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What is the FIFA Arab Cup for?

by archysport
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As a repeat less than a year from the next World Cup, Qatar is organizing the FIFA Arab Cup, formerly called the Arab Nations Cup and supported this year by FIFA. A competition relaunched by the body of world football, since it has been nine years since she had known the day. To find the latest, we have to go back to the summer of 2012 in Saudi Arabia. This ninth edition had known the coronation of the Moroccan local selection, guided by the former coach of Olympique de Marseille Eric Gerets, at the expense of Libya in the final. But since then, the UAFA (Union of Arab Football Associations), not recognized by FIFA but approved by the federations of countries belonging to the Arab League, abandoned this tournament before FIFA gets its hands on it and allows get a taste of Qatar’s ability to host an international competition.

To conquer this title, 15 selections join Qatar: seven of them won their ticket following a qualifying round organized between the 14 lowest-ranked teams according to the FIFA rankings (Oman, Lebanon, Jordan , Bahrain, Mauritania, Palestine, Sudan). They find the other eight teams at the top of the ranking, which are Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Syria. These 16 nations are divided into four pools, before the traditional knockout phase which should bring a good sum to the participants. Indeed, if the participating teams receive from the start a check for 750,000 dollars, the quarter-finalists will receive 1 million, then the rewards will be distributed according to the classification of the last four: the small final will determine the third (2 M $) and the fourth ($ 1.5M), while the final winner will take home $ 5M and the finalist $ 3M.

Promotion of local championships

Organized at the end of the first part of the European championship season and therefore outside the FIFA international breaks, the holding of the pan-Arab competition posed a problem: which team to send to Qatar? If several selections will not arise this question, since the Arab leagues have arranged their calendars to free their players, others are forced or decide to send their local teams or playing in these championships, such as Morocco and Algeria. Unbeaten for nearly two years in all competitions, the Atlas Lions A ‘of Houcine Ammouta are the favorites of the competition, with a convened group mainly composed of locals from Botola (Moroccan D1), interspersed with players evolving in Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. As for the Fennecs, several executives of the A team were able to be summoned by the former Algerian international Majid Bougherra, in charge of the premises: the former defender of Geugnon will be able to count on the presence of Raïs M’Bolhi, Youcef Belaïli , or Baghdad Bounedjah to try to bring the Greens his second trophy in just over two years, after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Just like any selection tournament, the FIFA Arab Cup could therefore shed light on talents who would not have had this visibility in their respective championships.

Just like Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard, who decided not only to involve the Olympic team and to give dreams to his deputy Laurent Bonadei, who previously worked for AS Nancy-Lorraine and Paris Saint-Germain . However, some coaches may have had certain concerns with summons: that of Sudan, Hubert Velud, whose workforce is mainly made up of locals, believed that he could count on the arrival of Yasin Hamed, blocked by his Hungarian club Nyiregyhaza Spartacus. “Even if the Arab Cup does not fall in the FIFA dates, his club had given its agreement. But we have just received an email, informing us that ultimately, Hamed was no longer available to his national team. The club justified this in relation to the health risks, while the player is vaccinated, and in Qatar, maximum precautions will be taken. I do not find it very correct to do this at the last moment, and I am angry, because we already have to deplore several absences linked to injuries ”, he said in comments collected by Sport News Africa.

Qatar, a field of experimentation?

And if FIFA has decided to relaunch the Arab Nations Cup, it is not only to get a taste of the 2022 World Cup, but also for the first big test of an innovation: semi-automated detection offside. This technology had already been applied “In Germany, Spain and England”, but this is his first use in an international competition. To do this, “Cameras will be installed under the roof of each stadium,” says Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Johannes Holzmüller. Player movement tracking data taken from the video will be sent to the operations room. The detected offside line and point of contact will be provided to the video technician in near real time. The video technician will be able to show the data immediately to the VAR, he adds. During the FIFA Arab Cup ™, a dedicated VAR assistant will be able to immediately validate and confirm the information. ” So, if this experience proves successful, the automated offside could be ready for the World Cup next fall, as world football development chief Arsene Wenger teased last October.

“The decision is taken after having analyzed not only the position of the players, but also their involvement in the movement, explained former international referee Pierluigi Collina. The technology – today or tomorrow – can draw a line, but the assessment of interference with play or with an opponent remains in the hands of the referee. ” Now chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Collina also wanted to explain the importance of this revolution for the future of football: “Technology is very important and useful both in pre-match preparation and in decision-making during matches. In the event of an offside, the decision is taken after analyzing not only the position of the players, but also their involvement in the movement. The technology can draw a line, but the assessment of interference in play or with an opponent will be left to the referee. ”

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