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FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament which is likely to be held in North America. President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council. It meets Infantino's election pledge of a bigger World Cup, and should help fund promised raises for FIFA's 211 member federations. With 80 matches instead of 64, FIFA forecasts the equivalent of $1 billion extra income at current rates from broadcasting and sponsor deals, plus ticket sales, compared to $5.5 billion revenue forecast for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. FIFA projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams. FIFA's six continents should find out by May how many extra places they will each get. UEFA wants 16 European teams at the tournament, which is strongly favored to be played in North America. The CONCACAF region has not hosted the World Cup since the 1994 tournament in the United States. American, Canadian and Mexican soccer leaders have had informal talks about a co-hosting bid. Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine places each. They had only five and four teams, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Still, FIFA said it expects the standard of soccer to drop compared to the 32-team format locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The 'absolute quality' of play, defined by high-ranked teams facing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA acknowledged in a research document sent to members last month. It made 10,000 tournament simulations to reach that conclusion. Instead, Infantino wants to create fervor and months of anticipation back home in the 16 extra nations which would qualify, some probably making their World Cup debut. FIFA has pointed to Costa Rica, Wales and Iceland as examples of teams which overachieved at recent tournaments. FIFA must break with soccer tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan — with an opening playoff round sending 16 'one-and-done' teams home early — was unpopular. Instead, three-team groups will replace the usual groups of four to create simple progress to a knockout bracket. However, it leaves one team idle for final group games and could risk collusion between the other two teams. FIFA said it could guard against result-rigging by introducing penalty shootouts after group games that end in draws. Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA believes the current maximum of stadiums needed will stay at the 12 used by Brazil and Russia. However, the demand for more training bases and hotels means developed countries would be better equipped to win future hosting contests. North America is the strong favorite for 2026 because European and Asian countries are blocked by a FIFA rule excluding continents which hosted either of the two previous tournaments. Russia will host the World Cup next year and Qatar in 2022. South America has been focused on a centenary tournament including original 1930 host Uruguay, and African nations are seen as lacking existing capacity and unlikely to fund multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

FIFA set to approve bigger, richer World Cup on Tuesday

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is set to make the World Cup bigger and richer, even if the price to pay is lower quality soccer. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes his ruling Council will agree Tuesday to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 nations, playing in 16 groups of three teams. A decision could be delayed if some Council members demand to know exactly how many qualifying places each continent will get before agreeing to scrap the 32-team format. It has been successful, popular and profitable since 1998 and is locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The prize of 16 extra places, and the biggest increases to Africa and Asia, has 'overwhelming' support from FIFA's 211 member federations, Infantino has said. Their promise of extra funding from Zurich could also be secured by FIFA's forecast 20 percent rise in rights fees paid by broadcasters and sponsors. 'Financially, the 48-team format is the most appealing or successful simply because the sporting element is prevailing and every match is important,' Infantino said two weeks ago. 'The decision should not be financially driven, neither in terms of revenue or costs ... but the driver should really be the development of football and boosting football all over the world.' World Cup champion Germany is not in favor. It argued that diluting the number of European and South American teams — which won all 20 titles since 1930 — could 'strengthen the imbalance' seen at some tournaments. 'The (German soccer federation) fundamentally believe that the current 32-team format is the best option,' its president Reinhard Grindel said last week. Germany has no delegate at Tuesday's meeting though Grindel is set to join the FIFA Council in May. FIFA acknowledged the risk of lower standards in a research document sent to members last month, as first reported by The Associated Press. The 'absolute quality' of soccer, defined by high-ranked teams playing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA said, citing 10,000 tournament simulations made to reach that conclusion. Still, Infantino promised voters more World Cup places and funding raises before his election last February. FIFA expects $5.5 billion income tied to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, though 25 of 34 sponsorship slots are unsold. The research document predicted the equivalent of $6.5 billion revenue from a 48-team tournament in the '16x3' format, which would send two teams from each group to a new Round of 32 knockout bracket. All 80 matches would play in an exclusive time slot. Currently, 64 World Cup matches have 56 broadcast slots because the eight four-team groups play their last matches simultaneously. FIFA predicts organizing costs for '16x3' rising from $2 billion to $2.3 billion, giving a potential profit rise of $640 million. Though a '16x3' World Cup would still need a maximum of 12 stadiums, the demand for 16 more top-quality training camps and hotels suggests FIFA would look for 2026 hosts with existing capacity. A North American bid from two or three of the United States, Canada and Mexico is currently favored in a contest that could start within weeks. Five options are open Tuesday, including staying with 32 teams. Infantino campaigned last year on a 40-team promise, in either eight groups of five teams or 10 groups of four teams. Neither impressed voters in recent regional meetings of FIFA member federations. When the FIFA leader first proposed 48 teams, it included an opening playoff round. The 16 winners would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group stage. FIFA members disliked 'one-and-done' teams going home before the 'real' World Cup kicks off. It would also stretch to a 39-day event with more short-notice travel for fans. Africa and Asia could be the big winners, and FIFA hopes new teams would include another Iceland, Wales and Costa Rica — over-achieving teams and feelgood stories at recent tournaments. Still, hapless Tahiti was outclassed at the 2013 Confederations Cup, conceding 24 goals in three games. 'The goal of expanding the FIFA World Cup,' it has told members, 'is to further advance the vision to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all.' ___ Entry quotas for 2018 World Cup: Europe 14 (including host Russia to qualify direct); Africa 5; Asia and South America 4.5 each; North, Central America and Caribbean 3.5; Oceania 0.5. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Del Monte’s profit drops 58% to $21m

Del Monte’s profit drops 58% to $21m.....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 7th, 2016

Stock Market: PSEi drops below 7,000 anew on Fed hike jitters

THE MAIN INDEX slipped below the 7,000 line again on Monday despite hopes of an extended rebound amid the lack of local catalysts and lingering concerns over a possible US Federal Reserve rate hike next month......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsNov 21st, 2016

Apex Mining nearly triples 9-month profit

MANILA, Philippines – Apex Mining earned P291 million in the first nine months this year, up almost three-fold from the P76.4 million profit reported in the.....»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 16th, 2016

SM Investments hiked 9-month profit to P22b

SM Investments hiked 9-month profit to P22b.....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 9th, 2016

Corporate News: SM Investments 9-month profit hits P22B

SM INVESTMENTS Corp. managed to keep its financial performance 11% above year-ago levels when the third quarter ended, as the real estate, banking and retail businesses continued to deliver......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsNov 9th, 2016

Corporate News: MPIC raises full-year guidance as 9-month core profit jumps

METRO PACIFIC Investments Corp. (MPIC) is tracking a steeper earnings growth path than initially thought, after the toll roads, power and hospital businesses lifted its core net income by double digits in the nine months to September......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsNov 8th, 2016

PPA says 9-month profit rose to P5.99b

PPA says 9-month profit rose to P5.99b.....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 24th, 2016

Meralco’s 9-month profit declines to P15.7 billion

Amid continuing robust sales growth, the net income of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) in nine months this year had been down 3.0-percent to P15.676 billion from last year’s P16.149 billion......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 24th, 2016

Cathay Pacific H1 profit drops amid China slowdown

Cathay Pacific H1 profit drops amid China slowdown.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 18th, 2016

Belle posts 10% hike in six-month profit

MANILA, Philippines - Belle Corp......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 8th, 2016

Meralco profit drops on lack of one-time gains

MANILA, Philippines - Power utility giant Manila Electric Co......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 25th, 2016

Spurs missing Parker, Gasol for matchup against Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs will be without starters Tony Parker and Pau Gasol when they face the Cavaliers on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Parker was expected to play after being scratched Thursday (Friday, PHL time) with a sore left foot. However, the team said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) he is still experiencing pain and won't play. The 34-year-old is averaging 11.5 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season in 2001. Gasol is out indefinitely after breaking his left hand during warmups Thursday night. He underwent surgery Friday (Saturday, PHL time). While the team hasn't put a timetable on his return, Gasol is likely to miss at least one month. He's averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds. David Lee is expected to start in Gasol's spot. The Cavs are hoping to have Kevin Love in the lineup after he missed Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) game with back spasms. He took part in the team's shootaround Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) but is listed as questionable. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

T-wolves' Rubio to miss Nuggets game for personal reasons

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the game on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the Denver Nuggets, but it has nothing to do with the trade rumors that have surrounded him of late. Rubio left the team on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for personal reasons and will not rejoin the Wolves until late Sunday or Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday after practice. Rubio had to return home to Spain, and his brother posted on Instagram that their grandmother had passed away. Rubio did not play in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) because of tightness in his left hip, but Thibodeau said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that was not a concern going forward. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones filled in admirably, helping the Wolves defeat the Clippers, 104-101. Rubio said after the game he was not concerned about the injury, though it did interrupt an impressive run for the pass-first point guard. In his previous five full games, Rubio was averaging 13.2 points and 14.0 assists, looking more like the playmaker he was earlier in his career. 'I'm playing better, feeling better and the results are there,' Rubio said last week after a win over Oklahoma City. 'But I don't want it to be just a four-game stand. I want to be all season long like that. It's hard. We have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I keep them high because I work hard to do it.' It has taken time for Rubio to acclimate to a new system in Thibodeau's first year as coach, leading many across the league to believe that the sixth-year pro could be traded to make room for Dunn, the fifth overall pick in last summer's draft. Thibodeau has historically preferred a point guard who is more of a scorer than Rubio, a career 37 percent shooter and a 31 percent shooter from 3-point range. But shooting has never been Rubio's strong suit. He excels at getting others involved, playing good defense and controlling the tempo of the game. With the trade deadline less than a month away, and Rubio on a hot streak, trade chatter has expectedly picked up. The Wolves are just 15-28, though they are 9-10 since a 6-18 start. Still, it's clear that they have a lot of improving to do to become a factor in the Western Conference, and Rubio appears to be one of the few assets they are willing to part with that could fetch a decent player in return. ESPN reported that the Wolves and Detroit Pistons had discussions about a Rubio-for-Reggie Jackson trade, but Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy shot that down on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Van Gundy told reporters in Detroit that he texted Jackson to tell him 'this is the crazy season. We're not trading you for Ricky Rubio.' Dunn hasn't been any better as a shooter in his rookie season, making 37.6 percent from the field and shooting a ghastly 27 percent from three-point range. But he had played more than 20 minutes in a game just three times in the previous two months before Rubio's injury on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). 'When you have shorter minutes, you have to try to be more ready,' Dunn said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). 'Try to go out there and impact the game right away. You can get the feel when you have more minutes, but I understand. Ricky's a great player. I'm just trying to learn off him.' Dunn likely will start against the Nuggets, with Jones serving as the backup point guard. Dunn said he has been getting more and more comfortable in his first season and will be ready when Thibodeau calls on him. 'I'm starting to understand who I am as a player (and) what's my role on the team,' Dunn said. 'Just figuring out guys, what's their tendencies and trying to understand coach's philosophy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Our Santo Niño and other festivals

THE Philippines is known for its festivals, with three of the biggest celebrated in this month of January – the Ati-atihan of Kalibo, Aklan, the Sinulog of Cebu City, and the Dinagyang of Iloilo City, all in honor of the Sto. Niño. The Ati-atihan is one of the oldest festivals in the country. It celebrates the coming of ten datus led by Datu Puti and their people from Kalimantan, Borneo, in the 13th century to Panay island, where they were welcomed by dark-skinned Atis led by Ati Marikudo. Together the highland Atis and the lowland Marayons came to celebrate good harvests with street dancing. After the Spaniards came in the 16th century, the festival became a homage to the Santo Niño......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Spain sees 500 southern border crossing attempts in a month

MADRID — Spanish police say migrants have attempted close to 500 illegal border crossings in just one month by trying to hide on passenger and cargo boats la.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Argentina's Tevez settling into role with Shanghai Shenhua

