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Saudi and Infantino Caught Smearing FIFA World Cup Red Handed



Saudi Arabia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino

The FIFA World Cup 2022 began as a peace prospect to bring closer the Gulf nations, but is now witnessing ambush of unexpected events, as internal feuds continue to multiply. With less than 4 years before the penultimate bonanza in footballing history kicks off, the efforts to denounce its host have multiplied to an unexplainable event.

Laying ground on the basis of what transpired in June 2017, the charges against the host nation of sponsoring terrorism are still in place. However, the roots of such claim still remain unclear.

Besides, what was first billed as an event to host 32 teams, is now widely rumored to become a 48-team event.

Having said that, hosting more teams than expected challenges Qatar, which is pretty much on time with the deadline with a precondition to entertain 32 teams. With the ongoing facade across boundaries, the sensitivity of the decision questions what could be the real motive behind the move.

As FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino would state, the concept of expanding the tournament is directly linked to building the peace from the scratch in the Middle East. His notion of peace in the East is a plan with a great outlook. However, if seen logically, the decision made demands sharing the tournament with Kuwait and Oman.

Under the plan being considered currently, Qatar will host the majority of matches while the remaining ones will be played in Kuwait and Oman. The reason for it is beyond explanation because diplomatic tensions won’t heal in such a process.

Saudi Behind the Scenes

Now, while Infantino and his bid of stability is spread as a great initiative, the reality appears to be otherwise. His bid for expansion is allegedly linked to the money he was offered in the process. According to the account published by the ‘New York Times’, the President told his top board that a fund of investors from Middle East and Asia wanted to pay about $25 billion to buy an expanded version of FIFA’s Club World Cup.

Further, without revealing the identity of investors, Infantino tried hard to convince them and said that they do not have much time up their sleeve. However, the technique did not work as the council rejected the proposal saying that ‘it need more information’.

Nonetheless, Infantino’s bid for accepting such a proposal illustrates how the current state of flux in international soccer has added money to the equation.

At first, only a few details came forward about the deal that was struck by the FIFA President. However, as per the people briefed in the matter, the money offered was a covert way of expanding the tournament to China and Saudi Arabia.

Surprisingly, as soon as complete details emerged it became evident that the Saudis by using their Japanese conglomerate Soft Bank Group, tried to hollow FIFA. The gulf nation aimed at creating its committee using the $25 billion bid. The sole reason for it – to create international tournaments for the governing body of football, FIFA.

The influence of such a move would have directly hampered Qatar’s image, especially in the West. A region where the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has already been exposed for hoaxing his modernization agendas; also a region he tries to influence the most.

The fight for 2022 FIFA World Cup has been mired in controversies since Qatar won the hosting rights. Now, as consideration from Saudi and UAE reaches Kuwait and Oman, the extent of lobbying to hamper the interest of FIFA for personal use continues to raise eyebrows. Moreover, the additional income estimated at $400.1 million if the tournament is expanded, is only justifiable to state how Infantino is lured into spearheading Saudi’s bid for expanding the tournament to 48 teams.


Norwich City Shock Manchester City; Defeat 3-2 at Home




It wasn’t a match day that Manchester City had in its mind. However, the defending Premier League champions were stunned by the newly-promoted Norwich City anyway, when they lost by 3-2 against the odds at Carrow Road.

Firm favourites to win, Manchester City did not take long to establish themselves at the away venue. Passing the ball around, City looked confident with the hold of possession, while Norwich sat back and defended in numbers. Sergio Aguero also posed huge threat with his twists and flicks, but it was Norwich City who broke the deadlock with Kenny McLean who rose to an out swinger sent towards near post from the corner and headed into the top right in the 18th minute to put hosts 1-0 up.

However, Man City were defiant despite an early dent, and continued holding the ball and running at the opposition’s defence, but could not put the ball past Tim Krul net. Interestingly, having scored one, the hosts came back only 10 minutes later to double their advantage as Todd Cantwell – collecting a notch-perfect pass from Teemu Pukki – side-footed into an empty to make it 2-0.

The second goal left Man City pondering, and the team replied minutes later, but Raheem Sterling could only manage to hit the upright. Nonetheless, just before the half-time break, Bernado Silva curled a ball onto Aguero’s head, who planted a header to cut the deficit in half and make it 2-1.

