Paolo Di Canio's departure was not a huge surprise. What now for Sunderland?

Sunderland player revolt prompted the firing of Paolo Di Canio


Details are emerging that Sunderland’s decision to sack Paolo Di Canio came after a player revolt on the training ground.

The Guardian reports that Di Canio called a meeting at the Sunderland practice facilities on Sunday morning to discuss the prior day’s 3-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion.

At the meeting Di Canio is said to have launched into one of his infamous criticisms of players when he was forcefully brought to a halt by the words of Lee Cattermole. The midfielder, who Di Canio stripped of his captaincy as well as his No. 6 shirt this past summer, told the manager that he was the one to blame and that the players had lost faith in his controversial methods.

Details of the ensuing row have yet to come to light but one can imagine it was not a pretty sight. One way or another, details of the bust up were relayed on to Sunderland owner Ellis Short and upon hearing the news, the American decided pull the plug on Di Canio.

Di Canio’s dubious methods have been well publicized.

In addition to a complete overhaul of the squad that brought in 14 new faces, Di Canio attempted to revolutionize the culture at Wearside by dramatically intervening in his players’ training ground routine.

Lee Cattermole, stripped of his captaincy, had seen enough of Paolo Di Canio.

Di Canio wanted his club to be the fittest in the league and was known to put his players through grueling fitness sessions during which the Italian manager had been known to do just about anything – bark, scream, play himself as the striker, referee and play practical jokes.

Lifestyle and unique dietary restrictions were also implemented as Di Canio banned cell phones, ketchup, mayonnaise, ice in coca-cola and singing.”This is a complete revolution,” Di Canio said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph this past August. “It’s not just in the way we play, but in how we approach everything. ”

Di Canio was under the impression that his methods were being heeded. “Maybe one or two will never understand,” he admitted, “[but] in general, the players are getting the message.”

And so, five matches into the season and stuck at the bottom of the Premier League table on a single point, it seems the Sunderland players have, indeed, gotten the message.

It just wasn’t the one Di Canio was preaching.

Gerard Pique continues to be booed by Spain supporters

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 21:  Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona looks down dejected after missing a chance to score during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Malaga CF at Camp Nou on February 21, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Spain secured qualification to EURO 2016 today with a 4-0 win over Luxembourg, but once again a good performance was overshadowed by the rift between fans and Gerard Pique.

The center-back continues to be booed and whistled by his own fans, despite ongoing calls from the manager, players, and Pique himself to stop the jeers.

[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]

The boos started when Pique, who plays for Barcelona, made some joking comments about Real Madrid while celebrating Barca’s treble winning season last year. Ever since then, Pique has been the subject of boos from Real Madrid fans while playing for the national team.

Before the match against Luxembourg, Spanish legend Xavi called for a stop to the antics, saying supporters should put their club allegiances aside when rooting for the national team. However, they paid no attention to one of Spain’s greatest players, as Pique was whistled at throughout the match.

Following the win, Pique was pleased with the result that booked Spain a place in the final tournament, but was still upset over his treatment by his own fans.

I’d like to resolve this situation with the whistling, of course I do but that depends on the fans. I am going to give all I’ve got to do my job. We’ve reached our objective which was to qualify. I think we’re changing the dynamic; the whistling is louder than the applause but we will improve.

I seem to have explained myself a thousand times on this… no one should be in any doubt about me and my commitment; I’ve been with the national side since I was 16. People can take a look through the archives and see everything I have said in the press since I was a kid. You won’t find anything bad, or comments I’ve made against the national team or this country for people to get upset about.

While the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid is one of the biggest in the world, it shouldn’t carry over into the national side. Pique has made more than 70 appearances for the Spanish team, and started every match at center-back in Spain’s 2010 World Cup run, which was the country’s first major trophy in nearly 50 years. He also played every minute of Spain’s EURO 2012 campaign, which resulted in another title.

[ RELATED: Sergio Aguero suffers torn hamstring playing for Argentina ]

With Spain now into EURO 2016, it’s time for fans to move on and start showing Pique the respect he deserves as one of their most consistent and important players over the past five years.

FIFA presidential election could be postponed

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - MAY 30:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter talks to the press during the FIFA Post Congress Week Press Conference at the Home of FIFA on May 30, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Alessandro Della Bella/Getty Images)
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For months now, the footballing world has been waiting for February 26, the date on which the FIFA presidential election is scheduled to take place, which will finally put Sepp Blatter out of power.

However, that election may not take place as scheduled, as FIFA has called an emergency meeting amidst the suspensions of some top officials.

[ RELATED: Klopp introduced as Liverpool boss ]

The emergency meeting will be held on October 15, just a few days before the October 26 deadline for candidates to officially declare their intent to run for the presidency.

On Thursday, FIFA announced bans on multiple executives, including Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Chung Mong-joon. Platini has been the odds-on favorite to succeed Blatter as FIFA’s leader, while Mong-joon has also announced he will run for president.

Because of the current investigation and suspension revolving around Platini, he would not be allowed to run for the presidency if the election were to take place as scheduled in February. If the election was pushed back, it would give time for the investigation to come to a conclusion, which could possibly absolve Platini of any wrongdoing and allow him to re-enter the race.

Issa Hayatou, who has been the president of the Confederation of African Football since 1988, is currently serving as the acting FIFA president following Blatter’s suspension, and will preside over the meeting next week.