Category: AFP

Paraguay court releases Ronaldinho into house arrest in Asuncion hotel

Asuncion (AFP) – A judge in Paraguay on Tuesday ordered the release of Brazilian football great Ronaldinho and his brother into house arrest at a hotel in downtown Asuncion. Judge Gustavo Amarilla told reporters that he had ordered the “continuation of house arrest in a hotel for Ronaldinho and his brother.” They were jailed almost exactly a month ago to await trial on charges of using false passports to enter Paraguay. Lawyers for the men posted bail of $1.6 million. “I have the assurance of the hotel managers that they, at their own expense, can observe house arrest there,” Amarilla ... Read more

French footballers strike deal to reduce wages

Paris (AFP) – Footballers and clubs in France’s top two leagues have reached a non-binding agreement over a “temporary” pay cut during the coronavirus crisis, the national players’ union (UNFP) said Tuesday. “We approved the recommendation this morning,” UNFP president Philippe Piat told AFP. “The idea is that players defer a part of their April wages to allow clubs to cope,” during what he called a “dramatic health situation”.  Club and player representatives agreed upon a joint “recommendation” that would see footballers accept a temporarily reduced wage, which they will receive once money from TV rights is paid.  Broadcasters Canal+ ... Read more

Tottenham issue warning after Mourinho and players seen training

London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur have reminded players of their responsibilities during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown after pictures and video on social media emerged of manager Jose Mourinho and several members of his squad that appeared to show them flouting social-distancing rules. Portuguese boss Mourinho was pictured training with Tanguy Ndombele on Hadley Common, while Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon were seen running side by side in the same public park in north London.  Spurs full-back Serge Aurier also posted a video of himself jogging alongside another person on Instagram. The Premier League has been suspended since mid-March due to the ... Read more

Qatar, Russia deny buying World Cup rights

Doha (AFP) – Qatar and Russia hit back at allegations of bribery on Tuesday after US prosecutors accused them of paying millions in bribes for the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. According to US Justice Department documents released Monday, FIFA officials received bribes to vote in favour of awarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Doha said it “strongly denies the allegations contained within the court papers” while the Kremlin said it “absolutely legally got the right” to host the 2018 global football spectacle. The US legal action is linked to ... Read more

FA chief urges players to ‘share the pain’ as pay talks linger

London (AFP) – English Football Association chief Greg Clarke issued a stark warning over the economic carnage caused by the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, calling on players and fans to “share the pain to keep the game alive”. It comes after the head of the union representing Premier League players said they had “agreed to play their part” as pressure mounts to find a collective pay deal. Clarke, speaking at an FA Council meeting, said football faced economic challenges “beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it” as a result of the health emergency. “We face the danger of ... Read more

Flick braced for empty stadiums if Bundesliga resumes in May

Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick expects to play for the foreseeable future in near-empty stadiums without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, should football in Germany resume as hoped in early May. Most of the 18 clubs in Germany’s top flight returned to training on Monday for the first time since the league was suspended in mid-March following the virus outbreak. The league is on hold until at least April 30. The German Football League (DFL) is currently in discussions with the clubs and authorities about the top two leagues resuming at the start of May, with ... Read more

FA chief warns ‘clubs, leagues’ could be wiped out by virus chaos

London (AFP) – Football Association chairman Greg Clarke warned on Tuesday the financial fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic could destroy English clubs and leagues unless the game’s stakeholders are willing to “share the pain”. With the Premier League and England’s three other professional divisions all suspended indefinitely because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Clarke fears the sudden drop in revenue could be fatal for lower league clubs. Talks between Premier League, Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association about player wage deferrals and a potential 30 percent salary cut have yet to produce a solution, while many clubs have furloughed non-playing ... Read more

United boss Solskjaer says players are ‘easy target’ in pay row

London (AFP) – Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted on Tuesday it was unfair to single out footballers over the issue of pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic and said they are an “easy target”. England’s wealthy top-flight stars have come under fire over their lack of action, with British Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for them to take a cut and “play their part”. The Premier League has urged players to accept wage reductions of 30 percent but ongoing talks have hit a stumbling block. Professional Footballers’ Association boss Gordon Taylor said his members had “agreed to play ... Read more