FIFA BROKE THE SEAL!
After a New York Times report yesterday revealed that Sepp Blatter’s top lieutenant handled $10 million in bank transcations related to assorted bribery, today Blatter, who just “won” reelection, announced that he will resign:
At a brief, hastily called news conference in Zurich, Blatter said that “FIFA needs a profound restructuring.”
“I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else,” he said. “And I only want to do the best for FIFA.”
Somewhere, John Oliver celebrates:
GET ME THAT LEE GREENWOOD:
UPDATE: Blatter’s full statement after the jump: Continue Reading
From Sepp Blatter’s re-election, to the Women’s World Cup on artificial turf, to using Onion articles in anti-corruption arguments, there’s a lot to say about FIFA. I mean the realtive good guy in this whole story is a guy who rents an apartment in Trump Tower just for his cats.
Luckily, John Oliver again went after the governing body of his favorite sport, and it was wonderful. Full clip after the jump. Continue Reading
We’ve learned by now that if anyone shoves a camera in your face and asks if you’re up for whatever, you should say yes. Because if you do, you can sit on the field at a Union game, get a bunch of free stuff, and … get a photo op with Jon Marks? Sure, why not.
When you’re down in Clearwater this year watching Phillies Spring Training, especially keeping an eye on [player name] and [player name] who we got in return for Jimmy Rollins, you’ll also be able to check out [player name] and [player name] of the Philadelphia Union.
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Union have agreed to a multi-year deal that will bring their pre-season training camp to the Joe DiMaggio Complex in Clearwater, right across from the Phillies’ Brighthouse Field home. The Union’s pre-season training takes place in February. So when you’re checking out the anonymous dudes the Phillies invited down there (or just the guys you wish were anonymous), you can pop across the street and check out the anonymous dudes on the Union. They’re cool, I swear.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which stands as the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. and the world’s third-longest-running open soccer tournament, will be decided tonight. The cup can be entered by pro clubs, amateur squads, and even club teams, but it’s now down to two: The Seattle Sounders and the Philadelphia Union. The Union will face off against the Sounders at PPL Park at 7:30 p.m. tonight for the cup — shown locally on the Comcast Network.
The now long-gone Bethlehem Steel F.C., after which the Union modeled their third kits, are in the top spot for the most U.S. Open Cup wins of all time with five. To their advantage, the Union have former Sounder Sebastien Le Toux, who currently sits as the all-time leading scorer in the Open Cup with 14 goals. The Sounders’ Kenny Cooper is second with 13. It’s going to be a great game, and maybe having something on the line will help the Union grab a little more of the fan-share in a city that sadly still has a pretty large blind-spot covering PPL Park in Chester. But there is a silver lining to that, as tickets to tonight’s Cup Final are still available.
UPDATE: And they lost.
This article first appeared on the site a year ago. Re-posting. Some of the team stuff might be a hair dated. COYS.
If you want to become a soccer fan, or even just sample what the sport has to offer, then I suggest you start with the English Premier League, which opens its season on Saturday.
I jumped in two years ago and haven’t looked back.
Soccer can be an extraordinarily confusing sport to follow. Forgetting for a second about learning the game, there are countless teams in countless leagues in countless countries with countless titles and cups and championships. It’s like the first time you played Mario Kart and tried to figure out the difference between the Star and Gold cups, and then you had to select for 50, 100 or 150 cc. The fack?! For a new fan of the sport, it can be an extremely daunting task to jump right in. That’s why the English Premier League – also referred to as the EPL (by lifers), Barclays Premier League (by people who want to acknowledge a large multinational bank every time they talk about their favorite league), Premier League (by everyone else) – is for you. It’s the most watched and probably the best sports league in the world. All the teams are in England or Britain or Great Britain (the differences have been explained to me three times and I still don’t get it, nor do I care) and there’s one winner at the end of the season, with no playoffs, no tournaments, no divisions, no conferences, no bullshit. Just soccer. Three points for a win. One point for a tie. None for a loss.
Perhaps you’ve heard of some of the more popular teams: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle.
This isn’t a column on what team you should choose to root for (Bill Simmons already wrote that)– it’s a post on why you should choose the league.
High-level European soccer teams play in a variety of leagues, tournaments and cups. Each team has its national league (English Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy), often a secondary regional league (Champions League, Europa League), friendly matches, and random national and international cup tournaments. It’s a dizzying array of matches that can be difficult to keep track of, especially from across the Atlantic. That’s why you should start with one league, the Premier League. Or the Barclays Premier League, if you’re an asshole.
The season is long (August-May). Games are played almost every week (soccer has breaks for international competition and local cups, and it will piss you off when you turn on the TV one Saturday morning only to find archival footage of things with weird names like the London Derby). It’s easy to keep track of. And many of the world’s best and most recognizable players are in the league (the two best, however – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – play in Spain).
There are 20 teams in the league. No playoffs. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins. It sounds anti-climactic, and it can be, but take, for example, the 2011-2012 season, when Manchester City beat out Manchester United (bitter rivals) on the last day – no, the last minute – of the season.
Manchester City needed a win over lowly Queens Park Rangers to win the league. A tie would give it to Man U, who, while the City game was drawing to an end, had just beaten Sunderland, 1-0.
City was down 2-1 in extra time. They needed two goals in four minutes, which is unheard of in soccer.
They got it, much to the shock of Sir Alex Ferguson and Man U, who learned of their misfortune while still on the pitch.
That was how the season ended. Two games, in two different places, drawing to an end at the same time. It may be the greatest finish to a sports season ever.
Now, not every season will conclude that way. 2012-2013 didn’t. Man U ran away with it, because they’re the Yankees and you should hate them accordingly. If you’re finding any of the information in this post to be new information (as in, you’re not already a soccer fan) and you decide to root for Man U, I hate you, and so does every other soccer fan. You’re the guy who likes the Yankees, Cowboys and Lakers. You’re a sick fuck. And a frontrunner.
But there are other things to consider besides first place: