International News - Issue 202

Barcelona Banned From Signing Players For A Year
FIFA have handed Barcelona a year-long ban on signing players due to a breach of the governing body's transfer rules. “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) and Spanish club FC Barcelona for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18,” read a statement on Following investigations carried out by the FIFA Transfer Matching System GmbH last year concerning numerous minor players who had participated in various competitions in Spain between 2009 and 2013, it was found that the Spanish and Barcelona board had broken regulations regarding the signing and registration of several under-age players. - Full Story via Kickoff

Chris Hughton guided Norwich to 11th last season but has been sacked with the club one place above the drop zone. Chris Hughton finally paid the price for Norwich City's erratic season when he and his backroom staff were sacked and replaced by the under-18 coach Neil Adams in the aftermath of Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion which left them only a place and five points clear of the relegation zone. - Full Story via The Independent

Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri believes Radamel Falcao could recover in time to represent Colombia at the World Cup, starting on 12 June. The prolific striker has not played since January due to knee ligament damage. "Falcao is incredible," Ranieri said. "He is sharper than before. He's running and it's going well. If he continues like this, I think he'll be able to play for Colombia at the World Cup, but unfortunately not for us before the end of the season." - Full Story via Kickoff Nigeria

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola was gracious in defeat as his side suffered their first League loss of the season as they went down 1-0 at 8th-placed Augsburg. The already-crowned Bundesliga champions were on a 53-match unbeaten League run dating back to October 2012, yet could not find their way back in the game after Sascha Molders gave the hosts the lead in the 3rd minute. “We battled away and tried everything we could, but that’s football, that’s sport,” Guardiola told the club’s official website after the game. - Full Story via Kickoff

Muhsin Ertugral has explained reports linking him with Turkish giants Galatasaray, stating he only ever discussed the setting up of a satellite academy in Germany with Gala president Unal Aysal.  Ertugral’s agent, Tim Sukazi, said something should be signed and sealed towards the end of next week. However, Ertugral insists his role – should it materialize – will have no bearing on the first team, and that he won’t step on the toes of current Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini. - Full Story via Kickoff

Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has warned enigmatic Italy forward Mario Balotelli to change his attitude if he wants to become a world great. The well-travelled forward, who turned out for clubs including Chelsea, Inter, AC Milan and Lazio, feels that Balotelli, renowned for his controversial behaviour both on and off the field, is wasting his talent with his current mental attitude. - Full Story via Kickoff

Spain captain Iker Casiilas has vowed to slap international teammate Sergio Busquets following an incident in last month’s ‘El Classico’. The Barcelona midfielder appeared to stamp on Real Madrid defender Pepe’s face, though Busquets has since denied it was intentional. Pepe has called the Barca man a ‘liar’, and Casillas has now joined in on the war of words, promising to slap Busquets when he next sees him. - Full Story via Kickoff

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech says he is not perturbed by the possible return of Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois to the London club, insisting he will fight for the number one spot for as long as he can. Cech has been a mainstay in between the poles for Chelsea since his arrival in 2004, yet has always faced stiff competition for a starting berth, which he hopes to maintain for as long as his form allows. The moment I feel I am not good enough to play at the highest level I will stop," Cech said. - Full Story via Kickoff

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be out of action for four weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury in his side’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea in their first-leg Champions League quarter-final clash. The Swede went to ground clutching his right hamstring in the 68th minute against the London club, and was substituted soon after. PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi revealed the extent of his star frontman’s injury on Thursday while awaiting the results of his medical tests. - Full Story via Kickoff

Uruguay's Football Association (AUF) is in shambles as the federation’s entire board resigned amid a crisis over violence at football games in the country. The reason for the board’s resignation is a result of the Uruguayan government's decision to withdraw police protection at matches involving two of the country's biggest clubs Peñarol and Nacional, because of violence by their "barras bravas" hardcore fans. “The well-publicised acts that have occurred in recent times show the need for [the board to] step aside and allow other political views to govern our football,” the Uruguayan FA stated in a letter. - Full Story via Kickoff

Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez is out for the rest of the season and possible England World Cup selection with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. The youngster looked to be on course to be selected for England’s World Cup squad for June’s world showpiece in Brazil. He is expected to be ready for action again in October after picking up the injury against Manchester City on Saturday. - Full Story via Kickoff

Steven Gerrard has revealed that West Ham tried every trick in the book to knock Liverpool out of their stride before Sunday’s kick-off at Upton Park. The Reds eventually came through 2-1 thanks to two penalties from captain Gerrard, but the midfielder revealed the Hammers had a game plan that went beyond simply tactics on the field. “It was a very tricky game. We knew what to expect and we got a bit more than we expected – a hot dressing room, a dry pitch and the bus had to park a mile away,” said Gerrard. “I think they tried everything to upset us. It was a good test of character.” - Full Story via Metro