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Mid-Day Ticker: Di Matteo gets Chelsea job, UEFA punishes Russia and more

DiMatteo (Getty Images)

Roberto Di Matteo was just supposed to steady the ship for Chelsea and stabilize things until a new, big-name manager was brought in to bring the club back to the European spotlight. Instead, the interim boss guided the Blues to the UEFA Champions League title and FA Cup title and has been rewarded with the job on a permanent basis.

Chelsea ended speculation about Di Matteo's future by signing him to a two-year deal on Wednesday. Di Matteo, a former West Brom manager, was an assistant under Andre Villas-Boas before taking over for the young Portuguese coach when he was fired for a series of poor results. Di Matteo's ability to turn things around drastically for the club earned him a chance to stay on for the foreseeable future, despite stories that suggested Chelsea were after former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

"Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanized the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work," Chelsea executive Ron Gourlay said in a club statement. "We all believed he was a young coach with much to offer when we first asked him to take charge of team affairs in March and the manner in which he worked with us, the players and all the staff, and the success that followed, made him the clear choice when it came to selecting the person to take us forward in the seasons to come."

Here are a few more stories to keep your day going:


Russia's supporters have cost the national team both financially and in its quest to qualify for the 2016 European championship.

Fan violence prompted UEFA to fine Russia €120,000 and dock the Russians six points ahead of qualifying for the next Euro tournament, a decision that the Russian federation has three days to appeal. In addition to the march to Tuesday's match against Poland that turned violent and resulted in 183 arrests and dozens of injuries, Russians fans drew negative attention for throwing fireworks and displaying offensive banners at Friday's match against the Czech Republic.


Sky Sports will be the leading provider of Premier League television coverage in the United Kingdom between 2013 and 2016, but doing so comes at quite the cost.

Sky reportedly spent more than £3 billion for the UK broadcast rights for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, out-bidding ESPN in the process. The two currently share the Premier League broadcast rights.

As for the new Premier League deal for rights in the United States, it has yet to be announced.


Former Denmark star Michael Laudrup is set to replace Brendan Rodgers as coach of Swansea City, according to reports from England.

Laudrup, 47, has been a manager on the club level since 2002 and was most recently at the helm of Mallorca. Rodgers left Swansea City to replace the ousted Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool after guiding the Swans to the Premier League and then keeping them in the top flight with a mid-table finish.


Think Chelsea made the right choice by giving Di Matteo the job? What do you make of Russia's punishment? What do you think of the price tag for the UK Premier League rights? Think Laudrup is a good hire for Swansea City?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The punishment is way over the top considering the amount of damage England caused in major tournaments. And the small punishments they received.

  2. No, this was specifically for the violence against security personnel after the Czech game.

    The arrests were mostly during a march before the Poland game.

    How do we even know those assaults were by Russian fans? And how is it remotely reasonable to hold the Russian team responsible for a relatively small number of unorganized actions?

    I don’t know what should be done. UEFA could ban those individuals (if they were arrested) from attendance, I suppose.

  3. The points are really just symbolic. Euro is expanding to 24 teams in 2016, that’s almost half the federation. And there are 13 teams with no shot. Faroe Islands, anyone? San Marino? Luxembourg? Lichtenstein? Malta? Israel? (ok, Israel has an outside chance) so there are really 40 teams competing for 24 spots. Russia, even down 6 points, should have no problem.

  4. “If I hate the Russian team, all I have to do is shout something in Russian and hit a security guard, and Russia will forfeit points?” There have been hundreds of arrests at this point with the above mentioned nationalist offensive banner displayed over much of the Russian fan section. On top of that there were racist chants for during the Czech game. This was well deserved.

  5. They are punishing the RMNT. Who else can UEFA punish? They can’t file charges against those fans. The best UEFA can do is take steps to make sure those fans have no reason to be at the next Euro Cup – by making qualification difficult or impossible.

    Frankly, I think this is a good move. If you threaten the Russian FA and the fans with a de facto ban, they might be motivated to act differently.

  6. If the Russian FA somehow facilitated or instigated the fan behavior, then of course it would be warranted. I didn’t sound that way, though. Sounds like they’re punishing the Russian MNT for “guilt by association.”

  7. Just read that was the decision for their actions during the Czech game. Investigation is underway for what transpired during the Poland/Russia game and both federations are being looked at…

    Can you say 15 point deduction for Russia for both events and maybe 9 points for Poland?

    It sucks for the fans who behaved well, which is the vast majority of them, but maybe it will teach the Polish and Russian Federations to gain better control of their domestic leagues because there’s no doubt these ‘fans’ hone their skills there.

  8. If that is the punishment for what happened surround the Czech Republic game…I can’t imagine what’s coming for the Poland/Russia game, to both sides. Or does this take that into account?

    I think it’s awesome that it’s not just a financial fine, but a docking of points. That’s the way to really hit the federation and their moronic fans where it hurts. Better live it up now, because 6 points down heading into 2016 qualification? Russia may qualify just ahead of Latvia and just behind Albania, you get what you deserve.

  9. I’m troubled by the Russia penalties. Dangerous precedent. There is an obvious problem with assessing accountability or responsibility here.

    How is the Russian MNT responsible for what the fans do? They MAY be able to somewhat influence behavior with PR announcements or something, but even that is a stretch. In all likelihood, we are talking about a small percentage of Russian fans. The Russian team or federation is not responsible for the behavior of every single moron who claims to be a fan.

    Also, a hypothetical situation. If I hate the Russian team, all I have to do is shout something in Russian and hit a security guard, and Russia will forfeit points?

  10. Oh yes, lots of history behind that banner: in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was at the height of its geopolitical power. As Jonathan Wilson points out over at SI, the banner depicts “the warrior prince Dmitry Pozharsky, who led the Russian resistance to Polish-Lithuanian rule in the early 17th century.”

    So far, the banner would seem like innocent enough heckling, but in the late 18th century, Russia (along w/Germany and Prussia) partitioned Poland three times, resulting in the loss of Polish independence.

    All of this is without getting into the 20th century history between these two countries. Suffice it to say, a bunch of uber-nationalist fans from a country that’s making imperialist threats (just ask folks in the Ukraine) bringing a banner into the stadium of an equally uber-nationalist host nation, a banner that declares “This” (i.e. this place that we’re in, right now) “is Russia.” I’m honestly surprised the violence didn’t get more out of hand.

  11. “Roberto Di Matteo was just supposed to steady the ship for Chelsea and stabilize things until a new, big-name manager was brought in to bring the club back to the European spotlight.”

    Well deserved but it’ll be short lived.

    I think it still means he’s only stabilizing until a new, big-name manager is brought it, i.e. Pep.

    No team has ever won back to back CL’s and even if Matteo wins the PL, which they won’t, I can still see him being passed over.

  12. Well deserved, but I’m betting he only lasts for a year before the get Pep Guardiola. The way Chelsea operates, di Matteo will be fortunate to last the entire season no matter how much success he has.

  13. considering that Russia has subjugated Poland for centuries in the past, it was definitely a political statement and not a “this is sparta” rallying cry

  14. The “This Is Russia” banner wasn’t considered offensive? I’ve got no skin the the Russia/Poland political game, and I found it horrible. WWII ended 67 years ago.


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