Extra time given for bids to host soccer's 2023 Asian Cup – Arab News

Extra time given for bids to host soccer's 2023 Asian Cup – Arab News

KUALA LUMPUR: Countries wanting to replace China as host of soccer’s 2023 Asian Cup were given extra time to prepare a bid by the Asian Football Confederation on Tuesday.
The AFC said it extended a deadline to July 15 from June 30 for member federations to show interest.
South Korea has said it wants to host the 24-nation tournament which was due to kick off in June next year. The four-yearly Asian Cup is typically played in January.
China gave up last month the 2023 hosting rights it was awarded in 2019, making it the latest international sports event canceled in the pandemic amid the country’s “zero-COVID” policy.
The 2023 host is being chosen during a lengthy bidding process for the 2027 Asian Cup which shapes as a contest between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. India and Iran have also bid.
The AFC executive committee is set to pick the 2023 host this year, before member federations vote for the 2027 host early next year.
A historic US Open has come to a close, one that started with a 40-year-old legend bidding the sport farewell and ended with a teenager becoming the youngest world No. 1 in ATP history.
Here’s what we learned from the past fortnight in New York.
1. Future of men’s tennis in good hands
The 23,000-strong crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday was so hyped for Carlos Alcaraz, he was getting standing ovations for shots he almost made.
The Spaniard had already given New York a taste of what he can do when he marched to the US Open quarterfinals last year as an 18-year-old ranked 55 in the world.
Fast-forward 12 months and Alcaraz has become the youngest world No. 1 in ATP history and has clinched a maiden Grand Slam title, fulfilling two lifelong dreams in the City of Dreams.
En route to the US Open crown, Alcaraz dazzled spectators with his turbo-charged movement, flashy shot-making, unshakeable mental strength, and oozing charisma.
He fought through three consecutive five-setters before reaching the final and then played Casper Ruud like he wasn’t fatigued and as if history wasn’t on the line.
“He’s one of these few rare talents that comes up every now and then in sports,” said Ruud of the 19-year-old.
John McEnroe described Alcaraz as “the best thing to happen to tennis in a long time” and that assessment seems pretty unanimous among anyone who has watched him play.
With Novak Djokovic unable to contest the US Open due to his vaccination status that prevents him from entering the US, and Rafael Nadal falling to 24-year-old Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, the fortnight in New York gave way for the younger generation to make a statement and they certainly delivered.
Tiafoe had former First Lady Michelle Obama and the rest of the stadium on the edges of their seats as he dueled with Alcaraz in the semifinals.
Alcaraz and 21-year-old Jannik Sinner played one of the highest-quality tennis matches in recent history in the quarterfinals, which saw the former save a match point on his way to a five-set triumph.
The level of that contest was so surreal, Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero believes the duo will dominate tennis for the next 10 years. 
If men’s tennis seemed like it was going to be in trouble in the post-Big Three era, this US Open provided ample proof it’ll be just fine.
2. Swiatek setting a high bar
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is so far ahead in the rankings, she has more points than the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 combined.
The 21-year-old picked up a third Grand Slam title, second of the year, and first on hard courts, by defeating Tunisian Ons Jabeur in the final.
At a tournament where she didn’t feel or play her best, openly disliked the balls, and hit an enormous 197 unforced errors through seven matches, Swiatek once again separated herself from the pack and showed she has a solution for every problem she faces on a match court.
The young Pole beat three top-10 players in a row en route to the US Open crown and has now won her last 10 consecutive finals, in straight sets.
Swiatek has proven to be a phenomenal heir to Ashleigh Barty’s throne. Her record in finals and the seven titles she has won this season alone are reason enough for her to feel invincible. She will try her hardest not to embrace that feeling though.
“I still have to realize that it’s tough out there, so I want to stand on the ground, kind of, stay on the ground,” she told reporters on Saturday.
3. Jabeur and Ruud’s time will come
They may have walked away with runner-up plates instead of champion trophies but Jabeur and Ruud have every reason to believe they can win majors.
They have reached two Grand Slam finals each this season and put up respectable fights in their title deciders in New York over the weekend.
Jabeur and Ruud both leave the US Open ranked No. 2 in the world and with something to chase.
Given how they’ve steadily progressed so far, it’s hard to imagine they won’t get over the final hurdle at the majors one day.
4. Serena’s legacy palpable across both tours
If the US Open was indeed the last professional tournament of Serena Williams’ career, then it’s fair to say it was a fitting finale.
The American legend, who had barely played any matches in over a year, got through her first two rounds, knocking out No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit along the way, before succumbing to Ajla Tomljanovic with a battling performance in the last-32 stage.
The buildup to the tournament as well as opening week was all about Serena and it gave everyone a chance to pay tribute to the 40-year-old and her unquantifiable legacy.
Players Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Tiafoe were in the stands for her matches, irrespective of how it affected their own schedules.
Tiafoe walked on and off court in a Serena “GOAT” hoodie for all his clashes.
Swiatek mustered up the courage to finally walk up to her and ask for a photo. Yes, that’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek.
Everywhere you looked around the grounds at the US Open, you could see people she inspired to become professional players.
Madison Brengle said her career was extended by at least a couple of years because Serena wore a catsuit to the French Open, which urged officials to change the rules and allow women to compete in full-length leggings.
Brengle, who had melanoma and needed to wear long pants for skin protection while competing, says she would have stopped playing tennis had it not been for Serena and her catsuit.
Osaka and Gauff say they wouldn’t have picked up a racquet without the influence of Serena and Venus Williams.
Tomljanovic felt so conflicted after she defeated Serena in the third round because she had just ended the career of someone she idolized her whole life.
If this US Open taught us anything, it’s that Serena is never going to disappear from tennis. She is everywhere around us on tour in the spirit of the countless people she inspired.
5. Ranking jumps for Gauff, Kyrgios
The 18-year-old Gauff makes her top-10 debut on Monday on the heels of reaching the US Open quarterfinals.
The American teenager, who reached the French Open final in June, continues to impress both on the court with her constantly improving game, and off it with her eloquent and wise statements in her press conferences. The new world No. 8 is in the fourth spot on the Race to the WTA Finals and looks poised for a debut appearance in the prestigious season finale.
Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios returns to the top-20 for the first time since February 2020. The Wimbledon finalist was devastated after losing to Karen Khachanov in the US Open quarters and feels like he missed out on a chance to win his first major. Still, he backed up his Wimbledon run with a title in Washington D.C. and a strong showing in New York. He’ll be incredibly dangerous at the Australian Open in four months’ time.
Other notable jumps include Jessica Pegula’s rise to a career-high No. 5 and Tiafoe’s top-20 debut.
6. Narratives shifting across both tours
For the last few years, people have wrongfully criticized the WTA tour for the lack of a dominant force at the top. Meanwhile, the men’s circuit had the seemingly everlasting presence of the “Big Three” to rely on, which was exciting for their fans but equally predictable.
With Swiatek now emerging as a consistent threat on the women’s side — scooping seven titles in 2022, including two majors — and Jabeur making back-to-back Slam finals and capturing trophies in Madrid and Berlin, it’s impossible to label the WTA as volatile anymore.
A look at the men’s quarterfinals lineup at the US Open, which featured players aged 27 and under, indicates the ATP will soon enter a period of volatility, with draws becoming more and more open and big titles up for grabs.
While three of the four majors in 2022 were still won by Nadal and Djokovic, Alcaraz’s breakthrough could open the floodgates. ATP fans had better embrace the chaos; they’ll realize it’s actually fun.
7. There’s more in the Spanish pipeline, history for the Philippines
In the juniors at the US Open, Spain’s Martin Landaluce clinched the boys’ singles crown, while Alexandra Eala made history as the first player from the Philippines to win a Grand Slam junior singles title.
