Van Praag, who is president of the Dutch Football Federation, says he has switched his support to Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan for the FIFA presidency contest. The election takes place on 29 May with Sepp Blatter, who is tipped to win a fifth term, and former Portugal great Luis Figo still in contention along with Prince Ali.
Chelsea striker Eden Hazard won’t be able to pick up his Football Writers’ Association player of the year award tonight – and is a doubt for the final match of the season. This from the association: “Footballer of the Year Eden Hazard has had emergency dental surgery and will be unable to collect his award in person tonight. “Hazard tried to delay the surgery but had to have three wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday and is still in considerable pain. “Previous winner Gianfranco Zola will pay tribute to Hazard and Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck will deliver a message from the player. Hazard will almost certainly miss Chelsea’s final game against Sunderland – the first Premier League game he will have missed this season.”
FIFA could vote on whether to suspend Israel from world football’s governing body over claims that it discriminates against Palestinian footballers. The Palestine Football Association (PFA) says the Israeli FA has violated rules relating to racism, players’ free movement and where clubs are based. It has requested the vote at the next FIFA congress on 29 May. Suspension would mean Israeli teams would not be able to take part in the Champions League and Euro 2016. The matters were on the agenda in both 2013 and 2014, but compromises meant it never went to a vote.
The Palestinians have raised three major complaints:
Palestinian players and officials are routinely restricted in their movement, making it difficult to play matches
Five clubs play in the Israeli league that are located in settlements in the occupied West Bank
They say the Israeli Football Association (IFA) is turning a blind eye to racism
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas will only miss one match after the Football Association reduced his ban following his red card against West Brom. The Spaniard was sent off for violent conduct after kicking the ball at Chris Brunt’s head from 20 yards away in the Premier League champions’ 3-0 loss. The offence normally carries a three-match ban but Chelsea successfully argued that would be “excessive”. Fabregas, 28, will now only miss Sunday’s home game with Sunderland. With his side 1-0 down at The Hawthorns, Fabregas hit Brunt on the head with the ball as Mike Jones tried to restore order following a tussle between Diego Costa and Gareth McAuley. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho described the sending off as “bizarre” and “harsh”. A statement from the Football Association read: “A claim by Chelsea that the three-match suspension for Cesc Fabregas is excessive has been upheld by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.” Mourinho partly blamed Monday’s defeat on the weakness of their Premier League rivals, who “let us win the title so early”.
Juventus kept their dreams of a treble alive as they won the Coppa Italia thanks to Alessandro Matri’s extra-time winner against Lazio. Juve have won Serie A for the fourth consecutive time and face Barcelona in the Champions League final. They fell behind in Rome when Stefan Radu headed Lazio ahead but Giorgio Chiellini levelled with a fine volley. The final went to extra time before substitute Matri lashed home to seal a record 10th cup win. Juventus had not won the trophy since 1995 but will now hope to complete a treble – achieved by Jose Mourinho at Inter in 2010 – when they play Barca in Berlin on Saturday 6 June. La Liga champions Barca could also be going for the treble as they face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on 30 May.