Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

International Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

Guzan (Getty Images)


By JOHN BOSCHINI

Brad Guzan has a decision to make.

The U.S. national team and Aston Villa backup goalkeeper has been offered a contract extension by the English club, but a lack of playing time behind Shay Given could encourage him to move elsewhere. Villa manager Alex McLeish was impressed with Guzan during his seven Premier League starts earlier in the year, when Given was injured.

McLeish also said he understands that the American needs to "mull it over" before making any decisions. Guzan, 27, moved to Villa in 2008 but has struggled to get off the bench, backing up Brad Friedel for three years prior to Given's arrival. He had a successful two-month loan spell at Hull City last winter as well.

Guzan's current deal runs out at the end of the season, and the terms of the proposed extension have not been disclosed. He was welcomed back into the U.S. set-up for the national team's friendly with Italy on Wednesday — though he was not in uniform for the match — marking a return after a long international absence.

Here are some stories to kick off your Thursday:

BAHRAIN UNDER INVESTIGATION FOLLOWING BLOWOUT

Bahrain's 10-0 victory over Indonesia in Wednesday's Asian World Cup qualifier is under investigation, FIFA confirmed today. Suspicions were raised about the result when Bahrain had momentarily overturned a nine-goal deficit to Qatar to give themselves a chance to advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying. Qatar scored a late equalizer against Iran, though, to make the game effectively meaningless.

FIFA cautioned that this was a "routine examination" based on the extreme scoreline, the need for Bahrain to achieve such a lopsided victory and the two team's previous head-to-head results. The Indonesian side was largely inexperienced with several veterans banned as Indonesia suffers from internal divisions in its domestic league.

Starting goalkeeper Samsidar was sent off after four minutes and Indonesia had to finish the game with 10 men. They finished last in Group E with a -23 goal differential in six games.

CONGRESSIONAL VOTE DELAYS KEY WORLD CUP VOTE

Another clash between the Brazilian government and FIFA over regulatory powers for the 2014 World Cup have delayed preparations even further.

A Brazilian congressional committee has pushed back a vote on a bill that sets the legal parameters for FIFA's power in regards to planning their showpiece event. The main sticking point is FIFA's demand that beer be sold inside stadiums during World Cup games. Alcohol sales have been banned at Brazilian soccer stadiums for years.

The bill must first be approved by a congressional committee, which probably won't vote until at least next week. If approved, the bill must pass both houses of congress and be approved by President Dilma Rousseff.

UNITED RETAIN BERBATOV FOR ANOTHER YEAR

Manchester United have exercised an option on striker Dimitar Berbatov's contract that should keep the striker at Old Trafford for another season. Berbatov, 31, has fallen down the depth chart in his five seasons at United and is thought to be looking for a move.

Manchester United can still sell the Bulgarian in the summer window. This move simply ensures that Berbatov can not walk away for free at the end of the season.

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Do you think Guzan should accept the deal and stay at Villa? Are you suspicious of the Bahrain result? Fed up with Brazil dragging their feet with FIFA or is FIFA asking for too much power? Think Berbatov can still get it done for United?

Share your thoughts below.

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