European Super League chiefs have succeeded in restoring an injunction preventing UEFA and FIFA from punishing clubs wishing to be involved in the controversial project.

Madrid's Audiencia Provincial Civil court issued a decision on Tuesday that was welcomed by organisers of the planned new competition.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have been the only clubs who have not backed away from the Super League, since its launch in April 2021 sparked a backlash and led nine of the 12 teams involved to pull out.

World governing body FIFA and European counterpart UEFA had warned players and clubs taking part in the breakaway league would be banned from their competitions, which include the World Cup and European Championship.

In December, an opinion published by the European Union's Court of Justice (CJEU) said UEFA and FIFA would be entitled to freeze out a European Super League and its competing teams.

That was in response to a request by the Commercial Court in Madrid to rule on whether FIFA and UEFA would have the right to take action in accordance with competition law and fundamental freedoms.

European Super League chiefs argued such actions should be regarded as anti-competitive and incompatible with EU competition law. The CJEU opinion was not a binding ruling, which is due to follow in the coming months, and now the sport's ruling bodies have been told they should not be using powers to intervene in the meantime.

The Madrid court said on Tuesday: "The problem is that the risk that exists of the arbitrary use by FIFA and UEFA of its disciplinary power does not adhere to the repercussion of its effects within the competitions they manage, but it can also be used, as it is clear that it has been threatened with doing so, to discourage any purpose of the operators of the market who are tempted to build relationships with the competitor."

It added: "The eventual justification of the conduct of FIFA and UEFA as an attempt to protect the European sports model we consider it, prima facie, as a flimsy excuse."

There is no guarantee clubs will be tempted back to the European Super League, given supporters of many teams were so strongly opposed, but Tuesday's ruling may encourage more to show an interest.

Six clubs from the Premier League and three each from LaLiga and Serie A initially agreed to join the European Super League, prior to public reaction leading to a rethink.

A22 Sports Management was set up to manage the European Super League project, and its CEO Bernd Reichart welcomed the latest development, saying it would allow his business "to freely continue the project of creating a new and exciting European football competition".

Reichart added: "It confirms that UEFA's monopoly position cannot be used to pressure or threaten clubs, players or companies willing to innovate and invigorate competition in professional football.

"We will therefore continue our dialogue with football stakeholders in a new and more appropriate environment, free from threats and other obstructive steps taken by UEFA and other bodies."

Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin are among four players handed a suspension by FIFA for their furious reaction to Uruguay's World Cup exit last month.

The Celeste failed to make it out of Group H in Qatar despite winning their last game 2-0 against Ghana, with South Korea advancing at their expense due to having scored more goals.

Uruguay were fuming when Cavani was denied a late penalty after going down in the Ghana area and the Valencia striker pushed the VAR monitor over after the final whistle, while several of his team-mates surrounded referee Daniel Siebert.

FIFA on Friday revealed Cavani and captain Godin have been hit with a one-match suspension, while they must also participate in community football service and pay a fine of CHF 15,000 (£13,140).

Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez and Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera have been banned for four games by the world governing body, while they have been hit in the pocket to the tune of CHF 20,000 (£17,520) and also ordered to do community football service work.

The FIFA disciplinary committee also found the Uruguayan FA was responsible for the discriminatory behaviour of its supporters at the December 2 game, as well as for the misconduct, offensive behaviour and violation of the principles of fair play shown by players.

That will result in Uruguay playing their next game with a partial stadium closure, with no fans allowed behind the goals at each end, FIFA said in a statement.

The Uruguayan FA has also been fined CHF 50,000 (£43,800).

Referees will explain to crowds and TV audiences the reasoning behind VAR decisions during a 12-month trial across FIFA tournaments, starting with February's Club World Cup.

The Morocco-hosted event will see officials communicate their decisions to audiences for the first time in football.

While conversations with the VAR officials will not be heard by the public, referees are to be provided with a microphone that links them to the in-stadium public address system and broadcasters.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport's lawmakers, announced the trial on Wednesday following recommendations made by its advisory panels in October.

