Monthly Archives: June 2017

Bayern Munich issues FIFA threat to ward off Lewandowski bids

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Bayern Munich are prepared to seek FIFA sanctions against any club approaching Robert Lewandowski with the interest of signing the unsettled Polish striker.

Lewandowski, 28, has been linked with a summer transfer window move to Chelsea or Manchester United amidst reports that initial talks over a deal had begun.

However, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich issued a statement to Sky Deutschland to deny the claims, saying: “Robert is under contract at Bayern and only recently renewed his deal until 2021. Bayern Munich waste no thought on a Lewandowski move.”

“There are no talks with other clubs, and there won’t be any. If other clubs negotiate with players who are under long-term contracts, they risk FIFA punishment. The agent also confirmed to us that he has not held any contract talks.”

On the other hand, Lewandowski’s agent has criticised Bayern for not helping his client to secure the Bundesliga golden boot.

Although the striker scored 30 goals for the season, he needed to score twice against Freiburg in the final Bundesliga game of the season to overhaul the tally of Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Agent Maik Barthel revealed the Pole felt the club did not help him to achieve the personal landmark, telling Kicker: “Robert told me that he got no support and that the coach gave no call to help him in the last game to win the top-scorer title.”

“He was disappointed as I have never seen him before,” Barthel added. “He really hoped that the team would support him proactively.”

RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg cleared to play in Champions League

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The Bundesliga club RB Leipzig and Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg have both been cleared by UEFA to play in the Champions League.

UEFA does not allow any two clubs competing in European competition to share the same owner, and have a rule in place that prohibits clubs with strong links from playing in Europe in the same season, and both Leipzig and Salzburg are associated with the energy-drink maker Red Bull.

In a scenario where a violation of the rule happens, priority is given to the team who are champions of their country, meaning that RB Leipzig would have missed out.

However, the European football governing body ruled that both clubs, which secured qualification for the 2017-18 edition of the Champions League through their respective leagues, had “no individual or legal entity had a decisive influence over more than one club”.

UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) elaborated that they have found no breach of Article 5 concerning the integrity of the competition, although the decision may be appealed against to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 10 days.

Red Bull had purchased Austria Salzburg back in 2005 and had rebranded it into Red Bull Salzburg, but following a restructuring it no longer has a controlling stake and merely sponsors the club.

The same company also founded RB Leipzig, and, with backing from the company won four promotions in seven seasons, before finishing second in their first ever Bundesliga season.

Jose Mourinho denies tax fraud accusations in Spain

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Jose Mourinho has denied accusations of tax evasion made against him by Spanish authorities.

Prosecutors within the country had filed a claim against the Manchester United manager that he defrauded the tax authorities of 3.3 million Euros when he managed Real Madrid.

A prosecutor in Madrid said in a statement released yesterday that the Portuguese manager had committed two counts of tax fraud in 2011 and 2012, saying that “corporate structures were used by the accused in order to conceal revenues generated from his image rights”.

Mourinho had been considered to have failed to declare that income when he submitted his tax returns in the relevant years “with the intention of deriving unlawful benefit”, the prosecutor alleges.

A decision is pending from a judge which will decide whether the matter will go to court.

However, a spokesman for the Manchester United manager said: “Jose Mourinho has not received any notification with regards to the news published today. To this date, neither the Spanish tax authorities, nor the public prosecutor have contacted José Mourinho or his advisers who were hired for the inspection process.”

“Jose Mourinho, who lived in Spain from June 2010 until May 2013, paid more than €26m in taxes, with an average tax rate over 41%, and accepted the regularisation proposals made by the Spanish tax authorities in 2015 regarding the years of 2011 and 2012 and entered into a settlement agreement regarding 2013.”

“The Spanish government in turn, through the tax department, issued a certificate in which it attested that he had regularised his position and was in compliance with all his tax obligations.”

Reports also emerged yesterday that the Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo will testify in court on 31 July over allegations that he defrauded the authorities of €14.8min unpaid taxes between 2011 and 2014.

Dani Alves expresses intent to leave Juventus

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Dani Alves has expressed his intention to leave Juventus amidst interest from Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.

The Brazilian’s agent had a meeting with Juventus officials and made the club aware of his client’s desire to move on, and are currently waiting for approval from the Italian champions to begin negotiations with City.

Discussions are also planned with Chelsea but Alves’s preference is to move to the Etihad Stadium, as the defender is understood to be keen to link up there with Pep Guardiola, whom he had worked together with at FC Barcelona.

Alves, 34, was a part of the team that secured three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during Guardiola’s four years in charge Barca between 2008 and 2012.

He also remains full of admiration for the 46-year-old, something that was made clear in an article he wrote for the Players’ Tribune website in the buildup to the Champions League final this month.

“If you turn the word ‘computer’ backwards, it spells ‘Steve Jobs’. If you turn the word ‘football’ backwards, it spells ‘Pep’,” Alves wrote. “He is a genius. I’ll say it again. A genius.”

At present, Alves has one year remaining on his contract at Juventus having moved there from Barcelona on a free transfer last summer. Many believed his time at the club had come to a premature end when he initially struggled to make an impact in Turin and last November sustained a broken leg in a defeat at Genoa.

But Alves was able to recover quickly, and went on to excel for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, proving an important figure in their clinching of another Serie A title and run to the Champions League final before stopped short by defending champions Real Madrid.

For their part, City believe that a bid of around £5m may be sufficient to secure a transfer and should they sign Alves it would be the club’s third acquisition of the summer, following on from that of Bernardo Silva from Monaco and Alves’s compatriot, goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica.