31 January 2016

Impressive statistics from the best two rivals in Spain

Lionel Messi scored a goal on Saturday's 2:1 home win against Atletico Madrid. That is nothing new. On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo still have to play on Sunday against Espanyol. Probably the best two players at the moment in Spain's La Liga have scored exactly 1.000 goals, both for club and country.
Messi's strike this weekend gives him 433 goals for Barcelona, but in total the Argentina international have 482 goals. His hot rival Ronaldo has 518 career goals, from which most of them were scored for Real Madrid - 340. For that achievement Real Madrid star needed 773 games against 612 from the Argentine. In this way they scored 74 hat-tricks (38 for Ronaldo with 36 for Messi). On average Argentina international netted 0.79 goal in every game up against 0.67 from the Portuguese. Both of them collected 42 trophies (26 for Messi and 16 has Ronaldo). However, given the fact of how dominant these two are in the field speaks the following: from last 10 Ballon d'Or awards, 'only' 8 trophies are collected by these duo - 5 for Messi up against Ronaldo's 3.
Really impressive numbers by those two!!! In any case, whether we like them or not, we have to enjoy it while we can because the real question is when it will be 'normal' again that any football player reaches 50 goals per season.

Missing money from Guatemala

From an internal audit close to its association, from Guatemala FA (FEDEFUT) may have gone missing money funds given by FIFA. In 2015 from FIFA, FEDEFUT received 8.24 million quetzals (more than 960.000 euros) in nine deposits from February to October.
FEDEFUT's top budget official, Oswaldo Rolando confirmed that the financial division was informed of the extra deposits. The former head of that division Ciro Muralles said that it would not comment on the missing funds until he reviews all the documents.
Guatemalan police arrested ex-FEDEFUT president Brayan Jimenez in connection with corruption earlier this month. Jimenez has been accused of taking bribes along with former secretary general Hector Trujillo who was arrested last month.

30 January 2016

Lifted bans for the Madrid clubs

FIFA has temporarily lifted the transfer bans imposed last week on La Liga clubs sides Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid while world's football governing body investigates the club appeals regarding the signing of youth players. The FIFA appeals committee informed the clubs of the news on Friday.
Now both clubs can sign players while FIFA makes a determination on the appeal. Madrid clubs had not been banned signing players during this current transfer window, but the original sanction applied for the 2016 summer and 2017 winter transfer window. Should FIFA not make a decision on the appeal by the beginning of this summer, both clubs should be eligible to sign new players during the 2016 summer window. However, if FIFA ultimately find that both clubs did in fact violate the regulations against signing young internationals, both clubs could be dealt transfer bans for the duration of two transfer windows.

ECA is going to destroy Champions League

When the European Cup began in 1955, Europe had a fair and honest competition. But when Champions League was introduced the footballing competing spirit is on decline and is continuing to fall rapidly...Now its only going to get worse.
The European Club Association (ECA) are discussing proposals which could see significant changes being made to the Champions League. Some ECA members, which represents the interest of some of the biggest clubs in Europe, are concerned that too many big clubs are missing out on places in the Champions League. Missing out from the Europe's main competition is estimated to cost clubs in millions per season, and one solution which has been discussed is to have guaranteed places for some of the competitions past winners.
As far as changes to the Champions League are concerned, nothing will happen until 2018/19 season when a new three year TV deal cycle will start. Any proposals will have to be firmed up before TV companies will need to know exactly what they are buying. At the moment clubs from TV revenue are sharing about 1.257 billion euros each year. Some of the biggest clubs in Europe want to make sure that they never miss out on their share of that money.

Blatter wants to attend the elections

It is more likely that suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter will attend the election process to be held 26 February in Zurich. He expected to be there even though his appeal against an 8 year ban is unlikely to be resolved by then. Blatter is scheduled to return to FIFA headquarters 16 February for an appeal committee hearing, and an immediate ruling is expected. If the appeal panel confirms Blatter's ban, it could take weeks to write the detail verdict said Blatter's spokesman Thomas Renggli. Case documents are needed in hand before appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport can be filed and registered.
The FIFA ethics committee banned Blatter last month for a range of charges, including disloyal payment to Michel Platini in 2011.
The FIFA appeals committee - chaired by Larry Mussenden, former attorney general of Bermuda - rarely overturns sanctions imposed by the governing body's ethics and disciplinary bodies.

Copa America Centenario contract revealed

After securing English language Copa America Centenario to broadcast on its channels, now the sum is known how much Fox Sports has paid for this tournament. According to the people with knowledge of the contract this media house paid 15 million dollars. This contract is about one quarter of what Univision is paying for the Spanish language broadcast rights.
However, the completion had been in doubt after a bribe scheme. The US justice department has alleged that a media buying company, Datisa, paid more than 100 million dollars in bribes to broker the rights to four tournaments starting with last year's Copa America in Chile. Datisa has sold about 140 million dollars worth of TV contacts for the Centenario just before US justice department went public with its investigation. The tournament's organizers had to claw back those rights to ensure the event could go forward. A new agreement was reached in January with WME/IMG and SUM companies to sell the remaining rights. TV agreements are now in placed in most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere. The new rights holders are now targeting deals in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which could command as much as 50 million dollars in additional revenue.
The oldest international football tournament, Copa America, typically features 12 teams but has been enlarged to include North American nations (host USA and Mexico), two of the biggest broadcast markets in the region.

29 January 2016

Real Madrid with Adidas for a new record

Real Madrid are poised to sign the most lucrative kit sponsorship contract in club football after agreeing a deal with Adidas. According to Spanish daily newspaper 'Marca', Real could rake in as much as 140 million euros per year if all clauses are met in their new contract, which is understood to be a 10 year agreement. The front page of 'Marca' on Friday showed a Real shirt with a headline 'La camiseta mas cara del mundo' (The most expensive shirt in the world). The deal is yet to be confirmed by Real Madrid or Adidas.
On the other hand, Adidas have dismissed reports they have struck a world record shirt deal with Real Madrid as 'pure speculation'.

FFF decides to support Infantino for president

Instead of backing their own countryman Jerome Champagne, French FA (FFF) decided to support Gianni Infantino for FIFA president. The 45 year old is banking on votes from a big majority of the 53 UEFA members, with France joining Germany in endorsing Platini's right hand man of more than six years. FFF president Noel le Graet said 11 out of the 12 members of its executive committee agreed to support Infantino. In a statement le Graet said that 'Gianni has all the qualities required to succeed including experience, talent, strength at work and beliefs'. The Swiss, who joined the race in October, has received public pledges of support this week from all 10 members from the CONMEBOL region and seven member regional grouping in Central America (UNCAF).
Reportedly le Graet and Champagne involved in a spat this week during a meeting in a restaurant after the FFF president told the candidate he would support Infantino. Champagne said le Graet insulted him after he made clear he would contest the president's choice. According to French daily newspaper 'Le Parisien', le Graet then use an expletive before leaving the table and paying the bill.
Even his main rival, current AFC president sheikh Salman acknowledges the threat. One of those two contenders will be the new FIFA president from 26 February.

28 January 2016

More support for Infantino

Less than a month to go, FIFA's presidential race is going to be exciting and tense. After yesterdays's final approval from the organization five candidates have a mission now to gather more votes as possible. One of them is UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino. CONMEBOL is going to give the Swiss full support for his presidency. South American football organization, which has 10 members, two days ago elected new president Alejandro Dominguez of Paraguay who expressed their unanimous approval in voting for the 45 year old Swiss. However his predecessor Juan Angel Napout who was arrested last month in Switzerland, back in February supported Michel Platini who was a clear favorite for the FIFA presidency. As he was banned from football for 8 years, Infantino who entered the race suddenly became a front-runner as a possible good replacement for Platini. Europe's UEFA were quick and gave first support for Infantino, 7 members from Central America's UNCAF backed him on Monday and now South America's CONMEBOL associations put him in a very strong position for the chair.
Will this be enough for the Swiss winning the race we have to wait until 26 February where in Zurich we will learn the next FIFA president.

2022 World Cup remark court case

Next week German court will hear a case in which Qatar is suing former German FA (DFB) and ex-FIFA executive Theo Zwanziger for referring to the 2022 hosts as 'cancerous growth on world football'. On Tuesday the Dusseldorf regional court said in a statement that the hearing will start on 02 February with disputed amount of 100.000 euros, with the verdict not expected the same day. The DFB president until 2012 and FIFA executive member until 2015, has been a long-standing critic of Qatar hosting the World Cup and called for it to be stripped from the tournament in the past. In Hessischer Rundfunk's radio interview last June when asked in connection with corruption allegations against FIFA, whether the World Cup vote should be reviewed, he stated that 'I always clearly said that Qatar is the cancerous growth on world football'. Because of those words, Qatar FA stated that Zwanziger's statement showed collective disrespect and was slanderous. On the other hand he defends his saying that the remark was not referring to Qatar as a nation but rather to FIFA who award the process and vote result.
Meanwhile Zwanziger is one of three former DFB officials probed by German authorities on suspicion on tax evasion with a payment to FIFA around Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup.

English language media rights awarded for Copa America Special

We know that Univision Deportes channel is holding the Spanish language rights holder to the event. But earlier today, the English language rights belonged to Fox Sports. After months of negotiations this channel secured to televise the oldest international football tournament in the world. For the first time played outside South American continent 32 games across 10 venues in USA, Fox Sports will broadcast this event on its two sports channels: FS1 and FS2. In addition this media house expects to offer pregame, postgame and complimentary programming over the month long tournament. All games should be available on its authenticated streaming services Fox Sports Go, Fox Sports 2Go and on desktops. Fox network was close to cutting the deal for the event last year as the FIFA scandal broke, causing Fox to walk away from the negotiating table. The thrilling and exciting 2016 Copa America Centenario competition, with plenty of football stars will be played from 03-26 June.
The 2015 Copa America rights belonged to beIN Sports.

27 January 2016

'Suspend Serie A'

Just day after the tax evasion scam was revealed, Italian businessman and Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini wants Serie A to be suspended. He is also one of a number of directors, officials, players and agents to be named as suspects in a large tax irregularities. In total, 35 teams from both leagues, 58 people and more than 100 other individuals are questioned over the biggest tax evasion scam in Italy revealed in 'fuorigioco' (offside) TV show. Responded in rage (we assume probably why he is on the list as well), Zamparini calling the inquiry a 'disgrace' by saying that he will ask the other 19 Serie A presidents to suspend the season. Among other things he added that 'this is not justice, but cinema - an investigation that is based on nothing' to Italian daily newspaper 'La Repubblica'.
Is it really 'nothing' or 'something' in Italian football only time will tell.

Presidential candidate against expansion in World Cup

Frenchman Jerome Champagne criticizes the plan of expanding the World Cup to 40 teams. Last month FIFA's executive committee discussed whether they should follow Europe's lead by adding 8 more places to the World Cup, but a final decision on the proposal was deferred. However, his rival in the presidential race Gianni Infantino gave his full support on the idea in November. Allowing 8 more additional places came after the Swiss's plan to grew EURO 2016 from 16 to 24 teams. The former French diplomat who spent a decade working at FIFA before being fired in January 2010, is not impressed at all by Infantino's pledge to alter the World Cup format. If this idea will go through, we will have 40 teams from the 2026 tournament.
The 57 year old Frenchman has the opportunity to stop this idea only if he wins FIFA's presidential elections which is scheduled on 26 February in Zurich.

CONCACAF considers reform

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) is proposing a big change within its organization. CONCACAF will consider a reform package when it holds an extraordinary congress 25 February in Zurich. On Monday the plan include:
- Replacing its executive committee with a council of up to 15 members, including 3 who are required to be independent.
- Creation of audit and compliance committee that includes only independent members.
- A requirement that governance and finance committees be chaired by independent members.
- Twelve year term limits for council members and members of independent committees.
- A requirement that candidates for CONCACAF president, council and committees and senior officials be subject to eligibility checks by an independent ethics committee.
- The CONCACAF congress has authority to review and approval annually compensation for council members, CONCACAF representatives to FIFA, CONCACAF general secretary, chief financial officer, chief legal officer, chief compliance officer and others.
- CONCACAF has the right to audit any CONCACAF members receiving CONCACAF funds for a specific purpose.
CONCACAF voted last month to go without a president until May, after past 3 leaders were indicted in the FIFA bribery case. Acting president Alfredo Hawit of Honduras was arrested in Zurich last year, while previous presidents Jeffrey Webb of Cayman Islands and Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago were charged in a first indictment in May.

FIFA's EU debate cancelled

A planned debate in the European Parliament this week, was cancelled on Monday after Prince Ali and South Africa's businessman Tokyo Sexwale pulled out. The Prince was the first to cancel his participation which was scheduled on Wednesday. Ali has said to the EU lawmaker and one of the organizers of the hearing Marc Tarabella, that it could breach FIFA campaign rules. Sexwale later followed the suit. From the start Infantino and sheikh Salman had not been expected to participate in the debate, leaving just Frenchman Champagne willing to appear before EU lawmakers in Brussels. Earlier Prince Ali made formal complaint to FIFA's election committee on the basis of political interference in a letter to Tarabella, which later the EU lawmaker rejected the argument.
The football governing body has been shaken by corruption allegations and criminal investigations. This meeting was a perfect opportunity to know what kind of plans have all five candidates for FIFA, before the election date - 26 February.

CONMEBOL has new president

Alejandro Dominguez of Paraguay is the new president of the South American football governing body. He was the only candidate for the post and receive 10 out of 10 votes from the CONMEBOL member federations. Wilmar Valdez from Uruguay withdrew his candidacy before the voting began. Dominguez steps into the position after the last 3 presidents were arrested on corruption scandals surrounding FIFA.
The last president Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay has been extradited to the USA. Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay faces charges in his own country while Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay is under house arrest.

Tax evasion scam in Italy

Dozens of Serie A and B officials and players including Adriano Galliani, Hernan Crespo, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Claudio Lotito, Aurelio de Laurentiis, Diego Milito, German Denis have been targeted by an Italian police investigation into alleged tax evasion and false accounting. Naples prosecutors are to investigate allegations of up to 35 Italian teams from 58 people with more than 100 other individuals, including players and their agents, falsified player transactions to avoid as much as 12 million euros in taxes, Naples prosecutor Vincenzo Piscitelli said in a statement. Police allege players' agents created false invoices for their services to clubs, which in turn took advantage of the chance to pay lower dues on the sums involved. Italian financial police executed warrants on Tuesday against about 60 suspects including team managers, players and agents seizing cash, real estate and financial holdings to the amount of tax allegedly evaded.
In a statement posted on the team's website, the lawyers dismissed the allegations as unfounded and said they expected the case to be dismissed.

Five candidates confirmed for FIFA elections

The International Football Federation has announced today the names of five candidates for the presidency of the organization. In a statement release Tuesday it was confirmed the candidacy of Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, Gianni Infantino, Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne. The five candidates are bidding to replace Sepp Blatter who from 21 December is banned for 8 years. Michel Platini was the early favorite to succeed the Swiss, but he was also suspended by the ethical committee due to disloyal payment. Both men deny the charges. President of the Asian Football Confederation sheikh Salman and UEFA'S general secretsry Gianni Infantino are viewed as the frontrunners winning the race.
The new FIFA president will be known 26 February in Zurich.

25 January 2016

Presidential candidate asked to 'explain' himself

With the election almost a month ahead of us one of its candidates could be already in serious trouble. Urged by his own national governing body, South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale is asked explaining his lucklustre election campaign as he bids to take over corruption-plagued FIFA.
The only African candidate bidding for the job has made little impact ahead of the vote on 26 February triggering concern from the South African FA (SAFA). SAFA has asked Sexwale to explain why his campaign has had little media exposure. Some national executive committee members, which is the highest decision making body in the association, were not happy how the former politician has gone about his business and feel he should withdraw from the race to save face. They feel he has no chance of winning. SAFA, which endorsed Sexwale's bid, said at the weekend that it wanted to speak to him ahead of a key CAF (Confederation of African Football) meeting in Kigali on 05 February, although he is out of the country. Sexwale will be asked to shed more light on his campaign, including what he has done to date and what his future plans are. SAFA chief executive Dennis Mumble said the leadership wanted to engage Sexwale for an update.
The 62 year old became millionaire business tycoon in the years after apartheid fell, and was on the team that won South Africa the right to host the 2010 World Cup. He also serves on FIFA's anti-racism and anti-discrimination committee.

Romanian champions refuse to release players

Some of the best players would not attend Romanian winter training camp and unofficial friendly games in a blow to the country's preparation for this year's European Championship. Steaua Bucharest are refusing to release six players that national coach Anghel Iordanescu want them to be in his team for the camp which starts on Monday in Turkey. As the following friendly games are not on FIFA's calendar from 6 players that Iordanescu want, Steaua are not willing to let more than 3. Goalekeeper Florin Nita, defenders Paul Papp and Alin Tosca, midfielders Alex Chipciu, Adrian Popa and Mihai Pintilii should all be in Turkey today, after national coach has said that this is not negotiable. 'Either all or none' and 'we have to respect the national team who will compete the EURO' are some of his statements.
On the other hand Steaua's decision trigger furious reaction from other clubs. One of them is the president of Pandurii Targu-Jiu, Narcis Raducan who is threatening to recall his players back from Turkey, if all 6 Steaua players do not turn up in the camp.

