Ideas for USWNT hero Jill Ellis as she leads FIFA women’s group

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Two-time World Cup champion Jill Ellis will lead a FIFA panel set to examine ways to grow women’s football.

Ellis, 55, will lead a “Technical Advisory Group on the future of women’s football, bringing together a group of thought leaders to consider the future of the women’s game,” in order to “work with stakeholders from all platforms to examine and explore ways to improve the current match calendar and build global development and competitiveness.”

[ MORE: What’s wrong with USMNT’s World Cup qualifying start ]

Ellis led the United States women’s national team to win the 2015 and 2019 World Cups after taking UCLA to eight College Cups. She’s the latest top manager tabbed to a FIFA post as Arsene Wenger was named chief of global football development in late 2019.

“Potential areas of discussion will include introducing more meaningful and regular competition at all levels globally, optimizing youth development structures, and improving coaching and education standards within the game,” Ellis said in a FIFA release. “However, it is not an exhaustive list; Everything is on the table.”

The women’s match calendar should have more variety, presuming an eventual end to the pandemic and the return of safe travel.

That’s necessary to grow the game globally but also to ensure the continued improvement in competition in current tournaments like the World Cup.

Currently, the Olympics and SheBelieves Cup represent the only competitions to raise eyebrows even in the United States, where friendlies have largely served to salute the USWNT rather than grow the player pool’s experience with true competitions.

Consider that Brazil has won eight of nine Copa America tournaments, the USWNT has won eight of 10 CONCACAF women’s championships, and Germany has worn eight of 12 womens’ EURO crown (including eight of the last nine). Nigeria has won 11 of 13 Africa Women Cup of Nations.

A Women’s World Cup every two years would be more feasible while the game grows than it would be for the men’s game, but how about we get creative here?

We’ve got some ideas that do not include Sepp Blatter’s reprehensible “shorter shorts” plan of many yeards ago.

  • Allow the finalists from the above-named championships to compete in a two-grouped, two-advancing, three-week Tournament of Champions.
  • Incentivize “big” teams like the USWNT to travel for away match days or tournaments against growing programs.
  • Showcase U-23 or “B teams” with cap restrictions in tournaments hosted by federations that meet requirements for growing the women’s game.
  • Equal pay (<– Not even grandstanding. Just did this to surprise people who are offended by the concept).
  • Club vs country: Invite the Women’s Super League champion, NWSL champion, UEFA Women’s Champions League winner, and a small number of national teams to the same tournament.

It’s not ideal that nations would need to be incentivized to grow their women’s game — not at all — but rewarding those who are already empowering women’s athletics could go a long way toward a more widespread embrace of the beautiful game.

Transfer news: Tecatito to Chelsea; Bailey to Man City

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In the latest transfer news Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona has been linked with Chelsea, while Leon Bailey is reportedly a target for Man City.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Starting with Mexican winger Tecatito, a report from the Daily Star claims that Chelsea are interested in signing the 27-year-old from FC Porto after scouting him. Per the report, Tecatito is valued at around $32 million by Porto and that is a third of the price of Jadon Sancho, who Chelsea are also chasing.

Tecatito has had a really good season for the Portuguese giants, scoring twice and adding 17 assists from the wing as he’s played in a more defensive role in recent months. That flexibility will be key for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea as they like to switch between a 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 and Tecatito can play in both attacking and defensive roles easily.

The report states that Inter Milan and Sevilla are both interested in Tecatito too and with Willian and Pedro set to leave Chelsea, they will be a little short of options out wide despite having Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and the impending arrival of Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea would certainly have plenty of USMNT and Mexico fans with Pulisic on one wing and Tecatito on the other. The Mexico wide-man has 42 caps and has scored seven times for El Tri and was part of their squad at the 2016 Copa America and 2018 World Cup and won the 2015 Gold Cup where he was voted the best young player in the tournament.

Bailey Man City
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Sticking with wingers, Leon Bailey is said to be a target for Man City as they expect to lose Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich in the upcoming transfer window.

Jamaica star Bailey, 22, has been in and out of the Bayer Leverkusen team this season after the emergence of Kai Havertz and Moussa Diaby and according to the Daily Mail, Man City will bid close to $50 million for Bailey.

Bailey can play on either wing and that suits Pep Guardiola’s style, as the young winger is a real goal threat too and has scored 19 goals in 83 Bundesliga appearances since arriving at Leverkusen from Genk in 2016.

Sane doesn’t seem keen to stick around at Man City and although they have a wealth of attacking options, Bailey has shown that if he’s on form he is a real handful out wide with clever runs, pure pace and the ability to finish and assist.

U.S. prosecutors allege bribes in 2018, 2022 World Cup votes

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NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors revealed new details of alleged bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members to gain their votes for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and charged a pair of former 21st Century Fox executives with making illegal payments to win broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

[ MORE: Former U.S. TV execs indicted on charges of World Cup bribery ]

An indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn says Nicolás Leoz, then president of the South American governing body CONMEBOL, and former Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira received bribes to vote for Qatar at the 2010 FIFA executive committee meeting.

Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, president of the North and Central American and Caribbean governing body CONCACAF, received $5 million in bribes to vote for Russia to host in 2018 from 10 different shell companies that included entities in Anguilla, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, the indictment alleged. Guatemala federation president Rafael Salguero was promised a $1 million bribe to vote for Russia, according to the indictment.

Leoz, who died last August, avoided extradition, as have Warner and Teixeira. Salguero pleaded guilty in 2018 to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count each of racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Alejandro Burzaco, former head of the marketing company Torneos y Competencias, testified in 2017 that all three South Americans on the FIFA executive committee took million-dollar bribes to support Qatar, which prevailed over the U.S. 14-8.

