The Sport Matrix: Friday 4 October 2013


Fifa all set to delay  2022 Qatar World Cup final decision

Fifa, the world game’s governing body, has insisted that the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar and its 27-strong executive committee will reassemble today to discuss the tournament in depth.

Qatar, meanwhile, insisted it would not be a World Cup “built on the blood of innocents” as protesters waved red cards outside Fifa’s HQ yesterday demanding action over the exploitation and deaths of Nepalese workers in the Gulf state.

The feeling in Zurich last night was that Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s (above) recent prediction of an “in-principle” agreement to switch to winter would not be the outcome of this morning’s meeting.

Instead, there is expected to be a declaration of a prolonged period of consultation with stakeholders – everyone from confederations, leagues and broadcasters – before a decision is made on when the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played. This process is likely to take around eight months as Fifa attempts to keep as many people as possible on board with whatever the final decision is. MORE

Tottenham ease to victory over Anzhi

Tottenham Hotspur moved closer to progressing beyond the group stage after defeating Anzhi Makhachkala 2-0 in Moscow. Jermain Defoe scored in the 34th minute, his seventh goal in four starts, before Nacer Chadli found the net five minutes later. MORE

Routledge clinches points for Swansea

Wayne Routledge’s second-half goal ensured Swansea defeated St Gallen 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium. St Gallen’s Goran Karanovic had a penalty saved before Routledge struck from close range in the 52nd minute, earning Swansea their second Group A victory. MORE

Powell double ensures Wigan first

Wigan earned their first victory in the Europa League by beating Slovenian side NK Maribor 3-1 at the DW Stadium. Nick Powell headed in before Ben Watson struck Wigan’s second. Marcos Tavares cut the deficit for Maribor but Powell scored again to ensure the hosts’ win. MORE

Hodgson backing for under-fire Hart

England manager Roy Hodgson insisted he has “every faith” in Joe Hart continuing as England’s No 1 and challenged him to prove his doubters wrong in the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland. He said: “I believe Joe will shrug this [criticism] off.” MORE

No excuse for poor form, says Giggs

Ryan Giggs, Manchester United’s player-coach, is puzzled by the club’s worst start to a season in 24 years. After their 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk, he said: “We haven’t got injury problems as we have had in the past. There is no excuse.” MORE

Coleman dig at Real over Bale fitness

Wales manager Chris Coleman has suggested Gareth Bale was “thrown in at the deep end” at Real Madrid when he was not fully fit. Bale was named in Wales’ squad to face Macedonia and Belgium but has withdrawn owing to his thigh injury. MORE

Alonso dismisses Vettel rumours

Sebastian Vettel yesterday laughed off rumours, ahead of the Korean GP, that he is benefiting from illegal driver aids. And rival Fernando Alonso added his support, saying: “They pass all the checks every race so it’s up to us to do better.” MORE

Europe start well in Seve Trophy

Continental Europe made a solid start in the Seve Trophy by opening up a two-point lead against Britain and Ireland after the first-day fourballs yesterday. Europe, who have lost the last six meetings, won three of the five pairings. MORE

Clarke a doubt for start of Ashes

Australia’s captain Michael Clarke says he is no certainty to be fit for the first Ashes Test against England next month. Clarke has a long-standing back injury and says he “can’t predict” when it will heal. MORE

Klitschko’s clash

Boxing writer Steve Bunce anticipates tomorrow’s bout between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin for the world heavyweight title – and one of the sport’s biggest purses. MORE