European power clubs may revamp Champions League

There is a big chance that European clubs will be looking to overhaul its richest competition. Champions League could look very different by 2018 if some of the continent's biggest teams convince UEFA to offer them guaranteed spots. UEFA would certainly try to block an attempted breakaway clubs, forming their own continent-wide competition, the often threatened Super League.
Currently the Champions League provides entry for the defending champions, the winner of the Europa League and on merit through domestic league positions. European Club Association (ECA) is weighing up the merits of advocating turning the Champions League into a more closed competition. Talks between those two associations are taking place now to ensure there is a united position to propose to UEFA later this year before it starts selling Champions League TV rights for the three seasons from 2018/19. Knowledge person from the ECA said the current qualification system sees too many clubs with vast fan bases prestige and large stadium not qualifying through their leagues. Another option discussed is a Champions League that reserves places for a band of powerhouse clubs who are attractive to broadcasters, alongside an open qualification system for a changing roster of teams. ECA sees this last option to UEFA attractive when it goes to market with TV rights for 2018-2021 season trying to maximize the value of deals.
From Champions League's TV revenue clubs are currently sharing 1.257 billion euros each year.

23 January 2016

Germany reportedly bribed FIFA to get 2006 World Cup

'Sueddeutche Zeitung' reported that FBI was probing 2006 World Cup after allegations that it was bribed by German officials. The Munich-based daily newspaper says that FBI has opened corruption investigation and is concerned about suspect payment made by the German FA (DFB) to FIFA just before the tournament was awarded. DFB said the money was a loan of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros), from then-Adidas manager Robert Louis-Dreyfus, to FIFA in 2002 to gain approval for the World Cup organizing committee. But it was unclear who exactly receive the money. The payment is also the target for tax evasion by German and Swiss authorities. Both, the chairman of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee Franz Beckenbauer, and former DFB president who resigned over the scandal Wolfgang Niersbach, have denied any wrongdoing and are cooperating with German and Swiss authorities.
In October another German magazine 'Der Spiegel' also reported that money was used to secure votes of Asian representatives from the organizing committee. The magazine mentioned figure of 10.3 million Swiss francs.

Espanyol's new owner

You probably did not hear of Chen Yansheng but from Thursday he became owner of RCD Espanyol. Chen was presented as the Spanish club owner after finalizing his purchase of a controlling 54% stake. This businessman is also the owner of Rastar Group. The model car company, based in China's southern Guangdong province, announced late last year it would pay case for the stake and that it planned to increase the investment by up to 45 million euros. This overshadowed club by glamorous city neighbors of Barcelona, have typically finished in mid table over the past decade. This can easily change with Chen as he wants to redeem Espanyol by playing in Europe next season and also are aiming Champions League within three years. Their best finish in recent times was fifth in 2004/05, and they qualified for Europe again the following season by winning Copa del Rey. Twice reached the final of the UEFA Cup loosing on both occasions in penalty shootout. Espanyol, however, has never participated in the Champions League. According to Chen 'its good that the city of Barcelona have two strong clubs and he hopes to have the club debt-free'. The Chinese businessman also confirmed that he will attend Saturday's home game against Villarreal in Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
On the other hand, Chen is not the only Asian shareholder representative in Spain. Earlier this year, China's Wanda Group bought a 20% stake in 2014 La Liga champions Atletico Madrid while Singaporean businessman Peter Lim is also the major shareholder in Valencia.

22 January 2016

CONCACAF awards 2015

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) in Miami today gave awards in 11 different categories for 2015. Main trophies were won by Mexican forward and Bayer Leverkusen player Javier Hernandez and US midfielder Carli Lloyd in the female category.
Hernandez scored the first goal in the 3:2 win over United States, which gave 'the Tricolor' (Mexico) a berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. On the other hand Lloyd also was the best female player in FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony earlier this month as well as 2015 US female football player of the year with a score of impressive 18 goals. She also won the 2015 Women's World Cup title with the US team.
The other 9 prize winners categories for 2015 from CONCACAF region are:
Male goalkeeper: Tim Howard (USA).
Male coach: Hernan Dario Gomez (Colombia).
Male referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).
Male best XI: Tim Howard (USA) - Roman Torres (Panama), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica), Hector Moreno (Mexico), Miguel Layun (Mexico) - Andres Guardado (Mexico), Michael Bradley (USA), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica), Jesus Corona (Mexico) - Javier Hernandez (Mexico), Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica).
Female goalkeeper: Hope Solo (USA).
Female coach: Jill Ellis (USA).
Female referee: Kimberly Moreira (Costa Rica).
Goal of the year: Carli Lloyd (USA).
Female best XI: Hope Solo (USA) - Kenti Robles (Mexico), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), Lixy Rodriguez (Costa Rica), Diana Saenz (Costa Rica) - Carli Lloyd (USA), Shirley Cruz (Costa Rica), Katherine Alvarado (Costa Rica), Veronica Perez (Mexico) - Alex Morgan (USA), Raquel Rodriguez (Costa Rica).

UEFA has no intention to replace Platini...yet

UEFA will not replace its current president Michel Platini despite the Frenchman is banned from any football activities for 8 years. European football governing body's executive committee in a statement has said that 'there will be no UEFA presidential election scheduled, until the sports justice appeal bodies, including potentially the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have taken a decision regarding Michel Platini's suspension'. They also hope that the name will be 'cleared and that he can return to European football family as soon as possible'. It was also decided that the UEFA congress, which could elect a new president, will be held in May in Budapest.
The 60-year old president was suspended by FIFA's executive committee in December together with Sepp Blatter. That same executive committee want these two to be life banned from football following corruption scandals withing the organization. Both are denying any wrong doing in the process. Platini earlier has said that he would appeal his punishment at the Lausanne based CAS.

Espanyol fans expected to be punished

Spanish anti-violence committee has asked Spanish FA (RFEF) to take action against Espanyol fans over abusive chants towards Gerard Pique's wife Shakira during the recent Copa del Ray game against Barcelona. City's major Ada Colau has spoken of her disgust at the horrible chants, while Spain's secretary of state for sport Miguel Cardenal also condemned the behavior as unacceptable. Because of the unfurled banner 'Shakira es de todos' (Shakira is everyone's) Espanyol fans are expected to be punished.
However in the official referee report there is no mentioning of either the chants or banners insulting Colombian pop beauty star inside Cornella El-Prat stadium. As there is nothing in the report, there will be no action taken by the football authorities. But, that may change now as the anti-violence committee at the Spanish sports ministry who asked RFEF what has happened, as the organization is responsible for organizing sporting competitions which can take a decision. Instead of that, RFEF now considers to punish Pique over social media use that can bring the game into disrepute.

European major tournaments gets goal-line technology

On Monday it was announced by 'Sky Sports', today has just been confirmed: there will be goal-line technology for major European competitions. UEFA executive committee has announced today that this technology will be placed on EURO 2016 final tournament in France and from next season (2016/17) in the Champions League from the play-off onwards. It was also decided that its second club competition, Europa League, will also get this technology in place but from next footballing season (2017/18) starting from the group stage. However, two additional assistant referees beside each goal will stay in place in order to control the situation in and around the penalty area.
Michel Platini was against the introduction of this expensive technology by saying that it will harm the integrity of the game. But on Gianni Infantino's proposal, UEFA has decided to accept it today. The European football governing body also decided today to back the Swiss for FIFA presidency.

Transfer spending record

FIFA said on Thursday that transfer spending around the world hit a record of 3.83 billion euros in 2015. Global market sector FIFA, which has followed the work of over 6.500 clubs around the world, said that this amount was almost twice higher than in the period of 5 years. With TV and sponsorship money rocketing, there were an all time high 13.558 transfers in 2015, up 3.1% on the previous year, and more than 44% from 2011. English Premier League clubs are still the biggest spenders with 1.1 billion euros but China's Super League is showing the biggest growth (increase in transfers), the report said.

High revenues clubs

No surprisingly, Real Madrid are the biggest moneymaker for eleventh consecutive time according to the auditing company Delloite. Despite winning no trophies last season, famous Madrid's club revenue are 577 million euros for the 2014/15 season from the Football Money League. European and Spanish champions Barcelona, who jumped two places from last year, regained second place with 560.8 million euros. Among 5 English teams in the top 10, Manchester United is third with 519.5 million euros. French champion Paris St. Germain climber to fourth by generating 480.8 million euros, followed by Bayern Munchen on 474 million. German champions dropped to their lowest position in 8 years.
The revenue of the world's top 20 clubs, which are all in Europe, grew 8% year-to-year to 6.6 billion euros.

Former Zenit St. Petersburg player convicted

Vladimir Dolgopolov has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of beating his wife to death. Federal investigative committee said that Dolgopolov was found guilty of having caused grave breaches to his wife, from which later she died. The committee noted that the former football player attacked his wife during a family brawl in an apartment in St. Petersburg. He will serve his sentence in a maximum security prison.
The Russian footballer has been played for Zenit St. Petersburg in the 80s and 90s, and with that club won Soviet league title. He also played for Dynamo Moscow.

21 January 2016

Barcelona's defender avoids prison

Barcelona's Javier Mascherano has been handed a one year prison sentence for not properly paying taxes in Spain but is not expected to serve any time in jail. He has reached an agreement with Spanish authorities as he failed to declare earnings in 2011 and 2012 which amounted to 1.5 million euros. The Argentine international was fined 800.000 euros on Thursday and has been prevented from receiving any tax benefits for a year. However, the prison sentence is expected to be replaced by another fine or dismissed entirely. Masherano was accused by Spain's tax office of concealing part of what he earned in image rights. Barcelona's defender also suggested that he could pursue legal action himself against the company which he claims gave him poor advice which led to the case being opened.
Tax paying problem also have Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. which means that on their case we should expect similar penalties.

If you are banned the salary will continue

Suspended for 8-years from football activities, Michel Platini will still be payed 'under further notice' by UEFA. The conformation comes out after it was revealed that FIFA's outgoing president Sepp Blatter will receive his salary until his successor is named on 26 February. Blatter's salary remains a secret and UEFA declined to comment on how much Platini is receiving.The above two, of course, deny any wrong doing. The mentioned 'popular' duo are now facing a probable lifetime bans from FIFA's ethical committee.
On the other hand, former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb who was arrested in May in Switzerland is not receiving any payments. A CONCACAF spokesman said Webb's employment has been 'terminated' shortly after his arrest and that he is not getting any salary or other form of payment. He is now under house arrest at his home in Loganville, Georgia.
FIFA is facing the worst corruption crisis in its history as a total of 41 individuals and entities, including many former FIFA officials, have been charged with corruption related offences in the United States.
By reading this, everyone would want to work in these powerful football organizations...specially in UEFA!!!

Tax fraud trial set for Messi

Lionel Messi and his father's trial for tax fraud will begin on 31 May at a court in Barcelona. Barcelona's star striker together with Jorge Horacio Messi (his father) have been charged with tax fraud for allegedly failing to declare 4.16 million euros in taxes related to his image rights between 2007 and 2009 through front companies in Uruguay and Belize. The pair are accused of ceding the player's image rights to the companies in order to avoid declaring money made from lucrative deals with sponsors in Spain. The attorney's office called for a prison of 22 months and 15 days, along with the fine of the amount defrauded, payment of all legal proceedings and the loss of any possible tax benefits for a year and a half.
Barcelona's forward is already expected to have a shorter preparation ahead of the tournament if his side reaches the Champions League final which is scheduled for 28 May. As Copa America Centenario starts 03 June, the trial date means that the five-time world player of the year may miss tournaments' first few games, although Argentina's first match is on 06 June. Because of this important South American competition, Messi's lawyers are expected at least to try to change the trial dates so that he can be fully prepared.
The Argentinian is not the only Barcelona player to appear in court in the coming months. Brazilian striker and his teammate Neymar Jr. has been asked to testify into his own case irregularities involving his transfer to the Catalan club. Together with his parents, former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and current Josep Maria Bartomeu have to appear before the judge on 01 and 02 February. Last year Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano admitted to a court that he failed to pay nearly 1.5 million euros in taxes owed for 2011 and 2012.

Candidates gets promise vote

Two hundred and nine FIFA members are publicly pledging their votes in the presidential race just five weeks before election day. Some of the members are slowly pleading for which candidate will vote.
After gathering supportive votes from some Caribbean and African countries, Iraq FA will also join Jordanian Prince Ali' candidature. 'Iraqi vote will go to Prince Ali because he always supported the development of football in our country, Jordan and throughout the region' said in a statement Iraq FA president Abdul Khaliq Masood. He met with the Iraqi sports minister and football officials in Amman on Monday after campaigning alongside in Ghana, Rwanda and Antigua. Following Iraq other Asian voting nations would also support Ali despite, AFC president sheikh Salman claiming unanimous support for his campaign from executive committee members.
On the other hand, German and Switzerland FAs will support Gianni Infantino. After a meeting in its presidium German FA interim leader said that 'Gianni Infantino is the candidate of the Europeans and the best candidate'. By reading this statement maybe he forgot that Jerome Champagne is also European candidate. While Swiss FA president Peter Gillieron praises his countryman by saying that he 'has a long experience as general secretary at UEFA' and that his management skills will be beneficial for the re-organization. Earlier Infantino said previously had major support in the Caribbean region, which has 25 votes. The Swiss have to count on most UEFA member votes but he does not have support from the influential Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko. Infantino proposed region-wide co-hosting of future World Cups, which FIFA wants to increase to 40 teams from 32 for the 2026 competition. According to Mutko that is not a good idea...and we have to agree with that!!!
On 26 February in Zurich we will find out who will be the next FIFA president.

20 January 2016

Draw determined for the Copa America Special

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and the Copa America Centenario Local Organizing Committee have announced today the date of the draw. How will the final groups look like for this historic event we are going to find out on Sunday, 21 February. From 19.30 LT / 22 February at 01.30 CET, Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City will host this event which will be broadcast live on the Univision channel in USA.
Since 1916 when the first tournament was played, Copa America celebrate 100 years that makes the oldest competition in the world. For the first time this tournament will be played outside South American continent, which will gather 16 teams, from 2 confederations, playing 32 games in 10 cities across USA. Without doubt 2016 Copa America will be watched by millions and millions of viewers across the globe.
However, the Copa America fever began early with the two single play-off games. After those games we now know all 16 teams that will participate from 03-26 June: all 10 countries from South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) plus 6 teams from CONCACAF region (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica) with Haiti and Panama as the last, play-off winners. Sixteen teams will be split into 4 groups of 4. Top seeds were announced on 17 December 2015 based on the latest achievements. USA as host will be top seed in group A, Brazil in group B, Mexico is the top seed in group C, while in group D Argentina have the main word. Best players in the world and top stars, like Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez, Kaka, David Luiz, Clint Dempsey and many others will give everything to entertain us with breathtaking football.
The champion will not receive a birth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, as Chile has already qualified from the 2015 event.

19 January 2016

Undisciplined striker

Colin Kazim-Richards from Feyenoord is suspended for two weeks after he challenged a journalist to a fight. Richards did not like the article in the Dutch daily newspaper 'Algemeen Dagblad', so at a press conference he threatened Mikos Gouka (the reporter) who wrote it. Because of this incident he was dropped from the squad last weekend against PSV Eindhoven and his suspension from Monday is extended until 01 February. For those two weeks, Kazim-Richards is out of the club, no longer trains and is prohibited to feature in any games until the end of the month. Feyenoord will re-evaluate the situation after his suspension ends. Gouka had written an article questioning Kazim-Richards' attitude, claiming that Feyenoord is tired from the 29-year old following a number of small incidents.
London-born Turkish international started his career at Bury, and also played for Sheffield United, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Bursaspor where he came to Feyenoord last year. From 11 games this season in the Dutch Eredivisie he scored 1 goal.

MSN must be banned by FIFA

Being a known and famous star who is scoring goals almost every weekend encourage some coaches to have a little fun.
'Barcelona's deadly trio must be banned by FIFA' with these words Jorge Sampaoli joked about every goalkeepers nightmare when all 3 players are on the pitch: Messi-Suarez-Neymar Jr. The Argentinian is insisting that this trio is a much better team comparing to its hot rivals from Real Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. Camp Nou teammates have scored impressive 67 goals in all competitions this term against 60 from their counterparts at Santiago Bernabeu. The Chilean coach also praise the MSN trio saying that 'they should not be allowed to play together', by adding 'FIFA must intervene as the friendship between Leo, Suarez and Neymar is the worst thing that has happened to football', Sampaoli joked in an interview given to the Spanish newspaper 'El Pais'.
However we will tell the opposite: we only wish that the MSN trio continuously scoring goals like never before, surprise us with their entertaining football moves and break (possible) new records in the future!!!

Former Bayern Munich president on early release

Ex-Bayen Munich president Uli Hoeness will be released from prison halfway through his 42-month sentence. Former West Germany idol who was sentenced to three and a half years behind bars will be released on 29 February although he will be placed under probation for three years. The 64-year old was sent in prison in March 2014 after being found guilty of seven counts of tax evasion in which he defrauded authorities of a total of 28.5 million euros. Having started his sentence on 02 June 2014, Hoeness will leave custody next month after serving 637 days, not thought to be at risk of reoffending. During the day he was serving sentence working in the young Bayern Munich side, while spending nights in jail in Augsburg. He has been spending weekends at home.
From 2009 he was the president of Bayern Munich up until his resignation shortly after he was found guilty. However, the German side have not ruled out his return to the club.

18 January 2016

Goal-line technology in major European tournaments

UEFA is expected to announce that goal-line technology will be used in EURO 2016 and in the Champions League and Europa League from next season. After last moth agreement at the UEFA judicial committee in Paris, satellite pay TV channel 'Sky Sports" is learning that the European football organization will make final decision at the executive committee meeting on Thursday and Friday. 
Instead of the (expensive) goal-line technology, current (and now ex) UEFA president Michel Platini advocated that two more assistant referees be alongside each goal that should keep the integrity of the game. But it looks like secretary general Gianni Infantino has other ideas who wants a big change that would be formalized in the next four days. Different providers are analysed by the organization but it is likely to favour either systems provided by Hawk-Eye (as we have in tennis competitions) or Goal Control 4D.
Some European top leagues use this technology such as Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A and the Premier League. It was also used by FIFA at the 2014 World Cup in Brasil and in last year's women's World Cup.

17 January 2016

Are English clubs FIFAs next target?

FIFA nowadays is determined to impose suspensions and various bans on everyone. Individuals, officials, national teams and clubs are on their list. After plenty of arrests and bans from South America now that slowly is transferring to Europe. But why are they doing this, after numerous corruption scandals and not before, we will never find out.
Barcelona last year, Real and Atletico last week...England (we expecting the next) following days / months. After the Spanish champions got their transfer window ban on involving minors, the famous two Madrid clubs were next on the list for similar reason. However next station could be English clubs. According to Real Madrid's general director Jose Angel Sanchez has claimed that FIFA is already looking into the Premier League's clubs for the same scenario. After a number of radio interviews given to Spanish media, Sanchez is claiming that next target is England without pointing any names. One fresh case is from 2009 when Chelsea was given ban for signing Gael Kakuta from Lens but that was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Still the Real Madrid director insists that some Premier League clubs are already under investigation.
Little by little every club could be in danger, as he said 'FIFA wants to do this worldwide' and that 'there will be lots of cases in the next couple of years'. Probably they need lots of money as their cash register is empty?

16 January 2016

Are AFC and CAF deals in trouble?

If he is doing this deliberately or not, is this his dirty move only he knows but more than 40 days until the elections Jordanian candidate for FIFA president wants to revise signed documents between AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and the CAF (Confedration of Africa Football).
Prince Ali is concerned that the newly announced 4 year 'memorandum of understanding' deal between these two regions, which among others is said to improve the development of football of the two confederations, is a way of engineering a bloc vote in the forthcoming FIFA elections. Alis' hot rival sheikh Salman is heavily involved in the agreement citing a memorable day on the CAF's official website. As the Bahrain sheikh is at the same time AFC president, Jordanian Prince is concerned that this may be a possible breach of rules in the FIFA presidential election race.
If this is indeed violation of rules or just fear that Ali is loosing the chair of the worlds most powerful football organization we have to wait and see on 26 February.

La Liga defends Madrid teams

Management of the Spanish league defends Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid which FIFA suspend them for violating transfer rules. Both Madrid clubs will appeal their transfer bans.
In the following transfer window it is allowed registering new players, but for the next two both teams are barred. As Barcelona served a similar ban in 2015, Real and Atletico are punished for breaching the rules of signing youngsters. 'Spanish football through their clubs supports the policy of protecting minors and the concern for their development and training' the league said in a statement adding that 'the current regulation does not really protect the child'. The report also include that 'La Liga has always conducted analysis on the adequacy of the rules of protection under FIFA as well as the different standards of European Union, Swiss state and Spain' and also called that 'the penalty imposed was disproportionate and out of place'. Real and Atletico have denied any wrongdoing with how they treat youngsters and will appeal the bans. These bans for both Madrid clubs have to expire after 2016/17 season. Both teams were hit financially as well.
Five hundred Swiss francs had to pay Spanish FA for violating rules related to the registration of minors for the Barcelona case in 2015. Now they could be punished again this time.

15 January 2016

Espanyol fans insulted Shakira

Playing a same town derby game in Spain (and in general) is never going to turn out well. There are lots of sparks, tensions and some inappropriate words from players and fans. On the pitch and on the stands as well. Next two clubs proves this thesis.
After the first leg in Copa del Ray last 16 tie between Barcelona and Espanyol there was many sparkles on the pitch. The main stain in this game was when the Espanyol goalkeeper Pau Lopez intentionally stomped on the Barcelona's left leg Lionel Messi. The Argentine star angrily was going to confront Lopez before being separated by his teammate Luis Suarez. As that was not enough the 'enemy moves' continued in the second leg fixture between these two sides.
Apart from the pitch, the stands were also boiling with various 'hate' banners towards the guests. At the Estadi Cornella-El Prat, home (Espanyol) fans unfurled banners insulting Shakira and also was seeing banner who was praising Lopez's move from the first leg.
That was why Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau slammed Espanyol fans for displaying a derogatory banner towards the 38-year old beauty pop star Shakira on Wednesday night. Colombian star is the partner of Barcelona defender Gerard Pique. The reason...well there are more actually. First one is that the Espanyol Barcelona supporters unfurled a banner reading 'Shakira es de todos' (Shakira is everyone's). That made city's female mayor Colau furious. 'To look at it damages your eyes', Colau told Catalan private radio station RAC1. Another banner was referring to Shakira's ex-boyfriend Antonio de la Rua who dated the singer 11 years. It read 'Antonio de la Rua contigo empezo todo' (Everything began with you Antonio de la Rua) as this message was also aimed at Pique. Third banner in this bad-tempered game was aimed at Ballon d'Or five star winner Lionel Messi regarding to that incident from Camp Nou, which reads 'Pau, your foot shows us the way'. Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu called the match officials to ensure action was taken against Espanyol supporters. Spanish FA could punish the whole team for their fans' behavior after a spate of warnings.
However, that did not stopped angering Pique and company as Barcelona beat them 2:0 away, 6:1 on aggregate.

Re-visiting bidding process for two World Cups

Bahrain sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa is going to re-visit the next two World Cups bidding processes in Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022. If he is elected in next month FIFA presidential race the sheikh would reconsider those two tournaments if 'wrongful contact' has been proven. Switzerland's prosecutor is also investigating FIFA's award to Russia and Qatar, a small, wealthy desert country with no real football tradition. On a on-line survey conducted on the social media, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president did not give an answer if he would vote again for these two countries if the bidding process was hypothetically re-run. However, one of the Bahrain election rivals, Frenchman Jerome Champagne said that he would vote again for Russia and award the 2022 competition to USA. The other 3 remaining candidates, Ali Bin Al-Hussein (Jordanian FA president and Prince), Gianni Infantino (UEFA general secretary) and Tokyo Sexwale (South African businessman), refused to participate in the survey. Ali, Champagne, Infantino and Sexwale are due to present their plans for the FIFA role at a 27 January forum convened by the European Parliament Sports Intergroup in Brussels.
FIFA will elect a new president on 26 February and Salman have the highest chances of winning the race.

FIFA sanctioned Kuwait

FIFA disciplinary committee penalized Kuwait over an unplayed match from the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Group G game from the Asian zone qualifiers between Myanmar and Kuwait scheduled for 17 November 2015 did not take place. Therefore the disciplinary committee decided to forfeit the game and fine Kuwait with 10.000 Swiss francs (9.170 euros).

FIFA fines Latin American FAs

Five Latin American countries have been fined by FIFA on Wednesday for homophobic chants. Fans from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Uruguay insulted and discriminated gay population during qualifying games for the 2018 FIFA World Cup late last year. Chile was severely fined with 70.000 Swiss francs (64.200 euros) for cases in 4 different games. Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay are also penalized and will have to pay 20.000 Swiss francs (18.340 euros). Also FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Honduras FA for the same reason.

14 January 2016

Coninued arrests in Guatemala

Former president of Guatemalan FA, Brayan Jimenez has been arrested in Guatemala City, Guatemala and is now waiting to extradited him to USA in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal. He was a fugitive for a month after Guatemala police issued warrant for his arrest. The United States government also ordered to detain 16 more people from Latin America. After his arrest in his apartment Jimenez is denying any connection with corruption in FIFA. In the USA he could be charged with bribery and money laundering.
Hector Trujillo, ex-secretary general of this federation, was arrested last month on racketeering charges and he was also extradited to USA.

