Tag Archives: FIFA

Ballon d’Or Gala – Time and Details

Today the world will know who was the best in 2013; Lionel Messi – Cristiano Ronaldo – Franck Ribery.

The details of the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala 2013, are:

  1. Location: Zurich Kongresshaus – Switzerland
  2. Time: Starting from 18:30 CET / 17:30 GMT / 21:30 Dubai Time / 19:30 Beirut-Lebanon Time
  3. Broadcast: FIFA.com channels (the web and mobile through FIFA.com, the FIFA App, Facebook, Twitter and FIFA TV on YouTube) OR: beIN Sports – The News Channel (beIN Sports will start a live studio show 30 minutes ahead of the ceremony).


Ballon d'OR 2013 Candidates

Ballon d’OR 2013 Candidates

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EXPLAINED and SIMPLIFIED: World Cup Draw Procedure

Even Jerome Valcke, the Secretary General of FIFA, confused himself while explaining the rules of the World Cup Draw procedure.

During its meeting, the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014, approved the procedures for the Final Draw. The ceremony of the final draw will be held in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia on 6 December 2013 (16:00 GMT – 20:00 Dubai Time – 17:00 CET – 13:00 Local Time) and will be broadcast live on free-to-air-channels in no fewer than 193 countries.

How the draw will proceed is the question everyone is asking. It is a little bit complicated process and different than previous draw, but here it is in what I hope is a simplified way:


  • Pot 1: Brazil (A1), Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
  • Pot 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, and Ecuador.
  • Pot 3: Australia, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and the USA
  • Pot 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia.
First Step of the Final Draw

First Step of the Final Draw


  1. Teams of the same Qualification Zone cannot be drawn into the same Group (Exception: Maximum of 2 European teams may populate any one Group)
  2. Any team drawn at any time from any pot will be allocated in a sequential way to the groups from A through H (Exception: Brazil is already allocated in Group A – Position 1)
  3. For rule number 1 to remain valid, if a team is drawn to be in a group breaking rule number 1, the choice of group will be skipped to maintain principle of geographic separation

PROCEDURE (in the exact order below):

  1. A team from POT 4 will be drawn and put randomly in POT 2
  2. POT 1 teams will be drawn to determine the group they will be in
  3. Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Brazil will be put in POT X. One of them will be drawn. The name that comes up will directly get the European team from step 1
  4. POT 2 (minus the European team in step 1) will be drawn. Each name will go to the groups from A – H in order. However, if Chile or Ecuador got a group that has any team from step 3, there will be an exception and the team will go to the next available group (to maintain RULE 1
  5. POT 3 will be drawn
  6. POT 4 will be drawn


Possible Line-Ups (Permutations):

Imagine if Italy was drawn in step one of the procedure, hence we will have:

  • A possible scenario is: Brazil – Italy – Mexico – Netherlands
  • A wrong scenario: Brazil – Chile – Italy – Netherlands
  • Another wrong scenario: Spain – Italy – Mexico – Netherlands


I hope the above clarified some ambiguity. If yes, what is the toughest / best / worst group you imagine your team having?


FIFA – Brazil 2014: Allocation of pots announcement

As announced earlier on this blog, the allocation of pots announcement determining the candidates for the Final Draw of the Group Stage of Brazil 2014 will be held today.

Here is the link for the direct and live streaming of the event:


This is the last ceremony to be held before the Final Draw Ceremony on 6 December

This is the last ceremony to be held before the Final Draw Ceremony on 6 December

Lebanon Gets Featured on FIFA.com

It is a fact that FIFA recognizes all its members, and a featured article about one country isn’t a big deal.

Yet, I am making a big deal out of this one because while we are ruining our own football future, the world wants to remember us for the beautiful and memorable moments our national team had.

Lebanon featured on FIFA.com

Lebanon featured on FIFA.com

The article is on FIFA.com homepage, and it is talking about ‘Six of the best on the road to Brazil’. It states what are arguably the best six games played worldwide during the World Cup Qualifiers for Brazil 2014.

The match between Lebanon 2-1 Korea Republic on 15 November 2011 is listed as one of the best six.

You can check the article HERE, and you can tell everyone that there is hope somewhere or one day that football in Lebanon prospers in a good manner.

Visa Middle East Reveals Mexico’s U-17 Secret for the Miraculous Recovery

Have you ever wondered how a team that lost an opening game 1-6 could become a World Cup Finalist?

Well, the answer is Mexico’s U-17 National Football Team.

The young Mexicans have made a miraculous comeback in the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 and will play the final of the tournament against Nigeria; the same team that have beaten them 6-1 in the opening game of Group Stage.

If you do not believe in magic and the super natural rituals leading to miracles, you have to think again. Mexico’s road to the Final was an act of sorcery – to an extent – and I was an eyewitness.

