VAR Must Be ‘Clearer, Faster’, Says UEFA Boss Ceferin

Aleksander-Ceferin-UEFA

 

UEFA plans to expand its use of VAR, but president Aleksander Ceferin said on Wednesday he wants the system and the rules to be clearer and faster. 

He told a press conference after a UEFA Executive Committee meeting that the organisation planned to ask the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which manages the rules, to clarify several issues.

Ceferin emphasised that UEFA was committed to video replay. He suggested the bigger problem was overcoming the reluctance of teams and their fans to accept they have been fairly beaten.

“Why not go back?” he asked. “Because there would always be teams who think they lost because VAR did not exist. We always complain when we lose because of a mistake.”

“We need to make the technology clearer, faster, less invasive”, he said. “But it will stay… And that’s why we have to try to improve it.”

Ceferin listed problems he wants addressed.

“One is, for example, offside. The line is very thin, and it’s drawn by VAR, so it’s a subjective line of an objective fact, which is a bit strange,” he said.

Ceferin said agreement on handball was also a problem. He said retired Italian referee Roberto Rosetti had conducted a session at UEFA for leading coaches which highlighted the disagreements.

“For me it was strange when we had elite coaches visiting us, all the top coaches of European football, of world football,” said Ceferin. “When Roberto Rosetti showed a ball that touched a hand, half of them said ‘handball’, half said ‘no way’.”

Ceferin also cited the confusion caused when referees reviewed an incident in an earlier phase of play. He cited a Champions League match on November 28. Inter Milan put the ball in the net only for the goal to be disallowed because VAR showed an earlier foul at the other end. Slavia were awarded a penalty. Inter thought they were 2-0 up, but found themselves at 1-1.

“How far do we go, do we check five minutes, do we check 15 minutes?” he asked. He added that, in the past, “the referee never said ‘seven minutes earlier there was a foul so we go back.’ The game is changing and we are afraid it is changing too much.”

IFAB will meet again on February 29 in Northern Ireland to consider potential rules changes to be introduced on June 1.

UEFA said on Wednesday that it will use VAR in the qualifying play-offs for Euro 2020 at the end of March, as well as in the European zone qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which will begin in March 2021.

UEFA Chief Accuses Boris Johnson Of Fuelling Racism

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media in the City of London, on November 30, 2019.  AFP

 

UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin has accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of fuelling racism and insists European football’s governing body is working hard to tackle the problem plaguing the game.

A number of high-profile incidents in recent weeks, including racist abuse hurled at England players in Bulgaria and chants aimed at Romelu Lukaku and Mario Balotelli in Italy, have underlined the scale of the issue.

Johnson condemned the “vile” racist chanting during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia in October and called for UEFA to take tough action.

READ ALSO: Solskjaer Calm About United Future Despite Sackings

But the prime minister, currently fighting an election campaign, has in the past courted controversy with various comments, including suggesting Muslim women wearing burkhas look like “letterboxes”.

In an interview with Britain’s Mirror newspaper, UEFA president Ceferin said: “When a politician that calls women with burqas post boxes or mailboxes then says publicly that he condemns you UEFA — do you reply to that? Do you believe it’s honest? Come on.

“The situation in Europe is more and more tense,” he added.

“When you see high politicians, prime ministers — when you see presidents of republics who are racists, who were sexist, you see that something is wrong.”

UEFA has come under fire for a perceived lack of appropriate action to root out racism but Ceferin said the organisation was fully engaged in the fight.

“I don’t blame the players for what they say,” he said. “I understand that the players are desperate because of the punishments and the incidents that are happening again and again.

“Of course you want to say (to UEFA): ‘Go to hell!’ I know.

“But I am not so naive to think that we’ve done all we can and now everything is finished. We haven’t.

“We are trying and we care. We are not just some guys in Nyon (UEFA headquarters) sitting eating fancy food and driving Ferraris.”

UEFA appears set to overhaul its disciplinary panels, making them more diverse.

Ceferin said: “You have to have different perspectives, then you have a more, let’s say, clear view on what is right and what is wrong.

“We want to be specific. So we are working on that. We will change our statutes about it in March, the next committee.”

AFP

UEFA To Sell One Million Tickets For Euro 2020 In December

French supporters wave flags and cheer prior to the kick off of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group H football match between France and Andorra on September 10, 2019 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, near Paris.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

One million tickets for Euro 2020 will go on sale to supporters in December, UEFA confirmed on Saturday ahead of the draw for the tournament in Bucharest.

While the format of the tournament, with 12 cities across the continent hosting matches, has come in for criticism, UEFA reported “very strong demand” for tickets when they first went on sale in June and July this year.

