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  1. UEFA decided that in 2018 their would be a new competition launched as the UEFA Nations League where teams would be split into 4 separate leagues. A, B, C and D. Based on World Rankings. Then split further down into groups of 3 teams per group, with some groups having 4 teams in the mix. After playing each team twice, teams will then be promoted or relegated from their leagues. The competition is well and truly underway with a couple of games already been played. Many are still to be convinced. Every even numbered year, the matches will be played from September to November. Which would be the group stages. For every odd numbered year, the matches will be played in June for the Finals of League A where a Nations League champion will be crowned. Does the UEFA Nations League have a valid reason for being a part of the footballing calendar or is the whole tournament as pointless as many believe it to be? The main factor behind the creation of this newly found competition was to eliminate what many believed to be meaningless and pointless international friendlies. Fans were always vocal in their opinions against international friendlies with many suggesting that it disrupts club football. Whereas fans enjoy to watch major tournaments such as the World Cup due to this being played every 4 years during the summer time after the club season has finished. Managers are also known to show frustrations with the international break due to key players being called up to play in 'nothing' games only to be injured while out on international duty which could affect their club teams. Even with the reason being made clear that the whole point of the competition being created to prevent pointless and meaningless friendlies being played, we are still seeing international friendlies being played during the club season inbetween Qualifiers and the Nations League. Could just be due to this being a newly introduced competition but if that is the reason for it being created it will need addressing. Despite all the negativity surrounding the Nations League, some have found a positive to take from this competition. The positive being that teams who don't qualify for the Euro's in qualifiers may be given the chance to qualify for the tournament through the Nations League. Which would make for a lower ranked team being able to compete in a major tournament where before they wouldn't of thought possible. Also partly due to the Euro's increasing the number of teams that will be competing at the tournament. Many still argue against this one and only positive about the Nations League by stating that 'weaker' teams should not be allowed to qualify for major tournaments if they don't make it through the usual route of the qualifiers. After all, that is the whole reason for having qualifiers for teams to compete for a place in a major tournament. Rather than eliminating 'meaningless' international friendlies, have UEFA added more 'pointless' matches by introducing the Nations League during the footballing calendar which already seems to be mounting up and disrupting club seasons? If 'weaker' teams are being allowed a route to major tournaments through this newly formed tournament, maybe it just needs reformatting as a qualifier itself making higher ranked teams play each other for the right to be in tournaments? Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been charged with improper conduct by UEFA and being sent to the stands in the Champions League defeat to Liverpool. The European governing body has also charged the Reds after fireworks were set off and objects thrown inside the Etihad Stadium. Guardiola was sent to the stands after confronting referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz on the pitch at half-time during the quarter-final second-leg 2-1 defeat. The Spaniard was unhappy with the official's decision to rule out a legitimate second goal for his side, as Leroy Sane was adjudged to have scored from an offside position, despite the ball coming off opposition midfielder James Milner before he prodded home. The improper conduct charge against Guardiola is for communicating with the bench during the second half. Article 69 of UEFA's disciplinary regulations states that any manager or coach who is sent off may not communicate "directly or indirectly with the team's players and/or technical staff during the match". Liverpool were already facing four UEFA charges over the setting off of fireworks, throwing of objects, acts of damage and crowd disturbances after City's team bus was attacked at Anfield prior to the first-leg on 5 April. That case will also be heard on 31 May. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. UEFA have announced a spate of rule changes within the Champions League and Europa League from next season. In extra time of knockout games, teams will be permitted to make a fourth substitution, which will not affect the other three substitutions. New kickoff times will be introduced, including a new slot at 8pm GMT in the Champions League, with two games on Tuesday and two games on Wednesday kicking off at 5:55pm GMT. In addition, 12 substitutes instead of seven will allowed in the finals of each competition. The rule also applies to the Super Cup, with UEFA saying the increase of substitute options will give “clubs and, in particular, coaches more flexibility” and allow them to “facilitate their squad management for the most important fixture of the season”. Furthermore, once the group stage has been concluded, clubs will be allowed to add three new players to their squads without any restrictions, so eligible January signings will be permitted to join their new club's campaign. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has expressed his frustration at UEFA regulations which prevent him from playing in the Europa League. The Gabon striker scored his third goal in five Premier League appearances for the Gunners during Sunday's 3-0 win over Watford. However, he is unable to represent Arsenal in the Europa League because his former club Borussia Dortmund dropped down in the competition from the Champions League. Aubameyang is effectively cup-tied despite not playing in the Europa League this season, and the striker has been forced to miss both legs against Ostersund as well as the trip to face AC Milan last week,. "I am really frustrated because the rules are a bit - I don't know how to say in English but I am disappointed because I can't help my team," he told Sky Sports. "That's life. I have to deal with it. I can't play every three days. When I was in Dortmund, I was playing every three days but now I play once a week or have a long time between games. It is not easy." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. UEFA has dropped charges against Spartak Moscow over allegations of racist abuse towards Liverpool's Rhian Brewster due to lack of evidence. The 17-year-old, who helped England lift the Under-17 World Cup in October, said he was racially abused by Spartak Moscow captain Leonid Mironov. Brewster said the incident occurred in Liverpool's UEFA Youth League win over Spartak at Prenton Park in December. European football's control, ethics and disciplinary body held interviews with five players from each side and the match officials but failed to find any evidence to back the claim. UEFA said in a statement they take these allegations "very seriously" and acknowledged Brewster's accusations were made in "good faith". The statement added: "The inspector took statements from five players from both teams, as well as from two match officials, who were in the vicinity of the alleged incident. None of these heard any discriminatory words. "Mironov was also interviewed by the inspector and stated that he indeed swore at Rhian Brewster, but he unreservedly denied using any discriminatory language. "After concluding his investigation, the inspector found no evidence to corroborate the allegations, which he believed were made in complete good faith by Brewster. "Therefore, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, following the recommendation of the inspector, established that there was no evidence that would legally support sanctioning the FC Spartak Moskva youth player Mironov and thus decided to close the disciplinary proceedings." Liverpool said they accepted UEFA's findings as the conclusion to the matter, but praised the "courage" shown by Brewster during the process. "The club is very proud of the maturity, dignity and leadership Rhian has displayed in bringing focus to this issue and he will continue to receive our full support," a club spokesperson said. "In keeping with Rhian's stance, the club encourages football's governing bodies to facilitate the most robust processes possible to identify and tackle discrimination in the game at all ages." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Chris

    FMW #33 Alexis Sanchez

    To use this wallpaper simply download the image to a safe location - preferably where your systems wallpapers are stored, select to personalise your display/monitor, then locate the image, select to use it and choose 'fit' as the wallpapers picture position. A lot of time and effort goes into creating the wallpapers and providing the Football Manics website. Please do help us by sharing the wallpaper if you enjoy it on social media. Credit to @CJ who designed the wallpaper | Follow on Twitter - Here.
  7. UEFA have announced changes to the Champions League and Europa League starting from next season, including how to qualify for the tournaments and staggered kickoff times. The four top teams in the Premier League will be given direct passage to the group stages of Champions League, as will teams from Italy, Germany and Spain as well as the current European Cup holders and the Europa League winners. Two teams from those four nations, plus France, will also qualify directly for the Europa League. Therefore, from next season, the top six will all be guaranteed to be in the group stage of either the Champions League or the Europa League, without having to win a two-legged qualifier as in previous years. In addition, the Champions League has always kicked off at 7.45pm (GMT/BST) but from the 2018/19 season they will start at either 5.55pm or 8pm – similar to how the Europa League functions. In total there will be more automatic qualifiers next season than in previous seasons, with 26 going directly into the group stage as opposed to 22 this season. Therefore, only six teams will gain entry to the Champions League via the qualifying round, compared to 10 this season, but it will remain as a mini knockout tournament. Any team knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers will be given the opportunity to qualify for the Europa League. There will be 10 sides entering the Europa League via this route, while 17 teams will qualify for the competition directly and a further 21 clubs reaching the group stages through the normal qualifying route. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has backed plans by the Premier League to shut the transfer window before the start of next season. Bosses from PL clubs will vote this week on a proposal to close the window early, a move which will leave it out of line with the standard FIFA dates. It is understood the "majority" of top-flight clubs currently favour an earlier closure of the window and in an email to The Times, Ceferin said he supported the move to wrap up transfer business before the start of the next domestic campaign. He wrote: "I am aware there are serious discussions around Europe regarding the shortening of the summer transfer window and we are following them closely. "In my view, it is not good when footballers play for one club when the league starts and another club when the transfer window closes. "There is a lot of uncertainty for a long time. Therefore I would say that the window might be too long and I would support it being shorter." Supporters of the plan are said to be confident of achieving the 14 votes required to force the change, which will likely lead to the Football League following suit. EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey, meanwhile, added: "The one thing our member clubs have said is they do want stability in terms of the players that are available to them from the start of the season. "Shutting the transfer window before the season starts has always found favour with our clubs. It would make sense for the dates to be aligned with the Premier League and any unintended consequences need to be thought through. "This will be on the agenda for our club meeting on September 21." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Manchester United defender Phil Jones has been banned for two matches and teammate Daley Blind fined by UEFA after they were found guilty of breaching doping regulations after the Europa League final in May. According to Press Association Sport, Jones was verbally abusive toward a doping control officer after he was requested to attend drug-testing after the final in Stockholm on May 24. The England international will now miss the UEFA Super Cup match against Real Madrid next week and United's first Champions League group stage match in September, and was also fined €5,000. Meanwhile, the report suggested that Blind was reluctant to take a test as requested because he wanted to celebrate with his teammates, and was fined €5,000. There is no suggestion that either player was guilty of doping. United have been fined €10,000 over the rule breaches. The club are reported to be aware of UEFA's decisions, and have three days to appeal against them. However, have not yet indicated to UEFA whether they will or not. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Being in the Champions League is the ultimate honour for any European team. From those who routinely qualify and aim to win it to confirm their place among the world's elite to those for whom just making the group stages is almost a dream, it's a club competition without comparison. And when it comes to fans, they will turn out in their thousands and travel all across the continent to see their team in action at the stadium or even just being in the city's fanzone to soak up the incredible atmosphere. Football fans are among the most well-travelled people in the world, willing to go to great lengths to root for their beloved players. But which fans travel the most? London-based luggage company and big football fans Global Luggage decided to work out who went the extra mile in the 2016-17 Champions League. Their infographic chart shows the miles that supporters flew in a round trip by teams for each individual match as well as total miles, with some interesting results! As the most travelled, fans of Portuguese giants Benfica must’ve had an extensive itinerary, they've notched up a total of 13,082 miles under their belt. Alone, a trip to Dynamo Kiev’s stadium in Ukraine would’ve been 4,170 miles - practically crossing Europe end-to-end. Sticking with the Iberian theme, Spanish team Atlético Madrid come in second place with 11,678 air miles between matches - a combined flight time of around 26 hours. So what about England? Although we haven’t quite cracked the top 7, Leicester City fans can lay claim to over 7,000 miles of travel. Tottenham Hotspur supporters can also boast over 22 hours of flying, with an average trip being 936 miles of their total 5,016 miles travelled. And as any fan of the above teams - not to mention all the others - will tell you, it's completely worth it. Because the love for the beautiful game knows no bounds and no limit to how far we'd travel for it. To find out more about Global Luggage and to check out their products, simply visit http://www.globalluggage.co.uk Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. UEFA has released a statement saying there are no suggestions that the Europa League final will be targeted by terrorists following the horrific attack in Manchester on Monday night. 22 people were killed and a further 59 injured when an explosion went off shortly after 10:30pm at the Manchester Arena following the end of Ariana Grande's gig at the venue. Police have confirmed that children are among the fatalities, and that one man carried out the attack alone and died at the scene. Manchester United, who have paid tribute to the victims of the attack, are due to face Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday night. UEFA has revealed that over the last few months it has been working with Swedish police regarding security at the event, and extra measures were put in place following April's attack in Stockholm, which killed five people and injured 15 others when a truck ploughed through crowds. The European governing body's statement read: "UEFA is shocked by last night's attack in Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those affected. There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks. "UEFA has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA for many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project. "Furthermore, a number of additional security measures were implemented following the attacks in Stockholm last April. Due to the tight security arrangements, UEFA urges fans to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, as detailed checks will be made at the entrances, resulting in potential delays in accessing the stadium." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. Thomas Tuchel has hit out at UEFA after Borussia Dortmund were made to play their Champions League quarter-final first leg against AS Monaco less than 24 hours after an attack on their team bus. The Bundesliga side's coach was damaged by three explosions as the team was making its way from the team hotel to the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday. Dortmund's players were left shocked by the incident, while defender Marc Bartra was injured and required surgery on a fractured wrist and shrapnel wounds following the blast, but the game was swiftly rescheduled to less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday afternoon. Chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke visited the team before kick-off and spoke defiantly of the club wishing to "show society that we will not bow to terror", but Tuchel questioned UEFA's decision not to allow more time for the players to recover from the trauma of the incident. "There are players who can easily deal with what's happened and others who worry more – very mixed feelings," Dortmund head coach Tuchel told Sky Sports after the game, which finished 3-2 to Monaco. "We wished we would have wished for more time to deal with what happened but someone in Switzerland decided we have to play. It's not very fair. "What happened yesterday happened to us as people. Every player has the right to start with a strange feeling. We've been left feeling a bit helpless by the decision. But professionals find solutions to problems. We are strong enough." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has criticised UEFA over the state of the pitch at FC Rostov ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg in Russia. The surface at the Olimp-2 Stadium has caused concern ahead of the game, with Rostov being told to prepare at their training ground in order to prevent damage to the pitch. During his pre-match press conference, Mourinho admitted that he is unsure on which team to field due to fears that his star players could suffer injuries on the poor surface. "It is hard for me to believe that we are going to play on that field, if you can call it a field, and I don't know what team to play, really," The Mirror quotes Mourinho as saying. "I don't know if Henrikh Mkhitaryan is going to play. I don't know. "I have now a lot to think because I was expecting something more playable. In a very similar pitch in the summer in China we decided not to play but it looks like we have to play. I don't know [what we can do], I really don't know. "I was analysing this very good opponents that we didn't speak about yet, and in their previous matches against Bayern, Ajax, Atletico Madrid, in all these matches it looked for me a very playable pitch. I was very surprised with what I found here today. "I told one gentleman from UEFA of my concerns. He just told me the players are insured, so what happens to them is no problem." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  14. Aleksander Ceferin, head of the Football Association of Slovenia, has been elected as the new president of UEFA. Ceferin polled 42 votes, 29 more than Dutchman Michael van Praag, at the European football's governing body's congress in Athens. The 48-year-old succeeds former France international Michel Platini, who resigned after being banned from all football activity last year. Ceferin will take on the remainder of Platini's term of office, until 2019. "It is a great honour, but also a great responsibility," he said. "It means a lot to me. My small and beautiful Slovenia is very proud of it, and I hope that one day you will also be proud of me." Ceferin has a background in law and has been president of the Slovenian FA since 2011. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  15. Celtic have been charged by UEFA over "illicit banners" displayed during their Champions League qualifier against Israeli side Hapoel Be'er Sheva. Dozens of Palestinian flags were displayed in the Celtic Park stands during the 5-2 win for Brendan Rodgers's side on Wednesday. The European governing body's rules prohibit the use of "any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature". Celtic have already been punished by UEFA eight times in less than five years for a variety of offences and, if found guilty, could face the part-closure of their stadium for a future European fixture. The case will be heard on September 22. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  16. UEFA has confirmed that Galatarasay's appeal against their two-year ban from playing in Europe has proven unsuccessful. The European football governing body suspended the Istanbul side in March for breaching financial fair play rules, and an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been dismissed. Galatasaray had reportedly lost about 164 million euros (£126m) over the last three seasons, which breached the financial guidelines set by UEFA. A CAS statement read: "The appeal filed by Galatasaray has been dismissed and the decision rendered by the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) Adjudication Chamber on 2 March 2016 has been confirmed. "As a consequence, Galatasaray remains excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would qualify in the next two seasons (the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 campaigns). "The CAS Panel in charge of this matter has dismissed the appeal and has confirmed that the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair-play Regulations had been properly applied by the UEFA CFCB Adjudication Chamber in the present case." Galatasaray had qualified for the 2016-17 Europa League after winning the domestic cup last season, but will now be replaced by Osmanlispor, who finished fifth in the Turkish Super Lig.
