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As their odds of winning the Premier League title continue to be slashed, tales of Leicester City fans set to win an incredible amount of cash continue.
The latest story is a beauty.
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On the eve of the 2015-16 Premier League season one Leicester City fan, Chloe Cope, decided to put $10 on her side to win the title. The odds were 5,000 -1. So, with the Foxes five points clear at the top of the table with just 13 games to go, the first league title in Leicester’s 132 year history would not only bring unbeliavable amounts of jubilation to the East Midlands city but also plenty of cash for its fans. $50,000 for this Miss Cope, in fact.
The story gets even better. Check this out.
Miss Cope’s flutter on her beloved Foxes was actually her first-ever bet. She opened up an online betting account last summer in the UK with Sky Bet and was rewarded a free $30 bet which she used to make a bet that Leicester would finish in the top six this season. That’s virtually assured so she will win another $637.
The two bets she made back on August 7 2015 are shown in the Tweet below via Jacqui Oatley.
A few other Leicester fans are also in line to win plenty of cash, but this one seems to have the most riding on it.
With talk of the UEFA Champions League being threatened by a “super league” of some sort, that notion has been undermined by some of Europe’s top teams.
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On Wednesday in Paris the European Clubs’ Association (ECA) met at its 16th annual congress and confirmed it will seek to change the way the UEFA Champions League and Europa League is run when the current term of agreement cycle expires at the end of the 2017-18 season.
With over 200 member clubs the ECA represents many of the biggest teams on the planet with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Chelsea all included.
In the past there has been a growing notion for a European “super league” to replace the Champions League and that perennial European giants should not have to rely on qualifying for Europe via their domestic competitions.
That is one of the factors currently being discussed by the ECA, as they released the following statement after the congress in France this week.
“In light of the upcoming 2018-21 UEFA Club Competition Cycle, the clubs are currently discussing the future of UEFA’s main club competitions, namely the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. As in the past, the clubs are in constant dialogue with UEFA to further develop and improve both competitions. All ECA Member Clubs have gathered in informal working groups to exchange initial thoughts and ideas.”
The current ECA chairman and chairman of Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, also spoke about the need to revamp both club competitions.
“I believe both ECA and UEFA are interested in an evolution of the competitions. Stagnation means regression,” Rummenigge said. “We have always jointly looked into ways to further develop and improve the competitions. It is important to find a good and balanced solution for everyone involved.”
So, overall, it seems that for now both ECA and UEFA is willing to work together to improve the current format of the UCL rather than go their separate ways and the ECA member clubs beginning their own competition, as had been mooted by Rummenigge and other high-ranking officials in the past.
What changes could be discussed for the 2018-21 UEFA Club Competition Cycle?
For me, it seems like it would be a good idea to somehow reduce the number of UCL teams who enter the group stage. That would help it preserve its elite status and potential shave two matchdays off the schedule to lessen the pressure on teams. Currently 32 teams qualify in eight groups of four teams and a total of 78 teams from across UEFA’s 54 member nations qualify for the UCL each season. 46 fall by the wayside in the qualifying rounds and many of those teams are too small to ever dream about getting anywhere near the group stages.
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Perhaps just having one playoff round to make the UCL and limiting the number of spots for nations with lower UEFA coefficients is the way to go. That way those nations would back their teams competing in the Europa League and that competition will gain more prestige as a direct correlation between teams performing well in the Europa League will lead to certain nations being granted places in the UEFA Champions League. That’s the case now, but adding extra emphasis to the Europa League should be a big part of the next cycle.
The biggest situation the ECA seem to want to sort out here is how some of Europe’s biggest teams did not qualify for the UCL. The overriding notion seems to be that the ECA wants them to qualify each year. Even though the likes of past UCL winners Liverpool, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund weren’t involved in Europe’s elite competition this season, did the tournament really suffer because of it? In terms of gate revenue, perhaps, but it seems that the ECA is conflicted about the best way to get as many of its member teams involved in the elite competition as possible.
Another idea I’m just throwing out there could be to hand teams a spot in the UCL based on their current coefficient which takes into account their previous performances in UEFA Club Competitions. Perhaps four spots per season could be reserved for teams who don’t qualify for the UCL domestically, but have the highest coefficient of the non qualifiers. Just a thought.
There’s clearly plenty to sort out but it seems like — for now, at least — we haven’t seen the end of the UEFA Champions League. But tweaks will need to be made to stop it regressing.
Sometimes there’s just something you have to admit.
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It sounds better if you say it out loud and get it off your chest. This is one of those moments for comedian, actor and now part-owner of a Major League Soccer franchise, Los Angeles FC, Will Ferrell.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Joining the Men In Blazers this week the self-proclaimed soccer nut joked that he was the one who actually got Jose Mourinho fired by Chelsea.
For real. Watch the video above to see Ferrell’s admission as he explains exactly what happened.
Just seven months after leading Chelsea to the Premier League title, Mourinho was dismissed by the west London club in December.
NOTE: Severe tongue-in-cheek mode activated.
The CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championships kick off on Wednesday and NBC Sports will be streaming all 15 games of the tournament over the next 11 days.
Every single game will be streamed live online or on the app via NBC Sports Live Extra, in addition to up to four matches airing on NBCSN with the U.S women’s national team — aiming for a fourth-straight Olympic gold — featuring heavily in live broadcasts.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
The eight-team tournament takes place from Feb. 10-21 in Houston and Frisco, Texas, with the top two teams advancing to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Below is a full schedule of the games.
2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship Schedule
Frisco, Texas – Toyota Stadium
Houston, Texas – BBVA Compass Stadium
Times U.S. Central (U.S. Eastern in parentheses)
Group A: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica
Group B: Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana
Wednesday, Feb. 10 (Frisco)
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Costa Rica 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 11 (Houston)
Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guyana 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 13 (Frisco)
Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
USA vs. Mexico 3 p.m. (4 p.m.) NBCSN at 9:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 14 (Houston)
Guyana vs. Guatemala 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Trinidad vs. Canada 3 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 15 (Frisco)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Puerto Rico 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) LIVE on NBCSN
Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Houston)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guatemala 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 19 (Houston)
Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.) ***
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) ***
Sunday, Feb. 21 (Houston)
Semifinal winners 4 p.m. (5 p.m.) NBCSN at 11 p.m.
***USA’s semifinal, should the USA advance, will air LIVE on NBCSN