Parma’s second attempt for UEFA license rejected, Europa League bid in jeopardy

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Due to unclear reasons, Parma had their second attempt at obtaining a UEFA license rejected, with just one more application available before they would be removed from Europa League qualification.

Sky Italia’s Tancredi Palmeri was first to report the miss, and Parma was not included in a UEFA release that listed all Italian clubs that had successfully obtained the proper license.

Thanks to a 2-0 win over Livorno and a late missed penalty by Torino this weekend on the final Serie A matchday, Parma qualified for the European competition via a sixth-place finish in the Italian table.

However, they will not be allowed to compete if they do not obtain a license from UEFA.  They have until May 28 to make a final application, which would be reviewed by the High Court of Justice.

Reports out of Italy suggest the disparity could have something to do with a dispute over income tax.  The reports indicate there is a disputed amount of $411,000 that is outstanding, but the club does not believe they have to pay it.

The club, in a statement released Wednesday, that they were “extremely confident” that their application would be accepted.  However, they’ve now reacted with surprise.

Parma has learned with surprise the decision of the Appeals Committee to refuse to issue the UEFA license to our club,” Parma said in a statement released after the most recent decision.Despite the great respect for the work of the Commission, Parma still absolutely convinced of his own reasons – cannot accept this frustrating decision to deny a result that rewards an entire city and that has been achieved after years of effort and competitive spending. For these reasons, the Parma appeal without delay to the High Court of the National Olympic Committee in the certainty that, in the supreme seat of Sports Justice, will be recognized and fulfilled of their economic and financial policies under the procedure for the licensing of UEFA. “

The UEFA release included the following clubs: Atalanta, Fiorentina, Inter, Juventus, Lazio, Milan, Napoli, Roma, Sampdoria, Torino, Udinese, Verona. Torino could therefore conceivably obtain Parma’s spot in the Europa League if Parma failed to secure a license.

However, the UEFA licensing bylaws do indicate a loophole that would allow Parma to compete without a license, if UEFA grant them an exception. It reads: “UEFA may grant special permission to the club to enter the corresponding UEFA club competition subject to the relevant UEFA club competition regulations. Such an extraordinary application applies only to the specific club and for the season in question.”

That does, however, seem unlikely, considering a UEFA license only lasts one season anyways, and if they were to grant an exception you’d think it would lead them to just grant the license.

An interesting note about Parma as well, and maybe something that could be hindering their chances at getting a UEFA license, would be their insane squad size.

According to Wikipedia (which, admittedly, is a horrible trio of words to put together in a sentence, but digging deeper shows surprising accuracy), Parma’s total squad size is in the 220 range, not including their academy.  That includes their current first-team squad, players on loan, and players on other teams which Parma co-owns.

UEFA Champions League semifinal predictions

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With the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League to kick off over the next few days, let’s take a look at both games and predict which teams will make it to the final in Kiev on May 26.

[ MORE: Champions League scores

Liverpool or Roma? Real Madrid or Bayern Munich?

Here’s the lowdown as two eagerly anticipated games take center stage across Europe.


Liverpool vs. AS Roma
First leg: Apr. 24, 2:45 p.m. ET at Anfield
Second leg: May 2, 2:45 p.m. ET at Stadio Olimpico

This should be one heck of a tie with defending optional for both teams but both have very different ways of playing. Jurgen Klopp will unleash the fluid trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on an often brittle Roma defense but the Italian giants have a giant in their own up top in the shape of Edin Dzeko. How Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s defense deal with the threat of Dzeko will likely decide the outcome of this game. Liverpool will look to feed off the famous Anfield atmosphere to wrack up a big first leg lead before they head to Roma for Leg 2, and I fancy Salah to blow his old team away in the first leg. Liverpool to advance 4-2 on aggregate.

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
First leg: Apr. 25, 2:45 p.m. ET at Allianz Arena
Second leg: May 1, 2:45 p.m. ET at Santiago Bernabeu

A proper heavyweight clash as Bayern and Real do battle knowing that whoever wins will be the favorites in the final. Cristiano Ronaldo is in the form of his life (again) after a slow start to this season and Zinedine Zidane’s side made hard work of it against Juventus in the last round but are on course for a third-straight UCL trophy. As for Bayern, they have been in imperious form and you feel like Robert Lewandowski can get the better of Real’s center backs. Expect this to be a tight game with extremely high quality from both teams. Real being at home in the second leg is a big advantage. Real Madrid to advance 3-2 on aggregate. 

Cologne’s Hector extends contract despite likely relegation

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COLOGNE, Germany (AP) Germany defender Jonas Hector has shunned reported interest from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund by extending his contract with Cologne – despite the club’s almost certain relegation from the Bundesliga.

Cologne, eight points from safety with three games remaining, says its 27-year-old captain has signed a two-year extension to 2023 instead of using a release clause in his contract.

Hector, who has been at the club since 2010, says, “It wouldn’t have been a problem to switch to another club after this season but it didn’t feel right for me. I belong to Cologne and want to tackle the new season with the team and the fans behind us.”

Cologne sporting director Armin Veh says Hector’s decision is, “a great signal for the team, the club and our fans.”

Klopp talks politics: “Brexit makes no sense”

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Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of Brexit and he doesn’t care who knows it.

Liverpool’s German manager has spoken in the past about his disdain towards the vote by British citizens to leave the European Union, with Brexit officially planned for March 2019.

Klopp sat down with the Guardian to chat about a whole host of topics but it was his political views which will get the headlines ahead of Liverpool’s huge UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against AS Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.

The man who has Liverpool on the cusp of reaching a major European final and comfortably in the top four of the Premier League also admitted that he has a “helping syndrome” and wants to help out everyone and he cares about them greatly.

It is worth letting the words speak for themselves when it comes to Klopp’s comments on Brexit as it is clearly something else he cares a lot about.

Take it away, Jurgen…

“When Mr [David] Cameron had the idea [of a referendum] you thought: ‘This is not something people should decide in a moment.’ We are all influenced by the way only some of the argument is given, and once the decision is taken nobody gives you a real opportunity to change it again. The choice was either you stay in Europe, which is not perfect, or you go out into something nobody has any idea how it will work.

“So you give people the chance to make this big decision. And then it’s a 51-49 [51.9%-48.1%] vote and you’re thinking: ‘Wow, 49% are not happy with the decision that’s going to change the country.’ For the 51%, I’m sure they realized pretty early after the vote: ‘What have we done?’ The two leaders of the leave campaign then stepped aside. It was a pure sign they were surprised themselves by the vote. OK, that can happen. But then, come on, let’s sit together again. Let’s think about it again and let’s vote again with the right information – not with the information you’ve got around the Brexit campaign. They were obviously not right, not all of them. It makes no sense at all.”

“The EU is not perfect but it was the best idea we had. History has always shown that when we stay together we can sort out problems. When we split then we start fighting. There was not one time in history where division creates success. So, for me, Brexit still makes no sense.”

VIDEO: Napoli fans celebrate Juventus win

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It is safe to say Napoli’s fans were pretty happy with the 1-0 win their team secured at Juventus on Sunday.

Kalidou Koulibaly powered home a header in stoppage as Napoli moved just one point behind Juventus, who sit top of the Serie A table, with four games to go. The title race is well and truly on in Italy.

The scenes across Naples after the game were incredible and when the players arrived back at the airport at around 3 a.m. local time they were greeted by thousands of adoring fans.

Take a look at the video below. Wow.