TIME Soccer

Former Portugal Star Luis Figo to Run for FIFA Presidency

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

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

TIME Soccer

Hope Solo’s Husband Driving U.S. Soccer Team Van During DUI Arrest

Hope Solo and husband Jerramy Stevens exit the court room at Kirkland Municipal Court in Washington on Nov. 4, 2014 Suzi Pratt—Getty Images

U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo’s husband was driving a U.S. Soccer van when he was arrested for DUI on Monday morning, Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl reported Thursday on SI Now.

On Wednesday, Solo was suspended 30 days by U.S. Soccer for a “poor decision,” according to U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis’ statement. U.S. Soccer didn’t offer any more specifics on what led to the suspension.

At 1:30 a.m. on Monday, Solo’s husband — former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens — was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. Police said Solo was in the car at the time, but she was not arrested or detained. TMZ first reported that Stevens was driving a U.S. Soccer van when he was arrested.

Wahl reports that Solo’s 30-day suspension is due in part to a recent pattern of behavior by the goalkeeper. Last week, a judge dismissed domestic violence charges against Solo.

After the suspension was announced, Solo released a statement on her Facebook page.

I accept and respect the Federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me. I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.

The suspension will cause Solo to miss February friendlies against France and England. The USWNT, which has already qualified for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, is currently in training camp in Carson, Calif.

Solo has 159 caps with the USWNT and broke the U.S. women’s record for career shutouts last September.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

Hope Solo Suspended for 30 Days by U.S. Soccer

International Tournament of Brasilia - USA v China
Goalkeeper Hope Solo of the USA in action during a match between USA and China at Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia on Dec. 10, 2014 Buda Mendes—Getty Images

U.S. women’s national team goalie Hope Solo has been suspended for 30 days by U.S. Soccer, the organization announced Wednesday.

Solo’s husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Southern California at 1:30 a.m. on Monday. Police said Solo, 33, was in the car at the time, but she was not arrested or detained.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Solo was held out of practice on Tuesday as it was determined if she violated any team rules.

“During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis said in a statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

Solo was charged in June with two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault for allegedly hitting her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew. A judge dismissed the charges last week, saying the case was “impermissibly prejudiced” by a lack of cooperation from witnesses. Solo continued to play while she faced the charges.

The suspension will cause Solo to miss February friendlies against France and England. The USWNT, which has already qualified for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, is currently in training camp in Carson, Calif.

Solo has 159 caps with the USWNT and broke the U.S. women’s record for career shutouts last September.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

Torres Scores Twice, Atletico Beats Real in Copa del Rey

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres celebrates as he salutes fans during a Copa del Rey match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Jan. 15, 2015 Andres Kudacki—AP

A 2-2 tie for Atletico takes them to the quarterfinals

Fernando Torres scored his first two goals since returning to Atletico Madrid last week, helping eliminate defending champion Real Madrid from the Copa del Rey.

Torres scored 50 seconds into the game and added a goal in the first minute of the second half as Atletico tied 2-2 at Real on Thursday night and advanced on 4-2 aggregate to a quarterfinal against Barcelona.

Torres played for Atletico from 2000-07 but had never scored in six previous games for Atletico at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. He returned to his old team following a highly successful stretch at Liverpool (2007-11) and dismal times at Chelsea (2011-14) and AC Milan (2014).

Sergio Ramos scored in the 20th minute for Real, and Cristiano Ronaldo got a goal off a header in the 54th. It was the 34th goal in 29 games this season for Ronaldo, who earned his third FIFA Player of the Year award on Monday and paraded the trophy for fans on the field before the game.

Madrid has one win in four matches since finishing 2014 with a Spanish record 22-game winning streak.

Barcelona rested most of its regulars during a 4-0 win at Elche that gave it a 9-0 aggregate win. Jeremy Mathieu, Sergi Roberto, Pedro Rodriguez and Adriano scored.

___

ITALY

Juventus routed Hellas Verona 6-1 to reach the Italian Cup quarterfinals as Sebastian Giovinco scored twice and won a penalty kick.

