FA admit Community Shield could be played abroad – How about the US?

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Following Arsenal’s 3-0 Community Shield win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, the English Football Association’s general secretary, Alex Horne, has admitted the showpiece event may head overseas in the future.

Over 70,000 fans were at Wembley to watch the Gunners lift the shield in the season opener which pits the FA Cup holders against the Premier League winners.

[RELATED: Arsenal win 13th shield]

Now the FA, for the first time, have admitted they may follow the lead of other top-flights in European soccer and look at staging the game abroad from 2018 onwards. Imagine Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool or any other PL side battling it out for the Community Shield in New York, Boston, Washington D.C. or elsewhere in the U.S.

According to the Associated Press, Horne is contemplating just that.

“It’s an interesting idea and we’ve seen the NFL do something similar with their games coming to Wembley,” Horne said. “The NBA are doing it and we know that Spanish football and Italian football are looking at doing that with their own Supercup-type games. So, it’s an interesting opportunity. But, as I say, right now, we’ve got a contract with Wembley [until 2018], and the fans and the players enjoy playing at Wembley.”

Hmm, interesting.

This season the French Super Cup was played in Beijing as Paris-St-Germain beat Lorient. Now, could the English FA host their curtain raiser in the USA from 2018? With no fewer than nine PL teams heading to the U.S. for their preseason tours this summer, playing in front of packed stadiums and a real buzz created Stateside, playing an actual game that matters is the next step. Also, the fact that Horne specifically mentions what the NBA and NFL have done by bringing games to London shows he has the American sports realm on his brain when talking about potentially shifting the shield abroad.

Okay, there are those who believe the Community Shield is nothing but a glorified friendly but it would be a first step to having the “39th game” of the PL season hosted in the USA or elsewhere abroad. For many years the FA and Premier League have flirted with the idea of a money-making 39th game abroad and hosting the Community Shield on American soil could be a dry-run for what to expect. The financial aspect of packing out a huge NFL or College Football stadium with up to, or over, 100,000 fans, that must be enticing for the FA. Manchester United vs. Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium proved that is possible as over 109,000 packed into the Big House earlier this month.

The Middle East, Dubai or Qatar, and possibly Australia or Indonesia could also be seen as potential overseas locations to host the Community Shield but surely the U.S. is the frontrunner if the game was to be played outside of the UK for the first time in history.

Stranger things have happened.

French league terminates goal-line technology contract

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PARIS (AP) The French football league has terminated the contract with its goal-line technology provider after a series of glitches.

The LFP had already suspended the use of GoalControl, the German system that was deployed at the 2014 World Cup.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the league will launch a tender in February to find a new provider of the technology that determines whether the ball crossed the line.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

In recent months, the French league had repeatedly expressed its discontent with GoalControl.

Goal-line technology entered soccer after a goal was wrongly disallowed at the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA is already focused on fast-tracking the next phase of technology – video assistant referees – for the World Cup in June.

Goal-line technology and VAR were provided by Hawk-Eye at the Confederations Cup last year.

Bristol City’s Johnson: “They certainly have heard of us now”

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The Premier League world may see Bristol City next season, but it seems its manager has the personality to arrive on the top flight whether or not his Robins earn promotion this season.

Johnson, 36, earned plenty of plaudits after leading his Championship club to the League Cup semifinals, famously defeated Manchester United in the quarters.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Before that, Bristol beat Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Stoke City, and Watford. The Robins beat third tier Plymouth Argyle 5-0 in the first round.

Johnson was beaming after the Robins took Man City to the edge, closing to within a goal of extra time before Kevin De Bruyne‘s stoppage time number ended the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

“Absolutely I’m proud. It’s not just tonight but over the course of the season, particularly the cup run. It was a fantastic occasion, I’m sorry we couldn’t get the win but we played against the best side that I have ever seen live. They have so many good individuals.

“We kept going and it’s taken two injury-time goals to beat us. They certainly have [heard of us] now…everybody knows what we’re about. It’s been great.”

Bristol City is in the Championship’s fifth place, bidding for its first top flight campaign since 1980. Johnson should be a hot prospect to earn a shot in the Premier League should the Robins not make the jump.

League Cup semifinal preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has won 4-of-7 League Cup matches vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time series 74W-58D-62L
  • Clubs have drawn four times this season

Hardware hopes are on the line when Chelsea hits the Emirates Stadium for a League Cup semifinal second leg with Arsenal on Wednesday.

The sides drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, giving Chelsea the advantage of knowing a scoring draw would do the trick and set up a date with Manchester City at Wembley on Feb. 25, though Arsenal has home field advantage in pursuit of a win.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may debut for Arsenal, though the club released an interesting note on Tuesday: He’ll wear No. 7 in most competitions, but will have to use a different number in the Europa League because Alexis Sanchez wore it to start the tournament.

Chelsea’s Antonio Conte won’t have Alvaro Morata (back) and Cesc Fabregas for the match, though Andreas Christensen will be available for selection.

The clubs are no strangers to each other in big non-PL spots, squaring off in this season’s Community Shield (Arsenal won in penalty kicks) and last season’s FA Cup Final (Arsenal won).

Nothing has separated the sides on the field aside from those penalty kicks at Wembley Stadium, as Arsenal and Chelsea have drawn 1-1, 0-0, 2-2, and 0-0 since August.

What they’re saying

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Henrikh Mkhitaryan“He can play in different positions, but personally I see him first in a wide position, but I’m thinking about him a possibility to play through the middle. You are certain in our job of nothing, that’s absolutely sure. But you believe and I believe he has the qualities to do well, is a team player and our game is based on team attitude and movement and I think he can absorb the quantity of movement in our team.”

Chelsea’s Conte on the lineup: “Every game is different, you change the quality of your opponent and you must be intelligent enough to understand if you should continue with the same players or make some changes.”

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga