Biennial World Cup Would ‘Dilute’ Tournament, Says UEFA’s Ceferin

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Monday said that holding the World Cup every two years, as Arsene Wenger has recently suggested, would “dilute” the tournament.

Former Arsenal boss Wenger, who is now director of development at FIFA, on Saturday called for football’s showpiece competition to become a biennial event.

The World Cup has been held every four years, besides cancellations during World War II, since the inaugural edition in 1930.

“We think that the jewel of the World Cup has value precisely because of its rarity,” Ceferin said at a general assembly of the European Club Association.

“But holding it every two years, will by our opinion, lead to more randomisation, less legitimacy, and it will unfortunately dilute the World Cup itself.

“The international match calendar does not need that. Our players don’t need to see more of their summers spent on consuming tournaments rather than devoted to relaxing and recuperation.”

UEFA has long been against a more frequent World Cup and earlier this year announced a revamped version of its Nations League tournament, with 100 more matches per season.

Former United States coach Jill Ellis said Sunday she “is open to everything” when asked about the Women’s World Cup potentially being held every two years.

AFP

Chelsea’s Jorginho Wins UEFA Player Of Year

In this file photo taken on August 14, 2021 Chelsea's Italian midfielder Jorginho reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London. Glyn KIRK / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 14, 2021 Chelsea’s Italian midfielder Jorginho reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was named UEFA men’s player of the year at a ceremony in Istanbul on Thursday, beating his club colleague N’Golo Kante and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne to the prize.

Jorginho starred alongside Kante in the Chelsea team that won the Champions League, beating De Bruyne’s City in the final in Porto, and then helped Italy win Euro 2020.

The prize was voted for by a jury composed of the coaches of the 24 national teams who took part in Euro 2020, 80 coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League, as well as one journalist from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.

READ ALSO: PSG To Play Man City In Champions League Group Stage

The 29-year-old Jorginho got 175 points, eight more than De Bruyne, with Kante third in the voting.

“It’s just really surreal for me based on where I’ve come from, my background,” the Brazilian-born midfielder told UEFA.com.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the women’s player of the year prize after captaining her side to Champions League glory, scoring in the 4-0 final win over Chelsea.

The 27-year-old Spaniard pipped her Barcelona team-mates Jenni Hermoso and Lieke Martens, the Dutch international, to the award.

“This prize was won by the whole team, the whole club. It is such an achievement that so many Barca players were nominated for the award,” Putellas, who was not present in Istanbul, said in a video message.

Jorginho was also not in attendance in Istanbul, where the UEFA Champions League draw was held, with Turkey on the UK’s red list meaning obligatory hotel quarantine for anyone returning from there.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel won the men’s coach of the year prize with Barcelona’s Lluis Cortes winning in the women’s category.

 

AFP

Kante, Jorginho Shortlisted For UEFA Player Of The Year

Chelsea's Italian midfielder Jorginho (C) replaces Chelsea's French midfielder N'Golo Kante (L) during the UEFA Super Cup football match between Chelsea and Villarreal at Windsor Park in Belfast on August 11, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Chelsea’s Italian midfielder Jorginho (C) replaces Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante (L) during the UEFA Super Cup football match between Chelsea and Villarreal at Windsor Park in Belfast on August 11, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Chelsea duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho have been shortlisted for the UEFA men’s player of the year prize for the 2020/21 season alongside Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, European football’s governing body announced on Thursday.

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony in Istanbul next Thursday, August 26, when the draw for this season’s Champions League will also take place.

Midfield duo Jorginho and Kante both starred as Chelsea beat De Bruyne’s City 1-0 in the Champions League final in Porto in May. Jorginho then helped Italy win Euro 2020.

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The shortlist was selected by a jury composed of the coaches of the 24 national teams who took part in Euro 2020, 80 coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League, as well as one journalist from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.

Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel was shortlisted for the coach prize along with Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Roberto Mancini, who led Italy to European Championship glory.

The three players on the shortlist for the women’s prize are Jennifer Hermoso, Lieke Martens and Alexia Putellas, all of whom won the Champions League with Barcelona.

Lluis Cortes of the Catalan club was listed for the women’s coach award along with Peter Gerhardsson, who won the Olympic silver medal with Sweden, and Emma Hayes of Chelsea, English Women’s Super League champions and Champions League runners-up.

