif Abdul Rahman.

During the Ordinary General Assembly Meeting, HE President of QSL Jassim bin Rashid Al Buenain stated, “The 2023-2024 season was full of many distinguished and promising statistics and numbers that must be built on in the future. They include increase in the scoring rate in Expo Stars League matches, total number of goals scored and crowd attendance. This wouldnt have been possible had it not been for the combined efforts of QSL and club companies. In this regard, I would like to emphasize that the rise in the level of our domestic championships benefits our national teams.” Al Buenain added, “All the best and success to everyone in the new season, which will start on August 9, as the start of the season was announced early to give every
one the opportunity to prepare and make arrangements in a distinctive and strong way. I wish success to all clubs during the next stage and also to our clubs in their overseas participation.” The QSL Executive Committee is headed by HE Jassim bin Rashid Al Buenain. Its members are CEO of QSL Hani Taleb Ballan, Hassan Juma Al Mohannadi, Jassim Al Rumaihi and Salman Al Ansari as well as representatives of club companies: Faisal Ali Al Shuaibi, Rashid Issa Al Dossari and Arif Abdul Rahman.

Source: Qatar News Agency

QFA General Assembly Meeting Discusses 2023/2024 Season

Doha: Qatar Football Association’s (QFA) regular general assembly meeting discussed Monday several topics related to Qatari football, national teams, and club level during the 2023/2024 season.

During the meeting, chaired by HE QFA President, Jassim bin Rashid Al Buainain, and attended by members of the QFA’s Executive Committee, as well as members of the General Assembly from the clubs, several appropriate decisions were taken regarding the topics on the agenda.

The minutes of the previous General Assembly meeting, which was held on June 1, 2023, were approved, followed by the adoption of the annual report of the QFA’s activities, then the presentation of the audited and consolidated budget and profit and loss account statement, the approval of the financial statements and the approval of the budget.

Members of the General Assembly voted on a set of decisions electronically for the second time after it was applied for the first time during the previous General Assembly elections.

In a speech, HE QFA’s Pr
esident Jassim bin Rashid Al Buainain said that Qatari football has known many achievements, most notably the national team winning the Asian Cup title for the second time in a row, pointing out that there were many challenges during the 2023/2024 season.

He underlined that the development taking place at the age group level represents great importance, and this has resulted in the participation of seven U19 players in the first team, which is a very positive thing.

He considered that hosting the next five editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup would be a positive step and one of the big gains that would benefit Qatari football.

The QFA President appreciated the great role of the clubs in supporting the QFA’s Board of Directors over the past years, pointing to the competitive levels witnessed last season.

He stressed that the QFA seeks to continue the work process towards more achievements, expressing great confidence in all clubs and all work joints to carry out the role assigned to them to the fullest.

expressed the QFA’s aspiration to support the interim goals to be able to measure the progress achieved objectively and scientifically, which is to build and develop successful national teams at all levels.

QFA President stressed the importance of good and early preparation for the upcoming season 2024/2025.

For his part, Director of the Marketing and Communications Department at QFA, Khaled Mubarak Al Kuwari, said that the General Assembly discussed many important matters, indicating that all clubs are partners in achieving the success made during the past season.

He explained that the meeting discussed all the topics on the agenda and several appropriate decisions were taken regarding them in the interest of Qatari football.

Source: Qatar News Agency

AFC Launches 2nd Certificate in Football Leadership Programme

Kuala Lumpur, The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today launched the 2nd AFC Certificate in Football Leadership (ACFL) programme to enhance the ever-growing pool and capabilities of future Asian football decision-makers.

As part of the Confederation’s landmark AFC Academic Centre of Excellence (ACE)’s expanding repertoire of online programmes, the six-month-long initiative will see 36 decision-makers from AFC Member Associations (MAs), Regional Associations (RAs) and other football stakeholders follow in the footsteps of the graduates of the first edition, to further elevate the standards of football leadership on the Continent.

The ACFL comprises six comprehensive modules designed by the AFC that focus on increasing the leadership capabilities of participants via applicable perspectives, skill sets and tools. These in turn will lead to informed decision-making as they navigate their way through an ever-changing football landscape.

A mix of theoretical perspectives, hands-on activities, case studies and
examples, these modules cover the Principles of Leadership, Influence and Impact through Communication, Organisational Design and Development in Football, Environmental, Social and Governance in Football, A Leaders Perspective of Football Development and Performance as well as Managing Projects in Football.

Graduates will be called upon to utilise their newfound skills and perspectives to overcome challenges on and off the pitch, manage circumstances and leverage opportunities to lead their respective organisations to new heights of excellence.

The ACFL represents the ever-expanding suite of education-first online programmes introduced under the AFC ACE which include the acclaimed AFC Certificate in Child Safeguarding and the AFC Certificate in Football Administration and Management.

Source: Qatar News Agency

Fierce competition at Youth MMA Championship at Dubai’s Shabab Al Ahli Club

DUBAI: Young mixed martial arts talents from the leading clubs and academies in the UAE took centre stage at the Youth MMA Championship held at Dubai’s Shabab Al Ahli Club on Saturday. The championship, which featured over 100 youths aged 12-17, showcased an exciting fight card of 62 bouts across various weight and age divisions.

Considered an ideal precursor to the upcoming IMMAF Youth World Championships, the Youth MMA Championship highlighted some of the UAE’s finest up-and-coming athletes. The performance of these young fighters, representing leading clubs and academies in the UAE, demonstrates their skills and readiness for August’s biggest gathering of young MMA athletes.

Mohammed Bin Dalmouk Al Dhaheri, Board Member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation, said, ‘We are immensely proud of our young athletes who displayed extraordinary skills and technical prowess at the Youth MMA Championship today. Events like these are vital for athletes to develop their skills; they offer a competit
ive environment where they can test and enhance their skills as they compete against strong opponents.

‘In August, Abu Dhabi will host the IMMAF Youth World Championships for the third consecutive year. Today’s championship was a key stop in refining our athletes’ talents and preparing them to represent our nation on the global stage.’

Ahmed Al Janahi, a representative of the Dubai Sports Council, praised the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts Federation’s efforts in organising prestigious sporting events. ‘Events like Youth MMA Championship enhance the quality of competitions and strengthen the country’s leadership in developing the sport, discovering and honing talent, and establishing a solid foundation of champions,’ he said.

Yazan Yaseen, a coach at The Force Sports, added, ‘Since we have been participating in the last three Youth MMA Championships, I can see growth in terms of organisation as well as performance of athletes. By involving more youth athletes, we will create a strong base that can later be
part of the National Team, producing a good number of future champions.’

‘Our team did well today. In the last event held in Al Ain, we had just seven athletes, and in this event, we had 12, almost doubling the number. We are expecting good results in terms of their performance in various upcoming events. Events like this help test their skills against the best in the country, and I am hoping some of our team members will make it to the National Team soon,’ Yaseen added.

Emirati Hamad Jassim, representing ADMA, won first place in the Youth C (12-13 years old)/ -40kg category. ‘I can’t tell how happy I am with today’s win. The competitions were tough, but training hard and staying focused helped me win. I’m excited to keep training and compete in more championships to achieve my goals,’ he said.

Abdulla Andeez from Shabab AlAhli Dubai who won gold in Youth B (14-15 years old)/ -62kg, added, ‘I worked hard to prepare for this tournament, focusing on getting stronger and improving my fighting skills. Competin
g here was a great experience, and it will help me get ready for future international competitions.’

Source: Emirates News Agency

QSAF Reveals Details of Summer Program

Doha: Qatar Sports for All Federation (QSAF) announced today an ambitious plan, full of sports, youth and recreational activities. The summer plan will be held under the name ‘Sports for All Summer Program’.

At a press conference held at Lusail Sports Hall, the QSAF revealed the details of the summer program which will kick off on June 23 and continue until August 3.

With four different programs in more than one sport, these summer activities will be held in sports clubs, youth centers, and public parks.

QSFA Head of Events and Activities Abdullah Al Dosari affirmed that the summer activity includes a 365-day activity program for men in the air-conditioned Aspire and Al Gharafa parks as well as Al Rayyan park, and for women in the Al Luqta and Women’s Sports Committee gardens. The program is for all segments of society from 7 years old and up to 65 years old on a daily basis throughout the week.

The program aims to raise awareness about the importance of exercising correctly, while providing sports advice
to educate participants on the proper ways to exercise according to the age group.

Al Dosari stressed the QSFA’s keenness on expanding the circle of participation in sports and attracting the largest possible number of all segments of society, including youth, women and children by allocating special places for each age group to practice sports activity separately.

Given the QSFA’s keenness on teaching children self-defense arts, the second summer activity program is dedicated to teaching self-defense through Muay Thai training for males aged 6 to 18. The six-week program will take place in Al Arabi, Al Sailiya, Al Gharafa, Al Wakra, and Al Rayyan clubs as well as in Simaisma and Al Daayen and Al Thakhira youth centers. It concludes with the organization of a joint tournament for the participants in Lusail Sports Hall.

The third program will start on June 24 at Lusail Gym and will continue for six weeks. The program targets boys and girls from 6 to 10 years old.

Source: Qatar News Agency