Monthly Archives: June 2017

Liverpool escapes punishment for illegal approach for Virgil van Dijk

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Liverpool will not be given any punishment from FA against their illegal “tapping up” Southampton player Virgil van Dijk.

The Saints were incensed after reading that Van Dijk was interested in making a move to Liverpool, having been won over in part by the vision of Jurgen Klopp, the manager of the Merseyside club.

While insisting that Van Dijk is not for sale Southampton also made it very clear that they wanted to send out the message they would not be pushed around by a bigger club. This led to an apology from Liverpool, which served to calm the situation — particularly as they also promised to drop their interest in Van Dijk.

They had subsequent filed a formal complaint against Liverpool to the Premier League, arguing Van Dijk ought not to have been privy to any vision of Klopp’s as the Anfield club had not made an official approach for the player.

Southampton also believed that Liverpool had a hand on the newspaper stories while it was reported at the time Klopp had met Van Dijk in Blackpool to discuss the transfer.

Although indirect/direct approaches for players were typical for all clubs, Southampton felt that they needed to take a stand in this particular case since they considered Liverpool to have blatantly overstepped the mark.

While they looked at Southampton’s complaint and had additionally asked Liverpool for their version of events, Premier League officials did not launch a formal investigation.

It was also believed Southampton had incriminating evidence Liverpool, but they have not put it forward in the weeks that have followed the complaint, allowing all to conclude that the clubs have resolved their differences and the matter can be left to lie.

Russia’s 2014 World Cup squad under FIFA doping investigation

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The entire 23-man Russian squad who participated in the 2014 World Cup is being investigated by FIFA for possible violations of drug regulations.

Although the country is currently is in the midst of hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup and is set to stage the World Cup in under a year, the allegations are likely to throw their appropriateness to stage such events into serious doubt.

Russia’s 2014 23-man World Cup team who had been eliminated in the group stages of the Brazil World Cup three years ago, are amongst the 34 Russian footballers currently being investigated by football’s world governing body for possible drug violations.

The allegations made against them were published and authored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. It found at least 1,000 people were assisted by what McLaren described as an “institutionalised manipulation of the doping control process in Russia”.

Five of the 23 players tested in 2014 are members of the squad that was knocked out of the Confederations Cup on Saturday.

While it is well-known that Russia is guilty of state-sponsored doping and cover-up across important sport events such as the Olympics, this is the first time top-level footballers in the country have been placed under investigation and there were yet to be evidence of any anti-doping violations.

Although it was understood that FIFA was in possession of detailed evidence and intelligence, a spokesman said: “FIFA is still investigating the allegations made against [Russian] football players.”


Liverpool completes signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma

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Liverpool have completed the signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma after weeks of negotiating with the Serie A runners-up.

The £36.9m fee, already a club record transfer fees for the Reds, could rise to a staggering £43.9m with add-ons according to Roma, and in turn could further eclipse the £35m spent on Andy Carroll from Newcastle United back in January 2011.

After joining, Salah said in a statement published at “I’m very excited to be here. I’m very happy. I will give 100% and give everything for the club. I really want to win something for this club.”

“We have a great team and very good players. I was watching the games last year and everyone was giving 100% to win something. Everyone can see the coach gives everything. I hope to see that together we can give everything to win something for the club, for the supporters and for us.”

Salah, 25, had been a transfer target of the Reds in the past, with the club missing out on his signature three years ago when he joined Chelsea for an underwhelming spell in the Premier League.

However, Salah experienced a revival after leaving the Blues by impressing in the Serie A with 29 goals in 65 appearances for Roma. Chelsea is also due to receive a percentage of the Egypt international’s latest transfer fee.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also believes that the winger has developed a more rounded game and his “incredible” pace will add depth to a squad which will be further tested this season with the challenge of a Champions League campaign.

“His record in Italy has been outstanding and he possesses qualities that will enhance our team and squad,” Klopp said. “His pace is incredible, he gives us more attacking threat and we are already strong in this area.”

“Most important, though, for us, is that he is hungry, willing and eager to be even better and improve further. He believes in what we are trying to do here at Liverpool and is extremely keen to be part of it.”

“He is very excited about performing for our wonderful supporters. He is an ambitious player who wants to win and win at the highest level; he knows he can fulfil those ambitions with Liverpool.”

Angel Di Maria fined after pleading guilty to tax fraud charge

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Angel Di Maria has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined €2 million after pleading guilty to two counts of tax fraud in Spain.

However, Di Maria, 29, is unlikely to serve the jail sentence since most sentences under two years in Spain are suspended for first-time offenders.

The Paris Saint-Germain playmaker spent four seasons with Real Madrid between 2010–14 and the details of his case have been confirmed by the Spanish tax authorities.

The case relates to the 29-year-old’s image rights in 2012‑13, and he has agreed to repay the frauded amount as well as a 60% fine, a sentence similar to deals struck with the Spanish taxman by his fellow Argentinians Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi last year.

Messi and his father were given 21-month sentences for three counts of tax fraud but did not go to prison, while Mascherano was given a one-year sentence for tax evasion.

Di Maria’s plea comes in the midst of a concerted attempt by public prosecutors in Spain to target high-earners suspected of tax evasion, with his former coach Jose Mourinho and former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid being the most recent to be implicated, although both have denied any wrongdoing.

Miles Dean, the founding partner of Milestone International Tax Consultants, said: “This is a witch hunt against the wealthy, which is not limited to footballers. This is jealously riding roughshod over the rule of law.”