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Premier League clubs debate radical reform plan

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images 42 2 Premier League clubs debate radical reform plan

Premier League clubs were set to debate radical plans to restructure English football at a shareholders ’ meeting on Wednesday as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden acknowledged the proposals as “ Project Power Grab ” .
The “ Project Big Picture ” plan , backed by Liverpool and Manchester United , has been criticised by the government , Football Association , Premier League and fan groups.
Under the proposals , the number of teams in the English top flight would be cut from 20 to 18 and the League Cup would be scrapped . There would be controversial changes to voting rights and a substantial financial settlement for the struggling English Football League .
Representatives of the Premier League clubs will have the chance to debate the issue in the open for the first time during a virtual get -together on Wednesday .
Speaking to Parliament’ s Digital , Culture , Media and Sport committee , Dowden said the proposals “ tended towards a closed shop ” in favour of the so- called “ Big Six” clubs — Liverpool , United , Manchester City, Arsenal , Chelsea and Tottenham.
He said the plan , championed by EFL chairman Rick Parry, was “ a distraction at best” , adding : “ I hope the EFL will stop being distracted by this latest wheeze. ”
Asked for his view on Parry specifically , Dowden said : “ I would have preferred that at the end of this that , rather than reading about this Project Power Grab as you rightly put it , instead I was reading how they had come to a deal to secure the future of football . I think that would be a much better use of people ’s time .”
Speaking about the idea of a Premier League bailout for EFL clubs , who are facing financial catastrophe due to the coronavirus crisis, Dowden referred to the fact that top- flight clubs had spent more than £ 1 billion ( $ 1 .3 billion ) in the summer transfer window .
“ The money is there . The question I have to ask myself is : ‘Given there is that much money in football , could we seriously turn around to a pensioner … and say to her that some of her taxes would have to go to support this ?’”
– FA warning –
Dowden ’s comments come after Football Association chairman Greg Clarke said a breakaway from the top flight was wielded “ as a threat ” during talks over the divisive plans.
In a letter to the FA council, which convenes on Thursday , he said he had taken part in initial discussions before walking away when he felt the aim had become “ the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs, with a breakaway league mooted as a threat ” .
Clarke warned the FA could use its so-called “ golden share” as a trump card if it felt the wider interests of the game were being compromised and suggested any breakaway competition would not receive the necessary sanctions from the governing body .
“ We , the FA board and council , have to ensure that any changes would be to the long -term benefit of the whole of football and we have substantial controls to help ensure that the best interests of the game are served by any new proposals, ” he said.
Support among the 72 EFL clubs appeared to be soaring after separate divisional meetings led by Parry on Tuesday , although the plans have reportedly been less well received by most Premier League clubs outside the elite names .
Christian Purslow , chief executive of Premier League club Aston Villa , indicated his opposition to Project Big Picture before the shareholders ’ meeting .
“ I don ’t think we should give too much credence to this particular plan ,” he told the BBC . “ I think a much broader, long – term plan for football is what I would expect to come from the Premier League .”
The Football Supporters ’ Association has described the proposals as a “ sugar- coated cyanide pill offered up by billionaire owners who do not understand or care about our football culture ” .

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Bartomeu Resigns As Barcelona President, Entire Board Also Steps Down

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images 92 2 Bartomeu Resigns As Barcelona President, Entire Board Also Steps Down

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has resigned with the entire board also stepping down from their posts.
Bartomeu’s decisions come after several months of criticism in the wake of Barcelona’s 8-2 Champions League elimination to Bayern Munich as well as Lionel Messi’s shocking request to leave the club shortly after.
Although the club was able to keep hold of Messi, with the longtime Barca star staying to avoid having to take the club to court, Bartomeu’s position has been under scrutiny for weeks

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Man City ready to win Champions League — Villas-Boas

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images 82 2 Man City ready to win Champions League — Villas-Boas

