Gianni Infantino has again insisted meeting the Swiss attorney general was "perfectly legal" following the decision by the Swiss special prosecutor to open criminal proceedings against the FIFA president.

On Thursday, a statement from the Swiss Federal Council confirmed Stefan Keller had found "indications of criminal conduct" relating to meetings between Infantino and Michael Lauber.

Swiss attorney general Lauber offered to resign from his position last week after a court found he covered up an undisclosed meeting with the head of football's governing body and lied to supervisors while his office probed corruption relating to FIFA.

Proceedings have consequently commenced against Infantino and the chief public prosecutor of Upper Valais, Rinaldo Arnold. Keller has also requested permission to open proceedings against Lauber.

Both Infantino and Lauber have previously denied any wrongdoing and Infantino has promised to co-operate with investigators as part of his and FIFA's commitment to restoring "the credibility of the organisation".

In a statement, FIFA said: "FIFA acknowledges the decision of the Swiss special federal public prosecutor in opening an investigation regarding the meetings involving the FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber. FIFA, including the FIFA president, remains at the disposal of the Swiss authorities and will, as we have always done, co-operate fully with this investigation."

Infantino said: "People remember well where FIFA was as an institution back in 2015, and how substantial judicial intervention was actually required to help restore the credibility of the organisation. As president of FIFA, it has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA.

"FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes. People have been convicted and sentenced, thanks to FIFA's co-operation, and especially in the United States of America, where our co-operation has resulted in over 40 criminal convictions. Therefore, I remain fully supportive of the judicial process, and FIFA remains willing to fully co-operate with the Swiss authorities for these purposes."

FIFA also reiterated Infantino's comments issued on June 25, when he said: "To meet with the attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it's perfectly legal. It's no violation of anything. On the contrary, it is also part of the fiduciary duties of the president of FIFA."

The Swiss special prosecutor has opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Gianni Infantino relating to dealings with the country's attorney general Michael Lauber.

Lauber offered to resign from his position last week after a court found he covered up an undisclosed meeting with the head of football's governing body and lied to supervisors while his office probed corruption relating to FIFA.

Stefan Keller was appointed as special prosecutor to review criminal complaints against Infantino, Lauber and other individuals.

A statement from the Swiss Federal Council said Keller had found "indications of criminal conduct".

Proceedings have consequently commenced against Infantino and the chief public prosecutor of Upper Valais, Rinaldo Arnold.

Keller has also requested permission to open proceedings against Lauber.

Both Infantino and Lauber have previously denied any wrongdoing.

The Federal Council statement added: "The presumption of innocence applies to attorney general Michael Lauber, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and chief public prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold. The special federal public prosecutor is independent in his activities."

Last week, a Bern court partially upheld a salary reduction for the period of one year for Lauber, who faced disciplinary proceedings after the supervisory authority for his office believed he breached official duties by meeting several times with Infantino.

A court statement last week said Lauber's sanction - a salary cut of eight per cent that was reduced to five per cent by the court - was justified based on "several breaches of official duty".

Infantino was voted in as the successor to disgraced former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter in February 2016.

Blatter, who was president for 17 years, and former UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were suspended from all football-related activity by FIFA in December 2015.

The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee ruled a payment of two million Swiss francs, authorised by Swiss Blatter to former France captain Platini, constituted multiple infringements of the FIFA code of ethics. Both men denied wrongdoing.

Blatter later saw an eight-year ban reduced to six on appeal but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal to have the suspension quashed in December 2016. CAS reduced Platini's sanction to four years.

FIFA’s latest football rankings published this week listed the Caribbean powerhouse Trinidad and Tobago at 105th in the world, their second-lowest in history.

A Normalization Committee appointed by FIFA is charged with sorting out dire financial and administrative affairs of the TT Football Association (TTFA) but will the virus that has seen the regional giants plummet to their lowest levels all-time be tackled as well in this process?

The eight-time Caribbean Football Union (CFU) champions have now spent a 10th consecutive month outside the world’s top-100.

