TIME Soccer

Barcelona, Juventus Win in Champions League

Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates during the Champions League round 16 match between Manchester City and Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, England, Feb. 24, 2015
Rui Vieira—AP Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates during the Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Feb. 24, 2015

The Spanish club is in command to reach the quarterfinals for the eighth straight year

(MANCHESTER, England) — Luis Suarez marked his return to England by scoring both Barcelona’s goals in a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday night, putting the Spanish club in command to reach the quarterfinals for the eighth straight year.

Suarez, who transferred from Liverpool last summer, scored close-range goals in the 16th and 30th minutes.

Sergio Aguero got City’s goal in the 69th, and the hosts played a man short after defender Gael Clichy was given his second yellow card in the 73rd by German referee Felix Brych.

Lionel Messi could have boosted Barcelona’s lead, but City goalkeeper Joe Hart saved his penalty kick in the final seconds of stoppage time after a foul by Pablo Zabaleta. Messi sent a header wide off the rebound.

The second leg of the total-goals series is March 18 in Spain. Man City was knocked out by Barcelona on 4-aggregate at the same stage last season and had a player ejected in both legs.

In the night’s other first-leg, second-round match, Juventus beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Turin.

Carlos Tevez put the hosts ahead in the 13th minute, but Marco Reus tied the score five minutes later when he came in alone on goal after defender Giorgio Chiellini slipped.

Alvaro Morata created the opener with a cross/shot that goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller parried into Tevez’s path and scored the tiebreaking goal in the 43rd.

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo got hurt and left in the 37th,

The Bianconeri have lost one of 15 European games since moving into Juventus Stadium in 2011, a defeat to Bayern Munich two years ago.

TIME Soccer

FIFA Steps Closer to Delaying Qatar’s 2022 World Cup Until Winter

FBL-WC-2022-ETHICS-QATAR
AFP/Getty Images A general view taken on November 13, 2014 shows Khalifa Stadium in Doha which is undergoing complete renovation in preparation to host some of the matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA task force recommends playing tournament in November and December to avoid overwhelming heat

A FIFA task force has recommended delaying the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar until winter, rather than risk exposing players and fans to a summer climate where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce hailed the recommendation as a “common sense” solution, which the executive committee will likely adopt when the committee convenes in Zurich on March 19 and 20, BBC News reports.

Boyce also acknowledged concerns from football leagues that a winter game would disrupt other longstanding tournament schedules. The 2023 African Cup, for instance, would most likely be pushed back by a winter World Cup.

“It is eight years away and people should have enough time to make it work,” Boyce said.

Read more at BBC News.

TIME Soccer

Soccer Team Takes Viagra Before a Match, Loses Anyway

San Jose v River Plate - Copa Bridgestone Libertadores 2015
Javier Mamani/STR—LatinContent/Getty Images Rodrigo Mora of River (L) and Arnaldo Vera of San Jose (R) run for the ball during a match between San Jose and River Plate as part of group stage Copa Bridgestone Libertadores 2015 at Jesus Bermudez Stadium on February 19, 2015 in Oruro, Bolivia.

They met stiff resistance

An Argentine soccer team tried to get ahead by taking Viagra for a match at high altitude. Unfortunately, they lost 2-0 anyway.

Club Atletico River Plate decided to take a cocktail of Sildenafil (commercially known as Viagra), caffeine and aspirin in advance of a match in Bolivia, the Washington Post reports. Research has shown that the anti-impotence drug helps boost circulation and deliver more oxygen to the muscles, allowing athletes to perform better at high altitudes.

River Plate hails from Buenos Aires, where the elevation (about 82 feet) is fairly low, while their match against San Jose de Oruro in Bolivia took place at 12,400 feet. Still, even Viagra was not enough to help them, and they lost their first group game of the Copa Libertadores de America.

“The players finished very tired and angry, because they know they played a great match,” coach Marcello Gallardo said, according to the club’s website. “[The team’s center back] Pezzella is still sore.”

TIME France

U.N. Human Rights Group Condemns Chelsea Fans Over Racist Incident

"It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism"

The United Nations human rights group has condemned the Chelsea soccer fans who shouted racist chants and prevented a French citizen of African descent from boarding a train before a Champions League game in Paris this week.

