We’re entering the second week of FIFA corruption trials for three men in New York City and already the court cases are providing more entertainment than an HBO series. The FIFA scandal keeps getting weirder, and that’s not really a good thing for fans of the game, but it’s great for fans of an interesting narrative.
And so it’s settled. Last night, Peru claimed the final spot in the 32-team field for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, bringing us to the final event before the June 14 kick off at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow: the draw to determine the eight groups of four for the finals.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has come through on his promise to make the World Cup bidding process more transparent and open to scrutiny after the fallout following the 2010 vote which saw the 2018 and 2022 World Cups handed to Russia and Qatar.
On June 13, 2018, 211 member federations and the 38-person FIFA council will decide who’ll win the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and all of those votes will be open to public viewing.
Between November 9 and November 14, the complete European field for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will be decided over the course of eight gut-wrenching playoff ties. The two-legged affairs will mark the final cuts in a qualifying marathon that began with 54 hopefuls back on September 4, 2016, and will end with 14 European nations vying for glory next summer.
The United States, Mexico and many other countries across the globe will line up to play some relatively meaningless friendlies next week. They could be some of the last international friendlies if a UEFA-led project comes to fruition and forever reshapes the landscape of international football.
The World Cup prize money for 2018 will increase from 2014, but only for countries that win a few matches first. The total purse for the 2018 World Cup will be $400 million, a $42 million increase from the 2014 World Cup, FIFA announced following a meeting of the FIFA Council on Friday.
Pelé may be 77 years old, but he’s still winning. On Friday, Pelé won two club world championships.