Punishments for Racist Behaviour Beginning

It wasn’t long ago that we reported that significant penalties would be handed out to individuals who commit racial behaviour. The first of those severe punishments have been revealed, with Italian Law Enforcement arresting a middle-aged man for racial abuse. This ignorant and unwanted behaviour applied to Mario Balotelli, a Striker for Lazio. The unidentified man has acquired a five-year ban from all football facilities in Italy. When crowds began to turn against Balotelli, he brutally kicked the ball towards the masses and caused personal injury to a select few. However, Mario hasn’t received any penalties or suspensions for his actions.

When the announcement that this unidentified man had been arrested by Verona Police and was banned from football matchups, it was believed this applied to Italy. Sky Sports then reported that this ban applied under the European Union, across all sporting events. This applies to local sports bars and designated sporting areas. Verona Police quickly confirmed after their original announcement that twelve other individuals were under investigation and that racial behaviour won’t be tolerated anymore.

All those identified for their racial remarks and behaviour towards Mario Balotelli were caught on CCTV Cameras. Individuals located around these racist men were questioned, with police acquiring confirmation to their suspension. These punishments are following after years or racial abuse in European soccer leagues. Those caught for their behaviour in the past received fines but never a Europe-wide banning. Lazio FC expressed that future racial chants or behaviour will prompt immediate suspension of games.

The Problem & Pushback

Most aren’t aware that racism has been growing substantially in the European Union, with new mindsets being reflected at various sporting activities and public events. Italians have been at the forefront of this issue, often pushing back against authorities. Subsequently, every weekly development for Lazio FC has resulted in racist chants for two months. Anti-Racism Campaigns are often destroyed, stadiums have been defaced, and African-American athletes are required extensive security in Italy.

Italians are pushing back against organizations will millions of dollars at disposal. That’s why the Series A-League has provided Lazio FC permission to fight back against this racist behaviour. Another banning that occurred recently was directly from Lazio FC, who refused to allow the Corriere Dello Sport newspaper back into the stadium. This follows after a reporter for the paper participated in the chants and advocated for them online. Mario Balotelli prays that by the end of this decade, racism won’t be a factor in European soccer.

FIFA Bans African Soccer Official

Shocking news has come out of the Football International Federation Association, with them announcing that they have banned one of the most significant officials representing the African Football Culture. FIFA has banned Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona for participating in war crimes during the Hague Events. This termination will be sustained for several years under the charges of discrimination of human dignity. Patrice’s charges extend to Failure to Respect, Protect or Safeguard FIFA Integrity. The ban also includes a significant fine of $500,000.00, which must be paid immediately for Patrice not to face a prison sentence.

Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was elected as the Central African Republic Body President for the football international federation association. He continued to proceed with his role after he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football. Collectively, Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona has more than a decade of experience leading the nations football endeavours.

Information was revealed to the football federation, indicating that Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was the Leader and President of the Christian Anti-Balaka Militia during 2013 and 2014. This militia targeted Muslim Followers and are accused of breaking human rights for more than 200,000 thousand Muslim people. The judges that ruled over this FIFA Case noted that this man was found of committing torture, executions, sexual offences and religious vandalism.

The Football International Federation Association has received considerable backlash with this announcement. Information also revealed that when Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was committing these atrocious crimes, he was also working with the World Cup Panel under the FIFA association. They claim that nobody was aware of the second life being lives by Patrice but immediately terminated after the data was proven to be correct.

Prison Sentence

There hasn’t been any confirmation if Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona will face prison time for his numerous illegal actions. However, it has been twelve months of hearings to determine if the ban should be prolonged or permanent. He was initially taken into custody in December 2018 and then transferred to the Netherlands.

Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona now faces 111 Charges, with judges determining what his punishment should be going forward. Most anticipate that he will spend a minimum of ten years in prison, guarantying that he can’t enforce a bad name onto the football international federation association. We will keep our readers updated with any new details or information regarding the case against Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona. We can only hope that this corrupt man learns from his illegal actions.

Toronto FC Loses MLS Cup

After a prolonged battle into the cold, bitter winter months of Canada, Toronto FC has lost their fight against the Seattle Sounders for the MLS Playoffs Cup. This came as a major disappointment for fans, who suffered a hard season where the team couldn’t get out of 7th or 6th position. However, towards the end of the season, Greg Vianney and his team turned things around to gain a spot in the playoffs. Considerable efforts from Michael Bradley, Alejandro Pozuelo and Omar Gonzalez enabled for the team to make it to the final matchup of the 2019 MLS Playoffs. Unfortunately, after one of the longest matches in MLS history, Toronto lost 3 to 1 against the Seattle Sounders. This loss came on Sunday, November 10th, 2019.

Most sports analysts were anticipating that Toronto FC would win another MLS Playoff Cup. However, after a shocking and incredible performance from the Sounders, they gained the goals necessary to win the match. These goals came after the team was struggling for the majority of the game, with Toronto having priority control over the ball. Towards the end of stoppage time, the Sounders released a final burst of energy and succeeded with two goals in a short period.

Fans of both teams were excited at the prospect of their sporting organizations receiving a second cup. The Sounders won the 2016 MLS Cup after a prolonged shootout, and Toronto won the series in 2017 with a two nothing lead. Even with Toronto’s majority possession of the ball, Toronto was vulnerable for counter-attacks without Altidore to assist Pozuelo. Seattle continually put pressure on Alejandro Pozuelo, who surprisingly danced around their defence until nearly the end of stoppage time when his body gave up. Pozuelo himself feels they could’ve won the cup if Jozy Altidore wasn’t on the bench for the final match of the season.

Seattle’s Story

The Seattle Sounders began their breakthrough against Toronto FC on the 57th Minute. It was here that Seattle’s Ruidiaz found his teammate Leerdam at the penalty box. Leerdam took a shot, which went between the legs of Chris Mavinga and then his Justin Morrow. It was then that the ball flew into the right corner of the net. Rubbing it in, the Peruvian Player ran off and threw his jersey in the air before swinging it around. Ultimately, this resulted in a yellow card and him being removed from the MLS Championship. It wouldn’t be until after stoppage time was nearly over that Seattle gained their second goal. It was considered a tie until the referee’s determined that Ruidiaz made a legitimate shot, even after he showboated. TFC Fans were left unimpressed.

UEFA Still Struggling with Racism

This week saw another outcry against UEFA for being unable to curb racism in the sport. Currently, the request is that teams should be held responsible for the action of the fans, but is that even a legitimate way of dealing with racism? The outcry is the result after a game between England and Bulgaria had to be stopped twice due to the crowds showing Nazi signs and making monkey chants to the black players representing England this week in Sofia.

Racist Abuse

A UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier game took place in Sofia between England and Bulgaria on Monday. During the game, the racist abuse from the fans of Bulgaria towards the black players in the English team became so bad that the game had to be halted at the 28th minute and again later on at the 43rd minute. The abuse was in the form of fascist salutes, and the crowds make monkey noises mocking the players. When the game was halted, the masses were told over the PA announcer that they need to stop their behaviour, but that did not affect them. During half time the coach of Bulgaria requested the crowd to stop their behaviour, but that too was without avail. Sporadically the groups could still be heard making monkey noises. England opted to complete the game, and they finished 6-0 in the end.

UEFA’s Rules Considering Racism

UEFA has a set number of rules which defines their anti-racism protocol. Announcing the PA system would be considered the first step to take against this kind of action. The second step is for the players to be taken off the pitch by the referee while another announcement is being made over the PA system. The third and final step is to stop play immediately and abandon the game. The criticism against UEFA for this lack or enforcing protocol is based on the fact that during this game, the referee never took any more steps beyond the first step, even though the racism and slurs didn’t stop afterwards.

Bulgaria’s Manager Completely Unaware

According to Krasimir Balakov, the manager of Bulgaria, he isn’t aware at all of anything that presumably happened. Yet because there were already 5 000 seats of the Levski National Stadium cordoned off before the game on Monday due to previous events where the Bulgaria fans were chanting racist slurs, it seems somewhat ignorant. During a match against Kosovo as well as one against the Czech Republic resulted in racism from the opposing team’s fans. Even before the game, the English team was asked about what action they would follow if something like this occurred. The reply was that they would probably walk off the field as a team. The Bulgarian officials were at that stage unhappy about the question even being asked to the English team since they considered it to be offensive also to suggest that it would happen.

Bastian Schweinsteiger Farewell

This week’s announcement by Bastian Schweinsteiger that he is retiring from football is probably the most significant change to happen in the future of the Chicago Fire. The 35-year-old German announced his retirement on social media about an hour before Chicago Fire’s formal announcement of their return to the Soldier Field.

