Wenger ends Bayern rumours after being named FIFA’s development chief

Lausanne (AFP) – Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger returned to football on Wednesday after being named FIFA’s chief of global football development, ending any chance of a move to managerless Bayern Munich. FIFA said the former Arsenal and Monaco coach would be responsible for the growth of the game “for both men and women around the world”, and would also be the “leading authority on technical matters”, including potential changes to the sport’s laws. It added that Wenger, 70, would also be tasked with coach education and aiding a programme designed to help former players enter management. “I very much ... Read more

Russia snub new Adidas shirts with upside-down flag

Moscow (AFP) – Russia’s football authorities said Wednesday the national team will not be wearing new Adidas-designed shirts in upcoming Euro-2020 qualifiers after some pointed out they reverse the colours of the Russian flag. “In the upcoming games, the Russian national team will continue using the kit in which it began the qualifying round,” the Russian Football Union told AFP. Last week Adidas unveiled the new shirts with blue and white stripes trimming the red sleeves, creating the effect of a tricolour flag, similar to uniforms the brand designed for Germany.  But while the colours are in the right order ... Read more

Frankfurt captain Abraham banned seven games for barging coach

Berlin (AFP) – Eintracht Frankfurt captain David Abraham will not play again in 2019 after being banned until December 29 and fined 25,000 euros ($27,530) on Wednesday for barging Freiburg coach Christian Streich during a Bundesliga match. A sports court of the German Football Association (DFB) hit Abraham with the hefty fine and seven-week ban for “assaulting an opponent” after shoulder barging Streich on the sidelines of Sunday’s league game. Eintracht Frankfurt immediately said they will appeal “in order to give David Abraham the opportunity” to explain his side of the story. The 33-year-old Argentinian was shown a red card ... Read more

Bernardo Silva hit with one-match ban for Mendy tweet

London (AFP) – Manchester City star Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one match and fined £50,000 ($64,000) for a tweet he posted comparing teammate Benjamin Mendy with a black cartoon character, the Football Association announced on Wednesday. In September Silva tweeted an image of a young Mendy alongside an image of the character representing the Spanish chocolate peanut brand Conguitos, before deleting it 46 minutes later. There was no hearing after Silva admitted the misconduct charge, and acknowledged some people may be offended by the “historical connotations of the Conguitos character”.  “The player did not himself intend the post ... Read more

Bierhoff hopes “power football” by Germany can boost home crowds

Berlin (AFP) – Oliver Bierhoff says Germany want to brush aside minnows Belarus with a display of “power football” in their bid to wrap up Euro 2020 qualification on Saturday and also boost flagging ticket sales. Germany host Belarus in Moenchengladbach on Saturday when main Group C rivals the Netherlands also play a tricky away tie in Belfast against Northern Ireland, who the Germans host in Frankfurt in next Tuesday’s final qualifier. The Germans and Dutch are level on 15 points with the top two teams going through, so Germany can wrap up Euro 2020 qualification on Saturday for next ... Read more

Liverpool fans antipathy could have sparked Sterling attack: Rose

London (AFP) – Raheem Sterling’s altercation with England team-mate Joe Gomez could have been sparked by a delayed reaction to the hatred aimed at the striker by Liverpool fans in their Premier League clash last Sunday said Danny Rose. Sterling — who has been a target for Liverpool fans since his leaving for Manchester City in 2015 for £49 million ($63 million — has been dropped for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Montenegro by Gareth Southgate after physically confronting Liverpool full-back Gomez at the England training centre on Monday. Sterling apologised and said his emotions got the better of him ... Read more

Saudi, UAE, Bahrain to play football in Qatar, signalling thaw

Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will participate in this month’s Gulf Cup football tournament in Qatar, organisers said Wednesday, signalling a thaw in their bitter two-year feud with Doha. The three Gulf states as well as Egypt cut relations with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of bankrolling Islamist extremist groups and of being too close to regional rival Iran. Doha denied the accusations. In a U-turn, Saudi, Bahrain and the UAE announced they would accept their invitations to travel to Qatar to take part in the tournament. It will now be held from ... Read more

Chelsea win battle to sign Australian women’s football icon Kerr

London (AFP) – Australian striker Sam Kerr will test herself at the top level of European football after impressing in her homeland and the United States as she joined Chelsea on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Matildas captain — who scored five times in this year’s World Cup as the Australians reached the last 16 — signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Women’s Super League club. Kerr, who has been a mainstay at Perth Glory since 2014 while also playing for Chicago Red Stars in the United States, will be available for selection from January. According to a report in the Sydney ... Read more