Thanks to Visa Middle East I had the privilege of an exclusive tour into the players’ rooms, pitch, media center, and every corner related to the matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It was when I visited Mexico’s dressing room that I came to believe in magic and spiritual rituals.

The Mexico administrative team has setup a table at the entrance of the dressing room with holy figures and religious marks. Players take the blessings of Holy Mary upon entering and before leaving to the pitch. They also arrive to the stadium singing some morale lifting rhythms [which I was not allowed to record on video] and have their captain guiding them to exact steps while leaving the bus into the rooms.

These young Mexican players have already written their own history and a legendary story to be told in the years to come. Whatever the result of the final will be, they are already considered champions. If I called it magic, it might actually be faith and belief and these two aspects are really important for these young guns and any person who dreams of success.

This is why all the magic is happening: The Blessings Table

This is why all the magic is happening: The Blessings Table

The Visa Middle East exclusive U-17 World Cup tour has given me a lot of insider information on teams participating in official FIFA tournaments and the Mexican experience and revelation was the most inspiring.

 Visa Middle East will also offer a better pre-match exclusive tour for the Final matchday, and I am hoping it will be as epic as this one. You can check this blog again after 8 November for more stories, and click here for the more insider photos taken ahead of the quarter-finals match between Brazil and Mexico.

Ivan OCHOA and Marco GRANADOS - The Mexico Team heroes of the semi-finals

Ivan OCHOA and Marco GRANADOS – The Mexico Team heroes of the semi-finals


FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is Not About Football

There are more things to life than the confederations cup. Yet, when football is on vacation we cannot but follow the tournament trying to fulfill our thirst for football action.

A friend of mine used to call the World Cup the “Mololoko Cup,” while I used to contest her opinion. Today, I want to thank her – yes, she’s a female friend but knows football more than Pele does – for she gave me the perfect name for the confederations cup: The Real Mololoko Cup. Moreover, it is not a dress rehearsal for the participating teams before the World Cup, because some of these teams may not even be there in the World Cup.

Prince Sultan Bin Fahd Bin Abdulaziz hands the trophy of the 1995 Confederations Cup  to Denmark's captain Michael LAUDRUP

Prince Sultan Bin Fahd Bin Abdulaziz handing the trophy of the 1995 Confederations Cup to Denmark’s captain Michael LAUDRUP

Having stated the above, it is obvious how highly I rate this tournament. Here are some more thoughts on it.

  • Neymar’s name will be accompanied with every mention of the tournament more than the tournament’s name itself.
  • Dancing and partying will be more fun than the football action; or actually sexier.
  • The female fans in the stands will have more game time from the cameramen than the players on the pitch.
  • The winner of the tournament will be forgotten before Brazil 2014 kicks off.
  • Marama Vahirua is the best name any pundit, fan, or commentator will remember from the team of Haiti.
  • Nigerian players will be missed as they spend time on the beach and forget to show up for football.
  • No one will be able to name Mexico’s starting 11 but everyone will refer to them as the Chicharito team.
  • Balotelli will have one more chance to prove his worthiness – if any – and he will make sure to make the headlines on and off the field.
  • Spain will be ‘Torresed’.
  • Uruguay will play as if it is the World Cup because most of its players are seeking a transfer market boost.
On FIFA's official site, this photo is a great shot from the tournament. Didn't I tell you so?

On FIFA’s official site, this photo is a great shot from the tournament. Didn’t I tell you so?

I honestly cannot find anything funny about the tournament, not even the timing of the games in this part of the world; even if we had to wait for a 2:00 a.m. kick off for a match between Nigeria and Uruguay.

Enjoy the football and do not concentrate on the official nature or the competitiveness of the matches.

p.s. You might have been too busy trying to understand the nonsense

above that you did not notice it should have been Tahiti and not Haiti

Caxirola: Brazil World Cup 2014 Instrument Revealed

Brazil’s answer to the vuvuzela has been unveiled.

The yellow and green percussion instrument is called a CAXIROLA [pronounced ka-shee-raw-la], and produces a rattling sound when shaken. It is made from recycled plastic, and will be given to fans attending the Confederations Cup in June, seen as the country’s dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown worked with FIFA and Brazil’s ministry of sports to create the caxirola.

The country’s president Dilma Rousseff said: “That image of the green and yellow caxirola and the fact that we are talking about a ‘green’ plastic in a country that leads in sustainability in the world. And at the same time it is an object that has the ability to do two things, to combine the image with sound and take us to our goals.”

Click the Image to watch and listen to the caxirola

The Caxirola will be used at the 2014 Brazil World Cup

The Caxirola will be used at the 2014 Brazil World Cup


p.s. Story based on Sky News Source

Sepp Blatter’s Account is Hacked

Sepp Blatter just tweeted he might have taken money from the Qatari family. It seems that his Twitter account – @SeppBlatter – has been hacked.

