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Friday Kickoff: Del Bosque to step down in 2016; Judge promises FIFA report overview; and more

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Photo by Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports



The Vicente Del Bosque era is set to end in 2016.

The Spanish manager, who led Spain to a World Cup triumph and two European Championships, has confirmed that he is set to step down following Euro 2016 in France.

“In life you cannot be absolutely sure about anything but it is my intention to continue until France 2016 and then leave,” Del Bosque said. “In my case, the federation will make a smooth transition and my plan is to remain involved in football and with the federation.”

Del Bosque, whose reign of dominance with Spain came crashing to a halt with a group stage exit at this past summer’s World Cup, has seen stars Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa retire from the international game in recent months, signaling the start of a new era in Spain.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Friday morning:


Despite all of the reported outcry, FIFA have remained adamantly against the publishing of reports concerning the bidding process of the 2018-22 World Cup. However, the judge in charge of the findings has revealed that parts of the reports are set to surface.

Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chair of the adjudicatory arm of Fifa’s ethics committee, has revealed that an overview of the reports are set to come to light next month.

“The statement will contain an overview of the investigation report, a summary of the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report, as well as a brief evaluation of the same,” Eckert said.

Eckert continued by saying that publishing the full report would be illegal due to the findings involved.

“Publishing the report in full would actually put the FIFA ethics committee and FIFA itself in a very difficult situation legally,” Eckert said. “What is more, we have to respect the personal rights of the people mentioned in the report, which in the case of full publication of the report would in all likelihood not be possible.”


The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has left many fearful of the upcoming African Nations Cup, including Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp.

With qualifying games still being played, Klopp voiced his concern Thursday in regards to the upcoming tournament, which host country Morocco has attempted to have postponed.

“I’m very concerned about Ebola,” Klopp said. “I understand that politics shouldn’t influence sports, but recently there have been a few things to worry about. If a country has the feeling that they can’t stage the tournament because of this, you have to take that seriously. You can’t just say: ‘It doesn’t matter, nothing will happen.’

“There will be a lot of fans in the stadiums, and only a few of those [stadiums] will have the maximum medical controls.”

Klopp also revealed that he has talked to BVB forward and Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng about taking proper precautions during qualifiers.

“Young people are oblivious — they worry about such things less,” Klopp said of the forward. “Certainly, that promotes the quality of life. But we must not close our eyes.”


Months after being criticized following Italy’s disapointing exit from the World Cup, Mario Balotelli has finally voiced his opinion.

The Italian forward, who scored one goal in three World Cup games, has hit out at former Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, who publicly criticized Balotelli’s play during this past summer’s tournament.

“Real men, if they have something to say, then they come to you and say it to your face,” Balotelli said. “I am a face-to-face person, a straight person. Prandelli said bad stuff about me. Should he be going and talking to the newspapers about me straight after a game? I did not expect that and I did not reply, because there is no point.

“I have to be honest and say I was disappointed at what people were saying and how they were blaming me after the World Cup. I think I had two, maybe three chances all tournament. Everyone knows I scored against England, but I couldn’t do much else.”

Balotelli’s recent form has seen the Liverpool omitted from the Italy squads of new manager Antonio Conte. Despite missing out on international action, Balotelli understands the decisions of his new Italy manager.

“I understand why I am not in the squad,” Balotelli said. “I haven’t been scoring, but players like [Graziano] Pelle and the other strikers have been. So they deserve to be there, but I love Italy and nobody can ever say anything about my national team.”


Paris Saint-Germain centerback Thiago Silva will miss this weekend’s meeting with Lens after missing time since August due to a hamstring injury. (REPORT)

Hamburg forward Rafael van der Vaart is hoping to secure a move to an Italian club next summer. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund midfielders Marco Reus and Iker Gundogan could be set to return for the club’s matchup with Cologne Saturday. (REPORT)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling has been “hung out to dry” by England manager Roy Hodgson. (REPORT)

Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal will miss this weekend’s meeting with Sassuolo due to injury. (REPORT)

Where do you rank Del Bosque among international soccer’s top all-time managers? What do you expect to see in next month’s report overview? How should teams handle next month’s Africa Nations Cup? What do you think of Balotelli’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “Publishing the report in full would actually put the FIFA ethics committee and FIFA itself in a very difficult situation legally,” Eckert said. “What is more, we have to respect the personal rights of the people mentioned in the report, which in the case of full publication of the report would in all likelihood not be possible.” TRANSLATION: If the full report is published, certain folks might end being prosecuted for taking bribes.

    • Exactly. If an organization doesn’t want to publish a report on itself, we can assume guilt.

      Rather than write a whole synopsis, just redact parts of it or names, give us the meat though. Not their own PR spun synopsis.

    • It’s actually quite awesome. The guy more or less says it directly and scarcely makes an effort to hide anything . To paraphrase: “We’re not publishing it because it explicitly reveals our many misdeeds and that could be expensive”.

      Ballsy. Might as well have dropped the microphone, belched loudly and punched an orphan, before walking out into a waiting limousine

  2. Legal question for any lawyers out there. When the judge says that the full FIFA report cannot be released due to its naming names, why is that? If there are findings of wrongdoing, why not name names. If there are no findings of wrongdoing, would’t the people involved want their names cleared?

    My fear is that the truncated report from FIFA will be all sunshine and rainbows, which will be built by slaves, of course.

    • My guess is that they’re afraid of civil defamation suits and such from the people who are exposed, not anything criminal. Typical FIFA @$$-covering behavior.

    • Oh, I guess they could also be worried that if people are criminally charged with taking bribes, that FIFA itself would be implicated in a conspiracy. They’d probably be able to crawl out of that just fine, but they’d probably rather not deal with the hassle.

    • Depending on how the investigation was run there may be aspects that were discussed “Off the Record” or without the equivalent of the US’s Miranda. There could have also been an agreement of confidentiality between the investigators, FIFA, and those who were interviewed. International Law is a very complicated thing.

      That being said, a proper “Overview” of the report could & should reflect the findngs of the report…Bribes were OR were not offered/received in connection with the bid process of Russia or Qatar, without naming names of individuals or confederations.

    • Calling Mr Eckert a “Judge” in this context is really a bit misleading. While he is indeed a judge in the German penal court system, the fact is — in this role — he is simply the presiding officer in a FIFA ethics committee proceeding. There is no independent body or “court” here…. this is just more “FIFA justice, as delivered by FIFA”


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