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Football / Soccer News from the World:

Why other leagues should be like the Bundesliga
German soccer's history of virtuous aspirations has helped its response to the coronavirus stand in stark contrast to that of the Premier League and La Liga.

'People did wrong': Canadian soccer whistleblower rues lack of action
One year after coming forward about systemic abuse in Canadian soccer, former Irish international Ciara McCormack continues to fight for accountabilityOne year after going public about abuse, manipulation, and inappropriate behavior by a Canada national team coach, former player Ciara McCormack’s fire is still burning even if the country’s governing body continues to ignore the issue.A blog post by McCormack 12 months ago shined a light on how Canada Soccer – the governing body of the sport in the country – and Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps had failed to adequately address decade-long allegations by 14 high-level players of abuse by an elite coach working for both their organizations.Although the coach left Canada Soccer and the Whitecaps by “mutual consent” after a flawed internal enquiry at the time, he was still allowed to continue working with female youth players in Canada.Following poor publicity and protests by fans at the club’s apparent inaction, the Whitecaps released a report to the public in December last year that effectively absolved the club of any wrongdoing in how it had addressed the allegations of abuse.“At the end of the day no one was held accountable for anything and a national team coach who was fired for sexually harassing players went right back into the community to coach for another 10 years,” McCormack told the Guardian. “You can do the most atrocious things and not be held accountable.”McCormack, a Canadian-born former Ireland international, had an extensive professional career in Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States and Australia, and played for the Vancouver Whitecaps Women until the team folded in 2012.As reported by the Guardian, McCormack and 13 former Under-20 Canada internationals detailed events that took place in 2008 while Bob Birarda was coach of both the U-20 national team and Vancouver Whitecaps Women side.Their allegations ranged from rubbing a player’s thigh in a car, sending sexually suggestive text messages to players, demanding one-on-one meetings with players he had cut from his team in his hotel room, and telling a player during a half-time talk how he thought her body looked in a wet white team jersey.The Guardian’s report prompted more players and team administrators to speak out about their experience. Eden Hingwing, who played under Birarda for both the Canada women’s Under-20 international team and the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2008 said: “I watched what was a very professional environment created by the previous coach change into something extremely toxic and confusing.”Birarda left Canada Soccer and Vancouver Whitecaps in late 2008 by “mutual consent” but was still able to coach female youth soccer teams in British Columbia without any sanctions. No criminal charges have been laid against him.“The most valuable thing to come out of this whole experience is that it created a case study for how the system is set up to not hold anyone accountable,” McCormack said.McCormack said that a December 2019 third-party review into the 2008 events commissioned by the Whitecaps left many questions unresolved. The review by Canadian organization Sports Law and Strategy Group cleared the Whitecaps of a “cover-up” and even though Vancouver Whitecaps is one of the largest and well-known soccer clubs in North America it only had “authority to prevent [Birarda] from coaching with the Whitecaps organization”. The report said any further sanctions on Birarda lay at the feet of Canada Soccer.Concacaf president Victor Montagliani – president of Canada Soccer from 2012 to 2017 and vice president at the time of the 2008 allegations with specific responsibility for national teams – told the Guardian last year that national organizations do not deal with coach registrations and responsibility for Birarda lay with regional governing bodies or local clubs.“There can be all the evidence in the world right in front of everybody and [coaches like Birarda] are not forced to answer to anybody,” McCormack said. “People quit the national team because they couldn’t cope with the sexualized environment that [Birarda] created. No one has been able to explain why [Birarda] was able to go unchecked even when his new club’s executive director worked in the Whitecaps office in 2008. Canada Soccer has never met with us. No has been forced to answer to any of this.”“I feel good that everybody knows what happened and that this big nasty secret is out and that the spotlight has been shone on people who were operating in what they thought were dark corners,” McCormack said. “But this is a case study for how unbelievably corrupt it all is. It is not about athlete health and wellbeing. It is all just words with no substance behind it.”McCormack said the experience of the Whitecaps and Canada U-20 team echoed that of Megan Brown, a potential Olympic-level runner who has alleged her decades-older coach at a prestigious running program at the University of Guelph groomed her for a sexual relationship. Her former coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, was suddenly fired from the university in January more than 10 years after Brown first told her story.Speaking to Canada’s Globe and Mail, Brown said: “This is how abuse of power works … the victim has too much to lose in speaking the truth. The victim is the one who suffers, who is ostracized, who is labelled, who is forced to rebuild their life, while the person in power continues to reap the benefits of their power.”Adds McCormack: “You can swap Canada Soccer and the Whitecaps for the University of Guelph and it is the same thing. These stories will continue. Until something significant changes, I am grateful for the experience to know that the whole system and these people don’t care. To feel silenced and squished down and made to feel so little. … I wanted to see if the report would make a difference but of course it didn’t.”Now coaching youth soccer in Los Angeles, McCormack said that, while the Whitecaps and Canada Soccer offered no support for the 2008 players, she was overwhelmed by the response from Vancouver’s wider soccer community to their experiences.Whitecaps fans staged protests during MLS home games last year at their club’s perceived inaction on the issue. Fans coordinated stadium walk outs mid-match joined by visiting supporters of Portland Timbers and Los Angeles FC in a show of solidarity.“The gift this gave us was being heard and that helped healing,” McCormack said. “The community in Vancouver showed that they do care, it valued us and they were willing to take a stand. They realized people did wrong. I hated Vancouver. It was so full of bad memories but the walkouts changed things for me. It meant that I got my city back. I’m grateful for that.” * Canada Soccer did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

China's ex-PSG star Wang freed from Wuhan coronavirus lockdown
Chinese women's football star Wang Shuang will finally reunite with the national team after two months stranded at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, state media said. In February, Wuhan native Wang was pictured kicking a ball on a rooftop while on lockdown in the city of 11 million people as she attempted to keep up her fitness. Wuhan, where the virus was first identified, led the world with an unprecedented total lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A month into lockdown, Serie A torn over return to action
A month after Serie A last saw a ball kicked football-mad Italy is torn over whether to return to action or scrap the season as the coronavirus crisis continues to keep the nation on lockdown. The Mediterranean country has been under siege since the COVID-19 disease took a grip on February 22, and no Serie A matches have been played March 9. In the midst of the health crisis which has claimed the lives of nearly 18,000 people, Italy's top clubs have been at loggerheads over when is best to resume this season, if ever.

What if the USMNT qualifies for the 2018 FIFA World Cup?
A third-place finish in CONCACAF could very well have grouped the USMNT with two eventual semifinalists, as it did for Panama.

What if Jose Mourinho's Porto loses to Manchester United in the Champions League in 2004?
Mourinho has won league titles with Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. But all that success might not have happened without his launchpad at Porto.

What if Sir Alex Ferguson loses the 1990 FA Cup final with Manchester United?
Former United chairman Martin Edwards has insisted Ferguson's job wasn't on the line. But even if he kept it, his legendary career might not have materialized.

What if the Jean-Marc Bosman case is struck down in 1995?
The transfer market exists in its present state thanks directly to a solid but unremarkable Belgian midfielder, who took his case to the European Court of Justice.

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed
The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Premier League stars launch fund to 'help' health service virus fight
Premier League players announced on Wednesday they had launched an initiative to generate funds for Britain's National Health Service (NHS) to help against the coronavirus pandemic. "It is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other league and club conversation," a statement from the group said. Individuals such as league leaders Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson, Tottenham's Harry Kane and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were among those to post on social media about the move.

US Soccer gender discrimination lawsuit delayed
The trial date for the gender discrimination lawsuit brought by US women players against the US Soccer Federation has been pushed from May 5 to June 16. US District Judge Gary Klausner issued the order postponing the trial on Wednesday after both parties sought guidance on preparing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. California governor Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide stay-at-home order in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

US women's gender discrimination case delayed
The trial date for a gender discrimination case filed by members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team has been pushed back to June 16. Players for the team filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer last year under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The trial date was originally set for May 5 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness
The runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight
Here are the full slate of results from our Elite Eight matches as our Premier League March Madness tournament continues on Thursday with the Final Four.

Balotelli's Brescia accept player pay cuts
Serie A's Brescia, who want the Italian season stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic, announced on Wednesday their players have agreed to salary cuts. In a statement adressed to season-ticket holders, president Massimo Cellino praised "the great sensitivity and responsibility shown by our players who, almost all, have accepted very quickly the proposals to reduce salaries, in order to protect the integrity of the club in such a delicate moment". No details were given on how much players at the promoted club, who include Italian international Mario Balotelli, had agreed to forego.

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume
The International Football Association Board has agreed to investigate changes to the offside rule that would further "encourage attacking football."

Best individual displays in Premier League history
Watch some of the most memorable individual performances over the years in the Premier League.

Premier League players launch fund to help medical workers
While the much-discussed and controversial topic has been pay cuts for players, the players are making a statement of generosity in the interim.

Former MLS player helping Spain in fight against coronavirus
The former Sporting Kansas City and Celta Vigo player who came through Barcelona's famed youth academy has put on a white coat.

Rebecca Lowe's PL social media recap, Ep. 2
Rebecca Lowe checks in on the latest happenings around the Premier League on social media, from Tottenham's "group" workouts to the wacky ways players are keeping themselves entertained.

Re-live DC United's 1996 MLS Cup Final with these amazing photos
While we're waiting for sports to restart, DC United posted a gallery of one historic win.

USWNT star Carli Lloyd could retire after next summer’s Olympics
Lloyd has made nearly 300 appearances for the USWNT, scoring 123 times. Ten of those goals came after the team won the 2019 World Cup in France.

Real Madrid players agree to 10-20 percent wage cut
SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - FEBRUARY 29, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. VARIOUS OF REAL MADRID PLAYERS HOLDING TRAINING SESSION 2. MIDFIELDER, TONI KROOS, DURING SESSION 3. PLAYERS PASSING BALL 4. REAL MADRID MANAGER, ZINEDINE ZIDANE, WALKING WITH BALL 5. STRIKER, KARIM BENZEMA 6. GOALKEEPER, THIBAUT COURTOIS 7. MIDFIELDER, LUKA MODRIC 8. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS PASSING BALL MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - MAY 24, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 9. VARIOUS OF REAL MADRID BASKETBALL TRAINING COURT AT VALDEBEBES TRAINING CENTRE INTERNET (APRIL 8, 2020) (TWITTER/@realmadrid - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 10. TWEET FROM REAL MADRID (Spanish) SAYING THE PLAYERS, COACHES AND EMPLOYEES HAVE REACHED AN IMPORTANT COST-SAVINGS AGREEMENT STORY: Real Madrid's playing and coaching staff have voluntarily agreed to take a wage cut of between 10 and 20 percent this year to help the club deal with the stoppage caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the La Liga side said in a statement on Wednesday (April 8). The club said the exact amount would "depend on the circumstances that may affect the closing of the current 2019/20 sports season." Club directors have also agreed to a wage cut as have members of its basketball team, it said. The club said the move followed negotiations between the team captains -- Sergio Ramos for the senior soccer side -- and club directors. It said the decision would save having to cut the wages of other employees. Spain has been badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak with a death toll of 14,555. La Liga, as with most football around the world, is currently suspended and it is not known when, or even if, the season will re-start. "This decision, taken by players, coaches and employees, avoids traumatic measures that affect the rest of the workers," said the statement. It said it would also help deal with "the reduction in income that the club is suffering these months as a result of the suspension of competitions and the paralysis of a large part of its commercial activities." The players at Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have also taken pay cuts and La Liga has asked other clubs to follow suit. The Spanish sports daily Marca said that a 10 percent cut would save the club around 50 million euros.

Solskjaer details focus on mental health of players during shutdown
The Manchester United boss wants his players to completely forget about playing soccer for a while.

Barcelona president seeks reshuffle of club board
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whose tenure has been undermined by tense relations with players this season, wants to reform the club's management because he distrusts certain directors, according to vice-president Emili Rousaud. "Bartomeu called me and told me he wanted to change the management because he was suspicious of some of the directors, me included," Rousaud, who had been tipped to succeed Bartomeu as president, told Cadena Ser radio on Wednesday. The relationship between Barca's players and board has been strained for several months, with Lionel Messi's public criticism of technical secretary Eric Abidal in February just one of a number of off-field controversies.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: West Ham, Brighton, Leicester City all on the prowl
Leicester City could be on the lookout for a replacement full-back, while Everton may be forced into a fight to keep Moise Kean.

Rangers blast plans to end Scottish season early
Rangers strongly criticised plans unveiled on Wednesday to terminate the divisions below the Premiership, warning of "severe consequences for the Scottish game". With play halted due to the coronavirus, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) announced proposals to determine final placings by points per game in league matches played to date by each club. The resolution, to be voted on by clubs, also recommends the top tier remains postponed for the time being, although final placings would be determined by the same system if the SPFL's board determines matches cannot be played.

Caribbean soccer officials appeal ouster by FIFA at court
Soccer officials in Trinidad and Tobago have appealed a decision by FIFA to oust them less than four months after winning an election against a candidate who supported the world body. The Caribbean islands’ soccer president William Wallace said Wednesday they're taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport arguing that FIFA didn't have jurisdiction to make the decision. “I can only be removed by the operation of the T&T (football association’s) own constitution, not by FIFA,” Wallace said in a video message.

Bundesliga stars glad to train again, even with social distancing
Wearing gloves for hygienic reasons and observing social distancing on the pitch are among the challenges facing Bundesliga footballers back in training this week amid hopes the league could resume next month. Most of the 18 clubs in Germany's top flight returned to their clubs on Monday, albeit in small groups with limited contact to meet health guidelines due to the coronavirus. League matches in Germany have been suspended since March 13.

UEFA entertaining Financial Fair Play relaxation amid coronavirus difficulties
UEFA could temporarily relax its FFP rules to allow owners to financially assist clubs struggling during the coronavirus shutdown.

Infantino talks of different football, but what might it look like?
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that football will be "totally different" when it re-starts after the coronavirus. Infantino has not yet gone into further details and some may question his credentials in this matter: as FIFA president he has increased the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams and, in a previous role as UEFA general secretary, oversaw growing financial inequality in European football.

Qatar says it’s working to protect laborers from coronavirus
The Qatari government said Tuesday it has implemented widespread measures to protect immigrant workers from the coronavirus.

Bundesliga reveals plans to restart in early May
In Germany, where the coronavirus has been handled well, top flight action could be in play soon as teams have already returned to training.

England great Jimmy Greaves awaits hospital test results
Tottenham and England great Jimmy Greaves remains in hospital while he awaits the outcome of tests but his illness is not related to coronavirus, his agent said on Wednesday. Tottenham announced on Tuesday that their record goalscorer, who turned 80 in February, was receiving medical treatment. Greaves, who scored 44 goals in 57 England appearances, spent a comfortable night and hopes to be able to be discharged soon.

VOTE: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight
Our Premier League March Madness tournament continues with the Elite Eight. Vote for the winners to reach the Final Four and avoid elimination.

Mourinho apologizes for training session with Ndombele
The Tottenham boss came under fire for breaching government lockdown regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mourinho admits he was in the wrong over training session
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has accepted he was in the wrong for holding a one-on-one training session with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele in a public park in London. Fellow Spurs players Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon were spotted running side by side in a separate session, while Serge Aurier filmed himself on Instagram running alongside a friend. London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC the players and Mourinho should be leading by example.

Neymar welcome anytime at Barca, says Suarez
Neymar "will always be welcome" back at Barcelona, the Spanish giants' striker Luis Suarez told Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday. Neymar left Barca in a world record move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 but has been persistently linked to a possible return to the Camp Nou. Suarez, 33, recovering from right knee surgery, said it was "complicated" to talk about players joining Barca at this time of crisis with the coronavirus pandemic.

Man Utd must be ready for return to 'normality', says Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking at transfer targets during the lockdown and believes Manchester United are well-placed to exploit any knock-on effects of the coronavirus suspension. Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Jack Grealish are among the names liked with the club, with Solskjaer working with United's staff to fine-tune targets. "Football is going to get back to normality at one point, and it's very important we're ready when that happens," the United manager told Sky Sports.

The Latest: Lakers GM Pelinka draws inspiration from Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is drawing inspiration from his friendship with Kobe Bryant as he navigates the coronavirus pandemic. Pelinka was Bryant’s longtime agent before he took over the Lakers’ front office this season. The executive has been thinking of Bryant constantly since the former NBA star was killed in a January helicopter crash along with eight others including his daughter, Gianna, who was Pelinka’s goddaughter.

Earthquakes' Thompson wants focus on coronavirus, not sports right now
Tommy Thompson has been working on his cooking and curating his YouTube page during the coronavirus stoppage.

Paraguay court releases Ronaldinho into house arrest in Asuncion hotel
A Paraguayan judge on Tuesday ordered the release of Brazilian football great Ronaldinho and his brother into house arrest while they await trial on charges of using false passports to enter the country. Judge Gustavo Amarilla told reporters that he had ordered the "continuation of house arrest in a hotel for Ronaldinho and his brother." Ronaldinho, considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, was a star of Brazil's 2002 World Cup win and played for European giants Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, among others.

Ronaldinho to leave jail for luxury hotel house arrest
Retired soccer star Ronaldinho was released from a high-security jail in Paraguay on Tuesday after more than a month, but was ordered to serve house arrest at a luxury hotel while he's investigated for using a false passport to enter the country. Ronaldinho, the Brazilian former FIFA player of the year, and his brother Roberto de Assis were also told to pay bail of $800,000 each. Ronaldinho, who helped lead Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, was jailed on March 6 after entering the small South American country with a false Paraguayan passport.

Picking a favorite Premier League era player for all 20 current clubs
Sometimes they are all-time greats while other times they catch lightning in a bottle. But even our most hated rivals have players we love.

Tottenham issue warning after Mourinho and players seen training
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.

Mane would 'understand' if Liverpool were denied Premier League title
Sadio Mane says he would understand if Liverpool were denied the Premier League title even though they were on the brink of glory when coronavirus forced a shutdown. Jurgen Klopp's men were 25 points clear of Manchester City when football came to a halt last month, agonisingly close to their first top-flight triumph in 30 years. Asked if he feels like a champion, the 27-year-old Senegal forward told Talksport that he wanted to win the Premier League on the pitch.

WATCH: Robbie Mustoe’s All-Time Premier League defensive midfielders
The five men he selected all played in this century, two remain active, and each has claimed at least one Premier League title.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd linked with 2 stars, Liverpool with CB
Like most transfer windows since the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United is being linked with approximately $7 billion worth of purchases.

Mourinho in hot water after park training session with Ndombele
"All of our players have been reminded to respect social distancing when exercising outdoors. We shall continue to reinforce this message," said Spurs.

French footballers strike deal to reduce wages
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. 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.

Conrad talks U.S. Soccer as he waits for managerial debut
"I think we all just want to here some collective responsibility but it's always everybody deflecting all the time and what kind of message does that send?"

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