Friday Kickoff: Malaga hit with UEFA ban, Vilanova has surgery, and more

Friday Kickoff: Malaga hit with UEFA ban, Vilanova has surgery, and more

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Friday Kickoff: Malaga hit with UEFA ban, Vilanova has surgery, and more

Spanish club Malaga is enjoying an outstanding season, both on the league side and in the UEFA Champions League, but they are set to pay the price for the financial problems that plagued them earlier in the year.

UEFA has slapped Malaga with a one-year ban from European club competitions for failing to pay player wages and tax bills on time. The suspension could include a second year if Malaga doesn’t settle all debts by a pre-set deadline. UEFA also issued Malaga a $396,000 fine.

Malaga was one of eight clubs hit with sanctions by FIFA for financial irregularities. Bucharest clubs Dinamo and Rapid, Serbian club Partizan Belgrade, and Hajduk Split and Osijek of Croatia could also face one-year suspensions if they don’t settle their debts by March 31st, 2013. Four of the teams were hit with €100,000, while Hajduk was slapped with a €80,000 fine.

There is plenty going on in the soccer world as we head toward the weekend, so here is a rundown of some of the top stories to get you through your Friday:

Tito Vilanova underwent surgery on Thursday to address the cancer that has returned to his parotid gland, the same area he underwent cancer surgery earlier this year. He is set to undergo six weeks of chemotherapy.

Vilanova has stepped down as Barcelona manager while he undergoes treatment. Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura is expected to take over on an interim basis, though Vilanova could still work with the team in some capacity while he recovers.

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Manchester City is facing some injury issues, with Jack Rodwell and Samir Nasri both sidelined. Rodwell had been expected to be back from a hamstring injury, but a setback has ruled him out until January. Nasri looks set to miss the next two weeks with a groin injury.

A bit of good news for City has manager Roberto Mancini apparently ready to give out-of-favor striker Mario Balotelli a second chance. It looked like Balotelli might be ready to leave the Etihad after a falling out with Mancini, but the two have apparently made up.

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In a tale of two wingers, Arsenal star Theo Walcott remains unsigned while Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling has just completed a new deal with the Reds.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has yet to convince Walcott to reach a new deal, but wasn’t afraid to say he feels Walcott owes it to Arsenal to stick around.

Liverpool avoided any drawn out process with Sterling, inking the 18-year-old winger to a five-year contract.

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Outside of England, Juventus star defender Giorgio Chiellini is set to miss up to three months with a torn calf, a timetable that could rule him out of Juve’s Champions League Round of 16 clash with Celtic.

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What do you think of these developments? See UEFA cracking down on bigger clubs for financial irregularities? Still don’t buy the idea that Financial Fair Play will change things in European soccer? See Barcelona continuing to dominate without their head coach on the sidelines?

Share your thoughts below.

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