  17. UEFA have charged Belgium, Hungary and Portugal after incidents involving their supporters at Euro 2016. The tournament in France has been marred by crowd trouble and 24 hours after Croatia and Turkey committed a number of offences, the European football governing body has acted after incidents during each of Saturday's three fixtures. During their 3-0 victory over Republic of Ireland, Belgium's supporters have been charged with the setting off of fireworks and the throwing of objects. In Marseille, fighting broke out between Hungarian supporters and stewards before the 1-1 draw with Iceland and UEFA have issued charges for crowd disturbances, setting off of fireworks and the throwing of objects. Portugal, meanwhile, have been issued with the charge of field invasion after a fan ran onto the pitch to take a photo with Cristiano Ronaldo following their goalless draw with Austria.
  18. Leonid Slutsky believes that his country will not be disqualified from Euro 2016 after Russia received a 'suspended disqualification' for fan disorder. The Russian Football Union (RFU) have been handed the sanction, along with a fine upwards of £119,000 - in relation to the offences of crowd disturbances, racist behaviour, the use of fireworks and flare guns inside Marseille's Stade Velodrome in Saturday's 1-1 against England. With UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body, which met earlier in Paris to consider the behaviour and trouble have warned that if there are any further incidents of violence inside grounds at any of Russia's remaining games, will see the nation disqualified and expelled from the tournament. During a press conference Slutsky said: "We are sure we are not going to be kicked out. There will not be any injustice." With Russian striker Artem Dzyuba insisting it would be 'stupid' if they were to be sent home having now been issued with a warning. "We don't want to be disqualified for this situation. It's the 20th century, our supporters have to focus on supporting us and we have to show our best qualities. We want to be here and it would be a stupid thing and a big disappointment for the whole country if we go out." He said. "This is not a street fighting championship, it's the European football championship. We don't want things to be presented that there is a group of people trying to fight." Before adding "Not only English and Russians, but other fans too. Please, let's focus on football." Chaos was seen in the streets of Marseille, with running battles ahead of the weekend's match but inside the stadium it was clear Russian fans were the aggressors, making a stampede towards the English counterparts towards the end of the game. However, Dzyuba claims it's not just the Russian supporters but also the English fans, who he believes 'cannot be absolved from responsibility' on Saturday. "I don't really understand the reaction of the British media, who have this impression England supporters are like angels who just behave themselves." he added. "You have to be objective, there is 50-50 in every conflict. I don't see that the Russians are the only ones at fault."
  19. UEFA has threatened to 'disqualify' England and Russia from Euro 2016 if the violence between both sets of fans continues. A disciplinary proceeding has begun against Russia after unsavoury scenes described as 'totally unacceptable' occurred in Saturday's match against England and Russia. Footage has appeared all across the internet showing Russian fans stampeding towards England supporters after the Euro 2016 1-1 draw in Marseille. In addition scenes of violence spilled out into the streets of France, with Russian supporters at the centre of the trouble. UEFA has confirmed charges against Russia for crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and setting off fireworks, with football's governing body having promised to 'strengthen' the security. Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko believes UEFA have 'done the right thing' as they prepare to investigate the disciplinary case. "It's the right thing, there were flares, there was a flare gun, there had been clashes in the stands, it's necessary to sort all of this out." he said to reporters. "The fans were rooting greatly, but there are people who do not come for the football." In a statement by Football's European governing body, they have described the events as 'utterly disgusting' over the clashes in the city centre, and 'serious concern' at the incidents inside the Stade Velodrome. 'Corrective measures' are set in order to strengthen the deployment of security personnel which is set to be implemented. As the world football governing body Fifa have strongly condemned the 'shameful scenes' between 'idiotic troublemakers' at the European Championship.
