Tag Archive | "UEFA"

Euro 2012: Creating History Together



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Cute, but is it football worthy?

Nice, but is it football worthy?

The logo for the first European championship held in Eastern Europe has been unveiled. While I find the tulips cute (perhaps a little too cute for a football tournament), I don’t think it’s as cool as the logos for 2008 or 2004. The logo was designed by Portuguese firm Futurebrand, who also designed the logos for the Champions League and Europa League. So take a look and let’s us know what you think.

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Fun Facts About Fabio (And Other Newsy Stuff)



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fabiofinger

I’ve been known to read a Cosmo or two in my day, and I thought other men did likewise, but who knew so many men read ladies’ magazines? The reason I bring this up is that Fabio Capello’s interview in the latest Italian Marie Claire is the biggest news story going. And why exactly is a man who coaches football getting interviewed in a women’s fashion magazine? Maybe he was talking about his swimwear.

In this apparently wide-ranging interview, Capello tells us he would have been an airplane pilot had he not been in football, his wife has a crush on David Beckham and Real Madrid overpaid for Cristiano Ronaldo. I’m sure Italian women were dying to know all of these fascinating things.

Speaking of the ‘overpriced’ Portugueser, Ronaldo says his blistering start for Madrid is due to keeping a low profile. I guess that’s true, I haven’t heard an ex-prostitute talk about his sexual prowess for days now.

It would be best for South African criminals to keep a low profile during the World Cup. New police commissioner, Bheki Cele, wants to enact a shoot-first-ask-questions-later policy during the tournament. Unfinished stadiums, kidnappers and trigger happy cops, yup, it looks like that’s gonna be one hell of a World Cup to attend.

It looks like UEFA president Michel Platini is serious about forcing clubs to balance their books. The French legend has brought in former Prime Minister of Belgium, Jean-Luc Dehaene, to be the chairman of the new Club Financial Control Panel. This can’t be particularly good news for English clubs, who have the fifth-highest losses amongst clubs in England.

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A Bolt Of Lightning Everywhere



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usainbolt

Well it’s the last day of the international break and let’s hope our favorite players don’t get Tevezed before they return to their clubs. While club football may have been on a break, conspiracy theories and over-inflated egos didn’t. Nor did we take a break (don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.)

The world’s fastest man and, apparently, the world’s number one celebrity football supporter, Usain Bolt, will be a guest of the English FA as England take on Croatia in a World Cup qualifier. Not that long after palling around with best mate Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid last week, he’ll be at Wembley rooting on England. The Jamaican sprinter is such an England fan he even used the word ‘we’ when talking about today’s match.

He may not be as fast of foot as Bolt, but Didier Drogba is quick to pat himself on the back. The former want away striker, who has now declared himself Chelsea-for-life, claims that he’s an unselfish player who doesn’t, ‘look at my scoring statistics.’ I agree with him. The way he got himself red carded during the 2008 Champions League final so that John Terry could be forced to take a penalty was definitely soulless selfless.

Another man who doesn’t mind taking one for the team is Manchester United midfielder and Scottish captain Darren Fletcher. The hard-nosed player has encouraged his teammates to question their opposite number if they’re ‘up for a battle?’ He also goes on to say he’ll be ‘in your face and kicking at your ankles.’ I’m sure those are comforting words for Arsene Wenger after he questioned Fletcher‘s role on the pitch during the last Manchester United v. Arsenal match.

Wenger’s problems with the Scottish aren’t restricted to the playing field. He blames the Eduardo diving suspension on, ‘Scottish people working at UEFA.’ David Gold, former chief executive of the Scottish FA and current UEFA general secretary, has come out and explained that, ‘It’s not all pals together’ at UEFA. No word if he was having a glass of red wine with Sir Alex Ferguson at the time of the statement.

Old pal Juande Ramos has been tipped for a return to football. After resurrecting his reputation at Real Madrid after his Tottenham debacle, the Spaniard is rumored to replace Leonardo at AC Milan. Like Martin Jol (now at Ajax after a successful stint at Hamburg), Ramos is finding that being fired from White Hart Lane might be the best thing to happen to a manager.