With the trial set for 12 months from February 1, the initiative could also be implemented for the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

But IFAB rejected the chance to begin experimenting with temporary concussion substitutes, confirming "no consensus was reached".

The measure, IFAB said, will remain "under active review", though the board "indefinitely extended the trial with permanent concussion substitutions".

Regarding the existing Laws of the Game, IFAB also moved to confirm recent guidelines published on "deliberate play" in offside situations.

Several high-profile incidents – such as Mohamed Salah's FA Cup goal against Wolves last week – led to that publication, and IFAB affirmed that "a player who is clearly in an offside position should not become 'onside' on all occasions when an opponent moves and touches the ball".

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are among the leading candidates for The Best FIFA Men's Player award after unsurprisingly being named on the 14-strong list of nominees on Thursday.

FIFA's awards ceremony will take place on February 27 and recognise the sport's high achievers from 2022 across several categories, with The Best FIFA Men's Player prize being the headline attraction.

Messi, who won the 2019 award and came a close second to Robert Lewandowski for 2021, will be the firm favourite after inspiring Argentina to World Cup success.

It was the Albiceleste's first such title since 1986, and Messi played a crucial role in the triumph as Argentina beat France on penalties after a 3-3 draw last month.

Messi scored five goals and set up another three to win himself the Golden Ball, and he nearly took home the Golden Boot as well.

Of course, his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe won the latter prize thanks to his hat-trick against Argentina in the dramatic final, and he will likely be Messi's closest rival.

Had it not been a World Cup year, Manchester City's Erling Haaland might have fancied his chances of staking a claim after a sensational start to life in the Premier League.

Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema is among the nominees and may be expecting a top-three finish after carrying Real Madrid to another Champions League crown, though his lack of World Cup involvement could prove detrimental.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is in the running for The Best FIFA Men's Coach gong, though Argentina's Lionel Scaloni will likely be the favourite of the five-man shortlist.

Argentina are also represented in The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper category by Emiliano Martinez among the five nominees.

For the women's prizes, Euro 2022 champions England have several nominations.

Beth Mead, Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson are all up for the players' award; Sarina Wiegman will be the favourite for the coaches' accolade; and Mary Earps is in contention to be named The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper.

The voting process will involve international captains and coaches, journalists, and fans selecting their winners in the various categories.

Voting closes on February 3 and FIFA will announce three finalists from each section thereafter.

NOMINATIONS

The Best FIFA Men's Player
Julian Alvarez (Argentina/River Plate/Manchester City)
Jude Bellingham (England/Borussia Dortmund) 
Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid) 
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
Erling Haaland (Norway/ Borussia Dortmund/Manchester City)
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco/Paris Saint-Germain) 
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich/Barcelona)
Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool/Bayern Munich)
Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)
Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) 
Vinicius Junior (Brazil/Real Madrid)

The Best FIFA Men's Coach
Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid)
Didier Deschamps (France/French National Team)
Pep Guardiola (Spain/Manchester City) 
Walid Regragui (Morocco/Wydad AC/Moroccan National Team)
Lionel Scaloni (Argentina/Argentinian National Team) 

The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper
Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool) 
Yassine Bounou (Morocco/Sevilla)
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium/Real Madrid)
Ederson (Brazil/Manchester City)
Emiliano Martinez (Argentina/Aston Villa) 

The Best FIFA Women's Player: 
Aitana Bonmatí (Spain/Barcelona)
Debinha (Brazil/North Carolina Courage)
Jessie Fleming (Canada/Chelsea)
Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Lyon)
Sam Kerr (Australia/Chelsea)
Beth Mead (England/Arsenal)
Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal)
Alex Morgan (United States/Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave)
Lena Oberdorf (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Alexandra Popp (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Alexia Putellas (Spain/Barcelona)
Wendie Renard (France/Lyon)
Keira Walsh (England/Manchester City/Barcelona)
Leah Williamson (England/Arsenal)

