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Neymar unveiled as football’s most expensive player, denies it’s about the money

Paris Saint-Germain have unveiled the most-expensive signing in football history. Brazilian star Neymar described the decision to leave Barcelona for PSG as the most difficult one of his life. Neymar, who officially joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for 222 million euros ($264 million) on Thursday, repeatedly told reporters at a Friday press conference that he decided to leave Barcelona for footballing reasons. "I wanted a new challenge. I wanted something bigger. To do my best. And to do even better," he said. He added that he hoped to further develop as a player at his new club. Although his wages are reportedly set to triple to 30 million euros a year after tax, the 25-year-old was also quick to insist that the move had nothing to do with the money. 'Not about the money' "I was never motivated by money," Neymar said. "What I think about is happiness. If I was following the money I would maybe be in some other country." The club's chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who described Neymar as "the best player in the world," also insisted that the striker could have made much more money at another club and that he had made the decision for "sporting reasons." Al-Khelaifi also confirmed that a buyout clause was included in Neymar's contract, but he declined to put a figure on it. The 222 million euros that PSG spent on him was used to trigger his previous contract at Barcelona. Financial fair play Asked about how PSG intended to ensure that it complies with UEFA's financial fair play rules, the chairman replied: "What we have done is completely transparent and legal... Whatever the media says, we honestly don't care." However, he did say it was a good bit of business for the club, despite the record fee, because Neymar's value would "at least double inside two years." Leaving Barca 'the most difficult decision' For his part, Neymar also took great pains to insist that he had left Barcelona, where he won the Champions League in 2015 and collected two Spanish league titles and three Copas del Rey in four seasons, on good terms. He described the decision to move on as "the most difficult decision" that he had ever made, and he praised Barca as a special club with wonderful teammates who will remain his friends. He also admitted that some of his former teammates had tried hard to convince him to stay. Ready for action At the same time though, he stressed that he was keen to get down to work on his new challenge in the French capital. "I can play tomorrow (against Amiens). Why not? I'll speak to the staff, but I really want to play. I haven't discussed where I will play. I will play where the coach wants me to," he replied when asked how soon the PSG fans could expect to see him in the squad. "I only stopped training in the last two days and I'm hungry to play football." If the queue outside of the Parc des Princes is any indication, the supporters can't wait to see him in the number 10 jersey that was already on sale when the club's fan shop opened for business this Friday.

Paris Saint-Germain have unveiled the most-expensive signing in football history. Brazilian star Neymar described the decision to leave Barcelona for PSG as the most difficult one of his life. Neymar, who officially joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for 222 million euros ($264 million) on Thursday, repeatedly told reporters at a Friday press conference that he decided to leave Barcelona for footballing ... Read More »

Five things to watch for at the London 2017 World Athletics Championships

As the curtain comes down on the mighty Usain Bolt's career, athletics hopes that it can use the 2017 World Championships in London as a chance to take the next step. Here's the five things to know. 1. The last Bolt One of the greatest athletes in history will say goodbye to the track at the London World Championships. Bolt is the face of athletics and has made such a difference to the sport that his absence is beyond comprehension. A man with eight Olympic gold medals, 11 world titles and the untouched world-record times of 9.58 seconds (100 meters) and 19.19 (200 meters) is a character whose speed and smile sports fans will be able to savor one last time. The Jamaican hasn't been at his best of late, but given that it's his final individual race and he's only running the 100 meters and the relay the crowd can be sure Bolt finishes with a bang. Any doubts that he will win (barring something unforeseen) were removed when his main rival, Canada's Andre de Grasse, was forced to pull out of the worlds due to a torn hamstring. A week after his final individual race, the fans will get to see Bolt for the very last time - in the 4x100 relay. 2. Wayde's world? South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk fancies himself the successor to Bolt's charasmatic crown in athletics. He is aiming for back-to-back 400-meter world titles and is also running in the 200 meters - without Bolt. The Jamaican believes van Niekerk can become the new face of athletics once he and Britain's Mo Farah have retired. An impressive outing on the track in London could well confirm his new role ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 3. Germans throwing things Robert Harting is famous around the world for his shirt-ripping celebrations and the discus thrower is hopeful he will be able to show off his muscles again in London. Harting returns to the site of his 2012 Olympic glory in the hope that he can claim his fourth world title. In the men's javelin, Johannes Vetter and Thomas Röhler lead the field by quite some distance. Vetter's best is 94.44 meters, while Olympic champion Röhler has managed 93.90 meters. If Andreas Hofmann can perform, Germany might end up with all three medals in the javelin. 4. Mascots to be remembered Hero the hedgehog and Whizbee the Bee are the two official mascots for the World Championships. The pair were also the mascots for the World Para Athletics Championships in July and were designed by a nine-year-old from the West Midlands. The idea is to promote the importance of bees around the world and the determination of hedgehogs. Certainly sounds like a message the athletes can get on board with, doesn't it? 5. Records all around In all, 2,034 athletes from more than 200 countries have been entered, which looks set to beat any previous numbers of contesting athletes. Combined with the World Para Athletics Championships in July, more than 3,000 athletes have been in London this summer - the first time both championships have been held in the same city. With 700,000 tickets sold and 50,000 fans attending each session, it is fair to say athletics hasn't lost its popularity despite image setbacks due to doping allegations. The hope is that with the likes of Bolt and co. retiring, the sport can stay clean and healthy in the years to come.

As the curtain comes down on the mighty Usain Bolt’s career, athletics hopes that it can use the 2017 World Championships in London as a chance to take the next step. Here’s the five things to know. 1. The last Bolt One of the greatest athletes in history will say goodbye to the track at the London World Championships. Bolt ... Read More »

Cristiano Ronaldo declines to speak to media after giving evidence

After defending the Champions League with Real Madrid last season, Cristiano Ronaldo returns from a summer holiday to see his preseason delayed due to a court hearing over tax fraud. Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court on Monday after state prosecutors accused the four-time World Footballer of the Year of siphoning millions of euros, earned from picture rights, past Spanish authorities between 2011 and 2014. A stage was set up and a throng of international media was waiting for the 32-year-old to speak having given his evidence, but Ronaldo headed straight home after 90 minutes in a court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives. A spokesman for the agency representing Ronaldo stated that a press statement would be released. According to a reporter from Spain's second largest printed daily newspaper "El Mundo" who was inside the court, Ronaldo told the judge he had done nothing wrong and trusted his advisors. Ronaldo is accused of having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates. Prosecutors allege Ronaldo voluntarily took "advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities". Ronaldo has consistently said his "conscience is clear", and was reportedly so upset that he threatened to leave Spain. Should Ronaldo admit to wrongdoing and pay 50 million euros in returned taxes, fines and interest, his sentence would likely be reduced. Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with 79 million euros earned in 2016-2017, according to Forbes. Ronaldo is not the only high profile football star to have been accused of tax fraud recently in Spain. Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was sentenced in May to 21 months in jail, though local media reported a month later that he is unlikely to serve time behind bars. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho also is accused of defrauding Spanish authorities to the tune of 3.3 million euros during 2011 and 2012, while coach of Real Madrid.

After defending the Champions League with Real Madrid last season, Cristiano Ronaldo returns from a summer holiday to see his preseason delayed due to a court hearing over tax fraud. Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court on Monday after state prosecutors accused the four-time World Footballer of the Year of siphoning millions of euros, earned from picture rights, past ... Read More »

Women’s Euro: Germany aiming for much more than the minimum against Russia

Germany go into their final Group B match at the Women's Euro in the Netherlands needing only a draw to qualify. However, coach Steffi Jones has made it clear that nothing less than a victory will be satisfactory. As is the case regarding most of their opponents, Germany's women have an overwhelmingly positive record against the Russians, who they face in their final group-stage game in Utrecht. The two teams have met each other in a total of 19 matches (including friendlies), with Germany winning 17 times, with two draws. This includes the two times the sides met in qualifying for this summer's tournament; a 4-0 win for Germany in Russia and a 2-0 win at home. A further measure of Germany's dominance is the fact that they have outscored Russia 67-8 in in those 19 contests. Despite their record against their final Group B opponents - and the fact that on four points from their first two matches, Germany only need a draw to advance - there appears to be little chance of any overconfidence as they head into Tuesday night's contest. Lack of finishing remains a concern While head coach Steffi Jones said she was happy with the result after Germany's 2-1 victory over Italy on Friday, she rightfully expressed more than a little concern about her team's finishing. It wasn't for a lack of chances that Germany weren't able to score more, having put 10 of their 25 total attempts on target. The Germans simply weren't clinical enough, having to rely on a goalkeeping error off a set piece and later a spot kick to get the two goals they needed. Jones wants more from her creative players, including newly crowned Germany Women's Footballer of the Year Dzenifer Marozsan, against Russia. "It's simply not enough. We have to score goals and work on our mistakes," the 44-year-old former national team defender said after the Italy match. "Otherwise it will be difficult to achieve our goal." Nothing but the title will do Germany of course will be satisfied with no less than a seventh-consecutive and ninth-overall women's European title, and despite their record against the Russians, they will be taking nothing for granted. "This will be a completely new match," German midfielder Kathrin Hendrich said in comments published on the German football association's (DFB) website. "We have to force our game on the Russians. There are no easy games at a European championship… We have to be more focused when we are in the final third of the pitch - to create scoring chances and put them away." Teammate Leonie Maier said she expected the Russians to be just as difficult to beat as the Italians were. Russia could potentially dump Germany out with a win, after defeating The Azzurri themselves in the opening group game. "If we want to leave the pitch as the victors we'll have to be wide awake from the first to the last minute and win the individual battles," the defender said. Asked whether the team was feeling the pressure over Germany's lack of dominance in their first two matches, Maier conceded that "a certain pressure is always present." But she also said she was confident that the team would come up with an improved performance on Tuesday evening in Utrecht. Putting a few goals past Russian goalkeeper Tatyana Shcherbak could go a long way to putting Steffi Jones' concerns to rest.

Germany go into their final Group B match at the Women’s Euro in the Netherlands needing only a draw to qualify. However, coach Steffi Jones has made it clear that nothing less than a victory will be satisfactory. As is the case regarding most of their opponents, Germany’s women have an overwhelmingly positive record against the Russians, who they face ... Read More »

Can Bayer Leverkusen progress after exodus of key players?

First Omer Toprak left Leverkusen, then Hakan Calhanoglu, now Chicharito. With other key men likely to follow them out, is there any hope that a club that's become a fixture in the top four can stop the rot next term? “It was not a difficult decision." Those were the words of Javier Hernandez (aka Chicharito) as he pulled on a West Ham shirt for the first time after completing his move back to England on Monday. He seemed to be referring mainly to the decision to join the London club rather than the one to leave the Werkself, but the sentiment seems applicable to both cases. The Mexican striker endured a difficult end to an otherwise prolific Bundesliga career, as the service dried up in a team desperately struggling to keep their heads above water. Leverkusen suffered through a desperate second half of the season, winning just four league games after the winter break until a cathartic 6-2 defeat of Hertha Berlin on the last day of the season, after safety was assured, gave them a measure of relief. That win also meant they finished 12th, a position that flattered a side that looked woeful under Roger Schmidt and even worse during the short-lived reign of Tayfun Korkut. It was all a far cry from Chicharito's debut campaign for the club, when he scored 17 times in 28 appearances and was the league's Player of the Month three times, as Leverkusen picked up the 'best of the rest' trophy behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – about the best the other Bundesliga clubs can hope for these days. Where will the goals come from? But thoughts of challenging for even that dubious crown seem fanciful at this point. Chicharito may well have wanted out whatever happened but the departures of Calhanoglu, who provided a goal or assist every 110 minutes last term in an interrupted Bundesliga campaign, and Toprak – a defender good enough to step up a level to BVB - must have made him question the club's ambition. Of course, there's still plenty of time in the transfer window (though Leverkusen's first German Cup game is in a little over a fortnight) but Sven Bender and Dominik Kohr don't feel like upgrades. Bender may offer some defensive stability, which would be further enhanced if Jonathan Tah can regain fitness, but it's going forward that Leverkusen look set to struggle. No-one but Hernandez even reached double figures for goals in all competitions last term and removing Calhangolu from the equation as well means only Kevin Volland (9) and Joel Pohjanpalo (6) scored more than 4. It's no wonder new coach Heiko Herrlich, the club's eighth boss in nine years, has been preaching the virtues of teamwork over individuals. Teamwork the key for new boss "Hakan of course has huge quality, as do Kevin [Kampl, who has also asked to leave] and Chicharito," he told the Bundesliga website before the Chicharito deal went through. "But ultimately it’s important that the players that you have available identify 100 per cent with the club. Things will soon be clear - then we'll see more. "I think a club like Bayer Leverkusen will never find themselves depending on just one player. Chicharito has given great performances in his two years here, but so have many others. You can only achieve success as a team." Perhaps Herrlich will forge the collective identity that the side lacked last year, but even the hardest working sides need matchwinners. Leverkusen have become a fixture at the top end in recent years, never failing to finish outside the top 5 in the seven years before last. But with the emergence of Leipzig and Hoffenheim and even Hertha Berlin and Cologne starting to make small but significant strides, it's becoming more and more difficult to see a way back to the Champions League for a club who famously reached the final in 2002. Perhaps that's not the expectation anymore and perhaps they can hang on to a small but talented crop of youngsters – Tah, Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz chief among them – and make progress that way. But, as Dortmund found out last term, losing three key players in one stroke is a difficult trick to pull.

