Dienstag, 28. September 2010

FA charge Holloway

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after confronting referee Mike Dean in the tunnel following the 2-1 loss to Blackburn on Saturday.

The Seasiders' boss was furious Brett Emerton's injury-time winner was allowed to stand despite a suspicion of offside and what he felt was a foul on Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the build-up.

Under the FA's new fast-track procedures, Holloway has until Friday to respond to the charge.

source:PA Sports

Deschamps claims Liverpool interest

Marseille boss Didier Deschamps has revealed Liverpool approached him about replacing Rafael Benitez at Anfield in the summer.

The former France captain, whose side face his old team Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday night, made the admission at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the game. Liverpool eventually appointed Fulham's Roy Hodgson during the close season but Deschamps, who led Marseille to the French title last season, revealed they also approached him.

"I was very proud a club like Liverpool were interested in me," he said. "But the timing was not good."

source: PA sports

Freitag, 24. September 2010

Arsenal post impressive figures

Arsenal have announced record pre-tax profits of £56million and that they have paid off all the debt on their Highbury Square development.

The figures for the year ending May 31, 2010 show pre-tax group profits rose by £10.5million compared to the previous year.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: "The group has made good progress in the last year and I am excited by the opportunities we have in front of us."

source: PA Sports

Donnerstag, 23. September 2010

Can European soccer learn from NFL on team parity?

The NFL prides itself on ‘parity’, on the competitive balance between different clubs being close, ensuring that games are tightly-fought contests and that as many teams as possible start the season with some sort of chance of making the Super Bowl.
Looking at the start to this season, with surprise results and with unfancied teams such as Houston and Tampa making bright starts, the balance is very healthy.
There are a number of mechanisms in place in the NFL to ensure that an elite group of winners and a desperate group of losers do not form. The salary cap which makes sure that cash doesn’t talk too much and the draft, which gives the lowest ranked team the first pick of the best college talent, are the two most obvious means by which the NFL ensures that things stay interesting.
On the surface at least, it seems a remarkably socialist system for a profit-orientated American sports league to have in place. Money and talent is spread around equally to ensure that there is a healthy equality. It hardly seems appropriate for a society that prides itself, in theory at least, on being a free-market capitalist system, with choice and opportunity prioritized above fairness and equality.
Not only does the NFL limit the ability of owners to spend their way to success, it also saves teams from failure. Unlike in most sports leagues in the world, there is no relegation for weak teams — no punishment for being bad. Indeed the draft system is almost a little welfare-state style form of assistance.
In contrast, Premier League soccer in England (or Serie A in Italy or La Liga in Spain for that matter) operates the most laissez-faire style of capitalism you could imagine. If you are a young Russian billionaire or a Saudi businessman with cash to spare (or an American NFL owner for that matter) you can buy a team and assemble the best players and coaches that your money can buy. No-one will tell you how much you can pay your staff or how much you can blow on transfer fees.
The result of allowing that disparity has been that since Blackburn Rovers won the English title in 1995 only three clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have finished champions. In that same period 12 teams, over a third of the NFL, have won the Lombardi Trophy.
Spain, with Barcelona and Real Madrid and Italy with AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, are similarly dominated by a small number of wealthy clubs with most of the teams beginning the year knowing that they have virtually no chance of winning the competition they are involved in. Throughout Europe, clubs are in huge debt despite lucrative television and sponsorship deals.
So is there something that European soccer can learn from the NFL? I believe there is, even if one has to acknowledge that there will always be some very big differences between the way top professional leagues are organized in North America and Europe.
There is no way that European fans would accept no promotion or relegation between the leagues and likewise it is hard to imagine a return of the old maximum wage rule that once kept wages down in English football and there will obviously never be a draft system.
But an overall salary cap for each team would go some way to allowing the challenging clubs to have a realistic chance of getting their hands on the title and would weaken the grip of elite clubs. That would surely create more compelling matches and better overall competition in the main European leagues.
But would it ever happen?

Liverpool manager apologies

An apologetic Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has admitted their Carling Cup exit to Northampton is another setback in an up-and-down season so far.

The npower League Two side, the lowest-placed club in the competition, recovered from Milan Jovanovic's ninth-minute goal to lead 2-1 with goals from Billy McKay and Michael Jacobs with just four minutes of extra-time remaining. David Ngog nicked a headed equaliser but the Cobblers prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out.

"All I can do is congratulate Northampton and apologise to everyone," he said. "We wanted to do well in the Carling Cup and we haven't done."

source: PA Sports

Mittwoch, 22. September 2010

Mexico banned Vela and Jaurez for six months

Mexico duo Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez have been handed six-month bans by their national federation and 11 other players fined for allegedly throwing a party at a team hotel following a friendly against Colombia earlier this month.

The sanctions were announced by national team director Nestor de la Torre, who told a press conference that Arsenal forward Vela and Celtic midfielder Juarez violated four rules from the federation's code of conduct after the 1-0 win in Monterrey.

De la Torre said: "Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez will be suspended for six months from the date of these events [September 8], for calls for the national team, because there were faults in four sections of the national team rules."

source: PA Sports

Dirk Kuyt to return sooner than expected

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt is on course to return sooner than expected from a shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old sustained the problem on international duty just over a fortnight ago and was expected to be out of action for a month. However, manager Roy Hodgson believes the Dutchman could be selected in Saturday's squad to face Sunderland or feature on next week's Europa League trip to Kuyt's former club Utrecht.

"Dirk has trained the last couple of days," said Hodgson. "We're trying to protect him a little bit but he's made a remarkable recovery, so it'll be interesting to see how he progresses on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in relation to Saturday's game and the game next Thursday."

source:PA Sports