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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 June 2015
SPORT 28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 JUNE 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM FIFA suspends 2026 bidding FIFA secretary-general admits it would be ‘nonsense’ to start the bidding process FIFA has suspended the bidding process to host the 2026 World Cup amid the furore surrounding corruption probes at the organisation. FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said during an event in Russia that it would be "nonsense" to start the bidding process for the 2026 tournament for the time being. "It was decided to place the administrative process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding due to the current situation," a FIFA statement said. "Further decisions regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process will be discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee at a later date." Valcke had announced in March that the host country for the 2026 tournament would be decided at a FIFA congress in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur in 2017. But football's world governing body was then plunged into a crisis at the end of last month when 14 current or former FIFA officials and sports marketing executives were charged in Zurich, Switzerland as part of an investigation into alleged corruption by US authorities. The fallout led to the resignation last week of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, but his replacement will not be known until December at the earliest, leaving the organisation in limbo in the meantime. "Due to the situation, I think it's nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being. It will be postponed," Valcke said at a news conference in the Russian 2018 World Cup host city of Samara on Wednesday after meeting local officials for a scheduled check on preparations there. Speaking at a press conference in Paris exactly a year before the start of Euro 2016, UEFA president Michel Platini admitted the news did not come as a surprise. "There was due to be a vote in 2017 but there is no leadership at FIFA so it's a good The US, Canada, Mexico and Morocco have expressed interest in the 2026 World Cup. thing," he said. The United States, Canada, Mexico and Morocco are among the countries to have expressed some inter- Olympiakos one step from winning the title GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS Olympiakos is one win away from returning to Greek basketball's throne, after beating Panathinaikos 76-69 away to lead the best-of-five series 2-0. It now has the chance to clinch the Basket League title with a home win on Sunday. Depleted Panathinaikos played catch-up for most of the game as it led 26-24 for the last time in the game. Olympiakos played a consistent game in attack and had plenty of energy in defence to fend off fightback after fightback by the hosts at the Olympic Sports Hall. The visitors advanced by up to eight points (24-16) in the first half, that ended 38-33 in their favour, and extended their advantage to up to nine points (65-56) although Panathinaikos, led by its only centre it was left with, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, cut the arrears to just two points before surrendering to its eternal rival. Mavrokefalidis was the top scorer with 28 points, while Giorgos Printezis notched up 17 for Olympiakos. This was also a rare game between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos where neither of their captains, Dimitris Diamantidis (four points on the night) and Vassilis Spanoulis (11 points) respectively, got to score any two-pointers. Notably the home crowd did not react angrily to defeat but instead applauded the Panathinaikos players for their effort at the end, in an unusual picture for the Greek finals. In the battle for the third spot Aris levelled the series 1-1 with a 92-88 home win on Tuesday behind closed doors. The Reds beat Panathinaikos 76-69 away. est in hosting the 2026 tournament, while Kazakhstan said in March that they were examining the possibility of bidding. The decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Qatar and Russia respectively is currently the subject of a probe by Swiss authorities PHOTO: AP/MICHAEL PROBST. as part of a far-reaching corruption scandal that has also raised questions about the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Asteras to play in Europa League Panathinaikos won the mini-league and is going to the third qualifying round of the Champions League GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS A Matias Iglesias long-distance shot on the 77th minute gave Asteras Tripolis a ticket straight for the Europa League group stage next season as it sealed the Peloponnesians' 1-0 win over PAOK on Sunday at the end of the Super League play-offs. The domestic club season came to a close in the most disappointing fashion for PAOK, as it finished last in the play-offs and will have to cut its summer holidays short as well as finding a new coach quickly, since it will have to negotiate the second round of the Europa League qualifiers from midJuly. As for Asteras, it is a fantastic feat that it has managed Second time in a row Asteras is in the Europa League. to enter the group stage of the Europa League for the second season in a row. Atromitos scored a 2-0 victory over a largely secondstring Panathinaikos at Peristeri, that gave Atromitos the third spot in the playoffs and a place in the third qualifying round of next season's Europa League. Costas Katsouranis scored once in each half to bring Atromitos' points tally to eight points, ahead of PAOK that stayed on four. Panathinaikos won the mini-league with 15 points and is going to the third qualifying round of the Champions League, while Asteras finished second with 10.
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