By DAN KARELL
The Ghanian FA has come out publicly with a plea to FIFA against Egypt’s decision to hold the second-leg of the World Cup qualifying series between Ghana and Egypt in front of a partial crowd in Cairo.
Reports out of Egypt say that at least 50 people died last weekend during riots in the capital between police and supporters of former Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, leading to the conclusion from the Ghanian FA that playing the match in Cairo isn’t a safe option.
“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) wishes to kindly request FIFA to move the venue for the 2014 World Cup Qualifying second-leg, play-off between Egypt and Ghana on 19th November, 2013 from Egypt to a safe and secure venue,” the Ghanian FA wrote in a statement on their website.
“We are seriously concerned about the security and safety of our delegation and spectators if the match would be played in Egypt as events in the country pointedly indicate that our delegation could be exposed to danger as the violence and insecurity in the country continues relentlessly.”
Ghana and Egypt were paired together in the final round of African World Cup qualifying, with the first match coming next Tuesday in Kumasi, Ghana, and the second match currently set for November 19 in Cairo.
Here are some more stories to start your day:
MAN UNITED EMBROILED IN BELGIUM ROW
Against the wishes of Manchester United, the Belgium National Team look to continue to move forward with Marouane Fellaini, despite the midfielder suffering a serious wrist injury last Wednesday.
According to reports in England, Fellaini was diagnosed with torn ligaments in his wrist which will likely require surgery, something that Man United wants to take care of right away. However, with Belgium’s World Cup qualification not yet ensured, they want one of their best players available to play in a crucial match on Friday against the second-placed nation in the group, Croatia.
“Marouane Fellaini should be able to play for Belgium against Croatia in Zagreb on Friday,” Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots said via The Guardian. “Marouane has suffered wrist ligament injury and will have to undergo surgery. He will join the squad and train on Tuesday with a splint. As far as I am concerned, in principle he is able to play Friday. This does not mean that he will automatically play. I have not heard from Manchester United asking that the operation should be as quickly as possible.”
Losing Fellaini is another blow to David Moyes’ Man United side that has struggled early on this season, especially in central midfield.
FIFA ETHICS COMMISSION BEGINS INVESTIGATION THIS WEEK
American attorney Michael Garcia is expected to begin his FIFA investigation on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids this week with a trip to England.
In a statement released through the law firm Kirkland and Ellis LLP, Garcia and the investigation group said that their interviews and studies will last well into next year, and when they’re finished speaking with all bidding nations who submitted bids to those World Cups, he’ll submit the findings to the FIFA ethics court. However, Garcia denied that he couldn’t outright demand or change the location of a World Cup venue.
“It is not our role to determine the venue or timing of the World Cup,” said the statement. “Members of the Investigatory Chamber intend to speak with and request information from representatives of every bid team that vied to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. The fact that we request a meeting with members of a particular bid team does not mean that any specific allegation has been made by or against that team or anyone associated with it.”
The Qatar 2022 World Cup winning bid is a key bid that is under investigation, with even FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitting last month that political influences played a role in the voting.
Garcia has reminded all footballing officials in every bidding nation that by the laws of FIFA’s ethics court, they’re obligated to speak with his investigative team. Due to a conflict of interest and a ban in Russia, Garcia’s deputy on the team, Cornel Borbely, will lead the interviews in the USA and in Russia.
Sunderland confirmed the appointment of Gus Poyet as the club’s new manager on a two-year contract. (REPORT)
England left back Ashley Cole has been ruled out of the Three Lions’ match on Friday against Montenegro with a rib injury. Roy Hodgson has called up Kieran Gibbs to replace the Chelsea defender. (REPORT)
Ghana have been handed a gut-punch with the news that midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has been ruled out of their first-leg match against Egypt next week with a left knee injury. (REPORT)
Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has pulled out of the Czech Republic squad due to what he calls “health concerns.” (REPORT)
Benfica have learned that summer-signing Lazar Markovic will miss the next three weeks with an injury. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you think that the Egypt-Ghana second-leg match should move to a neutral venue? Do you see Fellaini playing on Friday? Do you see FIFA’s ethics investigation finding Qatar 2022 guilty?
Share your thoughts below.