Defaced statue

Cristiano Ronaldo do not feel safe even at home. In his native town of Funchal, Madeira in Portugal Messi fans have vandalized Real Madrid's striker statue. Smeared with red paint on his back was written Messi with his shirt number (10). Portuguese and Spanish media reported that this act happened early Tuesday just after the Argentinian won Ballon d'Or prize for the record fifth time, stripping Ronaldo of his hat-trick. There were also reports that the statue was cleaned by the end of the day and that officials are searching for the vandals.
Katia Aveiro, Ronaldo's sister, is outraged by this act of vandalism adding that 'frustrated savages deserved to live in Syria'. The unknown vandals had better hope that the police find them first before the Aveiro crew does. If Katia is willing to exile them in this war-torn country in public who knows what kind of punishments she would do (in private). Also when these two players will meet, we do not even want to think what will happen on the pitch when El Classico will be played 03 April in Barcelona.
Statue was unveiled in 2014 with the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo himself and his relatives.

Ex-Colombia goalkeeper hospitalized

Legendary Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon is in hospital after trying to commit suicide. Valle del Lili clinic in his hometown of Cali reported that Mondragon has been admitted after suffering a 'metabolic imbalance'. His condition is stable but will still be in hospital under medical observation, without telling when he will be released.
This shocking news came hours after the goalkeeper posted a concerning message on Instagram, which has since been deleted. He wrote 'there is only me who can judge my life and I am tired of being judged by others without the possibility of defending myself' just before the accident. Colombian media suggested that he had taken large dose of antidepressants.
With 43 years and three days Faryd Monragon is the oldest player ever to play in the World Cup 2014 where Colombia beat Japan 4:1. The 44-year old goalkeeper played for his native club Deportivo Cali, Real Zaragoza, Metz, but the biggest mark left in Galatasaray. He is now retired from football and started working as an analyst in Colombia last year.

FIFA transfer ban for two Madrid clubs

After Barcelona's suspension in April 2014, FIFA has banned another 2 Spanish clubs for the same reason. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid violated and have breached Article 19 which covers protection of minors. Because of that the 'corrupt FIFA organization' banned them for registering new players for the next two transfer windows. However, the ban does not apply for the current transfer window which means that Madrid clubs can bring new players until 31 January. This ban has to end until after 2016/17 season. The investigation covered minors which have competed in competitions for Atletico from 2007 to 2014 and Real Madrid between 2005 and 2014. Beside bans both clubs are also hit financially: Atletico has been fined 900.000 Swiss francs (822.600 euros) while Real has to pay 360.000 Swiss francs (329.000 euros). Apart from that FIFA gave 90 days to regularise the situation of all minors in the clubs.
On Thursday Atletico Madrid has said that they will appeal the ban.

Sexwale's proposals

One of the outsiders for the FIFA presidential race, Tokyo Sexwale has quite and interesting proposals if he wins the election.
If Qatar used bribes for its bidding process for 2022, then it will not host the World Cup. This politician also said that he have the strength and nerve to strip the Asian country from competition if the allegations are proven. If he sits on that chair after next month elections Sexwale will appoint, another candidate, Gianni Infantino as general secretary. However he will leave the door open to the suspended Jerome Valcke to return to FIFA. Knowing that the Frenchman is also barred from any football activity for 9 years, the real question remains of how Sexwale can bring him back 'from the dead'. Maybe he has another 'hidden' mechanism that we are not aware off. Another option for the South African is to wait 9 long years to do that.
After the Jordanian prince Ali was a clear favorite to sit in FIFA's chair month ago, now the Bahrain sheikh Salman enjoy that status.

Hawit extradited to US

Alfredo Hawit was extradited to USA by the Swiss authorities. President of Confederation on North Central America and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) and FIFA vice president was arrested 03 December in Zurich on corruption charges. Along with other Latin America officials, Hawit is accused of taking bribes in exchange for awarding marketing contracts. On Wednesday the Honduras chief pleaded not guilty in the New York court on the multi-million dollar bribery scheme. The 64 year old Hawit was among 41 people charged in the probe over corruption in the worlds' football governing body.Twelve people and 2 sports marketing companies have already pleaded guilty.
However Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas and Rafael Esquivel who were arrested in Zurrich in May remain in Swiss custody.

Neymar Jr. witness in his own case

Spanish national court has ordered Neymar Jr. to appear and testify in an investigation into alleged irregularities during his transfer from Santos to Barcelona. Along with Neymar parents plus former and current presidents of Barcelona Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu have all to show up in court on 02 February relating the 2013 move. Last year, upon request of Neymar Jr., national court rejected its request of throwing out a probe into irregularities.
Complaint was made last June by the investment group DIS where all parties were defendants. The company claimed that the transfer costed lot more than previously said with a figure of 57.1 million euros, only that Barcelona later admitted that payed 80 million in total, which much of that sum going to various companies controlled by Neymar Sr. This surplus, of 22.9 million euros, is also suspected of evading taxes. Because of these reasons Sandro Rosell stepped down as president and is charged of deceited the Spanish state for around 13 million euros.

England may renounce British anthem

In a future sport manifestations, among those football as well, England is looking the possibility to abandon British long century anthem 'God save the Queen'. British Member of Parliament (MP) are seriously consider replacing this royal song with 'Jerussalem' who in Commonwealth Games in 2014 its adopted as unofficial anthem for the English teams. Some MPs wants to get away from British song by saying that England have the rights to its own anthem after Scotland with 'Flower of Scotland' and Wales' 'Land of my fathers' have their own.

13 January 2016

Another empty spot in FIFA

From today the World's football most powerful organization has a new general secretary after Jerome Valcke have been fired from the post. Frenchman who did various schemes has been suspended since 08 October for 90 days plus he received a recommended extension for further 45 days. Investigatory chamber also imposed a 9-year ban from any football activity with a fine of 100.000 Swiss francs (around 92.000 euros). Among all those schemes, bribery and corruption scandals the emergency committee today have decide to sack him with immediate effect. FIFA has decided to put Dr. Markus Kattner as new general secretary.
Sepp Blatter's longtime ally, Valcke was accused of taking 10 million dollars bribe from former CONCACAF president Jack Warner in order to vote and back South African bid to host the 2010 World Cup event. The 55-year old Frenchman that time was working as a marketing director and TV sector in FIFA which he later left in 2006 after a quarrel with a longtime sponsor Mastercard. Breaching the organizational ethics code this 'bad boy' was then caught how he negotiated with Mastercard hot rivals Visa, which costed FIFA 90 million dollars. From 2007 Blatter appointed him as general secretary. Jerome Valcke denies any wrong doing for these allegations.
In the worst case scenario is his country men and current UEFA president Michel Platini who together with his long time friend Sepp Blatter are facing lifetime bans from football.

More statistics from CIES

The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) from Neuchatel, Switzerland gave us more football research from 2015. CIES Football Observatory compared 50 national teams worldwide taken into account their age, height, employer clubs and places of birth.
After all calculations it led to the fact that England in 2015 fielded youngest players among other European nations with 25.6 years. If it continue like this, a promising future lies ahead from the English national team.
The analysis on height shows that the average full international is 181.9cm. Serbia have fielded tallest players and with just 10cm was greater that of the country who played with shortest footballers. For example Chile last year had 185.6 compared to 175.6. Looking at this statistic it did not stop them winning the Copa America though.
Clubs employing internationals is concentrated better among the wealthiest leagues. It shows that 68.9% of minutes were played by footballers under contract with foreign clubs. England is the only team that did not field footballers playing abroad.
Research also showed that in 2015, 11.3%  of national A team footballers were born outside of the association represented. Albania and Algeria are the only 2 counties who heavily are relying on players born abroad. Most of them born in France, Algeria have fielded 21 players against 17 foreign-born footballers from the Albania side.

12 January 2016

Life bans from football

Current UEFA president Michel Platini and his FIFA counterpart Sepp Blatter could be in further trouble. 
FIFA's ethic committee want to impose lifetime bans for these two powerful gentleman who will appeal against its own sentences in a bid to increase them. The Frenchman and Swiss last month have earned 8-year ban after FIFA (Blatter) made a disloyal payment to Platini back in 2011 by breaching its own ethic code. After hearing all the appeals from the committee, the cases would go to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) who will then say the final word in this matter. Of course these two high officials deny any wrongdoing who also have appealed against their suspensions.
Platini was one of the favorites succeeding Blatter at next month FIFA elections.

Olympic Games without Messi

Argentinian football manager Gerardo Martino has said that Lionel Messi will miss the Olympic Games which will start in August in Rio de Janeiro. Ballon d'Or winner wants to concentrate on Copa America Centenario which will start in June in the United States. After that tournament comes deserved summer vacation for the star, before going back to Spain for the start of the new 2016/17 season. Messi has already won a Gold Olympic medal with Argentina in Beijing 2008.
Because of tight schedule of games, Martino has added that 'common sense' dictates that Messi and several other important Argentinian players have to appear only in Copa America. Beside qualification for the World Cup, this proves that this competition is considered to be one of the major event for Martino.

Ballon d'Or winners

Tonight from 18.30 CET the Ballon d'Or awards were given in Zurich, Switzerland. Amid big corruption scandals in the organization, for the first time since this ceremony gathers all worlds' football workers nor FIFA president Sepp Blatter nor anyone from his family did not attend this event. Despite already received invitations they decided not to show up at this gala. But that did not spoil the event where there were some expected winners, some surprises as well and some boycotting as well. Top selected coaches and captains of all 209 FIFA members together with selected journalists who are voting for the best categories plus all world's football fans voted for all other categories chose the following names:
Ballon d'Or: Even birds on a trees knows who is the best footballer these days. The little man who mostly says that he is out of this planet. Scored in all 6 club competitions in 2015 where Barcelona won 5 of them. Lionel Messi with Barcelona and Argentina had 61 games, scored 52 goals and with 26 assists was way ahead second placed player with 41.33%. Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo gathered 27.76% of the votes, while in third place with 7.86% was Neymar Jr. This is the fifth trophy for the 28-year old Argentinian. However the Italians were boycotted Ballon d'Or. Its national coach Antonio Conte and captain Gianluigi Buffon did not vote for the best player award. The 'main' reason: because Juventus goalkeeper was not in the 50 candidate player's list. The females award went to United States midfielder Carli Lloyd. Her team won last summer the World Cup in Canada where 33-year old Lloyd was the top goal-scorer.
FIFA/FifPro World XI: Despite not winning a trophy, Real Madrid have 4 players in the world team of the year. In this list there was no space for Luis Suarez. Although with Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. scored more than 100 goals, the Uruguayan did not get into the best team. In a little bit funny list voted by fans throughout the world, in a 4-3-3 formation, looks like this: Manuel Neuer - Thiago Silva, Marcelo Vieira, Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves - Paul Pogba, Andres Iniesta, Luka Modric - Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Cristiano Ronaldo.
Puskas Award: Wendrell Lira has won the best goal trophy in 2015. With a spectacular overhead kick Atletico Goianiense striker took this award, before Lionel Messi in second place and Alessandro Florenzi who was third.
World Coach of the year: Absent from the event, Luis Enrique have won this prize after leading his side to 5 of the 6 trophies offered in 2015. With 31.08% of votes Barcelona under his lead was dominant once again, who took: Spanish La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup. Another Spaniard, with 22.97% is Pep Guardiola. In third place, with 9.47%, is the excellent Argentinian football manager Jorge Sampaoli who with Chile did a splendid work by winning Copa America last year. In women's football the best coach for 2015 is Jill Ellis from USA.

11 January 2016

Fans via Internet are choosing coach

After Astana's success being the first club from Kazakhstan entering the Champions League group phase last fall, football in this country is on a milestone.
On a rare democratic experiment, this central Asian nation have been offered to choose its national coach through the Internet. For that two choices are given on the FA's website: either domestic or international coach. The federation has stated that it is necessary to have 50.000 votes in order to be valid, but as of Monday evening only 5% of that number is participating in the election process with 4 days remaining. There is a clear preference for a foreign coach with 1.732 votes against 836 for a domestic one.

French club unhappy with English rapper

Paris St. Germain has threatened to sue London born rapper M.I.A. if she does not cease to use characteristics of the club in her video song. This French club also wants a compensation and stop broadcasting the video after the rapper uses a modified version of the club's t-shirt. In the video who is showing the temptations of the refugee crisis 'Borders', M.I.A. is wearing a white PSG shirt with the words 'Fly Pirates' instead of the club's sponsor 'Fly Emirates'.
Just what kind of 'harm' have they suffered of just using the logo only the French knows. On the other hand if Emirates (the airline carrier) is angered with her or no, we will never find out.

10 January 2016

Inappropriate agent

This tandem really need to ask themselves what are they doing in football.
After Yaya Toure's last night comment offending African officials of not giving him title of the best African player for fifth consecutive time, tonight his agent has done basically the same. This 'clever football agent' criticized Pep Guardiola credentials and claim that his grandfather could also win the leagues in Spain and Germany. We can only assume that this 'wise-man' is only terrified from the thought that Guardiola will be coaching in England. Ex-Barcelona coach has said many times he likes lots of challenges, to train new teams and meeting new cultures. After his recent statement that this season will be his last in German Bundesliga, he discovered that his next stop will be England. On top of that, the Spanish coach won Primera Division in 3 consecutive seasons with Barcelona plus 2 titles in Germany with his Bayern Munich side. Rumors are telling that he will join Manchester City where Ivorian plays his football, but his agent Dimitri Seluk is not very delighted that this coach is joining Toure's club. He is more worried that Yaya will be out rather than Guardiola bringing (plenty of) trophies to Manchester City.
For some, mind and football are completely different things.

More news from Barcelona's 'alien' player

This weekend (Saturday) he scored a hat-trick against Granada, while next week (Monday) 2 more prizes are smiling for him. Having 'bad day' for this little man is out of the question, but collecting trophies and various awards are a great welcome for this 28-year old star.
FIFA has narrowed the annual Ballon d'Or 2015 Award to only 3 players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi. Last two plays in Barcelona, but the last one is favorite to collect all football has to offer. Besides the main award, the Argentinian is also favorite to take Puskas Award - for the best goal. Lionel Messi with Barcelona last year has won Spanish championship title, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup versus the Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo who has not won anything with his Real Madrid.
As for the World Coach Award the best 3 in this category are: two Spanish against one Argentinian. Famous ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola who is now at the helm of Bayern Munich, his country man and current Barcelona coach Luis Enrique and Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli who has done wonders with the Chilean team by winning Copa America last year. Favorite for this prize is Luis Enrique who unfortunately will not attend this ceremony by saying that he will not travel to Switzerland on Monday. Top selected coaches and captains of 209 FIFA members as well as selected journalists have the rights to vote for the best awards, while other prizes are based on a voting system from football fans via the Internet.
All Ballon d'Or Gala ceremony winners will be known on Monday, 11 January in Zurich.

Further new plans for Salman

Whatever is said here stays in this room and never goes out. If outsiders know what we doing we can not cope with it...so I strongly suggest that it would be a secret.
That is exactly what sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahin Al-Khalifa wants to do with (divided) FIFA. After last Sunday's comment that he will split this organization into two entities, this time the Bahrain sheikh would examine foreign role if he is elected as president. With this he is referring to US law, consulting firms, various investigators...
US prosecutors continuously is calling FIFA a 'victim' of corrupt individuals. If the organization is criminally charged many of its sponsors and other partners are at risk of doing business with it. For many years they are dedicated to FIFA they can not and should not pull out, as plenty of money are coming from them. That is exactly what this Royal Family man is trying to prevent from happening to this organization.
I just can not understand how this can 'protect' the company, but this is definitely his risky plan which voters can easily be drawn away from next month elections.

09 January 2016

Most expensive transfers

The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) from the Swiss town of Neuchatel revealed the annual list of the 5 big European leagues with highest transfer values. Since 2010 CIES Football Observatory research team is taking analysis from over 1.500 fee transfers, based on the player's performance, age, position, contract duration etc.
With its excellent technique which almost every week he is scoring goal/s for his Barcelona team, it is no surprise that at number one spot is the Argentinian Lionel Messi with estimated 251 million euros. If a buyer wants to buy Neymar Jr. he will have to pay 153 million euros. At the Brazilian star who is in second position, CIES is seeing an increase of the amount from 94 million since June 2015. So, 'only' 404 million euros just for these two Barcelona magicians. That is nothing...really!!!. In third place is Eden Hazard from Belgium whose transfer now would cost 130 million euros. However, in June 2015 he was valued at 143 million.

Displeased Toure

Not wanting to accept that someone is better from ourselves encourage us to say various things with not so pleasant words towards others. But if you are a sportsman and say these things to fellow professional football players and officials in media, then you have gone too far.
As a spoiled child Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has reacted angrily after failing to win the African Football's player of the year award for the fifth consecutive time. Constantly winning this title from 2011 until 2014, the Ivorian Coast player said that 'this is a shame for Africa', by adding 'that many Africans do not show the world that Africa is important and that African officials are paying more attention what is happening outside the continent' probably alluding to the fact that the winner of the best African player of 2015 was born in France.
On Friday Confederation of African Football (CAF) has decided to award this prize to Gabonese winger/striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who earn 143 points. With just seven points behind is the 32-year old 'whining-man' Toure, who's break from this prize hit him deeply ; while third place went to Andre Ayew from Ghana who gathered 112.

Complete list from the summer's football festival

After tonight's games from the mini play-off tournament in Panama City, Panama we now know have the complete line-up of all the teams who will participate in the Copa America anniversary tournament. Otherwise known as Copa America Centenario this is the oldest competition in the world with lots of tradition in the 100-year old history. For the first time Copa America will be played outside South American continent, over 10 cities across the United States of America, 32 games played, 16 teams from 2 confederations are going to give us some thrilling, exciting and unforgettable games.
All teams from CONMEBOL region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela plus 6 CONCACAF squads: United States (host), Mexico (automatic qualifiers), Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup champions), Costa Rica (2014 Copa Centroamericana winners), with Haiti and Panama as the last play-off winners, with its magical football will be ready to give us an event which certainly we do not want to miss.
Will Chile, who is reigning Copa America champion from last year, is going to defend the title we will find out from 03-26 June.

Superior host enters the Copa America spectacle

Panama - Cuba 4:0

Scorers: 1:0 03 Gabriel Gomez
              2:0 18-pen Luis Tejada
              3:0 51 Luis Tejada
              4:0 89 Blas Perez

Haiti joins Copa America Centenario

Trinidad and Tobago - Haiti 0:1

Scorer: 0:1 85 Kervens Belfort Fils

08 January 2016

Free tip for Copa America play-off, game 2

Second and last game in the evening we will see who will be the sixteenth and last participant of the Copa America Centenario. In this mini-tournament, before their home fans in Panama City at Estadio Rommel Fernandez from 20.35 LT / 09 January at 02.35 CET, Panama will entertain Cuba. Probably the weakest team from these 4, Cuba will certainly not give up that easily. But as baseball is their most popular sports in the country I cannot see how they will oppose Panama, who from time to time achieve better results. Playing with strongest teams from South America is a real challenge but I am afraid that 'Lions of the Caribbean' (Cuba) will skip this competition. Home fans will see from their team outstanding performance with lots of goals scored.

FIFA Balon d'Or without Blatter's family

Despite receiving invitations for the event, Sepp Blatter's family will not attend the FIFA Balon d'Or. As Blatter was kicked out from the sport and got an 8 year ban from all football activities, 79-year old Swiss is not allowed to attend this Gala ceremony which will take place on Monday 11 January (probably to avoid further punishments from FIFA). Swiss tabloid 'Blick' reported on Friday that Blatter's family - his son in law, daughter, granddaughter and his 2 brothers - will not travel to Zurich to attend the ceremony despite already received invitations. This newspaper also said that 'all of them have canceled the trip out of the solidarity and support with their father'.
Starting from 2010, FIFA Balon d'Or is an annual football award given to male player considered for best performance from the previous calendar year and it is awarded based on votes from national team coaches, captains and journalists from around the world. Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi are finalists for the 2015 prize. Leader is Argentinian star Lionel Messi with 3 trophies against Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo who has 2.

First tip for 2016: Copa America play-off, game 1

It is a great honor that my first tip in the new year will start with one of the best and oldest tournament in the world. Four teams will battle for only 2 remaining places just to be part of the biggest spectacle of a special competition who will mark its anniversary from this June: the prestigious Copa America Centenario with its 100-years old, is certainly the tournament to watch for this summer. In order to get there, 4 CONCACAF teams will try to give out their best and present us with fascinating games of football from this part of the globe.
Panama is hosting these 4 thanks to their performance in 2015 Gold Cup which all advanced to the quarter-finals. Tonight from 17.35 LT / 23.35 CET in Panama City at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez Trinidad and Tobago will play Haiti. In an active competition so far, fourth round from the World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF zone, Haiti is in last place in group B and its highly unlikely that they will advance to the final round. Unlike them, Trinidadians have good chances to qualify for round 5 from their respective group C. But lately, these 2 teams are not playing very well. Either fatigue is in question or something else 'the Soca Warriors' (Trinidad and Tobago) are slight favorites for this game. They will do everything in their power to win this game in 90 who will send a joy back home and thus spoil their fans. However, to be a part of the oldest football competition in the world is a big challenge and great honor.

UEFA's ideal 11 for 2015

Nearly 8 million voters from UEFA's website and twitter have chosen the best team for 2015. Among those starting 11, 5 players are from Barcelona, 3 from their hot rivals Real Madrid, Bayern Munich gave 2 and Juventus with 1 name complete this staring line-up. In a formation 4-3-3, UEFA's voters have chosen the following players:
Manuel Neuer (Bayer Munich) - Dani Alves (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), David Alaba (Bayern Munich) - Paul Pogba (Juventus), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Neymar Jr. (Barcelona).
Paul Pogba, James Rodriguez and Neymar Jr. debut this list for the first time, while Cristiano Ronaldo is a record leader with 10 appearances.

Surprising visitors at CONMEBOL headquarters

I assume that workers in FIFA are embarrassed an upset when investigators are digging for something 'of any wrong doing' interfering in their everyday work and 'almost' daily are breathing over their neck. Now one of its confederation have the same problem.
Authorities in Paraguay have raided South American football confederation headquarters in the capital of Asuncion. United States Justice Department last year indicted several top football officials and businessmen in an alleged scheme that involved for receiving bribes for broadcasting rights to Copa America games. Juan Angel Napout, Nicolas Leoz and Eugenio Figueredo are among former presidents who are charged at CONMEBOL. A Public Ministry on Thursday said that investigators were raided its headquarters searching for documents or information on computer hard drives related to the FIFA probe.
The above mentioned Copa America tournament will mark its 100 edition this June.

Platini's 'bye bye from FIFA'

After being suspended with his 'teammate' Blatter for 8 years from football, Frenchman Michel Platini has formally withdraws his bid for FIFA presidency. Disgraced from its long term ban he will now dedicate himself to overturning his suspension in further courts. Because time is too short for the election date, he officially has said 'bye bye to FIFA and the presidency' for the French sport newspaper L'Equipe, which this interview will be published in whole on Friday's edition.
With the favorite Platini now out of the picture, Jordanian Prince Ali has most chances to be at the helm of FIFA from 26 February.

South America neighbors' joint bid for 2030 FIFA World Cup

Football World Cup is one of the best sporting event watched by millions and millions of viewers around the globe. Beginning from 2002 this sporting event rotate every 4 years jumping from continent to continent. For 2030 it is time for South America to welcome the best national teams on its soil.
On Thursday presidents Mauricio Macri and his colleague Tabare Vazquez in Uruguay said that Argentina together with its northeast neighbors Uruguay will form a jointly bid to co-host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. So far these 2 nations have won this tournament twice, while Brazil is the best South American country with 5 trophies. The 2030 championship will mark 100-year anniversary from the first World Cup which was hosted by Uruguay. Back then in 1930 at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo Uruguay beat, future joint-bid neighbors, Argentina 4:2.
Last, and only time so far, co-host nations for the World Cup was in Asia in 2002 from South Korea and Japan.

Barcelona the best club for 2015

From top 10 world clubs for last year there are 3 Italian, two from Spain and Germany, and 1 each from Colombia, Argentina and France, according to IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics).
European title holders FC Barcelona is the best club for 2015 with 379 points. Their hot rivals Real Madrid, took sixth position with 241 points. Ninety three points behind Spanish champions is Juventus in second place with 286, while Napoli, another Italian club, is in third place who gathered 268 points. Following them is Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain, Independiente Santa Fe who are in seventh from Colombia, Fiorentina, 2015 Club World Cup finalist River Plate from Argentina is ninth with 234,5 points, while in tenth place is another German side Wolfsburg. From this top 10 only 6 European teams are competing in the Champions League knock-out round which will resume its play from middle of next month. Best African club is Etoile Sportive du Sahel from Tunisia which is in thirty sixth position, while Saudi Arabian Al-Ahli Jeddah is the best Asian club who is in forty eighth place.
Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer is the worlds' best goalkeeper who gathered 188 points. Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus is way behind with 78 and Barcelona's goalkeeper from Chile Claudio Bravo concludes the top 3 with 45.
Neuer's teammate Robert Lewandowski from Poland took the World's best top goal scorer with 22 goals, 11 each from his country and club. Ahmed Khalil from United Arab Emirates is in second place with 20 goals in total (14 country and 6 club) and third is Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo who scored 3 for his country and 16 for Real Madrid, in total 19 goals.
Real Madrid's striker with 48 goals, Cristiano Ronaldo  is the World's best top division goalscorer. Five goals less, with 43 is Barcelona's wizard-man Lionel Messi, while third is Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon with 27 goals.
Primera Division from Spain is the strongest national league in the world for the sixth consecutive time, followed by Serie A (Italy) and German Bundesliga.
According to this institute, World's best national coach is Jorge Sampaoli from Chile who led his team into Copa America title in summer 2015 before the home crowd.