Aston Villa have been fined £200,000 after admitting spectator misconduct in relation to their FA Cup sixth round tie against West Bromwich Albion on 7 March. The charges related to a pitch invasion at Villa Park following the home side’s 2-0 win. The Premier League club have also received a severe warning from the Football Association. Villa have since progressed to the FA Cup final at Wembley and play Arsenal on 30 May.
The Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus on June 6 in Berlin will see the controversial Luis Suarez come up against two old enemies. The Barcelona and Uruguay striker will be in direct opposition to Giorgio Chiellini and Patrice Evra in the Juve defence as the clubs battle it out to win the greatest prize in European club football. Suarez was banned from football for four months after biting Italy’s Chiellini during the World Cup in Brazil last year, meaning he was unable to make his debut for Barcelona until the end of October following his summer move from Liverpool. His controversial spell with Liverpool included being found guilty by an FA panel of racially abusing Evra during a match at Anfield in 2011 when the French defender was at Manchester United. Suarez was later handed an eight-match ban and fined £40,000 ($63,000) but then refused to shake hands with Evra when they met again at Old Trafford later that season.
Tottenham have confirmed goalkeeper Brad Friedel will retire from the game at the end of the season. The USA international turns 44 on Monday. “There really is nothing like it but my 44th birthday is here so I think it is a good time to call it a day,” he said on Twitter. Such a glorious career Brad has had.
The Spanish football season will be allowed to finish after the week-long Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) suspension and players’ strike were lifted by Spain’s national court. The RFEF had suspended the end of the season and the players’ union decided to strike over a TV rights dispute. Barcelona can win La Liga on Sunday, with a game to spare, if they beat current champions Atletico Madrid. The Spanish Cup final will also go ahead as planned on 30 May. Barca, who have also reached the Champions League final where they will take on Juventus, play Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp in the domestic Copa del Rey final. The RFEF and the players’ union (AFE) are not satisfied with a new law introducing collective bargaining for domestic television rights, which was supported by the National Professional Football League (LFP) which runs Spain’s top two professional divisions. The players who backed a proposed strike believe the split of money in a new deal proposed by the LFP and the Spanish government does not do enough for those at lower-ranked clubs. On Friday, LFP president Javier Tebas announced plans to take legal action against the suspension, warning that it could cost 50 million euros (£36m) per match day in lost revenues.
Spanish officials and members of the players union are holding crisis talks to try and prevent a proposed strike from May 16 that threatens the final two rounds of La Liga fixtures as well as the Copa Del Rey final. Barcelona face Atletic Bilbao in the Cup final and are currently only one game from regaining the league title and the Catalan side could win the title on Sunday if the game is given the go-ahead and they beat Atletico Madrid. The strike was initially called by both the Spanish federation and the players union as they disagreed with the government’s proposed new law regarding the collective bargaining for TV rights, with major clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona receiving most of the money. According to reports in the Spanish media discussions between legal representations from the federation, the league, and the union were taking place in the capital on Wedenesday evening putting to discuss the legality of the proposed strike. The league, which controls the top two divisions including the superstar Primera division, says a stoppage could cost it 50 million euros per match day in lost revenues. However, the union insisted they wouldn’t change their mind believing potential losses could be reversed. Ultimately the court will make a final decision and if it declares it has legal jurisdiction to rule in this case, it could abandon the strike declaring it as illegal allowing the parties to negotiate their differences.
Former FIFA executive committee member Reynald Temarii has been banned from football for eight years for accepting money from former Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed bin Hammam. Temarii was found to have violated FIFA ethics codes relating to “conduct, loyalty, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and offering and accepting gifts”, a FIFA statement read. The head of the Tahiti FA accepted 305,000 euros (£220,000) from Bin Hammam in 2011 to cover costs arising from an appeal against an earlier ban. That suspension, handed down in 2010, came after Temarii, along with fellow executive committee member Amos Adamu, offered to sell his vote in the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup to reporters from the Sunday Times. Both men were stripped of the right to vote in the 2018 and 2022 hosting contests as a result. Tahitian Temarii, who was also president of the Oceania Football Confederation at the time, lost his subsequent appeal and served a one-year ban, while Nigerian Adamu was suspended for three years. Qatari Bin Hammam, another former FIFA executive committee member, was initially banned by world football’s governing body for bribery before the 2011 presidential election, in which he was standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter. Bin Hammam overturned that verdict only to be suspended following a review of AFC accounts by FIFA, which accused him of repeated violations of the ethics code during 2008-2011.
