RFK Stadium 2

About that “done deal” on D.C. United’s new stadium …


Major League Soccer’s stadium development history, accomplished as it is, has also been wrought with premature excitement and even a few splashy stadium announcements that, well, let’s say they “didn’t take.”

New York had a couple of false starts before finally getting shovels in the ground on the facility that eventually became Red Bull Arena. Happy ending there, at least.

Houston once had a deal … then didn’t have one … before it finally had one again. Confusing, I know.

D.C. United, by my count, has had three optimistic runs, trumpeting to varying degrees a new and sorely needed stadium being in the works. Most recently, the club called “done deal” on a $300 million agreement for the District of Columbia to provide land and infrastructure for a 20,000-seat facility, one that sits nearby Nationals Park. It would replace well-aged RFK Stadium (pictured), of course.

But we would all do well, once again, to recall the Golden Rule of MLS facility development: Don’t bother getting yourself in a froth about anything until you actually see construction at work, until ground is cleared and steel is aimed skyward and men in hard hats can be eyeballed holding blueprints and pointing here and there in purposeful ways.

We read in The Washington Post yesterday the latest evidence of my Golden Rule; the club’s done deal may not be quite so done after all.

The real problem for MLS and for D.C. United is that the dominant opposition voice on this project has already lost a similar battle. Yes, that’s a problem.

See, Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, also guided the efforts to scuttle Nationals Park, the city’s Major League Baseball facility that opened in 2008. Just as armies learn lessons from lost battles, presumably Lazere learned how to fight his fiscal skirmishes in smarter ways.

We’ll see. Meanwhile, continue to enjoy RFK Stadium. And you might want to borrow one of those hard hats; things tend to fall from the building sometimes, you know.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
Leave a comment

Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
1 Comment

A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia