Chelsea could be banned from signing players for a period of four transfer windows after the Premier League club was investigated for acquiring under-18 players, including former Blues striker Bertrand Traore, illegally.
FIFA led an investigation that spanned three years, according to French source Mediapart (h/t Matt Hughes of The Times). The investigation, carried out by the Integrity and Compliance unit of world football’s governing body, found the Blues had signed as many as 14 youth players illegally.
This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.
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Despite spending something like £100 million in the transfer market in the summer, newly promoted Fulham have been the worst team in the Premier League by a good margin. Finally, they’ve decided to do something about it. Today the club announced that they’ve fired manager Slaviša Jokanović and replaced him with a more than worthy successor: the lovable legend, the miracle man, the sultan of sweet, the Dilly Ding Don Dada himself, Claudio Ranieri.
Ranieri’s return to the league where he orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports when Leicester City won the title in 2016 (which to this day is still “!!!!”) is welcome, and not only because we’re happy to get reacquainted with his adorable and still handsome old man face and his adorable old man personality and the adorable old man phrases he offers in his adorable Italian accent. Even from a sporting perspective, Ranieri’s hiring is sound.
Fulham are currently rock bottom in the EPL table with just five points from 12 matches, which is awful in its own right and downright scandalous in light of the heavy and smart investment the team underwent in order to prepare for Premier League play. Jokanović had the Cottagers playing some of the most attractive soccer in the Championship last season, but his insistence on playing a possession-based game with a high defensive line and no real organization upon promotion this season proved as suicidal as it appeared it would. Fulham have given up 31 goals in their 12 league games—a full six goals more than the second-worst defenses—and have neither created nor scored enough on the other end to make that strategy workable.
The team’s midfield and attack has more than enough quality (remember, this is a squad that features names like André Schürle, Jean Michaël Seri, Luciano Vietto, and Ryan Sessegnon, guys who either have or will soon be regular contributors on Champions League-caliber teams) to comfortably secure themselves a midtable spot. That they’ve failed to do so thus far, even with a pretty soft defensive corps, is a damning indictment of Jokanović.
This makes Ranieri practically the ideal manager for the job. (Though reports say Fulham’s ownership first approached Arsène Wenger about the gig, which is hilarious.) Ranieri is great at cobbling together stiff, compact, coordinated defensive setups, and he’s just as adept at implementing attacking frameworks in which a team’s scorers can snatch up a good number of goals on the counter in the other direction. With just a little more of this kind of structure on and off the ball, Fulham should start paying off all the intrigue their summer spending spree attracted.
In between his Leicester tenure and his just-started Fulham one, Ranieri spent a season in France with Nantes where he did a pretty good job consolidating a midtable club the midtable spot they deserved. At one point he even had Nantes flirting with the Champions League places. The brevity of his time in Ligue 1 wasn’t a reflection of his performance and instead had to do with issues surrounding the club and his relationship with it. So even though Ranieri is getting up there in age (he turned 67 last month), as long as he’s still motivated, he should have all the managerial acumen and raw materials necessary to succeed.
Overall, things are looking good for both the club and their new manager. Fulham seem to be making all the right decisions. They were smart to dump so much money in the transfer market in hopes of making their stay in the Premier League a long one, they were smart with how they spent that money, they were smart to move on from Jokanović rather than stubbornly sticking with what wasn’t working out of loyalty or blind faith that things would improve, and they were smart to bring in Ranieri to fix what was broken. Hopefully all this wisdom results in a quick and lasting turnaround, because many of Fulham’s players and now their cool new manager are too good and too likable to have them slumming in the basement.
Alvaro Morata said that he is seeing a psychologist to help him deal with the “pressure and emotions” he experienced at Chelsea last season, adding that he briefly thought about leaving Stamford Bridge last summer to join a club where he could play “without pressure.”
Chelsea paid a then club-record £58 million to sign Morata from Real Madrid as Diego Costa’s replacement in the summer of 2017, but he faded badly after a bright start as injuries and off-field events — his close friend was killed in a car crash and his wife endured a difficult pregnancy with the couple’s twin boys — sapped his sharpness and confidence.
Morata insisted earlier this month that he feels better mentally on and off the pitch this season, and in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC he said that regular sessions with a psychologist have helped him escape the dark place he found himself in during his first year in England.
“I think it’s very important to have confidence,” Morata said. “Things go well for you. In this period of my life I have realised that you always have to train your mind. It’s not only about being physically prepared. To withstand the pressure, you also have to work, it is the most important thing in our field.
“I had never thought about training the mind, really. When a player hears the word psychologist at the first, you are taken aback, but I realised that I needed help.
“At first, I was a bit embarrassed to talk to the psychologist and tell him all my problems and with the help of everyone I have managed to recover happiness in football.
“The idea of going to the psychologist, for anyone who has any problem, is associated with something negative. I think everyone sees it that way when it’s really a very important thing. Now I am happier than ever at Chelsea and happier than ever in the national team even if it is not my best moment on the pitch.
“I’ve scored goals again, but it’s not when I’m playing my best football. I will continue going to the psychologist, it helps me to manage the pressure and emotions.”
Morata scored just three goals in 22 appearances for Chelsea between January and May, and his prolonged slump fuelled scepticism among many supporters that he was capable of filling Costa’s boots.
Morata’s lack of form resulted in him being left out of Spain’s squad for the World Cup in Russia, and the disappointment prompted the striker to contemplate whether he was mentally cut out to play at the highest level.
“I told my wife and my family that I had to take a step or two back to enjoy [football] again,” he continued. “I was under a lot of pressure and when you’re like that you stop enjoying [football].
