Monday, January 17News That Matters

Tag: Soccer

An English Soccer Team’s Existential Crisis: Is It Really in Wales?

An English Soccer Team’s Existential Crisis: Is It Really in Wales?

Sports
Chas Sumner has heard the quiz question in all its forms. There was the one that asked: “Which club has an international border running along the halfway line of its stadium?” Or this one: “Which soccer team gets changed in one country but plays in another?” Or: “Where can you take a corner in England, but score a goal in Wales?”The answer to all three, Sumner knew, was Chester F.C., a one-time stalwart of English soccer’s professional divisions but currently residing in its sixth tier. For 30 years, Chester, the team he served as official historian, had played at a stadium that straddled the largely nominal line separating England from Wales.Not that it seemed especially important to anyone. The stadium’s location was nothing more than a minor claim to fame and occasional inconvenience: t...

Le Coq Sportif Puts France’s Olympians in a New Look: Vintage

Sports
ROMILLY-SUR-SEINE, France — When France’s athletes enter the Bird’s Nest stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Olympics in February, Josette Camuset will be paying close attention. It has, after all, been a long wait.For the first time in 50 years, the French team will be dressed in outfits manufactured by Le Coq Sportif, the storied French sportswear brand created by Camuset’s husband, Roland, more than 70 years ago, transforming the local textile company set up by his father, Emile, in 1882.In this sleepy town on the banks of the Seine, the sight on the French team’s uniforms of the company’s logo — a proud-chested cockerel — is perhaps the most potent example to date of the effort to revive a famed, but fallen, French brand that once supplied the gear of choice for tennis...

The Premier League’s Wealth Is Influencing Title Races Abroad

Sports
That first meeting told Alex Muzio all he needed to know. Not long after he and his business partner, the gambling tycoon Tony Bloom, bought Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, a Belgian soccer team, Muzio sat down with the club’s coach. He wanted to discuss potential recruits.Muzio had never been a soccer player. He had never been a scout. He had spent his career working for Bloom’s Starlizard consultancy, the firm many consider to be the largest betting syndicate in Britain.Starlizard’s business model is using data to find an edge. It has information on tens of thousands of players from across the world. Its bespoke algorithms are designed to trawl through it and spot opportunities first, then talent. Starlizard’s plan in team ownership was to do the same. Bloom already owned a team in England:...
In Premier League, Fear and Falsehoods Fill Vaccination Gap

In Premier League, Fear and Falsehoods Fill Vaccination Gap

Sports
The Premier League contends it has done as much as it reasonably can do to persuade its players to accept the inoculations. Van Tam not only addressed the captains of the league’s clubs but also released a video, highlighting the importance of vaccination and dispelling myths, to reinforce the message. He has visited teams in person. Other clubs, struggling to persuade their holdouts to be vaccinated, have been offered visits from experts eager to answer questions and allay fears.The clubs, too, have “played their part,” as Molango put it. Many have invited medical teams into their training facilities to make it as easy as possible for players to get a shot. At Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp has been an outspoken advocate of the “moral” imperative to be vaccinated. Leeds United officials have mad...

18 Sports Highlights From 2021 Worth Watching Again

Sports
The sports world is entering another period of uncertainty, with a surge in coronavirus cases, more game postponements and questions about the Beijing Olympics.But 2021 was also a great year in sports. There were challenges and disruptions, but there were also plenty of memorable moments. Take a minute or two and scroll through this highlight reel of some of our favorite plays from the past year.Javier Báez’s baserunning baffles the Pirates.Most of the time, a ground ball to the third baseman with two outs ends an inning. Back to the dugout. On May 27, Jávier Baez of the Chicago Cubs hit a ball just like that — but somehow, thanks to his daredevil baserunning and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ many blunders, he ended up at second base instead and allowed a teammate to score. It was the nuttiest p...
Premier League Buckles In Amid Covid Surge

Premier League Buckles In Amid Covid Surge

Sports
The danger of nostalgia is it tricks you into believing there is a right way for things to be, rather than just a way things were. Milk should come in bottles. Children should stare open-mouthed at a television screen, not open-mouthed at YouTube. The F.A. Cup should mean something.We should not, then, fall into that trap when asking if there are, now, too many penalties in soccer. The raw facts of the matter are straightforward: There are more penalties than there used to be. In the first decade or so of the Premier League, somewhere between 60 and 70 spot kicks were awarded each season.Since 2006, that number has been drifting in the general direction of upward: into the 80s, the 90s and then, last season, to 124. That is a significant change: There are now almost twice as many as there ...

Pro Sports Leagues Hit Hard by Covid Outbreaks Should Halt Play

Sports
In the midst of a new wave of coronavirus infections sweeping the globe, sports officials are scrambling to figure out how to keep their seasons going with schedules intact, to maintain the normal churn of competition and revenue.They shouldn’t dither with such foolishness.It’s time to press pause on games, matches and meets. If we’re genuinely interested in public health, genuinely invested in slowing the virus and saving lives, we need to look at the storm that has gathered and take shelter from it.Come back in February, or later. By then, if we play this right and we’ve collectively worked to slow the spread and proliferation of variants, we can get back to the games. Only this time with a renewed sense of diligence and tighter restrictions.There’s an inescapable feeling of déjà vu righ...
Champions League Repeats Its Draw After a ‘Technical Problem’

Champions League Repeats Its Draw After a ‘Technical Problem’

Sports
They drew the Champions League round of 16 on Monday, and set up a mouthwatering match between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.Then they drew it again, and that match was gone.A “technical problem” meant that the Champions League was redrawn, leading to mostly new matchups — easier for some, harder for others — and shattering fans’ dreams of Paris St.-Germain vs. Manchester United.After the initial draw, fans and teams began posting on social media hyping the matchups. But in the end, only one of those games will happen. Three hours later, officials reconvened to draw the teams again.In the initial draw, Manchester United was first matched with Villarreal. But those teams had met in the group stage, so a new name was pulled, giving Villarreal a match against Manchester City instead.At t...
French Soccer Wrestles Surge in Stadium Violence

French Soccer Wrestles Surge in Stadium Violence

Sports
Only 3 minutes 54 seconds into the match, Dimitri Payet jogged gingerly toward the corner flag at Groupama Stadium. The game between his team, Marseille, and the host, Lyon, was young and still formless. There had been no goals. There had barely been time for a chance. Everybody, fans and players alike, was still settling in.In the stands above him, Wilfried Serriere, 32, a food delivery driver, looked down and saw a half-liter bottle of water at his feet. It was full. Payet was placing the ball for a corner. His back was turned. In images captured by the stadium’s security cameras and later played in a courtroom, Serriere can be seen picking up the bottle, lowering his hood, and throwing it.A beat later, Payet fell to the grass, clutching his face. The bottle had caught him flush on the c...

NYCFC Played the Long Game to Reach MLS Cup

Sports
PORTLAND, Ore. — The road, New York City Football Club executives said as far back as 2015, was always supposed to lead here, to big moments, to finals, to trophies. That, they said, was always the plan.Those who haven’t paid close attention to New York City F.C.’s roster evolution the past few years might not have seen the plan quite so clearly, and so they might be surprised to scan the Manchester City-backed team’s roster ahead of the M.L.S. Cup final on Saturday against the Portland Timbers. There are no longer any Andrea Pirlos, no Frank Lampards, no David Villas in N.Y.C.F.C.’s squad — the kind of boldfaced European imports that once gave the team a flash of star power in its early years of existence.Instead, the team’s run to its first berth in Major League Soccer’s championship gam...