The women’s awards were voted for by the coaches of clubs who reached the last 16 of the women’s Champions League and coaches of the top 12 women’s national teams, along with a panel of journalists.

AFP

UEFA Charges English FA Over Fan Disturbances During Final

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA has charged the English Football Association (FA) over fan disturbances during England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, European football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.

An investigation into “events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium” will also be conducted, after fans without tickets managed to force their way into Wembley on Sunday.

Videos on social media also appeared to show England supporters fighting among each other in the stadium.

The FA had already been fined 30,000 euros ($35,600) after a laser was shone in the face of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during England’s semi-final win last week.

As for that match, England were again charged for booing “during the (Italian) national anthem” and “lighting of a firework”.

The other two charges related to the final were for a pitch invasion during the game and the “throwing of objects” by supporters.

Some spectators were unable to take their seats due to people without tickets getting into the stands.

London’s Metropolitan Police said it made 86 arrests and a total of 19 officers were injured while managing the final.

“A UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium,” UEFA said.

“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”

Italy won the final 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to secure their second European Championship title and first since 1968.

AFP

UEFA Charges England For Fans’ Laser Pointing

England’s forward Harry Kane (R) shoots and scores a penalty kick past Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (Back) during the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final football match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium in London on July 7, 2021. (Photo by Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP)

 

 

UEFA on Wednesday opened disciplinary proceedings and charged England over their fans’ behaviour during their Euro 2020 semi-final victory over Denmark, including allegations a laser was pointed at goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s face.

Photos in the British press showed the green light of a laser being pointed at Schmeichel’s face just before Harry Kane’s extra-time penalty.

Some supporters at Wembley also booed during the Denmark national anthem.

 

 

European football’s governing body on Thursday said it had charged England for “use of laser pointer”, “disturbance caused during the national anthem” and “lighting of fireworks” by their fans.

Schmeichel saved Kane’s penalty, but the England captain scored the rebound to give Gareth Southgate’s men a 2-1 victory which sealed England a place in their first major tournament final for 55 years.

They will face Italy in Sunday’s final at Wembley.

UEFA Blocks Euro Tickets Recently Sold To UK-Based England Fans

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

European football’s governing body UEFA has cancelled all tickets recently sold to English residents for their country’s Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine in Rome this weekend to stop fans travelling to the Italian capital and not respecting Covid-19 quarantine rules, Italian authorities announced Thursday.

Italian health regulations mean supporters travelling from Britain face five days of quarantine.

To avoid these regulations being abused, “a specific ticketing policy has been put in place” for Saturday’s last eight tie, the Italian interior ministry said in a statement.

UEFA, at the behest of Italian authorities, decided to block the sale and transfer of tickets from Thursday night, but also to cancel tickets sold to UK residents from midnight, Monday, on.

The number of blocked or cancelled tickets was not given.

England’s governing Football Association (FA) was entitled to a ticket allocation of 2,560, equating to 16 percent of the permitted capacity of 16,000 at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

Andrea Costa, Italian under-secretary of state for health, repeated on Thursday that any person arriving from Britain would face five days of quarantine.

“That will not allow fans who have left over the last couple of days to come and see the match,” he told Radio Capital.

“We’ll be vigilant on this quarantine, we’re not talking about a big number so the checks will not be difficult.”

The English FA has said it was working with UEFA and the British embassy in Rome to “facilitate” ticket sales to England fans resident in Italy.

But the embassy said in a statement to AFP it was not selling or distributing tickets for the match.

British government advice is fans should not travel to Italy, an “amber list” country requiring 10 days of self-isolation upon return.

Britain is experiencing a surge in new coronavirus cases, blamed on the Delta variant that was first detected in India, despite a successful vaccination drive.

AFP

UEFA Launch Probe Into ‘Discriminatory Incidents’ During Germany-Hungary Match

Germany’s forward Kai Havertz scores during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP)

 

 

UEFA announced on Friday it had launched an investigation into “potential discriminatory incidents” during Germany’s 2-2 draw with Hungary which was overshadowed by a row over a new Hungarian anti-LGBTQ law.

European football’s governing body did not specify in its statement what incidents were being investigated during the Euro 2020 match in Munich, which finished with the Germans qualifying for the last 16 and Hungary going out of the competition.