Here’s the tweet, judge for yourself


GoalControl Awarded FIFA Goal-Line Technology License

Technology is invading football – end of discussion.

FIFA has announced the name of the winner of the goal-line technology provider for its next official tournament.

Now it is time to anticipate more infiltration of the beautiful game.

GoalControl GmbH (based in Wurselen, Germany) has been awarded the license to provide its goal-line technology (GLT) for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 in Brazil. Based on the success of the company, it will continue to be the provider of the same technology for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – Brazil.

The GLT approved can be described by the following:

  • 14 high-speed cameras around the pitch
  • GoalControl-4D system
  • Position of the ball is continually and automatically captured in three dimensions – using X, Y and Z co-ordinates
  • When the ball has completely crossed the line, the central analysis unit sends an encrypted signal to the referee’s watch in less than a second
  • Adaptation to local conditions of the stadium and city
  • Compatibility of each GLT system in relation to FIFA match operations
  • Prior to the start of every match, the match officials will also carry out their own tests
Goal-Line Technology; where money will be spent to kill spontaneity

Goal-Line Technology; where money will be spent to kill spontaneity

“The tournament will mark the second time GLT has been used at a FIFA competition, after the successful implementation of the technology at last December’s FIFA Club World Cup. This followed the historic decision by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to approve the principle of using GLT during a special meeting on 5 July 2012 – via FIFA.com”

The pros and cons of the technology are many, and I will leave the personal reflections for a later post.

FIFA World Cup Winner’s Trophy in DUBAI

I was closer to the World Cup Winner’s Trophy than Cristiano Ronaldo will ever be.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour was organized by VISA – Middle East. The trophy itself was on display in The Dubai Mall on 29-30-31 March, 2013 from 10:00 – 22:00, at the Grand Atrium. The activity around the event was mainly focusing on allowing thousands of people taking their picture near the cup. Some Samba lookalike artists danced next to the cup and a couple of football freestylers showcased their skills.

People queued in the mall, stepped up to the cup, took the photo [no touching or holding was allowed], and gathered around it to win some memorabilia by VISA [including the Brazil 2014 mascot].

The base of the World Cup Winner's Trophy that will be handed to the winner in Brazil 2014

The base of the World Cup Winner’s Trophy that will be handed to the winner in Brazil 2014

I was present at the mall, but couldn’t get a good hold of the cup or take a good photo. I even searched in the many photo albums on Visa’s Facebook Page, and couldn’t spot mine. However, I was lucky and privileged to get a special invitation from VISA to see the cup up close and personal.

The special showcasing was held at the Armani Hotel, Floor 123 in Burj Khalifa, Dubai, on 1 April, 2013. I went there looking for another chance next to the cup and I made sure I spent some time talking to it. The activities around the cup were similar to those in the mall, yet no gifts were given to the attendees but some food and beverages were served.

World Cup Winner's Trophy in Burj Khalifa, surrounded by security

World Cup Winner’s Trophy in Burj Khalifa, surrounded by security

The marketing guys at VISA had some words talking about why they have chosen to bring the trophy and take it on tour. The lovely part out of the PR talk was the journey the trophy took and will take, soon.

A representative from VISA flew over from Dubai to Frankfurt where she met someone bringing the trophy from another event in Brussels. She flew First Class on Emirates Airlines over to Dubai with the trophy. After being held on display in The Dubai Mall, the trophy was brought to the Armani Hotel for a day, after which it will go to Kuwait for a day, then Oman for a day, too, before coming back to Dubai for one more day with the people from VISA. The journey will be concluded after that by flying again to Europe, specifically Zurich, to be handed out to the FIFA caretakers.

Dancing for the World Cup Winner's Trophy

Dancing for the World Cup Winner’s Trophy

I couldn’t touch the trophy for security reasons, but I really felt I own the world while standing next to it. I asked many questions to finally come to a conclusion demystifying the fact about who gets to keep it forever. Apparently, this trophy is the ‘Winner’s Trophy’ which will be given to the National Team winning the Brazil 2014 Final. The original trophy never leaves the FIFA headquarters but for the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup Tournament. Another fact I got is that this trophy with its current design will not change similar to what happened earlier when Brazil won in 1970. There was a rule that any nation winning three titles in the World Cup will get to keep the cup forever and the design changes. It seems that this rule is now abolished. Brazil – Argentina – Italy – Germany will not keep this trophy with them in case any won the next tournament.

The closest I will ever be to the world cup trophy

The closest I will ever be to the world cup trophy

The event was a once in a lifetime chance to see the World Cup this close, and it gave me a good feeling too. I will be looking for more events by VISA and other sponsors as the Head of Marketing Karim Beg promised.

Here are the two videos I managed to shoot:

p.s. Excuse my video and photo taking capabilities


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