FIFA should start promoting 2018 Russia World Cup more actively

By involving star footballers and advertising it during qualifying matches ahead of the tournament

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World governing body FIFA should start promoting FIFA World Cup 2018 more actively by involving star footballers and advertising it during qualifying matches ahead of the tournament, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with FIFA President Gianni Infantino here on Friday, reports Sputnik.

But Mutko said before the meeting that they expect FIFA to start its preparations to reach a global audience. Read More

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AC Milan may get a Chinese touch

AC Milan may get a Chinese touch

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Chinese dealmaker Sonny Wu, whose business holdings span renewable energy and lighting, is leading the proposed takeover of storied Italian soccer team AC Milan, people in the know said.

Wu’s private equity firm GSR Capital is the main investor in the consortium that is in advanced talks to buy AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest S.p.A, according to the people. The Chinese businessman, who led two failed attempts to buy Royal Philips NV assets in the last 18 months, is valuing the soccer club at about 750 million euros ($825 million) including debt, one of the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private.

Steven Zheng, a Chinese businessman with solar power interests, is also part of the buyer group, the people said. The deal will involve new sponsorship agreements with the seven-time European champion, according to one of the people. Berlusconi, the former Italian premier, said this month he had reached a deal in principle with the Chinese consortium without identifying its makeup. Read More

Nike beats Adidas 2-0 in Euro 2016 finals

Nike beats Adidas 2-0 in Euro 2016 finals

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For the first time in three decades of modern sports sponsorship, Adidas won’t have a team playing in the European Championship final. Even worse: when host France and Portugalmeet on Sunday in Paris, everyone will be wearing jerseys emblazoned with Nike and its ubiquitous swoosh.

The two have battled in the $5 billion global soccer market since the 1990s. And nothing is more attractive to them as top national and club team jerseys Read More

Messi sentenced to twenty-one months for tax fraud

Messi sentenced to twenty-one months for tax fraud

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A court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced Barcelona’s star striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud and slapped them with a fine of Euro 3.7 million ($4.1 million).

But these prison sentences are likely to be suspended, as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.

The Barcelona court found the Argentina international and his father Jorge Horacio Messi guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on Euro 4.16 million of Messi’s income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.

The income related to Messi’s image rights that was allegedly hidden includes endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble or the Kuwait Food Company.

Messi, 29, a five time Federation Internationale de Football Association World Player winner, was fined Euro 2.09 million, while his father was fined Euro 1.6 million.

They can appeal the decision to Spain’s Supreme Court.

Both Messi and his father, who has managed his son’s affairs since he was a child, were charged with three counts of tax fraud.

Messi told the court during the four-day trial that wrapped up on June 4 that he trusted his father with his finances and “knew nothing” about how his wealth was managed.

Prosecutors had asked for Messi to be absolved, arguing there was no evidence that the player was aware of how his income was managed.

But, the state attorney representing tax authorities in the trial, Mario Maza, said he found it unlikely that Messi knew nothing about the situation.

“There is no deliberate ignorance here, it’s fraud and that’s all there is to it, because he didn’t want to pay his taxes,” he said.

“It’s like a crime boss. At the very top is the bigwig who doesn’t want to know about the details.”

Messi and his father made a voluntary payment of Euro 5.0 million – equal to the amount of the alleged unpaid taxes plus interest – in August 2013 after being formally investigated.

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Chile manager Pizzi labels Messi as ‘the best player of all time’

Chile manager Pizzi labels Messi as ‘the best player of all time’

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Soon after guiding Chile to their second straight Copa America Centenario title, manager Juan Antonio Pizzi has lavished praise on Argentina star striker Lionel Messi and described him as the ‘best player of all time’.

Pizzi’s announcement came right around the same time when Messi was announcing his retirement from international football following his country’s 2-4 defeat at the hands of Chile in Copa America.

Although Messi missed his crucial penalty kick in the final match, Pizzi’s opinion about his fellow countryman remains the same.

Admitting that he admires Messi, Pizzi believes it is very difficult to match the numbers that the Barcelona striker achieved during his career.

“Because I know what it means to value certain numbers and Messi’s numbers are unmatched, and I don’t think they will ever be matched because it’s impossible for a player to find the things that Messi finds,” Pizzi was quoted as saying by Goal.com.

The Chile coach also praised his side’s successful defense of the Copa America title and said that his players helped them to become a strong national team, which can compete even with the best.

After both sides failed to score goal in regulation time and extra time, Chile and Argentina were taken to penalties to decide the winner.

Messi, who was making his 112th appearance for the national side, missed his spot-kick in the dramatic penalty shootout as Argentina lost their fourth major final in nine years.

Before two successive Copa America final defeats by Chile, Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany. Messi’s side had also suffered defeat against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final. Read More