However, a UEFA spokesperson told AFP that the probe regards “incidents and behaviour in the stands”.

German daily Bild reported that Hungary supporters — who are already being investigated for monkey chants during their team’s 1-1 draw with France in Budapest — directed anti-gay chants at Germany fans before kick-off on Wednesday.

An AFP journalist saw fans of both teams, including German wearing rainbow colours, locked in angry exchanges which led to police intervening.

The match build-up had been dominated by UEFA’s refusal to allow the city of Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours in solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTQ community.

UEFA and the government of Hungary came under a hail of criticism after Budapest’s new anti-LGBTQ law and the football body’s refusal to light the Munich stadium.

Fans came to the game in rainbow colours, and one German supporter invaded the pitch with a rainbow flag during the Hungarian national anthem.

UEFA Refuses To Light Munich Stadium In Rainbow Colours For Germany-Hungary Match

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA on Tuesday rejected plans by the city of Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 match in support of the LGBT community and to protest at a law passed by the Hungarian government.

“UEFA is a politically and religiously neutral organisation,” said European football’s governing body in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s match.

“Given the political context of this request — a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament — UEFA must refuse.”

The mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, had wanted the stadium in rainbow colours for the crucial Group F match to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Hungary’s right-wing government last week passed a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, outlawing any educational programmes or material in which homosexuality is mentioned.

On Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed that plans to light the Munich stadium in rainbow colours was “harmful and dangerous”.

While UEFA have rejected the request for the day of the match, it has suggested alternative dates for June 28, which is Christopher Street Liberation Day, or from July 3-9, the week of gay pride in Munich.

The last European Championship match in Munich takes place on July 2.

Tensions are running high on and off the pitch.

Hungary need a win to have a chance of reaching the last 16, while hosts Germany know just a draw would secure a spot in the knockout phase.

AFP

France’s Pavard Didn’t ‘Lose Consciousness’, Says UEFA

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA on Thursday said that France defender Benjamin Pavard did “not lose consciousness” when he fell on his head during his team’s Euro 2020 win over Germany.

Pavard said he was “a bit knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds” after challenging for the ball with Robin Gosens during France’s 1-0 win on Tuesday.

But UEFA said the report it received from the French team doctor suggested that was not the case.

“UEFA has received detailed information from the French FA medical team on the course of events and is satisfied that the actions taken by the medical team were in line with the concussion protocol,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

“According to the reports that we received from the team doctor, it seems that a loss of consciousness did not occur.”

The global footballers’ union FIFPro had asked UEFA why Pavard was allowed to play on despite him saying he had been knocked out.

The 25-year-old was struck in the head by Gosens’ knee before falling, with his head bouncing against the turf, but he finished the match.

“We got confirmation from the French team that he had no concussion,” Euro organising director Martin Kallen told reporters.

On Wednesday, Pavard had an exam over video call with a neurologist and according to sources, that check was able to rule out possible brain damage.

“The player will nevertheless continue to be closely monitored over the coming days,” UEFA added.

All 24 teams at the European Championship have signed a “concussion charter” designed to improve the care of players during games.

The charter says that players should be taken immediately off the pitch if suspected of having suffered concussion.

AFP

UEFA Rejects Greek Protest Over North Macedonia Shirt

North Macedonia’s defender Stefan Ristovski takes part in an MD-1 training session at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 16, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 Group C football match against Ukraine. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / POOL / AFP)

 

 

UEFA on Wednesday rejected Greece’s request to change the North Macedonia shirt at Euro 2020 after the Greeks argued that the current version violated a historic treaty between the Balkan neighbours.

Greece said the initials FFM (Football Federation of Macedonia) that feature on the shirt refer to the Balkan country’s name before a 2018 treaty resolved a longstanding diplomatic row between the Balkan neighbours.

UEFA confirmed it had received a letter from the Greek government requesting that the shirt be modified.

But European football’s governing body said it had rejected the request because “UEFA uses the name Football Federation of North Macedonia in all its official communication and has adapted the relevant terminology accordingly, including in the UEFA statutes and with regard to UEFA Euro 2020”.

Until recently, North Macedonia competed under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to avoid ire from Greece, who never accepted the name “Macedonia” because it has a province of the same name.

UEFA did intervene before the tournament to order Ukraine to remove a slogan from its shirt after it angered Russia.

