Daily Archives: October 13, 2017

PSG president investigated in World Cup bribery case

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The Swiss attorney-general’s office (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection to the awarding of World Cup media rights for 2026 and 2030.

Nasser al-Khelaifi, one of the most powerful figures in European and world football because of PSG’s and beIN’s Qatari backing and FIFA’s controversial vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, was named as the subject of investigation by OAG on Thursday.

This follows an ongoing OAG investigation into the former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke that began in March 2016 on grounds of “suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement”. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Khelaifi was accused of bribing Valcke in connection with the award of TV rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups, as beIN Sports has bought from FIFA the rights to broadcast those tournaments to countries in the Middle East and north Africa, after findings obtained in the investigation against Valcke have led to a separate line of inquiry involving Al-Khelaifi, who is CEO of beIN Media Group.

Searches were carried out at beIN’s offices at Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris following a request from the OAG.

The sports broadcaster, of which Khelaifi is the chief executive as well as chairman, said in a statement: “beIN refutes all accusations made by OAG. The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of the investigation.”

Valcke — who was interviewed on Thursday — is currently in the process of appealing against his 10-year ban from football at the Court of Arbitration for Sport after being found guilty of a series of breaches of FIFA’s code of ethics and was sacked in January 2016, though he has always denied any wrongdoing.

Gordon Strachan part ways with Scotland national team

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Scotland national coach Gordon Strachan has left his position by “mutual consent” four days after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

In a statement announcing Strachan’s exit, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) pointed towards the likelihood of a squad overhaul for the next qualifying campaign as preceded by the new Nations League tournament organized by UEFA.

“Notwithstanding our unbeaten run in the [World Cup] group throughout 2017, with the emergence of a younger generation of players it was agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus,” the statement read.

“On behalf of the board I would like to thank Gordon for his excellent service to the national team,” added SFA chief executive Stewart Regan. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

The decision was made as the SFA board took the unanimous decision not to extend Strachan’s contract, which ends next month, during a meeting on Thursday.

Scotland had started brightly but was unable a play‑off place for the World Cup finals next summer despite a late run into contention, which ultimately signalled the end of Strachan’s tenure which began in January 2013.

“I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again,” Strachan said after his team drew 2-2 against Slovenia, which sealed their fate of missing out on the playoff spot by shortage of points.

“I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention. The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country.”

A full debrief from the SFA board included the key agreement that other countries would not give their manager a third qualifying campaign after, as was the case, successive failures.

In the meantime, Scotland are set to play a high-profile friendly next month — for which they will have Malky Mackay in charge — although they are unlikely to have a new manager in place before the new year.

Arsenal could sell Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in January — Wenger

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Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has said that the Gunners might be forced to sell both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in January if there were no significant breakthrough in their contract talks.

The pair are in the final year of their contracts with Arsenal, and although Wenger remains hopeful that negotiations with his two biggest players will reach a successful conclusion, the Frenchman had also opened the door to releasing the players for a hefty sum if the situation drags on.

“Once you are in our kind of situation we have envisaged every kind of solution, yes,” he said. “It’s possible.”

“I always said the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean the player will necessarily leave. Both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around. At the moment, we are not close enough to announce anything.” – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Wenger also added that his club had not set a deadline to conclude a deal but has been encouraged after learning that Ozil, who is after a massive pay rise before committing himself to Arsenal, wants to stay in the Premier League.

On the other hand, Wenger does not believe that Chile’s absence from the World Cup in the coming summer would prompt a drop in Sanchez’s form for Arsenal.

“He expected to go. Certainly it is a big disappointment for him,” Wenger said. “(But) I have no doubt he wants to perform. He never goes on the football pitch to lose a football game. Sánchez is a winner. You want your players to be in a positive mind and to have positive experiences. To go to the World Cup is the target of every single player who plays football.”

Sanchez has flown back to London on Thursday, but Wenger is apprehensive that he will not be ready to start against Watford after a gruelling match against Brazil.

“I watched the game, what a physical game it was,” the Arsenal coach added. “The number of fouls … He played against Dani Alves, that was a real battle, believe me. It’s worse to watch.”