Ignacio Piatti’s move to Montréal may cost him a place in Copa Libertadores’ final

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Every MLS team is getting their own Argentine these days, but whereas San Jose just confirmed theirs today, Montréal announced Ignacio Piatti’s impending arrival earlier this month. During that time, Piatti has stayed in Argentina, where he’s helped San Lorenzo to the Copa Libertadores final. The ability to play through CONMEBOL’s club championship was a major part of the 29-year-old’s negotiation with Montréal.

Unfortunately, the fun that is international transfer windows is about to call time on the teams’ goodwill. On Aug. 7, North American’s transfer window closes, preventing Montréal from registering players from other countries. With Copa’s two-legged final scheduled for Aug. 6 and 13, Piatti will have to join his new club before seeing out San Lorenzo’s continental campaign.

According to Major League Soccer’s website, the two teams pursued a FIFA exemption that would allow Piatti to complete Copa with San Lorenzo. Per Montréal owner Joey Saputo, that path fell short.

“What FIFA told us is that it’s something they’ve never done,” Saputo told reporters on Wednesday. So it would be very tough for him to get an exemption, and his club, San Lorenzo, know it. They don’t have a choice; he has to come here before August 7. I don’t know if he plays on August 6, but honestly, I don’t think so. He’ll be here before the window closes.”

Can’t we just turn a blind eye to this one? Both clubs are on board, as is the player. And we’re not talking about a huge amount of time to forgive. It’s six days.

Paraguay’s Nacional, San Lorenzo’s opposition, might have an issue with it, but their case would have to rest on a slippery slope argument that envisions finalists playing with rosters overloaded with players destined for leagues with Aug. 7 transfer deadlines. Would it be to terrible for us to wait until that world is more than a hypothetical?

At least, that’s one point of view. The other: This is a situation the teams clearly saw as a possibility, yet all sides elected to move forward with the deal. San Lorenzo had the ability to go out and get another player to address this need. Just because Piatti really wants to play next week doesn’t mean anybody should rewrite their rules.

This is an oddity, not a tragedy, though it’s still unfortunate for Piatti. Libertadores was clearly important to him. Unfortunately, his move north had to take priority over the chance San Lorenzo would make the final.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.