UEFA and FIFA told to act to help stop racist abuse at football games – ‘It shouldn’t be down to the players’, says Glen Johnson

12 Sep

Former England international Glen Johnson has urged FIFA and UEFA to act to help stop racist abuse of players at football games.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the ex-Liverpool defender insisted it should not be left to the stars themselves to decide whether to leave the pitch or not if they hear abusive language, and says the authorities should make that decision instead.

Johnson was reacting to the news that Raheem Sterling was the targeted with racist heckles during England’s 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

A fan was kicked out of Wembley on Saturday after a steward heard him directing racial abuse at Raheem Sterling
AFP or licensors

The back pages on Thursday morning were splashed with stories claiming the Three Lions team are set for discussions about walking off the pitch in defiance if they hear any abuse in their return trip to Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Football Association fear their players could face similar treatment to the abuse they suffered when they faced Montenegro earlier this year, when Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi were the subject of chanting from home fans.

Johnson says he wouldn’t leave the field as he believes that would ‘let the racists win’, although said he would support his other team-mates if they wanted to.

But he believes players shouldn’t even have to make that decision if abuse from the crowd is so obvious.

Speaking to talkSPORT hosts Jim White and Natalie Sawyer, he said: “A fan got chucked out for racially abusing Raheem and I think a few guys are expecting something similar in the next game.

“There’s a lot of talk now about whether the lads are going to walk off the pitch, but to be honest I don’t think the players should have to make that decision.

“I personally wouldn’t want to walk off, because at the end of the day you want to do your job and play the game. By walking off you are kind of letting them win, because all they’re trying to do is get to you.

Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson says he wouldn’t walk off the pitch if he heard racist abuse, as he wouldn’t want to let the abusers win
Getty

“But if my team-mates did, I would support them and we would all walk off together.

“The point is, the players should still be protected. Somebody else should make that decision, because if Raheem can hear it, everyone can hear it.

“But I think it should be someone above, maybe someone from UEFA. If anyone can hear that sort of abuse, they should be the ones to stop the game and usher the lads off the pitch, so that the pressure is not on the players to make that decision.

“You know what it’s like, if they do walk off half the people out there are going to criticise them and the other half will support what they’ve done, so either way they’re not going to really win.

“I just think the pressure should be taken away from them, that if anyone hears it then somebody above can make the call to stop the game and take the heat off the lads a little bit.

“At the end of the day, all they want is to play football and if the lads can hear it, the officials can hear it. It’s as simple as that.”

Listen back to a clip of Glen Johnson on talkSPORT above

UEFA and FIFA told to act to help stop racist abuse at football games – ‘It shouldn’t be down to the players’, says Glen Johnson

12 Sep

Former England international Glen Johnson has urged FIFA and UEFA to act to help stop racist abuse of players at football games.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the ex-Liverpool defender insisted it should not be left to the stars themselves to decide whether to leave the pitch or not if they hear abusive language, and says the authorities should make that decision instead.

Johnson was reacting to the news that Raheem Sterling was the targeted with racist heckles during England’s 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

A fan was kicked out of Wembley on Saturday after a steward heard him directing racial abuse at Raheem Sterling
AFP or licensors

The back pages on Thursday morning were splashed with stories claiming the Three Lions team are set for discussions about walking off the pitch in defiance if they hear any abuse in their return trip to Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Football Association fear their players could face similar treatment to the abuse they suffered when they faced Montenegro earlier this year, when Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi were the subject of chanting from home fans.

Johnson says he wouldn’t leave the field as he believes that would ‘let the racists win’, although said he would support his other team-mates if they wanted to.

But he believes players shouldn’t even have to make that decision if abuse from the crowd is so obvious.

Speaking to talkSPORT hosts Jim White and Natalie Sawyer, he said: “A fan got chucked out for racially abusing Raheem and I think a few guys are expecting something similar in the next game.

“There’s a lot of talk now about whether the lads are going to walk off the pitch, but to be honest I don’t think the players should have to make that decision.

“I personally wouldn’t want to walk off, because at the end of the day you want to do your job and play the game. By walking off you are kind of letting them win, because all they’re trying to do is get to you.

Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson says he wouldn’t walk off the pitch if he heard racist abuse, as he wouldn’t want to let the abusers win
Getty

“But if my team-mates did, I would support them and we would all walk off together.

“The point is, the players should still be protected. Somebody else should make that decision, because if Raheem can hear it, everyone can hear it.

“But I think it should be someone above, maybe someone from UEFA. If anyone can hear that sort of abuse, they should be the ones to stop the game and usher the lads off the pitch, so that the pressure is not on the players to make that decision.

“You know what it’s like, if they do walk off half the people out there are going to criticise them and the other half will support what they’ve done, so either way they’re not going to really win.

“I just think the pressure should be taken away from them, that if anyone hears it then somebody above can make the call to stop the game and take the heat off the lads a little bit.

“At the end of the day, all they want is to play football and if the lads can hear it, the officials can hear it. It’s as simple as that.”

Listen back to a clip of Glen Johnson on talkSPORT above

FIFA 20 career mode: New features and possible highest potential players

27 Aug

Every year upon the new release of the latest version of FIFA by EA Sports, players around the world wait to see if there have been any changes made to Career Mode.

It is an area EA have come under a lot of criticism for in recent years, as no major alterations had been made recently even though it was in need of a major face-lift.

At first glance, it appears this year, prayers have been answered and new content is coming – but what are these announced new features?

Career mode will once again give you the choice between a player led career or one as a manager.
EA SPORTS

It seems that EA Sports and the team working on Career Mode for FIFA 20, have identified the community had grown frustrated with the lack of thought given to improving the mode.

The introduction of new user-led press conferences and player conversations, are one of many ways they hope to make it stand out next to the likes of Football Manager.

Press Conferences and Player Conversations

This feature is something that has been in the game since FIFA 18, but only within the Journey game mode based around fictional footballer Alex Hunter – where you as a player were actively involved in life decisions, forming Hunter’s personality which affected the type of player he was.

However, the feature has been reimagined for Career Mode to add to the build up to a game, as well as post-match.

It seems, looking at EA Sports’ ‘pitch notes’ surrounding the new features, a manager will be able to actively answer questions in press conferences using pre-set emotional responses such as praise, criticise or motivate, which will trigger an answer within the game mechanics.

Another feature is the importance of player morale – which will be heavily linked to the response you give in a press conference. So far EA Sports can’t be faulted for their authentic approach.

FIFA have promised fans this feature will always feel dynamic and authentic, with the addition of pushy journalists who will implement questions that attempt to provoke certain situations based upon results, goals and form of players and the overall team.

An example of a Press Conference as a manager in FIFA 20 Career Mode
EA SPORTS

 

EA SPORTS on the new Press Conferance game mechanic:

‘Our vision was to breathe new life into manager career mode by building up a variation of ever-changing stories that would surface through pre and post match interviews.

‘They aren’t just there to mimic authenticity, but built based off of player progress and result in influencing player morale as well as the standing of the manager in that team.’

The role of player conversations will act in a fashion allowing FIFA gamers to witness on-screen conversations, mainly between a manager and player or a captain to a fellow teammate, in a text style format as if you were reading your club’s WhatsApp group messages.

This feature will allow you to select a response out of three options again each emphasising a different emotion, which will effect morale of that player.

It is safe to say we all wish we were receiving texts from the Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos on a regular basis and his English seems pretty good too
EA SPORTS

Player Morale System

As briefly mentioned above, this new feature is the best of the additions EA Sports have added to the FIFA 20 Career Mode experience, as it is the tool that drives everything else.

Morale within Career Mode is going to be a vicious circle for gamers, as everything you do affects a player and team’s morale and then the overall morale will consequently affect everything that happens on the pitch and in press conferences.

In reality this is reflective of what it must be like as a manager in modern day football or any sport, where man management is key to success and being labelled as one of the best in your role.

A player’s morale will be influenced by factors such as: playing time, wage demands, performance and how well the team is doing.

We have seen numerous examples of morale dips in recent times, when you look at Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale as well as on-loan Barcelona man Philippe Coutinho, who have both been at the centre of transfer saga’s over the summer, due to being unhappy at their club.

Whereas, on the flip side, you have players such as Raheem Sterling or Virgil van Dijk whose morale seemed through the roof coming into this season after impressive campaigns and silverware in 2018/19.

Manager Customisation

From player faces, to kits, badges and stadiums alike, the FIFA community and its content creators have been pleading with EA for a few years, trying to implement more features within the game that allow you to customise and alter items, and provide a platform for creativity.

Until now, that has only really been possible when designing a pro-player in the game mode of Pro Clubs, or when choosing a player Career Mode – never before have you been able to customise a manager.

FIFA 20 will see the introduction of female managers to the game with in-game styles to chose from
EA SPORTS

What would you look like as a manager? Would you be rocking a club tracksuit, tailored suit, or perhaps strive to look like a 1990s boy-band reject – all these styles are available to choose from as seen above.

Adding to outfit choice, when deciding on a manager career mode you will be able to customise aesthetic components such as height, build, bone structure, skin colour, eye shape, hairstyle all the way to how big your nostrils are.

Just some of the physical features and hair styles to chose from in FIFA 20, including props such as hats
EA SPORTS

Dynamic Player Potential

This is the last of the main features to discuss, which EA have spent time perfecting for Career Mode ahead of the launch of FIFA 20 in September.

FIFA player potential has always been one of the most intriguing aspects of Career Mode, judging players future growth in terms of their overall rating, in the seasons ahead of the current one.

For example if a striker scored 20 plus goals in a season, you would expect his rating to go up for the next season, much like how FIFA Ultimate team works.

However where career mode is unique, is that players overall rating can fall if they are playing poorly, as well as age plays an impact as they experience a decline in certain attributes in game.

So with the added bonus of extreme morale fluctuation this year, player growth potential could be very different per career mode that is played, as different decisions within the season will alter how far a player will rise or fall.

Jadon Sancho could have the highest potential rating in FIFA 20
AFP or licensors

FIFA 19 Highest potential players

Here is the highest possible rated starting XI of young players on FIFA 19, with the highest potential growth on the current game, it has an average age of 20 so they will be around for a long while yet.

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan (20)

Base Rating: 82

Potential Rating: 93

Growth: 11

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool (20)

Base Rating: 78

Potential Rating: 88

Growth: 10

Trent Alexander-Arnold is quickly developing into one of the best right-backs on the planet
Getty Images - Getty

CB: Matthijs De Ligt – Juventus (20)

Base Rating: 80

Potential Rating: 91

Growth: 11

CB: Dayot Upamecano – RB Leipzig (20)

Base Rating: 76

Potential Rating: 88

Growth: 12

LB: Ryan Sessegnon – Tottenham (19)

Base Rating: 75

Potential Rating: 88

Growth: 13

Sessegnon is widely rated as one of the finest young players in world football
Getty Images - Getty

CM: Arthur – Barcelona (23)

Base Rating: 82

Potential Rating: 90

Growth: 8

CM: Ezequiel Barco – Atlanta United (20)

Base Rating: 74

Potential Rating: 89

Growth: 15

RW: Kylian Mbappe – PSG (20)

Base Rating: 87

Potential Rating: 95

Growth: 8

Mbappe is a phenomenal talent
getty

CF: Marcus Rashford – Manchester United (21)

Base Rating: 81

Potential Rating: 89

Growth: 8

LW: Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid (19)

Base Rating: 77

Potential Rating: 92

Growth: 15

Vinicius Junior is set to rival Eden Hazard for a starting place at Real Madrid
Getty Images

ST: Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City (22)

Base Rating: 83

Potential Rating: 92

Growth: 9

Looking at the team from FIFA 19, and thinking ahead to what it will be on the fast approaching new game that releases next month, there are unlikely to be too many changes to a starting XI which already boasts some of the best young talent in world football.

A few players that could have an impact are the likes of English forward Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix and Barcelona new boy Frenkie De Jong.

Sancho signed a new lucrative contract with German side Borussia Dortmund, doubling his wages and keeping him at the club for the foreseeable future.

FIFA 20: Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish to be among new Icons? Gamers speculate over the identity of mysterious silhouettes

23 Aug

After EA Sports’ most recent reveal of Hugo Sanchez as an icon in FIFA 20 Ultimate Team, the gaming community eagerly await news of further legends who will be added to the game.

