Five for 20th September


Six have prize money witheld

UEFA has suspended prize money payments to six teams in its latest move to force clubs to behave in a financially responsible manner.
European soccer's governing body said the six clubs had outstanding payments owed to other clubs, employees, social security or tax authorities.
The clubs were Astra Ploiesti (Romania), Metalurg Donetsk (Ukraine), Hajduk Split (Croatia), HSK Zrinjski (Bosnia), Skonto FC (Latvia) and Trabzonspor (Turkey).
UEFA said the decision was taken based on information supplied on June 30. Further information was requested from another 25 clubs.
Malaga, who should have qualified for this season's Europa League, have already been banned from European competition for a season because of overdue payments to rivals clubs and the Spanish tax authorities.
UEFA said the sanctions would remain in force until the clubs settled their payments in full.
UEFA is introducing new rules, dubbed financial fair play, to prevent clubs from spending more than the income they generate through gate receipts, sponsorship, television rights and commercial sales.
The rules were introduced because many clubs were running up huge debts and others were receiving huge injections from rich owners, distorting the transfer market and giving them what UEFA believed to be an unfair advantage.

Anti-homophobia campaign confusion
A number of Premier League clubs have refused to back the rainbow laces campaign designed to combat homophobia.

Certain clubs are unhappy with a lack of consultation by the betting company Paddy Power and gay rights charity Stonewall, who together have come up with the campaign.

The Premier League champions, Manchester United, will not wear the laces. A statement from the club read: “The club supports the League’s central anti-discrimination efforts through Kick It Out. It is a positive move that Stonewall are now speaking to the League directly, rather than working with a commercial provider on a campaign without involving clubs or players at any stage.”

Tottenham also made their feelings clear in a statement: “Whilst the campaign message is positive and one we support, there was unfortunately no prior consultation with ourselves, the Premier League or other clubs. Such consultation would have enabled us to avoid issues in respect of associated third-party commercial entities.

“We have contacted Stonewall directly and let them know that we are supportive and keen to discuss ways in which we can work together going forward. We are committed to working with organisations such as Stonewall and other agencies to eradicate homophobia in football and society.”

Norwich City have discussed the matter with Stonewall, explaining that the organisation’s partnership with Paddy Power conflicts with their own relationship with SBOBET.

Manager Chris Hughton said: “It’s something that we very much support. We have a very good record here at Norwich City Football Club but the Premier League did put out a statement today and we, of course, would have to support what the Premier League say in that statement. This is very much a decision that the club have made. We have to do what is right [for us].”

Meanwhile anti-homophobia organization Football v Homophobia (FvH) criticized the initiative.

“It is incongruous to run a campaign aiming to change football culture whilst using language which reinforces the very stereotypes and caricatures that, in the long term, ensure that homophobia persists,” FvH said in a statement on Thursday.

The organization said expressions like “Right Behind Gay Footballers” strengthened “stereotypes that ensure homophobia exists”.

Paddy Power claimed that they had not mishandled the campaign. A spokesman told the Daily Mail: “The rainbow laces and information were distributed to all clubs last Friday, three days before the launch, to give them a few days to discuss with players about supporting the campaign.”

It would be a shame if the underlying message of the campaign, which is essentially a protest against discrimination, was obscured by arguments over its strategy.

Quote of the day
“I would stick with Messi. It is difficult. It is like when you are looking to buy a house and they offer you many nice ones, but you need to pick one. Messi seems more complete to me, or at least more decisive. In the important moments, he appears and scores goals.”

Asked which of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player in the world, the Brazilian Ronaldo opts for Messi.

Real Madrid theme park no longer a reality
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has confirmed that the club’s ambitious (ie preposterous) Resort Island project in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE,  has “fallen through”.

Plans for the $1billion “Real Madrid Resort Island” project were first revealed in March 2012 and proposed to provide a marina, luxury hotels and villas, an amusement park, Real Madrid club museum and a futuristic 10,000-seat stadium with one side open to the sea.

The 430,000-square metre development off was expected to open in January 2015 with developers hopeful that the resort would attract up to one million visitors to the UAE in its first year.

However, problems over funding soon arose and the announcement from Perez that the Ras Al-Khaimah project has now been official scrapped, comes as no surprise.

Perez had hoped the development would to bring the club closer to their 160 million fans in the Middle East and Asia. But, given the scale of the development, he soon realised it would have been cheaper and more practical to pay for those 160 million to travel to Madrid.

“When ‘Real Madrid Resort Island’ opens its doors, the visitor will form part of the legend of the best club in football history,” said Perez last year.

“We are uniting our name with a unique setting in the world, a strategic meeting point and a project without precedent. Real Madrid and the government of Ras Al Khaimah want to transmit the passion and meaning of Real Madrid to everyone.

“The world of sport and Real Madrid are showing once again that borders do not exist and football is a fantastic tool to bring people together.”

The Greeks had a word for this kind of nonsense: hubris.


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