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FIFA sacks senior official over millions paid in bonuses

An internal investigation has discovered breaches of Markus Kattner's "fiduciary responsibilities." In the past year, FIFA has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals involving top officials. The football world body on Monday announced that Deputy Secretary General Markus Kattner was "dismissed from his position effective immediately." "FIFA's internal investigation uncovered breaches of his fiduciary responsibilities in connection with his employment contract," it said in a statement. At least 15 people and two corporate entities have pleaded guilty in US cases after the Justice Department indicted several dozen officials in 2015, including ex-members of the football body's executive committee. A source close to FIFA's internal investigation told AFP news agency that millions were paid in bonuses in a contract's terms, which were hidden from audit committees. "There was enough to determine there was a breach of his responsibilities in connection with his employment contract," the source said on condition of anonymity. "We are talking about significant sums of money, millions of dollars," the source added. The German-Swiss dual national served as FIFA's secretary general after Jerome Valcke was also dismissed for irregularities. Kattner was considered a close ally of ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was banned from all football-related activities earlier this year over a suspect payment to former UEFA President Michel Platini.

An internal investigation has discovered breaches of Markus Kattner’s “fiduciary responsibilities.” In the past year, FIFA has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals involving top officials. The football world body on Monday announced that Deputy Secretary General Markus Kattner was “dismissed from his position effective immediately.” “FIFA’s internal investigation uncovered breaches of his fiduciary responsibilities in connection with ... Read More »

Europa League final: Coke sparkles as Sevilla defeat Liverpool to claim hat trick

Sevilla produced a rampant second half display to overturn a sublime Daniel Sturridge goal and claim their third successive Europa League crown with a 3-1 win over Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool in Basel. Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla (Sturridge 35’ – Gameiro 46', Coke 64', 70') A brilliant 25-minute spell for Sevilla, capped by a brace from their captain Coke, blew Liverpool away and saw the Andalusians lift the trophy for the third consecutive year, a first in UEFA Cup/Europa League history. In a game marred by crowd trouble before kick-off, the English side dominated the first half before crumbling under a sustained Sevilla onslaught in the second. Fans behind the goal at one end of St. Jakob Park in Basel weren’t segregated before the match, leading to several ugly clashes until security officers formed a human barrier. Once the game kicked off, the holders looked the more relaxed side early on. But it wasn’t long before Liverpool burst in to life and took a firm grip on the half, carving out a series of chances. Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge both went close in the first 15 minutes before Roberto Firmino’s claim for a penalty was denied. The Spanish side continued to have more of the ball but failed to really threaten Simon Mignolet’s goal until the half-hour mark when striker Kevin Gameiro went close with a well-executed bicycle kick that flew past the post. Liverpool’s higher intensity and potency was rewarded five minutes later. Daniel Sturrridge received the ball from Phillipe Coutinho on the left side of Sevilla’s box before curling an exquisitely placed shot around the defender and in to the far corner with the outside of his left boot. On the touchline, Klopp pounded his chest, pumped his fists and pointed to his head, seemingly struggling to control his own emotions and communicate the right balance of passion and composure to his players. He nearly had cause to celebrate again moments later as Dejan Lovren’s goalbound header was touched in by Sturridge, but the England man was rightly flagged offside. Liverpool scented blood. They poured forward at pace, almost extending their lead when a cross from Nathaniel Clyne flashed past Firmino and Sturridge. Such was the Reds’ dominance in the opening period, Sevilla could consider themselves fortunate to go in to the break only a goal behind. But you don’t win consecutive European titles without the ability to bounce back, and Kevin Gameiro made Liverpool rue their missed opportunities just 17 seconds after the restart. Right-back Mariano skipped past Liverpool’s left-back - and former Sevilla man - Alberto Moreno all too easily before driving across goal for the French striker to tap in his 29th of the season. It was Unai Emery’s turn to celebrate on the touchline. Gameiro spurned two further chances and it looked, for a time, like Sevilla may have failed to learn from Liverpool’s profligacy. But they were not to be denied. The Spanish side cut a swathe through Liverpool’s midfield shortly after the hour mark with a series of one-twos involving Ever Banega and Vitolo, before skipper Coke caressed the ball past Mignolet for his first Europa League goal this season. He didn’t have to wait long for his second. More disastrous defending from Liverpool saw the ball deflect off a Liverpool man and in to the path of Coke, who drove firmly at Mignolet. The Belgian goalkeeper got something on it but couldn’t prevent the Spanish side taking a two goal lead. Liverpool’s spirit had been broken and they barely registered a shot for the rest of the game, as Sevilla kept them at arm’s length. As the final whistle blew, Emery was mobbed by his coaches while Klopp made a quick exit, wondering what might have been.

Sevilla produced a rampant second half display to overturn a sublime Daniel Sturridge goal and claim their third successive Europa League crown with a 3-1 win over Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool in Basel. Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla (Sturridge 35’ – Gameiro 46′, Coke 64′, 70′) A brilliant 25-minute spell for Sevilla, capped by a brace from their captain Coke, blew Liverpool away ... Read More »

Germany coach Joachim Löw names provisional squad for Euro 2016

Germany coach Joachim Löw went for a mix of experience and youth in his provisional squad for Euro 2016 unveiled on Tuesday. Löw has named 27 players to the roster and needs to discard four by the end of the month. Löw’s squad unveiled at a news conference at the French embassy in Berlin includes three players called up for the first time: Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich, and Julian Weigl of Borussia Dortmund. Löw had warm praise for all three. "Julian is very good technically and is fast," Löw said. "He's scored a few goals (in the Bundesliga) and is in good form." Löw praised Kimmich as having "trained and played at a high level, even at times in the Champions League." Weigl, Löw said, "plays a key role in midfield at Borussia Dortmund" and is a good passer and good on the ball. Also named to the squad was Schalke's Leroy Sané, who has just one national team match to his name. 14 World Cup winners The squad, though, also has a good deal of experience, boasting 14 members of Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning team. Löw included Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, despite concerns about the 31-year-old's fitness following a couple of knee injuries. Löw will have just one friendly match to look at his players before he has to finalize his roster, a game against Slovakia in Augsburg on May 29. They play Hungary in Gelsenkirchen on June 4 in another friendly. Having named just three goalkeepers to the provisional squad, all four cuts will have to come from the outfield players. Germany will be up against Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland in Group C in Euro 2016, which kicks off on June 10 in Paris. Provisional Germany squad: Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Berd Leno, Marc-André ter Stegen Defenders: Jérôme Boateng, Emre Can, Jonas Hector, Benedikt Höwedes Mats Hummels, Shkodran Mustafi, Sebastian Rudy, Antonio Rüdiger Midfielders/ attackers: Karim Bellarabi, Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Mario Götze, Mario Gomez, Sami Khedira, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski, Marco Reus, Leroy Sané, André Schürrle, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Julian Weigl.

Germany coach Joachim Löw went for a mix of experience and youth in his provisional squad for Euro 2016 unveiled on Tuesday. Löw has named 27 players to the roster and needs to discard four by the end of the month. Löw’s squad unveiled at a news conference at the French embassy in Berlin includes three players called up for ... Read More »

Hamilton pips Rosberg for pole in Spain

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton struck back at his teammate and main rival in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. It will be another all-Mercedes front row on the Barcelona circuit for Sunday's race. For the first time this season, Hamilton will started a Formula 1 race from the front. On Saturday, the Englishman bested standings leader Nico Rosberg by three-tenths of a second. Hamilton, who has been beset by mechanical problems this year, is hoping to break a seven-race winless streak. "I'm very happy," Hamilton said. "The car was great. Yesterday was a bit of a difficult day, so to be able to start on the right foot today is a real blessing." Rosberg is gunning to win his eighth straight win and extend his 43-point lead in the drivers' standings. "For sure I'm disappointed to be second," Rosberg said. "Fortunately, it's the race that counts, so there are still a couple of opportunities tomorrow. The start, for example, and strategy-wise it's not going to be an easy race, so I'll try to take my chances." Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, both of Red Bull, will occupy the second row. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will start fifth and sixth.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton struck back at his teammate and main rival in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. It will be another all-Mercedes front row on the Barcelona circuit for Sunday’s race. For the first time this season, Hamilton will started a Formula 1 race from the front. On Saturday, the Englishman bested standings leader Nico Rosberg by three-tenths ... Read More »

FIFA audit chief Scala quits in protest over reforms

The head of the committee tasked with monitoring the spending of football's scandal-plagued world governing body has quit. Domenico Scala has pushed back against moves by the FIFA Council to control how it's monitored. Domenico Scala quit his post as chairman of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee with immediate effect on Saturday in what he described as a "wake-up call" for those working to reform the organization. At FIFA's annual congress in Mexico City on Friday, new measures were voted in that would allow the FIFA Council, headed by President Gianni Infantino, to control who is appointed to FIFA's independent oversight bodies such as the Ethics Committee and Audit and Compliance Committee. "I am consternated about this decision," Scala said in a resignation statement. "It will henceforth be possible for the council to impede investigations against single members at any time, by dismissing the responsible committee members or by keeping them acquiescent through the threat of a dismissal," Scala said. The move, he added, "undermines a central pillar of the good governance at FIFA and it destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms." Scala had monitored FIFA since a 2012 round of reforms led by the previous president, Sepp Blatter, aimed at stamping out corruption. In recent years, corruption scandals have plagued the careers of many top soccer administrators including Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, who on Monday said he would step down from his position. In a speech on Friday, Infantino declared the corruption-fuelled crisis at FIFA to be over. Later responding to questions from reporters, he defended the new powers to remove key people overseeing his work.

The head of the committee tasked with monitoring the spending of football’s scandal-plagued world governing body has quit. Domenico Scala has pushed back against moves by the FIFA Council to control how it’s monitored. Domenico Scala quit his post as chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee with immediate effect on Saturday in what he described as a “wake-up call” ... Read More »

Germany give Canada a real game

Title holders Canada needed everything they had to earn a 5-2 victory of Germany at the Ice Hockey World Championships. The game was level for two periods, but the Canadians were ultimately too good. Germany were coming off their initial win of the tournament but had to feel a bit of trepidation facing off with undefeated Canada, who had racked up a goal difference of +18 in their first three matches. The Germans were clearly focusing on defense in St. Petersburg, an approach that bore fruit as they held Canada to a single goal in the first period. Taylor Hall opened the scoring at 3:54, but after that the favorites and title holders were stymied. Germany's Gerrit Fauser had a goal disallowed after a video replay showed his skate had touched the puck. Canada doubled their lead with a power-play goal by Corey Perry three minutes into the second period. But Germany stormed back as Patrick Reimer (31:31) and game MVP Sinan Akdag (37:36) put the puck in the net. After two periods the score between underdogs Germany and mighty Canada was 2-2. "We really irritated them today," Akdag said after the game. "We didn't just defend like last year. We were also courageous going forward. You saw we have a great team." But in the third period, Canada's superior skills proved too much for the Germans. Taylor Hall restored the defending world champs' lead at 43:12. Boone Jenner (46:50) and Cody Ceci (53:17) completed the final 5-2 scoreline. Canada stay top of Group B, while Germany drop down to sixth. Germany's next match comes on Friday, when they face Belarus. In Thursday's Group A match, Russia obliterated Denmark 10-1.

Title holders Canada needed everything they had to earn a 5-2 victory of Germany at the Ice Hockey World Championships. The game was level for two periods, but the Canadians were ultimately too good. Germany were coming off their initial win of the tournament but had to feel a bit of trepidation facing off with undefeated Canada, who had racked ... Read More »

Bayern Munich sign Dortmund captain Mats Hummels

Borussia Dortmund skipper Mats Hummels will join rivals Bayern Munich in the summer. The World Cup winning center-back controversially asked to join the champions a fortnight ago and has now got his wish. Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that club captain Mats Hummels will join rivals Bayern Munich this summer on a five-year deal. The Bundesliga champions are reported to have agreed a fee of 35 million euros ($39.81m) with Dortmund and confirmation of the move comes two weeks after the club had announced that Hummels wanted to leave for Bayern. The German World Cup winner's contract with Dortmund was due to expire in 2017. Hummels' transfer came hot on the heels of Bayern's multi-million euro deal for Benfica's teenage sensation, Renato Sanches, whose signing was also confirmed on Tuesday. "After so many successful years at Dortmund, it wasn’t an easy decision," Hummels explained in a press release. "I am and always have been proud to wear the Dortmund shirt and to be part of this extraordinary side. "Before I return to my hometown in the summer, we still have one big, common goal: to bring the German Cup back to Dortmund and celebrate with BVB fans," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank my teammates, all the staff and the fans for this long and wonderful time in black and yellow." In signing for Bayern, Hummels returns to the club where he spent his youth career. Hummels made two appearances for the Bayern first team before joining Dortmund in 2008 (initially on loan) and signing permanently in 2009. Bayern's CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the club is thrilled to have Hummels back. "We are delighted that Mats has decided in favour of Bayern," commented Rummenigge. "Mats is one of the best centre-backs in the world. With him we will increase the quality in our team even further." The controversial move had been expected since Dortmund were forced to reveal Hummels' intentions earlier this month. An announcement had to be made because of Dortmund's position on the stock market, with share prices fluctuating depending on major news. After the move was confirmed, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said Hummels had handled the situation well. "Mats has decided after long, intense reflections to return to his native Munich eight and a half years after his move to BVB," he said. "I want to emphasize that he has at all times behaved openly and fairly towards us. 27-year-old Hummels made 307 appearances for Dortmund, scoring 25 goals. He won two Bundesliga titles and a German cup while at Dortmund as well as playing a major part in Germany's World Cup win in 2014.

Borussia Dortmund skipper Mats Hummels will join rivals Bayern Munich in the summer. The World Cup winning center-back controversially asked to join the champions a fortnight ago and has now got his wish. Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that club captain Mats Hummels will join rivals Bayern Munich this summer on a five-year deal. The Bundesliga champions are reported to have ... Read More »

Germany beat Slovakia for first win

It took a while for Germany to get out of the blocks at the Ice Hockey World Championships. But in their third game, the Germans booked an emphatic 5-1 victory over Slovakia. Germany coach Marco Sturm publicly criticized his underachieving team ahead of Tuesday's clash with the Slovaks in St. Petersburg. But he had to wait for his players to show a reaction. Peter Cehlaric put the Slovaks in front with a goal at 8:42 in the first period. But if anything the early deficit seemed to galvanize Germany. Four minutes into the second period, Patrick Hager equalized. That opened the floodgates. Four-and-a-half minutes later veteran Philipp Gogulla put the Germans in front for good, and German Ice Hockey League star Patrick Reimer added another goal five minutes from the end of the period on a power play. In the final period, the Slovaks seemed to resign themselves to their fate, and Germany were happy to inflate the score. Macek Brooks got his name on the scoresheet at 43:45. And five minutes before the end of the game, Dominik Kahun completed the 5-1 victory. The win gives Germany four points in Group B and keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages. But Sturm and his men face a far sterner test in their next match against defending champions Canada on Thursday.

