FIFA takes charge of Uruguay FA

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Montevideo (AFP) – Football’s world governing body FIFA has taken control of the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) after the organisation was plunged into chaos following the sudden resignation of president Wilmar Valdez last month. A letter from FIFA reported in local media said the body had set up a “regularisation committee” aimed at restoring order to the AUF. The FIFA committee would be responsible for managing the affairs of the FA through to February 28, 2019 and would revise the organisation’s statues and arrange new elections. Uruguayan football has been in crisis since July 30, when president Valdez, who had favourite to win a new term in a vote the following day, abruptly resigned. Valdez stepped down after the emergence of mysterious audio recordings just before his re-election bid. Although the exact content of the recordings is unknown, media said they contained comments about sports administrators, a member of the Continue reading "FIFA takes charge of Uruguay FA"

McClaren under fire as QPR crash again

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London (AFP) – QPR manager Steve McClaren is in danger of being sacked less than a month into the new Championship season after his struggling side were beaten 3-0 by Bristol City on Tuesday. McClaren’s team are rooted to the bottom of the second-tier table following their fourth successive league defeat. The former England coach, dubbed the ‘Wally with the brolly’ during his ill-fated spell with the national team, only took over from Ian Holloway in the close-season. But reports have suggested he is already on the verge of being axed by QPR chairman Amit Bhatia. A humiliating 7-1 loss at West Brom on Saturday triggered a barrage of abuse for McClaren from angry QPR fans and he endured a similar reception at Loftus Road after City ran riot. Matty Taylor’s goal four minutes before the interval put the Robins ahead. Andreas Weimann doubled their lead five minutes into the Continue reading "McClaren under fire as QPR crash again"

No need to panic for Emery’s Arsenal just yet

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> Beginning a season with consecutive defeats is never a good thing. Being six points behind fellow top four favorites right off the bat immediately puts unwanted pressure on a club. This is especially the case when a new manager is at the helm. All of these things apply to Arsenal at the moment. Despite these early concerns, context does, however, need to be included when discussing the north London club’s weak start to the current campaign. Unai Emery’s Arsenal failed to record a single point against Manchester City and away to Chelsea. City, the reigning Premier League champions, are widely regarded as one of the best English teams over the last few decades and are favored to collect another league title at the end of the season. Chelsea, on the other hand, are a very tough team to play at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have only lost six of their Continue reading "No need to panic for Emery’s Arsenal just yet"

Coach keeps Argentina guessing about Messi’s future

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni refused to be drawn on Lionel Messi’s international future after leaving the five-time World Player of the Year out of his squad for upcoming friendlies next month. Local media had claimed the Barcelona star asked to be excused from international duty for Argentina’s four remaining friendlies in 2018, starting with a trip to the United States in September to play Guatemala and Colombia. “I’ve spoken with Messi and from that conversation I picked my squad,” said Scaloni, who took over from the sacked Jorge Sampaoli after Argentina’s underwhelming World Cup last-16 elimination to eventual champions France. “We didn’t speak about what could happen in the future. We know what Messi represents for us and we’ll see for the future.” Messi, 31, has retired from international duty once before after missing a penalty in Argentina’s shoot-out defeat by Chile, for the Continue reading "Coach keeps Argentina guessing about Messi’s future"

Preview: USMNT players in the Bundesliga 2018-19

The Bundesliga logo. The Bundesliga is the league of choice for USMNT players, by far the European league with the most American influence. That wasn't always the case. The Bundesliga and Germany's lower divisions replaced England as the likeliest destination for USMNT players. Recruitment of dual-nationals certainly helped, with Bob Bradley starting a process that increased under Jurgen Klinsmann. In 2018-19, there are more players with USMNT caps in Germany's topflight than in any other league in Europe. For a league competing with the Premier League and La Liga to be the best in Europe, the Bundesliga suffers from a super club problem. Bayern Munich used to be the team that would win every other season. That's turned into every season, now looking for their seventh consecutive title and the favorites to get it. Borussia Dortmund is normally the other team in the Bundesliga, but that reputation has taken a few hits. The Continue reading "Preview: USMNT players in the Bundesliga 2018-19"

Pjanic signs contract extension with Juventus


Milan (AFP) – Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic has signed a contract extension to keep him at Juventus until 2023, the Italian champions announced on Tuesday. The 28-year-old has won back-to-back Serie A and Italian Cup doubles since joining the Bianconeri from Roma in 2016. Known as a set-piece specialist, Pjanic has scored 15 league goals directly from free-kicks since arriving in Italy in 2011. “I’m very happy to extend my contract until 2023 with this amazing club,” Pjanic, who has scored 12 goals in 79 international appearances for Bosnia and Herzegovina, wrote on Twitter. Juve kicked off their Serie A title defence last Saturday with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Chievo as Portuguese great Cristiano Ronaldo made his competitive debut after joining from Real Madrid for 100 million euros ($114.5 million) last month.

