Mounting pressure vs. Qatar 2022 World Cup, as England heads nations asking for switch

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Huge opposition is building against the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

On Friday evening the new head of the English Football Association, Greg Dyke, asked FIFA to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter or another country altogether.

The tiny desert nation has been under intense scrutiny ever since it was awarded the mammoth event and now several nations around the world are condemning FIFA’s decisions to take the tournament to Qatar.

FIFA itself deemed Qatar as “high risk” when completing an inspection of the nation’s bid in 2010, with searing summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf often hitting 50 C (120 F).

Dyke hit out at the decision to host the even in Qatar and discussed the FA’s stance.

“The FA’s position will be you can’t play it in summer in Qatar,” said Dyke. “FIFA therefore has two choices … you either move it in time or to another location. Someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded. It’s genuinely becoming accepted that you can’t play it in Qatar in the summer.”

(MORE: Qatar to purchase 118 tanks to prepare for 2022 World Cup)

And to echo Dyke’s comments, the Bundesliga’s chief executive Christian Seifert said that a winter tournament could disrupt European football for three years, slamming FIFA for ignoring “leagues who are effectively the core and the heart of football.” Recently head of FIFA Sepp Blatter has said the notion of a winter World Cup will be discussed by the governing bodies leading heads. But what is their to discuss?

The evidence is stacked up against holding a World Cup in Qatar.So, what are the options at his point?

Well, luckily, we are nine years away from the event taking place. So time’s on our side. But a decision needs to be made, one way or another, by FIFA’s executives very soon. Switching to winter time in Qatar would make the most sense, but many would argue that taking the tournament away from the tiny Arab nation would be the best move. England and the United States of America have been mooted as potential back up host nations.

(MORE: Sepp Blatter says 2022 World Cup should be played in winter, here we go…)

Air-conditioned outside stadiums were promised in Qatar, so far the technology is still lagging behind for that. The Qatari government has bought 118 tanks and other military equipment to deal with possible terrorist attacks and fan violence. But will fans really be able to function in that type of heat?

Time for Dyke to step in again: “I don’t know how many people have been to Qatar in June – I have,” Dyke said. “The one thing I can tell you is you can’t play a football tournament in Qatar in June. Also, it would be impossible for the fans. Just go out there, wander around in that sort of heat.”

And we have to take another tragic factor on board, as Christian “Chucho” Benítez recently died following a practice game in Qatar. The 27-year-old Ecuadorian forward had just switched to El Jaish from Club America and was use to playing in the extreme heat of Mexico, but he suffered a heart attack and many other issues after playing for the first-time in the relentless Qatari summer heat. As yet, the exact cause of his death hasn’t been linked to the conditions in the Middle Eastern nation, but surely it had to play some factor.

(MORE: Tragedy strikes as Ecuador star Christian Benítez, 27, dies in Qatar)

With problems mounting up for Qatar and leading European giants totally opposed to playing the World Cup there at all, where do we go from here?

FIFA has a lot of work to do before the 2022 showpiece tournament. If it remains in Qatar, it simply must be in the winter time. That won’t win FIFA many friends with the top European leagues, but it won’t put fans or players in danger.

But holding a World Cup in 120 degree heat during the Qatari summer, will.

Spartak and Zenit fined in latest Russia fan racism cases

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MOSCOW (AP) Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg have both been fined for racist chants by their fans, the latest such incident in World Cup host nation Russia.

Spartak’s fans were accused of aiming monkey chants at FC Tosno player Nuno Rocha, who is black, while some Zenit supporters allegedly chanted a Nazi slogan during a league game.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

The clubs must each pay a 100,000-ruble ($1,600) fine, and Spartak has been hit with a partial stadium closure for its next cup game, state news agency RIA Novosti quotes Russian Football Union disciplinary committee head Artur Grigoryants as saying.

The verdict comes after FIFA charged Russia with racist abuse of France players during last month’s friendly.

Zenit has also faced two racism charges from UEFA this season.

Europa League: Arsenal, Marseille host semifinal 1st legs

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Arsenal’s Champions League dreams could be in for a rude awakening against tournament-tested Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League vs. La Liga match-up is one of two Europa League semifinal first legs set to be served up Sunday, with Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg meeting in the other.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

There’s something romantic about Arsene Wenger closing out his time at Arsenal against French opposition in Lyon, but Atleti and Salzburg won’t step aside for poetics.

Both matches kickoff ay 3:05 p.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid

It’s a bit stunning that this tie has no history considering both club’s statures in their leagues and Europe, but that’s what we’ll se when Arsenal welcomes Atleti for the first leg.

Arsenal boasts two of the top 10 performers in the UEL this season — it would be three had the Gunners not sold Theo Walcott — and are paced by Aaron Ramsey, who has four goals and an assist. Mesut Ozil, who’s ready to return to the pitch, has the reverse with a goal and four helpers.

The Gunners have outscored UEL opposition 29-10 this season.

It’s no surprise that Antoine Griezmann has been Atleti’s best attacker since the Madrid side dropped out of the UCL to run rampant through the UEL knockout rounds. Atleti beat Copenhagen 5-1, Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1, and Sporting Lisbon 2-1 for an aggregate score line of 15-3.

Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Don’t expect this to be a simple case of Ligue 1 bossing inferior opposition: This pair met in the group stage, with the Austrian side winning at home and drawing 0-0 in France.

Salzburg has shown its mettle in various ways during the UEL. After allowing just one goal in an unbeaten group stage, they’ve won 4-3 over Real Sociedad, 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund, and 6-5 versus Lazio. That’s no easy road, and Marseille represents another big challenge.

Marseille is bidding to make its first European final since 2004, and has been led by Dimitri Payet‘s three goals and four assists, and Lucas Ocampos’ four goals and one assist. Marseille has knocked off RB Leipzig, Athletic Bilbao, and Braga after the group stage.

Names you’ll need to know from Salzburg: defenders Stefan Lainer and Paulo Miranda have been spectacular, and Munas Dabbur and Valon Berisha have each scored five times in the tournament.

Mourinho on longtime nemesis Wenger: ‘We can be friends in future’

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Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have had a poor relationship, but the former thinks he’s soon to get along with the latter.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

Manchester United boss Mourinho, 55, heaped praise on the departing Arsenal manager ahead of the two sides’ Sunday meeting at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), saying the Frenchman has earned much respect.

Branding Wenger “iconic,” Mourinho says his fiery rivalry with Wenger stemmed from Arsenal’s stature in the Premier League when the Portuguese took over Chelsea.

“If he respects me even 50 percent of what I respect him we can even be friends in the future,” Mourinho told Sky Sports News. “I have lots of respect for him. But the reality is that he was at Arsenal, he was the champion and I came to the country in 2004 and wanted to steal his title. That’s football.”

Mourinho said he’s tried to show his respect for Wenger, 68, over the past few seasons. It may become a passable relationship, but we find it hard to believe the pair will be dining together on a regular basis as the sun sets on their managerial careers (Mou has a while to go, we think).

Real’s Modric on Bayern feeling unlucky: “That’s their problem”

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Bayern Munich produced far more chances than visiting Real Madrid in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg in Germany, but lost 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.

Franck Ribery butchered an open shot at goal, Robert Lewandowski beat Keylor Navas but didn’t score late, and Thomas Mueller missed getting contact on a shot inside the six.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

It was that kind of day, and Mueller is baffled that his team did not finish more than Joshua Kimmich’s opener.

“Everybody is wondering why this game is 1-2 for Madrid,” Mueller reportedly said. “We still cannot believe it.”

The quote comes from BeIN Sport’s Tancredi Palmeri, who has a stinging rebuke from Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric.

Real wasn’t great on Wednesday, but also limited their big mistakes to one: Marcelo’s lapse of judgment which helped Kimmich to open the scoring for Bayern Munich.

The hosts had a huge giveaway from Rafinha on the match-winner, and backup backstop Sven Ulreich didn’t have a phenomenal day on either goal. Throw in Arjen Robben’s injury requiring an 8th minute substitution, and Bayern did not have much good fortune on the day.

This one, though, doesn’t seem over, even with the tie moving to the Bernabeu.