Saturday Kickoff: Sao Paulo stadium behind schedule; Man City, PSG sanctioned; and more

Saturday Kickoff: Sao Paulo stadium behind schedule; Man City, PSG sanctioned; and more

South American Soccer

Saturday Kickoff: Sao Paulo stadium behind schedule; Man City, PSG sanctioned; and more

SaoPauloStadiumItaquerao4-2014 (AP)

By DAN KARELL

The 2014 World Cup will kickoff in an unfinished stadium.

According to a report in the Associated Press, Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium is so far behind schedule that glass panels in the stadium’s roof will not be installed in time by the first kick of a ball at the World Cup. The report states that it was not a FIFA requirement for this aspect of the stadium to be finished in the first place, but it is part of the overall designs.

Construction company Odebrecht said that fans wouldn’t be affected by the missing roof cover though it could mean that fans could feel more of the elements if it rains or is windy. The company also confirmed that the construction would be completed after the World Cup.

Sao Paulo’s stadium has faced a multitude of delays due to three deaths at the work site in the last nine months and issues of work safety. It’s one of three World Cup stadiums that is still unfinished as of now. The Itaquerao will host five games including the opener and a semifinal match.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Saturday:

MAN CITY, PSG SANCTIONED AND FINED HEAVILY BY UEFA FOR FFP FAILURES

They weren’t banned from European competition, but UEFA certainly brought the hammer down on both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for breaching Financial Fair Play protocols.

Man City and PSG earned the strongest punishments from UEFA out of the nine teams that negotiated “settlement agreements.” According to UEFA documents, both Man City and PSG have been fined €60 million each, with €40 million suspended depending on both clubs meeting future financial goals.

The sanctions also include both clubs being only allowed to register a maximum of 21 players instead of the standard 25 for the next three years, though that number can return to 25 if they meet financial criteria. Man City and PSG also must meet a break even deficit in the year ending in 2014 of a €20 million deficit, and a €10 million deficit in 2015.

Both clubs have also agreed to curb transfer spending in the next two seasons, including this summer.

In terms of the €60 million fines, it’s not so much fines as revenue from UEFA competitions withheld.

Other teams sanctioned and fined included Zenit St. Petersburg, Levski Sofia, Galatasaray, and Anji Makhachkala.

FALCAO RETURNS TO TRAINING, UNLIKELY TO MAKE WORLD CUP SQUAD

Radamel Falcao returned late this week to training with AS Monaco, but his hopes to make the World Cup squad could finally be over.

As he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered on Jan. 22, Falcao was included in Colombia’s 30-man preliminary squad for tournament but it always seemed unlikely that he could recover in time to play in the World Cup. L’Equipe reports that a statement from the Colombian National Team medical staff will be made in the coming days and that Falcao has scheduled a press conference in Colombia on Tuesday.

Falcao, 28, scored nine goals in 13 World Cup qualification games including two second half penalty kick goals in a wild 3-3 tie with Chile that qualified Colombia for the World Cup in Brazil.

QUICK KICKS

Inter Milan have decided not to give new contracts to Diego Milito and Estaban Cambiasso, ending their long associations with the club. (REPORT)

Liverpool are looking into signing Southampton defender Dejan Lovren, Bayern Munich midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, and Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand. (REPORT)

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva has admitted that he’d like to return to AC Milan some day. (REPORT)

VfL Wolfsburg are considering making a €30 million bid for AS Roma youngster Mattia Destro. (REPORT)

Sao Paulo head coach Muricy Ramalho said that his squad will not be allowed to visit Disney World on a summer training camp trip in Orlando. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Should the World Cup opener have been moved to a finished stadium? Do you agree with the punishments to PSG and Man City? Do you think they’re too harsh? Not harsh enough?

Share your thoughts below.

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