Both players train at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain, and cite the 22-time major champion as their biggest inspiration.
Add to that the fact that Ruud has been practicing at Nadal’s academy for several years as well and you realize it’s been quite the tournament for Mallorca.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia launched a nation-wide march of the torch of the Saudi Games 2022, the largest sporting event in the Kingdom’s history.
Athletes and major sports personalities will travel 3,500 kilometres across the Kingdom starting from Riyadh for 22 days on foot or another preferred means of transport such as a vehicle or a horse.
The march, scheduled to conclude on Oct. 10 in Al-Dir’iyyah Governorate, aims to promote the values of the Saudi Games 2022 and convey peace and friendship to residents and visitors alike, according to the organizer’s statement.
The torch relay starts weeks before the debut of Saudi Games, the Kingdom’s most significant national sporting event.
On the sidelines of the launch ceremony in Riyadh, Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, vice president of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee and director of the Saudi Games, said the torch embodies the values of peace and friendship that the Olympic Games seek to promote.
The Saudi Games 2022, he added, marks a major leap in the Kingdom’s sporting history, one that will undoubtedly change the course of the future of sports in the nation and region.
“We hope the impending journey would spread messages of hope, warmth, and unity, encouraging citizens and residents to participate in the tournament,” said Prince Fahd.
Torch Relay Journey
The Saudi Games 2022 torch relay is set to commence from the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee headquarters in Riyadh before moving on to Al Madinah Al Munawara, followed by Tabuk, NEOM, Al Jawf Province, Al-Shola, the Northern Borders Province, Ha’il, and the Qassim region.
By Sept. 24, the relay will have reached the Eastern Province, stopping by Dhahran, Al-Khobar, and Dammam, before heading to Al-Ahsa Governorate, Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Taif, Al-Baha, and Asir region. It then travels to Jazan, followed by the Najran region, Al-Ula, and back to Riyadh. The torch relay will conclude on Oct. 10 in Al-Dir’iyyah Governorate.
The torch will visit some of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent cultural and historical attractions by traveling on a route that features 57 famous landmarks in 13 regions.
Herve Renard has selected his Saudi Arabian squad for this month’s Spanish training camp that will include World Cup warm-ups against Ecuador on Sept. 23 and then the US four days later, and the Frenchman looks to have ended dreams of Qatar for some and given others a tantalizing hope.
For those in the 26 who are not automatic starters, this is likely to be the last opportunity to impress the head coach before he starts to firm up his squad for Group G games against Argentina, Poland and Mexico.
After June defeats against South American opposition Colombia and Venezuela, the Green Falcons will also be looking for better results as the countdown to Qatar really starts. All that is left is an October game against Honduras and then November tests with Iceland and Panama.
This squad is dominated by the big clubs. Eight come from Al-Hilal, five from Al-Nassr, five from Al-Shabab, three from Al-Ittihad and two from Al-Ahli despite the fact that the Jeddah giants are now playing in the second division. Just two, Firas Al-Buraikan of Al-Fateh and Abha’s Riyadh Sharahili are from elsewhere.
Despite Al-Hilal’s contingent, there is no room for Abdullah Al-Mayouf, which surely means that the goalkeeper’s international career is over.
Many see the Al-Hilal No. 1 as the best in the country, but the 35- year-old has not made the cut. It is not his form that has cost him a place.
In 2019, Al-Mayouf announced his retirement from the international game before changing his mind earlier this year and making himself available, but it has not made a difference to Renard. It means that Mohammed Al-Owais, who is No. 2 at Al-Hilal and has not played yet this season, is likely to be the No. 1 for his country while Al-Mayouf keeps playing for his club but can take a rest this November and December.
Al-Mayouf accepted the decision with good grace.
“I do not wish to discuss the issue of joining the national team,” he said in a television interview. “Coach Renard has his opinion and has made his choice and I respect his view. I wish the group of players that will participate in the World Cup in Qatar all the best.”
