The Champions League final could be played outside of Europe according to new UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. The Slovenian will revive an open bidding process to host the final and is open to it being staged in New York. “It might be an idea but we have to speak about it,” said Ceferin, 49, who was named head of European football’s governing body last month. The 61 finals have all been held in Europe but Ceferin said travel to the US would be “no problem” for fans. He added: “To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan for example is almost the same or the same as if you go to New York. “It’s a European competition so let’s think about it.” Under the current process, UEFA awards the finals without any tendering process, with stadium hosts decided in secret by the leadership.
Legia Warsaw fear being kicked out of the Champions League after their fans clashed with the police before Tuesday’s match at Real Madrid. The Polish champions were beaten 5-1 after some of their fans clashed with police outside the stadium – with 12 people injured and 13 Polish fans detained. They were already fined for crowd trouble against Borussia Dortmund in September and will host Real in an empty stadium on 2 November. “There have been unofficial suggestions before the Real Madrid game that any offence could result in excluding us from European competitions,” said Seweryn Dmowski, Legia’s public and media relations director.
Rudi Garcia has been appointed as Marseille’s new coach ahead of Sunday’s league game against bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain. Three days after American businessman Frank McCourt completed his takeover of the southern club, Marseille said on Thursday that Garcia will be in charge for the biggest game in French football at Parc des Princes. Garcia, who was fired by Roma last season, signed a three-year deal with Marseille, where he replaces interim coach Franck Passi. Garcia also coached French clubs Saint-Etienne, Dijon and Le Mans. Before joining Roma three years ago, he led Lille to a domestic double, winning the French Cup and Ligue 1 title in 2011. Marseille, the only French team to win the Champions League back in 1993, has won the French title nine times but has fallen behind since PSG was taken over by Qatari investors five years ago.
The October 2016 FIFA / Coca Cola World ranking was released today and Nigeria gathered 562 points to rise to 60th position (from 65th position in September) in the men’s category thanks to the Super Eagles away win in Zambia.
Nigeria international Ogenyi Onazi has asked FIFA to intervene in a dispute with his former club Lazio who he says owe him two months’ salary. The 23-year-old left Lazio for Turkish side Trabzonspor in August. “We have no option but to go to FIFA to ask the disciplinary committee to act on Lazio’s refusal to pay me,” Onazi said. “My agent and lawyer have written to Lazio, but after two months we have heard nothing from the club.” Onazi, who spent five years at Lazio and scored seven goals in 110 appearances, added: “We all conclude that the only ideal thing to do is to approach FIFA to enable me get what I worked for.” The club said they had no comment on the matter.
Barcelona will be without defenders Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba for their next Champions League game with Manchester City on 1 November. The Spain internationals both went off injured in yesterday’s 4-0 win over the English side. Centre-back Pique has been ruled out for three weeks with sprained ankle ligaments and left-back Alba is out for a fortnight with a strained left hamstring.
FIFA has appointed respected Gambian official Bakary Papa Gassama as referee for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Algeria, scheduled for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium Uyo, NFF reports. The Matchday 2 encounter between two of the fiercest rivals in African football will see Jean-Claude Birumushahu from Burundi as assistant referee 1, Marwa Range from Kenya as assistant referee 2 and Gassama’s compatriot, Maudo Jallow as fourth official. FIFA has also appointed Jean-Olivier Mbera from Gabon as referee assessor, Ghanaian Anthony Baffoe as match commissioner and Nicholas Chumba Musonye from Kenya as security officer.
The draws for TOTAL AFCON (African Cup of Nations, now sponsored by oil giant TOTAL), Gabon 2017, was held yesterday 19th October, 2016. The final tournament will be held from 14 January to 5 February 2017 in the Gabonese cities of Libreville, Franceville, Oyem and Port Gentil. We are still sad the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be absent especially now that they seem to be playing exciting football. Who do you tip for the trophy?
It’s been a year since Robin van Persie swapped Fenerbahce for Manchester United, and the striker is preparing to face his old team tonight. The striker thinks he could still be at United if Sir Alex Ferguson had remained manager. “When I signed that was the idea, that Sir Alex would stay on for a few more years, but in football things change,” he said. “I am proud of my 11 years in England. My kids were born there. I still like England a lot. I like the English way of living. It is not only about the way I left, what went wrong or right. There is a bigger picture.”
Borussia Monchengladbach changed their English language Twitter handle to ‘A German team’ after spotting a Scottish pub was having trouble spelling their name before Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Celtic. Now that was sarcastic from Monchengladbach after they beat Celtic two nil right there in Scotland.