A total of 19.3 million requests were made for the 1.5 million tickets on sale during that period, out of a total of three million.

The latest wave of tickets will go on sale to supporters of the 20 teams who have already qualified from Wednesday, December 4 at 1300 GMT up until December 18 for a competition that will begin in Rome on June 12 and conclude with the final in London on July 12.

In between, matches will be played from Bilbao and Dublin to Saint Petersburg and to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Attack FC Ifeanyi Ubah Players In Kogi

“We said that this Euro will have a different flavour, a European flavour, and we want to take this festival all over Europe,” UEFA’s deputy general secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, said at a press conference.

“That is why we are not afraid and the big success of ticket sales earlier this year demonstrates that people have a real appetite and real desire for this tournament.”

The cheapest tickets will cost 30 euros ($33) for games in Baku, Bucharest and Budapest, and 50 euros elsewhere.

Meanwhile, UEFA expressed hope that the tournament will not be marred by incidents of racism such as those during England’s win in Bulgaria in qualifying in October.

“In our experience, the Euro has been always a very festive event, at least within the stadiums, so we are confident this atmosphere will take priority over stupid and sometimes criminal things which from time to time happen in football,” said Marchetti.

If needed, UEFA will stick to their so-called three-step procedure to help officials deal with racist incidents in stadiums.

The procedure first involves announcements being made within stadiums asking supporters to stop any racist behaviour. If that fails, referees can suspend games and take players off the pitch, before abandoning matches as a last resort.

AFP

Man City Lose Appeal To CAS Over Financial Fair-Play Investigation

File

 

Manchester City have lost their appeal against the decision of UEFA to refer the English champions to its adjudicatory chamber over alleged Financial Fair Play violations, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday.

City reacted angrily when they were referred to the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA’s club financial control body by its investigatory chamber in May.

The club said it would appeal to CAS, but the sports court dismissed their initial appeal, saying on Friday that City had not “exhausted the legal remedies available to it prior to the appeal”.

It means City have failed in their attempt to stop UEFA from investigating the allegations they supplied false financial information, with CAS saying their appeal was “inadmissible”.

READ ALSO: Wenger Ends Bayern Rumours After Being Named FIFA’s Development Chief

The investigatory chamber had also recommended that City be sanctioned by UEFA.

The investigation into City is based on leaked emails published last year by German magazine Der Spiegel as part of “Football Leaks”.

Possible punishments include a suspension from the Champions League, a transfer ban or a fine.

AFP

UEFA Investigates Turkey For Military Salute In Euro Qualifiers

Turkey’s players salute at the end of the Euro 2020 Group H qualification football match between France and Turkey at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris on October 14, 2019.
Alain JOCARD / AFP

 

UEFA announced on Tuesday that it is opening disciplinary proceedings against Turkey into “potential provocative political behaviour” by their players after making military salutes in their last two matches.

In both their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Albania on Friday and France on Tuesday, Turkish players made the salutes — seen as supporting Turkey’s current military operation in Syria — as they celebrated late goals.

UEFA said in a statement that it has appointed an ‘Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector’ to investigate.

On Friday in Istanbul, players saluted after Cenk Tosun scored the only goal against Albania in the 90th minute. On Monday in Paris, they repeated the gesture after Kaan Ayhan equalised with nine minutes to play and again after the final whistle.

France and Turkey drew 1-1 amid mounting tensions after Paris condemned Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria.

Earlier on Tuesday, Turkey’s sports minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu voiced support for players who saluted the country’s soldiers during their game at the Stade de France.

Kasapoglu said the controversy was unwarranted, and pointed to the fact that French star Antoine Griezmann had also given a military salute to French President Emmanuel Macron in June.

“Those who remained quiet about Griezmann’s military salute are trying to distort our national footballers’ nice salute,” Kasapoglu said in a televised press conference, holding up a picture of Griezmann’s salute.

He said critics were trying to distract from Turkey’s success in staying top of the qualifying group.

“Those who are trying to block out their failure on the pitch should give up on their efforts. The result is clear,” Kasapoglu said.

Kasapoglu also warned UEFA to be “prudent” in its investigation of the salutes.

European football’s ruling body UEFA had already said it would “examine” the salute against Albania.

“Personally, I have not seen this gesture, which could be considered a provocation,” UEFA’s press chief Philip Townsend told the Italian Ansa news agency on Monday before the France game.

“Does the regulation prohibit references to politics and religion? Yes, and I can guarantee you that we will look at this situation.”

In Turkey, it is common for celebrities, including footballers, to show their support for the security forces after attacks or during military operations.

At the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart on Saturday, Ibrahim Colak made a military-style salute on the podium after winning gold in the men’s rings event.

Turkey’s operation against Kurdish militants in Syria, launched a week ago, has been widely criticised by the international community but has drawn widespread support at home.

UEFA Opens Probe Into Bulgarian Racism Against England

Three Ministers Resign Over Deadly Bus Crash

 

UEFA have launched disciplinary proceedings against Bulgaria after racist chanting from their fans during their Euro 2020 qualifier defeat by England, the governing body announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, UEFA said that they were investigating racist behaviour, the throwing of objects and the disruption of the national anthem after the match in Sofia had to be halted twice after monkey noises and Nazi salutes from a section of the home support.

England won the Group A match 6-0.

AFP

Ex-UEFA Boss Platini Returns To Football

Platini

 

Former UEFA president Michel Platini is finally free to return to football next week when his four-year ban for ethics violations ends, although he remains linked to a corruption investigation in his home country relating to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The former France captain and national coach went on to become one of the game’s most prominent administrators when he was elected president of European football’s governing body in 2007.

A triple Ballon d’Or winner, Platini was expected to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2016 but fell spectacularly from grace a few months earlier.

He was banned from football for receiving a two-million Swiss franc (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment from the head of the world game, with Blatter banned for eight years, later reduced to six, for his part.

The payment, made in 2011 when Blatter was seeking re-election as president, was related to work carried out by Platini between 1999 and 2002.

The pair were found guilty of “abusive execution” of their powers and a conflict of interests.

Platini, now 64, has been battling to clear his name ever since, although his ban was reduced to four years from an initial six, leaving him free to work in football again when the suspension expires on Monday.

With the former Saint-Etienne and Juventus midfielder sidelined, he watched on as Gianni Infantino, once his right-hand man at UEFA, became FIFA president in February 2016. The Swiss-Italian was re-elected in June this year.

 ‘I will be back’ 

Approached by AFP on Friday, Infantino declined to comment on Platini, who made his determination, and bitterness towards FIFA, clear in an interview with Swiss television channel RTS last month.

“I will be back. I don’t know where, I don’t know how. I can’t go out of the game on the back of a ban, even if it’s a ban made by idiots,” he said.

Speaking to French daily Le Monde about what the future holds, he added: “I have had lots of offers and requests to become a pundit, to do the Euros, the World Cup.”

In an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe, he played down talk of a return to the top levels of football administration, although he has been linked with the role of president of the French Football Federation when that position opens up in 2021.

“My wife taught me never to go back, to not experience the same love affair twice. So yes, that closes doors for me, notably those at UEFA,” he said.

“My suspension ends in October, while the last elections for the FIFA presidency took place in May and the next ones will be in four years,” he added. “They arranged that well in Zurich.”

One source close to UEFA said the organisation’s current president, Aleksander Ceferin, “could support Platini” as a candidate for the FIFA presidency in 2023 as the Slovenian “cannot stand” Infantino.

By then, the Qatar World Cup will have come and gone, but Platini has been dogged by his connections to the controversial awarding of that tournament.

In June this year he was held and questioned by French anti-corruption police investigating the 2010 vote to award the tournament to the Gulf state.

According to France Football magazine, a “secret meeting” took place in November 2010 at the Elysee Palace in Paris between former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatar’s then-Prince (now Emir) Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Platini, who was then both UEFA president and FIFA vice-president.

Just over a week later, FIFA voted to award Qatar the 2022 tournament.

Blatter, then FIFA president, claimed Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with France. Platini dismissed Blatter’s allegations as a “tissue of lies”.

“Because I go to eat at the President’s home to tell him who I am going to vote for as hosts of the 2022 World Cup, I get arrested? There is a whole load of things that have happened to me in the last four years that are intolerable, unbearable,” he told L’Equipe.

“If I had really been involved in corruption, the Swiss and the Americans would have found something long ago.”

AFP

Euro Qualifier: UEFA Investigates French For Delayed Albania Kick Off

France’s players listen to their national anthem before the kick off of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group H football match between France and Andorra on September 10, 2019 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, near Paris. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

UEFA said on Tuesday it had opened proceedings against the French Football Federation (FFF) after their Euro 2020 qualifier was delayed when Albania refused to kick off until they had heard their national anthem.

The hosts played the Andorran anthem by mistake at ahead of the fixture at the Stade de France on Saturday. After the angry Albanians protested, the correct anthem was played and the game kicked off more than five minutes late.

UEFA’s Disciplinary Committee , which investigates any delay to kick off, has notified the FFF and the case will be heard on 17 October.

The penalty is usually a warning for the first offence and a fine for a second occurence.