The Best FIFA Women's Coach
Sonia Bompastor (France/Lyon) 
Emma Hayes (England/Chelsea)
Bev Priestman (England/Canadian National Team)
Pia Sundhage (Sweden/Brazilian National Team)
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg (Germany/German National Team)
Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands / English National Team)

The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper
Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany/Chelsea Women)
Mary Earps (England/Manchester United) 
Christiane Endler (Chile/Lyon)
Merle Frohms (Germany/Eintracht Frankfurt /Wolfsburg)
Alyssa Naeher (United States/Chicago Red Stars)
Sandra Panos Garca-Villamil (Spain/Barcelona)

Aleksander Ceferin is set to be re-elected unopposed for a third term as UEFA president.

The governing body on Friday announced that Ceferin is the only candidate for the role for the elections that will be held in Lisbon on April 5.

Ceferin took over as UEFA president in September 2016 and started a new four-year term in February 2019.

The Slovenian's tenure will be extended to 2027, with the deadline for candidates to oppose him having passed on Thursday.

Noel Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation, faces a challenge to keep his seat on the FIFA Council.

Portugal FA chief Fernando Gomes will be hoping to secure the votes to take Le Graet's place.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the submission of candidatures for seats on the UEFA Executive Committee is February 5.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called on football fans to "stand up and shut up all the racists once and for all" after Samuel Umtiti and Lecce team-mate Lameck Banda were subjected to abuse.

Lecce's 2-1 comeback win over Lazio at Stadio Via del Mare on Wednesday was overshadowed by a section of Lazio fans in the away end aiming racist abuse towards Umtiti and Banda.

The match was halted for several minutes by referee Livio Marinelli and a message was played over the announcer system warning the match would not resume if the chants continued.

Home supporters chanted Umtiti's name in solidarity and he asked for the match to resume, but the Barcelona loanee reportedly left the field in tears at full-time.

"Umtiti asked for the game to resume because he wanted to respond to the insults he received on the pitch. He reacted like a true champion," Lecce president Saverio Sticchi Damiani said after the match.

Lecce condemned the racist abuse in a statement on Wednesday and Umtiti posted a message of his own on social media that read: "Only football, fun, joy. The rest doesn't count."

Umtiti received supportive replies from the likes of Jerome Boateng, Naby Sarr and Alexandre Lacazette, while FIFA chief Infantino also offered his backing for the centre-back and Zambia international Banda.

"Solidarity with Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda – let's shout it loud and clear: No to racism," he wrote alongside photos of Umtiti and Banda in action.

"May the huge majority of fans, who are good people, stand up and shut up all the racists once and for all."

The unsavoury incident came on the first day of Serie A action following a near-two-month break for the World Cup.

Lecce's victory, secured thanks to goals from Gabriel Strefezza and Lorenzo Colombo after Ciro Immobile had given Lazio the lead, moved them up to 12th in Serie A.

Gianni Infantino is "dismayed" at being criticised for taking a selfie in view of Pele's coffin at the Brazil legend's wake on Monday.

The only man to win the World Cup three times, Pele's death was announced last Thursday at the age of 82 after a battle with cancer, having been moved to palliative care in early December.

A 24-hour wake started on Monday with Pele's coffin on the pitch at the Vila Belmiro stadium, home of his beloved Santos where he scored 643 goals in 659 matches between 1956 and 1974.

Infantino was pictured taking a selfie with Pele's former team-mates just metres from his coffin, and the FIFA president has subsequently come under fire.

However, Infantino does not understand the negative perception of his actions, saying on Instagram: "Just landed from my trip to Brazil where I had the privilege to participate in the beautiful homage to Pele that took place at Vila Belmiro, in Santos.

"I am dismayed after having been informed that I am apparently being criticised by some people for having taken a selfie and pictures at the ceremony yesterday [Monday].

"I would like to clarify that I was both honoured and humbled that team-mates and family members of the great Pele asked me if I could take a few photos with them. And obviously I immediately agreed.

"In the case of the selfie, Pele's team-mates asked to do a selfie of all of us together but they didn't know how to do it. So, to be helpful, I took the photo of one of them and took the photo of all of us for him.

"If being helpful to a team-mate of Pele creates criticism I'm happy to take it and will continue to be helpful wherever I can to those having contributed to write legendary pages of football.

"I have so much respect and admiration for Pele and for that ceremony yesterday [Monday] that I would never do anything that would be disrespectful in any way whatsoever."

Gianni Infantino has asked each country to name one stadium after Pele in a tribute to the Brazil great.

Pele, the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player, passed away last week aged 82.

Brazil entered a national period of mourning after Pele's death.

Pele's coffin was placed in the centre circle at Urbano Caldeira Stadium in Sao Paulo, the home of his former club Santos, and FIFA president Infantino was in attendance on Monday.

"We are going to ask that all countries in the world have at least one stadium with the name of Pele," Infantino told reporters in Brazil.

"[This will be] so that children know Pele's importance [to the game of football]."

Naming a sporting venue after a former player is not an uncommon occurrence, with such examples as Hungary's Puskas Arena and the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

However, it is more unusual for a venue to be named for a player outside their native country, though again not implausible.

Serie A side Napoli renamed their home ground the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in memory of the Argentina great following his death in 2020.

South Korea's Gwangju World Cup Stadium meanwhile was named after Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who took the nation to a fourth-place finish at the 2004 World Cup.

Pele, whose 77 goals for Brazil stands as a joint record, is set to be laid to rest on Tuesday.

Pele leaves a legacy "impossible to summarise in words" but FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes the Brazil great "achieved immortality" after his death on Thursday.

Sao Paolo's Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital confirmed multiple organ failure as the cause of death for the three-time World Cup winner, who many consider to be the greatest footballer of all time.

The Santos legend had been battling colon cancer, with his family travelling to join him earlier in December after being moved into palliative care when his body stopped responding to treatment.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo Nazario and Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to the 82-year-old before Infantino joined a plethora of players, clubs and sporting organisations to offer their kind recollections.

"For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come. The day we lost Pele," Infantino wrote in a statement published by FIFA.

"'O Rei' [The King] was unique in so many ways. He was the only player to have won the World Cup three times and his skill and imagination were incomparable.

"Pele did things that no other player would even dream of, such as the famous dummy in the 1970 World Cup semi-final that became known as the Pele run-around.

"Or the goal he scored in the 1958 World Cup final as a 17-year-old when he flicked the ball over a defender and volleyed it into the net.

"The sight of him punching the air in celebration is one of the most iconic in our sport, and is etched into our history.

"In fact, because televised football was still in his infancy at the time, we only saw small glimpses of what he was capable of."

Pele, who scored 643 goals in 659 matches for Santos over an 18-year period, helped Brazil to World Cup success in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – no player in the tournament's history has won it more often.

He remains the youngest player to ever win the competition and the youngest to score in the final after achieving the remarkable feat when he was just 17 years and 249 days old. 

His 77-goal international haul still stands as a Brazilian record despite Neymar matching the benchmark in Qatar with a quarter-final strike against Croatia, leading Infantino to hail Pele's legacy.

"Most importantly, 'The King' rose to the throne with a smile on his face. Football could be brutal in those days, and Pele was often on the receiving end of some rough treatment," he continued.

"But, while he knew how to stand up for himself, he was always an exemplary sportsman, with genuine respect for his opponents. I had the great privilege of meeting him on several occasions.

"The moments spent with him will forever remain in my memory and in my heart. Pele had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped.

"His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarise in words.

"To his family and friends, to CBF [the Brazilian Football Confederation], to Brazil and to all football fans who loved him so much, I express my sincere condolences.

"Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pele, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity."

FIFA is investigating how celebrity chef Salt Bae gained "undue access" to Argentina's on-pitch celebrations after the World Cup final.

Salt Bae, the Turkish chef and social media presence whose real name is Nusret Gokce, posted several photos of himself with the World Cup trophy on social media after Sunday's game.

The chef, who owns a chain of luxury steakhouses and rose to fame through a series of viral internet videos in 2017, was also seen attempting to pose for a photo with Lionel Messi and several Argentina team-mates.

His presence in the immediate aftermath of the trophy presentation is now the subject of a FIFA investigation after attracting widespread criticism.

A widely reported statement from world football's governing body read: "Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail stadium on December 18.

"The appropriate internal action will be taken."

Earlier this month, Salt Bae posted an image on Instagram of himself at a World Cup match alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Brazil greats Ronaldo, Cafu and Roberto Carlos.

Argentina's World Cup triumph has moved them up to second in FIFA's world rankings, but Lionel Messi's Golden Ball-winning exploits were not enough for top spot.

La Albiceleste defeated France on penalties in a thrilling final that ended 3-3 after extra time at Qatar 2022, ending their 36-year wait for the sport's biggest prize.

But despite it proving fifth time lucky for talisman Messi, it is Argentina's closest rivals Brazil who top the world rankings at the end of the year.

The Selecao were knocked out in the quarter-finals following a penalty shoot-out loss to Croatia, but Tite's side hold on to their place at the summit.

It ends a run of four consecutive years when Belgium have ended the calendar year as the world's top-ranked nation in men's international football, with the Red Devils dropping to fourth.

Their descent allows France to move a place up the ladder, to sit third behind Argentina, while England round out the top five in an unchanged position.

A shock loss to Morocco sees Spain slip down the list to 10th, with the African nation in 11th, while Croatia enjoy a major bump to go seventh at Denmark's expense.

Indeed, Denmark suffer one of the biggest drops, down to 18th, with the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal rounding out the rest of the upper echelons.

Other countries enduring slides down the rankings after poor World Cups include Germany, Uruguay and Wales, but there are boosts for Japan, Australia and Cameroon after impressive performances.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has accused his successor Gianni Infantino of disrespect, while lambasting plans to expand the World Cup.

The Qatar 2022 edition of football's flagship tournament is the last to feature its current 32-team format, with 48 nations set to take part at the 2026 event.

Infantino has pushed for expansion since he replaced Blatter as the head of FIFA and has explored moving the World Cup to either a biennial or triennial cycle.

But his predecessor suggests he is not acting in the best interests of the sport.

"What is happening at the moment is an over-commercialisation of the game," he told German newspaper Die Ziet. "[It is] trying to squeeze more and more out of the lemon.

"[Look at] the World Cup with 48 teams, or a Club World Cup that must be viewed as competition to the UEFA Champions League. FIFA is meddling in something that doesn't really concern them.

"I have no relationship with Infantino. He behaved disrespectfully because he has refused any contact with me since his election. He only communicates with me through lawyers."

Infantino revealed plans for a 32-team Club World Cup earlier this month, returning to a planned expansion originally waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal is still subject to confederation approval, and is expected to generate pushback from several leading clubs, particularly in the wake of the failed European Super League breakaway.

FIFA is putting the welfare of players at risk with their "short-sighted" plans to introduce a 32-team Club World Cup from 2025, according to FIFPRO.

The football governing body outlined their brief proposals for the new version of the tournament – currently contested annually by seven sides – at a news conference on Friday.

Plans were approved at a FIFA Council meeting earlier in the day to push on with the expanded competition, which will be held once every four years.

FIFA also announced the introduction of a Women's Club World Cup, while a 'World Series' tournament will be held by countries from different continents every other year.

However, the global union for professional football players has hit out at the announcement, claiming there had been no dialogue with FIFA prior to the competitions being ratified.

"FIFPRO took note with surprise of today's decisions by the FIFA Council concerning the international match calendars for men's and women's football that could have serious consequences for and aggravate pressure on the welfare and employment of players," the statement read.

