What happens to Man City’s players if ban is upheld?

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As of this very moment, Man City have been hit with a ban from European competition for two seasons, in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

[ MORE: Man City banned from European action ]

Even if their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is successful and lets say they have their ban reduced to one season, that would still cause huge problems for everyone connected with the reigning Premier League champions.

As Andy Edwards discussed on Friday, Pep Guardiola‘s future at Man City could be perilous as the Spanish coach seems to already be putting together his exit strategy as he mentioned he could be fired if they fail to win a Champions League.

Can’t not win it if you aren’t in it. Clever boy, Pep…

[ MORE: Key questions on ban answered ]

But what about superstar City players, will they also walk if Guardiola leaves and City are indeed banned from the Champions League for a minimum of one season?

Most of this current group of City stars are under contract until 2023 and it will be very unlikely that the club will want to lose them in their time of need, even if Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules force them to cut some costs somewhere as they will lose plenty of revenue (upwards of $190 million over two seasons) from not being in the Champions League.

Yet, if the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte want to leave to try and win the Champions League and join a club which can offer them a chance to dine at Europe’s top table, is it worth City keeping wantaway players at the Etihad Stadium?

That is the dilemma which now faces them.

[ MORE: Report: Man City facing possible PL points deduction ]

In each case it is different and some players will feel a greater sense of responsibility to stick with City in tough times. Others will not.

If City’s ban is upheld then we will see the true character of some of their stars. Many will probably be on the phone to their agents right away to figure out how they can leave and play in the Champions League.

Is playing in Europe’s top club competition so important? Yes.

When you are playing at the level Man City’s players are at, money doesn’t really come into things. As wild as that seems players are players and that want to win things. We are talking about ultra-competitive, super-successful international stars. Playing careers are relatively short and these elite athletes want to play at the top of the game for the longest time possible.

Not playing in the Champions League will dent their pride and in the likes of KDB, Bernardo Silva and Laporte, they may not look too fondly at UCL action being taken away from them for the prime years of their careers.

In the case of Pep and his players, do they have a leg to stand on contractually if they just want to leave Man City? Some would argue that the hierarchy at City have deprived their players of playing in the Champions League due to their own negligence and wrongdoing (if found guilty) and therefore the players may believe they could force an exit due to breach of contract on the part of their employers.

With a possible Premier League points deduction also worth considering, City’s players will have to be all-in if they’re going to stick around and weather this almighty storm. City’s future recruitment will likely be more frugal as they deal with FFP and a huge loss of revenue due to a Champions League ban, so that means extra reliance on their current squad of stars and trying to keep the likes of Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane around as their contracts are running out in 2021.

Whether or not those stars want in, especially if Guardiola leaves, is a huge question amid several massive ones hanging over City after UEFA chucked the book at them.

If this ban is upheld, expect plenty of star players to leave and push hard to move to other European giants this summer. That is the harsh reality which is facing Man City after the historic ban handed to them by European soccer’s governing body.

Report: Serie A could resume training May 2, games late in month

Serie A
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Blanket testing for players and a 14-day quarantine for foreign players are on the menu as Serie A reportedly looks to resume in May.

Football Italia cites a report from Italian news outlet Adnkronos that discusses a May 2 return to training with matches resuming late in the month.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Vincenzo Spadafora is Italy’s minister for sport, and is hopeful that the worst of the coronavirus is behind the country.

According to the report, any player returning to Italy from abroad would be quarantined for two weeks before returning to training.

After an initial round of testing for all players, more would follow:

More tests would be made weekly to maintain that level of certainty all the way to the end of the season. Clubs are believed to be stocking up on COVID-19 tests, in accordance with medical structures in their cities, ensuring everyone has enough to go around.

The plan may be met with resistance, as combustible Brescia owner Massimo Cellino says his club will not play and has accepted that it earned relegation.

European bodies implore member associations to wait to abandon seasons

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UEFA is speaking up regarding its hope to finish club seasons once the environment is safer.

Sky Sports reports that UEFA has sent a letter to its 55 members associations imploring them not to cancel their competitions early and that they exhaust all options “until the last possibility exists.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The letter is signed by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli and European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson.

The report comes as the Belgian Super League reportedly prepares to award its league title to Club Brugge on April 15. The league would be the first to see its season abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From Sky Sports:

“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come – with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities – and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.”

Many leagues, such as the Premier League, continue to suspend their seasons indefinitely as they wait for improvements with the coronavirus pandemic.

Although UEFA have relaxed their previous stance that domestic seasons should be finished by June 30, it is looking more likely that the 2019-20 season would need until August or September.

Burning question: Which clubs have the best crest, look in soccer?

Best soccer uniforms
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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be asking some burning questions we have when it comes to the beautiful game and the next one focuses on something we all have: a team we like that we don’t want to admit.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release a burning question, as now seems like a good time to take stock of where the game is at and take a look at what we love and what we’d like to change as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Next question: Which clubs have the best crest and uniform combination?

It’s a difficult one, as some are great on the former and others on the latter. Look at the Premier League alone. Liverpool and Chelsea have terrific crests, iconic even, but the Reds and Blues’ traditional uniforms are not altogether different from several big clubs in the world. It’s difficult to lay claim to red.

We’re not kicking either of the above clubs out of the house party, but here are five looks that are inevitably theirs.

That said, you might argue the case of either club and we’d encourage you to do so in the comments.

Without further ado…

Pele won three World Cups with Brazil during their golden era.

Brazil

The yellow shirt with a dosing of green around the neck is instantly associated with Brazil, though the more green on the collar the better. The blue shorts matter here, too, completing a look worn by some of the greatest players of all-time. That helps the brand.

Celtic

The green and white hoops are unmistakable, as is the four-leaf clover. Celtic actually wore green-and-white horizontal stripes for the early part of their existence, but the hoops were the proper switch.

Barcelona

The Blaugranas — blue and dark red, don’t you know? — striped-top has met the stripes in its crest, which also is topped by the red-and-white cross and red and gold stripes of the Barcelona coat of arms. Many say the stripes were brought to Spain by its Swiss leader, Joan Gamper.

Arsenal

The Gunners moved white sleeves onto their red tops in the 1930s, and the look is one of the most iconic in the world. While the crest has changed more than a few times, the addition of a cannon from the middle of the last century onward has been everpresent.

(Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Also considered:
Ajax
River Plate
Real Madrid
England
Argentina
AC Milan
Inter Milan
The Netherlands
Mexico
Dozens more…

PFA explains position as players urged to take pay cuts

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The Professional Footballers Association is explaining why it has not yet accepted deferred pay cuts during the coronavirus suspension, and the English government is not withholding its opinion.

As non-playing staff accept furloughs or worse across the tiers of English football and players in other European nations accept pay cuts, the PFA has not found an arrangement to its liking.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Health secretary Matthew Hancock addressed the situation in his daily public briefing.

From Sky Sports:

“Given the sacrifices people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gone into work and caught the disease and have sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

That’s a heavy statement, one that surely resonates with all.

The PFA issued a post on its site that runs up nearly 1000 words on its position, stating that a big part of its concern is representing League One and League Two players. Those members do not receive the massive pay packets of PL stars.

Basically, what the PFA is requesting is time to make an educated decision considering the books and futures of every club are different. They’d like to see those books to make sure that if players are making a sacrifice that shareholders are as well.

From ThePFA.com:

We fully accept that players will have to be flexible and share the financial burden of the COVID-19 outbreak in order to secure the long-term future of their own club and indeed the wider game. Our advice going out to players at this point reflects that expectation.

In addition, the PFA is also expecting to contribute financially to any solutions agreed upon.

Like everyone else in the country, we are trying to deal with a situation that has never been faced. Our spirits have been lifted seeing communities come together to support each other. We have been proud to see many of our own members and clubs step up to support the NHS, to help children who would usually benefit from free school meals, donating to food banks and other charitable donations to those affected by this crisis. Much of this has been done privately and without publicity.

Obviously there will be a resolution to this soon, but it’s a complex and layered situation. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe became the first PL boss to take a voluntary pay cut on Wednesday, with Brighton’s Graham Potter following suit.