Tag Archives: UEFA

World soccer in need of a wake up call

By Kevin Koczwara

The world’s biggest sport is in danger of falling apart, collapsing on itself and losing its global grip because those trusted with the keys to the most luxuries and lucrative sport in the world have failed their fans, players, managers and the owners.

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is losing legitimacy one day at a time. News continues to seep out about bribery, voting buying, and in-house who-knows-whats. FIFA president Sepp Blatter won his fourth consecutive term as President of FIFA, but his time in charge keeps creeping closer to becoming a time FIFA would like to forget as more and more news comes out of Zurich.

Blatter’s time in time hasn’t been easy but he certainly hasn’t helped himself either. Blatter has pushed aside any and all opposition with barely any recognition. He’s shuttled men (because no women are apparently allowed to be inside the old men’s club of FIFA) out of their posts because they question him, because someday they may want his lucrative job, maybe. He has preferred to ban and not explain. And best of all, he has decided to present the world with mythical stories of a perfect world inside the FIFA compound when questioned about possible turmoil.

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Something needs to be done to the Europa League

The Europa League has become the forgotten competition in Europe.

By Ryan Fleming

A few colleagues and myself have been talking about the recent European match that took place late Wednesday afternoon. To the surprise of most of us it was the Europa League Final. I was aware, obviously, but many who follow the sport really had no idea. What was surprising to us was how little UEFA put into letting fans know that FC Braga and FC Porto were playing something all-together much more important than just another European match.

In respect to both Braga and Porto, perhaps the lack of interest in the Final could be the teams that were playing. Again, respect has to be given to both of the teams and Porto especially for winning the Europa Cup, 1-0, but much of the world outside Portugal probably did not care all that much about the match. This, in itself is an issue. And UEFA is squarely to blame.

I don’t don myself a problem-solver or an architect in making things better. But alas, I have proposed some changes to make this all-important game something of importance in even the most casual of fans.

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Chelsea and Liverpool Bid to Save Seasons [Part 1]

Roman Abramovich saw his Chelsea team failing to live up to potential this season, and he took some drastic measures and invested in the transfer market to ensure the team improved. (Courtesy Marina Lystseva)

By Kevin Koczwara

Neither Liverpool or Chelsea started the 2010/11 English Premier League season the way they wanted to. Neither team has lived up to any of their hype or their past glories. Both needed a change. Did anyone expect this to happen though?

Let’s start in London with Chelsea and work our way north to the Merseyside to visit Liverpool [Part 2].

The Blues started the season off like a piston firing on all cylinders, but it was as if someone forgot to check the oil and the they all started rubbing, grinding metal on metal before coming close to a halt. Chelsea scored 12 goals in its opening two games of the season and looked like it was going to run ragged on the Premier League again this season, maybe even securing another double – a bigger double, one that included Roman Abramovich’s prized Champions League trophy.

Things started to unravel for Chelsea in October. Frank Lampard got injured. Ramires hadn’t adapted to the Premier League’s pace and speed well (he is improving with every game and could be well worth the money spent). Youngsters Daniel Sturridge and company weren’t producing. John Terry and Alex seemed to be forming a strong partnership in the center of the defense, they both got injured. Didier Drogba fell off the boil, in fact he stopped starting and contracted Malaria – good excuse, but still, he slowed down and still hasn’t caught up to speed yet.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 1, 2010

Real Madrid had a disappointing start to the season with a 0-0 draw with Real Mollarca over the weekend, but Mourinho is confident that with time he can make the team into Champions. Courtesy Paul Bence

Sky Sports — Jose – I’m not Harry Potter

New Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has had to answer plenty of critics this week after the team’s season opening 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca last weekend, and his answer is classic a from the “Special One.” Despite winning 17 trophies in the past 8 years with three teams, Los Blancos fans are still a little skeptical of Mourinho’s tactics after the opening draw. Madrid need to win almost every game this season because their closest rivals are the defending champions Barcelona, and Barca doesn’t drop many points in any league it is in.