Fahad Al-Muwallad returns to the team despite serving a ban for failing a dope test. The winger left Al-Ittihad earlier this month to join Al-Shabab but has yet to play at all this season. Renard is known to rate the 27-year-old who needs to demonstrate that he is still sharp despite his inactivity.
That is also the case for midfielder Mohamed Kanno, who has also been banned from domestic action as a punishment for signing a contract with two clubs. Kanno’s energy and drive were apparent during qualification and, once more, the Al-Hilal man has much to do in Spain.
There are issues in attack. Of the three strikers who featured most in World Cup qualification, Saleh Al-Shehri is still injured and Al-Hilal teammate Abdullah Al-Hamdan is finding minutes hard to come by. Al-Buraikan remains and is joined up front by Haroune Camara, who scored a fine goal for Al-Ittihad in the opening round of the season as well as Al-Ahli’s Haitham Asiri. 
There is plenty of experience in midfield with the cultured Nawaf Al-Abed, who is fit after some injury issues and, playing for Al-Shabab, included alongside stalwarts such as captain Salman Al-Faraj and the excellent Salem Al-Dawsari. There are new faces here too. Al-Ittihad’s Awad Al-Nashri, who featured in Saudi Arabia’s triumph at the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup in June, could receive a first cap as could Riyadh Sharahili who comes in from Abha, a rare addition not from one of the usual big clubs. 
Talented young players such as Ayman Yahya and Turki Al-Ammar, stars of that U-23 team, have been on the fringes of the senior side but have not made the cut. Unless they manage to seriously shine in the Saudi Professional League in the coming weeks, it looks as if their dreams of Qatar are over, though both still have plenty of time in their careers and can start thinking about North America four years later.
That is something that Abdulellah Al-Malki may have to do too. The Al-Hilal defensive midfielder tore his cruciate ligament while playing for his country against Japan in February and has not played since. It is looking increasingly likely that the 27-year-old is going to run out of time.
In defense, Ahmed Bamsaud, left-back with Al-Ittihad, should earn his first international cap, but the other names are familiar ones though Al-Hilal’s Mohammed Al-Breik is absent. Many will be looking on to see if Hassan Tambakti, the 23-year-old who has been in excellent form this season for an Al-Shabab defense that has yet to be breached, can get in the starting lineup.
With kick-off just two months away, all it may take is one stellar performance in front of the coach to earn a starting place to face the likes of Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski or perhaps vice-versa. For those who have not made this list of 26, Qatar is not completely out of sight, but it is going to take something special to get there.
These are uncertain times for Juventus. For a club that won nine Serie A titles in a row from 2012 until 2020, two seasons without a league title represents something of drought.
And currently, a third looks very likely.
On Sunday, another ordeal ended in late drama as Juventus looked to be heading to a home loss against Salernitana, only for the team to salvage a late draw, and then think they had won it before a last-ditch goal was disallowed.
In the end the 2-2 draw felt like an injustice after the video assistant referee disallowed what looked a clear winner for the Old Lady deep into stoppage time.
But the Turin club have bigger problems, ones that can only be fixed with a hugely successful season and a deep run into the Champions League knockout stages.
After losses of $213 million in the 2020-21 season, similar problems arose last season (2021-22), with the club once again stuck in the red.
Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family that owns 63.8 percent of Juventus’ shares, oversaw club losses of $133 million in the six months ending Dec. 31, compared with a $115 million loss over the same period a year earlier.
The Bianconeri shareholders will meet between Sept. 16 and 23 to discuss their economic results and agree a new budget.
These financial losses have left the club’s accounts in arrears for the fifth consecutive year.
Weak revenues at the Allianz Stadium, due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic — with capacity often restricted to between 50 and 75 percent — in addition to the high cost of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract, despite his departure in the summer of 2021, have played major roles in these figures.
Ronaldo’s deal, with his basic salary and financial rewards, has majorly burdened Juventus. The club paid $119 million to Real Madrid in the summer of 2018, and the player received an annual salary of more than $30 million over three seasons, during which he failed to win the coveted Champions League, despite collecting five domestic trophies.
After that splurge, now comes a time of austerity, and the quickest way to redress the situation would seem to be through success in Europe.
To avoid a sixth year of losses, Juventus must go as far as possible in the Champions League this season, after being eliminated from the round of 16 in the past three seasons.
This season, winning the Champions League will guarantee a $69 million windfall. Doing it with a perfect group record would secure in the region of $86 million, while winning the UEFA Super Cup would put an additional $5 million into the coffers. Adding broadcasting and advertising income, a successful European campaign season could generate more than $200 million.
Such lofty ambitions seem a long way off at this point.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men have won only two out of six matches this season in Serie A, leaving them in eighth place, and no doubt the priority will be to win a record-extending 37th title, before thoughts turn to Europe.
But the financial situation has hampered the coach’s recruitment as a reliance on free or loan deals in the transfer window has shown.
Serbian forward Dusan Vlahovic may have come from Fiorentina in January for a fee of $71 million, but the other high-profile additions such as the now injured Paul Pogba, from Manchester United, and Angel Di Maria, from Paris Saint-Germain, have arrived on free transfers.
But even if Juventus regain their domestic luster to retain the league title they considered their property for so long, it remains a major challenge to translate that success to the Champions League, in which they have failed time and again in recent years, even with the recruitment of Ronaldo specifically for that task.
On the pitch, it does not appear that Juventus are in good health, although it is only one match into the Champions League season, in which they suffered a not unexpected loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital.
Hopes hang on a successful Champions League campaign, but things do not look promising, as much as there appears to be a desperate need for that title.
The Juventus hierarchy know that in addition to the big financial rewards that would come with winning the trophy, success would raise the club’s market value as well as that of the players.
At this point in time, it is uncertain in the extreme that Juventus can retain the Serie A title, never mind win the Champions League. The lean times look set to continue.
RIBADOURO: Team Abu Dhabi’s Mansoor Al-Mansoori produced a battling performance in the Grand Prix of Portugal on Sunday to retain the lead in 2022 UIM F2 World Championship.
With the final round to follow in Portugal’s Vila Velha de Ródão next weekend, Al-Mansoori holds a two-point advantage over Team Sharjah’s Sami Selio, with Germany’s Stefan Hagin just two points further adrift.
Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi followed up his pole position success 24 hours earlier with a fine start-to-finish victory in Ribadouro, holding off Selio by 9.7 seconds to climb to fourth place in the championship standings. American Brent Dillard took the third podium place.
Having arrived in Portugal with a three-point lead over Hagin, Al-Mansoori needed a big performance after mechanical problems brought him to a halt in qualifying, forcing him to start in 14th place.
The Emirati shrugged off that setback with a composed drive to a seventh-place finish, crucially one spot ahead of Hagin, who had also been dropped down the field by mechanical issues in qualifying.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qemzi, aiming to repeat his victory in Ribadouro 12 months ago after narrowly missing out on pole position on Saturday, ran completely out of luck when halted by engine problems after just one lap.
Portugal’s Duarte Benavente lasted just two more laps before going out, and Mette Bjerknæs became the third early casualty, also suffering engine issues to exit after 12 laps.
From Ribadouro, the F2 world championship moves 270 kilometers south to Vila Velha de Ródão next weekend where the final round of the 2022 series takes place on the Tagus river.
It was there 12 months ago that Al-Qemzi completed back-to-back victories in Portugal to become F2 world champion for the third time following his triumphs in 2017 and 2019.
That was the 14th world powerboat racing crown secured by Team Abu Dhabi since Guido Cappellini took over as team manager in February 2015.
UIM F2 World Championship points positions:
1. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) 39
2. Sami Seliö (Finland) 37
3. Stefan Hagin (Germany) 35
4. Giacomo Sacchi (Monaco) 29
5. Edgaras Riabko (Lithuania) 20
6. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (Norway) 19


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