1 Blazer bows out of CONCACAF
Chuck Blazer, the larger-than-life American who blew the whistle on corruption within central and north American confederation CONCACAF, ensuring the departures of Jack Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam from FIFA, has announced that he will step down as CONCACAF general secretary, though he will remain a member of the FIFA executive committee.
In recent weeks, Blazer has come under fire after it was revealed he had received secret commissions on commercial deals negotiated for CONCACAF. The payments were made via an offshore bank account.
Blazer’s opponents, headed by Warner, were lining up to criticise the American and were believed to have been behind the leaking of documents that detailed the secret payments.
2 A big weekend for…
France coach Laurent Blanc faces the toughest test of his short period in charge of the national side as Les Bleus play host to Albania, safe in the knowledge that a win will probably not be enough to prevent their Euro 2012 qualifying group going to the wire, with Bosnia-Herzegivina due in Paris on Tuesday.
The Bosnians lie a point behind France in the Group D standings but have an easy match tonight against Luxembourg. A win against Luxembourg will set up a winner takes all encounter on Tuesday.
For the French, memories of 1993, when Gerard Houllier’s side lost at home to Bulgaria and missed out on the 1994 World Cup, are all too vivid.
3 Corinthians green with envy over Adriano’s boots
As if Adriano didn’t have enough problems already, reports in Brazil suggest that Corinthians have banned the striker from wearing his green and lime boots because they are too similar to the colours of city rivals Palmeiras.
Adriano signed for Corinthians in March after his contract with Roma was terminated but he has yet to play for his new club because of injury. He has been tipped to make his debut this weekend after impressing in training. Assuming he can find a pair of boots.
4 Corinthians deny move for Tevez
Brazilian club Corinthians have denied they are interested in signing Carlos Tevez from Manchester City.
“At the moment there are no plans to try and sign him again,” general manager Edu, the former Arsenal and Brazil midfielder, told the BBC. “I’m starting to think about our new squad for 2012 and I’ve talked to our coach [Tite] about what we need – but Tevez was not mentioned.
“We are always interested in world-class players like Carlos but you need to analyse if it’s right for you at that time to try to sign him or not. We have not spoken to him or his agent.”
Corinthians were reported to be keen on signing Tevez in August, only for a prospective deal to be scuppered by uncertainties over Corinthians’ finances. Doubts have since emerged as to whether the original bid was serious, or merely an attempt to flush out an offer from another club, such as Internazionale.
5 African Nations Cup qualifiers reach their climax
With all the attention on the European qualifiers tonight and Tuesday, it’s easy to forget the African Nations Cup qualifiers conclude this weekend.
In Kampala, Uganda could qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time in 34 years if they beat neighbours Kenya. Qualification would be a remarkable achievement for Uganda’s coach, Bobby Williamson, formerly of Kilmarnock, Hibernian and Plymouth.
Elsewhere, Libya and Zambia meet to decide who qualifies from their group. Libya, featuring a new kit based on the colours of the rebel forces, are a point behind the Zambians.
6 Breno out on bail
Bayern Munich’s Brazilian defender Breno, who was arrested last month after setting fire to his house, has been released on bail, according to the club.
Breno had reportedly suffering from depression after failing to live up to expectations in the Bavarian capital following hi 12 million euro move from Sao Paulo back in 2007 and Bayern president Uli Hoeness condemned the player’s arrest.
“To lock up a young man with a fragile psyche is absurd,” roared Hoeness. “He cannot flee without his passport. I wouldn’t have thought this sort of thing possible in Germany.”
7 Zimbabwe claims over Mali-Liberia match
Zimbabwe FA, no strangers themselves to match-fixing scandals, have accused Mali and Liberia of fixing result of this weekend’s African Nations Cup qualifier in order to ensure that Mali qualify for next year’s finals.
8 Goal of the day, Nacer Barazite, Holland Under-21
A special curler from from former Arsenal youngster Nacer Barazite against Austria Under-21s last night.
9 Guardiola: ‘I could Barca leave tomorrow’
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola never gives one-on-one interviews. So the conversation between Guardiola and film director Fernando Trueba, which formed the basis of a forthcoming advertising campaign for the Sabadell bank, has been reprinted in full by the Catalan daily paper, Sport.
Guardiola’s current Barcelona contract expires next June and, it appears, he is in no hurry to extend it. In the “interview” Guardiola again refuses to commit his long-term future to the clubs, saying: “Every day I think that tomorrow I could go.”
10 Friday afternoon fun with Wayne Rooney senior
Well, someone had to do it…