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Cosmos owner Commisso offers to fund new league with $250 million

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New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso is ready to splash a quarter-million dollars on a new or revived soccer league.

He just wants some ground rules to be set by U.S. Soccer first.

Commisso and the Cosmos on Monday released letters sent between Commisso and U.S. Soccer that illustrate Commisso’s desire to invest $250 million in personal funds as part of a $500 million deal to fund a new league that would supposedly rival MLS and likely USL. The North American Soccer League, led by Commisso and the Cosmos, is currently battling with U.S. Soccer and MLS in a lawsuit over the federation’s decision not to give the NASL second-division status.

[READ: PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Watford]

In communication with U.S. Soccer, Commisso is asking for six changes as well as a 10-year runway for the new league to ramp up. The six changes requested are:

  • Either eliminating the close relationship between U.S. Soccer and SUM – MLS’s marketing arm, or making the conflict of interest policy clear in how certain relationships are handled.
  • Equal representation and voting power for each professional league on the USSF board.
  • Rules to keep MLS and USL from “poaching” (as Commisso puts it) clubs in the NASL or other pro leagues.
  • Barring board members with ties to professional leagues (like MLS commissioner Don Garber) from playing a role in selecting independent directors or Athlete Council members.
  • Opening the bidding process to USMNT and USWNT licenses.
  • And lastly, to re-write the Professional League Standards to include promotion/relegation.

Whether for legitimate reasons or not, U.S. Soccer has been slow to respond. Cordeiro claimed (likely correctly) that he was not around to respond to Commisso’s original letter and request due to the FIFA World Cup bid committee assessing the 2026 World Cup bid by the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

When he did respond, Cordeiro said he would likely not be able to personally meet with Commisso due to the World Cup bid but asked for a detailed proposal, something which Commisso angrily declined, stating it was clear enough in the first letter.

In another correspondence from U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer again requested another detailed league proposal, saying they were open to dialogue without “the pressures of artificial deadlines or suggestions of going to the media.”

Of course, the latter is exactly what has happened. And the ongoing litigation between the NASL and U.S. Soccer isn’t going to help this process move as fast as Commisso is hoping.

Ultimately, while the NASL may have a right to grieve over losing Division II status, there was nothing stopping the league from applying for Division II status and putting together a business plan that leads to long-term success, something that hasn’t really been around since the NASL rebirth at the turn of the decade.

It’s clear now that nothing will be determined before the upcoming 2026 World Cup vote, likely ensuring another year outside of professional soccer for the Cosmos, Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada. Hopefully the two sides can come to the table, and Commisso can move forward with his impressive personal investment into domestic soccer.

Jorge Sampaoli resigns as Santos boss

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Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.

Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.

The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.

His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.

The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.

Report: Leicester City looking to give Maddison, Soyuncu pay raises

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According to a report by Sky Sports, Leicester City has started negotiations with young stars James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu about new contacts with increased pay.

The pair of 23-year-olds have current deals that run through the summer of 2023, so there is no urgency to lock them up long-term, but the Foxes are hoping to ease any lingering doubts about their futures at the club by rewarding good play on the field with a salary that fits the bill.

Soyuncu has been one of the league’s breakout defensive stars this season, partnering with veteran Jonny Evans to produce the Premier League’s stingiest defense thus far. The Foxes sold Harry Maguire in the summer for a record fee, and thanks to Soyuncu haven’t missed a beat.

Maddison, meanwhile, has proven himself the heartbeat of the Leicester City attack. He is assisting or taking nearly six shots per 90 minutes, and is on pace to score double-digit goals in league play.

The Sky Sports report says both club and players are “relaxed” about securing a new deal, given the lack of urgency required, but locking down the pair with improved salaries will ward off any significant noise about their futures – at least, for now.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool, Chelsea through to UCL knockouts

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle on Liverpool’s nervy 2-0 win against Red Bull Salzburg to take first place in Group E of the Champions League (1:55), Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Lille to secure a place in the Round of 16 (13:15) and who is the current favorite to win it all (20:45).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Plus, what Arsenal’s come-from-behind 3-1 win at West Ham means for both London clubs (29:10) and the Robbies discuss what they’re looking forward to most at the next Live Premier League Mornings Fan Fest in Miami Beach (46:05).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]