A Thailand junta’s latest move to win favor over its people is to eliminate pay-per-view World Cup matches in the nation.
Since taking over, the junta has done plenty to displease, including a curfew much of the country in addition to arresting a popular anti-coup protest leader.
So, they’re on a “happiness campaign” in order to curry favor with the general public, and part of that is ensuring no one has to pay to watch the world’s biggest tournament.
From the BBC:
In an attempt to subdue opposition to the coup, the military has been running a charm offensive alongside its repression.
The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says ensuring the World Cup can be watched by everyone is central to this so-called happiness campaign.
The RS broadcaster had already bought the rights to the matches and planned to allow only a third to be shown on free-to-air channels.
To see all of them viewers would have to buy a decoder, at a cost beyond many poorer Thais.
So the military has ordered the national broadcasting regulator to negotiate a deal for all the matches to be shown at no cost.
RS is reportedly claiming $21.5m (£13m) in compensation.
Maybe sports really are the new “opiate of the masses”.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.
[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]
Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.
Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.
He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.
Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.
There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]
The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.
“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.
“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”
The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.
Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.
“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.
“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”
Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.
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The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.
Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.
It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.
With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]
Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:
Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.
After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.
West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.
Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.