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
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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
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“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

Man City may not discover possible Financial Fair Play punishment until end of the season

12 Sep

Manchester City may not discover if they will be punished for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations until the end of the season.

If found guilty of breaking UEFA’s financial rules, City could be slapped with a Champions League ban.

Man City face a waiting game before learning their fate
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The Times claim the case could ‘drag on for months’ due to the complex legal issues.

City hit back at UEFA by going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to challenge the legitimacy of their investigation earlier this year.

UEFA have accused the reigning Premier League champions of inflating sponsorship deals after internal club emails were published by Football Leaks in German magazine Der Spiegel.

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UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFSB) will decide whether City should be punished if the club are found guilty of any wrongdoing.

CFCB investigator Yves Leterme is believed to be pushing for a Champions League ban.

City would be able to appeal any potential punishment through the CAS.

In May, the club strongly denied the allegations put against them.

A statement said: “The accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false and the CFCB [investigatory chamber] referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City.”

Tottenham Hotspur Champions League squad 2019/20: Mauricio Pochettino names Troy Parrott in ‘A List’

4 Sep

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed Troy Parrott is in their Champions League squad for the 2019/20 season.

The 17-year-old striker impressed during pre-season, particularly, in the Champions Cup, joining Oliver Skipp in Spurs’ squad.

Mauricio Pochettino will take his side to Greece to begin their Champions League campaign against Olympiakos at the end of the month, hoping to build on last season’s disappointment.

Troy Parrott impressed for Spurs in the Champions Cup
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The north London side were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid and Poch will have plotted over the summer just how to go one better.

Parrott’s pre-season performances have obviously gone some way to convincing the Argentine, but who does the squad system work?

Every club entered into the group stages has a ‘List A’ and a ‘List B’.

Each team is only allowed to name 25 players into their total squad, with a minimum of eight places reserved exclusively for ‘locally trained players’.

Spurs release stunning retro third kit for Champions League

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SQUAD 2019/20

  • Hugo Lloris
  • Paulo Gazzaniga
  • Danny Rose
  • Toby Alderweireld
  • Jan Vertonghen
  • Davinson Sanchez
  • Eric Dier
  • Kyle Walker-Peters
  • Serge Aurier
  • Ben Davies
  • Son Heung-min
  • Harry Winks
  • Erik Lamela
  • Victor Wanyama
  • Moussa Sissoko
  • Giovani Lo Celso
  • Ryan Sessegnon
  • Dele Alli
  • Christian Eriksen
  • Lucas Moura
  • Tanguy Ndombele
  • Harry Kane
  • Troy Parrott

NOTE – Juan Foyth makes the B-List as he has been at Spurs for two years and is under the age limit.

Last seasons finalists will go up against Olympiakos, Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade
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Two players must be goalkeepers and if a club have fewer than eight locally trained players in their squad, then the maximum number of players on List A is reduced accordingly.

To qualify as a ‘locally-trained player’, a player must be club-trained and on the books between the ages of 15 and 21, or association-trained players who were on another club’s books in the same association for three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

No club can have more than four association-trained players among their eight ‘local’ nominees on List A.

A player may be registered on List B if he is born on, or after, January 1, 1998 and has been eligible to play for the club for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday.

UEFA caps Champions League and Europa League ticket prices for away fans

3 Sep

UEFA has announced that ticket prices for away fans will be capped in the Champions League and Europa League with immediate effect.

The move will see supporters of Europe’s top clubs charged a maximum of £63.50 in the Champions League and £41 in the Europa League.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (right) has confirmed that away tickets will be capped in the Champions League and Europa League with immediate effect
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Confirming the news UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “Fans are the lifeblood of the game and those who follow their teams to away matches must have access to tickets at a reasonable price, bearing in mind the cost they have already had to incur for their trip.

“By capping ticket prices, we want to make sure that away fans can still travel to games and play their part in making the atmosphere inside football stadiums so special.”

The decision comes ahead of the Champions League and Europa League group stages, which kick off later this month.

English quartet Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham all previously called on European football’s governing body to make ticket prices more reasonable for fans who travel abroad.

This price cap will come as a welcome boost to many supporters who travel far and wide to follow their team in Europe, with many struggling with travel arrangements and getting hold of tickets for the finals in Madrid and Baku respectively last season.