The former Real Madrid and Mexico striker was announced as being in the game on August 21, becoming the ninth icon to be confirmed for the September release.

Sanchez joins another Madrid legend, Zinedine Zidane, ex-Chelsea forward Didier Drogba, and former Liverpool duo John Barnes and Ian Rush, as new additions to a pool of former players known in the game as Icons.

EA Sports have confirmed that a total of 15 new faces will be added to the Ultimate Team game mode, but with only nine being revealed so far, who are the other six?

The public remain uncertain over who they will be, and the FIFA community has been involved in a game of ‘Guess Who’ across social media.

What are we hoping for?

A whole host of names have been thrown into the mix, with people trying to work out the players based on their hair style and face shapes seen in the silhouettes below.

Nonetheless, it remains all open to interpretation.

For example, David Beckham is a legend fans are dying to see added this year, and with his track record of hairstyles (most of them dodgy), any of the below players could be the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star.

Numbers 6,7 and 8 have already been revealed by EA Sports as Ian Rush (Welsh), Hugo Sanchez (Mexican) and John Barnes (English) in that order

But what other players are being speculated to appear, based on the silhouettes? talkSPORT take a look below…


No 1. Kaka (Brazil)

Kaka was part of a truly superb AC Milan side
AFP

Up there with one of the most talented players in recent years, the former AC Milan midfielder is at the top of a lengthy wish list from the FIFA community – and why wouldn’t you want him in your team?

Between 2003-2009, the Brazilian flourished at the heart of a Serie A side that was, arguably, the most talented in decades.

Kaka was surrounded by quality such as Paulo Maldini, Cafu, Japp Stam, Hernan Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko… the list goes on.

In his prime he was like any other Brazilian attacking midfielder: full of flair, tricks and flicks as well as having the ability to win games on his own with some outrageous goals.

He would be a huge name to enter the platform on FIFA 20, with the possibility of linking him up with fellow Brazilians past and present a tasty prospect.

But Kaka would surely come with a hefty price tag on the Ultimate Team marketplace.

Name: Kaka

Born: April, 1982

Clubs: Sao Paulo, AC Milan, Real Madrid and Orlando City

Key Stat: Kaka scored a total of 208 goals in his career that spanned a total of 654 games, but was plagued with injuries when he joined Real Madrid

Club Honours: Ballon d’Or winner 2007, FIFA World Cup 2002 and Champions League 2006/07 (AC Milan)

Iconic Moment: In his breakthrough season in Italy, Kaka scored 10 goals in 30 games for Milan, as well as picking up vital assists throughout that season, none more important than his cross to Andriy Shevchenko for what would be a title deciding goal

No 2. Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)

Zambrotta helped Italy win the World Cup in 2006
Getty Images - Getty

An Italian defender who has played for three of the biggest teams in Europe – AC Milan, Barcelona and Juventus.

He predominantly featured as a right-back for all three sides but did have some spells on the other side of the defence as well as a cameo as a right midfielder.

If this rumour of Zambrotta’s entry is to come true, he will join a multitude of Italian defenders on FIFA such as Paulo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Franco Baresi.

He made a total of 361 appearances in Serie A starting in 1998 with Bari, before moving to Juventus in 2000 and then on to Milan in 2009.

There were only two options for Icons at right back in FIFA 19 – Javier Zanetti and Carlos Puyol – so Zambrotta will be a welcome addition to add more diversity in that area of the pitch.

Name: Gianluca Zambrotta

Born: February, 1977

Clubs: SSC Bari, Juventus, Barcelona and AC Milan

Key Stat: In the 1998/99 season Zambrotta was used as a left midfielder at SSC Bari, and scored the opening goals at the San Siro in a 3-2 victory against Inter Milan, in a suprise start to the Serie A campaign

Club Honours: 1x World Cup winner (2006), 1x Spanish Super Cup, 3x Serie A titles

Iconic Moment: In the 2006 World Cup quarter-final tie against Ukraine, Zambrotta scored the opening goal with a long range left footed strike after just six minutes. He then made a goal-line clearance at 2-0 before being moved to left midfield by manager Marcello Lippi; Zambrotta then set up Luca Toni for his second goal of the game to seal a 3-0 win for Italy

No 3. Michael Essien (Ghana)

Essien became a cult hero at Stamford Bridge for his brilliant performances and long-range goals
Getty Images - Getty

The Ghanaian midfield boss joined Chelsea from French side Lyon at the end of the 2004/05 season after an impressive domestic campaign and a good run in that season’s Champions League.

