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Norwich City becomes fourth Premier League side set for U.S. tour


As the market for soccer in the U.S. continues to grow, so does the interest of Premier League clubs.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Stoke City have already announced U.S. tours and now we can add Norwich City to that list as the Canaries become the fourth English side to commit to a stateside tour.

This July, Chris Hughton’s squad will take on the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers, as well as another fixture that has yet to be confirmed. The Canaries will arrive in California on July 15th to train and three days later will participate in a special ‘Sacramento Soccer Day,’ where they will compete against an unnamed opponent.

On July 20th Norwich will take on the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium before the final tour stop in Oregon on July 24th where the English side will take on the Portland Timbers at JELD WEN Field.

“We’re delighted to have made arrangements for a summer tour to America where we will play two games against MLS sides and another side to be confirmed,” Hughton said. “The games will provide an important part of our pre-season build-up for the 2013-14 domestic campaign and of course it’s a great opportunity for the club to engage with football fans in the United States.”

Summer exhibitions against European clubs are nothing new for MLS and provide the league with added exposure across the pond. Not everyone is on board with games, however. Many MLS supporters feel the exhibitions do little for their squad except tire out the players during a crucial part of their season.

These sentiments beg the question – when does it all become too much? Should MLS consider capping the amount of exhibitions its clubs play? With more and more European clubs seeking access to the U.S. market these are real issues the league may soon need to confront.

Here’s a list of Premier League clubs that have thus far committed to a 2013 U.S. summer tour along with the relevant match dates:


May 23: Manchester City (St Louis, US)
May 25: Manchester City (New York, US)

Manchester City

May 23: Chelsea (St Louis, US)
May 25: Chelsea (New York, US)

Norwich City

July 18: Opponent TBC (Sacramento)
July 20: San Jose Earthquakes (San Jose)
July 24: Portland Timbers (Portland)

Stoke City

July 24: Houston Dynamo (Houston)
July 27: FC Dallas (Dallas)

Ancelotti rules himself out of Liverpool job

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid CF
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Carlo Ancelotti will not be the next manager of Liverpool, if you’re not so cynical that you don’t believe Mr. Ancelotti himself, that is.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Ancelotti, who this summer was fired one season after winning the UEFA Champions League at Real Madrid, has been widely reported a top-two candidate for the Premier League club’s vacant managerial position ever since Brendan Rodgers was fired on Sunday.

While he may very well have been one of Liverpool’s top choices, to hear Ancelotti tell it, he’s not interested in taking the job, nor any other job anywhere in the world this year.

[ MORE: “Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings ]

Ancelotti, speaking at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday — quotes from the Guardian:

“I enjoy my time now but, of course, I want to come back to manage – to work – because it is my passion. I want to take my time to rest, but next season I am ready.”

“Why not [return to Paris Saint-Germain]? I have very good memories of Paris, PSG, I have good relations with everyone, with Nasser [al-Khelaifi, the PSG president].

“But I’m thinking about other things and PSG has a very good coach in Laurent Blanc. I hope he will continue and shine in the Champions League.”

Of course, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly all but officially announced as Liverpool’s new manager, Ancelotti is probably doing two things by ruling himself out until next season: 1) saving a bit of face, given that he was pretty clearly not Liverpool’s first-choice candidate; 2) letting every Ancelotti-sized club know that he’ll be available come this spring and summer, just in case they’re considering firing their current manager and need a bit of assurance an elite candidate will be available.

[ MORE: Klopp expected to be named new Liverpool manager this week ]

For instance, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Juventus immediately come to mind. A manager of Ancelotti’s quality will always have options and offers, and that’s something he clearly understands. Ancelotti has earned the right to enjoy a year-long sabbatical and to be picky when choosing his next job.

Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

Sepp Blatter could, finally, be frozen out by FIFA.

The 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body has reportedly been suspended for 90 days after FIFA’s ethics committee met on Wednesday to discuss allegations against both Blatter and his close ally Michel Platini.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter ]

Reports suggest that the decision to suspend the Swiss official still needs to be formally ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, but it is highly likely that Blatter will be suspended until January 2016.

Blatter, 79, has been at FIFA for over 40 years but under his stewardship the organization has been riddled with allegations of corruption as current investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities continue. The longtime FIFA official is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” by the Swiss authorities after a payment of over $1.9 million is linked to Blatter and the current president of UEFA, and FIFA presidential candidate, Platini.

[ MORE: How will USA line up vs. Mexico? ]

Klaus Stoehlker, who formerly advised Blatter, has told Sky News that the ethics committee “made the ruling pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general” and the verdict was “pending”  but that “no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.” It is believed that the 90-day suspension is the maximum amount of time the ethics committee can suspend any individuals while an investigation is ongoing.

It has been reported that the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, has told Blatter of his suspension.

The leader of FIFA, who will stand down following the next presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016, has been defiant in recent weeks despite growing pressure from corporate sponsors of FIFA for him to resign.

On Wednesday he spoke out and denied he will quit, while at the Leaders’ in Sport Summit in London another presidential candidate ,Chung Mong-joon, declared that he will sue Blatter for “at least $100 million” and believes the FIFA president and his “cronies” are deliberately sabotaging his own presidential campaign.