SHANGHAI (AP) — Argentine striker Carlos Tevez says he's already feeling at home with Chinese Super League squad Shanghai Shenhua. Tevez last month became the latest in a procession of star players to join the CPL after Shenhua paid a reported $11 million transfer fee to Argentine club Boca Juniors. He declined to offer financial details on Saturday, but said he'd been moved by the sincerity of Zhou Jun, the club's deputy general manager, who met with Tevez in Argentina to discuss arrangements. The 32-year-old said he shared a 'similar football philosophy' with Shenhua coach Gus Poyet, the former Sunderland and Real Betis manager who joined the club in November. A person familiar with the negotiations said Tevez is being paid $40 million over two years. The Super League season begins in March. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Federer gracious in praise of Sunday opponent at Aussie Open

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As befitting his status as a 17-time Grand Slam champion and as an astute judge of the sport, Roger Federer's reply to a simple question about his next opponent was handled with the same aplomb as one of his stylish groundstrokes. The player in question was Kei Nishikori, who plays Federer in a fourth-round night match Sunday at Rod Laver Arena. 'I'm a big fan of his game,' Federer said. 'He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or cross-court. He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind. I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop.' Federer said he'll need another strong service game if he's going to give Nishikori some trouble. In Federer's win over Tomas Berdych on Thursday, he didn't face a break point and he won points on 95 percent of the first serves he got into play — 39 of 41, and all 16 in the third and final set. 'This one's going to be completely different to Tomas ... there's going to be more rallies, even though the surface remains fast. I said it at the beginning of the week, it's not easy to control the ball. Today again, when you serve well, it pays dividends. I hope I can keep that up against Kei.' Asked if Nishikori should be considered the favorite because of the No. 5 seeding (Federer is 17th after a six-month left knee injury layoff) Federer replied, smiling: 'Yeah, sure, he's the favorite. Maybe. I don't know.' Nishikori said he watched some of the Federer-Berdych match and was impressed. 'Roger, it's a big challenge for me,' Nishikori said. 'I'm just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. Happy to see him back 100 percent.' Here are some other featured matches Sunday: ___ NO PRESSURE: Top-seeded Andy Murray plays Mischa Zverev in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, is heavily favored. The 50th-ranked Zverev, the older brother of 19-year-old rising star Alexander Zverev — who lost to Rafael Nadal in the third round — says Murray could go either way while pondering his ranking advantage. 'I don't know if it's more pressure on him or maybe it's a relief,' Mischa Zverev said. 'If someone like Novak (Djokovic) is out of the tournament, I feel like the whole rhythm of the tournament changes a little bit, so we'll see what's going to happen.' Zverev hopes to possibly rile the often volatile Murray. 'If he plays his best tennis, obviously I don't think I have a lot of chances, but it'll depend on the day,' he said. 'Let's see if I can annoy him a little bit. If I'm serving well and not missing any volleys, maybe I can do some damage.' ____ KERBER IN CONTROL?: Defending champion Angelique Kerber plays American CoCo Vandeweghe in the match following Federer-Nishikori on Rod Laver. Kerber holds a 2-0 career edge, although the last time the two played — in Wuhan, China in 2015 — Vandeweghe retired from the match with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-1, 3-1. 'CoCo is a tough opponent ... she's serving well,' Kerber said. 'I have to move good ... bring a lot of balls back, but also be aggressive.' ___ IN BRIEF: Venus Williams, who is appearing in her 73rd Grand Slam main draw — a record for the Open era — plays Mona Barthel in an afternoon match. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka continues his quest for titles in consecutive Grand Slams — and his fourth major overall — when he plays Andreas Seppi. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza plays Sorana Cirstea. ___ Associated Press writer Justin Bergman contributed to this story. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Sixers rally by Blazers for eighth win in 10 games

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Robert Covington scored 22 points and made two 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds to lead the streaking Philadelphia 76ers to a come-from-behind 93-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Ersan Ilyasova scored 24 points and Joel Embiid added 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Sixers, who have won four straight and eight of their last 10. Embiid, who sparked the recent surge, suffered a bruised left knee in the second half and didn't play the final 8:50 of the game. But the Sixers rallied for the victory without their prized center as Covington drilled the winner with 4.5 seconds left before Mason Plumlee missed a shot at the buzzer on the other end. It was Covington's second game-winning basket this month after his buzzer-beater sunk the Timberwolves on Jan. 4. Damian Lillard scored 30 points for the Blazers, who have lost four straight. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017