BBC — Uefa bans vuvuzelas from European matches

Remember that buzzing sound that came from your television while watching the World Cup? Well it won’t be coming from it during any Uefa sanctioned games, including Euro 2012 qualifiers and the Champions League. Breathe a sigh of relief, I know we are. There was no bigger story from this past summer’s World Cup in South Africa than those horns that can cause hearing  loss and sound like a hornets nest.

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Caen, Bordeaux Among Ligue 1 Suprises

Bordeaux has struggled to start 2010 after striker Marouane Chamakh left on a free transfer to Arsenal and manager Laurent Blanc left to lead the French National Team. (Photo Courtesy Edson Da Silva)

By Ryan Fleming

Something peculiar has happened to start the 2010-11 Ligue 1 season. Division giants, Lyon and Marseille, have fallen big to a little, but mighty team, while Bordeaux continues to search for a remedy to cure their poor form that started six months ago.

It’s a rarity when a lower division title champ defeats the country’s premier club. Stade Malherbe Caen can say it has done that and you can add the country’s runner-up, too. A week after upsetting Marseille, 2-1, at the Stade Velodrome, Caen held off Lyon, 3-2, at home yesterday. Maybe something is brewing in the Northwestern French city known more for it’s important location in the Normandy invasion in World War II. At the very least, it is a sign of change in France’s premier division. Continue reading

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Cheating: An Epidemic

Cheating doesnt just happen on the playing field, it happens in everyday life as well. Tiger Woods may be the best golfer on the planet, but his cheating has lead him to be the black sheep of all cheating husbands and wives. (Courtesy WikiCommons/Keith Allison)

Cheating doesn't just happen on the playing field, it happens in everyday life as well. Tiger Woods may be the best golfer on the planet, but his cheating has lead him to be the black sheep of all cheating husbands and wives. (Courtesy WikiCommons/Keith Allison)

By Ryan Fleming

We have seen it in soccer and other sports. And we’ve seen spouses do it to each other, most recently Tiger Woods to his  wife, Swedish model, Elin Nordegren. Cheating unfortunately is almost a part of life, a part that a great majority of us would like to remove sooner rather than later. It’s also a part that many like to hide for fear of repercussion and humiliation. Why do it then?

Unfortunately,  the terrible deed is spreading like a contagious disease with no end in sight. The football world is now being effected and FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) is now conducting their investigation.

Match fixing has spanned through nine countries and has reared it’s ugly head in over 200 known Champions League and Europa League matches. Again, the question arises, why? As the investigation continues it’s teams in the lowly bottom divisions of countries like Croatia, Switzerland and Germany where football is a part of life and so much, perhaps too much, money can be made.

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Battle for North London

Manuel Almunia returns to Arsenals goal just in time for the North London derby against Tottenham. (Courtesy Tim Snell Flickr)

Manuel Almunia returns to Arsenals goal just in time for the North London derby against Tottenham. (Courtesy Tim Snell Flickr)

By Kevin Koczwara

Arsenal and Tottenham will face-off Saturday at the Emirates Stadium to lay claim to as who is the best club in North London right now. It is a match-up that looks to be a barn burner because the two teams have high octane attacks and sub-par defenses. The game also has implications to set apart the two teams and give themselves room in the top four (Champions League qualification) on the Premier League table.

Both Arsenal and Tootenham have 19 points coming into this weekends match-up and are only set apart by goal differential — Arsenal at a +16, Tottenham at a +9– and Arsenal’s one game in hand. And both need this win to keep pace with table setters Chelsea (who play a Bolton side  they beat 4-0 in a mid-week Carling Cup match), and to avoid being bumped down by a confident Liverpool side who beat Manchester United last week and is playing a stingy Fulham side that looks tired from all the extra competition that the UEFA Cup has brought. And Manchester City and Aston Villa should surely wrap-up at least 1 point this weekend in their competitions keeping them in the hunt for a top four finish and jumping over the loser in North London.

This game is more than just a derby this weekend, it is a match that will make one of these teams a serious contender for Premier League silverware come May.