Essien was brought to the club by the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho for a large sum of £30m and spent six years with the Premier League side before being loaned to Real Madrid for a single season in 2012/13.

In the January 2014 window Essien found himself swapping the Bridge for the San Siro as he left Chelsea for AC Milan on a free transfer.

Playing in the heart of midfield, Essien would be the perfect option for any Ultimate Team with his main attributes being winning back the ball with a high interception rate, paired with brute strength and ability that make him hard to dislodge of the ball when starting attacks.

Essien also packed a punch when it came to long shots, scoring a few screamers in his career and will be sure to do so in your team – if you can afford him.

Name: Michael Essien

Born: December, 1982

Clubs: Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan

Key Stat: Essien made 168 Premier League appearances in his career with Chelsea, scoring 17 goals from midfield

Club Honours: 2x Premier League titles, 3x FA Cup winner, 2x Ligue 1 titles and 1x Champions League winner (2012)

Iconic Moment: In his final season with Lyon, Essien was voted the Ligue 1 Players’ Player of the Year and named Ligue 1 Player of the Year in the same season. He helped Lyon to a fourth consecutive deomestic title as well as reaching the Champions League quarter-finals. He was shortlisted for World Player of the Year and attracted the attention of Chelsea.

No 4. Garrincha (Brazil)

Few players are held in such high esteem as Garrincha
Hulton Archive - Getty

Nicknamed ‘the Little Bird’, Manuel Francisco dos Santos, better known as Garrincha, was way ahead of his time when it came to being a talented right winger.

He was an integral part of Brazil’s 1958 and 1962 World Cup winning sides, with Garrincha inspiring Brazil to victory at the latter tournament after Pele got injured.

He is another Brazilian legend that spent the majority of his time in his homeland, playing for Botafogo as he made 238 appearances for the side from Rio, scoring 84 goals.

Everything about Garrincha’s style of play suggests he will be the perfect player for the FIFA franchise; he will be scary to play against whilst having a huge price tag just like Brazilian icons such as Ronaldo, Pele and Ronaldinho.

These sort of players, like current PSG forward Neymar, add a fun dynamic to the game letting players express themselves with complex skill runs and compilation goals. Please, EA Sports, get this one over the line!

Name: Garrincha

Born: October, 1933

Clubs: Botafogo

Key Stat: Garrincha was practically a late bloomer and at Botafogo he made a relatively low 238 appearances while scoring 84 goals, with the forward not making it at any level in football until his early 20s

Club Honours: 2x FIFA World Cup winner (1958 and 1962), 1x FIFA Word Cup Golden Boot and 1x Ballon d’Or (1962)

Iconic Moment: He was born with a crooked spine, warped knees and a left leg a few inches shorter than his right, but many say that is what made him the player he was.

No 5. Pep Guardiola (Spain)

Guardiola lived the dream by playing for, captaining and then managing Barcelona
Getty Images - Getty

Careers do not get much better than Guardiola’s.

A fine central midfielder in his playing days as well as having the potential to go down in history as the most successful manager in world football.

Guardiola is well on his way to achieving it, with the FIFA community hinting that EA Sports may add Guardiola into their game’s database as a player – rather than just a manager.

He would join the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Felipe Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso and incoming Icon Zinedine Zidane as current managers in FIFA 19, who also have playable Icon cards.

The Spaniard was a graduate of La Masia, the Catalan club’s academy set up, and moved into the first team in 1992.

Guardiola made 382 appearances as a deep lying central midfielder for Barca, scoring 11 times. Pep was the type of midfielder he would look for today in his Manchester City squad.

Much like some of the already announced Icon additions this year, it will be interesting to see how EA Sports manage to capture Guardiola’s style in game as, on the face of things, he is not one normally associated with the common FIFA player – but that could change depending on the game dynamics of FIFA 20.