The last time T&T’s Soca Warriors were the top-rated Caribbean team on the FIFA Coca-Cola Rankings was October 2016. From 65th in the world three and a half years ago, they have steadily plunged to embarrassing levels, not good enough for a football programme that had long been regarded as the best in the Caribbean.

Absorbed in a political football power war in the past year that included acrimonious election campaigning and subsequent unseating of David John-Williams (DJW) as President, T&T’s football results have been ghastly.

The Coronavirus has dismantled all sporting schedules globally and maybe it’s a good thing for T&T’s football since the inactivity may have eased their fans from some more painful match results.

Former England international and 1986 World Cup defender Terry Fenwick is the new head coach, replacing Dennis Lawrence and the straight-talking ex-defender’s job is likely to be negatively impacted by the current administrative turmoil.

Indeed, there are already media reports of heated exchanges Fenwick has had with the Technical team over dissatisfaction with efforts to sort out passports for foreign-born players being targeted for T&T representation.

T&T’s football fraternity is divided over FIFA’s intervention that sidelined last November’s elected executive, whose attorneys Matthew Gayle and Dr Emir Crowne have now gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in an effort to annul FIFA’s intervention.

FIFA’s track record globally clearly indicates they are powerful enough and have the right to intervene in any of its 211 affiliates’ administrative affairs if they are deemed not to be following the FIFA Statutes -- rules and regulations – that they themselves have signed to.

Opponents of the FIFA intervention in T&T reason that it was indecently done, given the fact the new executive had only been in place for three months, trying to tackle massive financial problems that were largely inherited.

The fact that serious financial problems existed when John-Williams was boss and FIFA did not intervene, begs the question why didn’t they at the time? The answer is fairly obvious. John-Williams has a good relationship with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and profited from FIFA’s support and understanding.

Days ahead of the November 24, 2019 TTFA elections, Infantino attended the glitzy opening of John-Williams’s biggest project, the “Home of Football” in Couva and he praised DJW as a leader displaying “wisdom and vision” with the project the FIFA President said represented “an investment in the future”.

Unruffled that T&T were just coming off setting all-time records for longest losing streak, winless streak and run of games without scoring, Infantino downplayed results in a SportsMax interview with George Davis, declaring firmly that when there is a heavy investment in stability with an eye for future development it was wrong to make a “sporting result (loss)” become a “tragedy” or a “catastrophe”.

Asserting obvious support for DJW’s team ahead of the TTFA Elections, Infantino defended the Home of Football investment as a building tool for the country’s football. “You need to build, you need to be stable … and that’s exactly what has been done and then the results will come because of the seriousness of the investment. We have now a solid foundation in this so that football can grow and be built and I am sure this will happen in the future with John-Williams,” Infantino said.

Infantino’s “future with John-Williams” narrative was ruined by DJW’s 26-20 loss to William Wallace’s men at the TTFA polls and I suspect that as far as FIFA is concerned, the wrong men are in charge.

A FIFA/CONCACAF audited study of the TTFA’s Finances in February apparently triggered the move to step in and remove the elected officials even though General Secretary Ramesh Ramdhan had reported to local media then that the mission was favourable and that FIFA were on their side.  

Leadership of major sporting organisations has long been about politics and power and football presidency at the global and confederation levels perfectly illustrate this.

I attended a few Caribbean Football Union (CFU) congress sessions that were open to the media during Jack Warner’s reign and saw the God-like sway he held over his subjects as a FIFA Vice-President and the CONCACAF Chief.

With that power, also came freedom to make unobstructed decisions, especially in a FIFA culture fashioned by Joao Havelange that while financially flourishing always had integrity question marks.

Brazilian Havelange, widely considered Warner’s mentor, enjoyed a 24-year reign -- before Sepp Blatter took over in 1998 – that boasted exponential football growth while never entertaining opposition. History shows you don’t fight FIFA and win so the odds are heavily against the relegated TTFA executive challenging this move by FIFA.

