‘CONCACAF could have eight  World Cup spots for 2026’

first_img-Montagliani wants region to take advantage of opportunity CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani has asserted the confederation is looking to fill eight spots at the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Canada, United States and Mexico.The ambitious plan could come to fruition as a part of a unique set of circumstances that surround the competition.As hosts of the tournament Canada, Mexico and the United States will automatically be granted spots.  The situation will leave the region’s normal three and a half spots available to CONCACF’s other teams.  In addition, however, because it won the bid to host the tournament, Concacaf will receive another half spot.  Half spots are confederation playoffs between teams, which sees the winners advancing to the tournament.According to Montagliani, a major part of the confederation’s focus will be on ensuring the region is able to take full advantage of the situation.“What has been confirmed is that we have six direct spots and then we have a half a spot, which means we go to a playoff.  Now, because we also won the bid and we won the right to host the World Cup, we gained another half a spot.  So, that means we have six plus two halves,” Montagliani explained to the SportsMax Zone in an interview on Monday.“I’ve been very clear that one of the reasons we are investing in the League of Nations, expanded Gold Cup and all the things that we are doing is because we really want to set that bar that we have eight CONCACAF nations at the 2026 World Cup if we can win those play-off spots.”(Sportsmax)last_img read more

Bahrain footballer to remain in detention: Thai court

first_img0Shares0000Hakeem Alaraibi has been held in detention in Thailand as Australia and Bahrain tussle over his fate © AFP / Lillian SUWANRUMPHABangkok, Thailand, Dec 11 – A former Bahrain national footballer with Australian refugee status must remain in detention in Thailand as he awaits possible extradition, a Bangkok court said Tuesday, as campaigners say they fear he could be “tortured” if returned to the Gulf state.Hakeem Alaraibi says he was arrested and beaten at the start of the Arab Spring protests in Bahrain in 2012, and was granted refugee status in Australia five years later. The 25-year-old, who now plays for semi-professional club Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne, was stopped by Thai immigration on November 27 after arriving in Bangkok for a vacation with his wife and detained upon request from the Bahraini government, as Australia and Bahrain tussle over his fate.His lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman told AFP Tuesday the court has extended his time behind bars in Bangkok for 60 days.The attorney-general’s office would then file an application for his extradition, she said.“I think he has a good chance not to be extradited because we have evidence” that he will face abuses back in Bahrain, Bergman said.The court denied a bail request after the detention order. Speaking to reporters as he was led into court in the morning by immigration police, Alaraibi begged for the proceedings to be halted.“Immigration Thailand and Immigration Bahrain work together to send me back to Bahrain. But Australia stopped them. Please stop them,” Alaraibi said.“I don’t want to go back to Bahrain — I want to go back to Australia. I didn’t do anything in Bahrain. I’m a refugee in Australia.” Alaraibi left the court looking dejected by the day’s proceedings and his lawyer said he was “terrified”.Officials from the Australian embassy were present at the court as well for the hearing. The office of Thailand’s attorney-general on Friday submitted a request to the criminal court for an arrest warrant — a step forward in a process that could see Alaraibi extradited to Bahrain to face trial.He was convicted in absentia on charges of vandalising a police station in the Gulf state, but says he was out of the country playing in a match at the time of the alleged offence. Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) slammed Thai authorities for moving forward on their “callous plans” to extradite Alaraibi.“This is someone who fled his home country after being tortured, and there is every risk he will face the same treatment again if he is forced back,” said APRRN’s Evan Jones. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for his “immediate return” and said that returning Alaraibi to Bahrain would be “in contravention of international human rights (standards) given his status”.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more