Marseille coach Andre Villas- Boas said on Monday Manchester City are “ a machine ready to win the Champions League ” , on the eve of the two teams ’ group -stage meeting .
City have never reached the Champions League final and are yet to even reach the semi- finals in four attempts under Pep Guardiola .
“( City) are a machine ready to win the Champions League ,” said Villas- Boas . “ They may not be at their best level , their coach admitted that .
“ That ’ s why I allow myself to say that , but they are still at a higher level than us and remain the favourites tomorrow ( Tuesday ) . ”
City , who relinquished their Premier League title last season to Liverpool , have only won twice in five league games this season.
Marseille , the only French club to win the European Cup , are playing their first Champions League campaign since 2013 -14 , when they were knocked out in the group stage .
They lost their Group C opener to Olympiakos last week but have made a solid start in Ligue 1 and are only three points behind the pace -setting Paris Saint -Germain and Lille.
Dimitri Payet has only scored once this season, and Villas-Boas admitted he needs his star winger to find form .
“ Dimitri ( Payet ) is a key player . We have spoken and we both know he can do better , ” said the former Chelsea and Tottenham coach .
“ But it does not only depend on him , also on the team , which must help raise his level . He needs to rediscover what he brought to the team last season. ”
City came from behind to beat Porto 3 -1 last week in Manchester, but Guardiola will likely make at least one change to that team , with Kevin De Bruyne fit again and Sergio Aguero struggling with a muscle problem .
Villas- Boas admitted he cannot know what to expect from Guardiola , who has been criticised for tinkering tactically in Europe .
“ Pep is able to create surprises , and the problem with City is that they have several dynamics and they can adapt . For us, however , this is not a game for experimenting . ”

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Pele Ranked The Greatest Footballer Of All Time By BBC Poll , Messi 2nd

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images 66 3 Pele Ranked The Greatest Footballer Of All Time By BBC Poll , Messi 2nd

As Pele turned 80, BBC Sport asked it’s thousands of readers to rate his achievements among some of the other GOATs
The results have now been counted and Pele was ranked as the greatest, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in second and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo in third.
We have put the players in order of the results below.
Note: The Ballon d’Or could only be won by a European player until 1995
1: Pele (Santos, NY Cosmos & Brazil)
World Cup wins: 1958, 1962, 1970 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0
Ballons d’Or: 0
League titles: 7
International caps/goals: 92/77
A teenage dream who was the highest-paid and highest-profile sports star in the world in his pomp, Pele was a phenomenon.
Breaking on to the global scene aged 17 with a hat-trick in the World Cup semi-final and two more in the final, Brazil’s leading goalscorer is one of just four players to have scored in four different World Cup tournaments (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970).
He won three of those and was kicked out of the ’66 tournament in England through some brutal defending – the only way to stop him.
Not just a goalscorer, Pele had a hand in 53% of Brazil’s 19 goals as they won the 1970 World Cup (four goals, six assists) and was as adept at playing behind the main striker as he was leading the line.
The greatest? Or does the fact he never played club football in Europe hold him back in your eyes?
“Had he been playing now, Pele would surely have made the move to Europe,” says BBC Radio 5 Live football correspondent John Murray.
“It’s the difficulty with comparing generations. We can only judge him on the record he has and it is truly phenomenal.
“The achievements of Maradona, Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo make it a close call but, even now, Pele still has a strong claim to be considered the game’s greatest player.”
2: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
World Cup wins: 0
European Cup/Champions League wins: 4
Ballons d’Or: 6
League titles: 10
International caps/goals: 140/71
“No-one else does the things he does, the way he does them – and no-one ever has done. He is simply the greatest to have ever played the game.”
The words of Gary Lineker no less.
Can you even mount an argument against Messi being number one on this list? We all know just how good he is. Perhaps a lack of international success with Argentina and ‘only’ winning things with Barcelona? But we’re splitting hairs there.
An absolute genius.
3: Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus & Portugal)
World Cup wins: 0
European Cup/Champions League wins: 5
Ballons d’Or: 5
League titles: 7
International caps/goals: 167/101
The Champions League’s all-time top goalscorer and scorer of 100 goals for Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo is a remarkable player. Especially when you consider how he has reinvented himself from spindly winger to powerful number nine.
Whether you rank him ahead of Messi or not is the debate of our footballing time – unlike Messi, though, he has won titles in three countries. And won a major tournament with his national side.
4: Diego Maradona (Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys & Argentina)
World Cup wins: 1986
European Cup/Champions League wins: 0
Ballons d’Or: 0
League titles: 3
International caps/goals: 91/34
What a player. If you haven’t seen it, please go and watch the recent documentary about his time in Naples. It’s superb.
Single-handedly (pretty much) dragged his Argentina team to World Cup glory, and carried Napoli to two Serie A titles. Does that separate him from Lionel Messi? Up to you.
5: Johan Cruyff (Ajax, Barcelona, LA Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Feyenoord & the Netherlands)
World Cup wins: 0
European Cup/Champions League wins: 3
Ballons d’Or: 3
League titles: 10
International caps/goals: 48/33
A supremely gifted individual who was also all about the team – not winning a World Cup with his band of ludicrously good Dutch brothers in the 1970s may be the only blot on his copybook.
Produced one of the World Cup’s most famous moments, had a turn named after him, and went on to inspire Pep Guardiola and countless others when coaching Barca’s so-called ‘dream team’ of the early 1990s.
Lost a lot of money with an unwise investment in pig farming – which is not a line you’re likely to ever read about Messi or Ronaldo…
6: Ronaldo de Lima (Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid, Milan, Corinthians & Brazil)
World Cup wins: 1994, 2002
European Cup/Champions League wins: 0
Ballons d’Or: 2
League titles: 1
International caps/goals: 98/62
Wherever you end up ranking Ronaldo, we can all agree he would be higher if it wasn’t for horrific injuries. At his peak, perhaps in his season at Barcelona or his first year at Inter before yet another setback, he was as close to unplayable as it gets. It’s no wonder he broke the world transfer record twice by the age of 21.
Take a look at his highlights reel and observe – the jaw-dropping close control, the trademark step-overs at speed that humiliated a decade of goalkeepers, the powerful finish with either foot – he really was something else.
It’s bordering on criminal that he only won one league title in his career. One!
7: Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich, NY Cosmos, Hamburg & West Germany)
World Cup wins: 1974
European Cup/Champions League wins: 3
Ballons d’Or: 2
League titles: 8
International caps/goals: 103/14
‘Der Kaiser’ won the World Cup as player and manager and is living proof you don’t have to be an attacker to rank among the very best.
A playmaker even from centre-back, Beckenbauer was equally at home in midfield or defence and made his debut on the left wing. What you call a total player.
He won three European Cups in a row for the dominant Bayern side of the mid-1970s.
8: Zinedine Zidane (Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid & France)
World Cup wins: 1998
European Cup/Champions League wins: 1
Ballons d’Or: 1
League titles: 3
International caps/goals: 108/31
Another player who didn’t win nearly enough honours, and much like Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane re-imagined a position.
Before ‘Zizou’ the stereotypical number 10 was your playmaker but could be kicked out of the game, was there to be shot at. Not a chance with Zidane, who combined the speed of thought and foot of a ballerina with the frame and menace of a cruiserweight.
At his best Zidane was so good I couldn’t even really tell you where he played. A number 10, sure, but he’d often end up on the left, drop deep to take the ball from the defence or goalkeeper, and yet somehow still pop up in the area as well.
Not an out-and-out goalscorer or a striker, but still won the World Cup for France with two headers and scored the best goal ever seen in a Champions League final.
A complete player, who even knew how to sign off in disgrace with a red card for a headbutt after scoring in his second World Cup final.
9: Ferenc Puskas (Budapest Honved, Real Madrid & Hungary & Spain)
World Cup wins: 0
European Cup/Champions League wins: 3
Ballons d’Or: 0
League titles: 10
International caps/goals: 89/87
There is a legitimate case for stating the ‘Magic Magyars’ Hungary team of the 1950s was the best in the world. They lost just one match in six years – which, unfortunately, happened to be the World Cup final.
That’s how good Ferenc Puskas was. He was 31 when he joined Real Madrid and still won five league titles, three European Cups and scored 242 goals.
He scored 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. Ridiculous really, isn’t it?
10: Alfredo di Stefano (River Plate, Millionarios, Real Madrid, Espanyol & Argentina, Colombia & Spain)
World Cup wins: 0
European Cup/Champions League wins: 5
Ballons d’Or: 2
League titles: 13
International caps/goals: 41/29
Di Stefano won his fifth and final European Cup in 1960 – still only one player has more wins.
He scored in five finals in a row, and won them all.
And, yes, he played for three countries on the international scene. Beat that.

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