FIFA brings in strict racism measures, relegation and expulsion could be the punishment

4 Comments

This morning the world governing body has spoken.

Everybody should be listening to this.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced new laws that could see teams relegated or expelled from their league, should their fans be found guilty of racist abuse.

These new measures will prove popular with many, after fines have been repeatedly handed out to some FIFA members and certain clubs but racist chanting and taunts from fans has remained.

But now repeated offenders will be given points deductions, face relegation or be expelled from soccer altogether.

Speaking at the FIFA congress in Mauritius, Jeff Webb (head of Fifa’s anti-racism task force) said today was a defining moment in the battle against racism.

“Our football family is fully aware that what is reported in the media is actually less than 1% of the incidents that happen around the world,” Webb said. “We’ve got to take action so that when we look to the next 20 or 50 years this will be the defining time that we took action against racism and discrimination.”

But will these new measures really be as groundbreaking as we think? I’m not so sure.

Yes, the new laws were passed by 99% of FIFA’s members. But there is still a lingering doubt in the back of my mind, as to how hard FIFA will really clamp down on this despicable form of discrimination.

The next two or three incidents where racism rears its ugly head at a soccer game, sadly that will happen, FIFA will come down hard on the perpetrators. But will it keep dishing out expulsions, point deductions and relegations?

I don’t think so.

And one thing is irking me. How can once incident against Kevin-Prince Boateng in January back spark all this? Racism was/is commonplace in several of FIFA’s member countries, yet $70,000 or $100,000 fines were dished out here and there for years.

Boateng walking off the pitch after huge amounts of racist abuse sent shock-waves around the world. People sat up and took notice of the awful epidemic sweeping the game.

These new laws will make clubs sit up and take notice, too. That is a great thing. Because up until now society has got the blame and teams have not been thorough enough in trying to educate their fans and aiming to eradicate racism from the beautiful game.

New tougher measures were needed. But should it really have taken this long?

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

(more…)

League Cup wrap: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET