What are Domenico Scala’s plans to restructure FIFA before election of new president?

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Before Sepp Blatter resigns as FIFA president sometime in the next year, handing the reigns over to a newly-elected leader, he’ll have the chance to be a major part of changes to the infrastructure of soccer’s governing body.

And while there’s a very good chance, in our opinion, that he’ll be forced to step away from that sooner than expected — FIFA says the earliest we can expect an election is December — Blatter’s speech on Tuesday introduced us to the idea of a man named Domenico Scala helping him in a big way.

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“I cannot do this alone. I have asked Domenico Scala to oversee the introduction and implementation of these and other measures. Mr Scala is the Independent Chairman of our Audit and Compliance Committee elected by the Fifa Congress. He is also the Chairman of the ad hoc Electoral Committee and, as such, he will oversee the election of my successor. Mr Scala enjoys the confidence of a wide range of constituents within and outside of Fifa and has all the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle these major reforms.”

Scala is a Swiss-Italian businessman who serves as the independent chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee. Born in 1965, he’s business-first and soccer-second.

Here’s Scala’s response, a long missive which does not distance him from Blatter. From FIFA.com:

“Before I begin, I would like to thank the President. The decision that he has made today was difficult and courageous. In the current circumstances, this is the most responsible way to ensure an orderly transition. I know that he has truly acted with the best interests of FIFA and football in his heart.

“I have a great amount of respect for the President and the role that he has played in championing reform within FIFA. As he has recognised, we have worked hard to put in place governance reforms. But this has not been enough.

“By making this announcement, he has created an opportunity for us to go further than FIFA has before – to fundamentally change the way in which FIFA is structured.

“As the independent Chairman of the Audit and Compliance committee, I am committed to working to facilitate the implementation of the reforms that the President has outlined and to putting in place the conditions for the election of a new President.

“As the President has stated, these reforms will include fundamental changes to the way in which this organisation is structured – steps that go far beyond the actions that have been implemented to this point. I would like to provide you with additional details into the process that FIFA will follow moving forward.

“Under the rules governing FIFA, the election of the President and any fundamental reforms to the FIFA statutes must be voted on by the Members at the FIFA Congress. The next FIFA Congress is scheduled for May 2016 in Mexico City. As the President has stated, this would be an unnecessary delay. In order to facilitate more immediate action, the President will ask the Executive Committee to organise an Extraordinary Congress in order to elect the new President and vote upon these reforms.

‘Based upon the FIFA statutes, a four-month notice is required for any presidential elections to be held. FIFA must also consider appropriate time to vet candidates and allow them to present their ideas for the organisation that set forth their vision. Therefore, while the decision on timing of the Extraordinary Congress and election of a new President will ultimately be up to the Executive Committee, the expectation is that this could take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year.

“For years, FIFA has worked hard to put in place governance reforms, but as the President has stated, this must go further to implement deep-rooted structural change. The President has outlined a number of specific recommendations to achieve this. A number of these steps have previously been proposed but have been rejected by Members. Today more than ever, FIFA is committed to ensuring that these changes are implemented and upheld.

“As part of FIFA’s work, the organisation will re-examine the way in which it is structured. While it would be premature to speculate on the outcomes of this work, nothing will be off the table, including the structure and composition of the Executive Committee and the way in which members of the Executive Committee are elected. I expect this to be an important aspect of ongoing reform. As I said a year ago, the structure of the Executive Committee and its Members are at the core of the current issues that FIFA is facing. Current events only reinforce my determination to drive this reform.

“Many of the issues that have been raised in the past relate to the actions of individuals. In order to ensure that those who represent FIFA are of the highest integrity, FIFA will seek to implement FIFA-driven integrity checks for all Executive Committee members. Such a reform was previously proposed by the Independent Governance Committee but was rejected by the Confederations. Today these checks are the responsibility of the confederations to which these members belong. This must change. Confederations actions must be consistent with their speech.

