Falcao: I want to play at Copa America and Olympics

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LONDON — 2016 Copa America Centenario? 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio? Or both?

Radamel Falcao is up for anything and the captain of Colombia’s national team has made himself available for both tournaments this summer.

Speaking to ProSoccerTalk at a PUMA event in London, 30-year-old Falcao revealed that he wants to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for Colombia as one of the three over-aged players.

Falcao admitted that being part of Carlos Restrepo’s squad for the tournament would make up for not playing in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to a torn ACL.

Los Cafeteros took the 2014 tournament by storm, reaching the quarterfinal before being beaten by hosts Brazil, but they haven’t competed at the Olympics since 1992 in Barcelona

“El Tigre” wants in.

“Yes, I said before I would like to be part of the Olympics games but it doesn’t depend only on me,” Falcao said. “I couldn’t go to the 2014 World Cup and maybe the Olympic games is a big opportunity. I will be working hard to be fit then the decision depends on the coach.”

In March Colombia’s U-23 side beat their U.S. counterparts in a playoff for the final spot in the Olympic soccer tournament.

After spending most of the past two seasons on the bench for Manchester United and Chelsea while on loan from AS Monaco, Falcao is eager for any chance he can get to play games and score goals. Colombia’s captain currently has 25 goals in 63 appearances for the full national team and will be hoping a big summer in two high-profile tournaments will put himself in the shop window.

[ MORE: Tim Howard: MLS isn’t a retirement league ] 

During his prolific spell with FC Porto and Atletico Madrid from 2009-13 the striker scored 142 goals in 178 overall appearances. However with Chelsea and Man United in the last two seasons he has scored just five goals in 41 appearances and his future remains uncertain with his contract at Monaco running until 2018 but another loan deal likely.

Focusing on the Copa America Centenario — which runs from June 3-26 in the United States of America this summer — Falcao is likely to captain Colombia as they’ve been drawn in Group A with Paraguay, Costa Rica and the host nation, the U.S. national team.

Falcao has been impressed with the growth of the game in the U.S. and believes Jurgen Klinsmann’s will have extra motivation to try and win the tournament.

“Football is growing there but it has even more potential to grow there,” Falcao said. “The U.S. national team have a pretty strong squad and obviously with the players playing at home they will do everything to keep the Copa America at home.”

What about Colombia’s chances of winning?

“The fact that every country from North, Central and South America is playing in this tournament makes it very exciting,” Falcao said. “We have a good chance because our team at the moment is very strong. We would like to win the Copa America.”

With other star players such as Lionel Messi and Neymar wanting to play in both the Copa America and at Rio 2016, issues have arisen with their club side, Barcelona, about them not getting enough rest. The Olympic soccer tournament runs from Aug. 4-20 and that would mean potentially missing the first two weeks of the domestic seasons in most European leagues.

That’s not a problem for Falcao, who admitted that he would be interested in playing in both the Copa America and Olympics this summer.

“At the end of the day it is the coach’s decision to decide which is going to be the squad for each of the tournaments because he also has to think about the World Cup qualifiers in-between,” Falcao explained. “It is up to the coach to make the squads but obviously like every player I think that both tournaments are very interesting.”

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
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A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness

Premier League March Madness
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Our Premier League March Madness results have been as topsy-turvy as the 2019/20 on-field campaign before coronavirus halted it last month.

Yes, the runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

Voting in the semifinal round begins Thursday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the semifinal matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Wednesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 12 Everton
No. 6 Wolves v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Look, all bets are off for the derby. The Everton faithful has shown up in a big way during voting, dispatching Manchester United and Chelsea.

That’s big time stuff, though Liverpool ended the dreams of our presumptive sleeping giant favorite Arsenal after beating West Ham in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Reds are going to have to not just been upstart Everton but overcome the legions of rival supporters who would happily click the Toffees’ box rather than see Liverpool gain the crown.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 7 Sheffield United looking to continue its surprising run in both the PL season and our voting.

The Blades knocked off Man City, potentially aided by the same phenomenon Everton hopes to see on Thursday.

Now they meet Wolves, who may be riding a crest of North American momentum in the form of affinity for El Tri hero Raul Jimenez.

Our prediction: Everton and Wolves in the Final.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight

Premier League March Madness
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Everton continued its upset path toward in our Premier League March Madness voting, showing its sensational support and setting up a fantastic eMerseyside Derby in the Final Four.

Thousands of votes were cast Wednesday, and the Toffees upset isn’t even the top underdog story.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Chris Wilder’s Blades of Sheffield United won a back-and-forth affair with No. 2 seed Manchester City to move into the semifinals.

That’s where they’ll meet No. 6 seed Wolves, who powered past Leicester City as if it wasn’t a challenge.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results in full
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

Handball rule
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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.