John Motson tips Liverpool to win the Premier League because of Guardiola and Manchester City’s desire to win the Champions League

2 Sep

John Motson believes Manchester City’s desire to win the Champions League could afford Liverpool the chance to wrestle the Premier League title from their clutches.

City have been untouchable domestically, amassing 198 points in the previous two seasons and winning the domestic quadruple last time out.

But the quest for European dominance continues and manager Pep Guardiola is still yet to win the competition since 2011 when he was in charge with Barcelona.

Pep Guardiola has not won the Champions League since 2011
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And Motson told Hawksbee and Jacobs this desire could prove to be a distraction.

“I think Man City’s priority, although Guardiola doesn’t talk in priorities – well he does, but not about the Champions League, which is what I think they dearly want to win.

“And I just think City might leave the back door open for Liverpool in the Premier League.

“But at the moment, I can’t see either of them getting beaten! I mean the results on Saturday were emphatic.

Liverpool are reigning European champions having defeated Tottenham in June’s Champions League final
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“Man City, who of course scored four at Brighton to win the league, put four past them at the Etihad and Aguero was just amazing.”

The Spaniard has insisted City’s Premier League form will not suffer as a result of his European ambitions.

However, he did acknowledge he is under pressure to deliver the famous trophy to the Etihad.

“OK, I have to try [to win the Champions League]. I know the reason why we’ll be judged,” he said.

“But I’m an honest guy to myself and there are incredible teams in Europe. As strong as we are, one mistake and you’re out. The important thing is being there. We’ll see how we do.

“Of course we want to win it. We dream of it and we work for it. I know it’s important and if it happens it will be important.

“But I will be the same guy. I’ll wake up in the morning, work a lot, go to sleep as early as possible, eat good, take care of myself as best as possible and love the people I love.

“I’m going to do my best, but it’s not going to change my life.”

UEFA force Rangers to close section of Ibrox for next home Europa League match due to sectarian chanting

30 Aug

UEFA have ordered Rangers to close a 3,000 seat section of Ibrox for their first home Europa League group stage match after sectarian chanting in Warsaw last week.

Rangers were hit with the same punishment in their second leg qualifier win over Legia Warsaw on Thursday.

Rangers were forced to close a section of Ibrox against Legia Warsaw and will have to do the same in their first Europa League group stage game
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Alfredo Morelos scored an injury-time winner, the only goal over the two legs, to send the Gers into the group stage of this year’s competition.

But they will be depleted in home support when their first home group stage game gets underway next month.

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A UEFA statement said: “The Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has decided to order a partial closure of the Rangers FC stadium during the next one (1) UEFA competition match in which Rangers FC will play as the host club, for the racist behaviour of its supporters.

“Rangers FC shall inform UEFA of the sector(s) to be closed, which shall at least comprehend 3,000 seats.

“The Scottish club is ordered to display a banner with the wording “#EqualGame”, with the UEFA logo on it.”

Rangers were drawn in Group G during Friday’s draw, where they are joined by Porto, Young Boys and Feyenoord.

Legia Warsaw are also likely to be in hot water with UEFA after setting off flares which temporarily stopped the game at Ibrox.

Referee Slavko Vincic ordered a three-minute stoppage in the second-half after smoke from the flares made it difficult to see.

Arsenal Europa League draw 2019/20: What time is the draw, when are the fixtures and what is the worst case scenario for the Gunners?

30 Aug

Arsenal may well still be licking their wounds from their Europa League final thrashing three months ago, but have the chance to claim their redemption.

The Gunners were beaten 4-1 by Premier League rivals Chelsea in Baku as their last chance to qualify for the Champions League was firmly extinguished.

Arsenal fans will be hoping to go one better in the Europa League this season
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Unai Emery has terrific pedigree in the competition, having lifted the trophy three times whilst coaching Sevilla.

However, the Spaniard will be all too aware of the physical and mental exertions an extended run in the competition can have.

When is the Europa League group stage draw?

This year’s group stage draw will be held in Monaco.

It will be held on Friday, August 30, with the draw getting underway at 12pm GMT (midday).

The Champions League draw was also held in the same venue, although it took place on Thursday.

Which TV channel and live stream can I watch it on?

talkSPORT 2 will be broadcasting the draw live on air and fans can tune in here.

