Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

FA head tough on Guardiola’s “political symbol” ribbon

1 Comment

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is annoying many Spaniards by wearing a pro-Catalan yellow ribbon, the head of the English Football Association said, highlighting the need to be tough on keeping political symbols out of soccer.

The FA’s CEO, Martin Glenn, also said “we don’t want” religious symbols being displayed by teams, including the Star of David. The symbol of Judaism is the main component of the Israeli flag.

Glenn succeeded last year in persuading soccer’s lawmaking body, The International Football Association Board, to change the statutes to ensure poppies commemorating Britain’s war dead were allowed on England jerseys and no longer flouted regulations banning political, religious or personal symbols on kits and in stadiums.

Glenn defended the FA’s decision to charge Guardiola for wearing a yellow ribbon at games, claiming it cannot be compared to the poppy. Guardiola, a former Barcelona player and coach, wears a yellow ribbon in support of Catalan politicians who were jailed or went into exile after a secession bid in October when an independence referendum banned by Madrid authorities was held.

“To be honest, and to be very clear, Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon is a political symbol, it’s a symbol of Catalan independence, and I can tell you there are many more Spaniards, non-Catalans, who are (expletive) off by it,” Glenn told reporters after an IFAB meeting.

“All we are doing is even-handedly applying the laws of the game. Poppies are not political symbols. That yellow ribbon is. Where do you draw the line?”

Glenn referenced the right-wing, euroskeptic U.K. Independence Party and the Islamic State group.

“Should we have someone with a UKIP badge, someone with an ISIS badge? That’s why you have to be pretty tough that local, regional, national party organizations cannot use football shirts to represent them,” Glenn said.

Glenn further expanded on why the law banning “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment is necessary.

“We have re-written Law 4 of the game so that things like a poppy are OK,” Glenn said. “But things that are going to be highly divisive, and that could be strong religious symbols, it could be the Star of David, it could be the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like (former Zimbabwe president) Robert Mugabe on your shirt, these are the things we don’t want.”

The Star of David referenced by Glenn features on the Israeli flag which appears on national team kits and in the stadium. The English FA’s president is Prince William, who is due to visit Israel later this year.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

Getty Images
1 Comment

Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in a top four Premier League place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.