Debt, match-fixing lead UEFA to hand out European bans

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Three clubs have been handed European bans by UEFA, booting them from their places in either the Champions League or the Europa League this coming season.

Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade was barred from the Champions League thanks to increasing debts that have not been paid on time.

With Financial Fair Play instituted recently, UEFA is cracking down on not just club spending but also healthy financial practices, and with the club in violation of that, the punishment was given.

According to UEFA, the official designation of the violation was “the existence of overdue payables as a result of a complaint.” So obviously a debtor provided enough proof to the governing body to show the club was well past its dues.

It’s a big blow to the Serbian giants, who won the European Cup in 1991 but haven’t featured in Champions League play in seven years thanks to city rivals Partizan Belgrade dominating the Serbian league during that time. Only the top spot in Serbia’s SuperLiga earns a berth into the Champions League.

With Partizan finishing second, they would earn Red Star’s spot if the decision holds up. Red Star has 10 days to file an appeal.

In addition, a pair of Turkish clubs Sivasspor and Eskisehirspor were thrown from the Europa League for a year due to the uncovering of a domestic match-fixing scandal.

The matches in question were easy targets, coming against eventual champions Fenerbahce late in the 2010 season.

Sivasspor qualified for the Europa League’s third qualifying round via their fifth-place finish, while Eskisehirspor finished second in the domestic cup to earn them a spot in the second qualifying round.

With reigning Super Lig champions Fenerbahce serving a two-year Champions League ban, runners-up Galatasaray and third-place Besiktas are into next year’s Champions League, and the pair of Bursaspor and Karabukspor will take the vacant Europa League spots.

Football leaks: French police raid PSG HQ, 3 players’ homes

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PARIS (AP) A French official says police investigating suspected tax fraud linked to the soccer industry have raided the headquarters of Paris Saint-Germain and the homes of three Argentine players in France.

The official said anti-corruption police units searched the homes of PSG players Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore, and that of Nantes forward Emiliano Sala on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Real Madrid signs $50m teen ]

Police also raided the head offices of PSG at Parc des Princes and other offices in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside the French capital, the official said.

The official, familiar with the case, declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

The national financial prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in December after so-called “football leaks” reports allegedly detailed tax arrangements by top players, coaches and clubs.

Real Madrid signs most expensive Brazilian since Neymar

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Real Madrid didn’t wait long after learning Vinicius Junior was healthy.

The 16-year-old Flamengo star is committed to the Bernabeu after passing a physical, and Real Madrid announced Tuesday that they’ll have their new player no later than July 2019.

The reported fee is $50 million, which would be the most money spent on a Brazilian player since Barcelona landed Neymar for about $64 million in 2013.

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The forward has made two appearances for Flamengo, and turns 17 on July 12. He has 19 goals in 22 appearances for Brazil’s U-17 side.

Here’s Real’s announcement:

Real Madrid C. F. and Clube de Regatas do Flamengo have reached an agreement regarding the transfer of the federative rights of the player Vinicius Junior from July 2018. The player will remain at his current club until July 2019, although he will be able to play for Real Madrid before then if both clubs agree to it.

VOTE: 2016-17 Premier League Goal of the Season

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Okay, so you have 1064 to choose from, so choose wisely…

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 PL season reviews

The 2016-17 Premier League season is over but you can vote for your favorite goal of the campaign up until June 1.

Simply click on the video above to watch the contenders compiled by Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, and then you can vote by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Ex-Barcelona president Rosell held in money laundering probe

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MADRID (AP) Spanish authorities say former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and his wife have been detained in a probe over his businesses in Brazil.

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The detentions early Tuesday are part of a money laundering investigation related to buying television rights for past matches of Brazil’s national team.

Three other people have been detained, but their identities were not immediately released by authorities.

Police raided offices, homes, and businesses in Barcelona and other locations in Spain as part of “Operation Rimet,” in reference to former FIFA President Jules Rimet.

Authorities said the operation used information from the FBI following the U.S. case against high-level FIFA officials in 2015.

Rosell is already standing trial for fraud and corruption charges involving the 2013 transfer of Brazilian striker Neymar.