During Schweinsteiger’s career, he varied in positions between the wide midfielder and central midfielder. The German signed with Bayern Munich in 1988 as a youth team player. Soccer was a career path which the youngster has chosen above ski racing, another sport in which he excelled. He managed to move up in the ranks at Bayern Munich and during his early career often managed to land up in the papers as a rebel on the field. He has grown since then, and the insurgent was no longer seen, only an excellent player with a significant influence on the team. At the age of 18, Schweinsteiger had his first opportunity to debut in the UEFA Champions League.

The team was up against RC Lens, and Schweinsteiger made a significant impact immediately when he created a goal for Markus Feulner within the first couple of minutes of play. This led to him signing his professional contract the next month. Most of his career was spent playing for Bayern Munich, and during the period of 17 seasons, he represented the team on the field for 500 matches and scored 68 goals. During this period, he also served the national team of Germany and was captaining them from 2014 onwards. Between 2004 and 2016 Schweinsteiger was involved in winning eight Bundesliga titles, a UEFA Champions League title, seven DFB-Pokal titles a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA World Cup title. During 2015 the star signed with Manchester United where he played for only 18 months before moving on to Chicago Fire.

Chicago Fire

Playing for Major League Soccer, Schweinsteiger debuted in 2017 when the club took on Montreal Impact, a game that ended in a 2-2 draw. Due to his brilliant success in assisting with guiding the club towards the top, his contract was extended for another year. Schweinsteiger is still a very successful and influential player, and it is sad to see him leave.

Schweinsteiger is the man who placed Chicago Fire on the map. He scored eight goals for the club and had 15 assists while playing in 85 MLS matches. As Don Garber, MLS Commissioner stated, he is one of the greatest players in the history of football. Garber also noted that it was an honour to have Schweinsteiger in the League. Also, Joe Mansueto, owner of the Fires, stated his appreciation for the significant contribution which Schweinsteiger made to the club. Schweinsteiger noted on Twitter that he is sad to leave but to look forward to the changes ahead in the future and always promised to remain faithful to the sport.

Iranian Women Allowed to Soccer Matches

Only a few weeks after the death of Sahar Khodayari, FIFA now finally had success in gaining access for females to the game set against Cambodia in October. The Iranian women died after setting herself alight when she heard that she would be going to prison after being caught at a soccer match where only men are allowed.

The announcement was made this Sunday in Milan by Gianni Infantino, president to FIFA, at a FIFA conference concerned with women’s football. Infantino “assured” the audience that women will be allowed to enter and attend football games within the country starting from the next upcoming international match set to take place on the 10th of October against Cambodia. This is a breakthrough for gender equality in the country. Women haven’t been allowed in male-dominated soccer stadiums for more than 40 years. Only a few exceptions were allowed during this time. During these few occasions, men and women weren’t allowed to be seated next to each other, and a particular part of the stadium was designated for the female supporters while the remainder of the stadium was for the men attending.

Why the Ban Existed

During 1979 the country was the setting where the Islamic Revolution took place. Shortly after the revolution, women were banned from attending soccer matches because they weren’t allowed to enter the stadiums were men’s games were played.

Since June already, FIFA was involved in negotiations with Iranian officials in order to get their approval of allowing women to watch these games, especially with the international games set to take place within the country. The pressure on the Iranian government was increased after the death of Khodayari, when social media took the story of Blue Girl, as she was nicknamed after a blue wig which she wore as her disguise, went viral. She had to appear in the Tehra court after being caught out by officials within the Tehran Stadium when an altercation occurred. Upon being informed that she is facing some time in prison, the news wat too much to bear for her and she set herself alight upon the steps of the local courthouse. Through her death, she managed to focus the attention of the world on this matter. During 2018 at the Russia World Cup Group B football games, she was requesting and urging the Iranian officials to allow their female supporters into the stadiums.

The 49-year-old Infantino expressed, during the conference, the international need for sport and especially women’s sports to expand and move forward with the times. He stressed that it is vital to allow women to attend these games and that the world needs to push for this in a big, yet respectful way.

Iranian Women Dies in Soccer Stadium

A shock wave shook the international world of soccer recently with the death of Sahar Khodayari. The 29-year-old Khodayari, a woman of Iranian descent, dressed up as a man to sneak into a stadium to watch a soccer match. She was caught, and on receiving the news that she will have to serve six months behind bars for her offence, she set herself alight and sadly succumbed from her injuries.

Sahar Khodayari

During March, Khodayari dressed up as a man to be able to enter Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. She desperately wanted to see Esteghal compete against Ai Ain. She was a great fan of Esteghal and wanted to see them compete against the team of the UAE. This wasn’t the first time that she sneaked into stadiums. As per usual, she dressed up in a long overcoat and a blue wig to get through security. Over time she even earned the nickname of “Blue Girl” based on her hair. During this match though, there was an altercation which then led to her arrest. Khodayari was detained for three nights before she was released. Upon return to the court to request the back of her cell phone which police seized during her arrest, she was told that she is facing jail time for her offence. According to her family, she suffered from bipolar disorder and stopped taking her medicine a while ago. Hence the news of spending time in prison was too much, and she set herself alight with gasoline at the courthouse in Tehran Ershad. The soccer fan got severely injured, and 90% of her body had been burned. She was relying on a respirator but succumbed of her wounds earlier in the week.

Ban on Women in Stadiums

In 1979 Iran had the Islamic Revolution, and since then there has been a ban placed in the country, prohibiting women from entering stadiums where men play games. For a while already, FIFA has been in negotiations with the leaders of the country to lift the ban. FIFA, who expressed their shock and regretted about the tragedy, is hoping to achieve the lift of the ban before the 10th of October. This is the date when Iran, who is currently at the top of the ranks of Asian teams, would be hosting a World Cup qualifier on local Iranian soil. The game is set to take place against

Cambodia.

Since the death of Blue Girl, Ali Karimi, a former midfielder for Bayern Munich, who also played 127 games for Iran, added his voice to the campaign urging the lift of the ban. He requested the boycott of soccer stadiums by Iranians on social media after the death of Khodayari. Further support for the case was also gained from Andranik Teymourian, who stated on his social media that the stadium’s name should be changed in future to be named after Khodayari.

MLS Bans Betsy Ross Flag

The Betsy Ross flag with 13 stars are for many nothing more than a symbol of American independence from British rule, yet others consider it lately as symbolic to a time of slavery since being linked to some far-right groups. This is what a Utah couple had to learn the hard way after being asked to take down their flag at an MLS game earlier this month.

The Betsy Ross Flag

This was originally the American flag, with 13 white stars placed within a circle format, which represented the 13 original colonies of the States. To many, this is a symbol of the freedom which American citizens experience in their daily lives, and it is something which they are proud of. Two such Americans are Diana and Randolf Scott. They are season ticket holders and loyal attendees to the Rio Tinto Stadium based in Utah. They attend games in their jerseys and hats supporting their team and their Betsy Ross flag, celebrating freedom. Recently, however, this flag became a controversial issue when it became associated with far-right groups. Many consider the flag now a symbol of slavery, representing oppression.

Taking Down the Flag

The couple was set in the front row, waving their flag, when stadium personnel requested that they take down their flag. The alternative if they wouldn’t do it was to leave the stadium. Diana stated that they were repeatedly told to remove their flag or leave the game. The couple packed away their flag later on, still confused why the flag which they consider a symbol of their love for their country, wasn’t welcome.

According to Real Salt Lake, they have a Code of Conduct for fans. In this Code of Conduct, fans are prohibited from displaying any signs reflecting homophobia, xenophobia, sexism or abusive behaviour or might be deemed politically threatening. Fans are also forbidden from offensive gestures and language. According to personnel, the flag has recently become such a symbol, and they acted according to the stipulations of the Code of Conduct.

Nike and Betsy Ross

The Scotts weren’t the only ones who recently had to reconsider the use of their beloved flag. Nike had to pull a newly released shoe from the market, which reflected the flag on the heel of the shoe. The first to complain about this was Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick has a proud association with Black Lives Matter and has been an advocate for them for a while already. He is also responsible for protesting against the police killing African-Americans by kneeling during NFL games. Diana Scott expressed her disappointment in Nike for pulling off the shoe. She is one of many who is proud of the flag and the independence which it symbolizes.

The Scotts mentioned that it didn’t bother them so much to take down the flag, while they still hope that when people see them with the flag that they will realize the greatness of American freedom. What does bother them, however, is the fear of threats of violence against Randolf on social media afterwards.

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.