Grygoriy Surkis, president of the Ukraine soccer body, said the racism threat was overblown in Ukraine and urged everyone to turn their attention from politics to sports.
“There can be individual cases of racism in Ukraine stadiums and that needs to be stopped,” Surkis said Tuesday. “But it is important we focus on the most important thing – football … We should not keep talking about racism in Ukrainian football. The tournament is about football, not politics.”
And the bad news doesn’t end there. Italian striker Antonio Cassano is under fire after making homophobic remarks recently. The AC Milan player recently used an “offensive term to describe any gay players who may be in the Azzurri squad.” Now, an Italian gay rights association is lashing out at Cassano, and I can’t blame them. Nothing like this should be tolerated in the game at all.
Speaking of new managers, Barcelona has locked in one as well. Tito Vilanova has been given the very huge task of coaching the Spanish giants, filling the shoes left by former manager Pep Guardiola. Vilanova has signed a two-year contract.
Major League Soccer
MLS is back this weekend!!! And as if you couldn’t forget, the disciplinary committee has made sure to remind everyone they are present after suspended San Jose Earthquakes keeper Jon Busch. He’s gone for one game and fined and ‘undisclosed amount for aggressively retrieving a ball in second-half stoppage time’ during the match against Sporting KC May 27. Can I say that I’m getting a little tired of the retro banning?
MLS wasn’t without their manager drama as well during the international break. During a press conference yesterday, Philadelphia Union kicked out Peter Nowak and replaced him with John Hackworth. Can’t say that I’m exactly surprised as the Union coach had been making some questionable moves this season and his team isn’t fairing too well.
Here’s an interesting tid bid of info. One of Manchester United’s coaches – Rene Meulensteen said recently the club “extensively scouts Major League Soccer as the team believes the competition level of the league is very respectable.” I think that’s very encouraging for a league many say is horrible and has no standing whatsoever.
Oh, USMNT. The World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala Tuesday was pretty much what some of us were expecting – chippy, fast and gut wrenching. Grant Wahl made three good points about the team and the game. And look for a little piece from me soon!