Tuesday Kickoff: UEFA agrees to cut fixture dates, Gomez set to start and more

Tuesday Kickoff: UEFA agrees to cut fixture dates, Gomez set to start and more

International Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: UEFA agrees to cut fixture dates, Gomez set to start and more

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European clubs and UEFA have come to an agreement that would alter the international calendar significantly.

Under the new agreement, which has yet to be approved by FIFA, the number of international matches would be reduced from 12 a year to an average of nine per year over the course of a two-year period. The nine-match figure is a compromise after clubs were hoping to cut the current number in half to have only six fixture dates per year. 

Among the fixture dates that would be cut under the new agreement would be one-game fixture windows, such as the one happening this week, and the one in August, which has long been scrutinized for its timing.

Another development to come out of the European Club Association general assembly is that starting with Euro 2012, UEFA will take out insurance to cover the salary of players hurt on international duty while increasing payment to clubs for releasing their players for the competition. 

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

GOMEZ IN LINE FOR MORE MINUTES

Herculez Gomez is in line for an upward tick in playing time after an injury to one of Santos Laguna's starting forwards.

Darwin Quintero has a left leg injury and has been ruled out for the next 2-to-3 weeks, paving the way for Gomez to claim his spot in the starting lineup. Gomez is coming off his most active game for his new club this season, playing 45 minutes, scoring a goal but also missing a late penalty kick in a 2-1 loss in to Chivas de Guadalajara over the weekend.

The injury also means that Gomez could potentially be starting for both legs of Santos Laguna's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie with the Seattle Sounders, including the March 7 first leg in Seattle.

GRELLA SIGNS WITH BURY

Mike Grella's odyssey through the lower tiers of English soccer continues.

The former Duke University standout signed with Bury FC of League One, his latest stop on the search for club stability. Grella, who had his deal with League One side Brentford terminated a couple of weeks ago by mutual consent, will be with the Shakers through the end of the season. It will be the American forward's third club in the last two years, after moving from Leeds United to Brentford last year. He had also had loan spells with Carlisle United and Swindon Town over the last two years. 

Grella will be eligible to debut for his new club on Tuesday, when Bury hosts Hartlepool United.

BENT LIKELY OUT FOR SEASON, EURO 2012

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent's injured ankle may cost him the rest of the Premier League season and a place in England's squad for Euro 2012.

Bent tore ligaments in his left ankle and has been ruled out for the next three months, a timetable that would have him cleared to play soon before the start of the European championship.

England was already shorthanded at striker for the tournament, with Wayne Rooney being suspended for the first two matches. Bent's absence likely puts more pressure on up-and-coming strikers Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge to perform on the big stage.

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What do you think of the potential changes to the international calendar? Hope Gomez gets a chance to start in the CCL? What's your take on Grella's latest move? Think Bent's injury is a big blow to England's chances this summer? 

Share your thoughts below.

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