It took a while for Germany to get out of the blocks at the Ice Hockey World Championships. But in their third game, the Germans booked an emphatic 5-1 victory over Slovakia. Germany coach Marco Sturm publicly criticized his underachieving team ahead of Tuesday’s clash with the Slovaks in St. Petersburg. But he had to wait for his players to ... Read More »

Platini ‘to quit as UEFA president,’ as court of arbitration reduces ban

Michel Platini has announced he will resign as UEFA president despite his ban from all football activity being reduced from six years to four by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday. Michel Platini will quit as president of UEFA after his appeal against a FIFA-imposed six-year ban from all football activity failed. Depite the failure of the appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) did reduce Platini's ban to four years. The former France international's lawyers say Platini will now resign as UEFA's president at the organization's next congress, currently scheduled for 2017. The three time Ballon d'Or winner said he won't give up the fight to clear his name. "I note today's decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but I consider it a profound injustice," Platini said in a statement. "This decision inflicts a suspension for which the length stops me, de facto, and by luck, from being a candidate in the next FIFA presidential election," he added. "As agreed with the national associations, I resign as president of UEFA to pursue my fight before the Swiss courts to prove my probity in this case. "Life has always kept beautiful surprises for me, now I am free to live them." Panel left unconvinced The CAS panel ruled it was "not convinced by the legitimacy" of the 2 million Swiss francs payment "which was only recognized by Mr Platini and Mr Blatter, and which occurred more than eight years after the end of his work relations." The payment was "not based on any document established at the time of the contractual relations and did not correlate with the alleged unpaid part of his salary," read the CAS statement. The panel did, however, state it had considered that the suspension handed to Platini was "too severe" and therefore decided to reduce it to four years which "corresponds to the duration of a presidential term." The suspension was initially set at eight years before a reduction to six in February. The UEFA executive committee is now expected to hold an extraordinary meeting on May 18 to discuss potential presedential candidates.

Michel Platini has announced he will resign as UEFA president despite his ban from all football activity being reduced from six years to four by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday. Michel Platini will quit as president of UEFA after his appeal against a FIFA-imposed six-year ban from all football activity failed. Depite the failure of the appeal, ... Read More »

Barcelona, Real Madrid to battle for La Liga

The race for the Spanish championship will go right to the last weekend with Barcelona and Real Madrid duking it out. Atletico Madrid won't be in contention after going down 2-1 at relegated Levante. Just a single point separates Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of the last weekend in La Liga. Spain's dominant duo will go head-to-head for the Spanish championship next weekend with the Catalans in the driving seat. That was after a 5-0 win over city rivals Espanyol. Lionel Messi opened the scoring, before Luis Suarez bagged a brace, taking his league tally for the season to 37. Rafinha and Neymar added shine to the win as Barca seek to capture their second successive title. Real Madrid were in a much-publicized crisis just a few months ago when Zinedine Zidane took over from Rafael Benitez. But Los Blancos can still win their first championship since 2012 after holding firm against Valencia 3-2. Karim Benzema scored for Real, while Cristiano Ronaldo popped in two goals to run his league tally to 33. Zidane's men reached the Champions League final this week, beating Manchester City and booking a date with hated city rivals Atletico on May 28 in Milan. The league title comes down to next weekend. Barcelona will face Granada. Real Madrid are at Deportivo La Coruna and need to win and hope Barca don't, if they are to claim their record 33rd league championship. European hangover Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid have no realistic chance at the title after losing 2-1 at relegated Levante. Diego Simeone's side were level on points with Barca before kickoff and led when Fernando Torres scored an opener after two minutes. But despite having nothing to play for, Levante leveled after half an hour. They then punished Atletico's commitment to attack with Giuseppe Rossi scoring on the break in the 89th minute. Atletico could still finish second in the league if Real lose at Granada and Atletico defeat Celta Vigo at home.

The race for the Spanish championship will go right to the last weekend with Barcelona and Real Madrid duking it out. Atletico Madrid won’t be in contention after going down 2-1 at relegated Levante. Just a single point separates Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of the last weekend in La Liga. Spain’s dominant duo will go head-to-head for the Spanish ... Read More »

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