Jack Warner speaks on FIFA corruption charges, says he was “totally surprised”

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Indicted former FIFA executive Jack Warner has spoken out in a lengthy video posted to Facebook defending himself and thanking those who have supported him since his surrender to police in Trinidad & Tobago.

“This past week has been a most trying one for me, a most difficult one,” Warner said. “To have had these charges levied at me without any question of any kind on me left me totally surprised.”

Warner continues to thank those who have supported him on social media as well as his family, and went on to describe how little he is in the FIFA ranks as evidence that he is innocent. “How is it that FIFA is 100 years old, I entered FIFA when it was 70 years old, I left FIFA four years ago, I am the youngest person in the smallest country ever in the world that reached that far in FIFA. How is it that I can be responsible for any perceived culture of FIFA? How is it that the whole world expects me to have the influence to change a World Cup bid?”

“How is it that Jack Warner is now everybody’s whipping boy?” As a former FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president, he’s not the minnow he claims to be.

But the crowning moment of this video is Jack Warner’s utterly embarrassing moment where he used some terribly inaccurate evidence to put the United States to the sword, showing just how incapable of defending himself he may be.

“If FIFA is so bad, why is it the USA wants to keep the World Cup?” Warner asks, holding up an article and pointing to it. “Why is it USA authorities sought to embarrass FIFA in this way? Something has to be wrong.”

Well, Jack, something is wrong. The article he held up and cited is one titled “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States” and is written by The Onion, a fake news network that uses satire and outright incorrect claims to produce humorous articles for readers who knowingly understand the articles are untrue.

The video has since been deleted from Warner’s personal website and from his Facebook page, but nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet, and it was uploaded to YouTube:

Jack Warner video
“I could understand the U.S. embarrassment that a small country as Qatar with less than 30,000 residents, could have been able to overcome them [for the 2022 World Cup],” Warner continued after citing the fake article as evidence of a double standard. “But no one gives them the right to do what they are doing. No one country has any divine right to host a World Cup, and if the FIFA authorities in their wisdom, or lack of it, chose to select Qatar for the World Cup, then so be it. Take your losses and go.”

Oh dear, Jack. Might want to cut your losses and go.

Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

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It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”