Name: Pep Guardiola

Born: January, 1971

Clubs: Barcelona B, FC Barcelona, Brescia and Roma

Key Stat: Pep made 382 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions and was brought into the first team from the academy by Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, who turned him from a box to box midfielder to a deep lying playmaker

Club Honours: 6x La Liga titles, 1x European Cup and 1x Olympic Gold Medal (Spain U23’s)

Iconic Moment: Guardiola started the 1992 European Cup final, when Barcelona beat Sampdoria to finally get their hands on European football’s biggest prize.

No 9. Kenny Dalglish (Scottish)

King Kenny is a legendary figure in British football
Hulton Archive - Getty

All hail King Kenny of the Kop! The Anfield legend is one of the most successful players in British football – and he wasn’t too bad as a manager either.

If Dalglish was to be made an Icon in FIFA 20, he would be the ONLY Scottish legend in the game, a more than deserved title.

He played predominantly as a centre forward or second striker, with a brief spell out on the right wing.

In a club career with Celtic and Liverpool that took in more than 800 matches, Dalglish scored an excellent 336 goals.

The Scotsman was agile on the ball and known for his elaborate link up play throughout the 1970/80s, as well as being decisive in front of goal, playing 102 times for his country and scoring 30 goals.

He has the potential to be a popular player on FIFA 20, due to the fact he was known for being two footed, so he should get a five star weak-foot, an attribute very popular with the professional eSport players.

Name: Kenny Dalglish

Born: March, 1951

Clubs: Celtic and Liverpool

Key Stat: In his time as player/manager at Liverpool from 1985 to 1991, Dalglish won a total of nine trophies as the Reds continued to dominate English football.

Club Honours: 8x English titles, 2x FA Cups, 4x English League Cups, 3x European Cups and 4x Scottish titles

Iconic Moment: He was signed for Liverpool to replace the departing Kevin Keegan and by the end of his first season had played 62 times in all competitons and scored 31 goals. He followed this with 21 league goals the next season and the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.

Nothing has been confirmed yet, and you will have to take the above rumours with a pinch of salt, but fans are hoping one or two of these players are confirmed by EA Sports soon.

Imagine getting to try a front three of Garrincha, Dalglish and Kaka, while the brilliant Michael Essien roams behind in midfield.

Hopefully this dream will become a reality next month when the game is released, but who will be your first purchase of the year?

Manchester City hit with fine but avoid transfer ban despite admitting to breaching FIFA regulations

13 Aug

Manchester City have not been given a transfer ban despite admitting to breaching regulations relating to the international transfer and registration of players who are under 18.

Instead, the Premier League champions have been fined £315,000 by FIFA for a breach of article 19, among others, of world football’s governing body regulations on the status and transfer of players.

Manchester City are still free to sign players following FIFA’s ruling
Getty

A FIFA statement read: “The Disciplinary Committee took into account the fact that Manchester City FC accepted its responsibility and sanctioned the club with a fine of Swiss francs 370,000.”

The Premier League champions were facing a ban from making signings, a punishment meted out to Chelsea – for two transfer windows – earlier this year.

FIFA has been investigating City’s international transfers for several years, although the club were cleared of breaking the rules when they signed Benjamin Garre from Velez Sarsfield in 2016 just after the Argentinian midfielder’s 16th birthday.

Last year, two players from Ghana’s Right to Dream football academy, Sierra Leone’s George Davies and Ghanaian Dominic Oduro, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that they signed for City and played in youth matches before they turned 18.

LIVE on talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up this week...

  • Salford City vs Leeds United (Tuesday, 7.45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Liverpool vs Chelsea (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Huddersfield Town vs Fulham (Friday, 7.45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Arsenal vs Burnley (Saturday, 12.30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Sunderland vs Portsmouth (Saturday, 12.30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Norwich City vs Newcastle United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 5.30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Reading vs Cardiff City (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Both have since left City but FIFA has been investigating their time with the English club.

In regards to international transfers of players aged under 18, they are only allowed in three circumstances: the players’ parents have moved to the new country for non-footballing reasons, they and the club are based close to the relevant national border or the transfer takes place within the European Economic Area and the player is at least 16.

As well as Chelsea, Spanish trio Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid have all been punished for signing underage players from abroad in the past.

Real were able to get their ban reduced on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – an avenue Chelsea have explored.

