FIFA president Gianni Infantino offered his condolences on "a dark day" after at least 174 people were killed in a stampede at an Indonesian Premier League (Liga 1) match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya.

Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse rioting fans on the pitch after hosts Arema were beaten 3-2 at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang on Saturday.

East Java police chief Nico Afinta said people died after being crushed and suffocated as they ran towards the same exit, with Afinta stating that 3,000 of the approximately 40,000 spectators in attendance had invaded the pitch initiating "riots".

It was initially reported that about 130 people had lost their lives, but officials later confirmed the death toll had climbed.

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) launched an investigation into the tragedy, while FIFA's Infantino said in a statement: "The football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia.

"This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension.

"I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident.

"Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, together with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation, the Indonesian Football Association, and the Indonesian Football League, at this difficult time."

All remaining Liga 1 matches due to be staged over the weekend were suspended following the tragedy, while Arema have been banned from hosting games until the end of the season.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been urged to expel Iran from the World Cup because of the country's treatment of female football supporters.

The Open Stadiums campaign group claimed previous commitments by FIFA to encourage Iran to change its ways amounted to "empty words and promises".

The group said Iran has systemically kept women away from football stadiums "for over four decades", calling it a "gross human rights violation".

Pointing to "shameful scenes" of women being tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed when attempting to attend a World Cup qualifier against Lebanon in March, Open Stadiums said: "All this was happening, Mr Infantino, under your watch and, seemingly, with FIFA's protection and approval, judging by your organisation's inaction."

It labelled a commitment to allow women into the Azadi Stadium as "a short-term PR stunt" to boost the Iranian Football Association's image before the World Cup begins in November.

Iran are due to play England, Wales and the United States in the group stage, facing England in their opening Group B game on November 21.

The death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in custody in September after she allegedly refused to comply with hijab rules sparked outrage among Iranian women, followed by what Open Stadiums describes as a "brutal clampdown by the regime".

In its open letter to FIFA, the group also pointed to Sahar Khodayari, the woman known as 'Blue Girl', who attempted to attend a football game dressed as a man in 2019 but was spotted and arrested for flouting hijab rules. She died by suicide, reportedly because she expected to be sent to prison.

Open Stadiums said there was a clear ongoing case of "government interference", with a number of sports journalists and photographers "arrested and left in solitary confinement with no charges brought against them", and a footballer and fan group leader killed by Iranian authorities.

FIFA rules do not allow governments to wade into sporting matters. Open Stadiums claims the Iranian FA "remains untouched and seemingly beyond reproach by FIFA", and described the country's football authority as both "an accomplice of the crimes of the regime" and "a direct threat to the security of female fans in Iran and wherever our national team plays in the world".

The group fears Iranian women who travel to the Qatar 2022 finals will be kept "in check" by travelling undercover state agents, warning of possible revenge on women's rights activists and female football fans following the tournament.

"That is why, as Iranian football fans, it is with an extremely heavy heart that we have to raise our deepest concern about Iran's participation in the upcoming FIFA World Cup," the group said in its letter to Infantino.

"Why would FIFA give the Iranian state and its representatives a global stage, while it not only refuses to respect basic human rights and dignities, but is currently torturing and killing its own people? Where are the principles of FIFA's statutes in this regard?

"Therefore, we ask FIFA ... to immediately expel Iran from the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

"The Islamic Republic's authorities and its football federation must not be given the honour of participating in football's finest tournament while it is killing its citizens on our streets.

"Mr Infantino, FIFA needs to act now to protect Iran's dedicated and passionate female football fans."

The cast and characters of award-winning television series Ted Lasso will be incorporated into FIFA 23, the game's developer EA Sports announced on Wednesday.

The multiple Emmy-winning show, starring Jason Sudeikis as an American coach drafted in to lead a fictional English team despite no previous experience in the sport, will be featured across the game's major modes.

Lasso and his club, AFC Richmond, will be available to play in various modes, including career mode and online, while their Nelson Road ground - in reality Crystal Palace's Selhust Park - is also included.

The game, which launches on September 30, will also include custom options for coaches and players, with several of the show's fictional stars also set to be included.

The series' social media accounts teased a potential inclusion earlier this week, showcasing star Sudeikis in character surrounded by a digital camera rig.

The American actor previously made headlines when he showed his support for England trio Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho following racial abuse in the wake of the Three Lions' Euro 2020 final loss on penalties to Italy last year.

Ecuador's place at the World Cup in Qatar is secure after FIFA rejected Chile's bid to have their South American rivals excluded from the tournament.

A spot in Group A, including the opening fixture of the tournament against Qatar on November 20, was under threat due to the eligibility of Byron Castillo – who played eight times during qualifying.

Chile presented evidence that Castillo was born in Colombia and were seeking action that would have seen them replace Ecuador in the tournament.

However, the FIFA Appeal Committee has closed proceedings initiated against the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF).

"Having analysed the submissions of all parties and after a hearing had been conducted, the Appeal Committee confirmed the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to close the proceedings initiated against the FEF," a statement read.

"Amongst other considerations, it deemed that on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality in accordance with art. 5 par. 1 of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes."

Chile could still appeal the decision and take the hearing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

After the year Karim Benzema has had, you could be forgiven for thinking he came straight from a computer game.

Appropriately, the Real Madrid and France striker has been awarded the highest rating in FIFA 23 ahead of its release later this month.

EA Sports has announced its ratings for the top 23 players for this year's edition of the popular football simulation, with Benzema the top-ranked on 91, while the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane have fallen.

Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions for Madrid last season as they went on to win both the LaLiga and Champions League titles, and has already notched four goals in six appearances this season.

Last year's top-ranked, Messi, has seen his rating fall from 93 to 91, and he now sits in fifth place behind Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe and Kevin De Bruyne.

Ronaldo moves down five places to eighth as he is rated at 90, with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk placed between him and Messi in sixth and seventh, also on 90.

Harry Kane (89) has dropped nine places from last year's game to 17th, and now sits below Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min, who is also rated 89 but is in 12th place on the list.

Manchester City hotshot Erling Haaland is up to 21st place on a rating of 88 after his electric start to life in England, where he has already scored 12 goals in eight games in all competitions.

FIFA 23 will be released on September 30, and will be the final iteration of the series after the licencing agreement between EA Sports and FIFA came to an end.

Top 10 FIFA 23 ratings

1. Karim Benzema - 91
2. Robert Lewandowski - 91
3. Kylian Mbappe - 91
4. Kevin De Bruyne - 91
5. Lionel Messi - 91
6. Mohamed Salah - 90
7. Virgil van Dijk - 90
8. Cristiano Ronaldo - 90
9. Thibaut Courtois - 90
10. Manuel Neuer - 90

Sebastien Haller has been surprised by the "compassion" of others since being diagnosed with testicular cancer, as FIFA president Gianni Infantino backed the Borussia Dortmund striker to bounce back.

The Ivory Coast international moved to Bundesliga heavyweights Dortmund of the new campaign, after a superb 2021-22 season with Ajax saw him finish as the Eredivisie's top scorer.

His plans for making an early impact on the field in Germany were scuppered when a tumour was found, with the 28-year-old former West Ham player needing to undergo chemotherapy.

Haller has been understandably reluctant to put a time frame on his return to action, but he feels positive about the progress he is making, saying: "I'm very well. The treatment is going well, and luckily I'm able to train every day."

Speaking about the support he has had, Haller told FIFA.com: "It was a shock, but it's been positive. I never expected to get such a response or have so much compassion shown to me, and not just from the football world. These are things that bring us all together, and it's given me a huge amount of strength in facing up to this challenge.

"It doesn't matter whether they're Ivorian, Dutch, French, German, English or whatever; everyone who's given me their support from near or far is a source of energy for my family, friends and I.

"All I can say to them is that I'll be doing everything I can to come back as quickly as possible and to play a decisive role for my club and my country."

Haller made a welcome appearance in the crowd to see Dortmund get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start on Tuesday, with a 3-0 home victory over FC Copenhagen.

Dortmund also sit second in the Bundesliga table after five games, level on points with Freiburg who hold top spot on goal difference.

The signs are promising that Haller will rejoin a strong squad, once he is ready to play again.

FIFA chief Infantino wrote to him: "On behalf of both myself and the international football community, I would like to extend my sincere wishes to you for a full and speedy recovery, and hope to see you back to full health very soon."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says HRH Queen Elizabeth II is "a huge loss to football" following her death aged 96 on Thursday.

The monarch, Britain's longest-serving sovereign with a seven-decade reign, passed away at her home in Balmoral, with her son succeeding her as King Charles III.

Throughout her life, the Queen was closely associated with the nation's favourite sport, and presented England captain Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy upon the Three Lions' 1966 World Cup win at Wembley.

Now, Infantino has paid tribute to the late Queen, calling her "a global leader" and offering his condolences to her family following the news.

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's passing is a huge loss to football, to our society, and to the world," he stated. 

