What’s the proper punishment for Pardew after “headbutt” of Hull player David Meyler?

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Alan Pardew’s confrontation with Hull’s David Meyler represents many things. Unfortunately for the Newcastle manager, the most striking thing about what many are calling a headbutt is that for those who’ve watched him this year, it isn’t all that surprising.

Here’s the video. It doesn’t fit your standard definition of a headbutt, but in no way does that condone Pardew’s actions in going headfirst toward the Hull player. No place for it in life, let alone a Premier League pitch.

The problem here is that it isn’t an isolated incident, even if the only matches considered are during his time at Newcastle. In fact, he seems to be escalating. The manager pushed a referee during a match against Tottenham last year and now he’s one-upped that ridiculous moment by going after a player.

And there was his calling of Manchester City manager by a profane label earlier this season that caused him to seek penance from his daughters. Problem is, he didn’t need to return home to know his error this time. Pardew was out for his post game interview earlier than anyone expected and couldn’t get his sorries out fast enough.

Some saw his staying out of the fray versus Southampton as a growth moment, but clearly what lies in Pardew was lying in wait.

Pardew is the second longest-tenured club manager in the Premier League and the sixth-longest in the Football League. Perhaps his longevity is earning him more time from the Newcastle United higher-ups, who opted to impose a strong fine and said no more discipline is coming.

But what should the FA do? Frankly, they need to mandate disciplinary classes and evaluations while also suspending him for the duration of the season. That’s a 10-match ban, which would be harsher than Nicolas Anelka’s deemed anti-Semitic gesture (five matches) but not quite nine months a la Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick of a supporter.

So how many matches feels right to you? Newcastle’s Joey Barton got 12 for an elbow, kick and headbutt-attempt in one swoop against Man City (taking place under Pardew, for those who want to draw a connection, and it’s no surprise that Barton has weighed in on the matter). Paolo Di Canio got 11 for pushing over a referee. Luis Suarez received a 10-match ban for a bite and another eight after the Patrice Evra racial abuse incident.

Given all those things, should Pardew’s actions be considered worse? Does the fact that his actions involve a player make it extraordinarily poor, relative to the aforementioned bans?

In any event, a strong stance is needed. I don’t think you can fire or expel him, but whenever there’s a unique act of poor form on the pitch, there has to be a message that punishment will be severe. The rest of the season seems about right to me.

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

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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

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league

FIFA to send in emergency team to run Cameroon football

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.

The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.

FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.

CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.

FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”