"Despite an understanding FIFPRO reached with FIFA last week that a joint negotiation of the international match calendar would take place before the FIFA Congress in March 2023, these decisions were taken unilaterally without seriously consulting, let alone agreeing, with the players.

"The announcements today of a new format for the Club World Cup as of 2025, new principles for the Men's and Women's IMC [international match calendar] post-2024 and 2023 respectively, including the 'rolling over' of the current women's IMC into 2024-25 which will cause severe congestion during the Olympic competition year, have created new conditions, that further increase pressure on player workload and their job.

"Once again, decisions to scale competitions without implementing appropriate safeguards are short-sighted and pay no attention to players' health and performance.

"This decision once more shows that key stakeholders of the game are not being appropriately involved in decision making of football, even when it concerns the core of their fundamental rights."

It was confirmed on Friday that Morocco will host the 2023 Club World Cup in February, when European champions Real Madrid will be seeking a record-extending fifth title.

FIFA has announced Morocco will host the next edition of the Club World Cup in February, at which Real Madrid will attempt to lift the trophy for a record-extending fifth time.

Madrid secured their 14th European Cup/Champions League title with a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Stade de France in May, earning entry to a competition they won in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The other teams to have sealed qualification include Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo, CONCACAF Champions League holders Seattle Sounders, Auckland City and Al Ahly.

FIFA confirmed Morocco as hosts on Friday, and Moroccan side Wydad – who won the CAF Champions League under Walid Regragui last season before he left to manage the national team – will take part on home soil.

Morocco, which unsuccessfully bid to host the 2026 World Cup, has seen its Atlas Lions become one of the stories of the 2022 edition after Regragui led them to the semi-finals, where they lost to France, becoming the first African team to reach that stage. Morocco will face Croatia in the third-place play-off on Saturday.

The tournament will take place between February 1 and 11, 2023, with the final being held 10 days before Madrid take on Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

The announcement came on the same say FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed the governing body is proceeding with plans to introduce a revamped 32-team Club World Cup from 2025.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed the governing body is proceeding with plans for a 32-team Club World Cup, while the format of the next World Cup is to be revisited.

Infantino was addressing the media in Doha on Friday for the first time since his extraordinary press conference at the start of Qatar 2022.

He opted against a 45-minute opening monologue on this occasion, instead taking the opportunity to provide an update following a FIFA Council meeting earlier in the day.

During that meeting, plans were approved to push on with a previously proposed expansion to the Club World Cup.

The competition currently pits the winners of the main continental club competitions against each other every year, but the new version will feature 32 teams from across the globe and take place once every four years.

"It will be a Club World Cup of 32 teams, every four years, and the first edition will be summer of 2025," he said. "They will be the best teams in the world invited to participate."

Infantino also revealed FIFA is re-thinking its format for the next World Cup, which will be the first with 48 competing teams.

Initially FIFA planned for the tournament to consist of 16 groups of three teams; however, enlightened by the drama at the end of the first stage of Qatar 2022, Infantino suggested groups of four are likely to remain.

"I have to say, after this World Cup and the success of groups of four and looking at other competitions such as the Euros, here [four-team groups] have been incredible," he added

"I think we have to revisit or at least re-discuss the format. This is something that will certainly be on the agenda."

Speaking two days before Qatar 2022's final, Infantino summarised the tournament as a success in every way, in his opinion, praising the behaviour of supporters.

"The World Cup has been an incredible success on all fronts," said Infantino.

"The main one being the fans, the behaviour, the joyful atmosphere, the bringing of people together. The fans meeting the Arab world, it has been very important for the future of all of us.

"When it comes to the matches, we have seen some incredibly competitive games, some surprises, some great goals.

"At the end of the day, there was on average 10 minutes played as additional time every match. This was a very fair World Cup on the pitch, no simulations, not so many yellow and red cards.

"But this shows the compliment goes to the players and coaches, who maintained their calm, and of course the referees."

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