Russia was furious at the slogan — “Glory to the Heroes” — because the words became a rallying cry for pro-Western protesters who ousted a Kremlin-backed leader in 2014.

UEFA ruled that the slogan was “political” but agreed a compromise with the Ukrainian football association which involved covering the slogan with a smaller version of the map of Ukraine.

A larger version of the outline of Ukraine on the front of the shirt includes Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

UEFA Demands Ukraine Make Changes To ‘Political’ Jersey

A picture taken on June 6, 2021 shows a EURO 2020 jersey of the Ukrainian national football team. Ukraine provoked Moscow’s ire on June 6, 2021 as its football federation unveiled Euro 2020 uniforms that feature Russian-annexed Crimea and nationalist slogans. STRINGER / AFP

 

UEFA on Thursday demanded that Ukraine make changes to their jersey for Euro 2020 to remove a “political” slogan that sparked protests from Russia.

European football’s governing body said the message “Glory to the Heroes”, a rallying cry during the 2014 anti-Russia protests in Ukraine that is featured inside the shirt, was “clearly political in nature”.

Russia welcomed the move, but the Ukrainian football association said it was in talks with UEFA to reverse its decision.

The Ukrainians stressed to AFP that “earlier UEFA had approved the new kit and every element of it, including the slogan.”

On Tuesday, Russia had sent a letter of complaint to UEFA over the yellow jersey which on the front also features the outline of Ukraine including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted two photographs on Instagram of himself holding the jersey and said it bore “many important symbols that unify the Ukrainian people”.

The presidential press service then released a selfie Zelensky took of himself wearing the jersey.

“The Ukrainian national football team’s new jersey is in fact not like the others,” Zelensky said.

But UEFA said the map would not need to be removed or changed because a United Nations General Assembly Resolution “recognises the territorial borders as broadly depicted by the design”.

The slogan “Glory to Ukraine” was also approved by UEFA as “on its own (it) may be considered as a generic and non-political phrase of general national significance”.

That chant was also used by protesters who ousted a Kremlin-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych, during the Maidan demonstrations seven years ago.

Since annexing Crimea, Russia has backed pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. The ongoing conflict there has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people.

Russia hailed UEFA’s decision, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying “sport is not a battlefield, rather it is a field for competition”.

“Become sporting heroes and you will have glory. Do it that way and not with nationalist slogans saying the motherland should be glorified,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram.

Ukraine begin their campaign at the European Championship on Sunday against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Drawn in Group C, they also face Austria and North Macedonia.

Russia have been drawn in Group B alongside Belgium, Denmark and Finland. Their first match is against the Belgians in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

AFP

Super League: UEFA Opens Disciplinary Proceedings Against Real Madrid, Barcelona And Juventus

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

UEFA on Tuesday opened formal disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, the three clubs which are still refusing to give up the aborted Super League project. 

“Following an investigation conducted by UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors in connection with the so-called ‘Super League’ project, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Juventus FC for a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework,” said the governing body of European football in a brief statement.

UEFA appointed “ethics and disciplinary inspectors” on May 12 to conduct a preliminary investigation.

The other nine promoters of the Super League escaped prosecution in exchange for light financial penalties.

UEFA, challenged in mid-April by the launch of the proposed private European tournament at the same time as it announced a major overhaul of its Champions League, has long preferred to negotiate the surrender of the rebels rather than crack down.

But having failed to obtain a surrender from the three holdouts, has opted for disciplinary measures without specifying what offences they have committed.

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UEFA’s statutes prohibit any “grouping or alliance” between clubs without its authorisation.

Among the range of sanctions UEFA rules allow, the most severe for the clubs are “exclusion from current and/or future competitions”, as well as “banning from all football-related activities” for the directors.

By announcing their own private Super League on the night of  April 18-19, the 12 clubs turned European football on its head and threatened the very existence of UEFA.

The gradual withdrawal of the six English participants after 48 hours led to the project being shelved. he two Milan clubs followed and the nine agreed in early May to pay a combined 15 million euros and to forgo five per cent of their European revenue for one season.

Real, Barcelona and Juventus meanwhile retaliated through a Commercial Court in Madrid which referred the matter to the European Court of Justice, asking if UEFA was abusing its “dominant position” by seeking to block a competing tournament.

AFP