“While FIFA operates in line with all applicable laws and international accounting standards, FIFA recognises that many have questioned the transparency by which FIFA operates. To address specific calls, FIFA will seek to publicize the compensation of the President and the Executive Committee Members and will propose term limits for the President and Executive Committee members.

“FIFA is fundamentally committed to change and are determined to address the issues that continue to undermine FIFA and football more broadly.

“Today, the President communicated his decision to all 209 Members. Now is the time for FIFA to move forward. There is significant work to be done in order to regain the trust of the public and to fundamentally reform the way in which people see FIFA. These steps will ensure that the organization cannot be used by those seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the game.”

It’s important that Blatter’s departure not be a “get out of jail free” card for the rest of FIFA. Do Scala’s comments make you think anything major will change? Or is it just lip service?

Keep checking ProSoccerTalk for the latest, as we continue to cover the shocking news that Blatter’s time is up.

Crystal Palace – Everton: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Crystal Palace – Everton: It’s a battle of perfect teams on Saturday when Everton visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (Watch live at 10 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The Eagles have knocked off Southampton and Manchester United to open their 2020-21 Premier League season while Everton has handled Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

Two legends of the game will be at the helm when Roy Hodgson and Carlo Ancelotti match wits on Saturday. Can the former continue to coax unexpected results of his Eagles against the strengthened and powerful Toffees?


Team news: Crystal Palace – Everton (INJURY REPORT)

James Tomkins (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder), Christian Benteke (ankle), Gary Cahill (thigh) and Jairo Riedewald (undisclosed) are all set to miss out for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.

Fabian Delph returned for the midweek League Cup game but Everton won’t have Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle), Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), and Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf).


What they’re saying

Roy Hodgson on how the Eagles won (again) at Old Trafford: “We made certain and kept them playing in front of us and they could not profit from those spaces they are skillful enough to find. And when we had the ball I thought we looked very dangerous and threatening so I don’t think it was a big surprise that we scored three.”

Carlo Ancelotti after Jordan Pickford made a gaffe against Fleetwood Town: “I think the first goal was not an individual mistake because we passed the ball back to Jordan, it was a really difficult ball and we could behave differently. Of course you have to improve there. We want to build up from the back, but when there’s no risk. If it’s risky it’s no good because we can concede a goal like we did. It can be a good lesson for the future. I didn’t speak to him and, as I said, I have to speak with players that were involved when we build-up.Jordan was not the only one.”

Jordan Pickford
FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Jordan Pickford of Everton is challenged by Josh Morris of Fleetwood Town (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Palace is an underdog despite beating United and it’s perhaps a bit surprising to see them at +275 with a draw at +220. An Everton win delivers +110.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Crystal Palace – Everton prediction

Hodgson has coaxed some tremendous midfield performances out of James McArthur, James McCarthy, and Luka Milivojevic in his tenure at Palace but out-performing Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, and Andre Gomes is a big ask even for that steely crew. James Rodriguez is in incredible form but so is Wilfried Zaha. Couldn’t this one go either way? Yes, but if Everton’s moving in the direction many believe it will be able to take all three points in a composed 2-1 win.


How to watch Crystal Palace – Everton stream and start time

Kickoff: 10 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Brighton – Manchester United: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

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Brighton – Manchester United: Impressive Brighton and Hove Albion hopes to continue Manchester United’s winless league season when the Red Devils visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

It will be the first two meetings in several days, as Brighton’s win at Preston North End and United’s takedown of Luton Town set up a League Cup fourth round date at the Amex.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

United handled Brighton well last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0, so this will be a great test at the acumen of both managers: Graham Potter in his second full season with the Seagulls and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempting to prove his doubters wrong.


Team news: Brighton – Manchester United (INJURY REPORT)

The Seagulls will not have Yves Bissouma, who was suspended three matches for his no-look, studs-up kick into the face of Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis. Brighton manager Graham Potter revealed that the long-term recovery of Jose Izquierdo is about two weeks away from being complete.

Manchester United will be without Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.


