In a new experiment, I am going to try a weekly wrap-up of news stories that caught my eye but that I don’t think require pages of analysis as I am prone to doing 🙂
So, here they are, concise and hopefully interesting.
- UEFA are expected to formally confirm in December that Wembley will host the 2011 Champions League final. The British government confirmed in May that there will be an exemption to tax rules for players appearing in the final and the decision awarding the final to Wembley will likely be rubber-stamped by UEFA’s next executive committee on December 16. Dublin’s Lansdowne Road is rumoured to be the favourite for the 2011 Europa League – the old UEFA Cup – final.
- Bulgarian champions CSKA Sofia will take legal action against their national football union after being excluded from the European Champions League. CSKA were banned from European competition after the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) said in June that they had failed to meet licensing criteria because they owed money to the state and creditors. CSKA has retained lawyer Thomas Summerer, who has worked with some of the leading teams in the Bundesliga, and he told a press conference that “The BFU didn’t observe its own normative documents and didn’t treat CSKA as it should have done.” CSKA president Alexander Tomov has promised to reveal the complete truth about the club’s revoked license and has released the information on the CSKA website (Note: the link is a Google translated version of the page so may not be completely accurate in grammar or meaning but should give some overview to CSKA’s view of the matter).
- Thierry Henry has revealed he will demand talks with Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola if he continues to be played out on the left wing. Henry had started the pre-season in a more central role but the return of Samuel Eto’o has seen him shifted out wide again. I can understand where Henry is coming from and I would agree that he’d be better off in the middle of the field playing almost as a number 10 behind the main strikers but to start this discussion through the press is perhaps not his wisest move.
- While we are in Spain, can we spare some sympathy for poor Sporting Gijon? They were hammered twice (7-1 by Real Madrid and 6-1 by Barcelona) in the span of a week and my friends over at La Liga Talk suggest that their season might well be done already. Despite the vast number of injuries to top midfielders for Real (Sneijder,Guti, Gago), they are still loaded and Robben, Van Der Vaart and Ruben De la Red. De la Red was much talked about over the summer after his inclusion in the victorious Spain squad at Euro 2008. De la Red recently revealed that Tottenham tried to sign him during the summer and says he is keeping his options open when the transfer window re-opens in January. I think Real Madrid would be making a mistake in letting him go but with such a packed midfield someone else of quality would have to go. The question is who? Guti, while a candidate based on age, is unlikely to go because of his standing as vice-captain.
- It’s a derby weekend with two of the more intense rivalries on display. In Serie A, it’s AC v Inter in the Milan derby while Liverpool and Everton contest the 208th Merseyside derby. In terms of world football derby matches or rivalries, what’s your favourite? I think I would choose Real-Barcelona (El Clasico) as the one to watch with the Boca-River Plate and Old Firm derbys coming in a close second.