In the meantime, T&T’s football fans deserve more from their national team. Their October 2010 ranking of 106th in a brief sojourn outside FIFA’s top-100 almost 10 years ago, is the only ever weaker ranking position than they have now. Heading for a whole year outside FIFA’s top-100 as they are now, is unheard of in T&T’s glamorous football history.

How and when will the turnaround happen? Fenwick did not make it as a manager in his native England, but has had success in T&T, copping Pro League titles with Central FC (twice) and San Juan Jabloteh. He knows the T&T landscape well enough but appears short on the kind of talent that has propelled T&T’s International programme in the past.

Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, Judy Daniel and Nigel Romano along with the yet-to-be-named others on a five-member panel will have a tough job resuscitating T&T’s football, especially in this contentious climate fraught with bitterness and legal dispute.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said it would be "more than irresponsible" to restart competitions too early amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sport around the world has been brought to a standstill by COVID-19, which has killed more than 95,500 people globally.

The Bundesliga could restart in May as leagues start to plan and prepare for resumptions, but Infantino warned it would be dangerous to get going again too early.

"As our main priority, our principles, the ones we employ in our competitions and also we invite to everyone to follow, is health comes first," he said on Thursday, via the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

"As much as I emphasise it, it is not enough. It’s not worth to put at risk any human life for any game, any competition, nor any league. Everyone should have this clear in their minds.

"It would be more than irresponsible to restart the competitions if the situation is not safe 100 per cent. If you must wait a bit more time, we must do it. It is better to wait a bit more than taking risks."

Many bodies and leagues around the world are set to face financial difficulties in the wake of COVID-19, particularly if games are cancelled or played behind closed doors.

FIFA is said to have a $2.7 billion cash reserve it is set to use to create an emergency fund and Infantino said the governing body was planning to help.

"Thanks to the work we have been doing together in FIFA during the last four years, we find ourselves in a very solid financial situation. FIFA have a good reputation in the financial markets," he said.

"It helps us to consolidate a solid base of important reserves, but our reserves are not FIFA's money, it is the money of football. So, when football is in need, we have to think about a solution to help. It is our responsibility. This is how I see it as president of FIFA.

"As football has stopped in the whole world, we are all facing economic issues in different levels, from the base to professional football. Given this, we are already collaborating with you to asses the financial impact to prepare the right answer."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino warned football will be "different" when it returns, and it says it is impossible to know when leagues will resume.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the majority of the football world to a standstill as governments across the globe attempt to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19, with close to one million confirmed cases across the world and over 52,000 people having died after testing positive for the virus.

Last week, FIFA chief Infantino conducted an interview with La Gazetta dello Sport in which he pondered the possibility of reforming football with fewer competitions to try to cope with the disruption to the calendar.

Addressing the 72nd Ordinary CONMEBOL Congress during a speech via videolink, Infantino stressed the message that tackling the coronavirus crisis remains the most pressing concern.

"Football is not the most important thing, health comes first and should remain our priority until this sickness has been defeated," he said.

"The world is facing new challenges and we have to stay together and work as a team. This is the lesson that football can give: to work as a team.

"Tomorrow we all would like to see football again, but we don't know when we will be able to resume playing and no one around the world knows when we will be able to play like before.

"It is very important that football follows the instructions of the health authorities and governments, and it is very important that football gives a good example, because it's clear that no match is more important than a human life.

"This we need to clearly have in our minds, while at the same time... working with confidence and thinking positively towards the future.

"We have to look ahead and can't remain passive as [the coronavirus] will affect us. Both our world and our sport will be different once we return to normality.

"It is our responsibility as football administrators, first of all to ensure football can survive and secondly move forward once again. This is not only our responsibility but also our obligation."

Football will eventually return following the coronavirus pandemic, but it could look a little different.

The sport's leading competitions have been suspended amid the global crisis, and FIFA president Gianni Infantino this week suggested the pause represented an opportunity to "reform football".

"Perhaps we can reform football by taking a step backwards," Infantino told Gazzetta dello Sport. "[There would be] fewer but more interesting competitions, maybe fewer teams but for a better balance, fewer but more competitive matches to preserve players' health."

But what could post-coronavirus football look like? What must remain? What should disappear?

