Didier Deschamps, France national team manager, awarded earlier today with the 13th Dubai International Sports Conference shield. Images: Globe Soccer.
Published in Arabian Business, on Jan 03rd, 2019, By Bernd Debusmann Jr
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino said he is open to the possibility of expanding the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams
Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Deschamps and Real Madrid are among the players, managers and teams vying for awards tonight at the 10th edition of the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai.
The event includes 13 categories recognising performance both on and off the pitch, with nominees selected by a jury of international coaches, directors and chairmen.
In the best player category, Cristiano Ronaldo – who has been nominated 8 times previously and won 4 times – is up against Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, both stars of the French national team that emerged victorious at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In the best club category, hometown rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid – which finished the 2017/2018 season in second and third place, respectively, behind Barcelona – face Liverpool, which ended the 2017/2018 Premier League season in fourth place and which currently sits in the top position of the league.
Five coaches are in the running for Best Coach of the Year, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Real Madrid’s Zenedine Zidane, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, France international manager and World Cup winner Didier Deschamps, and Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri.
Other categories will award the year’s best agents, referees and goalkeepers, as well as career awards for players and coaches, a ‘sport idol’ award and a fans’ award.
The awards come at the conclusion of the Dubai International Sports Conference, which was held under the theme of “football and the economy”.
On the sidelines of the conference on Wednesday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was awarded “for his contributions to the development of world football” by Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai International Marine Club.
In remarks delivered at the conference, Infantino said he supports the expansion of the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 teams. While FIFA has already decided the 2026 World Cup – which will be jointly held by the United States, Mexico and Canada – will include 48 teams, Infantino said he’s open to the possibility of expanding the number of teams included in the 2022 World Cup as well.
“Obviously, if we can increase it to 48 teams and make the world happy we should try it,” he said. “If we can accommodate some of the neighbouring countries in the Gulf region which are very close by to host a few games in the World Cup, this could be very beneficial for the region and the entire world.”