Football Association could implement ten-match bans for racism following rise in reported incidents at professional and grassroots level

25 Jul

The Football Association is reportedly considering increasing the minimum sanction for discriminatory behaviour to a ten-match ban.

This comes after figures showed that reported cases in the professional game rose by 46 per cent last season.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was reportedly subjected to racist abuse at Chelsea in December 2018

In an alarming rise that supports anecdotal evidence of a growing issue, as indicated by the racial abuse suffered by Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last season, the reporting of racist incidents increased by 67.3 per cent, from 110 to 184 cases, according to Kick It Out, football’s equality organisation.

The FA have increased the minimum tariff for discrimination from a five to a six-match ban in May.

However, in light of the new figures the organisation wants to raise it again.

In a joint letter to the minister for sport, Mims Davies, the FA, Premier League and EFL have pledged to work together to create more opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in football, as well as applying stronger sanctions for those guilty of discriminatory behaviour.

World football’s governing body FIFA doubled its minimum sanction for racist incidents to ten matches last month and the FA will consider following suit.

Aubameyang had a banana thrown at him after scoring a goal against Tottenham last season

“We are determined to help reduce all forms of discrimination at every level of the game, from grass roots to elite,” an FA spokesman said.

“It’s a matter that we take very seriously and we have already started a consultation process with key stakeholders across the game, including the Leagues, the PFA, the LMA, Kick It Out and others, with the aim of reviewing our sanctioning guidelines for proven cases of discrimination.

“This review involves working on a range of projects to combat discrimination, both on and off the pitch. As part of this, we are reviewing what the minimum match-based suspension for proven cases of discrimination should be to ensure the deterrent in place is appropriate and effective.”

The FA has committed to creating new sentencing guidelines for racist incidents by September. The three football bodies have also pledged to review how clubs sanction and educate offenders, to improve the training of stewards, and to introduce new reporting methods to enable fans to make the authorities aware of concerns or incidents of discrimination.

This is the seventh consecutive year in which reported incidents of discrimination in football have increased.

Increasing racism in grounds was repeatedly highlighted last season, particularly by the Tottenham Hotspur fan who was given a four-year ban from football for throwing a banana skin at Arsenal’s Aubameyang at the Emirates Stadium.

The Kick It Out figures also show that reports of discrimination, which have increased by 32 per cent across the sport, have risen in grassroots football by 3.8 per cent. That rise is largely down to an increase in discrimination based on sexual orientation, which is up by a third. Racism, which is up 43 per cent, also appears to be increasing away from the professional game, with 274 of the 422 grassroots incidents reported involving race.

Roisin Wood, the Kick It Out chief executive, attributed some of the problems to the impact of the debate around Brexit. “You can’t not link them together,” she said.

“We’re seeing a lot of reports of, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ which we haven’t seen for a while, which seems to be on the back of Brexit. Football reflects the society it is played and watched in, and these figures are sadly not surprising.”

Megan Rapinoe: Fans launch petition to get USA star on front cover of FIFA 20 after Women’s World Cup triumph

14 Jul

A petition has been launched for USA forward Megan Rapinoe to be the cover star of FIFA 20.

The 34-year-old was sensational for her country as they won the World Cup for a fourth time.

Megan Rapinoe won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball
Getty Images - Getty

She picked up the Golden Boot and Golden Ball after scoring six goals and made an impact both on and off the pitch.

Rapinoe was vocal in her criticism of US president Donald Trump throughout the tournament and refused to go to the White House in the aftermath of the team’s success.

There has never been a woman on the cover of the popular video game and a petition has been on started on Change.org by Darren Holland to try and change that.

He said: “FIFA needs to change its policy on prize money but that’s just the start.

“More exposure of this team and women’s football will help change their minds.

“EA has already done more than FIFA in terms of support so this is a no-brainer which I know they must be contemplating.

“Much respect to IGN for the original post and image on social media.”

There have been just 197 signatures on the petition (at the time of publication) since it was posted on social media on Thursday.

Qatar 2022: Bookies slash odds on England hosting next World Cup after Michel Platini arrest

18 Jun

Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Qatar being stripped of hosting the World Cup in 2022.

According to Coral, England have gone from 10-1 to 6-1 to host it instead following Michel Platini’s arrest.

Former UEFA president Platini was detained for questioning by French police over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the small Gulf state.

Platini was detained and spoken to by police on Tuesday morning
getty

Platini, who has never denied voting for Qatar but has always rejected any claims of wrongdoing, was detained in a suburb of Paris on Tuesday morning.

“Since it was awarded the 2022 World Cup, there has been nothing but controversy around why Qatar were selected as hosts and following this latest development, the betting suggests there is a strong chance they could now be stripped of the tournament,” said Coral’s John Hill.“If a new host is required, England are likely to be one of the favourites as they are one of the few countries who could hold the tournament at short notice with their infrastructure and transport.”

The Parquet National Financier has been investigating the December 2010 decision to stage football’s biggest tournament in the wealthy Qatar since 2016.

England fans were convinced football was coming home last summer following an unforgettable tournament in Russia
getty

Qatar beat bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States in a vote by the executive committee of world football’s governing body FIFA, but more than half of that 22-man panel have now been accused of receiving bribes.

Platini was head of European football’s governing body until 2015 when he was handed an eight-year ban over ethics breaches that was later reduced to four years on appeal.

The ban expires this October and he has previously suggested he intends to return to football politics.

Chelsea appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport against FIFA issued transfer ban

7 Jun

Chelsea have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against their transfer ban, it has been confirmed.

The Blues were found guilty of breaching regulations over signing players under the age of 18 and FIFA issued the sanction on April 11.

Chelsea have lodged an appeal against their transfer ban
Getty

After their failed appeal to FIFA last month, the west London side described themselves as ‘very disappointed’ and strongly refuted the findings.

They have now taken their case up with CAS, though they have not filed an application to freeze the transfer ban, so the Blues are still unable to register any new players this summer.

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an appeal filed by Chelsea Football Club Ltd (CFC) against the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA),” read a CAS statement.

The Premier League club were given the sanction, which runs until July 2020, and were also fined £460,000 for 29 breaches of the rules on the international transfer of minors.

At the time of the sanction being issued, FIFA said it had ‘partially upheld’ an appeal but only in the sense that Chelsea will now be allowed to sign players aged under 16, providing they come from within the European Economic Area.

The ban on signing over-16s remains in place, as does the fine, although it does not apply to the futsal or women’s teams.

Women’s World Cup winner odds: Where do England and Scotland rank among the pre-tournament favourites to lift the trophy?

7 Jun

The 2019 Women’s World Cup is just around the corner as 24 teams battle for the right to call themselves world champions.

You can listen to coverage of every single England and Scotland game LIVE across the talkSPORT network.

England Women are among the favourites for glory in France
Getty Images


Commentaries will be shared across talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2, as we capture all the colour from France, analysis of the action and build-up to the biggest ever event in women’s football.

Our coverage will be led by Natalie Sawyer – presenter of talkSPORT’s Kick Off show and The Times’ The Game podcast.

There will be further coverage of the tournament, including the opening game, both semi-finals, and the final.

But who are the favourites to win the tournament this summer?

talkSPORT.com have consulted Betfair via Oddschecker and below you can see what the odds are for each team to win the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

20= Thailand (500/1)

20= Cameroon (500/1)

20= Argentina (500/1)

20= Chile (500/1)

Chile are in Group F alongside USA, Sweden and Thailand
Getty

20= South Africa (500/1)

16= Jamaica (100/1)

16= Nigeria (100/1)

16= South Korea (100/1)

South Korea captain Cho So-Hyun plays her club football with West Ham
Getty

16= New Zealand (100/1)

15. Scotland (66/1)

13= Italy (50/1)

13= China (50/1)

12. Norway (40/1)

9= Brazil (25/1)

Brazil will have a chance of going far if star striker Marta plays well
Getty

9= Sweden (25/1)

9= Spain (25/1)

8. Canada (16/1)

6= Australia (14/1)

6= Netherlands (14/1)

The Netherlands won the Women’s European Championships on home soil in 2017
Getty

5. Japan (12/1)

4. England (7/1)

Phil Neville’s players are one of the favourites for World Cup glory
Getty

3. Germany (5/1)

2. France (7/2)

1. USA (11/4)

The Americans are the favourites to triumph in France
Getty