Three significant headlines shocked supporters of Major League Soccer from April 1st to April 3rd. It was announced that somebody with the Philadelphia Union had contracted COVID-19. Representatives announcing this contraction didn’t confirm the infected player. However, this marks the 1st player in Major League Soccer to test positive. Another member in the MLS Community contracted COVID-19 on March 15th, with this being a Support Staffer with the Seattle Sounders. Similar announced followed by New York City FC on March 19th. Compared to other sporting leagues in the United States, Major League Soccer has seen minimal infections.
Representatives issued an official statement with the Philadelphia Union. They expressed that healthcare professionals working for MLS have been working with Medical Officials, ensuring that this player has a prompt recovery. Similar measures have been implemented by Major League Soccer Corporate, with their Support Staffers receiving medical assistance at home. Philadelphia Union ensured that this respective player has implemented self-isolation protocols and is recovering promptly.
Training Moratorium Period Extended
MLS Corporate confirmed on March 2nd that the “Training Moratorium Period” will be extended towards April 24th. Statements issued by corporate representatives expressed that this decision was made amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Original delays on the TMP were increased after the North American outbreak became a substantial pandemic. It should be noted that MLS Facilities are shut down until further notice. Individuals requiring medical treatments as these facilities are allowed entry, with this being a minimal amount of MLS Players.
MLS Footballers will continue to operate their standard contracts during this period. MLS Corporate hasn’t made confirmation of pay cuts for these punters. Reserve funds are enough to support the families of these players, corporate employees and Support Staffers. Major League Soccer is expected to resume by June 15th.
Pay Cuts for International Footballers
Major League Soccer might not be experiencing any pay cuts right now, but multiple FIFA Members have implemented specific measures. This includes La Liga Spain, Super League Greece, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the Russian Premier Association. The average cut of yearly salaries is 25%, with some sporting associations implementing higher valuations at 50%. These associated losses to players and staff members are to ensure reserve funds are protected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major League Soccer’s postponement of regular season play is extending towards May 10th. This followed after a series of recommendations were enlisted by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. These guidelines were implemented to ensure greater safety for public citizens during the Covid-19 Pandemic. It should be noted that these recommendations extend towards Canadian-MLS Teams as well.
Representatives with Major League Soccer released a formal statement through online sources, refusing to hold a press conference during this horrifying period in history. Their account expressed that guidelines implemented by the CDC request that sporting events with 50+ people be postponed for two months. We’ve agreed to these requests and extended our suspended season. We’ll continue to focus on playing the full 2020 MLS Season and are currently evaluating our options. This’ll include moving the championship cup venues until December 2020. Continuation into the next season wouldn’t be delayed.
Professional football matches throughout the globe have been terminated following the novel coronavirus pandemic. Multiple leagues have suspended their seasons and postponed regular games. It’s becoming a logistical nightmare on how to continue profits for investors during this unknown period in history. Financial costs are quickly adding up and forcing multiple clubs to take out loans. Notable leagues with suspended seasons include Major League Soccer, the Premier League, the EFL and UEFA.
The last European-based Football League that announced they’re suspending their respective season as Bundesliga. They’ve reported that $1.2 Billion in profits have been lost following the postponed season. Similar losses have been seen for the Premier League, which confirmed that broadcasting revenue has dropped by $1.3 Billion for Sky Sports. The overall losses for the Premier League weren’t approved. When it applies to Major League Soccer, the impact could be more significant without any government-bailouts coming. Team owners will become responsible for paying their athletes during this unconventional period. That’s why a full season with scheduled games are being demanded.
It should be mentioned that MLS, the Premier League and EFL have also terminated training sessions. Players have been informed to remain in self-isolation and not commit to any physical activity. When these footballers to return after Covid-19, their respective skillsets won’t be honed and could potentially prompt unprofessional football.
The Second Team of the Week for Major League Soccer was announced on March 9th. A rookie player was placed into this spirited team, which compiles the top footballers from the last week. This rookie is from Toronto FC and named Achara, with many sporting analysts believing this young man will have a formidable career with Major League Soccer. This follows after the Left-Winger displayed incredible skillsets throughout his professional debut on March 7th. The performance shown by Achara enabled for TFC to defeat their rivals by a singular point, which allowed the footballer to become the 1st named player from TFC onto Team of the Week in 2020.
Multiple sporting analysts are praising this young athlete for competing at this level, against some of the highest-rated athletes in professional soccer. The 22-year-old was told ninety minutes before the matches kickoff that he’d be placed onto the starting lineup. It followed after Tsubasa Endoh couldn’t complete his TFC Training Session. Endoh faced a severe injury during prior training sessions from last week. This enabled Achara to showcase what he has to offer with Toronto, as the footballer almost acquired three points while Pozuelo and Altidore couldn’t perform. The singular-winning goal for Achara came in the 80th minute, which was achieved after Richie Laryea pitched the ball across the field towards his direction. It allows Achara to make a header into the net, which is a rare feat to accomplish for any professional football player.
The 2020 MLS Championship Potential
It should be noted that ever since Achara was selected as the 25th overall draft pick, he’s maintained a scoring position in every single match he’s officially appeared. This dates back to the preseason, with Greg Vanney now praising the young Nigerian from Georgetown University. The head coach for Toronto expressed that multiple executives with TFC have reached out, revealing that Achara could be their newest star and that he should implement this footballer throughout every match. This head coach hasn’t confirmed if Achara will replace Endoh as the title Left-Winger, with most sporting analysts agreeing that Vanney won’t have any choice in this decision.
The main goal for Toronto’s Football Club moving forward is to enter the 2020 MLS Championship Season. Considering they came second place throughout last season, this formidable outfit will want to return and acquire their 3rd MLS Champions.
Local law enforcement was forced into an unexpected situation after riots broke out during an Argentina Football Match. This followed after the second division game against the Independiente Rivadavia Football Club; multiple fans attended with armed weapons like knives and machetes. It created immediate concern for players with IRFC. When Argentina supporters began to climb the stadium fences with their guns, referees and coaching staff removed players from the pitch.
Life-threatening fights were started amongst supporters after these professional footballers were removed. After twenty minutes had passed, flags from the Independiente Rivadavia could be seen burning to the ground. Issues regarding safety for footballers has increased drastically in the last fifteen months, with racism in South America growing daily. Multiple football games have been terminated for the protection of players, which often breaks out in an immediate riot. Law enforcement said that two people were injured and 30+ citizens were arrested.
Argentina Qualifies for Tokyo Olympics
Supporters from Argentina are known for their violent behaviour, which hasn’t stopped the national team from moving forward to accomplish their goals. This followed after the South American squad acquired a position with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Historically their the 1st nation to earn an Olympic ticket, which followed after they dominated over Colombia in the regional qualifying group. Columbia was defeated two to one, with Neheun Perez and Agustin Urzi acquiring the necessary goals needed to obtain victory. Acting as the Under-23 National Argentina Football Club, they’ll compete against Colombia one more time in the Round Robin Qualification. Regardless of whoever wins that battle, Argentina moves forward to the Tokyo Olympics.
Argentina could compete against Colombia in the Tokyo Olympics. Though they’ve acquired the 1st Round Placement for the global sporting event, there’s a second qualification place available. Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Uruguay will compete in their respective matches to win the second placement. Additional sporting outfits competing elsewhere for a position in the Tokyo Olympics include Germany and France. Argentina will benefit from maintaining a new contract with Piatti, a former striker with the Montreal Impact. His capabilities to dominant through defences is similar to Ronaldo’s, making him a desired asset for the upcoming Olympics.
Major League Soccer’s Preseason is fully underway, with multiple teams competing against each other for practice sessions. Two of the latest matches were played by Sporting Kansas City and Cincinnati FC, which extended to the second matchup of Philadelphia Union versus Chicago Fire FC. Saturday afternoon saw Kansas City become victorious against Cincinnati Football Club, with them acquiring four points to zero. This matchup was played in Arizona at the Grande Sports World Complex. It marks the first significant loss for Cincinnati FC.
Daniel Salloi made the 1st goal in the 11th minute, which followed by Roger Espinoza making a secondary goal in the 44th minute. After the halftime break period, the 65th minute saw Wilson Harris make the third goal. Johnny Russel acquired the fourth and final goal eight minutes before games-end. This marks the 1st goals during the preseason for Johnny Russel and Wilson Harris. Sporting analysts believe that the Cincinnati Football Club would’ve had better chances at winning this preseason matchup if they hadn’t relied on reserves. Considering this is a practice period for these organizations, it’s not surprising that these reserves would receive playing time. The chances of experiencing any official season game time are limited.
Chicago FC Versus Philadelphia Union
When it applies to the second preseason match this week, it was the Philadelphia Union that defeated the Chicago Fire Football Club. It marks their 1st victory throughout the 2020 preseason, which took place in Florida. The Union’s head coach has gifted the Clearwater matchup in spoils of previous achievements, with that metropolis being his hometown. Those players that acquired the 3-0 leader over Chicago FC included Anthony Fontana, Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos.
Kacper Przybylko and Anthony Fontana were the dominating players throughout the first half, with both acquiring goals before halftime. This followed with Sergio Santos making a third goal, which was assisted with Przybylko. Subsequently, Kacper Przybylko was provided with the most valuable player title for their 2nd preseason matchup. It should be noted that Issa Rayman wasn’t available for their second matchup in the 2020 preseason. He’ll make his official return against the Montreal Impact next Sunday. It should be noted that the Philadelphia Union Football Club lost against Atlanta United earlier this week, losing by four points against the former champions. Winning against the Chicago Football Club will provide team associates with the confidence required to move forward into the official MLS season.
Due to the coronavirus spreading rapidly, the Chinese Football Association has opted to withdraw as the official Olympic women’s soccer qualifying event host. This will now move to Australia where the qualifying for Round 3 has already been moved from its original location of Wuhan, the location of where this virus began. The announcement came on Sunday with reasons cited for the venue change being public safety.
To date, there have been over 2,000 Chinese infected with coronavirus. Of the 2,000 infected, 56 have passed away, and the result was the Chinese government putting Wuhan in lockdown while working at a rapid pace to construct a hospital that will have 1,000 beds, a move being made in anticipation for the worst-case scenario. In addition to efforts from the Chinese, health authorities worldwide are working together in attempts to control the outbreak. The hope is to stop it from spreading, but this is proving to be a challenge.
The Olympic women’s soccer Group includes Taiwan, Thailand, China and Australia and is slated to take place between the 3rd of February and the 9th. The two top placing teams will then move onto Group A, which currently includes Vietnam, Myanmar and South Korea. They will play in both away and home games to determine the two countries to join Japan as women representing Asian countries at the 2020 Olympics.
As a host nation, China is taking extreme caution towards the risk of exposing locals, athletes and of course, tourists to the virus. While the games are six months away, they have chosen to move a number of events to other locations as a precaution. One of those was a boxing event that was scheduled to take place in Wuhan’s but was cancelled and subsequently moved to Senegal where it will occur on the 20th of February. The International Tennis Federation on Sunday also chose to move Asia/Oceania Group 1 tournament from China. The event will now take place in Sultan, Kazakhstan between the 4th and 8th of February. The ITF stated that is made the decision after the continuation of “increasing travel restrictions”.
Death Toll Rising
It is estimated that the coronavirus could infect as many as 100,000 worldwide experts are warning. That has seen the United Kingdom government having to reassure its people that it is in a position to respond should cases be reported within the United Kingdom. An Imperial College public health expert, Prof Neil Ferguson noted that his best estimation is there are at least 100,000 already infected however to date, only 2,200 cases have been reported. Of those, the largest number are from the originating source, Wuhan.
Although so far there have not been any positive infections within the U.K, the Labour Party is calling on the UK Government to confirm with the public that should an outbreak occur on British soil that the National Health System will be capable of dealing with it, even while struggling with the usual flu season.
The recent development of racist comments in European Soccer Leagues shows no signs of diminishing. It was revealed that the Spanish Soccer League experienced another bout of racism at a matchup against Rayo Vallecano and Albacete. The game was terminated during halftime, Rayo Vallecano Citizens began chanting racist and insulting language to the Albacete Squad. It reached a point where an unexpected banner was revealed, which claimed that the Ukrainian Footballer “Roman Zozulia” from Albacete is a Neo-Nazi. Throughout the entire first half, supports of Rayo Vallecano continually chanted racism slurs relating to Ukrainian’s towards Roman.
With a continuous onslaught of insulting language, both teams respectively asked the referee to halt the match. This was the sporting organization’s ways to punishing the players, who would’ve paid a costly fee to see this matchup. Ultimately, the game finished with a score of 0-0. Security Forces for Rayo Vallecano and Albacete assisted local law enforcement with the removal of crowds. Reports claim that nearly a violent riot broke out, with police authorities having to make multiple arrests.
Past Events of Racism
This isn’t the first time that Rayo Vallecano Fans have displayed their ignorance towards culture and race. Roman Zozulia formally played for the team throughout the 2017 season, where supports regularly abused him. This came after unsubstantiated rumours indicated that Roman had extreme right-wing political views. However, all sporting organization he worked for and family members came to his defence. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop Rayo Vallecano Fans from mentally abusing this man.
Albacete’s Victor Varela spoke with reporters on this incident. He noted that Roman was crying from the mental abuse, as were other players come to his defence. He also said that he was pleased by the inconvenience this caused support in Rayo Vallecano. It’s anticipated that Albacete will ask the Spanish Football League to avoid future matches going forward with Rayo Vallecano. In extreme cases such as this instance, these requisitions are typically approved.
Anti-Government Protests are growing worldwide, with one such nation expressing their right to refuse by creating celebrations for the Iraq World Cup Qualifying Match. Thousands of protestors gathered in crowds at the Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, an epicentre for political demonstrations. to watch the biggest soccer match of the year, even after government officials implemented new secret crackdowns for violent actions earlier in the year.
The Iraq National Football Team played two matches against Iran in November. The 1st was held in Basra and the 2nd in Bahrain. Both towns saw their respective anti-government protests similar to those in Baghdad, indicating a significant transition in the middle east to dethrone Princes and Leaders. After the International Soccer Federation lifted their thirty-year ban on matches being held in Iraq, they determined that no games would be played in the country for the 2019 Season. This was another reason that saw increased protests across Iraq.
However, the anti-government protestors didn’t take this win and turn it into a horrendous event filled with death. Instead, the skies of Iraq lite up in fireworks after the first goal was scored in eleven minutes. For the remainder of the game, these protestors danced, chanted their favourite soccer songs and beat drums like thunder itself. Several demonstrators were thrilled with the turn out after the security crackdown, for they feared that most would choose to stay home. The Iraqi people showed their governments that they wouldn’t falter their ways of life and stand up for their rights.
The Iran Debacle
The first protest in Iraq began when a terrorist event left 320 Dead and more than two thousand wounded. It’s considered the most significant terrorist attack in Iraq’s history. It would quickly be revealed that the culprits were Iranian, which prompted deadly protests with thousand outraged at the significant threats facing their country. Since then, these protests have also become about fundamental human rights, lack of essential services, widespread corruption and a minimal job force.
The government has proposed various options for constitutional and economic reform, but all propositions have been rejected. There have been official callings for political leadership to step down, including the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Protestors are also demanding that Iraq stop engaging with Iran entirely. Since the proposal rejections, authorities have begun arresting and attacking demonstrators. It would be long till their protests turn violent like in Paris and Hong Kong.
In the aftermath of the very glitzy “The Best Awards” hosted in Milan at the Teatro Alla Scala. This is an event where the top footballers, as well as coaches, get recognized. FIFA is threatening to sanction some of the national federations. Their reason for concern is how voting polls are managed.
FIFA expressed their concern about the voting process and found the integrity of the voting process questionable. They stated that they deem the entire process as being unfair and quite misleading. The voting process is following a structure where the winners of both the best men’s player as well as the best coach are selected by a global jury which consists of many voters. These voters are represented by one coach per team, as well as the captains of all these teams. Each territory which is represented by a national organization also has one specialist journalist on the voting jury.
All fans who are registered on FIFA.com can cast their vote. Concerns had risen only mere days before the ceremony when captain Juan Barrera from the team of Nicaragua made an announcement on his social media about the fact that he hasn’t cast his vote. His vote seems to be cast by Manuel Rosas, and Barrera’s names were wrongfully submitted. FENIFUT soon reacted with an apology also on their social media platforms, stating that they apologize for the misunderstanding and that it was an administrative error which caused confusion and annoyance.
More Unrecorded Votes
Shortly after this occurred, it came to light that the votes cast by Shawky Gharib, coach to the Egyptian team and team captain Ahmed Elmohamady were never taken into account. The reason for this was apparently because their votes were signed in capital letters, which is against the voting rules set by FIFA. These two who represent the Egyptian Football Association voted for Mohammad Salah, their fellow countryman and forwarded to Liverpool. FIFA stated that this vote went unrecorded because the EFA’s forms didn’t carry the mandatory signature of the general secretary of their federation. According to FIFA they also made contact twice with the EFA to obtain the necessary forms before the cut-off date of the 21st of August. This didn’t happen though, and their votes weren’t counted.
FIFA stated that these and a number more votes will be investigated and if it is evident that the set-out rules of the federation weren’t followed in the voting process, they will apply sanctions to these national federations as needed. The winners of the prestigious event were Lionel Messi as the best player, and Megan Rapinoe received the award as a best female player. Jurgen Klopp won the best manager award, and Jill Ellis received the distinction as the best female coach.
This month saw the edition of St.Louis as the 28th team to Major League Soccer. This very proud moment for the club is placing them in the position where they are the first club to join Major League Soccer which is majority female-owned.
This exciting announcement was made almost at the end of August by commissioner Don Garber. Present at this event was Carolyn Kindle Betz, the president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation as well as Jim Kavanaugh, representing World Wide Technology as CEO and Andy Taylor, the executive chairman for the Enterprise Group and other members of the Taylor family. Between Betz and six other women who form part of the Taylor family, the club of St. Louis is predominantly female-owned. The team will only start as a part of the league during 2022, but they will immediately start working on selecting their team name, colours and badge.
A Challenging Ride
During 2017 the bid which St. Louis had, was getting cold. This city, with a soccer rich tradition, held a referendum to decide upon using $60 million of tax revenue to build a stadium, but the voters decided against it, and that created a significant setback or the investment group at that time, Paul Edgerley. They then ceased their efforts to try and establish a stadium and club within St. Louis.
Now Betz has joined hands with Kavanaugh, who was part of the previous investment group back in 2017 but is now at World Wide Technology and after weeks of negotiations, they achieved success. This success is also significantly founded in the fact that they managed to get the funds for the construction of a stadium from private investors. The stadium will be set in Downtown West District.
The Expansion of Soccer
In recent years the MLS has decided to make expansion into various markets a priority. This is done to ensure the constant growth of the sport. Soccer is receiving growing interest from sports fans in the United States, and the MLS is taking the opportunity to give the process momentum.
Since 2013 when the New York City FC joined the league, the expansion fee was set at $90 million. This has increased since then to an estimated $240 million. The increase is due to more massive crowds at games, broadcasting rights and growing significant sponsorships. According to the former commissioner of the Major League Indoor Soccer which has since become obsolete, Steve Ryan, owning a franchise has changed over time into a very lucrative investment for sports-minded executives.
The St. Louise team will have their home field set at a soccer-specific stadium. This stadium is going to be built in Downtown St. Louis and will be the centre of new development in real estate which is set to be built around the stadium.