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Players to get more power from new FIFA contract rules

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ZURICH (AP) Players are getting more power from FIFA to leave soccer clubs who delay paying salaries or mistreat them.

FIFA and FIFPro, the global group of player unions, say that new rules relating to players have helped them sign a six-year working agreement.

[ MORE: Kljestan, Altidore react to fight ]

The Netherlands-based FIFPro has also agreed to withdraw a complaint about FIFA-controlled transfer rules filed to the European Commission in September 2015.

Players will soon be free to cancel their contract if clubs fall two months behind paying salaries, or harass them with tactics such as orders to train alone.

Clubs face transfer bans by failing to pay FIFA-ordered compensation to players, who have been promised faster rulings on contract disputes.

The rules came from a wider FIFA agreement with stakeholders, including clubs and leagues worldwide.

Shortlist for FIFPro World 11 team for 2016: Vardy joins Messi, Ronaldo

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There are plenty of familiar names on the 55-man shortlist to be in the FIFPro World 11 team of 2016… and then there’s Jamie Vardy.

After his fairytale season for Leicester City in the Premier League in 2015-16, Vardy, 29, has been included in FIFPro’s nomination for the first time in his career, with the votes being cast by “more than 25,000 professional footballers from over 75 different countries” according to FIFA as each player selects a goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, obviously, are both on the shortlist and both superstars have been selected in the team in each of the last nine years.

There are 15 Premier League stars named in total, with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Claudio Bravo and David Silva included, plus Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez also getting the nod. Manchester United’s trio of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic make the cut, as do Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante and David Luiz.

Making up the PL contingent is West Ham’s Dimitri Payet, while Barcelona led the way with 12 players selected and reigning European champs Real Madrid have 10 players.

Vardy is the only Englishman to make the list, with Wayne Rooney missing out for the first time in the 12-year history of the award.

Below is the full list of the 55 candidates, with the winners to be announced on Jan. 9, 2017 in Zurich at FIFA’s The Best Football Awards.

Goalkeepers (5): Claudio Bravo (Chile/FC Barcelona/Manchester City), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus), David de Gea (Spain/Manchester United), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid) and Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich).

Defenders (20): David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern Munich), Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona), Serge Aurier (Côte d’Ivoire/Paris Saint-Germain), Héctor Bellerìn (Spain/Arsenal), Jérôme Boateng (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus), Daniel Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus), Dani Alves (Brazil/FC Barcelona/Juventus), David Luiz (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain/Chelsea), Diego Godín (Uruguay/Atlético Madrid), Mats Hummels (Germany/Borussia Dortmund/FC Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Spain/FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain) and Raphaël Varane (France/Real Madrid).

Midfielders (15): Xabi Alonso (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona), N’Golo Kanté (France/Leicester City/Chelsea) Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid), Mesut Özil (Germany/Arsenal), Dimitri Payet (France/West Ham United), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus/Manchester United), Ivan Rakitić (Croatia/FC Barcelona), David Silva (Spain/Manchester City), Marco Verratti (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain) and Arturo Vidal (Chile/FC Bayern Munich).

Strikers (15): Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Argentina/Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (France/Atlético Madrid), Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina/Napoli/Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona), Alexis Sánchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suárez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona) and Jamie Vardy (England/Leicester City).

The FIFA FIFPro World XI revealed; Germany leads the way with three

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One of the first happenings at the Ballon D’Or gala on Monday was the unveiling of the FIFA FIFPro World XI, and it’s no surprise that World Cup champion Germany has a trio of players representing club and/or country

Manuel Neuer is between the sticks for this imaginary team after leading Germany and Bayern Munich to championships last season, and he’s joined by his club and countrymate Philipp Lahm on the squad. Bayern’s Arjen Robben is one of the 4-3-3 formation’s three up top

[ FIFA: Wambach meets with Valcke over TurfGate ]

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and club teammate Toni Kroos of Germany are, of course, joined by Cristiano Ronaldo, while Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta represent Barcelona.

Meanwhile, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, now together at Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain are on the list, with current Manchester United midfielder Angel Di Maria.

Notable snubs include Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, as well as Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo.

GOALKEEPER: Manuel Neuer
DEFENDERS: Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, David Luiz, Thiago Silva
MIDFIELDERS: Angel Di Maria, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta
FORWARDS: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben.

By current club
Real Madrid – 3
Bayern Munich – 3
Barcelona – 2
Paris Saint-Germain – 2
Manchester United – 1

By national team
Germany – 3
Brazil – 2
Argentina – 2
Spain – 2
Portugal – 1
Netherlands – 1

FIFPro’s World XI five goalkeeper shortlist includes… Iker Casillas???

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The world of soccer players still likes Iker Casillas a great deal, while many of us are left rolling our eyes at the shortlist of players in the running for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2014.

Many expect Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer to ease to a win, so the inclusion of Real Madrid keeper Casillas provides us with a decent talking point; How did a man who lived through an embarrassing World Cup and has just reclaimed his No. 1 gig for his club make the list?

Casillas won the award five times from 2008-12, so perhaps players were struggling for names on their ballot and thought, “He’s usually good.” Also on the list are Chelsea’s Thibault Courtois, Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon and Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo.

Consider that even his most notable accomplishment, winning the UEFA Champions League final, comes with a goofy goalkeeping blunder.

Certainly keepers like David De Gea, Tim Howard, Wojciech Szczesny, Hugo Lloris and Salvatore Sirigu are scratching their heads.

In wake of Pereira incident, players union lashes out at FIFA and suggests reforms in head injury protocol


FIFPro has ripped FIFA for Uruguay’s handling of Alvaro Pereira’s incident in Thursday’s match against England, and presented a pair of suggestions that could progress soccer towards a better view towards head injuries.

Pereira was very clearly knocked out by incidental contact with Raheem Sterling’s knee, but once he came to he refused to come off despite doctors pleading with him to make the substitution.

With the ghost of second-impact syndrome looming, FIFA has largely ignored the elephant in the room, and with this new incident on a world stage, the player’s union has decided enough is enough.

They insisted FIFA conduct “a thorough investigation into its own competition concussion protocol which failed to protect Uruguayan footballer Alvaro Pereira.”

FIFPro also presented the following suggestions as possible fixes to the problem:

  • An independent doctor with no bias conducts a thorough evaluation after a player suffers a loss of consciousness or other concussion symptoms.
  • The institution of a temporary substitute so the head evaluation can take place without the team looking to rush the player back into play.

While those seem nice, there’s sure to be backlash for a temporary sub.  New competative balance issues could arise if a team takes advantage of this temporary substitute to give a tired player a rest.  In addition, if a temporary substitute were to score a goal, it would no doubt leave the opposing team hard done by, with a fresh player able to come off the bench without substitution consequences.

Ultimately, the goal is to protect players from themselves in the heat of the moment.

“FIFPro understands that in certain moments, faced by the pressures of such an important international stage, many players would react in this way,” the group said in a statement. “There are times, however, when the players also require greater protection against the prospect of making any rash decisions. (A player with a potential head injury) must be subjected to further evaluation and follow-up procedures that help determine if and when he can return to training.”

Second-impact syndrome is a dangerous, potentially fatal, and very real situation where a concussed player receives a second blow to the head.  Once a player has sustained a concussion, their head becomes exponentially more susceptible to serious, potentially fatal effects should they take another impact.