Five Stats Perform writers have put forward their suggestions for how the sport can move forward.


NO MORE GROUP STAGES - Ben Spratt

Those seemingly most frustrated by football's packed schedule are the coaches of leading European clubs. Therefore, there is a simple way to lose four games a season.

The most exciting Champions League and Europa League matches - with greater scope for shocks - tend to occur in the knockout stages anyway, so why not play two tense legs instead of six pool fixtures to advance?

A return to the format used in the European Cup and UEFA Cup might mean renaming the continental 'Leagues', but it is a price worth paying. Just keep the Champions League anthem!


DITCH FA CUP REPLAYS - Chris Myson

Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused a host of postponements and cancellations, fixture schedules were a particularly significant issue in England.

The FA Cup initially got rid of replays from the quarter-finals onwards and has since extended that to the fifth round. But now they should go all the way.

This would impact the one or two lower-league clubs each year who earn a dream replay against a top team in round three or four, but the competition has lost some of its lustre with big teams often resting their star names in the early rounds anyway.

Often the additional fixture is an inconvenience, while a one-off tie increases the drama and actually boosts the chance of a lower-tier club achieving an upset.


GET RID OF THE EFL CUP - Peter Hanson

Another sure-fire way to ease pressure on the calendar in England is to ditch the EFL Cup.

French football is ending the Coupe de la Ligue after this season, meaning English football will be the only one of the top-five European nations to have a second domestic cup competition.

With early rounds dominated by second-string XIs and fringe players, and the 'bigger' clubs largely utilising the cup as a means to give minutes to expensive benches, there is little clamour for the continuation of the EFL Cup.


AXE THE NATIONS LEAGUE - Liam Blackburn

If we're looking to cut back, how about axing the newest competition, the one that has no history and remains a mystery to your Average Joe?

The thought process behind UEFA's Nations League – to have more relevant fixtures and allow countries to play those they are more closely aligned with in the rankings – is commendable, yet it was undermined by the eventual absence of relegation from the inaugural edition.

The format and its relationship with qualifying for the Euros continues to be something of a Rubik's Cube unless you're a rocket scientist.

If something needs to go, can the convoluted.


CUT THE CLUB WORLD CUP - Patric Ridge

Infantino's calls to trim a bloated calendar are sensible, but actions speak louder than words. Perhaps proof of his desire for "reform" would come with an early end to an expanded Club World Cup.

Although the new 24-team format would see the finals held every four years in lieu of the Confederation Cup, it still seems an unnecessary hindrance.

The competition has been won by the Champions League holders on all but four occasions since its 2000 inception and provides little in the way of entertainment. 

Given the first new-look Club World Cup was due to take place in 2021 and now the Euros, Copa America and Olympics have each been pushed back to next year, Infantino has the opportunity to disregard this particular folly once and for all.

Even from a distance, it seems impossible not to gawk at the mangled train wreck that has unfolded at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and not be overcome with a sense of bewilderment.

In a press conference earlier this month, then newly elected president William Wallace became the latest in a long line of TTFA bosses to firmly plant allegations of widespread corruption at the feet of the previous tenants.  The new head honcho pointed to unpaid statutory deductions, bounced checks, a faulty finance structure as partial contributors to the body accruing a towering $US7,370,990 (TT$50,000,000).  Wallace also pointed to an incomplete Home of Football in Couva, which he claimed was shown to have structural flaws and lacking proper insurance. 

In the midst of the doom and gloom, Wallace then went on to paint a much rosier outlook for the future of the TTFA, after claiming the newly appointed administration had already taken major steps to alleviate some of the issues.  A settlement had been reached with television commentator Selwyn Melville regarding the issue of who owns the ‘Soca Warriors’ (Now famous nickname of the Trinidad and Tobago Men's Senior team)  and the announcement of an unspecified memorandum of understanding that would clear the debt in ‘two to three years’. The president pointed out that the new body had secured a TT$25-million apparel deal, secured a broadcast and digital rights partner, sealed a domestic sponsor and secured a sponsor for the FA. 