And let’s end on a truly joyous note (for once). Liverpool fan Michael Shields, who was incarcerated four years for a crime he didn’t commit after Liverpool’s Champions League victory in Turkey in 2005, has been released from prison today. Congratulations Michael.

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Thank God That’s Over



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jonhheitinga

Everton's big signing?

In a rather unexciting end to the summer transfer season (Johnny Heitinga to Everton!) it only seems proper that today’s news is a little lacking in excitement as well. But it’s the news roundup and it’s what we do at Natural Hat Trick. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to get more of our wonderful ramblings.

In the great diving case of 2009, Arsenal vow to appeal striker Eduardo’s two match Champions League ban. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’ve spent the better part of a week saying that they would. The real shocker here is that Scotland and Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon says diving is worth it if it can advance you in a major tournament. Maybe Arsene Wenger should take Gordon with him to the UEFA offices when they go for their appeal. And I’m sure Mr. Gordon has endeared himself to his fellow keepers with those remarks.

On the subject of goalkeepers, David James, the only decent Portsmouth player not allowed to leave the club, is worried that playing for relegation fodder Pompey will hurt his chances of being England’s number one keeper in South Africa. In a move that I can only believe will make James feel worse, chief executive Peter Storrie has told James that instead of worrying about England, there’s plenty of competition at Pompey he has to worry about. I’ll bet that James won’t take it too kindly that the competition he should be worried about is Asmir Begovic, Antti Niemi and Jamie Ashdown. I can see David shaking in his boots as we speak.

One Portsmouth player who did manage to escape the sinking ship, Niko Kranjcar, has announced he is not at Tottenham to replace the injured Luka Modric. That’s strange since no one mentioned him going to Spurs until after Modric broke his leg.

In other overconfident news, newly acquired Sylvinho has announced that Manchester City teammate Robinho is one of the five best players in the world. He claims that City’s summer signings have surrounded the striker with better players that will help him shine. Funny, I thought the Real Madrid team that Robinho was forced out of had some fairly decent players.

And we end with some ‘where are they now’ news. Former Paris-Saint-Germain and Newcastle star David Ginola has been charged with being a deadbeat father in France. He’s facing hefty fines and a two year prison sentence. He, of course, denies the allegations. Looks like he better hope they make a Finding Nemo 2 so he can make a little extra cash.

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Six Isn’t Enough



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drogbapoint

I would like to the the first to stand up and congratulate UEFA for banning Didier Drogba six matches and Jose Bosingwa four for their antics in Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. I am a shocked to see that Michael Ballack wasn’t forced to sit some games out as well. Not only do I think the penalties are fair, I feel they should have been harsher and I’m stupefied that Chelsea are now appealing the ban. For that alone, if I were UEFA, I would extend the suspensions to include all group matches the club plays in next season’s Champions League. If UEFA’s respect campaign is to ever have true meaning they need to stand their ground and uphold their decision.

If Drogba and Bosingwa’s suspensions are reduced, or god forbid, retracted, it means open season on the referees. As I wrote at the time, Chelsea’s actions at the end that match were embarrassing and completely disrespectful to the game. If these players go unpunished or are let off with a slap on the wrist, it further diminishes the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. What’s going to happen the next time a referee makes an unpopular decision on a controversial play? And as we saw in the Chelsea-Barcelona semi-final, a referee can be faced with a good number of them during the course of a match.

Maybe some people didn’t see Ballack chasing the referee for forty yards or Drogba swearing at the TV cameras as that big of a deal, but I couldn’t disagree more. Aside from the magnitude of these matches, there are tremendous amounts of money riding on these games. The Champions League can generate tens of millions of dollars for the clubs, not to mention the commercial and marketing money that comes with winning it. Careers are on the line, so of course a player or coach is going to show emotion during a match. But they must remember that they must control themselves and that the referee is in charge. The referee must be respected at all times and those who don’t should be severely punished. If they aren’t, the entire game suffers.

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Jose’s Punch Out



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tyson

F*ck the introduction today. JOSE MOURINHO ALLEGEDLY PUNCHED A MANCHESTER UNITED FAN. REPEAT. JOSE MOURINHO ALLEGEDLY PUNCHED A MANCHESTER UNITED FAN. When I was watching the match yesterday I thought he looked a little disheveled. But apparently that was just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is he not special anymore, he’s a common street brawler.

Surprisingly, there’s other news today.

As much as Thierry Henry tried to kick racism out of football, it seems the campaign just isn’t taking off in the boot shaped land. Didier Drogba has claimed his was racially abused by Juventus supporters during their match in Turin on Tuesday. I normally would make a joke but racism isn’t funny.

Of course racism isn’t limited to Italy, as Everton’s Victor Anichebe can attest. The Toffee striker was looking in a jewelry store window when police mistook him for a jewel thief. They released him after confirming he’s not a thief but just a crappy player. (There’s the joke.)

Now back to those friendly Italians. A minibus carrying a group of Arsenal fans en route to their match against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico was hijacked by a bunch of ultras. One supporter was stabbed, but fortunately was OK. Swift to act UEFA, after threatening to move the Champions League final from Rome if there were any violent episodes in Rome before then, have decided the show will go on as planned. Considering the final will likely feature an English team and the recent history of violence against English teams in Italy the past few years, I’m sure nothing will go wrong.

Speaking of hijacking, a Gulf War hero pilot was fired from his job for breaking anti-terrorist laws by letting a Premiership player ride in the cockpit with him. The real crime is that the player was Robbie Savage.

Sepp Blatter knows all about bureaucracy. The FIFA president, long accused of being anti-English, stated he actually likes English football. He also admitted he enjoys human error, so maybe he just likes everything and everyone.

Another man who enjoys the English is Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. Instead of facing Porto or Villarreal in the next stage of the Champions League, he wants one of the four remaining English clubs. That’s good news for Frank Lampard, who wants nothing to do with Liverpool in the next round.

It’s also good news for Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United striker would love to face Liverpool in the next round. It appears that he’s less than fond of the Reds.

That’s the news today and remember—JOSE MOURINHO ALLEGEDLY PUNCHED A MANCHESTER UNITED FAN.

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Five Reasons Why Platini Hates English Football



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Me? I don't hate the English.

Me? I don't hate the English.

Michel Platini claims that he doesn’t hate English football. Yet, his recent outburst during which he threatened to ban Manchester City from the Champions League because of their pursuit of Kaka seems to suggest otherwise. This isn’t the first time that the UEFA president has had less than complementary things to say about the English. Following are five quotes from the man himself, which prove that Michel Platini hates the English.

“I would love to give the Champions League to Juventus. I was in Turin when Del Piero stunned Iker Casillas of Real Madrid.” (12/29/08) Chelsea plays Juventus in the next stage of the Champions League.

“I want to create a situation where every team has a chance of winning and there is a more level playing field. But in England teams win either with morality or without it. We want transparency and financial fair play, but sometimes you do not have that in England” (2/6/09) This quote speaks for itself.

“Nothing. England should have done better on the pitch. I don’t want to say that we’re missing England. If England aren’t capable of finishing in the top two of a group of six, that’s their problem.” (7/6/08) His response when asked whether he missed England competing at Euro 2008.

“But it’s ridiculous. I don’t need to say more. How one guy can cost £150m is ridiculous. From a football point of view, social point of view and every point of view.” (2/6/09) His thoughts regarding Manchester City’s pursuit of Kaka.

“They had Di Stefano and Puskas in the past, and as Ronaldo is considered one of the best or the best player in the world it’s normal. If the club has the finances they can do it, if they don’t have the money they can’t.” (6/28/08) What he said regarding Real Madrid’s 120 million pound attempt to  buy Christiano Ronald. Apparently that’s not ridiculous.

Whether or not he’s Napoleon, it definitely seems to me that he has an anti-English bias. And it wouldn’t be so worrying if he weren’t the UEFA president. With bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups underway, I have to wonder whether his feelings will affect England’s chance of hosting a World Cup. Being outspoken as player is one thing, but as a person who possesses considerable power he should keep his personal prejudices to himself.

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