Top Stories

Monday Ticker: FIFA extends lifetime bans of Salvadorean players; Egypt FA guarantees Ghana safety; and more

El Salvador

Photo by


FIFA sent a strong message across the globe on Monday to players who are found guilty of match-fixing.

The world soccer governing body announced that they had extended the lifetime bans to 14 players from the El Salvador Football Federation (FESFUT) worldwide, meaning that the suspended players cannot be involved in soccer anywhere around the globe at the professional level. FIFA also extended the bans to two additional players who were given temporary suspensions for 18 months and six months, respectively.

Included in that group of banned players were a number of former Major League Soccer players including Alfredo Pacheco (New York Red Bulls), Osael Romero (Chivas USA), Ramon Sanchez (San Jose Earthquakes), and Christian Castillo (D.C. United).

This news follows a new release last Thursday from FESFUT that found a further two players guilty of either taking part or knowing about a case of match-fixing and doing nothing. Goalkeeper Benji Villalobos was suspended for six months while the star of this past Gold Cup for El Salvador, Rodolfo Zelaya, has been banned for one year. FIFA have yet to announce whether these bans are also extended worldwide.

Here are some more stories from around the world of soccer:


In response to a letter from the Ghanian FA to FIFA about their worry over the Ghanian National Team in Egypt, the Egyptian FA has released a statement saying that they have a security plan in place to keep everyone involved safe.

FIFA last week gave Egypt a deadline of October 28 to ensure that the Ghanian National Team will be safe when they travel to Egypt for the two nations’ second-leg encounter in the final round of African World Cup qualifying on November 19. If Egypt is unable to ensure safety, FIFA would move the match to a different venue, potentially in another country.

“Egypt is a safe nation and life goes on as normal across the country,” The Egyptian FA said in a statement via Reuters. “We have a definite security plan for the Ghana crew before and after the game, as well as for the security of FIFA members (referees and officials).”

The Ghanian FA wrote to FIFA about their worries about the team’s safety in Cairo, where the match is set to be held, after recent rioting saw more than 50 people die in clashes between protesters and police. The Egyptian and Ghanian teams are currently in Kumasi, Ghana ahead of their first-leg match on Tuesday.


Since trialing with both D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls this summer, Mike Grella had remained without a club. Until Monday, that is.

Danish club Viborg FF announced on their website that they had signed the former Duke forward on a contract through the end of the calendar year after training with the club for the last 14 days. The American forward, who also holds an Italian passport, last played for Scunthorpe United in England’s League One.

“Mike Grella has proven himself in training and did well in a couple of reserve team matches,” Viborg CEO Morten Jensen said in a statement on the club’s website. “Therefore we wanted to sign him for the rest of the year. It will give him a better chance to show what he can do when he’s in good shape and then we will at that time decide the way forward.”

Last season at Scunthorpe, Grella struggled throughout scoring just twice in 29 appearances in all competitions.


20-year-old Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha is preparing to ask for a loan away from the club in order to find some regular playing time. (REPORT)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane has called for the FA of Ireland to appoint a no-nonsense head coach to be the nation’s next manager. (REPORT)

France Football Federation President Noel Le Graet said on a radio program that he will contact FIFA over what he calls an “unfair” seeding system ahead of the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs. (REPORT)

Arsenal academy member and former Bethesda, Maryland resident Gedion Zelalem was sent a message on Twitter by the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, saying that he’s welcome to represent them in the future, despite Zelalem currently in the Germany youth system. (REPORT)

FIFA announced on Monday that Zimbabwe international Devon Chafa has been banned for six months after failing a drug test. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Did you expect FIFA to extend the lifetime bans? Do you believe Egypt really can guarantee Ghana safety in Cairo? Do you see Grella finding success in Denmark?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Still don’t know why Zelaya isn’t in MLS. Unclear if the ban is worldwide…so why wouldn’t an MLS team pick him up on the cheap and stash him for a year? (or maybe he can play in MLS after all?)

  2. The safety of Ghana will be taken seriously. There will be heavy security and unless there’s something I don’t know, the Ghana bus should be safe going to and from the hotel to the stadium and back again.

    In many ways, I suspect it will be the best behaved Egypt soccer audience in years. After all, their domestic league was suspended. So they may want to prove they can have their league back.

    Everything is good.

  3. Such a shame about Zelaya, such a talented player who in my opinion could have been a good starting forward in the MLS. Would have driven the Salvadoran community in droves had he landed with D.C. United or the Galaxy.

  4. Yes, because everybody know’s the real problem with Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland was that it took too much fancy pants nonsense from other teams and played such frivolously detailed football. Trapattoni himself was so well known for his bland and milquetoast personality.

    I love ya Robbie, but that is the most inane suggestion I’ve heard all day (excluding the Winter MLS schedule).

    • When I read that quote from Keane, I thought the same thing, I thought Trappatoni was all business as well.
      Maybe there was some behind the scenes stuff going on.

  5. “France Football Federation President Noel Le Graet said on a radio program that he will contact FIFA over what he calls an “unfair” seeding system ahead of the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs.”

    [spew] That is one _very_ short memory!

  6. The question is very simple and straight forward one and that’s why has Egypt played all their matches behind closed door but wants to play only Ghana with its supporters? Egypt and for that matter Cairo is banana state and anything can happen which can be devastating to say the least!! FIFA needs to rethink and see that in Cairo the safety of its crew is not 100% guarantee!! Is better late than never!!!

  7. I know the details — and the governing bodies — are different, but why do these players get lifetime bans when this seems happen every few years in Italy and the guilty parties get banned for a time and then return?

    • I was thinking the same thing. I could be wrong but I don’t recall anyone from Juventus being banned for life or anyone in the lower divisions or anyone from Spain forthat matter. “Making an example” of players/officials at a team like Juventus might go a bit farther than in a tiny nation like El Salvador. It might even show that FIFA is some what serious, egalitarian and in posession of balls.

      • The players from Juventus weren’t involved in the scandal, it was the club executives who were influencing referees to call games with certain baises. Which is different than players outright throwing games.
        Now if they didn’t receive lifetime bans, I agree they should. But I applaud the bans. If harsh punishments are not doled out, these silent arms of corruption will continue to erode the integrity of the sport.

  8. what kind of game does Grella have- is he more of a poacher who lost his knack, or a target-type who hasnt seen any real service lately?

  9. Salvadoran*
    Good, I didn’t understand how they were banned yet still playing in Europe (Turcios).
    Shame about zelaya, practically killed his career.

  10. The Egypt situation is a tough one. Everyone wants the Ghanaian players to be safe, but I think most American fans are rooting for Egypt for obvious reasons, so the home field advantage is key. Let’s hope Egyptian security is tight and another coup doesn’t begin right before kick off.


Leave a Comment