A Spanish judge has ordered Barcelona Football Club to stand trial over claims it tried to mislead tax authorities. The club bought the Brazilian player Neymar in 2013 for what they said was €57m euros ($41m; $65m). But a judge in Madrid said he believes the club knew the fee was far higher – and so more tax should have been paid. The club’s current and former presidents have 10 days to respond to the court. Barcelona and its former president, Sandro Rosell, have previously denied wrongdoing. The current president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, previously said that the findings were “open to interpretation” and that he would challenge them. The club said it paid €57m for Neymar, 23, with his parents receiving €45m of the fee. But investigators allege that the fee for Neymar’s transfer from Brazilian team Santos was closer to €83m. As a result, Barcelona has not paid about €13m in tax, say prosecutors. The Spanish news agency, Efe, said the club could face a fine of more than €22m if found guilty. All parties have 10 days to file papers in their defence before the court. No trial date has yet been fixed.
The entire United States 4x100m relay team have been stripped of their London 2012 Olympic silver medals as a consequence of Tyson Gay’s drugs ban. Former 100m and 200m world champion Gay was suspended for a year after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid. The 32-year-old returned his London 2012 medal when his suspension was announced in May 2014. Now the International Olympic Committee has told US Olympic bosses that the whole team must return their medals. The IOC wrote to the US Olympic Committee on Wednesday, telling them to collect the medals from Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Ryan Bailey, Jeffery Demps and Darvis Patton. “We will begin efforts to have the medals returned and support all measures to protect clean athletes,” said a US Olympic Committee statement. Kimmons and Bailey ran with Gay in the final, as did Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, including a four-year suspension between 2006-2010. Gay’s results from 15 July 2012 – the date he first used a product containing a banned substance – were annulled. His one-year suspension was backdated to 23 June 2013, the date he tested positive at the US World Championship trials. The American team finished second in London’s Olympic Stadium behind Jamaica, who were anchored by Usain Bolt on their way to a new world record. Gay and his team-mates set a new US record with their time of 37.04 seconds. If the medals are reallocated, Trinidad and Tobago – who finished third in 38.12 seconds – would be awarded silver. Fourth-placed France would take the bronze instead.
Outgoing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he regrets never winning the Premier League title. Gerrard, 34, plays his last game at Anfield on Saturday, against Crystal Palace, before joining Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy in June. “It is not the only regret, I think it is the biggest,” former England skipper Gerrard told Football Focus. “I would love to say that I have got the full collection, it would be the icing on the cake.” Having made more than 700 appearances over 17 seasons, Gerrard ends his association with the Reds this summer, admitting his exit has “happened maybe slightly quicker” than he thought.
Juventus will meet Barcelona in the Champions League final after Alvaro Morata scored against his former club to knock holders Real Madrid out. Real trailed 2-1 from the first leg but levelled on aggregate through Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty after James Rodriguez was caught by Giorgio Chiellini. A first ‘El Clasico’ final looked on the cards until Morata fired into the ground and past Iker Casillas. Gareth Bale and Rodriguez went close but Juventus held on. While Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri will deservedly win praise for leading the Italians to their first Champions League final since 2003 in his first season in charge, questions are likely to be raised about the future of Real manager Carlo Ancelotti. Trailing Barcelona by four points in the Spanish title race, Real face ending the season with only the FIFA Club World Cup. and UEFA Super Cup. And it was a player Ancelotti – who managed Juve from 1999-2001 – allowed to leave who ended his hopes of retaining the title they won in Lisbon last season. Morata, who also scored in the first leg, again refused to celebrate after his 57th-minute goal proved decisive.
It came after a half clearance by Casillas, Paul Pogba using his height and strength to help tee up a chance which Morata buried into the far corner. Bale missed two chances to send the tie into extra time, one from close range which he headed over, while Rodriguez went close from distance. Yet the Italian champions missed a huge chance of their own to win on the night when Claudio Marchisio was thwarted by Casillas when he only had the keeper to beat. It had started so well for Real, Ronaldo netting from the penalty spot after Chiellini had caught the back of Colombia forward Rodriguez’s leg in the 22nd minute – a strike which drew him level with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi on 77 goals in the all-time Champions League top scorers’ list.The hosts were on top as Ronaldo’s first-time shot flew into the side netting five minutes before the interval after he was set up by Bale, while Gianluigi Buffon kept out Karim Benzema with a one-handed save. But Real’s season fell apart in the second half, Juventus’s character shining through. It means Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is likely to face Chiellini in the final, their first meeting since the Uruguay international was banned for biting the Italy defender at the World Cup in Brazil last summer.