Report: Tottenham will replace Tim Sherwood as manager this summer

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Sky Sports is reporting that Tottenham Hotspur will replace Tim Sherwood as manager this summer. The club has yet to release any statement on the matter.

Sherwood refused to speak on the matter ahead of today’s match against Sunderland:

“I can’t say much right now. What I can say is tonight is business as usual. I’m setting this team up to win a football match for the benefit of the club and the 35,000 Spurs fans who will come and watch. I’ll speak at a later stage.”

Sherwood was appointed from club technical coordinator to interim manager by Spurs on December 23, 2013, following the sacking of previous manager, Andre Villas-Boas.

Upon naming him new club manager, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy spoke of his hopes for Sherwood, saying “[w]e have a great squad and we owe them a Head Coach who will bring out the best in them and allow them to flourish and enjoy a strong, exciting finish to the season.”

For Sherwood, the hiring represented not only an opportunity to dabble in coaching but to solidify his position as a Premier League manager. After losing his first match in charge to West Ham United in the Capital One Cup quarter-final, Sherwood guided Spurs to a 3-2 victory over Southampton and was thereafter handed an 18-month contact through the 2014/15 season.

Sherwood’s heart-on-his-sleeve style was a breath of fresh air following the departure of the over analytical Villas-Boas. Sherwood put the players at ease, provided them with freedom and motivation and even rejuvenated the long-forgotten Emmanuel Adebayor. The style change earned results in the Premier League as Spurs went on to lose only once in Sherwood’s first 12 matches, the 5-1 drubbing to Manchester City on January 29th.

A difficult March, however, has left the club reeling. A 4-0 league drubbing by Chelsea was followed by 1-3 home loss to Benfica in the Europa League, a 0-1 home league loss to Arsenal and a 2-2 draw with Benfica. The freedom that Sherwood had used to boost the squad had seemingly unwound them into a tactic-less side and now, if Sky’s sources are correct, the end of the road is near for the former Blackburn player.

Sherwood’s 18-month deal always felt at odds with Levy’s well-known desire to bring in a world-renowned successor to Villas-Boas. Prior to handing Sherwood the contract, Levy met with Netherlands manager, Louis van Gaal, who will relinquish the country’s managerial reigns to Guus Hiddink following the 2014 World Cup.

Since that meeting, van Gaal publicly noted his desire to manage in the Premier League and the 62-year-old is widely expected to be given the Spurs job this summer. Other candidates include Ajax’s Frank De Boer and Southampton’s Mauricio Pochettino, although both coaches are beloved at their respective clubs and would cost a high price to bring into White Hart Lane.

Sherwood’s record over 16 matches is nine wins, two draws and five loses as Tottenham currently sit 7th in the table. As more details emerge we will be sure to include them but for now Sherwood will be focused on finishing the season strong. That starts this afternoon (3:00pm ET on NBCSN and Live Extra) when Spurs welcome the Black Cats to White Hart Lane.

 

Chinese clubs to pay 100% tax on foreign transfers

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The days of Chinese Super League sides spending eye-popping figures on a handful of international superstars are over — either that, or those figures are about to double — for now, at least.

[ MORE: Oscar given 8-game ban for petulant display in China ]

China’s Football Association announced Thursday that, effective immediately, any foreign player signed for a fee exceeding $6.63 million would be subject to a 100-percent tax on top of the fee paid to acquire the player. The tax will remain in effect until the end of China’s ongoing transfer window, July 14. The tax will also apply to Chinese players signed for a fee exceeding $3 million.

It’s Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to prevent big spending by CSL clubs, which has in every instance been detrimental to the development of young Chinese players making their way through the academy system. The taxed money will then be reinvested in “youth training, construction of public sporting facilities and scientific progress in football development,” according to a statement by the CFA.

Just last week, China was eliminated from contention to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The only time China has ever qualified for the World Cup was in 2002.

Young Englishman Oxford goes abroad, to Gladbach, on loan

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MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) Borussia Moenchengladbach has signed English central defender Reece Oxford on loan for the season from Premier League club West Ham.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl says “Oxford has gone through all the England youth teams and is one of the biggest defensive talents in Britain.”

The 18-year-old Oxford, who spent the second half of last season on loan at second-division club Reading, is Gladbach’s fifth arrival of the off-season.

Qatar stadium safety concerns again raised by death investigation

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An investigation into why a British man fell to his death on a building site for the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup has raised concerns about stadium roof safety.

World Cup organizers on Thursday released partial findings of an assessment of the accident at the Khalifa International Stadium, but said the full report cannot be released while local authorities continue their own investigation. It is one of two work-related deaths detailed in Qatar’s latest welfare report on preparations for the 2022 soccer tournament, which currently involves 12,367 workers on eight construction sites.

The 40-year-old British man fell 39 meters in January after one end of the roof catwalk he was installing dropped and a safety rope snapped.

“During the course of the investigation, the team had raised concerns with the method of installation of the raised catwalk system,” the welfare report from Qatar’s World Cup organizers stated. “This required further investigation regarding the method itself and the supervision skills of the specialist contractor staff.”

It has led to “corrective and preventative actions” being implemented by the contractor, a joint venture between Belgian and Qatari firms, along with safety checks across all stadium sites, the report said.

“These included a review of all working-at-height activities across all SC projects, an enhanced process when reviewing specialist activities within construction sites, and a detailed review of all roof and gantry designs,” the Supreme Committee overseeing stadium projects added.

The British man is the only European working on Qatar stadiums to have died in a country relying on a low-paid migrant workforce from south Asia to prepare for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Six non-work related deaths have been announced by organizers, with most suffering from heart or breathing problems.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the supreme committee’s secretary general, said medical staff are trying to raise awareness of the “importance of healthy lifestyles” by evaluating diets and identifying health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. Cooling helmets have also been developed in an attempt to make it safer for workers on outdoor sites during the searing summer heat.

World Cup preparations have been dogged by concerns about the welfare of workers since the natural gas-rich Gulf nation won the FIFA vote in 2010. Mounting international pressure led to Qatar raising living standards and worker rights. Inspections led to three contractors being blacklisted and 14 entities “demobilized” from projects for failing to tackle welfare issues, the World Cup report reveals.

“There is still work to be done to ensure our workers’ welfare standards continue to have a tangible impact on the ground and we are comprehensive in our attempts to tackle the myriad of issues facing migrant workers across the SC program,” Khalid Al-Kubaisi, who oversees worker welfare at the Supreme Committee, said in a statement.

The report has been released as Qatar is gripped by a diplomatic crisis that has seen it isolated in the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and blocked air, sea and land traffic over its support for Islamist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.

Official (finally): Salah completes move from Roma to Liverpool

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It was the summer’s first transfer rumor-turned-real-story-turned-never-ending-saga that seemed to refuse to cross the finish line, but it’s finally come to pass: Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player.

Salah’s move from Roma to Liverpool took so long to complete that the club’s poor social-media manager probably never wants to read the words “Announce Salah” for the rest of his/her life.

The deal will cost Liverpool something in the neighborhood of $50 million — a new Liverpool club record — and completes the utterly terrifying attacking quartet Jurgen Klopp can’t wait to unleash on the Premier League come August — Salah on one side, Sadio Mane opposite, Philippe Coutinho in the middle, and Roberto Firmino at striker. Salah, by the way, will take over Firmino’s no. 11 shirt, with the Brazilian switching to no. 9.