UEFA president Ceferin nominated to stand for re-election


Paris (AFP) – The Slovenian Football Association (NZS) on Tuesday announced that its former head, Aleksander Ceferin, has been nominated for re-election as UEFA president by several European federations. The NZS said in a statement on its website that a group of federations had sent an “official proposal” of support for Ceferin, the 50-year-old lawyer who succeeded Michel Platini at the head of European football’s governing body in 2016. Along with Slovenia, the federations who have announced their support are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Italy and the Republic of Ireland. The election is due to take place on February 7 next year in Rome, with other potential candidates having until November 7 to come forward, as long as they have the support of at least three member federations.

Premier League threatens legal action over Saudi piracy

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London (AFP) – The English Premier League said Tuesday it is taking steps to bring legal action in Saudi Arabia to resolve a piracy issue over the televising of its matches and to protect its authorised broadcaster Qatar-based beIN Media Group. The EPL said it had seen “compelling evidence” that all 20 of its matches shown over the first two weekends of this season’s campaign had been broadcast illegally by a pirate TV channel called “beoutQ’. BeIN Sports was only recently awarded the exclusive broadcasting rights across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for another three seasons up to the 2021/22 campaign after paying ‘tens of millions’ for them.   “The Premier League takes piracy in all its forms extremely seriously and is committed to working with its broadcast partners and regulatory authorities in territories all around the world to stop the non-authorised exploitation of its content,” read a Continue reading "Premier League threatens legal action over Saudi piracy"

Beckham to receive UEFA President’s award

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Paris (AFP) – Former England captain David Beckham is to receive the 2018 UEFA President’s Award in honour of his achievements in the game and his work since retiring as a player, European football’s governing body said on Tuesday. The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder, who is now 43, will receive the award in Monaco later this year. “I have chosen David Beckham as the recipient of this year’s award because he has been a global ambassador for football, promoting the game and all its values in every corner of the planet,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. “His tireless humanitarian efforts, which have helped the lives of many children around the world, should also be celebrated. Beckham is a true football icon of his generation.” Beckham won the Champions League with United in 1999 and later played for Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Continue reading "Beckham to receive UEFA President’s award"

As Swansea and Leeds collide, which club will make it to the Premier League next season?

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Swansea City host Leeds United on Tuesday in a game that promises to be an excellent pointer for both sides’ chances of winning promotion to the Premier League.

With both teams starting the season strongly, Swansea sponsors Bet UK are predicting over 2.5 goals for this fixture – see the official preview and predictions here.

The Welsh club followed up victories over Sheffield United and Preston North End with a 0-0 draw at Birmingham City as they bid to secure a return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

Leeds have also made an impressive start to the Championship season under new manager Marcelo Bielsa.

The Whites have defeated Stoke City, Derby County and Rotherham United, and the manner of their victories has got fans dreaming of promotion.

Bielsa’s high-energy style of football has worked wonders so far, but Tuesday’s game at the Liberty Stadium will Continue reading "As Swansea and Leeds collide, which club will make it to the Premier League next season?"

Lyon sign Belgium defender Denayer from Man City

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Lyon (AFP) – Lyon have completed the signing of Belgian international defender Jason Denayer from English champions Manchester City for a fee of up to 10 million euros ($11.5 million), the French club announced on Tuesday. Denayer has signed a four-year deal, with the transfer fee taking into account 3.5 million euros in potential bonus payments. The 23-year-old joined City’s academy as a youth but never established himself in their first team, and has spent the last four years being loaned out to various clubs. After stints at Celtic and Sunderland, Denayer played for Galatasaray last season, helping them win the Turkish title. The arrival of Denayer, who has played eight times for Belgium but did not go to the World Cup in Russia, comes after a summer in which Lyon have been linked with moves for several defensive reinforcements. Among those linked with the seven-time French champions Continue reading "Lyon sign Belgium defender Denayer from Man City"

Klopp and Hodgson differ on penalty

James Milner scored a first half penalty and Sadio Mane added and added time second but it was a hard fought second win for Liverpool. Hodgson was pretty bugged with the penalty call. “It is not a penalty.I have been in football a long time. If that is a penalty, then the game has changed […]

Football’s big names are ‘Little Wife’ and ‘Busty’ to China fans

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Shanghai (AFP) – Mesut Ozil is “Little Wife”, Paul Pogba is “Busty” and Jose Mourinho is called “Magic Bird” — Chinese fans and media have conjured up creative and bizarre nicknames for many of the world’s best-known football figures. There is also “Very Homesick Boy” (Carlos Tevez), “Little Puppy” (Kylian Mbappe) and “Violent Bird” (Paulinho). Chinese is expressed using idiomatic characters rather than an alphabet, making it difficult to use the language to transliterate some foreign names. That means that while someone like England striker Harry Kane or Lionel Messi keep their names in China because they are fairly simple to pronounce, many others have not been so lucky. It is often an indication of how popular a player is in China. Argentine forward Tevez, who has never stayed at one club for long during his up-and-down career, had a disastrous 12-month spell in the Chinese Super League (CSL) with Continue reading "Football’s big names are ‘Little Wife’ and ‘Busty’ to China fans"

