Lobbyists to Counter Claims of Inferior Pay in USS

The United States Soccer Federation is placed under pressure by the national women’s soccer team for what they claim is discrimination based on gender concerning pay. The 28 female athletes have filed a lawsuit against the USSF earlier this year. The USSF has now hired two lobbying firms to counter these claims.

The Allegations against the USSF

The national women’s soccer team seems to remain in the spotlight even after the World Cup is over. Earlier this year they have filed a lawsuit against the USSF for gender discrimination. They allege that they are paid as little as 38% of what their male counterparts are being paid while doing the same kind of work. The 28 women claim to have not only smaller wages but also more impoverished working conditions and less investment into their sporting activities. During June it was decided between the two parties that they will mediate to resolve the matter.

New Legislation in Place

Last month during the glory days of the women winning the World Cup title for the US in France, new legislation was presented in the US House of Representatives as well as in the US Senate that required the USSF to pay both genders the equal amount of pay. This came with a bit of a threat as well, since the House Bill stated that funding for the 2026 World Cup would be withheld if the USSF failed to do so. The US, Mexico and Canada are the hosting countries for the 2026 World Cup.

The USSF Appointing Lobbying Firms

According to Neil Buethe, the USSF spokesperson, the USSF turned to these firms not to appeal the legislation, but indeed to be sure that the presented information is accurate. He further continued by stating that due to many requests for information from various policymakers, they decided to hire the companies, Van Ness Feldman and FBB Federal Relations to gather accurate data to deliver on these requests. It seems that the USSF is however hopeful that by picking the accurate information independently, that the leaders in these organizations would be convinced of the USSF’s constant support and investment into women’s football globally.

The Women’s Team’s Response

The players conveyed their disappointment in the USSF via their spokesperson, Molly Levinson. According to her, they are stunned that the USSF would use sponsor money in the process to advocate against legislation which would ensure that men and women are being paid equally.

The matter which complicates the entire process is that men’s and women’s contracts are structured differently, although both are negotiated through the process of collective bargaining. It seems that even though they have different structures, women are reaping the benefits. Carlos Cordeiro, USSF president, stated that between the period 2010 to 2018, $34.1 million were paid to the women’s teams and $26.4 million to the men’s teams. The women also have more added benefits than men. Hopefully, the lobbying firms would be able to accurately deliver information which would put the matter to an end soon.

Wayne Rooney Back to England

After a couple of days of rumours based on a suitable combination of optimism and uncertainty, it has now been made official that from January on, Wayne Rooney would be part of the English football scene again.

Rooney Returning to English Soil

It comes as no surprise that Rooney is returning the local soil. The former Manchester United and English captain made no secret of the fact that he and his family is not entirely adjusting to life on the east coast of the USA. Currently, he is playing for DC United in Major League Soccer. He was still contract bound until 2021, but the 33-year-old player was mentioning for a while already that he has been receiving offers from clubs both in the UK as well as in the States concerning coaching positions. Coaching is one of the goals in his career, which he still wanted to achieve, and now this seems to become a reality for him.

Derby County

Initially, Mel Morris, Derby County owner, didn’t want to confirm whether Rooney was signing with them for sure. He expressed that they do want him in a player-coach position and that discussions were ongoing. Rooney had an early August visit to Derby County. It was also mentioned that the decision which they made to offer the position to Rooney was one which was only recently decided upon and that it carries the backing of Derby manager, Philip Cocu. Cocu, previously playing for Barcelona, only recently took on the position of manager at the Championship club. He took over from Frank Lampard. Derby County already had their first success in a 2-1 victory over Huddersfield in their opening game. Morris also admitted that he is positive that Rooney will sign with them amidst knowing that offers from other clubs will stream in to get Rooney as well, based on the knowledge that he is planning on returning. He agreed that nothing is inevitable in the industry until signed.

Rooney’s Contract

Morris got his certainty when Rooney signed an 18-month contract with the club, starting in January 2020. Having the English top scorer in their camp is naturally a cause for excitement for Derby County. They are keen to learn from his knowledge and experience. Rooney is also known not only for his superb skills but also as a player with exceptional leadership abilities, character and professional work ethic. He will be a significant contribution to the club, inspiring the players and taking their game to greater heights.

Rooney on His Decision

Rooney arrived at DC United roughly a year ago and was immediately a success. His contract with them which he is now ending sooner, was still valued at $3.5 million and returning to England is bringing a pay cut, but Rooney made it clear that his family was his priority in the decision. They were struggling to adjust in the States and wanted to return to England. Hence the return in January when the winter transfer window is opening up again.

Summer Transfer Window – Major Moves This Far

The Summer Transfer Window for 2019 is almost coming to an end, and there have been many significant transfers already completed worthy of note. Some of these transfers are noteworthy due to the massive amounts of money paid for players and some because of the vast ways it will impact some of the most significant leagues and teams. Let’s explore how much and why some of these deals got signed for.

Jasper Cillessen moving to Valencia and Neto to Barcelona

An excellent move for both. Cillessen previously tried to become the No. 1 keeper for Valencia, and this is his opportunity to do it again. In return, Neto is awarded with a much better contract as well as playing for a great club. The move entails much more than that. This was also an accounting driven decision by both Barcelona as well as Valencia to avoid any troubles from Financial Fair Play. For Valencia to stay within the guidelines of FFP, they had to arrange more transfer income before their new financial year started on the 1st of July. Therefore Neto was sold to Barcelona for the amount of €35 million to avoid any penalties. Then Barcelona sold Cillessen to Valencia for the same amount. With Cillessen’s purchasing price only entering the books after the 1st of July, it seems that Valencia is ending off their financial year on the plus side. If the purpose of the FFP was to avoid that the larger clubs outplay the smaller clubs with their bulky wallets, then they have failed at that. What it did cause was much more creative thinking from the larger clubs to get away with the same kind of deals.

Tyrone Mings moved to Aston Villa

Thanks to the vast sums received from English Premier League given upon promotion, it was evident that Aston Villa would probably spend large amounts this summer. Still, nobody expected such a big splash as them paying a total of £26.5 million to keep Tyrone Mings, who was there on loan, permanently. This is an unprecedented amount to pay for a player who can be rated as mediocre at best. It does tell us a couple of things about the market, though.

First of all, central defenders, like Mings, are hard to find if clubs are willing to pay that much money for them. Secondly, the prices paid for defenders did become somewhat inflated over the past couple of years, until the turning point occurred with the outrages sum of £75 million for Virgil van Dijk by Liverpool. From there onwards it was slightly deflating again.

A third thing which teaches us about the transfer market is that English clubs still are looking for English talent. Evidence of this is also rooted in the rumours of Man United planning on buying Harry Maguire for a staggering £80 million. This English international player from Leicester City will then become the player for which the most was ever paid in history. Let’s hope he is as good as the money is which paid for him.

Liverpool eager for more after cementing Champions League legacy

Liverpool’s success in last season’s Champions League was the culmination of what had been a roller-coaster ride to the final.

The Reds’ 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur was achieved in comfortable fashion, although the road to Madrid had been anything but smooth.

Read on as we look at how Liverpool overcame the odds to lift European club football’s most prestigious trophy and assess their chances of repeating the trick this season.

Epic fightback stuns Barcelona

Liverpool sneaked through the group stage, before comfortably disposing of Bayern Munich and Porto in the first two knockout rounds.

They looked to be on their way out of the competition after losing 3-0 against Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

However, they produced a stunning comeback in the reverse fixture to seal a memorable 4-3 aggregate victory.

With Spurs also recovering from a three-goal deficit in their last four tie against Ajax, the final contained two English clubs for the first time since 2008.

Liverpool make it six

The result of the final never looked in doubt from the moment Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead from the penalty spot after just two minutes.

Spurs failed to create many chances and on the rare occasions they did break through they found Reds goalkeeper Alisson in fine form.

Divock Origi’s late goal was the icing on the cake for Liverpool in a game that struggled to live up to the drama provided by the semi-finals.

However, with only Real Madrid (13) and AC Milan (7) ahead of them in the list of winners of the competition, Liverpool can rightly claim to be one of Europe’s finest clubs.

Defending the trophy will be tough

Madrid won the Champions League three times in a row between 2016 and 2018, but no other side has retained the trophy since Milan achieved the feat back in 1990.

Liverpool were beaten by Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli during pre-season and will have to play much better when the competition gets underway in September.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has yet to make any major signings this summer and that could hinder their hopes of success this time around.

However, Liverpool proved last season that it is foolish to write them off and they will be eager to make it to through to their third successive Champions League final.

Guatemalan Boys Visas Denied

On the 4th of August, the under 15 team of the Guatemala soccer federation is due to compete in the CONCACAF Boys U-15 championship. The event is taking place in Bradenton, Florida at the IMG Academy. The team was planning on going to Florida a few days earlier to spend some time in the city, but this dream is turning into a nightmare for the team. At least nine boys of the group, had their visa applications to the US denied.

Visa Applications

According to the team’s spokesperson, the boys attended their visa appointments in Guatemala City at the US Embassy. They delivered all the required documentation for the applications. The visa was denied to enter into the US. They aren’t the only team who had some of their player’s permissions denied, yet it was considered as a noticeably large number for only one side. The team didn’t elaborate on why these visas were denied, and neither did state officials. The State Department commented that all visa applications are to be treated confidentially according to state law. This, however, did happen the day that US President Donald Trump announced that tariffs and more would be brought in against Guatemala for refusing to sign the Safe Third Agreement. The agreement stipulates that citizens of a country can only apply for refugee status in the first country which they arrive in. The deal is to control the refugee status of both the US as well as Canada. This agreement will also require Guatemala’s commitment to providing asylum to migrants who move through the country instead of letting them pass through to the US and Canada. For the tournament, it seems that only boys born after January 2004 were approved to be eligible participants in the competition.

The Tournament

The Guatemalan team will still partake in the tournament, but with different players. Currently, the team is under the top 14 units of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). The team who will be part of the tournament do have a disadvantage against them. The group initially picked to travel to Florida has been specially trained for the competition, and the new players going to the US haven’t received the same kind of focused training. The team is due to first face Haiti, Suriname and the US in the opening phase of the tournament. The tournament showcases a representation of 42 groups.

The first time that the tournament for the boys under 15 where held, was in 2013. This is an opportunity for more than 750 boys to gain access to international football. The tournament has two rounds, and all the teams are divided into three divisions. The competition aims to provide a minimum amount of matches for each group while providing a platform for international exposure and a sporting balance.

The world of politics and sport on the international level has often bumped heads in the past and have done so once again.

Gareth Bale’s time at Real Madrid is Finally Up

It seems like the war between Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale has finally reached its breaking point. The Real Madrid coach has recently stated that he hopes Bale will leave soon as it will be best for everyone. The manager noted this after the 3-1 defeat against Bayern Munich on Saturday.

This means that a transfer is on the horizon. Jonathan Barnett, the agent for Gareth Bale, responded afterwards by calling Zinedine a disgrace. There’s no turning back now.

The Gareth Bale Situation

A massive clue was given away 45 minutes before the start of the match on Saturday that something was wrong at Real Madrid. Bale was originally part of the starting squad as a substitute. However, word got out that he wasn’t involved at all, and due to his troubled relationship with Zidane, it certainly wasn’t due to an injury.

Zidane’s patience has run out with Gareth Bale, and he doesn’t see the player forming part of the team’s revival. Bale transferring to PSG would mean Neymar form part of Real Madrid. However, the club just spent €100 million to acquire Eden Hazard for the same position that Neymar specializes in.

There’s also rumours that Real Madrid is targeting Paul Pogba for €200 million. However, Florentino Perez, the president of Madrid, loves annoying Barcelona, so acquiring Neymar would do the trick.

There’s also the possibility that Gareth Bale can move to Manchester United with some swap along with a cash deal. However, Bale will need to fancy the Europa League and be ready to carry the torch for a team that is currently going through a difficult time. Does he even have a choice in the matter?

What about Tottenham Hotspur? A comeback to his former club could be very appealing, and it would keep him in the Champions League. However, even that might be too late for the Welshman.

Outside the European Leagues

So who else can afford to take Gareth Bale from Real Madrid that is not situated in Europe? There are talks that Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan from China might be interested. However, is a truckload of money enough for Gareth Bale to transfer to a brand-new country along with a significant culture shock and a drop in competition?

The list of suitors for Gareth Bale at the moment is tiny, and the football star doesn’t have much of choice anymore. Zidane is spot on by saying that its time for a significant change for someone that has completely lost their way at Real Madrid. At the age of 30, along with an extensive list of injuries, one is left to wonder whether Bale has the same desire and hunger as he once did. Will he be able to recover from the devastation he is currently in? That is precisely what potential suitors are asking themselves.

Griezmann Signs with Barcelona

It’s finally happened, after months of speculation, Antoine Griezmann is a Barcelona player. More than 12 months after the broadcast of The Decision, a documentary where Griezmann was agonising over the decision to transfer to either Barcelona or Atletico Madrid, only to turn down Barcelona, Griezmann is making his way to Camp Nou after all. He regretted his decision to play for Atletico Madrid and reversed it rather quickly to now play for Barcelona.

The Transfer of Antoine Griezmann

Barcelona initially hoped to negotiate the transfer of Griezmann by paying the large sum of the cash through several instalments. However, in the end, the buyout clause had to be paid in full. This was always going to take place as the buyout clause is essentially what made this possible for the club and the player. Because the buyout clause decreased from €200 million to £120 million, it was primarily seen as an open invitation for Barcelona, and they accepted it with open hands.

Paying the buyout clause took longer than expected, which we considered being quite silly. Barcelona knew months in advance that Antoine Griezmann would play for Barcelona in the 2019/20 season and they knew it was going to take place on 1 July 2019. Barcelona had to gather the large sum of the money, prepare the paperwork, get it signed off, and assist Griezmann with the transfer. Thankfully, everything has been taken care of. Before Griezmann joining the team for preseason warm-up, he will need to participate in photoshoots, thumbs up pictures, and a couple of words on his recent transfer. From there, it’s full steam ahead.

The Possible Transfer of Neymar

This takes us to our next topic of discussion where another football star is trying his best to make his return to Barcelona where he recently left the club to play for Paris Saint Germain. We are talking about Neymar and his desire to return to Camp Nou. With Griezmann taken care of, six long weeks in the transfer window could end up with Neymar on the squad for the 2019/20 season. However, it’s way too early to make any concrete statements on this subject.

Neymar has stated on numerous occasions that he would like to make a return to Barcelona and his teammates, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, have also shown their interests to have the player back on the attacking side of Camp Nou. It’s also worth mentioning that PSG is no longer interested in Neymar after forking out such a large sum of money for the Brazilian striker. Many supporters of Barcelona will start asking themselves if the transfer of Neymar is worth it, especially with Griezmann now on the team.

Most people don’t think it is and that’s because the player has way too much baggage at the moment. Barcelona won’t lose anything if they don’t sign Neymar and we believe they already have a fantastic line-up of players on the attacking side.

Brazil Victorious at 2019 Copa America

Brazil claiming a Copa America victory at home shouldn’t come as a surprise. The country has hosted the competition a total of 5 times, and after defeating Peru 3-1 during Sunday’s final, they have been victorious five times.

Not only did the tournament show that Brazil was able to handle being the favourites, proving that they did not choke on the anticipation as they did five years ago in the World Cup, but that they claimed victory thanks to a progressive, modern playing style. Brazil achieved this glorious win without Neymar who was injured throughout the competition. This is one victory that Tite will remember forever, a win that occurred without an imbalanced Neymar.

The Brazilian Manager

When Brazil was defeated by Peru three years ago in Foxborough, eliminating them from the Copa America group stage, it marked the beginning of a modernity shift for Brazil. Dunga was out while he was replaced by Tite, who didn’t have the narrow-mindedness of his predecessor. He decided to go to Europe and learn from others, study other players, and adopt a unique football style by pressing.

However, even though he incorporated this new and improved technique in the World Cup, he was always going to be hampered by the galactic ego-minded Neymar. Someone who no one can rely on when it comes to pressing as he slowed down the game. During the World Cup, there were several moments where Brazil showed that they had what it takes to be winners, but the imbalance of Neymar quickly ruled this out.

Without Neymar playing in the team, the squad transformed into something spectacular. It took a few attempts with a roster of players, but once everything merged, it turned into a phenomenal team, especially when you consider Gabriel Jesus and Everton as flanks, while Firmino dropped deep from a central role.

Peru vs Brazil

Gabriel Jesus managed to set up a beautiful opener for Everton during Brazil’s match against Peru. Everton was also the man who created the late penalty for the third goal, while Gabriel Jesus scored the second goal after Firmino won the ball, while Arthur surged forward. The midfielder from Barcelona played a vital role in midfield while Coutinho was considered the playmaker. Arthur was undoubtedly a player that Brazil missed during the last World Cup.

The only sad part about the match between Brazil and Peru was the fact that the ticket prices were far above average. This meant that only idle classes made up the bulk of the crowd at the stadium and plenty of seats were left open during the duration of the Copa America. This is something that needs to be looked at during the next Copa America as more ticket sales lead to more benefits for both team and football association.

Brazil deserved the win after their incredible performance, and we hope that the referees hear Lionel Messi and his concerns regarding corruption in Copa America.

Copa America Semi-Final – Argentina vs Brazil

The Gods of Football have given us a genuine rivalry in the semi-finals of the Copa America which will take place on 3 July 2019 between Brazil and Argentina.

History of Brazil vs Argentina

These two teams have faced each other for over 100 years and managed to reach 12 World Cup finals combined, winning a total of 7. They have also produced three unquestionable GOAT players, including Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, and Pele, spawning loads of sociological treaties surrounding the importance of football when it comes to their national psyches and has often been considered the yin to each other’s yang.

In a total of 105 meetings between these two teams, Brazil has taken 41 victories, while Argentina have won 38 matches and there’s only 26 draws between them. If you exclude friendlies from this equation, Argentina currently has the lead with 18 against 17.

However, there hasn’t been loads of encounters that were deemed friendly between these two teams; from the 1925 pitch invasions to the 1937 incident when Brazil walked off. In 1939 when Argentina walked off allowing Brazil to score a winning penalty with no goalkeeper and 1946 when police invaded the pitch to stop a fight. During 1978 when the Battle of Rosario occurred, to the 1982 World Cup when Maradona made a horror tackle, to the 1990 holy water controversy, to the 1991 Copa America when 5 players were sent off, to the 1995 hand of the devil goal by Tulio, this rivalry is bursting at the seams with controversy.

The last time these two teams played against each other in Copa America was during the final of the tournament in 2007. Now, twelve years later, you can still find two football players on the field, including Dani Alves who managed to score in a 3-0 Brazil victory, and Lionel Messi who was only 20 years old at the time.

Copa America Semi-Finals

Some believe that the clash between Brazil and Argentina this time around will be completely different since most of the players on the pitch are teammates when it comes to their day jobs. Philippe Coutinho is with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, while Gabriel Jesus is with Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi at Manchester City. Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes share a dressing room with Brazil’s Marquinhos, while Dani Alves and Thiago Silva do the same at Paris-Saint Germain. You can also find Alex Sandro and Paulo Dybala together at Juventus.

The fact is, commercialization, globalization, and cold hard cash, has managed to transform these players into friends, but there’s no denying that this game is going to be completely different. This is on an international level, and each player will be playing for their country.

Brazil is still trying to forget about the 7-1 upset against Germany at the stadium where they will be playing against Argentina, while the White and Sky-Blue team haven’t claimed a major trophy in more than two decades.

Argentina Advance to the Copa America Quarterfinals

There’s a trap that every head coach needs to avoid: Don’t let your game strategy be more critical that the players in your team. In other words, make do with what you have and avoid working around it.

This trap essentially explains the disaster that Argentina experienced during their last World Cup campaign in 2018. Jorge Sampaoli is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing coaches on earth, but his high-pressure tactics require a goalkeeper that is fantastic on his feet and quick defenders. Argentina doesn’t have either of these qualities, and therefore, chaos was the result.

Argentina Receives a New Manager

Sampaoli was on a long-term contract and to get rid of him, the football association in Argentina had to fork out a fat check to pay him off. Lionel Scaloni, the inexperienced coach, replaced Sampaoli permanently as he had a glowing record in qualification. Scaloni was also quite cheap compared to the previous coach.

Unfortunately, Scaloni fell into the same trap as the previous head coach. He created a bold strategy for the Argentina football team: be quick on transitions and use two wingers that will play the ball swiftly into open spaces. However, there was one massive problem that surfaced when the best player in Argentina returned for international duty. Scaloni’s plan did not fit around Lionel Messi.

One of the team’s wingers needed to be sacrificed, and therefore, the entire plan fell apart. Scaloni was well aware of this fact. So, when Messi made his return to the team for a friendly match against Venezuela, the head coach had the opportunity to tweak his overall strategy. He decided to have three centre-back players, which allowed him to have two attacking wing-backs that could provide the width. The only problem with the three centre-backs was the fact that they were unable to defend successfully against the pace of the wingers in Venezuela.

Scaloni decided to return to his original plan, one that he knew couldn’t work with Lionel Messi in the mix. The outcome of his decision was a defeat during the opening match against Columbia. Since this defeat, along with the immense pressure from the tournament, Scaloni has been trying to dig himself out of this trap.

Argentina’s Path to Victory

Everything started to come together when Sergio Aguero took over for Roberto Pereyra at half-time during the match against Paraguay, the second game for Argentina in the Copa America. Argentina finally started inching forward towards something more coherent. The same strategy was utilized when Argentina managed to defeat Qatar 2-0 to secure a place in the Copa America quarterfinals where the team will face Venezuela on 28 June 2019.

Argentina is making progress as the tournament unfolds but will it be enough to advance past the quarterfinals of the Copa America tournament? And if they defeat Venezuela, are they experienced enough to take on a side like Brazil that has been dominant since the first game?