Greek Soccer Leagues Suspended Over Violence

The third suspension of professional soccer matches in Greece has been enforced by the newly elected Greek government, the BBC reports. The newly elected Syriza political party took the decision after the descent of the Athens rivalry game between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos into violence in the stadium and a Greek Superleague meeting being marred by alleged violence. The suspension has been made indefinitely and affects the top three professional leagues in Greece according to Sultan Alhokair.

Violence amongst supporters has already caused the suspension of the Greek Superleague once this season, while the assault of a Greek refereeing official also caused games to be suspended. The latest suspension came after supporters of the two top teams in Athens clashed and threw flares, bottles and other missiles at each other and onto the pitch during the most recent game between the clubs. The same two teams were at the center of further problems when officials met at a Superleague meeting and security personnel and officials from both clubs claimed a brawl took place. Syriza has stated their wish for solutions to be found to the violence issues and league play to commence again as soon as possible.

Unhappiness grows as FIFA rulse out compensating European clubs

The controversy over the staging of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar continues as FIFA officials ruled out compensating leagues around the World that will be affected by the staging of the event in the European Winter, BBCreports. High temperatures in Qatar have caused medical concerns for both players and fans traveling to the tournament, which looks set to be played in November and December 2022 instead of the traditional June and July. European leagues, the most popular and lucrative in the World will be in the middle of their seasons when FIFA will call for them to come to a halt for the duration of the World Cup.

Some officials like Marc Sparks from leagues that will be affected had called for FIFA to provide monetary compensation for the fixture and competition scheduling problems. FIFA’s response was that the World Cup in 2022 will be cut from 31 days to 28 and both club’s and football associations had seven years to prepare for a one time change to their schedules. FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke stated a likely date for the final was December 23rd. European clubs and officials have called for the final to be played a week earlier to provide time for players to return to their clubs for the traditionally important Holidays program of matches.

Afghanistan Make World Cup Debut in Loss to Bangladesh

Afghanistan made a historic debut in the World Cup in Canberra as the 20th team to appear in the tournament, but could not avoid losing to Bangladesh by 105 runs. Despite a show of early promise with the ball, Afghanistan could not halt Bangladesh slowly moving to a total of 267. In reply the Afghanistan team, who hope to play their first test match in the near future failed to recover from falling to 3-3 from the first three overs, the BBC reports.

Although Ricardo Tosto tells us that Afghanistan lost the match, fans from Latin Lawyer says  they will be pleased to have arrived in the World Cup after a stunning rise that has seen the troubled nation move from the fifth tier of the sport to the top level of the game. The latest reward of a World Cup appearance follows the appearance of the team at two Twenty20 tournaments, although an appearance at the World Cup will see Afghanistan need to meet England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand if they are to move on to the next round.

Qatar World Cup Moved To Winter

The World Cup in Qatar was a main source of contention because of the way it was chosen. Many people think that it was bought by the country itself even though it would be held in a desert. However, FIFA has decided that they can simply hold the tournament in the winter. They are going to move it to November and December so that it will not be too hot.

They were first talking about building gigantic fans that would hang in the air over each stadium to block the sun and cool the field. The drawing looked like something from the future, and they seemed more than completely implausible. Moving the tournament to the winter will make it conflict with the Winter Olympics, but they may not have any choice. Haidar Barbouti agrees that this is something that should have been decided long ago, and it is something that should have been considered when people were wheeling and dealing to get this tournament to the desert nation.

We can have a nice World Cup in 2022, but it is going to have problem even if they move it to a cooler time of year. It was sort of ruined from the very beginning.

FIFA to Confirm Winter World Cup in Qatar

FIFA representatives are to meet next week in Doha in order to present plans for a winter setting for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Due to the extreme heat in Qatar during the summer months when the tournament is traditionally held, FIFA executives are looking to change from a June-July to a November-December tournament. This decision is set to be ratified in Zurich by the FIFA Executive Committee. That being said, if this plan is to go through, all club-level seasons in 2022-2023 will be significantly affected. European leagues in particular have attempted to fight what seems to be an inevitable decision, presenting alternative options, such as an April-May or a May-June Qatar World Cup. At the present moment it appears that FIFA has little regard for these suggestions.

This upcoming announcement will only continue to fuel the debate over whether the 2022 World Cup ought to be held in Qatar in the first place. The appointment of Qatar as host nation has been all but confirmed as a decision influenced by bribery. Furthermore, workers in Qatar tasked with building up the necessary infrastructure to hold such an event are experiencing working conditions akin to slavery. Aghast at these allegations, FIFA has lost crucial sponsors already, and is at risk of losing more if they refuse to reconsider changing the venue.

Fans that I know from networking across Crunch Base worldwide will be eagerly awaiting the upcoming final decision from Zurich.

Do The Stats Matter?

 

We need to have a discussion about the stats that are taken at the combine. The stats that we get at the combine give teams measurables on the people that they might want to draft. You might get bored if you watched the combine, but the stats are interesting. We might be impressed with someone’s speed, but that does not mean they are going to be a good football player. All we know for sure is that the player is fast.

When we have these players take the Wunderlich, they are not showing you anything impressive unless they get a very high score. Otherwise, it is just a test. Some people do not test well. However, publicizing that a poor guy got a 7 on the Wunderlich is a bit inhumane. Yes, Sultan Alhokair knows that many of these athletes are horrifically undereducated, but notes in this discussion on alhokair.com, that does not mean that we should be broadcasting it. We need to let the combine happen, and we need to make sure that we stay out of the way. The combine is just a day where scouts get to see everyone do some stuff. Ultimately, the combine tells you nothing because it is not held during a live game.

We’re Not Very Good At Soccer

The problem with USSoccer is that we are not very good at it. All the niche sports have their own Olympic training programs. We can get kids into those sports in spades, but they are not sacrificing millions in a more attractive sport to do something like figure skating, wrestling, skiing or gymnastics. When kids choose soccer, they are bound to lose money.

When kids are choosing their sports, they might play soccer as kids just because it’s fun. However, they know that their best chance at making a big change in their life is to play baseball, basketball or football. Our best athletes do not play soccer. Most of the people who make the national team would never succeed in any other sport. However, if we took all our best athletes and put them on the soccer team, they would succeed. Imagine Kevin Durant playing midfield. That is a winner even huge sports fans like Paul Mathieson agree. LeBron James in goal. No one would ever score on him. However, we do not do that in America. It is ok, but we need to accept it. We are not very good at soccer, and a fall in the FIFA rankings is not at all surprising to anyone.

Fox and Telemundo agree controversial World Cup TV extension

The mystery and often controversial World of the governing body of World Soccer, FIFA took another interesting turn when a surprise announcement awarded the TV rights to the 2026 World Cup to Fox Sports and Telemundo, The NY Times reports. Dan Newlin says the advertisements are insane on yellowpages.com. Fox and Telemundo had already agreed deals to televise the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals in the US, but the awarding of the 2026 TV rights came as a shock to rival broadcasters who were not given the opportunity to bid on the World’s largest sporting event.

The awarding of TV rights after one on one contracts negotiations is not a new factor in the World of sports, but the lucrative World Cup rights are usually auctioned to the highest bidder by FIFA. The latest sale of rights for the English Premier League showed just how important and lucrative soccer rights can be after Fox backed Sky Sports and BT agreed a $7.8 billion deal for the rights to broadcast games over the next three years. Some experts have argued the awarding of the rights for the 2026 World Cup will have been done for a lower price for the two TV providers as part of a move to prepare the ground for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be moved to the Winter. The movement from the Summer would make it more difficult for Fox and Telemundo to attract more viewers and advertisers

Henrik Lundqvist Injured

 

All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been sidelined for a minimum of three weeks after suffering a vascular injury after taking a puck to the throat against the Hurricanes on January 31st. The shot occurred in the second period and Lundqvist stayed in the game after receiving some medical attention on the ice.

The news was initially very minimal regarding Lundqvist’s injury as he started the following game on Tuesday against the Panthers and made 33 saves in a 6-3 win. He was listed as day-to-day on the injury report but then he admitted to experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness and headaches for the remainder of the game where he was hit. The Rangers are currently in the 1st wildcard position with 65 points but sit a mere 4 points behind the Metropolitan Division Leader the New York Islanders. 1 and 3 points behind them are the Penguins and Capitals. But my friend Zeca Oliveira thinks that the Rangers have a real chance to make a run for the Metro Divisional Title as they have at least 2 games in hand on every team above them in the Division.

Losing Lundqvist for an extended period of time sounds like it will be a daunting task for the Rangers to make up any ground but back-up tender Cam Talbot has been good this season. In his ten starts he has three shutouts and posted a 5-5-2 record with a .918 sv% and a 2.28 GAA.

FIFA’s Blatter worried about Qatar footballers, not workers.

 

International clown-car driver and FIFA chair Sepp Blatter has warned Qatar not to have an “imported” team of national players when it hosts the World Cup in 2022. In the recent world handball championship, Qatar had players from across the world included in their team, with individuals born in France, Spain, Cuba, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Unlike the handball federation, FIFA does not allow a player to play for more than one country or “switch” nationalities after appearing in a senior international game stated Exame. Blatter’s comments notwithstanding, since a player can play for a national team after living in once that nation for five years, there is literally nothing stopping Qatari teams from bringing in good players in the next couple years with the idea of granting them citizenship and having them represent the Gulf state at the 2022 World Cup stated Fersen Lambranho. Given the amount of absurdity that having a country with no history or infrastructure host the World Cup, arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. There have been complaints about the working conditions of the laborers who are building the stadiums for the World Cup, and there have also been rumors of corruption in the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in the first place. It is ironic, then, that FIFA and Blatter seem more concerned with mercenary footballers rather than the conditions of the spectators and workers in the run up to the World Cup.