Uruguay Coach, Quits FIFA Position Over Luis Suarez Ban #WorldCup

Uruguay Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez quit FIFA’s strategic committee on Friday in protest at the ban football’s governing body imposed on his team’s star striker Luis Suarez for biting an Italian player.

Tabarez used the mandatory pre-match media event to make an often rambling 15-minute speech with no mention of the game on Saturday, when Uruguay faces Colombia in the Round of 16.

In his monologue, Tabarez blamed English-speaking media for creating pressure on the FIFA disciplinary panel to punish Suarez. He hinted that Uruguay, perhaps as a small country, was being singled out.

“It is not wise, at least it is not prudent to be in an organization with people who exerted pressure in order to promote this decision,” Tabarez said.

He said those who punished Suarez had “values that are very different from those that I believe I have.”

FIFA’s panel banned Suarez for nine international matches and four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a group-stage match on Tuesday. Uruguay won 1-0 to advance.

It’s the third time Suarez has been punished for biting an opposing player on the field — the previous two suspensions were imposed by the Dutch and English leagues.

Tabarez said Suarez was being made a “scapegoat.”

“Who wins, who loses? Who benefits, who is harmed? Who ended up getting things their way?” the coach said in Spanish.

Tabarez said Uruguay’s staff and players had been expecting some action against Suarez but were stunned by the severity.

“We never thought or expected what we found out when we were told about the details of the punishment — of an excessive severity,” he said. “The decision was much more focused on the opinions of the media, and that media attacked immediately at the conclusion of the match. … I don’t know what their nationality was, but they all spoke English.”

Tabarez, 67, a former member of coaching advisory groups at FIFA tournaments, said he must also leave those positions with the sport’s governing body.

The FIFA strategic committee is chaired by FIFA President Sepp Blatter and deals with “global strategies for football and its political, economic and social status.”

It meets no more than twice a year and has largely symbolic status within FIFA.

Tabarez left the news conference after his statement and did not take questions. No Uruguay player attended, which is a breach of FIFA’s World Cup guidelines.

He had earlier wrapped up by talking about Suarez “the person,” and said he was not suggesting the Liverpool star should not be punished.

“But always, always one must give an opportunity to the one that makes a mistake,” he said.

Tabarez ended his speech with personal words for Suarez, who has returned to Uruguay.

“To Luis Suarez, the person who has always been with us,” Taberez said. “We know him better than anyone else. The path that he has covered is a path that he will go through again, attempting as someone who starts again to be better.

“But to let him know — he will never be alone in that attempt.”

Super Eagles, Nigeria’s World Cup Team Now In Its Own Pay Dispute

For the third time this month, a west African nation has had its World Cup campaign distracted by reports of a pay dispute between players and their national soccer federation.

A Nigerian training session was cancelled on Thursday night amid reports that players were disgruntled about not being paid bonuses they were owed for reaching the World Cup’s knockout stage after finishing second to Argentina in Group F.

According to Associated Press, The reports prompted team media officer Ban Alaiya to insist that the Super Eagles will, in fact, travel from their Campinas headquarters to Brasilia for their round-of-16 match against France on Monday.

Earlier this week, Ghana was also involved in a pay dispute. According to multiple reports, players were not paid the five-figure stipends they were owed for participating in the World Cup.

The Ghana Football Federation released a statement on Wednesday that Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama had “personally spoke to the players” to ease any qualms they had about getting paid.

The controversy prompted some speculation that Ghanian players would refuse to participate in Thursday’s critical Group G match against Portugal, but players insisted they would not boycott. A jet with $3 million in cash was then flown from Ghana to Brazil to pay the players.

Before the World Cup began, the Cameroonian team refused to board a flight to Brazil after a dispute with their national federation about World Cup bonuses. The dispute was resolved and the team left more than 20 hours later than scheduled.

Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria are the other two African nations who have not been involved in any reported pay disputes.

Source

The Beats’ Star-Studded #WorldCup Ad

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Just when you thought you’d had more than your fill of World Cup hype, Beats by Dre goes and gets involved.

The music company, which Apple confirmed it would buy for $3 billion, just released a lengthy ad called “The Game Before the Game,” which may very well leave you speechless.

The five-minute spot opens with Brazilian superstar Neymar having a heart-to-heart conversation with his father before a soccer match, set over footage of favelas, coastlines and the team bus. Then the rocking tune “Jungle” by X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons sets in, and a host of global superstars from inside and outside the soccer world make cameos.

We could go on, but you should probably just watch for yourself.

See How All The 20 EPL Clubs Shared £1.5 Billion Prize Money

City EPL champions 2014

The Premier League proved itself to be the richest league in the world as figures released show how the £1.5 billion of prize money was shared out – with bottom club Cardiff earning over £62million and Liverpool earning more than champions Manchester City.

The Merseyside giants earned £97,544,336 from Premier League funds for their 2013-14 campaign, pushing champions Manchester City into second place. City earned £96,578,329. Liverpool earned more than City because 28 of their 38 league games were screened live on TV as opposed to only 25 of City’s and TV appearances are one factor considered.

The top five earners were completed by Chelsea (£94.1m), Arsenal (£92.9m) and Tottenham (£89.7m). Last season’s champions and top earners Manchester United were seventh in this season’s Premier League but sixth highest earners with £89.2m.

EPL payment 2014

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: “I don’t need the Ballon d’Or to know I’m the best”

We have now reached the point where Zlatan Ibrahimovic is literally writing his own headlines. The mighty Swedish striker has been in Zlat-tastic form this season, scoring 17 goals in 18 matches for Paris Saint-Germain. On Wednesday evening, his eighth Champions League goal of the season helped defeat Olympiacos and secure the Ligue 1’s side’s berth in the Round of 16. It also equalled the goalscoring record for the group stage, an honour he currently shares with Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Zlatan doesn’t need formal recognition as the greatest player in the world to know he is the greatest player in the world. Speaking after the Olympiacos victory, PSG’s number ten maintained the arrogance schtick that is now becoming self-parody:

“It seems very important for other players, but for me it’s not important. I know what I feel about myself and I know what I think about myself, that is most important. I don’t need a trophy to tell myself that I’m the best.”

Read more on SkySports

Gary Neville: Liverpool are top four contenders but unlikely to win title

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ARE THEY TITLE, OR TOP FOUR CONTENDERS?

Liverpool’s highest finish in the Premier League era was in 2008/09 when they finished second. That was also the last time they qualified for the Champions League. Now, their main focus is getting back in with Europe’s elite to try and rekindle their form of 2005, when they won the highest accolade in European football.

GARY SAYS: Liverpool are certainly top-four contenders, but I don’t think they’ll win the title – I don’t think they’ll be able to progress that much this season but I think they’ve got a fantastic chance of getting towards that top four. If you think about where they were last year and the fact that they struggled to compete for a Champions League space that would be progression for Liverpool this season.

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Brazil's former soccer pro's wife finds husband's severed head at door.

Preparing to go to work at 5.30am Tuesday morning after waiting up all night, Geisa Silva, the former professional footballer’s wife heard a noise and opened the door to find her husband’s severed head on their front step.

The head was inside his rucksack, police said. Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos’ eyes and tongue had been gouged out, according to Brazilian media reports.

Horrified police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, believe Joao Santos was targeted by drugs gangs because his wife Geisa, 31, works at a police base.

According to witnesses, the former football player was last seen Monday night, when several men bundled him into his car.

On Wednesday morning, police said they found parts of a man’s body in a river outside the city and were testing the DNA to see whether the remains belong to Santos, TV Record said.

Santos, 35, was a forward for a number of mostly second-tier Rio de Janeiro football teams before retiring and opening a health foods store.

His death comes at a time when football fans worldwide are shifting their focus toward Brazil, which will host the World Cup in 2014.

10 witnesses have been interviewed so far in the case by the authorities, the police said.

According to local media, Santos’ wife, Geisa, 31 worked for the police in one of Rio’s shantytowns, but as a social worker giving swimming lessons to children, not as a policewoman.

She told investigators she did not know of any threats made against her husband, according to TV Record.

Some of Santos’ relatives and neighbors told O Globo that he didn’t have any enemies and said they didn’t know what could have motivated the attack.

Santos started his football career when he was 16 years old, and played for several Brazilian club teams. He played for the Bangu club team from 1996 to 2005, according to a biography on the club’s unofficial website.

In 1998, he played for Honduras’ Olimpia club. And in 2003 he played for Sweden’s Oster club, the website says.

He was referred by the website as an “humble hero,” describing how goals he scored brought victory to another club team he joined.

Cristiano Ronaldo tells Manchester United he is keen on a return to club

Cristiano Ronaldo has informed Manchester United he would like to return to the club one day, probably to end his career, after a summer in which the Premier League champions have explored the possibilities behind the scenes of bringing him back from Real Madrid.

United have been closely monitoring Ronaldo’s position for the best part of a year and, while that has not resulted in a hard offer, their clear information is that he is open to the idea of moving back to Manchester, albeit not for at least one more season. The expectation at Old Trafford is that he will shortly commit himself to a new contract that recognises his status as Madrid’s outstanding player, despite the impending arrival of Gareth Bale from Spurs for a world-record transfer. However, United are encouraged by the clear messages they have received about his affinity for the club and consider what he says to be genuine. Their information is that, realistically, they think he would be tempted to spend possibly the last three or four years of his professional life in Manchester. They are aware, however, that a move for him will not be simple by any measure.

A more determined attempt to re-sign him is feasible next summer, ahead of a season when he will turn 30, although there is also an acceptance that it is never going to be easy persuading him to leave Madrid, or his club to agree to letting him go. As well as sharing the stage with Lionel Messi as one of the two greatest players in the world, Ronaldo’s value to Madrid in a marketing and commercial sense is immense. The Premier League champions are, however, prepared to look into it and, crucially, they are not put off by the vast sums of money that would be involved. They have also retained strong links with the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement at the end of last season. Ferguson and Mendes are particularly close and the former United manager had made no secret of his desire to make Ronaldo feel more wanted in Manchester than he is in Madrid.

This drip-drip approach even involved strategically leaving Ronaldo’s name to last – ensuring he attracted the biggest cheer – when the stadium announcer went through the two sides before Madrid’s Champions League tie at Old Trafford last season. At the time, it was seen as a ploy to distract Ronaldo just before the game started.

It was actually Ferguson’s idea and intended to have two purposes, one being to remind their former player of his enduring popularity in Manchester at a time when senior United figures had already started delving into his position at the Bernabéu. Ronaldo’s assertion last September that he was “sad” in Madrid had accelerated the process and his relationship with José Mourinho had broken down by the end of last season. That Mourinho is no longer at the Bernabéu clearly works against United, as does the fact Ferguson is not around to add to his influence.

If there is a reservation, it is the underlying sense that Ronaldo enjoys being courted and will relish the knowledge he is wanted back by the club that let him go for £80m. With that in mind, United are keeping an open mind about when it might or might not happen. The key facts are that they will pursue it and have been informed Ronaldo is keen for it to happen.

Yet, to take the most cynical view, it is not lost on them there is a risk of being used as a way for Ronaldo to strengthen his own position in Madrid. United’s view is that for a player of this importance they at least have to investigate.

One certainty is that, financially, they would need to push out the boat far more than they have in David Moyes’s first summer in the job. United have had a frustrating and complicated transfer window, failing with bids for their top target, Barcelona’s Cesc Fábregas, as well as becoming locked in a public disagreement with Everton over their “derisory” offer for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.