More Charges as FIFA Inquiry Widens

December 3, 2015

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“The investigation into corruption and bribery in soccer that in May rocked FIFA, the sport’s multibillion-dollar governing body, metastasized on Thursday when United States officials unsealed a new indictment that alleged an even more extensive network of criminal behavior across dozens of countries and involved some of the most powerful people in international soccer. Sixteen new defendants were identfied, with charges including wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering, aimed almost entirely at individuals from Central and South America. Among them were aformer president of Honduras, a judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala and the current and former presidents of Brazil’s national soccer federation.” NY Times (Video)

Five-Star Zurich Hotel Again Figures Into FIFA Arrests
“Just before 6 a.m. here Thursday, Swiss law enforcement officers briskly entered a side door of the Baur au Lac hotel. Moments later, a hotel custodian, in a starched uniform and polished shoes, stepped out the front door of the five-star property and dutifully vacuumed the entryway carpets, seemingly oblivious to the police raid underway behind him. It would have been a bizarre juxtaposition for this plush, historic hotel on the banks of Lake Zurich if it were not so familiar. Just six months ago, the Swiss police arrived at the Baur au Lac for the first roundup of top soccer officials, rocking the soccer world and providing an august setting for charges of corruption, bribery, money laundering and other ignoble offenses.” Y Times


Tactical Analysis: Sevilla 1-0 Valencia | Sevilla defeats a decimated Valencia

December 3, 2015

“One of the classics of Spanish football was played on Sunday, Valencia CF – Sevilla FC faced each other at the Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. No doubt, the match promised more than it gave, because the expulsion of J. Cancelo of Valencia completely distorted the development of the game, and the second ejection only served to confirm the supremacy of the Sevilla team.” Outside of the Boot


The false identity of the Premier League

December 3, 2015

“The Premier League resides at the heart of English football and sport in general. We as a nation cherish and adore it. We see it as one of our greatest sporting beacons which makes us English believe we have the greatest football league in the world. Part of such a belief is the notion that it is the most competitive footballing league, where David repeatedly topples Goliath.” backpagefootball


Warning for Louis van Gaal: boring style can mean the sack at Manchester United

December 3, 2015

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“Wins, they say, are the only currency that matters. Win matches and all other sins will be forgiven. Perhaps. But as Old Trafford becomes increasingly frustrated by Louis van Gaal’s obsession with process, as the goalless draws rack up and the chants of ‘Attack! Attack! Attack, Attack, Attack!’ are heard earlier and earlier, it’s perhaps worth remembering that it would not be unprecedented for a Manchester United manager to be ousted because his football was considered boring.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


No Turkey this Christmas – or New Year

December 3, 2015

“Last Monday I was at my desk updating a survey I’d carried out at the end of the Summer when, on the Russian search portal Yandex, news flashed up of an incident in Syria. Apparently a Russian plane had been shut down by Turkish forces and the pilot killed. I turned to my colleague Sergey and asked him if I was reading this news right, he shook his head and growled, ‘This is all shit, complete shit’. The facts are still in dispute, the Turks (those same kind folks who imprison dissenting journalists, buy oil from ISIS and allow Syrian Kurds be slaughtered) claim the plane was in their airspace. The Russians (and surviving navigator) contradict this.” backpagefootball


The 10 Young Stars of 2015: Harry Kane (Europe)

December 3, 2015

“Born on the 28th of July, 1993, Harry Kane is well on his way to footballing stardom. The youngster began his football journey with his local club, Ridgeway Rovers before seemingly getting his big break at Arsenal. However, the move didn’t work out (just imagine if it did), and after a brief return to Rovers, Kane continued his development at Watford. The last step in his circuitous career was to be the club where he has made his name since and one whose fan base has come to idolize the youngster.” Outside of the Boot