A video showing the incident has gained worldwide attention, and renewed calls for racism to be stamped out of the world’s most popular sport.

“In recent years we have been engaging in discussions with [football associations] about exploring ways to enhance the effort to drum racism out of football after numerous examples of racist behavior by football fans, especially inside stadiums,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Friday. “It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism, to re-energize the effort to combat it in all its forms wherever it occurs,” he added.

The episode occurred on Tuesday in a Paris Metro station before a game between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea suspended three people from its Stamford Bridge home after the incident and called the behavior “abhorrent.”

International soccer leagues have attempted for years to counter racism evident on and off the field, with mixed success.

 

 

 

 

TIME Soccer

Three Chelsea Fans Suspended from Stadium After Paris Metro Incident

Chelsea is suspending three individuals from Stamford Bridge for their role in a racist incident that took place on the Paris Metro prior to the club’s Champions League match this week against Paris Saint Germain, the English club announced Thursday.

Chelsea also said that the individuals could face a lifetime ban depending on the evidence.

Following the team’s 1-1 draw with PSG on Tuesday, video surfaced of Chelsea fans pushing a black man off the train. As the man walks away, fans started chanting, “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”

The incident occurred before the game. Chelsea and UEFA condemned the actions of the fans in the aftermath of the incident.

On Thursday, the man who was pushed off the train told Le Parisien that he wants the perpetrators to be “found, punished and locked up.”

This story originally appeared on SI.com

TIME France

Watch Chelsea Soccer Fans Push a Black Man Off Paris Metro

The group of men then began chanting "We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it"

A video showing a group of Chelsea soccer fans harassing and pushing a black man off a Paris Metro train has gone viral.

The short clip shows a group of rowdy men, fans of the English Premier League team Chelsea, chanting on a metro train while it was stopped at Richelieu–Drouot station on Tuesday evening when Chelsea was in the city for a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain. The video then shows a black man attempt to step onto the train with them, before being twice blocked and shoved by the men. The men are then shown singing and chanting the words, “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”

 

The clip, which was first published by the Guardian, has drawn widespread condemnation, particularly from English soccer fans.

Chelsea released a statement following the video’s release, saying: “Such behavior is abhorrent and has no place in football or society. We will support any criminal action against those involved, and should evidence point to involvement of Chelsea season-ticket holders or members the club will take the strongest possible action against them, including banning orders.”

British expatriate Paul Nolan filmed the video on his mobile phone after he realized the disruptive men were English. He told the BBC that before the clip began the men had also made references to World War II. Nolan said it was unclear whether the men were intoxicated, adding “I think there was a certain amount of pack mentality.”

Read next: Watch the Abuse This Jewish Man Gets as He Walks Through Paris

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Soccer

This Soccer Match May Just Be the Craziest Ash Wednesday Tradition Ever

Opposing teams of the Up'ards and the Down'ards reach for the ball as they compete in the annual Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England on February 17, 2015.
Oli Scarff—AFP/Getty Images Opposing teams of the Up'ards and the Down'ards reach for the ball as they compete in the annual Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England on February 17, 2015.

Two days, no rules, and hundreds of players per team

One of the world’s most unusual games of soccer is taking place in the small town of Ashbourne in the English Midlands. It began on Fat Tuesday, which in the U.K. is called Shrove Tuesday, and continues into Ash Wednesday.

The Royal Shrovetide Football match is a game like no other. Instead of the regular 11-a-side soccer team, hundreds of people play on two teams, named the Down’ards (downwards) and the Up’ards (upwards). There are hardly any rules — among the few is a ban on transporting the ball in any kind of vehicle — and the annual match is played over two days, in eight-hour periods.

Footwork doesn’t really come into it, in fact the game is more of a chaotic free-for-all as opposing teams attempt to force the ball (which is made of leather and cork) towards the goal posts, which are three miles apart.

Oh, and the goals are stone structures by a river that need to be hit three successive times before the goal is valid.