What they’re saying

Potter on the League Cup win setting up consecutive Man United tests: “It’s a big week for us with those two matches and then Everton before the international break. That’s what we wanted because we wanted to go through in this competition. Players always want to play and the best thing for them is to be out on the field on nights like tonight to keep everyone in the group ready for when they’re needed. You saw that today. There was a willingness to run and fight for the team and get the result and that’s why I’m very happy.”

United’s Solskjaer after goalkeeper Dean Henderson starred on his senior debut: “The goalkeeping department and training level has been really high, of course, you can see driven and dedicated people and I’ve enjoyed watching them. Dean in goal, good save, you can see he’s having to concentrate and it’s a different job to what he’s done a few times last season and he came up with the save when he had to.”

League Cup results
LUTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Dean Henderson of Manchester United saves a shot at Kenilworth Road (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Brighton is +375 to win at home, while a draw nets the wagerer +260. Manchester United is expected to win and thusly -130 to take all three points.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Brighton – Manchester United prediction

The only thing keeping us from pegging a very impressive Brighton team to collect another win is the shadow cast by Manchester United’s 2019-20 season (and long tradition of winning). United was rusty in its loss to Crystal Palace and had to work hard to defeat Luton Town in the League Cup. If that rust was there last week, how do the legs feel after a week? Anyway, the Red Devils still have Bruno Fernandes and it just doesn’t seem like this team starts 0-2 (or even 0-1-1). I grimace as I write 2-1 to Manchester United.


How to watch Brighton – Manchester United stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick

Frank Lampard reaction
Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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Chelsea rebounded from its weekend loss to Liverpool by getting the good vibes going through a number of new faces Wednesday in a League Cup blowout of Barnsley.

Kai Havertz scored three times, Ben Chilwell came off the bench to chip in an assist on debut, and Thiago Silva went 60 minutes in his first match in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues pounded the Championship side 6-0.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

We’ll start with the longtime PSG defender, who had four clearances, an interception, and a tackle while winning both of his duels.

He passed at 94 percent including six-of-seven long balls. Even accounting for the competition, that’s solid.

Lampard called Silva’s outing “a perfect 60 minutes” via Football.London:

“He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others,” Lampard said. “He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”

ProSoccerTalk talked about Chelsea’s need for a leader at the back during this week’s “Unfiltered,” and Lampard has clearly been waiting for someone like Silva.

As for Havertz, you only needed the box score to see his influence on the game.

Two of Havertz’s three goals were assisted by Tammy Abraham and a third from Mason Mount.

The German phenom also racked up five tackles and two key passes against Barnsley.

“He makes the recovery tackle for Ross (Barkley)’s goal, but then to also just have some freedom on the ball in central areas roaming behind Tammy,” Lampard said. “The combinations he had with Tammy, the way he grew into the game and had confidence and the three goals. It was a great night for Kai and the first of many for him.”

Havertz scored seven braces for Bayer Leverkusen, but this was his first hat trick. Barnsley may play in the second tier, but they had allowed three goals in their last four games.

Whoops.

Actors Reynolds, McElhenney bid to invest in Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC
Photos by Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Jim Spellman/WireImage
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“The Gang Buys a Football Team?”

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds are said to be in talks to buy National League side Wrexham AFC, reports The Guardian.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

The Welsh club, nicknamed the Red Dragons, was founded in 1864 and made it to the European Cup Winners’ Cup eight times between 1972-96.

They’ve since been relegated out of the Football League, dipping out of League Two in 2008.

McElhenney and Reynolds have bid to take over the club, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust says 97.5 percent of their members voted to allow the actors to propose their vision for the club before a second vote.

From wst.org.uk:

As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

It’s gotta get McElhenney’s goat that Reynolds gets the “award-winning” adjective added to his name.

Either way, this is definitely an intriguing club for investment and the potential addition of Reynolds and McElhenney to the fray would only increase the interest in Wrexham AFC.

Deadpool and Mac would be quite a combo in the transfer market.