“It is at that moment when you have to realise that either you let them help you and listen to you or you can keep on getting worse. This summer I said to myself once or twice that I wanted to go to a team where I would be happy again, without pressure.
“My wife laughed and said: ‘Do not say nonsense…’ Many things happen in your head but now I am enjoying [football] again. It was a matter of adjusting my head, which is what controls the body.”
Técnico está sem trabalhar desde que deixou o Arsenal, no fim da última temporada
Na lanterna da Premier League, o Fulham anunciou, nesta quarta-feira, Claudio Ranieri como treinador no lugar de Slaviša Jokanović. No entanto, o italiano, campeão com o Leicester em 2015/16, não foi a primeira opção. De acordo com o jornal “Telegraph”, a equipe londrina fez proposta para Arsène Wenger, que recusou voltar à ativa neste momento.
Wenger está sem clube desde que deixou o Arsenal no fim da temporada passada. O treinador revelou ter recebido muitas propostas, de times de todo o mundo, e afirmou que deve voltar a trabalhar em breve. Por conta disso, o Fulham foi atrás do francês, mas ouviu um ‘não’ como resposta.A situação do Fulham na tabela do Campeonato Inglês também não anima. A equipe londrina tem apenas uma vitória em 12 jogos, com cinco pontos conquistados, que a deixa na lanterna da competição.
Segundo o jornal inglês, Wenger estaria mais inclinado a assumir um time fora da Inglaterra. O “Telegraph” aponta ainda que o treinador está de olho na situação de Niko Kovac no Bayern de Munique.
Maar al te vaak worden, in samenspraak met de clubs, belastingen ontdoken via allerhande schimmige constructies. Maar het kan ook anders, bewijst Chelsea-middenvelder én wereldkampioen N’Golo Kanté. Dat blijkt uit door Football Leaks vrijgegeven documenten.
De kleine Fransman deelt de lakens uit op het middenveld bij Chelsea en werd eerder dit jaar wereldkampioen met Frankrijk. In het seizoen 2016-2017 werd hij in de Premier League uitgeroepen tot speler van het jaar. Een grote jongen dus, maar blijkbaar wel één met morele waarden.
Op aanvraag van zijn werkgever Chelsea zette hij aanvankelijk een ’offshore-constructie’ waarbij het de bedoeling was om een deel van zijn salaris uit te laten betalen op het Britse eiland en fiscale paradijs Jersey. Bovendien was het de bedoeling het loon deels uit te betalen via portretrechten, wat zowel voor speler als voor club alweer fiscaal voordelig zou zijn. Het zou de club uit Londen ongeveer één miljoen euro opleveren.
Kanté stemde aanvankelijk in, ook al omdat Chelsea beweerde dat de constructie volkomen legaal was. Tegelijkertijd vroeg de Fransman bedenktijd en liet hij enige tijd later, via zijn adviseur, weten van de constructie af te zien. Hij wilde een ’gewoon’ salaris dat op een ’gewone’ manier moest worden uitbetaald.
Chelsea ging hiermee niet akkoord en het kwam uiteindelijk tot een compromis. De imagorechten, die minder zwaar belast worden, bleven maar werden uitgekeerd via een Brits bedrijf. Daardoor moet er wel vennootschapsbelasting betaald worden. Deze belasting zou gedeeld worden door de club en de speler zelf.
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Volleys wollen Negativserie gegen Friedrichshafen vermeiden
Erst vor zweieinhalb Wochen waren sich beide im Supercup in Hannover begegnet, Friedrichshafen behielt mit 3:1 die Oberhand.
Berlin. Bereits zum zweiten Mal in dieser noch jungen Saison kommt es am Donnerstag (18.30 Uhr, live bei Sport1) zum Klassiker im deutschen Volleyball: Pokalsieger VfB Friedrichshafen empfängt den deutschen Meister Berlin Volleys zum Kampf um Bundesligapunkte. Erst vor zweieinhalb Wochen waren sich beide Mannschaften im Supercup in Hannover begegnet, Friedrichshafen behielt mit 3:1 die Oberhand. “Wir müssen uns steigern”, weiß Volleys-Angreifer Egor Bogachev, “denn wir wollen, anders als in der vergangenen Saison, nicht wieder mit einer Negativserie gegen den VfB in die Saison starten.”
In der Spielzeit 2017/18 verloren die BR Volleys die ersten fünf Pflichtspiele (Supercup, Bundesliga, Champions League) gegen den Erzrivalen vom Bodensee allesamt. Erst in der hochdramatischen Play-off-Finalserie um die deutsche Meisterschaft setzte sich der Hauptstadtclub mit 3:2 Siegen knapp durch.
Für Manager Kaweh Niroomand birgt die Spielweise des VfB in dieser Saison wenig Neues. “Die spielen das, was wir kennen”, sagt der Manager. Der VfB praktiziert unter Trainer Vital Heynen weiterhin seine auf Sicherheit bedachte, geduldige Spielweise, überwiegend ausgerichtet auf Fehlervermeidung. Welche Mittel dagegen helfen – da weiß Niroomand Rat: “Wir müssen in Abwehr und Angriff sehr stabil sein. Und wenn wir dann den Druck hochhalten, ist auch ein Sieg machbar.”
In der Vergangenheit war das Aufeinandertreffen beider Mannschaften oft genug das Gipfeltreffen der Bundesliga. Diesmal gerät die Partie allerdings zum Verfolgerduell. Aktueller Tabellenführer sind nach vier Spieltagen verlustpunktfrei die Alpenvolleys Haching (12 Punkte) vor Friedrichshafen (11) und BR Volleys (10).