Manchester City got the second half underway, but Norwich City spoiled the away side’s party only in the 50th minute, thanks to a defensive howler from Nicolas Otamendi. The defender dawdled onto the ball, which allowed Emiliano Buendia to dispossess him and pass the ball to Pukki, who scored an easy goal to make it 3-1.

Manchester City continued to do their passing thing and came hard at Norwich, but the home side somehow managed holding their ground. City were also partly unlucky on occasions with the likes of Aguero missing out on an easy goal from six-yards out, within the final quarter of the game.

Lastly, Rodri – the new-summer signing for City – managed to instill some hope in the 88th minute, with his long range effort finding the back of the Krul’s net to make it 3-2. But the defending champions could not save themselves as Norwich City held them for a famous victory.

“It was a good game, they arrived [at goal] three or four times and we conceded bad goals,” City manager Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports. “On the first set piece we knew they would attack the first post and the second one we didn’t make a counterattack, that can happen, but we didn’t control the line – and the third was a mistake,” he added.

Manchester City will feature against Watford in their next Premier League game, while Norwich squares off against Crystal Palace.

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Southampton Hold Manchester United to a Draw as Slow Start Continues



Manchester United

Manchester United’s season that began on high hopes with 3 huge points against Chelsea, is now following the same old pattern of dropping points just like the last season. The Red Devils who squared off against Southampton at St. Mary’s, were held to a 1-1 draw by the home side. The result meant that the club plopped points for the third time in the first four Premier League games.

Manchester United were doing a bit of chasing in the initial minutes, but scored against the odds in the 10th minute via Daniel James. The 21-year-old lad – who joined from Swansea City this season – scored a thunderous third goal in his four games of the season to make it 1-0.

As the match continued, Manchester United grabbed a foothold in the possession and pressed better as a side, while Saints were looking a bit messy with the ball. However, United were still bleak in the last-four, and Southampton did manage a couple of shots before the half-time, but could not score.

Man United got the second-half underway, and made some early chances on the break. Southampton also started to pick up the pace of the game, but Che Adams missed a great opportunity and fired his shot wide off the near post. However, it didn’t take long after that shot, and the home side equalized (1-1) with a header of Jannik Vestergaard – who leaped over Victor Lindelof on the six-yard line and headed the ball into the corner – in the 58th minute.

The goal meant that Manchester United were once again terribly staring down the barrel. But Saints likely dented their hopes, when Kevin Danso made a reckless challenge on Scott McTominay, and collected his second yellow to head for the exits.

The Red Devils saw it as a great opportunity to push an extra man forward on the attack, and created a flurry of chances in the later half. With opportunities in the 83rd, 84th, 86th, 90th, and 90+3 minute, Manchester United came close to taking the lead, but 10-man Saints still managed to hold the away side, and the match ended 1-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium.

“We have dominated the last three games and we know we are on the right track, we’re getting used to that way of playing,” said Solskjær

“The last three games, they haven’t given us many points in return but we are getting there, we’re getting better and better at playing this way. It is a young team that will get used to it. We need to be more clinical, more ruthless when we go forward but we gave them enough encouragement to stay in the game,” he added.

Manchester United will face Leicester City in their next Premier League match, while Saints play Sheffield United.

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Everton Fan Sentenced Over Racist Comments on Mohamed Salah



mohamed salah

Mohamed Salah – the sensational striker for Liverpool – who was subjected to racist abuse on Twitter, has finally been served justice. The case dates back to August 6, when Gary Hyland – an Everton fan – published a series of racist abuse on Twitter and made fun of Salah and his teammates.

The 32-year-old Twitter user during an online conversation with Liverpool fans, made fun of the striker praying to Mecca at the half-time break, besides editing images of the whole team praying to Allah.

Following which, a supporter asked him: “What’s the issue with Muslims lad? Can you even articulate it?”

Hyland replied with an edited photograph of the striker wearing a suicide vest on the upper-half of his body. He further circulated even more images, made racist comments and directed fun at people praying to Allah.

On Friday, taking all the circumstances into consideration, he was sentenced to six-weeks of jail and suspended for 12 months at the Liverpool’s Magistrates court. The prosecution also conveyed that the comments inflicted damage to Mohamed Salah’s religious faith and were increasingly abusive.

The case was first reported to Merseyside Police who arrested Hyland at his home. Upon arrest, he was asked to surrender his phone, however, the Everton fan claimed that he had lost it. The cops though located it under his pillow.

Hyland, was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and 14 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, including attending a Promoting Human Dignity Course.

“These sorts of remarks fuel racial hatred and are extremely offensive to people from the race or religion that they are aimed at,” said Angela Conlan of the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Mohamed Salah does not deserve to be the object of abuse and neither does any person in a civilized society,” she added.

Racial abuse in football has been a pest spoiling the pious game for decades. Earlier, while players mostly complained about the on-field comments, the use of social media has only made the matter worse.

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2019-20 Champions League Draw lists Messi-led Barcelona in ‘Group of Death’



Champions League Draw

The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League draw sealed the fate of the 32 teams for the group stage of the league on Thursday. The draw has put together teams from across the globe to ensure a high-pitched entertainment for fans. All the teams have been divided in a group of four, making a total of eight groups in the tournament.

The current title-holder Liverpool will have a faceoff with Napoli and Salzburg in the group stage of the tournament. However, amongst all the eight groups, Group F is expected to show the most intense action for all football lovers. It won’t be wrong to call Group F as the “group of death” since it includes famed powerhouse football clubs like Barcelona, Dortmund, and Inter Milan.

The Champions League draw formed eight groups:

Group A: Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Bruges and Galatasaray; Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiakos, Red Star, Belgrade; Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta;
Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow.
Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk
Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

The group stage of the tournament will commence on September 17, and each team will be playing a home and an away game with the opposition teams. Following the group stage, only two teams from each group will advance to the next round, the knockout stage.

With Champions League draw taken place, there are many historical feats to be achieved. Apart from Liverpool gunning to become the first English team to reach three consecutive Champions League finals, Chelsea would also try to ensure that the Blues still have the best win rate in the group stage of the tournament.

Even though every group has probable chances to witness nail-biting match, the American fans will be waiting for the matches of Group H to commence. As during the opening matches of the stage, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Lille’s Timothy Weah will be playing against each other in the group matches of the stage.

Following the Champions league draw, Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus said, “A few of us from the team were stood together at breakfast this morning and we all agreed that we’d love to draw Barcelona. The games against Barcelona will have a party atmosphere for us and our fans! We believe in our quality and our aim is to go through.”

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Man Utd Legend Eric Cantona to be honoured with UEFA President Award



Eric Cantona

Last updated on September 2nd, 2019

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has decided to honour the former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona for the mark he has left both on and off the pitch. Recognizing his remarkable playing career and his commitment to charitable causes after it, the Frenchman will be presented the 2019 UEFA President’s Award.

“This award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre, but also honours him for the person he is,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. “A man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and in particular, puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in.”

The 53-year-old will receive the award on Thursday, during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.

In the 1990s, Eric Cantona won four Premier League titles in five years with United, and two League and FA Cup Doubles. In his 143 appearances, he scored a total of 64 goals for the Old Trafford club.

Before ending his career with United in 1997, he played for Auxerre, Marseille, Nimes and Leeds United. He has also played the France national team at an international level, winning 45 caps for the country.

Following his retirement at 30, Cantona tried his hand at acting, mostly in French cinema, and beach soccer, where he became captain of the French national beach soccer team. Apart from professional aspirations, he has also remained committed to helping improve lives of others. He supports the Common Goal initiative that funds soccer charities at a global level. Besides, Cantona also contributes 1 per cent of his annual salary to the project co-founded by United’s Juan Mata.

Celebrating the title, Manchester United also states, “The President’s Award recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities, with Ceferin keen to stress that he admired Cantona’s commitment to improving the lives of others following the conclusion of his footballing career.”

It added, “During his career, he dazzled crowds with his unique talent and style, while his undoubted charisma won him respect wherever he played.”

On winning the award, Eric Cantona has joined the list of other legendary players, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Alfredo Di Stefano, Raymond Kopa, Eusebio, Francesco Totti and former England captain David Beckham, who was awarded in 2018.

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