Monthly Archives: July 2017

Spanish FA president Villar Llona arrested on corruption charges

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Spanish police said that they have arrested Angel Maria Villar Llona, the president of Spain’s football association, Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol (RFEF).

Villar Llona, who holds a senior vice-president role at both FIFA and UEFA, was arrested on Tuesday morning along with his son and three other federation executives as part of an anti-corruption probe into the finances of the federation, led by investigating magistrates and anti-corruption prosecutors of the Spanish High Court.

The other three men who were arrested along with Villar Llona were Juan Padron, the federation vice president of economic affairs, and both the president and the secretary of the regional federation for Tenerife.

The allegations against them centre are related to the falsification of documents and skimming profits from international football matches.

Spain’s Guardia Civil said in a statement on Tuesday that Villar Llona, his son Gorka, and three other football officials were detained while raids were carried out at the federation headquarters in Madrid.

The Spanish minister of education, culture and sport, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, said moments after the raids that “in Spain the laws are enforced, the laws are the same for all, and nobody is above the law”.

Meanwhile, UEFA said in a statement it “is aware of the reports regarding Mr Villar Llona. We have no comment to make at this time.”

Villar Llona was president when Spain won two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup. He also served on the council of football’s world governing body FIFA for the past 29 years, but was reprimanded by the organization for failing to comply with its internal inquiry into the 2018/22 World Cup bidding process.

Michael Garcia, who conducted the investigation, wrote that Mr Villar told him: “Well, you really have balls” when the American lawyer refused to reveal who had made allegations against Mr Villar. He also demanded Mr Garcia drop the case “for your own good”.

PSG to hold talks with Barca over record €222m deal for Neymar

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Paris Saint-Germain are preparing to hold talks over a world-record €222m deal to buy Neymar from FC Barcelona.

While Barca had declared that the forward intends to stay, PSG are optimistic of their chances to capture the Brazilian international. The Ligue 1 club had previously secured a deal for Neymar last summer only for the Brazil striker to sign an improved contract to remain at the Camp Nou.

At present, PSG intends to old discussions with Neymar’s father and believe an agreement may be possible. It was conjectured that the club can easily meet the €222m release clause for the player and the possible huge salary Neymar would demand.

Antero Henrique, the sporting director for PSG, is in line to talk with Neymar’s father, who has stayed in touch with the club despite last summer’s events.

PSG felt used then and vowed not to be duped again, and with FC Barcelona growing tired of the ongoing speculation, they could leave the decision on the player’s future up to him and his father, a source close to the Catalan club has claimed.

Neymar, 25, would also be aware that he can expect to continue playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi for several years at Barcelona as the Argentinian recently renewed his contract to 2021, with a club statement describing Messi as “the best player in history”.

PSG feel they would have hope through Neymar’s desire to be the main attraction and his knowledge that he will struggle to win personal accolades while being in the same team as Messi.

Liverpool’s €75m bid for Naby Keita fails as RB Leipzig rules out sale

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Liverpool were dealt a significant blow in their transfer plans this summer after RB Leipzig rejected their €75m bid for Naby Keita.

Keita scored eight goals and provided eight assists in his debut season for Leipzig as the Bundesliga debutants finished second last season. His contract runs until 2020, and while there is a £48m release clause in the contract, but that can be only unlocked next summer.

It was known that the Reds were keen on signing the player and had been pursuing him despite repeated declarations from the Bundesliga runners-up that the 22-year-old is not for sale.

However, it was almost apparent to all except Liverpool that Leipzig does not wish to release the player. Leipzig were not open to negotiations despite issued a €75m offer for Keita, an amount more than double the record transfer fee Liverpool had spent on Mohamed Salah.

Leipzig owner Dietrich Mateschitz, reportedly told German tabloid Sport Bild: “We don’t sell any of our players just to get money. Lately we got a €75m offer for Naby Keita. No way! He has a contract and he will fulfil it.”

“To sell him would not only be a proof of distrust to our fans but also the wrong sign for our players like Timo Werner, who is in demand too.”

Although Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to give up on his first-choice targets so far — including Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for central defence — but admitted after the friendly at Wigan Athletic on Friday that his patience was not limitless.

Still, there are suggestions Keita’s agent is in Hong Kong — where Liverpool are playing in a pre-season tournament — to talk to the club and Klopp about whether they will file another bid to the Bundesliga runners-up.

Antonio Conte signs improved two-year deal with Chelsea

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has signed an improved two-year deal with the club after winning the Premier League title in his first year with the club.

Chelsea confirmed the deal as the manager left for Beijing along with his squad ahead of a three-match pre-season tour of China and Singapore, on with Conte also describing the team’s achievements last year as “something amazing” in the club’s statement.

Aside from their Premier League title victory, the Italian had also inspired the Blues to put in their best club performance, winning 30 games and a club record of 13 consecutive victories. He also led his team into the final of the FA Cup, albeit losing the title to Arsenal.

Conte came to Chelsea under three-year contract London in the summer of 2016. Although the new deal does not extend Conte’s commitment to the club, it eases any immediate concerns over his future especially after speculations of a move to AC Milan.

“I am very happy to have signed a new contract with Chelsea,” said Conte. “We worked extremely hard in our first year to achieve something amazing, which I am very proud of. Now we must work even harder to stay at the top.”

However, the decision to sign a new contract without extending the terms contradicts previous comments by Conte, who had indicated his willingness to commit to a longer deal.

Back in May, he said he wanted to stay with Chelsea “for many years”, adding: “If the club give me the possibility to stay and extend my contract, for sure I’m available to.”

Furthermore, the Italian manager would also most certainly have questions for the board regarding their lack of transfer activity, and their loss of a major target in Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who moved to Manchester United instead.