By RYAN TOLMICH
Despite the lack of diversity amongst managers in England’s top leagues, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists that racism is not a factor when it comes to managerial hires.
Days after Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor discussed adopting the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which forces teams to interview minority candidates when a head coaching job opens up, Mourinho revealed Friday that he believes that the cream truly rises to the top, regardless of race.
“There is no racism in football,” Mourinho said. “If you are good, you are good. If you are good, you get the job. If you are good, you prove that you deserve the job.
“Football is not stupid to close the doors to top people. If you are top, you are top.”
Mourinho has taken plenty of flack in response from fans on social media, as Carlisle manager Keith Curle and Huddersfield Town coach Chris Powell are the only black managers in the top four divisions of English soccer, which includes 92 teams.
Here are some more of Friday afternoon’s news and notes:
MESSI SET TO GO TO TRIAL FOR TAX EVASION
The tax evasion controversy that has followed Lionel Messi is set to continue.
The Barcelona star will go on trial after a Spanish judge refused the prosecutors recommendations to drop charges. Messi and his father, Jorge, who was in charge of the forward’s finances, are accused of defrauding the government of roughly $5 million between 2007-09.
“In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity,” the judge said. “Rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them.”
The money that was allegedly left undeclared stems from Messi’s endorsement deals with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.
STURRIDGE SIGNS LONG-TERM EXTENSION WITH LIVERPOOL
When Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge makes his eventual return from injury, he will be doing so with a new contract in hand.
The club announced Friday that they had agreed to a long-term extension with the 25-year-old forward who scored 21 goals last season.
“There are a lot of things I’m happy with how they’ve gone so far, but there is a lot to come. I’ve not shown yet what I can do – what I’m doing is just the start for me,” Sturridge said. “I may have had some good games and scored some goals, but literally this is the beginning in terms of what I can show.
“I don’t feel I’ve shown really what I can do as a footballer. I am looking forward to the hard work, the training, the games and everything – and looking forward to the future.”
In addition to discussing his personal performance, Sturridge also discussed how important it is for the team to keep improving.
“We were so close to success last season and it was a bitter pill to take not winning the league,” Sturridge said, “but that’s just a taster of what the fans will get – but hopefully this time we’ll have the trophies to show for it.
“Everyone is very obsessive in terms of wanting success and being winners. That’s what we are – that’s the Liverpool Way.”
CSKA MOSCOW TO PLAY NEXT THREE EUROPEAN GAMES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
For the third time this year, CSKA Moscow have been punished for the racism of their fans.
UEFA announced Friday that the Russian club will play their next three European games behind closed doors due to the behavior of their fans, who were charged with racial abuse, crowd disturbances and setting off fireworks in a Sept. 17 clash with Roma.
In addition, the club was fined $250,000 and banned from selling tickets to supporters for away matches.
The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA,” the federation said in a statement. “The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the field and in the stands. All forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.”
SEVEN MLS PLAYERS IN CANADA SQUAD FOR OCTOBER FRIENDLY
Seven MLS-based players have accepted a call-up to the Canadian National Team ahead of a friendly match on Oct. 14 against Colombia at Red Bull Arena.
Four Toronto FC players and three Montreal Impact players make up the MLS contingent in the young side, which will be missing veterans Dwayne De Rosario and Patrice Bernier for the match. Kyle Bekker, Doneil Henry, and youngsters Manuel Aparicio and Quillan Roberts join from TFC, while Issey Nakajima-Farran, Karl Ouimette, and Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare have been called from the Impact.
Here’s a closer look at the full 22-man Canada squad.
GOALKEEPERS: Lars Hirschfeld (Valerenga), Milan Borjan (Ludogorets Razgrad), Quillan Roberts (Toronto FC)
DEFENDERS: Nik Ledgerwood (Energie Cottbus), Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé (Impact de Montréal), Andre Hainault (VfR Aalen), Doneil Henry (Toronto FC), Adam Straith (unattached), Karl W. Ouimette (Impact de Montréal), Luca Gasparotto (Glasgow Rangers)
MIDFIELDERS: David Edgar (Birmingham City), Julian de Guzman (unattached), Pedro Pacheco (Santa Clara), Kyle Bekker (Toronto FC), Manuel Aparicio (Toronto FC), Issey Nakajima-Farran (Impact de Montréal), Marcel de Jong (Augsburg), Dylan Carreiro (Dundee), Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton)
FORWARDS: Tosaint Ricketts (Hapoel Haifa), Cyle Larin (University of Connecticut), Marcus Haber (Crewe Alexandra)
Netherlands winger Dirk Kuyt has retired from international soccer after 104 appearances. (REPORT)
Giorgos Karagounis has retired and taken up a new role as the football director of Greece’s national teams. (REPORT)
Everton’s Ross Barkley is set to return to full training after missing the club’s six Premier League games due to injury. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Mourinho’s stance on racism in soccer? How do you see Messi’s tax evasion trial playing out? How many goals do you expect Sturridge to score this season?
Share your thoughts below.