Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of Switzerland and two of his cronies are facing new charges from the FIFA ethics committee. The organization said it has already opened formal proceedings against Jerome Valcke, the former secretary general of FIFA, as well Blatter and Markus Kattner, the former finance director. The proceedings were triggered after it was discovered that the three men allegedly took payments of several million dollars in their contracts after other senior officials approved them.
Blatter is already serving a six-year ban from the sport for allegedly making illegal payments to former UEFA president Michel Platini of France, who was also banned for several years. FIFA alleges that Blatter, Valcke and the recently-fired Kattner conspired to pay themselves huge sums of money from the profits of World Cup tournaments. According to FIFA lawyers, the three men coordinated together in an effort to enrich themselves. Prosecutors claim the current investigation is focused on corruption, conflict of interest, bribery and accepting gifts. Kattner is also being investigated for breach of confidentiality.
Landon Donovan, who is the all-time leading scorer for the American men’s national soccer team with 57 goals, has ended his short retirement and is returning to the sport. However, Donovan’s return will likely be strictly for league action as he’s returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy of North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS). Donovan retired after helping Los Angeles win the MLS Cup in 2014 and is expected to join the club immediately as it pushes to make the playoffs. Along with being the U.S. leading scorer internationally, Donovan is also leads the MLS all time in goals and assists.
The American women’s national soccer team was hoping to win its fifth overall gold medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but they were ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout. The contest ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and there was no further scoring in 30 minutes of extra time. Sweden then edged the USA by a goal 4-3 in the ensuing shootout. This didn’t sit well with veteran American goalkeeper and the 35-year-old made some unflattering remarks about the Swedish team following the loss.
Basically, she called the Swedish women “cowards” for parking the bus and defending during the game rather than stacking the Americans. This emotional outburst led to U.S. Soccer to punish Solo by suspending her for six months and terminating her contract with the national team. Soon after, Solo announced she wouldn’t be returning to her club team, the Seattle Reign, this year.
Soccer history was made on August 31st when video replay was officially used for the first time in a FIFA international match. The game in Bari, Italy between the host nation and France saw referee Bjorn Kuipers of Holland receive assistance on two occasions from a pair of officials who were watching the game on monitors in a director’s truck outside of the stadium. Kuipers was pleased with the results and told the press he had the helpful information he needed in just a matter of seconds. France won the contest 3-1, but the referee’s calls may have made a difference.
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