First Omer Toprak left Leverkusen, then Hakan Calhanoglu, now Chicharito. With other key men likely to follow them out, is there any hope that a club that’s become a fixture in the top four can stop the rot next term? “It was not a difficult decision.” Those were the words of Javier Hernandez (aka Chicharito) as he pulled on a ... Read More »

Echoes of ‘92 as Denmark recall glory days

Tuesday night's friendly in Brondby was an experiment for Joachim Löw’s Germany team. But 25 years on from Denmark's most famous victory, the contest was a reminder of Danish glory and pride. With a well-earned 1-0 lead against Germany at halftime, the red-and-white-clad players walked off the field to thunderous applause. Yet the clapping quickly grew to roaring cheers as a group of middle-aged men briefly replaced them on the pitch. They are living Danish legends. 25 years ago, these same men won Denmark’s first and only major title: the 1992 European Championships in Sweden. Tuesday’s friendly commemorated the tournament’s final in which the Danish team shocked the world by beating the World Cup holders, Germany, 2-0. “The whole tournament was surreal, nobody expected anything from Denmark, it was a miracle,” said Patrick Hansen, a schoolteacher attending the game with a group of young students. Indeed, Denmark were lucky to be at the tournament at all after initially failing to qualify. But after Yugoslavia were excluded due to the ongoing conflict in the Balkans, Denmark, who had finished second in their qualifying group, took their place. Back then, Patrick was just 12 years old, the same age as most of his students today, as his country's team went from failed qualifiers to European champions in the space of a few weeks. But his students have not been so lucky - Denmark have never progressed further than a quarter-final and have failed to qualify for five major tournaments. Patrick and his class traveled about 500 kilometers on a field trip to Copenhagen. The schoolteacher then asked his students if they wanted to see “a bit of culture” and brought them to the match. “A lot of them know the story and obviously they’re not old enough to have experienced it themselves but they wanted to come and celebrate with us,” said Patrick. Lucky number 18? In the 1992 European Championship final, the Danes took the lead during the 18th minute after an unstoppable right-footed striker by John “Faxe” Jensen. In a similar fashion on Tuesday night, Christian Eriksen put Denmark in front. Coincidentally, his goal also came in the 18th minute. The goal, along with the hosts’ commemorative shirts with chevrons on the shoulders in the style of those Euro '92 kits, reminded the fans of past glory and the nostalgia inspired continuous chants. The number 18 has played a major role in for the Scandinavians. Even for schoolteacher Patrick, 18 was the number of the night as he needed 18 tickets at the last minute to take all of his students to the game. But he took a more proactive approach than just trying his luck. “I contacted the Danish Football Association on Twitter to see if there were any tickets available and they got straight back to me in about five minutes," he explained. "It was the perfect solution for us." Still reminiscing about the 1992 victory, Patrick and many fans at the Bronby stadium, as well as football romantics, hoped for a 2-0 win against an inexperienced German side – a repeat of the legendary final. However a late equalizer from Joshua Kimmich brought those dreams to an end. Still, a draw was enough for Patrick this time around. “I think it’s important that the Danish Football Association has tried to do something to raise team spirit surrounding the national team,” he said. The most important part was celebrating the time the Danish national team made him truly happy and passing that happiness along to the newer generation.

Tuesday night’s friendly in Brondby was an experiment for Joachim Löw’s Germany team. But 25 years on from Denmark’s most famous victory, the contest was a reminder of Danish glory and pride. With a well-earned 1-0 lead against Germany at halftime, the red-and-white-clad players walked off the field to thunderous applause. Yet the clapping quickly grew to roaring cheers as ... Read More »

Ronaldo double secures Real back-to-back Champions League titles

A Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Real Madrid crowned champions of Europe for the 12th time and become the first team to retain the Champions League. The Portuguese forward scored the first and third in a 4-1 win. Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid (Mandzukic 27' - Ronaldo 20', 64', Casemiro 61', Asensio 90') It could only be him. For all the greats of the game on the Cardiff pitch, there were times on Saturday night when the other 21 players felt like extras in the Cristiano Ronaldo story. He's got quite the scriptwriter. The competition's record goalscorer opened the scoring and added to it later on to extend his lead at the top of the all-time goalscoring list and ensure he finished the match as the most prolific man in the Champions League for the fifth season running. In between his brace, Juventus threatened Real's grip on a title they regard as their own thanks to an incredible Mario Mandzukic strike, before Casemiro restored the Spanish side's lead. An extended - and largely unwanted - performance from the Black Eyed Peas meant the teams were late in kicking off, but the Italians weren't slow to start once the match finally got under way. Former Real frontman Gonzalo Higuain was particularly bright early on, forcing Keylor Navas in to two saves in the first five minutes. The Costa Rican dealt with both comfortably and withstood a more severe examination shortly after, when he palmed away Miralem Pjanic's long-range drive. But this Madrid side are not easily daunted, and recovered from their shaky start with a sustained spell of possession. But the opener was all about one man – and his identity was no surprise. Ronaldo takes control Ronaldo picked up a ball deep in the Juventus half and drove at the Italian defense in a manner more reminiscent of the hard-running player he was than the high-end poacher he's become. He slipped the ball to Dani Carvajal on his right with body language that ensured the Spaniard knew he expected it back. Carvajal obliged and Ronaldo fired home, with the aid of a telling deflection, for his 11th Champions League goal this term. The Italians responded almost instantly with a goal more than fit for this grandest of occasions, though this time the identity of its scorer was less obvious. Alex Sandro burst down the left and was picked out by a raking crossfield ball. The Brazilian cushioned a volley inside to Higuain and the striker helped it on to Mario Mandzukic, who – with his back to goal – didn't seem to have much on. But the former Bayern Munich man wasn't prepared to let Ronaldo grab all the headlines yet again. He took the ball down on his chest before unleashing a spectacular overhead kick from just inside the box that dipped over Navas and restored parity to an open, engaging game. Fresh impetus after the break The second half began in cagier fashion than the first, with mistakes likely to have a higher cost with each passing minute. As the clock ticked down, the game began to fit the pattern predicted by so many in the build up, Real probed with the ball while Juve sat deep and soaked up the pressure. That meant there was space outside the box for Real's midfielders and, after Luka Modric tried his luck, Casemiro took aim from 30 yards out. The defensive midfielder's strike was firm and dipping but Gianluigi Buffon for once looked his age as it crept inside his left-hand post. Three minutes later, the great Italian keeper was beaten again, though there was little he could do with Real's third. Madrid broke quickly as Juve adjusted to being behind again and Luka Modric raced on to a ball down the right flank. The Croatian just kept it in play and had the composure to pick out Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward had run beyond the front post but clipped the ball beyond the keeper with an ease that belied the difficulty of the finish. Juventus had nothing left and when Juan Cuadrado was dismissed with a few minutes remaining, the Old Lady knew that the fat lady had sung. If they needed any further confirmation, they got it in the last minute of normal time, when Marco Asensio swept home Marcelo's low cross. For the eighth time in their history, Juventus were left contemplating a loss on the biggest stage of all. For Real, the celebrations were no less emphatic despite the familiarity of a third Champions League victory in the last four years. As it happened The Champions League final is here! The final game of the season. Juventus have won Serie A, Real Madrid have won La Liga. The Italians are going for the treble, the Spanish for a double. It's Ronaldo vs. Buffon, that attack vs. that defense, Zidane against his former team. It's going to be a very special night in Cardiff!

A Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Real Madrid crowned champions of Europe for the 12th time and become the first team to retain the Champions League. The Portuguese forward scored the first and third in a 4-1 win. Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid (Mandzukic 27′ – Ronaldo 20′, 64′, Casemiro 61′, Asensio 90′) It could only be him. For all the greats ... Read More »

Sweden beats Canada on penalties to win ice hockey world championships

Sweden has won the ice hockey world championships for the 10th time with a 2-1 victory over 2016 champions Canada. Sunday's final in the German city of Cologne was settled by a penalty shootout. At the end of regulation, Sweden and Canada were tied 1-1. Ryan O'Reilly had equalized for Canada at the end of three periods, after Victor Hedman had put Sweden ahead. There was no score in overtime and it was Sweden who held their nerve in the penalty shootout. Both Nicklas Backstorm and Oliver Ekman Larsson nailed their penalties for Sweden, to the delight of their travelling fans in Cologne, with Backstorm hitting the winning shot. Canada's quartet of O'Reilly, Nate Mackinnon, Brayden Point and Mitch Marner all failed with their penalty attempts, handing Sweden their first world title since 2013. Russia places third Earlier, Russia survived a late fightback by Finland as Nikita Kucherov sealed their 5-3 win to claim bronze. Russia raced into a 4-0 lead in the bronze-medal match with Nikita Gusev scoring twice, and Vladimir Tkachyov and Bogdan Kiselevich scoring one apiece.

Sweden has won the ice hockey world championships for the 10th time with a 2-1 victory over 2016 champions Canada. Sunday’s final in the German city of Cologne was settled by a penalty shootout. At the end of regulation, Sweden and Canada were tied 1-1. Ryan O’Reilly had equalized for Canada at the end of three periods, after Victor Hedman ... Read More »

For Marco Sturm, Germany are very much a work in progress

Germany made it to the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship for a second straight year, which would usually be regarded as a success. However, for coach and GM Marco Sturm, much work remains to be done. In the hours leading up to Germany's showdown with Canada, Marco Sturm insisted that the national team could not be satisfied with just having made it to the quarterfinals for the second year in succession since he took over as head coach and general manager in the summer of 2015. "In the past we were always happy when we made it to the quarterfinals. We have to stop this. We need to be hungry for more," Sturm told reporters. "We are not at the end of our journey," he added. Unfortunately for Sturm and his men, though, Canada spelled the end of Germany's journey at this world championship, cohosted by Cologne and Paris. However, it's clear that Sturm and his coaching staff had been looking beyond this tournament the whole time. Despite having led Germany out of the wilderness that followed the 2010 world championship, the last held on home ice, Sturm knows that a lot of work remains to be done, not just on the national team, but on German ice hockey in general. In the short term, he is happy with what his team has achieved. "At the end of the day, it was a good world championship for us. We got better from game to game, which is precisely what we aimed to do," he told reporters Thursday night. "The last two games were our best and, as an underdog, we reached the quarterfinals again. So I see this home world championship as very, very positive." Improvement needed at all levels Taking a broader view though, Sturm criticized at least indirectly the current level of play in Germany's top league, the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, from which the national team draws the bulk of its talent, saying too often that players were still making wrong decisions on the ice. "Unfortunately, it happens all too often that a player takes a different route than is called for in a given situation. In part, this has to do with our league," he said. "You can see the difference with teams like Canada and Russia. Their players play in the best leagues in the world and they have to do this on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this is not the case with us. This is the main difference." Previously, Sturm has spoken about the fact that Germany still has a lot to do to improve its youth hockey program, and this he also touched on, on Thursday night. "We just have to keep working at it, especially at the youth level, at the clubs, but also in the DEL. We all just have to do a better job," he said, without getting into specifics. Contract runs out in less than a year So from his point of view, Germany, on different levels, are very much a work in progress, and there is no doubt that most of the players and indeed the German hockey association (DEB) hope that Sturm will be the guy to direct that focus for some time to come. How long he will be there, though, is not clear. His contract runs through the 2018 Winter Olympics next February and DEB President Franz Reindl has said that the association certainly wants to renew it, but as for Sturm, he is non-committal. "I am open to it. I really enjoy working with the lads, the 38-year-old former NHL star said. But he also said he hadn't really thought about it yet. "That's still too far off in the future," he said.

Germany made it to the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship for a second straight year, which would usually be regarded as a success. However, for coach and GM Marco Sturm, much work remains to be done. In the hours leading up to Germany’s showdown with Canada, Marco Sturm insisted that the national team could not be satisfied with ... Read More »

Ethics prosecutor, judge call their removal a setback for FIFA

The FIFA ethics investigator and judge who have been effectively been dismissed by football's world governing body have described this as detrimental to the organization. The decision is to be made official on Thursday. The outgoing FIFA ethics investigator, Cornel Borbely and the ethics judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert expressed their concerns at a hastily organized press conference in Manama, where the FIFA Congress is to convene on Thursday. Borbely told reporters that his removal together with Eckert's effective dismissal, amounted to the "end of the reform process," which had started with the election ofFIFA President Gianni Infantinoat a Congress in Zurich in February 2016, where a package of new regulations was also passed, aimed at making football's governing body more transparent. "As it seems now, the work of the ethics committee was inconvenient for functionaries, for FIFA officials. "The removal of the ethics committee is not in FIFA's best interests... and it's a setback for the fight against corruption," Borbely said. Unclear where investigations will continue The Swiss lawyer also said that the move came as the "several hundred" investigations into alleged corruption were ongoing and that it was not clear whether these would continue to be pursued following their removal. He added that there would be no transition to a new ethics leadership team, and that apart from him and Eckert, the personnel in both chambers would be new, with "the most experienced prosecutors and judges gone." He also predicted that "it won't get any easier for FIFA" as the personnel changes will also be followed closely by the investigating authorities in the US and Switzerland. Critics of the FIFA president have said that they believe Infantino could have a personal motive to replace the prosecutor and the judge after they launched an investigation into possible offences related to flights he had taken on private jets, as well as his hiring practices. Last August, FIFA's Ethics Committee cleared the president of any wrongdoing. 'Not a great day for soccer' Eckert, a German judge, is the man who opened proceedings against former longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former UEFA President Michel Platini in November 2015, which eventually led to both of them being replaced. "It's not a great day for FIFA" Eckert said. "The loser is soccer, because trying to get a good, honest FIFA now it's very difficult. The loser is soccer, not me." Both men said they had not been officially notified about their removal and only found out via their "mobile phones" when they landed in Bahrain on Tuesday evening. "I would like to have an explanation," Eckert said. The two men were speaking a day after the news broke that the powerful FIFA Council had recommended that the FIFA Council not re-elect Borbely and Eckert to their posts. Both of their four-year terms are set to expire. Instead, it recommended that Eckert be replaced by Vassilios Skouris of Greece and Borbely's post be given to Colombian prosecutor Maria Claudia Rojas. Skouris is a former president of the European Court of Justice.

The FIFA ethics investigator and judge who have been effectively been dismissed by football’s world governing body have described this as detrimental to the organization. The decision is to be made official on Thursday. The outgoing FIFA ethics investigator, Cornel Borbely and the ethics judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert expressed their concerns at a hastily organized press conference in Manama, where the ... Read More »

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