Can we play you every week? China 16 Tajikistan 0

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Shanghai (AFP) – Impassioned debate raged in China on Tuesday about the state of the men’s national football team after the Chinese women’s side thrashed sorry Tajikistan 16-0 at the Asian Games. Forward Wang Shanshan plundered nine goals — a remarkable hat-trick of hat-tricks — as China ran riot on Monday in the Indonesian host city of Palembang. China’s women, who consistently outshine their male counterparts on the international stage, have easily won two games out of two at the Games and face mighty North Korea on Wednesday to decide who takes top spot in the group. China previously hammered Hong Kong 7-0 and the women’s latest goal fest sparked debate back home on social media. China’s men’s team are something of a national embarrassment, qualifying for the World Cup only once, in 2002, when they failed to win a point or even score a goal. “Are they playing volleyball? Continue reading "Can we play you every week? China 16 Tajikistan 0"

Bolt takes first tentative steps on Man Utd dream

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Gosford (Australia) (AFP) – Usain Bolt has taken the first tentative steps towards his Manchester United dream after the sprint king joined Australian side Central Coast Mariners for his first training session Tuesday. Wearing gloves and tracksuit bottoms despite a mild winter’s day, the Jamaican did some light stretching, jogging and ball work with the rest of the squad in his maiden drill since being given the chance to win a playing contract by the A-League team. He showed glimpses of good control, but also some heavy touches, favouring his left foot. “It’s just like track and field — the first day of training is always the roughest one. You can tell how much work you need to put in. But it felt OK, you know,” said Bolt after the 45-minute workout. The superstar athlete, who also celebrated his 32nd birthday Tuesday, has been given an opportunity by the Mariners Continue reading "Bolt takes first tentative steps on Man Utd dream"

No complacency due to competition for places at City, insists Kompany

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes the champions are well placed to avoid past mistakes and become the first team in a decade to retain the Premier League title. The Belgian, who is the only current City player to have been with the club through the decade that they have been under Abu Dhabi’s free-spending ownership, has won the league three times at City. But on the previous two occasions, City have failed to mount a serious title challenge in the following year, leaving Manchester United, in 2009, as the last champions to defend their title successfully. Now, however, Kompany insists that under Pep Guardiola’s management, City will not make the same errors as in years gone by. “I can only say it’s different from previous years we have won the league,” he said. “There’s been so many warnings we have had and every single Continue reading "No complacency due to competition for places at City, insists Kompany"

Witsel rescues Dortmund from embarrassing Cup exit on debut

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Berlin (AFP) – Belgian international Axel Witsel struck deep into injury time on his Borussia Dortmund debut to save his new club from an embarrassing German Cup exit at Greuther Furth on Monday, before Marco Reus sealed a 2-1 win in extra time. The 29-year-old Witsel, who joined the Bundesliga giants from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian earlier this month, came off the bench in the 74th minute of the first-round tie. He saw Sebastian Ernst give second-tier Greuther Furth a shock lead just three minutes later, but volleyed home an equaliser in the fifth minute of added time before Reus grabbed a 121st-minute winner. It was also Swiss coach Lucien Favre’s first game in charge of Dortmund, and it was his second-half introductions of Witsel and English teenager Jadon Sancho which helped his new team avoid falling at the first hurdle of the Cup for the first time since 2005. Continue reading "Witsel rescues Dortmund from embarrassing Cup exit on debut"

Man City lose Bravo to Achilles injury

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London (AFP) – Manchester City could be without reserve goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for the rest of the season after the Chilean ruptured an Achilles tendon, the Premier League champions confirmed on Monday. “Bravo has sustained an Achilles tendon injury in today’s training session,” City said in a statement. “He will fly out to Barcelona for further tests on Thursday where the extent of the injury will be examined.” Bravo won two La Liga titles with Barcelona before moving to City in 2016, but an error-strewn first season provoked City to sign Brazilian Ederson from Benfica last year to take over as first-choice ‘keeper. “No matter what happens, or how bad it looks today, life will go on, and tomorrow will certainly be better,” Bravo tweeted. However, Bravo played all six ties as City won the League Cup last season and his absence leaves City short on back-up for Ederson. Daniel Grimshaw, Continue reading "Man City lose Bravo to Achilles injury"

Rodrigo strikes as Atletico held by Valencia in La Liga opener

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid failed to get their La Liga title bid off to a winning start, as Rodrigo earned Valencia a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla Stadium on Monday. Angel Correa gave Diego Simeone’s visitors a 26th-minute lead, but Rodrigo struck in the second half for the home team and last season’s runners-up Atletico failed to find a winner. There are high hopes at the Wanda Metropolitano that Atletico can muster a serious title challenge, after keeping their key players in the close season and claiming an impressive extra-time win over city rivals Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup last week. But they were given a tough test to start the campaign at a strong Valencia outfit who will be playing in the Champions League this season for the first time since 2015 after finishing fourth. Simeone gave a La Liga debut to Thomas Lemar, who joined Continue reading "Rodrigo strikes as Atletico held by Valencia in La Liga opener"