"To our sport, the Queen was present in England’s proudest footballing moment, when she presented the Jules Rimet trophy to Bobby Moore after winning the 1966 FIFA World Cup on home soil, and her support for football spans a lifetime.

"To society, the Queen was a Head of State for a number of FIFA's Member Associations, and was an active patron of football across the United Kingdom and a supporter of our sport throughout the Commonwealth.

"To the world, our football community laments the loss of a global leader who engaged and encouraged everyone she met, and on behalf of football across the world, our thoughts are with the royal family at this most difficult time."

FIFA and UEFA have issued a joint statement condemning a "horrific act" that saw gunshots fired at the Turkish Football Association headquarters on Thursday.

Reports from Turkey indicate 11 shots were fired in the direction of the building in Istanbul as the board met inside, though fortunately nobody was hurt.

Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, said two suspects were arrested shortly after the incident occurred, describing them as "drunk", with investigations ongoing.

Football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA condemned the indicent, expressing relief that no injuries were sustained.

"On Thursday, a horrific act of gun violence against the people and property of the Turkish Football Association (TFF) occurred at the TFF's headquarters in Istanbul," the statement read.

"As much as we are relieved that these acts resulted in no injuries, we regret that there are still people capable of such crimes with no respect for human life or safety.

"FIFA and UEFA jointly condemn this violent act and express our full support for the TFF and its staff at this difficult time. Violence is a disease that cannot be tolerated in any form."

Former Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Turkey international Hamit Altintop, now one of the federation's leaders, was in the building at the time of the incident.

"We threw ourselves to the ground as soon as we heard the shots," he told the Milliyet daily.

FIFA has agreed to cancel the World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina.

The fixture in September was stopped shortly after kick-off when Brazilian health officials entered the field claiming four Argentina players had broken COVID-19 protocols.

FIFA was pushing for the clash to be rescheduled for next month, despite the fact the game was essentially meaningless with both teams having already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

The confederations of Brazil and Argentina both opposed FIFA's demand, with the case taken to the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) where all three parties agreed to the deal.

Brazil's Tite and Argentina's Lionel Scaloni argued the risk of injuries and suspensions were too high for the game to be played, which would have occurred just two months before the World Cup is scheduled to begin.

With the agreement, both South American teams are free to schedule friendlies against opponents of their choosing for their World Cup preparations – where they will be looking to end Europe's dominance on the world stage.

Brazil have not won the tournament since 2002 and were humiliated by Germany in the semi-finals when hosting the tournament in 2014, where Argentina were subsequently beaten in the final.

Argentina are alongside Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia in Group C, while Brazil are in Group G with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

The Qatar World Cup is not a tournament "for fans", says Germany coach Hansi Flick, who believes "football should be there for everyone".

The latest staging of the flagship tournament has been the source of much controversy since it was awarded to Qatar in 2010.

The nation's stance towards women and the LGBTQ+ community was widely pointed to as a problem from the outset, while the deaths of thousands of migrant workers have been reported during preparation for the finals.

Given Qatar's limited accommodation facilities and the move to the middle of the European club season, the competition has presented issues for both fans and players, even beyond those moral debates.

And Flick had supporters in mind as he added his voice to those criticising the 2022 World Cup.

"Basically, I think it is a shame that this tournament will not be a World Cup for fans," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau.

"[I have friends] who would like to fly to Qatar, but choose not to for a variety of reasons. Football should be there for everyone. That is why I say it is not a World Cup for fans."

But Flick recognised making a direct political statement of protest was "a challenge for everyone involved", adding: "We have already had many discussions.

"We will sit down again in September and consider what we can do together with other nations – or want to do."

Flick will lead Germany into a major tournament for the first time after succeeding Joachim Low after a last-16 exit to England at Euro 2020.

They will face Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Group E, with their first game to be played against the Samurai Blue on November 23.

 

FIFA has confirmed the 2022 World Cup will start a day earlier than originally planned in order to allow hosts Qatar to face Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament.

Qatar had originally been set to open their first World Cup campaign on Monday November 21, with Group A rivals Senegal and the Netherlands scheduled to get the competition under way earlier that day.

But a unanimous decision taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Council means Felix Sanchez's Qatar side will now begin the tournament on Sunday November 20 at 7pm local time – continuing the tradition of the home side playing first.

The opening ceremony has also been brought forward a day to November 20.

"The FIFA World Cup 2022 will kick off with an even greater celebration for local and international fans as host country Qatar will now play Ecuador on Sunday, 20 November as part of a stand-alone event," read a statement issued by FIFA.

"The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the FIFA World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions. 

"The decision followed an assessment of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and an agreement with key stakeholders and the host country."