If you want to watch on TV, BT Sport will be broadcasting proceedings from the south of France on BT Sport 2.

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW POTS

Pot 1

  • Sevilla
  • Arsenal
  • Porto
  • Roma
  • Dynamo Kiev
  • Besiktas
  • Basel
  • Sporting CP
  • CSKA Moscow
  • Wolfsburg
  • Lazio

Pot 2

  • PSV Eindhoven
  • Krasnodar
  • Celtic
  • Copenhagen
  • Braga
  • Gent
  • Borussia Monchengladbach
  • Young Boys
  • Astana
  • Ludogorets
  • APOEL
  • Eintracht Franfurt

Pot 3

  • St Etienne
  • Qarabag
  • Feyenoord
  • Getafe
  • Espanyol
  • Malmo
  • Partizan
  • Standard Liege
  • Rennes
  • Rosenborg
  • Istanbul Basaksehir

Pot 4

  • AZ Aalkmaar
  • Vitoria de Guimaraes
  • Trabszonspor
  • Oleksandriya
  • Dudelange
  • LASK Linz
  • Wolfsberger
  • Slovan Bratislava
  • Lugano
  • Rangers
  • Cluj
  • Ferencvaros

What is Arsenal’s worst case scenario?

Pot 2 – PSV Eindhoven

PSV ran Champions League finalists Spurs close last season
AFP

While drawing Celtic would still be a nightmare for the Gunners, facing PSV Eindhoven would be considered the worst draw from Pot 2.

The Eredivisie side held Tottenham Hotspur to a draw last season at home, before succumbing to two late goals in the return fixture in north London.

Although former Chelsea and Manchester United target Hirving Lozano has left the Netherlands, PSV are still a team to fear.

They will want to watch out for former Gunner Donyell Malen, he scored ten league goals last season and is already up and running in the Eredivisie this year.

Pot 3 – Qarabag

Arsenal fans would dread another trip to Azerbaijan
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As mentioned before, Arsenal fans have painful memories from Azerbaijan they would like to expunge.

But more than the result, the logistics involved in organising travel and accommodation for the crossing to the Caucasus proved to be a nightmare.

The Gunners beat Qarabag home and away in the group stages of last season, but the extra time spent travelling could be detrimental to their Premier League form.

Pot 4 – Rangers

Steven Gerrard will relish a chance to exhibit his managerial skills in England
Getty Images - Getty

Rangers qualified for the Europa League after overcoming Legia Warsaw in their qualifier on Wednesday evening.

Alfredo Morelos scored in stoppage time to secure a 1-0 win at Ibrox and the Gers will fancy themselves to beat anyone at home.

A ‘Battle of Britain’ type of fixture is exactly the sort of game Arsenal fans have become accustomed to seeing their team crumble under the pressure of.

Eric Cantona receives UEFA award, quotes Shakespeare, rambles about crime and war and leaves Messi and Ronaldo baffled in bonkers speech

30 Aug

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona was back to his bonkers best on Thursday night as he stunned the UEFA audience into silence with another one of his masterfully bizarre speeches.

King Eric went Shakespearean on us, despite his farmer get-up, as he quoted King Lear, rambled about crime and war and lastly declared his undying love for football – leaving the room of global football stars there for the Champions League draw completely and utterly baffled.

Eric Cantona’s speech brought complete silence to the glitzy event in Monaco
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Apart from Pavel Nedved – he seemed to get it. The guy next to him was like the rest of us.

The camera also panned onto superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who didn’t have a clue what was going on either.

Cantona received the UEFA President’s Award at the star-studded do, which saw Liverpool stars Virgil van Dijk and Alisson also get awards before the draw for the group stages of this season’s tournament got underway.

Defending champions Liverpool, defeated finalists Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea discovered their opponents, while Van Dijk was also crowned the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, beating Messi and Ronaldo.

But the highlight of the glitzy evening by far was Cantona’s speech, as he came onto the stage in jeans, a red linen shirt and a flat cap to receive a gong for helping improve the lives of others.

The ‘King’ was then asked, ‘what is going through your mind right now’, which is a very dangerous question indeed.

“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport,” he replied.

“Soon science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of cells, soon the science will fix cells and so we will become eternal.

