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FIFA gives former president Sepp Blatter an additional ban of six years eight months
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter Credit: International Students’ Committee (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been handed a further six years and eight months ban from the game and fined a million Swiss francs ($1.07 million) by the body's Ethics Committee after a probe into massive bonus payments.

The latest investigation looked into World Cup bonus payments made to Blatter and some former top FIFA officials, including former general secretary Jerome Valcke, former vice-president Julio Grondona and ex-finance director Markus Kattner.

The new bans start when the current suspensions of 85-year-old Blatter and Valcke, 60, end in October 2021 and October 2025, respectively.

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Joan Laporta elected as new president of FC Barcelona
Joan Laporta
Joan Laporta Credit: RODIXETA

Joan Laporta, who was president from 2003 to 2010, was elected FC Barcelona's President with an absolute majority of 54.28% of the votes. Laporta will serve a six-year term upon taking the reins again.

"We experienced the same thing in 2003. We were losing, had a huge debt and were having to pay too many expenses and income was lower than revenue. The situation today is very similar and my formula to get out of it is very simple. We need to control expenses, restructure the debt and work to generate new sources of income," Laporta told the BBC prior to the election.

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Barçagate: Former FC Barcelona president arrested in Camp Nou office
Josep Maria Bartomeu
Josep Maria Bartomeu Credit: pscbarcelona (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Four people were arrested on Monday morning for 'Barçagate' so far, including the club's former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, former board member Jaume Masferrer, Barça's current CEO Òscar Grau and the head of legal services, Román Gómez-Ponti.

In February 2020, Spanish broadcaster Cadena Ser revealed a scheme in which then-president Bartomeu hired the company I3Ventures, which specialises in mass dissemination of offences and misinformation on social media.

Next Sunday, on March 7, FC Barcelona will hold an election to designate the new president for the coming six years, with three candidates: former president Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa.

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Chinese football champions Jiangsu FC cease operations
Jiangsu FC crest
Jiangsu FC crest

The champion of the Chinese Football League, Jiangsu FC, ceases playing with immediate effect. This was announced by the retail giant Suning, which owns the club. Jiangsu had won the Chinese Super League title for the first time only about three months ago.

According to the group, they want to focus on the retail business in the future. Other business areas not related to the core business would be closed and scaled back. At the beginning of the month, the Group announced that it was in a difficult situation due to the Covid-19 crisis. Jiangsu has allegedly amassed around $90 million in debt.

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More than 6500 guest workers have died since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar ten years ago
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium Credit: FIFA

Since the awarding of the 2022 World Cup ten years ago, over 6500 guest workers have died in the host country Qatar. This is the result of an evaluation by the "Guardian", which was published on Tuesday.

According to the report, the information about the deaths comes from inquiries to the governments of the countries of origin; the victims come mainly from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

According to the newspaper, the actual death rate is probably considerably higher: The figures presented do not include workers from the Philippines and Kenya, which also make up a large number of the guest workers in Qatar, according to the Guardian. Cases from the last months of 2020 are also not included.

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Bayern Munich are the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup champions
Kimmich and Pavard celebrate a goal during the FIFA Club World Cup
Kimmich and Pavard celebrate a goal during the FIFA Club World Cup Credit: FIFA (Twitter Reproduction)

The Bayern Munich completed a sextuple of titles in the 2019-2020 season with a 1:0 win against Tigres, from Mexico. Benjamin Pavard scored the solo goal for the German side.

The other silverware for Bayern were the UEFA Champions League, the European Supercup, the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the German Supercup.

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Al Ahly claims the third place at the FIFA Club World Cup
Mohamed El Shenawy celebrates Al Ahly bronze medal
Mohamed El Shenawy celebrates Al Ahly bronze medal Credit: Al Ahly (Twitter Reproduction)

Mohamed El Shenaway saved two penalties in the shootout as Al Ahly edged Palmeiras 3-2 to finish third at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 after 90 minutes had ended with the score 0-0.

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FIFA and Bayern ties with Qatar in the spotlight ahead of Club World Cup final
FIFA and Bayern ties with Qatar in the spotlight ahead of Club World Cup final
Credit: / Saurav Rastogi

As FIFA prepares to turn the competition into a 24 team format to be contested in China next year, human rights supporters point out that not enough is being done to prevent the abuse of workers in this year's host country, Qatar.

FC Bayern faces Tigres UANL at this Thursday's final, and is also facing criticism, having gone as far as banning a fan for a critical banner display.

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Bayern Munich beats Al Ahly 2-0 to reach FIFA Club World Cup final
Bayern Munich crest
Bayern Munich crest Credit: FIFA (Twitter Reproduction)

Robert Lewandowski's scored twice to help FC Bayern Munich beat the Egyptian Al Ahly SC 2-0 and book a FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 final against Tigres UANL.

In the final on Thursday, Hansi Flick’s team will take on Mexican club Tigres, which beat Brazil’s Palmeiras 1-0 on Sunday. That made Tigres the first team from CONCACAF to reach a FIFA Club World Cup final.

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Soccer: Tigres beats Palmeiras to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final
Soccer: Tigres beats Palmeiras to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final
Credit: Tigres (Twitter Reproduction)

Tigres become first Mexican side to reach FIFA Club World Cup final, after beating the Brazilian Palmeiras 1:0. Andre-Pierre Gignac scored for the Concacaf champions.

Tigres will now face the winner of the match between Bayern München versus Al Ahly, to be played Monday, February 8th.

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The German government says RB Leipzig cannot host Liverpool in the Champions League
The German government says RB Leipzig cannot host Liverpool in the Champions League
Credit: Steffen Prößdorf (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

RB Leipzig will not host Liverpool in the Champions League later this month after authorities ruled the English club cannot enter Germany because of coronavirus mutations in the UK, the Interior Ministry said Thursday. The match was set to take place in Leipzig on February 16, but the German federal police responsible for border control (the Bundespolizei) rejected RB's application for a special permit that would have allowed Jürgen Klopp's Premier League outfit to enter the country.

"The Coronavirus Protection Order agreed by the federal government last Friday envisions only a few exceptions and no special arrangements for professional athletes," the German Interior Ministry said in a statement.

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Messi contract leaked: Four seasons and 555 million euros
Lionel Messi in a 2014 game
Lionel Messi in a 2014 game Credit: Lluís (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

This Sunday's edition of the newspaper El Mundo exclusively unveils Leo Messi's contract with FC Barcelona. The contract dates to 2017, covering four seasons for a total of 555 million euros and it is "the sum of a fixed salary, image rights, a series of multi-million euro bonuses unheard of to date, allowances and a string of variables depending on various objectives".

According to the newspaper, Messi has already secured 92% of the contract, despite the team's setbacks in the Champions League's recent seasons, the competition that has the highest bonuses.

Barcelona denied "any responsibility for the publication of this document".

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FIFA warns potential participators in closed Super League
FIFA warns potential participators in closed Super League

Rumours about a breakaway Super League received an official remark from FIFA today, stating that any players competing in such competition would be barred from FIFA and its affiliated competitions.

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Santos beat Boca Juniors, and will face Palmeiras in Copa Libertadores final
Santos beat Boca Juniors, and will face Palmeiras in Copa Libertadores final
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Santos will face Palmeiras, who overcame River Plate on Tuesday in the other semifinal, in the decider of Copa Libertadores on January 30 at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

After drawing the first leg 0-0 in Buenos Aires last week, Santos were vastly superior to their sluggish opponents, hitting the post inside the first minute and then taking the lead after a quarter of an hour.

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Palmeiras into Copa Libertadores final despite defeat to River Plate
Palmeiras into Copa Libertadores final despite defeat to River Plate
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

In a thrilling match in São Paulo, the game hinged on a series of contentious decisions that went against the visitors after consultations with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). River won the game 2-0 but it was not enough to revert the 3-0 Palmeiras' victory in Buenos Aires.

Palmeiras will play either Boca Juniors or Santos in the final of the Libertadores, South America's equivalent of UEFA's Champions League, later this month.

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Soccer: Kazuyoshi Miura to play on at 54 after signing an extension with Yokohama FC
Kazuyoshi Miura in 2012
Kazuyoshi Miura in 2012 Credit: norio nakayama (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Japanese soccer legend Kazuyoshi Miura is set to play another season after extending his contract with Yokohama FC. Miura will be aged 54 when the season starts.

The striker is one of the most revered sportsmen in Japan and was at the forefront of the country's football boom in the early 1990s when he was the poster boy of the newly launched league in 1993.

The Guinness World Record for the oldest professional footballer is held by Israeli Isaak Hayik, who played in goal last April for Israel's Ironi Or Yehuda, aged 73.

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Lucy Bronze and Robert Lewandowski are The Best soccer players of 2020
Lucy Bronze and Robert Lewandowski are The Best soccer players of 2020
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Poland and FC Bayern München striker Lewandowski was named The Best FIFA Men's Player for the first time in his career.

Likewise, defender Lucy Bronze is also a maiden recipient of The Best FIFA Women's Player Award after rounding off an impeccable spell with Olympique Lyonnais in style before returning to England to play for Manchester City WFC. 12).

Jurgen Klopp was declared the winner after a close race with Hans-Dieter Flick (FC Bayern München), with the outcome, decided on voting by the national team coaches.

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France Football announces the all-time Ballon d'Or Dream Team
France Football announces the all-time Ballon d'Or Dream Team
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

France Football announced Monday its all-time Ballon d'Or soccer Dream Team after voting by 140 journalists:

  • Lev Yashin
  • Cafú
  • Paolo Maldini
  • Franz Beckenbauer
  • Lothar Matthäus
  • Xavi
  • Diego Maradona
  • Pelé
  • Messi
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Ronaldo
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UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw puts Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions League 2020-21 round of 16
UEFA Champions League 2020-21 round of 16 Credit: UEFA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After a draw made on Monday, UEFA Champions League round of 16 ties are:

  • Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER) vs Manchester City (ENG)
  • Lazio (ITA) vs Bayern (GER)
  • Atlético (ESP) vs Chelsea (ENG)
  • Leipzig (GER) vs Liverpool (ENG)
  • Porto (POR) vs Juventus (ITA)
  • Barcelona (ESP) vs Paris (FRA)
  • Sevilla (ESP) vs Borussia Dortmund (GER)
  • Atalanta (ITA) vs Real Madrid (ESP)

The first legs are scheduled for 16/17 and 23/24 February, with the second legs on 9/10 and 16/17 March.

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Italy World Cup legend Paolo Rossi is dead
Paolo Rossi
Paolo Rossi Credit: STF / AFP Photo / UPI (Public Domain)

Italy's 1982 World Cup hero Paolo Rossi has died aged 64. His death was announced on Thursday, following what Italian media report had been a long illness.

He was the first player, later equalled by Ronaldo, to win the World Cup, the top scorer title and the Golden Ball in the same year.

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Alejandro Sabella, former Argentina's Head Coach died
Alejandro Sabella
Alejandro Sabella Credit: Víctor Santa María (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Alejandro Sabella, the coach who led the Argentinean National Team to the runner-up in the World Cup in Brazil, died Tuesday at the age of 66.

Sabella has suffered from a severe heart disease since 2015 and had been placed in intensive care just a day after the footballing world mourned the death of Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

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Stephanie Frappart becomes first female referee in the Champions League
Stephanie Frappart becomes first female referee in the Champions League
Credit: El Loko Foto / via Wikimedia Commons

Stephanie Frappart from France is the first woman to whistle the Men's Champions League. The 36-year-old whistled 3-0 in the match between Juventus and Dinamo Kiev and received much praise for her unagitated and assertive performance.

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Paid maternity leave for female soccer players
Brazil women's national football team
Brazil women's national football team Credit: Mariana Sá/CBF

According to the new FIFA regulations, professional female soccer players worldwide should be able to take paid maternity leave. For at least 14 weeks, two-thirds of the salary will be paid, and discrimination based on pregnancy will be prohibited. Also, clubs will be obliged to reintegrate the players after their return and to provide medical support. Now the FIFA Council still has to approve the new regulations.

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Argentinean police raid house and clinic of Diego Maradona's doctor
Diego Maradona Graffiti at La Boca, Buenos Aires.
Diego Maradona Graffiti at La Boca, Buenos Aires. Credit: Cadaverexquisito (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Argentine prosecutors are investigating Diego Maradona's doctor, Leopoldo Luque, for possible manslaughter following the footballing legend's death four days ago. The police have searched the doctor's house and private clinic, trying to establish if the soccer legend's treatment, after his surgery, was negligent.

There are suspicions that the star's convalescence at home might not have met the conditions of his discharge from the clinic, such as a 24-hour team of nurses "specialised in substance abuse", the on-call presence of doctors and a stand-by ambulance equipped with a defibrillator.

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Napoli to rename San Paolo stadium to Diego Armando Maradona
Napoli to rename San Paolo stadium to Diego Armando Maradona

Naples city mayor Luigi De Magistris and Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed Thursday the city stadium would be renamed San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona.

Maradona, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991 when he won their only two Serie A titles - in 1987 and 1990 - along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.

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Diego Armando Maradona has died
Diego Armando Maradona has died
Credit: Autor unknown / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona died on Wednesday morning at the house in the San Andres neighborhood, in the city of Tigre, where he lived for some days after having been operated on the head. Maradona has died at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, helped Argentina win the World Cup in 1986, the pinnacle of an illustrious career.

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20 members of the Uruguayan national team tested positive for Covid-19 one week after facing Brazil for World Cup Qualifiers
20 members of the Uruguayan national team tested positive for Covid-19 one week after facing Brazil for World Cup Qualifiers
Credit: / Bence Balla-Schottner

A new round of tests done this week raised the number of Uruguayan national team players and staff members who tested positive for Covid-19 up to 20.

Washington Tabarez, the national team coach tested negative. The whole country's numbers of cases raised abruptly in the last weeks, and the latest numbers pointing to 108 positive cases for one day.

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Manchester City Pep Guardiola signs new two-year deal
Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola Credit: Terry Kearney (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Pep Guardiola has signed a two-year deal that will see him remain as Manchester City manager until the summer of 2023. Guardiola told City's website:"We have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success."

Guardiola's current five-year stay is already the longest commitment he has made to a team since becoming a manager in 2008.

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Covid-19: Egypt, Liverpool star Mohamed Salah tests positive
Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah Credit: Анна Нэсси (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

A tweet from the Egyptian FA said that testing results showed "our international player and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah to be infected with coronavirus ... despite not having any symptoms."

Photographs and videos of Salah - in some of the images, without a face mask to protect against the virus - dancing among dozens of people at his brother's wedding, held earlier this week in Cairo, have gone viral on the social media over the past days.

Salah's positive test result comes ahead of Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match on Saturday against Togo.

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England's FA plead with UK government to grant Iceland players travel exemption
Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium Credit: David Wilson (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Talks are continuing on Thursday between the FA and senior government officials in an attempt to clarify whether existing coronavirus regulations denying Iceland's players and staff entry into the United Kingdom will remain in place. The current restrictions relate to a new coronavirus strain that has spread to humans from mink in Denmark.

"We have asked the Government to consider allowing us to play our final Nations League match at Wembley Stadium, by giving travel exemption to the Icelandic team subject to strict medical protocols," the FA said on its Twitter account.