Opposing teams of the Up'ards and the Down'ards stand in water as they compete in the annual Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England on February 17, 2015.
Oli Scarff—AFP/Getty Images

During the game, the whole town comes to a stand still and shops board up their frontages to protect against broken windows.

A butcher helps board up his shop before the opposing teams of the Up'ards and the Down'ards compete in the annual game of Royal Shrovetide Football in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, northern England on Shrove Tuesday February 17, 2015.
Oli Scarff—AFP/Getty Images

Picking a team to support isn’t hard. If you were born on the south side of the local stream, Henmore Brooke, then you play for the Down’ards. If you born to the north of the stream, you play for the Up’ards.

Opposing teams of the Up'ards and the Down'ards compete at the start of the annual Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England on February 17, 2015.
Oli Scarff—AFP/Getty Images

No one knows the exact origins of the Shrovetide game, also known as “hugball,” but it is believed to date back as far as 1667.

At end of play on Tuesday the Up’ards led 1-0 but the battle for the ball continues Wednesday.

TIME Soccer

This Sports League Just Got $7.84 Billion Richer

Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez heads the ball ahead of Leicester City's English defender Paul Konchesky during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on Feb. 10, 2015.
Adrian Dennis—AFP/Getty Images Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez heads the ball ahead of Leicester City's English defender Paul Konchesky during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on Feb. 10, 2015.

Talk about a windfall

England’s top flight soccer competition, already one of the richest and most-watched sports leagues in the world, is now much richer.

The Premier League — which features global giants of the game Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea — has auctioned off broadcast rights to its games for the equivalent of $7.84 billion, the BBC reports.

The coveted TV contract, which fetched the league 71% more revenue than the same deal three years ago, was netted by the same parties that won the previous auction — rival channels Sky Sports and BT. Sky paid for five of the seven viewing packages on offer, shelling out 83% more than its 2012 bid, while BT paid 18% more for the other two.

Besides improving infrastructure, the money from the deal will be used for “youth development and good causes,” said the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Meanwhile, shares in Manchester United — the world’s second-richest football club — jumped 5% in anticipation of the spike in revenues.

TIME Soccer

A University in Canada Is Offering a Sociology Course on Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is a big deal. The Portuguese Real Madrid forward just won the FIFA Player of the Year award for the second straight year and the third time overall.

People around the world are enthralled by his combination of soccer skill and good looks, so a college professor has decided to dedicate a course to studying Ronaldo-mania.

Luis Aguiar at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan is offering a sociology course all about Ronaldo. Aguiar says the idea for the class came after he watched a World Cup qualifier where the broadcasters kept talking about what Ronaldo leading Portugal to the World Cup would mean for the country.

At least they’ll never run out of material.

[via FOX Sports]

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

Former Portugal Star Luis Figo to Run for FIFA Presidency

UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League - Semi Final Draw
Harold Cunningham—Getty Images Luis Figo looks on during the UEFA Champions League semifinal draw at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on April 11, 2014

Former Portugal star Luis Figo will challenge Sepp Blatter for FIFA’s presidency, he told CNN on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old Figo won the Ballon d’Or as the world’s top player in 2000 and said he wants to repair the image of soccer’s governing body.

“I care about football, so what I’m seeing regarding the image of FIFA — not only now but in the past years — I don’t like it,” he told Alex Thomas in Madrid.

“If you search FIFA on the internet you see the first word that comes out: scandal — not positive words. It’s that we have to change first and try to improve the image of FIFA. Football deserves much better than this.”

Figo’s credentials include stints with Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as two World Cup appearances for Portugal. He has worked for Inter Milan and Portugal in recent years, and he also confirmed that he has the required support of five FIFA member organizations to appear on the ballot.

Figo joins four other candidates who have announced they will challenge Blatter, who is seeking a fifth consecutive term. On Monday, Dutch football association president Michael van Praag announced he will run after securing the five declarations of support.

Three other candidates have declared their intentions to run against Blatter. FIFA’s former international relations director Jerome Champagne announced in September that he will run, and FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein confirmed his intentions to run earlier this month.

Former French midfielder David Ginola announced earlier this month that he will run. He is reportedly being paid $380,000 by a bookmaker to challenge Blatter.

Voting for the presidency will be held on May 29 in Zurich.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

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