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Report: MLS has improved racial, gender hiring practices

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Major League Soccer made improvements in both its racial and gender hiring practices, according to an annual report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

[ MORE: USMNT defender Matt Miazga scores for Vitesse ]

MLS received an overall grade of B+ with a combined grade of 84.7, up by a significant 1.5 percentage points from the league’s 2015 overall grade.

[ MORE: Arena to make second USMNT tenure debut against Serbia ]

Richard Lapchick, the author of the report, said MLS’s improvements are encouraging.

“The league office is doing really in the racial and gender hiring practices and we’re seeing some increases at the team level as well, so that’s definitely a plus,” Lapchick told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Laphchick said that MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s office has been the pacesetter with an A+ in racial hiring and an A- in gender hiring and added, “The teams need to follow the League’s example more closely.”

For its racial hiring practices, MLS earned 88.5 points, up a substantial 2.1 percentage points from 86.3 in 2015. This resulted in a B+, the same letter grade as last year.

MLS received an A- for head coaches, a B+ for team professional administration, and a B for team senior administration and assistant coaches when it came to racial hiring practices. There was a major improvement in the general manager position where four GMs who were people of color were hired, prompting the grade to rise from an F in 2015 to a B+ this year.

MLS earned a B for gender hiring practices, the same letter grade as in 2015. In so doing, MLS remains the only other men’s professional league other than the NBA with a B for gender hiring practices.

The most notable achievement for gender hiring practices came at the league office employee level, where the MLS received an A- grade. The team senior administration received a C- and team professional administration received a C+. There was also major improvement for gender in senior administration where the MLS jumped from an F in 2015 to a C- in 2016, although Lapchick said in his report that area remains “a serious concern.”

MLS earned an A+ for its outstanding diversity initiatives for the eighth consecutive season.

Some other notes from the report:

– The MLS League Office continued to be the standard-bearer for the entire league with people of color comprising 36.4 percent of all professional positions, while women filled 37 percent of these positions.

– People of color with head coaching positions increased from 10 percent in 2015 to 20 percent in 2016. The Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, New York City FC and FC Dallas were the four MLS franchises led by Latinos.

– Assistant coaches of color decreased by 5.2 percentage points from 18.8 percent in 2015 to 13.6 percent in 2015.

– MLS teams have the worst record in professional sport for hiring people of color as team vice presidents. There was a decrease in vice presidents who were people of color in the 2016 season from 6.4 percent in 2015 to 4 percent in 2016.

– Alex Leitao with Orlando City Soccer was the only person of color holding the position of CEO/president.

– Earnie Stewart, of the Philadelphia Union, was the first African-American GM in MLS since its inception.

Turkey hands bid plans for Euro 2024 to UEFA

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) Turkey has given UEFA its hosting plan for the 2024 European Championship, citing “unprecedented state support” to help beat Germany to stage the 24-team tournament.

Turkish soccer federation president Yildirim Demiroren says the latest attempt is “our best bid ever.” Ten stadiums proposed include two in Istanbul.

Turkey bid with Greece for EURO 2008, then alone for the 2012 and 2016 editions.

[ MORE: TFC’s “heart has been ripped from chest” ]

Before UEFA chose a multi-nation EURO 2020 hosting plan, Turkey was strongly favored before focusing on Istanbul’s failed 2020 Olympic bid.

Turkey has never hosted a major soccer tournament. West Germany hosted the eight-team EURO 1988 and a unified Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup.

The UEFA executive committee will pick a winner on Sept. 27 in Nyon.

Premier League TV, stream schedule

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A pivotal weekend in the Premier League is coming up, especially in the race for the top four and battle against relegation.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. Stoke City – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Southampton vs. Bournemouth – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. West Bromwich Albion – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Brighton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Huddersfield Town vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Chelsea – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
9:15 a.m. ET: West Ham vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM
11:30 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Arsenal – NBCSN [STREAM

Monday
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford – NBCSN [STREAM]

 

Southampton’s Hughes sends Boufal to U-23s after reported bust-up

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One of Morocco’s best young players isn’t going to get ideal World Cup preparation, and could even lose his place in the team if things don’t turn around at Southampton.

Southampton’s one-time record signing Sofiane Boufal has been banished to the U-23 side after refusing to warm up in Saints loss to Chelsea last weekend.

[ MORE: TFC loses CCL Final in PKs ]

The refusal reportedly led to a dust-up with manager Mark Hughes in the dressing room after Saints came-from-ahead to lose 3-2.

Hughes says everything is better now, but there needs to be punishment for Boufal’s actions. This means one of Saints’ most talented attackers won’t be a part of their desperate battle to overcome relegation (at least not soon).

From the Guardian:

“Given where we are at the moment, he’s probably best served training with a different group just to make people aware the situation we found ourselves in wasn’t what should have happened. He understands that now. He probably needs to rebuild a bit of trust with us and his team-mates. That’s what we’re working on. He won’t be involved this weekend. We’ll have to wait and see [whether he can return this season].”

“He’s remorseful about it, which he needed to be, and we’ll build him back up to be in the group again. But the time for that isn’t now. It’s about him biding his time, doing the right things, until he’s reintegrated.”

Boufal has two goals and two assists in 26 games (11 starts) since arriving from arriving from Lille for around $22 million. He has six caps for Morocco.

Liverpool fans warned, as Roma pledges support

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There was a terrible incident in Liverpool on Tuesday when a Reds supporter was set upon by Roma fans and left in critical condition.

Sean Cox, 53, was attacked outside a pub before Liverpool’s 5-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg win over AS Roma.

[ MORE: LFC 5-2 Roma | Klopp reacts ]

Liverpool has released its plans to keep supporters safe should they be among the 5,000 with tickets in Rome on Wednesday (via LiverpoolFC.com), pledging the “most comprehensive safety and security advice.”

The club has taken the exceptional measure of requesting an extraordinary meeting in the Italian capital, which will take place on Friday April 27. … At the behest of Liverpool, club officials will join AS Roma, UEFA and the relevant Italian police and security services to discuss specific ongoing concerns.

Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock backed up Roma’s police demand that Liverpool fans without tickets skip the trip to Italy. According to the BBC, Liverpool was asked to put fans names on their tickets to the game.

“While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel,” he said.

AS Roma, for its part, posted a photo of Cox with the statement, “His recovery and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now.”