The English Football Association, better known as FA, has handed down a new set of rules to English soccer players. The disciplinary code bans players from tweeting about matches for 24 hours prior to the game and dictates that the messages players post on Twitter about “the opposition, management or individuals could all result in disciplinary action.”
Several English players have been reprimanded by FA due to content posted on the social network. Ashley Cole, England defender, currently faces an FA fine because of a vulgar tweet about how the governing body ruled on the John Terry case. The FA stripped Terry of his captaincy twice – first following an alleged affair and second before his high-profile racism case. The FA can also ban players indefinitely without the right of appeal.
The FA code of conduct is 16 pages long and covers “everything from what players can say on Twitter, how long they are permitted to play video games and whether they can order room service at team hotels,” according to a story by UK newspaper The Independent. The code also includes alcohol and drug bans, a ban on betting on soccer games, a limit on the time spent playing video games, a request to not wear headphones in public as a way to avoid interviews.
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On Sunday, Chelsea captain John Terry announced that he would be retiring from international soccer with England, effective immediately. This came just one day before the 31-year-old defender was scheduled to begin a personal hearing with the Football Association (more commonly known as FA) regarding the alleged verbal abuse of an opponent using a racial tone in a Premier League match last October.
“I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable,” Terry said in a statement. “Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honor. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision.”
Terry has made 78 appearances for the national team since his first match against Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. He captained the team in a World Cup qualifier against Poland. He will continue to play for Chelsea even after his retirement from the International stage.
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England earned a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals yesterday after a win over Ukraine. Striker Wayne Rooney returned from a two-game suspension to score the game’s only goal.
England’s captain Steven Gerrard was originally aiming for the goal when he kicked a cross ball into the penalty area. That shot glanced off two Ukrainian defenders and slipped through the hands of Andriay Pyatov. Rooney was across the field at the far post and was able to make the goal count. It was Rooney’s first goal in a major tournament since Euro 2004, when he scored four goals. He was unsuccessful in the tournaments that followed, including the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
“There was a lot of pressure on Wayne,” Gerrard said in a post-game interview. “But he stood up and when we needed him he was there.”
In the game’s 62nd minute, Ukraine’s Marko Devic made a shot on the goal that appeared to cross the line before it was recovered by England’s John Terry. Neither the referee nor his extra assistant behind the goal gave Ukraine the point. The Ukraine coach and players saw something different.
“I was said because the ball was in the goal by one meter,” said Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin.
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Though most soccer fans have been focusing on Euro 2012 happenings in recent days, there has been some big news out of the Champions League. Today, Chelsea announced that they have appointed Roberto Di Matteo as their full-time coach following the signing of a two-year contract.
Just three weeks ago, Di Matteo led Chelsea to their first UEFA Champions League title as an interim coach. He stepped into the position during the final 11 weeks of the season following the firing of Andre Villas-Boas.
“I’m obviously delighted to have been appointed as manager and first-team coach,” Di Matteo said following the announcement. “We all achieved incredible success last season that made history for this great club. Our aim is to continue building on that and I’m already planning and looking forward to the squad’s return for preseason.”
Prior to this week’s announcement, there was speculation that Chelsea would overlook Di Matteo, who turned 42 last week. It was rumored that the club was aiming to sign Pep Guardiola following his departure from Barcelona. But with today’s announcement, it seems that the Chelsea owners and top officials are certain Roberto is right for the job.
“Roberto put a smile back in the dressing room. The confidence was pretty evident towards the end of the season,” said former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins. “He’s a former Chelsea player so the fans can relate to him as player and manager. It’s not often you get a manager come in and within six months win the FA Cup and the Champions League.”
After eight years playing for Chelsea, Ivory Coast native Didier Drogba announced this week that he will be leaving West London “for a great leap into the unknown.”
“I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea” the 34-year-old striker told the club’s website. “It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved but the time is right for a new challenge for me.”
During Saturday’s Champions League final, Drogba scored a dramatic, game-tying goal late in the period and scored a crucial penalty kick in the shootout, helping Chelsea clench its first Champions League title.
Drogba has made it known that he believes Fernando Torres is “the future” of Chelsea and will adequately fill the void he is leaving on the team. Drogba has yet to make any announcement regarding where he will play in the future, but rumors point to China, where it is believed he would join former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua.
“As of now, Shenhua’s negotiations with Drogba are continuing just as planned,” said the team owner Zhu Jun.
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The referee at the center of the controversial 2009 Champions League semi-final between Chelsea and Barcelona, Tom Henning Ovrebo, has admitted that he made mistakes in the game, which ruined Chelsea’s chance to appear in the Final that year.
“Everyone who knows the laws of the game knows I should have done things differently, but that’s the life of a referee,” he said recently. “On the pitch I did my best. I shouldn’t have to apologize as mistakes are part of the game. Some players got emotional and behaved badly, but no one got killed. It’s important to put it into perspective.”
During the game three years ago, the Norwegian official turned down penalty claims during the second-leg tie at Chelsea’s home field, Stamford Bridge. Chelsea lost the game on a goal made by Andres Iniesta during injury time. According to the Chelsea manager at the time, Guus Hiddink, there were four missed penalties during the match: a shirt pull on Drogba by Eric Abidal, handballs by Gerard Pique and Samuel Eto’o, and a grab on Florent Malouda by Dani Alves.
Ovrebo has since retired from the international game, but said that he still occasionally receives death threats.
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A controversial goal made during Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final has players blaming referees and calling for better goal detection technology. During the match at Wembley, Chelsea player Juan Mata kicked what was counted as a goal, putting Chelsea up two goals over the Tottenham Hotspurs.
“To be honest, we have to blame the referee,” said Emmanuel Adebayor, a striker for the Spurs. “I think we have done well and he has made a lot of mistakes and made a lot of wrong decisions.”
The referee Adebayor was referencing was Martin Atkinson. The Tottenham team lost to Chelsea 5-1.
“We were all disappointed,” Adebayor is also credited with saying. “How many goals scored this season were disallowed that were onside? To be honest, I’m just tired of it and everyone is talking about goal-line technology.”
The International Football Association Board, soccer’s rule-making body, will enter the final phase of testing for goal-line technology later this month. In March, IFAB narrowed the number of approved systems to two. The plan is to have one system approved and ready for use following a July 2 meeting.
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Yesterday, an Indian soccer played collapsed and died on the field during a local league game in the city of Bangalore. The 27-year-old midfielder, named D. Venkatesh, collapsed near the end of the game after he joined the match as a substitute during the game’s 73rd minute. Doctors believe he died of a cardiac arrest. No ambulance was on-site to transport the player to the Hosmat Hospital; instead he was transported in a three-wheel auto-rickshaw.
“Maybe if he had been given oxygen or proper medical care at the time of the incident, he could have stood a chance,” said Dr. Ajith Benedict Royan, a doctor at the hospital where Venkatesh was taken.
This death follows the near-death of another soccer player last week. On Saturday, March 17, 23-year-old Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field during a FA Cup match against Tottenham. Doctors have reported that the player’s heart was stopped for a full 78 minutes before it began showing activity again. Medics tried unsuccessfully for 48 minutes to revive Muamba before he was taken to the London Chest Hospital. There, he was shocked with a defibrillator 15 times. Following what has been diagnosed as a cardiac arrest, Muamba likely survived because of the excellent emergency care he received. As of Monday, he was breathing independently and speaking; yet he still has a long road of recovery ahead of him.
Veteran soccer star Ronaldinho, along with Barcelona player Dani Alves and Chelsea defender David Luiz, has been named as a member of a preliminary Brazilian soccer team for the 2012 London Olympics. According to Olympic rules, only three players over the age of 23 can be included on the final 18-person squad; Ronaldinho is 31, Alves is 28 and Luiz is 24. The preliminary team, coached by Mano Menezes, lists 52 players, including younger players like Milan forward Alexandre Pato, Tottenham’s Sadro and Man U defender Rafael.
Menezes will cut the squad down to 35 in June and will make his final selection on July 6. As a team, the Brazilian squad will play in the Olympic tournament held from July 26 to August 11. This means that players on the team who are also members of European club teams will miss their clubs’ pre-season camps. Missing pre-season training for a chance to win an Olympic gold (the only major prize in the world of professional soccer that the country has not won)? We say that’s ok.
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After spending three months of unauthorized leave in his native Argentina, Carlos Tevez is back at Manchester City, but his future with the club is uncertain. The striker, who has not played since manager Roberto Mancini accused him of refusing to leave the bench during a Sept. 27 match against Bayern Munich, reported to the club doctor at the team’s training ground for a fitness test. A week after the incident, Tevez left England for Argentina without the City’s permission. The club later fined Tevez 1.2 million pounds for refusing to return from Buenos Aires and has suspended his pay of 200,000 pounds a week since he has been there.
Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott tweeted this week that “all the players are excited to have Carlos, Kolo [Toure] and Yaya [Toure] back to help achieve our goal.” However, former goalkeeper Joe Corrigan voiced his displeasure with Tevez’s decision and thought his return could hurt team morale.
“Since the Tevez situation reared its head the team spirit has increased, which has been proven by them digging in and getting results,” he said. “I hope he doesn’t get the chance to play.”
Tevez missed an important team practice today ahead of Manchester City’s game tomorrow against Porto. He has not been registered to play in Europe after his absence, but has been undergoing continued, extensive physical and fitness examination. It is expected that Mancini and Tevez will have their first meeting since the player’s return sometime next week.
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