Good so far, but crucially, Wallace claimed that the work of a pair of accountants posted within his administration’s new internal finance structure satisfied a recent delegation of FIFA and Concacaf officials and that a better relationship could be expected going forward.  The bodies have long been at odds regarding the financial state of the local football body and had delayed its annual subvention.  A little over two weeks later FIFA disbanded the Board of the TTFA and appointed a normalization committee to take over affairs.  What on earth is going on? Nobody has explained to date.

The timing of FIFA's intervention seems strange, deciding to disband a newly formed executive that seems to not only have implemented structural reform but also pledges for financial support. A perceived sense of chumminess with the former administration, whether real or imagined put this in an even worse light and could be a real black eye for a Gianni Infantino-led organisation, which claims to have taken on the mantle of crusaders against corruption.

The response of the former TTFA members is, however, also interesting.

Any claims about a violation of sovereign and democratically elected officials certainly does not fly as when it comes to football the twin-island republic falls directly under the governance of FIFA itself and not the state. In several instances, countries have been suspended from the organisation for violating just that principle. The charter and ordinances that govern all 211 national associations of which T&T are a part, and the particular article that was quoted, gives them the specific right to intervene in the affairs of a member nation.  Normalisation committees are not after all aberrations on the global football landscape with Ghana, Egypt, Pakistan and Namibia among a few of those that have received such ‘assistance’ in recent years. This isn't even the first time this has happened in the Caribbean, with FIFA taking over the Guyana Football Federation and putting in a normalisation committee for a little over a year.

In other words, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Randy Harris was right, even if not popular, in pointing out that the appointment of normalisation committees is the prerogative of FIFA and can happen to any of the 211 national associations.  With all members agreeing to and playing under those statues it is difficult to see how it can be argued otherwise.

Secondly, it’s hard to imagine supporting the argument that a measure put in place to mitigate against damage the TTFA has admitted exists, is unfair, and to do so with the question, 'why now?'. FIFA should perhaps have intervened long ago, but few could argue with firefighters attempting to save any part of a house that has been engulfed in flames for a prolonged period. We would not advocate them letting it burn to the ground. 

Though they may not be required to, FIFA should, in the interest of the transparency they have long sought, give more details on the specifics of these particular circumstances.

 

 

President Gianni Infantino has suggested FIFA could "reform football by taking a step backwards" after the coronavirus pandemic.

The sport has been halted in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, which has over 345,000 confirmed cases and almost 15,000 deaths worldwide.

Europe's top five leagues have been suspended, while Euro 2020 and the 2020 Copa America have been pushed back 12 months.

Infantino sees the pause in play as an opportunity to assess the future of the game, though.

Leading managers - most notably Jurgen Klopp - have long bemoaned a packed scheduled, and the FIFA chief has highlighted the possibility of cutting back on some competitions.

"Perhaps we can reform football by taking a step backwards," Infantino told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"[There would be] fewer but more interesting competitions, maybe fewer teams but for a better balance, fewer but more competitive matches to preserve players' health."

Meanwhile, Infantino confirmed FIFA's revamped 24-team Club World Cup - initially set for 2021 - would have to be rescheduled due to the changing international calendar.

"We will have to move the Club World Cup," he acknowledged. "We will see if the new format will have its first edition in 2021, 2022 or 2023."

Football's immediate focus is on completing ongoing club campaigns.

Infantino insists all leagues will follow the World Health Organisation's (WHO) guidance, and FIFA is looking at altering contracts set to expire in June to allow for the potential prolongment of the season.

"We will start again when there is no longer any risk to health," he said. "Nothing says that will be in April or May.

"Federations and leagues are ready to follow WHO recommendations.

"We are thinking of modifying the statutes of contracts and making temporary derogations to extend their duration, initially scheduled until June 30."

FIFA is backing the decisions to move Euro 2020 and the Copa America to next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA and CONMEBOL announced on Tuesday that the tournaments will be postponed until 2021 to make it possible for the 2019-20 club seasons to be completed once local suspensions on league football have been lifted.

FIFA will convene a conference call with Council members on Wednesday where president Gianni Infantino will call for the revised Euro and Copa America dates to be accepted.

Members will also discuss plans to reschedule the revised 2021 Club World Cup, which is due to be held from June 17 until July 4 next year.

Infantino is also proposing FIFA contribute funds towards the global fight against COVID-19.

In a statement, he said he will encourage FIFA to ratify a direct $10million contribution to the World Health Organisation Solidarity Response Fund and establish a 'Global Football Assistance Fund' to "help members of the football community affected by this crisis".

FIFA will also consult with football stakeholders over any necessary changes to rules regarding transfers, so as to "protect contracts for both players and clubs".

He added: "It goes without saying that FIFA will keep in regular contact with all members of the football community during this difficult period. As I stated yesterday, challenging circumstances offer the opportunity for people to come together, show what they can do in a collective spirit, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future.  And this is what FIFA is aiming to do here.

"The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed. Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time."

The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar on Saturday with more major events and competitions being disrupted.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the globe, it has resulted in the postponement of competitions worldwide as governments attempt to combat the pandemic.

A small number of events still went ahead, but sports stars, teams and indeed supporters were otherwise left to find other means of entertainment.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 155,000, we round up all the latest news and updates.

 

Germany's prestige friendly with Italy later this month became the latest football fixture to bite the dust, with the majority of upcoming international matches having now been wiped out.

More major organisations have halted all footballing activities until a later date, including Qatar, Morocco and Egypt.

A small number of competitions, most notably the A-League, Russian Premier League and Mexico's Liga MX, did manage to go ahead as planned.

Indeed, NRL games also avoided the cut, as did a handful of Super Rugby matches before an indefinite ban was put in place later in the day.

Another competition to fall was Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand, which was already being played behind closed doors.

With New Zealand's government introducing strict protocols to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the Black Caps – along with Super Rugby side Highlanders – returned home from Australia and Argentina respectively in order to beat the new restrictions, which will mean any new arrival to the country, even if they are a citizen, has to self-isolate for 14 days.

With the top-four tiers of English football being shelved until at least early April, there was plenty of focus on the National League as six games were given the green light.

There was some controversy in Argentina as River Plate's Copa Superliga clash with Atletico Tucuman was suspended after the home side refused to open their stadium.

Independiente's tie with Velez Sarsfield was played out in full, albeit behind closed doors, with the hosts claiming a 1-0 victory.

In Italy, Napoli urged their supporters to sing from their balconies in unison as Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and two more Sampdoria players tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy revealed a negative test result after recently self-isolating, but Carlo Ancelotti and Angelo Ogbonna questioned the Premier League's handling of the outbreak, while Jordan Pickford denied reports he is self-isolating.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, meanwhile, claimed the competition should be "void" – a suggestion Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher quickly dismissed.

The lack of football did not stop certain clubs from keeping supporters entertained, though, with LaLiga side Leganes posting live updates of a fictitious match against Real Valladolid, which they won 2-1.

Perhaps inspired by their Spanish counterparts, Southampton got Manchester City involved in an online game of noughts and crosses to help fill the void.

The downtime also gave football stars a chance to recuperate, with Sergio Ramos and Alexis Sanchez among those to post images of their extra-curricular activities.

Others, such as Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, opted to use social media to educate their followers on how to properly wash their hands, while Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi used his profile to echo the sentiments of Cristiano Ronaldo in calling for people to follow the guidance of health organisations.

As Ronaldo and Jurgen Klopp were praised by the World Health Organisation for "protecting people from coronavirus", former United States president Barack Obama hailed a host of NBA stars – including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson – for donating large amounts to help support arena staff during the league's hiatus.

UFC superstar Conor McGregor labelled the pandemic "a stupid f****** virus", but later moved to clarify his aunt did not die after contracting the disease after previously suggesting as such.

And in more positive news, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe revealed his country still plan for the 2020 Olympic Games to go ahead in Tokyo, starting in late July.

The International Olympic Committee will have the final say, but ABE is confident the Games will be staged "without problem".