Alvaro Morata, Roberto Pereyra, Paul Pogba and Kingsley Coman also scored for Juventus, which plays Parma — Serie A’s last-place team — in the quarterfinals on Jan. 28.

TIME Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo Wins FIFA Ballon d’Or, Again

FBL-FIFA-BALLONDOR-AWARD
Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo arrives during the red carpet ceremony ahead of the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on Jan. 12, 2015 Michael Buholzer—AFP/Getty Images

This is his third time winning the award

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or, an award that goes to the player with the best performance that year, for the second time in a row.

It’s the third time total that the Portuguese player has won the award. “I would like to continue the work that I have done so far. I want to try to improve, to become better as each day goes by. I never thought that I would bring this trophy back home on three occasions. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time,” Ronaldo said in his acceptance speech.

This year, Ronaldo’s team Real Madrid won the Club World Cup, and Ronaldo was given a rather, ahem, attention-grabbing statue in his hometown of Funchal, Madeira Island.

Ronaldo accepting the award in 2014:

TIME Soccer

Soccer Stars Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco Wed

Alex Morgan of the USA Women's National Team at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2013.
Alex Morgan of the USA Women's National Team at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2013. David Madison—Getty Images

Two leading footballers just scored

Soccer players Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco sealed the deal on New Year’s Eve Wednesday, when they married in front of 180 guests in Santa Barbara, California.

Morgan, 25, led the U.S. women’s soccer team to a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Carrasco, 26, plays midfield for the Major League Soccer team Houston Dynamo.

Read more at PEOPLE

TIME Soccer

A Nepalese World Cup Worker Dies Every Other Day in Qatar

Nepalese migrant workers queue to receive official documents in order to leave Nepal from the Labour department in Kathmandu on January 27, 2014. Prakash Mathema—AFP/Getty

The appalling toll comes despite Qatari claims of reform

The Guardian reports that Nepalese migrants building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar died at a rate of one in every two days during 2014.

The death toll excludes deaths among Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers. The Guardian believes that if these figures were included, the death toll would “almost certainly” be more than one a day.

Human rights organizations have accused Qatar on falling behind on the investigations and labor reforms they vowed to implement following a report by international law firm DLA Piper published in May.

“It’s Qatar’s responsibility to determine if deaths are related to living and working conditions, but Qatar flatly rejected a DLA Piper recommendation to launch an immediate investigation into these deaths last year,” said Nicholas McGeehan, the Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.

The Nepalese foreign employment board told the newspaper that 67 of its nationals had died of cardiac arrest and 8 of heart attacks, while 34 death were logged as workplace accidents.

Read more at the Guardian

TIME Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo Statue Stands at Attention in Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo Statue
Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid poses during the unveiling ceremony of a statue of himself in his hometown of Funchal, Madeira Island on Dec. 21 2014. Jose Sena Goulao—EPA

It made a big impression

After Cristiano Ronaldo won the Club World Cup with his team Real Madrid, the Portuguese soccer star traveled back to his hometown, Madeira, to unveil Sunday a new bronze statue of himself — but the statue’s overside fold on his shorts, combined with the lighting, created a suggestive illusion.

TIME Soccer

FIFA’s Ethics Investigator Quits Over the Handling of His World Cup Probe

FIFA's Michael Garcia photographed during a press conference at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday, 27. July 2012 Walter Bieri—Keystone/AP

"My role in this process is at an end," says Michael Garcia

FIFA’s independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia has resigned in protest over the handling of his report on the controversial bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.

Garcia said FIFA’s 42-page summary of his 430-page report was “erroneous.” He quit after the world soccer governing body rejected his complaint, the BBC reports.

“It is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude that my role in this process is at an end,” he said.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said: “I am surprised by Mr Garcia’s decision. The work of the ethics committee will nonetheless continue.”

Garcia’s report probed alleged corruption in the designation of Russia and Qatar as World Cup hosts in 2018 and 2022. His resignation adds to the turmoil surrounding the organization.

“We wanted all transparency but this is a new failure for FIFA,” said Michel Platini, president of the governing body of European soccer, UEFA.

FIFA said in a statement that the acting chairman of the ethics committee would take Garcia’s place, pending the election of a successor.

[BBC]

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