[ MORE: Report: Premier League prepares for June return ]

Former 21st Century Fox Inc. executives Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez were charged Monday with making payments to CONMEBOL officials to obtain broadcast rights bidding information from a co-conspirator whose identify was not identified in the indictment.

ESPN had U.S. English-language television rights to the World Cup from 1994-2014, but Fox in 2011 gained the rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. After the 2022 tournament in Qatar was shifted from summer to late autumn, a time when it is likely to get less attention in the U.S., FIFA awarded Fox rights for 2026 without competitive bidding.


Also charged in the indictment, handed up by a grand jury on March 18, are former Imagina Media Audiovisual CEO Gerard Romy; and the Uruguayan sports marketing company Full Play Group SA.

The indictment includes charges of wire fraud and money laundering. The charges against Romy and Full Play also allege racketeering conspiracy.

“The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades,” William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said in a statement. “Over a period of many years, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the governance and business of international soccer with bribes and kickbacks, and engaged in criminal fraudulent schemes that caused significant harm to the sport of soccer. Their schemes included the use of shell companies, sham consulting contracts and other concealment methods to disguise the bribes and kickback payments and make them appear legitimate.”

Since the first indictments were announced in May 2015, there have been 26 publicly announced guilty pleas, many from former soccer officials, including CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer.

[ MORE: Son Heung-min to complete military service in South Korea ]

CONMEBOL president Juan Ángel Napout and Brazil federation president José Maria Marin were convicted following trials. Napout is in prison in Florida and Marin was released from a prison last week. Some individuals await sentencing.

Lopez was CEO of Fox International Channels, a 21st Century Fox subsidiary, and Martinez was president of Fox International Channels and an executive of Fox Latin American Channel Inc. They are accused of joining with Full Play to pay million of dollars in bribes to CONMEBOL executives in exchange for rights to the Copa Libertadores, South America’s annual club championship.

“It’s shocking that the government would bring such a thin case,” Lopez’s lawyer, Matthew D. Umhofer, said in an email. “The indictment contains nothing more than single paragraph about Mr. Lopez that alleges nothing remotely improper. Mr. Lopez can’t wait to defend himself at trial.”

Steven J. McCool, Martinez’s attorney, said in an email: “We are certain a jury will swiftly exonerate Carlos, as the charges against him are nothing more than stale fiction.”


Carlos Ortiz said Full Play intends to plead not guilty at Thursday’s arraignment and his client “looks forward to vigorously defending itself against all of the charges at trial.”

A lawyer for Romy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Fox Sports also did not respond to a request for comment.

Romy is accused with joining his alleged co-conspirators to pay a $3 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, the former president of the North and Central American and Caribbean governing body CONCACAF, for media and marketing rights to home World Cup qualifiers in the Caribbean for the 2018 and 2022 cycles. Webb pleaded guilty on Nov. 23, 2015, to several counts and awaits sentencing.

Former U.S. TV execs indicted on charges of World Cup bribery

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NEW YORK (AP) A pair of former sports marketing executives of 21st Century Fox have been indicted on charges they paid bribes to soccer officials to obtain confidential bidding information during FIFA’s sale of U.S. television rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

[ MORE: Report: Premier League prepares for June return ]

Charges were unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn against former 21st Century Fox Inc. executives Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez. They are accused of making payments to officials of the CONMEBOL, South American soccer’s governing body.

ESPN had U.S. English-language television rights to the World Cup from 1994-2014, but Fox in 2011 gained the rights for 2018 and 2022 tournaments. After the 2022 tournament in Qatar was shifted from summer to late autumn, a time when it is likely to get less attention in the U.S., FIFA awarded Fox rights for 2026 without competitive bidding.

Also charged in the indictment, handed up by a grand jury on March 18, are former Imagina Media Audiovisual CEO Gerard Romy; and the Uruguayan sports marketing company Full Play Group SA. The Justice Department said the indictment includes charges of wire fraud and money laundering. The charges against Romy and Full Play allege racketeering conspiracy.

“The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades,” William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said in a statement. “Over a period of many years, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the governance and business of international soccer with bribes and kickbacks, and engaged in criminal fraudulent schemes that caused significant harm to the sport of soccer. Their schemes included the use of shell companies, sham consulting contracts and other concealment methods to disguise the bribes and kickback payments and make them appear legitimate.”

[ MORE: Son Heung-min to complete military service in South Korea ]

Lopez and Martinez are accused of joining with Full Play to pay million of dollars in bribes to executives of CONMEBOL in exchange for rights to the Copa Libertadores, South America’s annual club championship.

“It’s shocking that the government would bring such a thin case,” Lopez’s lawyer, Matthew D. Umhofer, said in an email. “The indictment contains nothing more than single paragraph about Mr. Lopez that alleges nothing remotely improper. Mr. Lopez can’t wait to defend himself at trial.”

Steven J. McCool, Martinez’s attorney, said in an email: “We are certain a jury will swiftly exonerate Carlos, as the charges against him are nothing more than stale fiction.”

Lawyers for Romy and Full Play did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Fox Sports also did not respond to a request for comment.

Romy is accused with joining his alleged co-conspirators to pay a $3 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, the former president of the North and Central American and Caribbean governing body CONCACAF, for media and marketing rights to home World Cup qualifiers in the Caribbean for the 2018 and 2022 cycles. Webb pleaded guilty on Nov. 23, 2015, to several counts and awaits sentencing.

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.