MLS issues statement on Sacremento expansion overtures

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It really is a case of “rinse-repeat” with these city or regional overtures to Major League Soccer.

Sacramento is the latest U.S. community to make flirty eyes with Major League Soccer, hoping that promises of a new $100 million stadium will entice the 19-team league to come calling.

At least this one does not demonstrate the naiveté some do. Officials in Northern California are aware enough, at least, to know that domestic soccer has a tier system, and they seem to understand how that works. That said …

This, via Fox40 in Sacramento, is from Dick Hyde, who would be a part owner in the current plan: “It’s hard to build a stadium for an NASL team and then expand it, so we like the idea of doing it once, doing it right, doing it big.”

As I’ve said over and again, the stadium is just one part of this MLS expansion franchise bit. A significant part, to be sure, but just one part.

Well-financed ownership is another. Professional soccer remains a money loser here, and adding owners without long-term staying power creates all manner of stresses and strains – and could lead to franchise relocation madness that creates instability league-wide. Suffice to say, no one needs that.

Hence, Major League Soccer’s statement issued yesterday:

MLS is aware of recent community interest in securing a future MLS expansion club for Sacramento. This serves as yet another strong indicator of the league’s continued growth and overall fan interest in our sport. However, the league office remains currently focused on securing our next expansion team in New York City.

“Sacramento has always had strong support for soccer at all levels, and we will certainly monitor their plans to build a soccer stadium. In the meantime, we encourage soccer fans in Northern California to support the San Jose Earthquakes.”

That’s a “thanks, but no thanks” … at least until someone on this list (or perhaps just a shade south of there, financially speaking) joins the ownership group.

Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.