 

The decision means the Netherlands' fixture against Senegal has been moved to a later time slot on November 21, and will now follow on from England's Group B opener versus Iran.

The World Cup hosts have featured in the opening match of the tournament since the 2006 edition in Germany, where Jurgen Klinsmann's team beat Costa Rica 4-2.

Between the 1974 and 2002 tournaments, the defending champions opened the tournament, with France infamously going down to Senegal in the last World Cup to follow that tradition.

England Women have rocketed to fourth place in the FIFA rankings after winning Euro 2022 – but they still trail Sweden and Germany, two of the teams they beat on the way to glory.

The list continues to be headed by World Cup winners the United States, who are due to face England in an October friendly at Wembley.

Germany climb above Sweden to take over second place after reaching the European final, but the Swedes hold a narrow lead over England.

That is despite England thrashing Sweden 4-0 in the semi-finals of the Women's Euros, before going on to beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in the final.

England were eighth in the rankings prior to winning the European title for the first time but have vaulted above France, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain.

Sarina Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to Euro 2017 glory, repeated the feat this year as manager of England and is set to be offered an improved contract by the Football Association ahead of the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Brazil remain ninth after winning the Copa America Femenina, beating Colombia in the final, while Women's Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa nudged up four places to 54th on the list.

Chile intend to launch an appeal against FIFA's decision to dismiss their previous complaint regarding Ecuador's participation at the World Cup.

Nine-time tournament finalists Chile asked FIFA to investigate allegations that Ecuador used ineligible right-back Byron Castillo in their successful qualifying campaign.

The Federacion de Futbol de Chile (ANPF) said it had proof that Castillo was born in Colombia and not Ecuador, as stated on his official documents.

Castillo appeared eight times in qualifying, including in a goalless draw with Chile in September and a 2-0 victory in November.

La Roja finished seventh, meaning they just missed out on a play-off spot, but felt Ecuador should be expelled from the World Cup at their expense.

However, after looking into the claims made by ANPF, world football's governing body FIFA rejected the appeal last month and confirmed Ecuador will keep their place in Qatar.

Chile are continuing to push their case, though, with their general secretary Jorge Yunge confirming on Thursday that a fresh appeal will be lodged.

"We are completely sure about the conclusions of our investigations," Yunge said in a statement.

"It's absolutely clear the player uses an adulterated Ecuadorean document. What is at stake here is not just a place in the 2022 World Cup, but the entire principle of fair play."

Ecuador have been drawn in Group A at the World Cup, which begins in November, alongside Senegal, the Netherlands and hosts Qatar.

Manor Solomon has reached an agreement to sign for Fulham until the end of the 2022-23 season, after a FIFA ruling on Ukraine-based players.

The ruling stipulates that Ukraine-based players, who aren't Ukrainian nationals, can suspend their contract with their club. 

The 22-year-old scored four goals in 16 league appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk last season before the competition was cancelled due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Another FIFA regulation means that players who cancelled contracts with their Ukrainian clubs cannot be registered before the start of August, but Fulham have stated that they will be applying for an international transfer certificate on the first day of the month.

Shakhtar Donetsk have issued a demand for €50million (£43m) in damages from FIFA over lost transfer fees amid their player exodus following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Football's governing body previously ruled that foreign players would be able to suspend contracts and seek a new club in another country amid the war.

Shakhtar chief executive Sergei Palkin stated that agents were profiting from the situation and taking payment for deals rather than the Ukrainian Premier League club.

The club have now appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We had to do this because of FIFA's highly unfair ruling," Palkin told BBC Sport. "The consequences mean we will continue to lose significant income from deals we expected to close.

"We would also like to highlight that given the situation Ukrainian clubs are facing with the war, there has been little respect shown towards these clubs by FIFA.

"FIFA has not looked to protect clubs and at no stage consulted with us to find a solution - they have seemingly ignored the perilous state that Ukrainian football clubs have been facing since the beginning of the war."

FIFA's decision on June 21 gave Shakhtar and other Ukrainian clubs until June 30 to finalise sales before foreign players were able to unilaterally suspend contracts.

This has lead to several players allegedly halting pending transfers, before effectively being able to leave for free, with the club reportedly naming Manor Solomon and Tete as two such individuals.

"In absence of any reaction from FIFA, we will have no choice but to seek for damages compensation from the competent courts," added Palkin.

"I believe more meaningful support initiative to Ukrainian clubs is needed from FIFA."

Shakhtar meanwhile continue to train abroad, with the squad currently in the Netherlands, ahead of a hoped-for resumption of football back home in August.

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