“Only accidents, crimes, wars will kill us but unfortunately crimes and wars will multiply.

“I love football. Thank you.”

Ronaldo and Messi looked utterly mystified by Cantona’s ramblings
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Pavel Nedved seemed to get it. The guy next to him? Not so much.
@BTSportFootball on Twitter

Bear with us here, we think he might be saying that, while the progress of human science may one day slow down the ageing process and perhaps stave off death altogether, governments and world leaders will still find reasons to create war and conflict in the world – and yet football will always be a pure, blessed release from these troubles and bring us back to the light.

Does that sound right? We’re not sure either, I think we’ll have to watch it again…

Never change, Eric!

Chelsea Champions League draw 2019/20: When is it, who can they draw and what is the worst possible scenario?

29 Aug

Chelsea have finally returned to the Champions League after a year-long absence.

The Blues battered Arsenal in Baku to lift the Europa League trophy last season, automatically entering them into Europe’s elite competition.

But a summer of upheaval means Frank Lampard will lead a youthful side into battle with the very best the continent has to offer.

Frank Lampard is embarking on his first season in the Champions League as a manager
Getty - Contributor

The former England international has lifted the trophy as a player, captaining the Blues to glory in Germany against all the odds as they knocked out Barcelona before beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

When and where is the draw?

The group stage draw will take place in Monaco on Thursday, 29 August at 5pm GMT.

How can I watch the draw?

The draw will be streamed live through UEFA’s official website and will also be available to watch live on BT Sport.

You can also tune into Drivetime from 5pm to listen to live reaction on talkSPORT by following this link.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEEDINGS

Pot 1

  • Liverpool
  • Chelsea
  • Barcelona
  • Bayern Munich
  • Juventus
  • Manchester City
  • Paris Saint-Germain
  • Zenit

Pot 2

  • Real Madrid
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Napoli
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Tottenham
  • Ajax
  • Benfica

Pot 3

  • Lyon
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Salzburg
  • Olympiacos
  • Club Brugge
  • Valencia
  • Inter Milan
  • Dinamo Zagreb

Pot 4

  • Lokomotiv Moscow
  • Genk
  • Galatasaray
  • RB Leipzig
  • Slavia Prague
  • Red Star Belgrade
  • Atalanta
  • Lille

Key details

Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together.

Teams will be split into four seeding pots with Pot 1 consisting of the holders (Liverpool), the Europa League winners (Chelsea) and the champions of the six highest-ranked nations.

Pots 2, 3 and 4 are determined by the club’s coefficient ranking, according to UEFA.

Chelsea’s worst case scenario?

Pot 2 – Atletico Madrid

Alvaro Morata will be hoping Atletico can exact revenge on his former employers
AFP OR LICENSORS

Atletico Madrid may no longer have Antoine Griezmann in their ranks, but the LaLiga side are still one of the most feared in Europe.

Despite links to the Chelsea job in the past, Diego Simeone is still at the helm and possesses a team capable of shutting out even the very best attackers on the continent.

Joao Felix has assumed Griezmann’s No.7 shirt and role as team talisman with consummate ease, while Alvaro Morata will be hoping ‘Los Rojiblancos‘ can knock his parent club out of Europe.

Pot 3 – Inter Milan

Antonio Conte and Romelu Lukaku will be out for revenge against the Blues
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Although not as strong as they were a decade ago, Inter are keen to re-establish themselves as one of Europe’s elite having not lifted the famous trophy since 2010.

Antonio Conte has returned to management in Italy and spent big to bring in Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United. Both were employed by the Blues and will have points to prove, should they get the chance to visit west London.

With Samir Handanovic and Milan Skriniar tasked with keeping sides out, visiting the San Siro under the lights suddenly looks like a daunting task once again.

Pot 4 – Galatasaray

Galatasaray have already won the Turkish Super Cup this season
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Travelling to Turkey for a European game is a daunting task, with Galatasaray renowned for making the Turk Telekom Stadium inhospitable.

Although they may not be the strongest side in the competition, travelling to Istanbul in the midst of a Premier League season will be the last thing Frank Lampard wants.

Faith Terim has brought in Jean-Michael Seri and is looking to add Mohamed Elneny, to bolster his midfield ranks as well.

You can follow the Champions League draw live on talkSPORT.com from 5pm