TIME Soccer

FIFA Alleges Misconduct in World Cup Selection

The organization has faced allegations of bribery in previous years

FIFA filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland Tuesday against unnamed individuals, alleging “international transfers of assets” that “merit examination” in connection with the selection process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The international soccer organization, now in the accuser seat, has in the past faced accusations of a lack of transparency and corrupt practices in choosing World Cup venues.

“There are indications of potential illegal or irregular conduct in certain areas, which must now be followed up both internally by FIFA and by the relevant national criminal prosecution authorities,” said Hans-Joachim Eckert, co-chair of FIFA’s ethics committee, in a question and answer.

The complaint follows the completion of an internal investigation into the selection processes. While the report has not been released in its entirety, Eckert admitted that it contained some evidence of wrongdoing.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: From the FIFA Probe to Kim Kardashian’s Assets

Here are four of the biggest stories for the second week of November

This week, a number of media reports suggested President Barack Obama is poised to unilaterally overhaul the U.S. immigration policy, in a move that could allow up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country.

The European Space Agency’s Philae probe became the first to land on a comet. The probe landed one kilometer away from its target site, but may run out of energy soon due to lack of sunlight.

FIFA ruled that Qatar will still host the 2022 World Cup, despite allegations it had paid officials to campaign for the bid back in 2010.

And Kim Kardashian posed nude for the cover of Paper magazine, which said its goal was to “Break the Internet.”

TIME World Cup

FIFA Clears Russia and Qatar to Host World Cup

FIFA President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, in Dec. 2010.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, in Dec. 2010. Philippe Desmazes—AFP/Getty Images

No proof was found of long-standing allegations of bribes and voting pacts

(GENEVA) — A FIFA judge has cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption in their winning bids for the next two World Cups.

German judge Joachim Eckert formally closed FIFA’s probe into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests on Thursday, almost four years after the vote by the governing body’s scandal-tainted executive committee.

Eckert noted wrongdoing among the 11 bidding nations in a 42-page summary of FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia’s investigations.

However, Eckert ruled that the integrity of the December 2010 voting results was not affected.

No proof was found of longstanding allegations of bribes and voting pacts. Eckert concluded that any rule-breaking behavior was “far from reaching any threshold” to require re-running the contests.

Eckert wants Garcia to prosecute cases against individual FIFA voters and bid staffers.

TIME Soccer

Even Soccer Fans Don’t Recognize Clint Dempsey Without a Jersey

The U.S. men's soccer team captain is apparently hard to spot when not playing

Soccer player Clint Dempsey, who captained the U.S. Men’s National Team through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, may have won the adoration of American fans on the field, but off the green he appears to be harder to spot. In fact, even soccer fans seem to have trouble recognizing America’s star soccer player out of uniform.

TIME Soccer

Official Says Qatar Is Too Hot to Host World Cup

FBL-WC2014-QAT-FIFA-TROPHY
A Qatari official stands near the FIFA World Cup trophy following its arrival in Doha, on Dec. 12, 2013. Karim Jaafar—AFP/Getty Images

"Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions"

Qatar likely will not be hosting the 2022 World Cup, a top FIFA official said Monday. Why? The country is too hot.

“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions,” Reuters reports FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger saying. “I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar.”

Qatar leaders have said they will equip stadiums, fan zones, and training areas with advanced cooling systems during the games, but Zwanziger said it won’t be enough.

“They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there,” Zwanziger said.

A Qatari official quickly pushed back in a statement.

“Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, despite comments of FIFA Executive Committee member Dr. Zwanziger, which reflect his personal opinion and not that of FIFA,” the official said. “The only question now is WHEN, not IF. Summer or winter, we will be ready. We have proven that a FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the summer is possible with state-of-the-art cooling technology. We have demonstrated that our cooling works in outdoor areas beyond stadiums.”

[Reuters]

TIME

Cristiano Ronaldo Stars in Truly Bizarre Japanese Commercial for a Facial Fitness Tool

Guaranteed to make your smile look just like his!

When Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t showing off his well-toned muscles after winning a soccer game, he’s showing off a gadget meant to help people boast his winning smile.

The Portuguese footballer recently appeared in a Japanese advertisement for an unusual little product called Pao Facial Fitness. It requires users to bite down on a winged contraption and then vigorously nod their heads in an attempt to build up cheek strength. Based on the commercial, it seems that users are also encouraged to dance around.

If you don’t want to buy one of these, don’t worry: just watching the video is likely to make you smile so hard that you’ll get a facial workout for free!

TIME World Cup

Robots Have Their Own World Cup

But they're training to compete in ours

The computer Deep Blue defeating world chess champion Garry Kasparov at his own game in 1997 was one thing but when a team of humanoid robots defeats the world’s greatest soccer players it will be something else altogether. These scientists are working to achieve just that. Founded the same year Deep Blue took down Kasparov, the Robocup was born with the mission of developing an artificially intelligent human-like robot by 2050 capable of beating the World Cup soccer champions. But before the robots get to defeating us humans at the world’s favorite game they’re practicing against each other each year in the Robocup, a robot soccer tournament in which the machines must obey the same rules as normal soccer. For this year’s Robocup, more than 4000 engineers and scientists from over 40 countries assembled in Brazil to set their machines competing against one another.

TIME Social Networking

Facebook: World Cup Visitors Made 2 New Friends

According to data provided to TIME exclusively from Facebook

World Cup soccer is for making new friends, according to Facebook data, at least.

On average, a visitor who checked into a World Cup stadium on Facebook last month made on average one new Brazilian friend and one friend from another country, according to data provided exclusively by Facebook to TIME and charted in the graphs below.

new_friendships[5]

Americans seem to have been some of the most gregarious World Cup visitors, forming the most new friendships with Brazilians during the games and sparking web-relationships with visitors from Great Britain, Australia, Mexico, Colombia and Canada. Visitors from Australia, Argentina, Mexico and Great Britain rounded out the top five countries whose residents were actively forming friendships with Brazilians during the World Cup.

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An estimated 3.7 million people traveled throughout Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and as visitors from around the world hit the myriad stadiums where countries met their futbol fate, they checked in on Facebook over 1 million times. Arrival check-ins peaked on day one of the tournament, when Brazil toppled Croatia 3-1. World Cup stadium check-ins peaked on the tournament’s final day.

first_checkins[6]

The final match between Germany and Argentina on July 13 had the most overall check-ins, according to the data, though the opening match was a close second. In all, there were about 236,600 check-ins to Rio de Janeiro’s Maranca stadium.

stadium_checkins_viz_final[5]

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