AFP

Van Dijk Wins UEFA Men’s Player Of The Year Award

Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk poses with his trophies of Best Men’s player in Europe of the Year and Best Defender at the end of the UEFA Champions League football group stage draw ceremony in Monaco on August 29, 2019. Valery HACHE / AFP

 

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award on Thursday, edging out Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, while Lucy Bronze took the women’s prize.

Dutchman Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won their sixth European Cup last season with a 2-0 Champions League final victory over Tottenham in Madrid.

“I need to thank my teammates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved,” Van Dijk told BT Sport.

“It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey. I’m very proud to get this trophy. It’s credit to everyone who has helped me.”

READ ALSO: Neymar Participates In PSG Training Amid Reports Of Barcelona Deal

The 28-year-old is the first defender to win the award since the inaugural edition in 2010-11.

He moved to Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for a then-world record fee for a defender of £75 million ($91.4 million), immediately helping them reach that season’s Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid.

But Van Dijk was a key figure as Liverpool won their first major trophy since 2012 last term, while also setting a club-record points tally in finishing second by a point behind Manchester City in the Premier League.

“I wasn’t 18 and went straight to the top. I had to work every step of the way,” added Van Dijk, who was also part of the Netherlands side who lost the inaugural Nations League final to Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Messi and Ronaldo had claimed five of the previous eight awards between them, with Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Luka Modric (2018) completing the winners’ list.

“It’s not easy but of course we have a good relationship,” said Ronaldo of Messi.

“We have not yet had dinner but it is nice. We push each other and it’s good to be part of the history of football.”

Ronaldo’s first season in Italy after joining Juventus from Real Madrid brought him a Serie A winners’ medal, but the Turin giants suffered a shock Champions League quarter-final loss to Ajax.

“It was a special year,” said the 34-year-old.

Full-back Bronze won the Women’s Champions League title with Lyon before helping England reach the women’s World Cup semi-finals.

“We had an amazing season, winning the treble,” said Bronze of Lyon’s exploits. “I think any of my teammates could have been up here receiving the award today.”

The 27-year-old Bronze is the first English player to win either of the UEFA player of the year titles.

AFP

Liverpool Beat Chelsea To Win UEFA Super Cup

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (C) vies for the ball with Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) and Liverpool’s Spanish goalkeeper Adrian during the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019. Bulent Kilic / AFP

 

 

Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to win the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday after a richly entertaining match in Istanbul finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.

Every penalty in the shoot-out had found the net before Tammy Abraham’s effort was saved by Spanish goalkeeper Adrian, allowing the European champions to win the trophy for the fourth time in their history.

Sadio Mane had earlier cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s opener and then scored again to put Liverpool 2-1 up five minutes into extra time. However, Jorginho netted a penalty at the other end to force the shoot-out.


Liverpool celebrates winning the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019. OZAN KOSE / AFP.

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates winning the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019. OZAN KOSE / AFP

Liverpool’s players celebrate winning the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019.
Bulent Kilic / AFP

Liverpool 2 (Mane 48, 95) Chelsea 2 (Giroud 36, Jorginho 101-pen)

— after extra-time; Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties

Below are recent winners of the UEFA Super Cup after Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the 2019 match in Istanbul on Wednesday:

2019: Liverpool (ENG)

2018: Atletico Madrid (ESP)

2017: Real Madrid (ESP)

2016: Real Madrid (ESP)

2015: Barcelona (ESP)

FIFA, UEFA, Others Shower Praises As Okocha And Siasia Celebrate Birthdays

 

Former captains of the Super Eagles, Jay-Jay Okocha and Samson Siasia have celebrated their birthdays.

The football legend turned 46 on Wednesday while Siasia, former coach of the Nigerian football team turned 52.

Although both men were well congratulated by their fans and the football community, Okocha’s birthday caught the attention of the world’s football governing body, FIFA.

READ ALSOBalotelli Set For Return To Italy

Others who congratulated the former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Bolton player are the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), UEFA, and the English side.

The NFF took to Twitter to celebrate the two former Super Eagles captains.

Read the tweets below:

UEFA Lauches Free-To-Air Online Video Market

 

UEFA on Thursday launched their own on-demand video platform which will include free Bundesliga highlights in Britain and France.

The OTT — over the top — service also has 60 years of archive footage of men’s matches as well as women’s and youth football.

From next season round-ups from the German league as well as weekly programmes for an international audience will be available on the website every Monday in key European markets as well as in the Middle East and Africa.

UEFA’s director of marketing Guy-Laurent Epstein said the governing body was not planning on competing head-on with traditional broadcasters.

“We will be a supplementary offering to television channels because they do things live. We will do the behind the scenes things, press conferences, many things which are not traditionally available, to tell an extra story,” he told AFP.

AFP