  20. Mamadou Sakho may feature for France during the Euro 2016 tournament after UEFA opted against extending a provisional 30-day suspension. The 26-year-old, Liverpool defender was banned as a result of a test taken after his side's Europa League last-16 second-leg match against Manchester United back in March. UEFA added that a decision on the case will be made within the next few days as the European governing football body announce that Sakho would be free to play from Sunday. In his defence to UEFA's disciplinary committee, Sakho questioned whether the fat burner-type substance which lead to him failing the test should be on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of prohibited substances. However, the decision by the chairman of the UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body - not to extend the current 30-day ban means Sakho will be available to Didier Deschamps for Frances European Championship finals. The decision remains in the balance, whilst France decide their final squad selection. Teams have until Tuesday to submit their squads for the tournament, which starts when host France play Romania on the 10th of June.
  21. Spain Key Man: Cesc Fabregas Hard to believe he’s 30 years old. He has 1 world cup winners medal and 2 Euro winners medals. His link play is going to be crucial. Has the ability to pick a pass and score the odd goal or 2. One To Watch: Aritz Aduriz Made the squad ahead of Diego Costa and Fernando Torres. He’s 35 years old and coming off a 20 goal season in La Liga. A man in form. He’s deadly in the air and has deceptively quick feet for a big man. He may not start but he will have an impact. Croatia Key Man: Luca Modric A midfield wizard. He pulls the strings in midfield. He will also contribute the odd goal or 2. He’s Croatia’s talisman. One To Watch: Ivan Perišić Either a winger or a striker. Croatia use him up front and he doesn’t disappoint. 6 goals in qualifying made him the top scorer in the group. Plays with Inter Milan. Czech Republic Key Man: Bořek Dočkal Plays in midfield but was top scorer for the Czechs in the qualifiers with 4 goals. Will have to repeat that if the Czechs are to have a chance of getting out of the group. One To Watch: Ladislav Krejci Plays on the left wing. He has pace and skill. He creates room by stretching defences which allows Dockal to do his thing. Plays for Sparta Prague but surely will be on the move if he has a good tournament. Turkey Key Man: Burak Yilmaz Moved to the Chinese league in February. He had an incredible scoring record in the Turkish leagues. Top scorer in qualifying for the Turks. Needs to repeat that form in France. One to Watch: Arda Turan Plays for Barcelona so that tells you how good he can be. High energy midfielder. A real leader. If he plays well, Turkey tend to play well. Predictions A sizeable amount of players from Spain’s World Cup winning and Euro 2012 winning squads are still in place this time round. That makes them a serious contender but how much do they have left in the tank? Judging from the 2014 World Cup, not that much but they should still have enough to compete in this competition. They should win the group. Croatia are an experienced side and should finish 2nd. Czech Republic and Turkey will battle it out for 3rd and 4th. The Czechs have that extra bit of quality I feel and will take 3rd spot. Written by Ger O'Shea.
  22. Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has been suspended for 30 days by UEFA after it opened disciplinary proceedings against him following a failed drugs test. The 26-year-old tested positive for what is thought to be a type of fat burner after the Europa League win against Manchester United on 17 March. Sakho chose not to challenge the results, and European football's governing body added the France international "did not request the analysis of the B sample". The suspension is provisional until a final decision is taken by UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body - the date of the disciplinary hearing will be announced at a later stage.
  23. UEFA has agreed to move the kick-off time of Manchester United's Europa League last-16 second-leg tie against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Thursday, 17 March. The game was due to start at 18:00 GMT but Trafford Council expressed safety concerns about an early kick-off on St Patrick's Day and asked for the move. European football's governing body has now agreed to a 20:05 GMT kick-off, with Man Utd also reportedly favoured moving the kick-off. The first leg at Anfield is on Thursday, 10 March, at 20:05 GMT.
  24. Galatasaray have been suspended from European competition for a year for breaching financial fair play rules, UEFA has confirmed. The Turkish club will be excluded from the Champions League or Europa League if they qualify this season or next. European football's governing body said in January that the Superlig champions had broken regulations on the level of financial losses allowed. The 2000 UEFA Cup holders are currently fifth in Turkey's top tier – finishing in that position would leave them outside the European qualifying places. Galatasaray official Iskender Baydar said that club directors are "examining the text of the decision" and will issue a statement later.

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