FIFA is considering staging the Women's World Cup every two years, according to the governing body's president Gianni Infantino.

The tournament is played every four years in its current guise and was most recently won by the United States in July.

Following the success of this year's edition in France, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet suggested playing the competition biennially, rather than every four years.

And Infantino is not ruling out the prospect of staging the tournament more regularly in the future.

"[Le Graet] said we should organise the Women's World Cup every two years instead of every four years because it has such a big and positive impact on the women's game," Infantino told Sky Sports News.

"This is something we need to consider and we are considering it. There are a lot of exciting points with regards to women's football in the next few years."

Brazil, Colombia and Japan are all in contention to host the 2023 Women's World Cup, while Australia and New Zealand have submitted a joint-bid.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino did not mince words in reference to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, insisting he had very little regard for the embattled official.

Infantino was recently in Trinidad and Tobago for the opening ceremony of a new hotel at the home of football in Couva.

“A very instrumental, negative figure for football, unfortunately,” was the FIFA President’s blunt assessment of Warner’s legacy when asked by the local media.

“I don’t need to say anything about that.  The courts have spoken about that and will continue to speak about that," he added.

Warner, who was also a former CONCACAF president and special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), was banned from the sport for life in 2015, in light of his alleged involvement in money laundering and wire fraud.  Warner is currently battling extradition to the United States.  In 2015, the former government minister was one of several other FIFA officials arrested in Zurich before the annual FIFA Congress. 

Earlier this year a United States court ruled that Warner should repay US$79 million that he had fraudulently obtained from CONCACAF.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for "new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football" after England players were subjected to abuse in Bulgaria.

UEFA has charged the Bulgarian Football Union over racist behaviour by fans during England's 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win.

The game was halted twice before half-time and a group of supporters who made "monkey chants" and Nazi salutes were ejected from the ground.

Tuesday's fallout from those shameful scenes included BFU president Borislav Mihaylov resigning after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov threatened to cut funding if he did not step down.

FIFA pledged to extend any sanctions imposed by UEFA worldwide and Infantino, who previously fronted European football's governing body, suggested now is the time for football to take a harder line against racism, including life bans for any perpetrators.

"So many times we say there is no place for racism in football, but nonetheless we still face challenges to tackle this problem in our sport, as we do in society," he said.

"We will need the support of public authorities to help us identify and punish the culprits but we probably also need to think more broadly on what we can do to fix this. 

"When we proposed the three-step procedure in 2009 when I was at UEFA, and then made the regulations even tougher a few years later, we could not have imagined that so shortly thereafter we would again be having to think of how to combat this obnoxious disease that seems to be getting even worse in some parts of the world."

Infantino added: "I call on all football governing bodies to join us and think together of new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football. 

"As a starting point, I suggest that all competition organisers enact regulations which envisage life bans from stadiums for those who are found guilty of racist behaviour at a football match. FIFA can then enforce such bans at a worldwide level."

UEFA's three-step procedure to deal with racist incidents was partially enacted during Monday's match, with the initial stoppage coming after England players reported chants to the referee and an announcement calling for the abuse to cease was made over the stadium's public address system.

After a further complaint, match official Ivan Bebek asked England manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane whether he wished for them to take the teams from the field – in line with step two.

The close proximity to half-time was a factor in England being minded to play on and Southgate credited Bebek's conduct throughout as being "outstanding".

England debutant Tyrone Mings confirmed the players unanimously agreed to continue playing at half-time. The third step in the UEFA plan after taking the players from the field is an abandonment if abuse persists.

Infantino's UEFA successor Aleksander Ceferin made a strong defence of his organisation's record when it comes to dealing with racism.

"As a governing body, I know we are not going to win any popularity contests. But some of the views expressed about UEFA’s approach to fighting racism have been a long way off the mark," he said.

"UEFA, in close cooperation with the FARE network (Football Against Racism Europe), instituted the three-stage protocol for identifying and tackling racist behaviour during games.

"UEFA's sanctions are among the toughest in sport for clubs and associations whose supporters are racist at our matches."

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