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Give'en A Chance

Shay Given has put FIFA on the hot seat for their World Cup Qualifying system. The Republic of Ireland has every right to his opinion, not only is he right but he is bringing up and important issue that needs to be changed. (Courtesy Flickr mikebrown59)

Shay Given has put FIFA on the hot seat for their World Cup Qualifying system. The Republic of Ireland has every right to his opinion, not only is he right but he is bringing up and important issue that needs to be changed. (Courtesy Flickr mikebrown59)

By Kevin Koczwara

Republic of Ireland goal keeper Shay Given has come out and said what other players have been thinking: FIFA has set-up a barrier preventing smaller nations from getting into the World Cup final. By creating a seeding system FIFA has ruled out the chance that big-market nations(larger nations) will play one another in the play-off for the final spots for South Africa from European qualifying (UEFA).

The system that would make sense would be a random draw of teams. It works for the FA Cup and The Champions League and The Club World Cup every year. So, why shouldn’t it work for The World Cup?

This should be a hot topic in the footballing (Soccer) world. This system is surely working in the favor of potential play-off teams like France, Russia, Greece and potentially Portugal (if the stars align properly). And the system works against countries like Ireland, Bosnia, Croatia (in truth they should have no trouble beating just about anyone if they are healthy), Norway, and Scotland.

But FIFA could care less about the smaller countries who have less experience in the World Cup. What if one of those teams went on a historical run and made it to the Finals? That would not draw as many people as France or Russia (except maybe Ireland because people around the world have ancestors there, especially here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.).

Look at the Qualification Numbers for some of the teams that are in Second place and in control of there destiny.

  • Republic of Ireland – 3 times
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – 0 times
  • France – 12
  • Russia- 9
  • Norway- 2
  • Croatia – 3
  • Greece – 1
  • Sweden – 11
  • Scotland (tied with Norway in points, behind in Goal Differential) – 8

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Anyone Else Excited for This Round Of Champions League Play?

Compiled by Kevin Koczwara

Check your local Listings for the Games Schedules in your area. I know which ones I am watching and get. Going to be two days chuck-full-o-soccer.

Tuesday 29 September

Rubin Kazan 12 : 30 Internazionale

Fiorentina 14 : 45 Liverpool(Match to Watch)

Debreceni VSC 14 : 45 Olympique Lyon

Barcelona 14 : 45 Dynamo Kyiv

Unirea Urziceni 14 : 45 VfB Stuttgart

Rangers 14 : 45 Sevilla

Arsenal 14 : 45 Olympiakos Piraeus

AZ 14 : 45 Standard Liège

Wednesday 30 September

CSKA Moskva 12 : 30 Besiktas

Bayern München 14 : 45 Juventus (Match to Watch)

Bordeaux 14 : 45 Maccabi Haifa

Manchester United 14 : 45 VfL Wolfsburg (Match to Watch)

Milan 14 : 45 Zürich

Real Madrid 14 : 45 Olympique Marseille (Match to Watch)

APOEL 14 : 45 Chelsea

Porto 14 : 45 Atlético Madrid (Match to Watch)

Kevin Koczwara can be reached at kkoczwar@gmail.com.


















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EPL News Wrap Sept 14

Ryan Giggs scored an enormous goal on a free kick on Saturday against Tottenham. The game was one of the most entertaining I have watched all year. But That is all I have for that story. (Courtesy James Adams flickr)

Ryan Giggs scored an enormous goal on a free kick on Saturday against Tottenham. The game was one of the most entertaining I have watched all year. But that is all I have for that story. (Courtesy James Adams flickr)

By Kevin Koczwara

I was going to start this off by talking about the Manchester United vs Tottenham match from Saturday. But I got this tweet from ESPN Soccernet when I turned on my computer: “Premier League bring in home grown quotas: The Premier League has announced that from next season every team must..”

This is big news for all Premier League clubs. Now clubs can’t just buy up other teams talent (Manchester City of this summer), they need to develop it. Teams must grow talent. Plant seeds, water them, and fertilize until they are big and strong.. Clubs must be more like the Porto’s and Lyon’s of the world — not saying they are perfect either, but their model is certainly much more affordable.

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