Perform expands growing operation by clinching Opta deal


July 4 – The growing desirability and influence of sports statistics has been underlined by the Perform digital media group agreeing to buy Opta Sports Data for over £40 million ($60 million). The deal is conditional on a successful £120m fundraising. Opta offers statistical information and player performance data from football leagues in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands to media clients and clubs themselves.

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adidas gets shirty after Götze springs an unpleasant surprise

Mario Gotze

By Mark Baber
July 3 – adidas is to Bayern, as the Oktoberfest is to Munich, whilst Nike are adidas’ main competitor in the global soccer apparel market, having consolidated that position with the sponsorship of the England, French and Brazilian national sides. So adidas officials were not amused when, at the official unveiling of his new adidas Bayern Munich shirt in Munich, Bayern’s new 37-million-euro man, Mario Götze wore a T-Shirt featuring a giant Nike Swoosh logo.

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UEFA expands blood tests to club competitions

blood tests

By Andrew Warshaw
July 4 – UEFA have given more details of their plans to introduce blood tests for players in their two main club competitions, first announced in May. Until now UEFA has only conducted blood tests at international tournaments – Euro 2008 and 2012 – but from this month the detection regime is to be extended to the Champions League and Europa League. Checks will be made during and out of competition and players may be asked at routine doping controls to give urine samples,

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Italian football pays tribute to Borgonovo: Applause and tears at the funeral

Stefano Borgonovo

July 2 – Italian football yesterday paid an emotional tribute to Stefano Borgonovo, who died last Thursday after a battle against ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) aged 49. His funeral in his home town of Guissano was attended by representatives from across the sport including his closest friend from his days at Fiorentina, Roberto Baggio, but also Paolo Maldini, Arrigo Sacchi, Juventus CEO Marotta and many well-known faces who formed part of the cheerful striker’s all-too-short life.

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Bulgarian arrests as angry CSKA fans march on FA offices

Bulgarian FA building

By Andrew Warshaw
July 1 – Fifteen CSKA fans have been detained after an attack on the headquarters of the Bulgarian FA in protest at the debt-ridden club facing the prospect of being plunged into obscurity. CSKA will play in the amateur championship next season if they fail to merge with another first division club in time for the start of the Bulgarian league on July 20.

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Cypriots close to ‘burying the hatchet’, and not in each other


By Andrew Warshaw
June 28 – Turkish Cypriot football officials believe their landmark talks with the Greek side aimed at unifying football on the politically divided island should move a vital step forward by the end of August. That’s when both bodies hope to have secured enough common ground to finally request FIFA to meet them after months of tortuous negotiations over a draft agreement.

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Obituary: ‘B2’ striker Borgonovo dies, aged 49

StefanoBorgonovoBookLaunchCZe4T C6Z4Tl

By Paul Nicholson
June 28 – Stefano Borgonovo died yesterday in Florence, Italy, aged 49. Borgonovo had fought ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a rare disease which kills nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain in the latter years of his life. His life will be remembered for his humility and grace in his battle against ALS, as well as for his style and potency on the football pitch.

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Granada shakes off tax debt, but Xerex hit rock bottom


By Gareth Messenger
June 27 – Good news, bad news in Spain. During the launch of the club’s new season ticket drive this week, Spanish Primera club Granada announced that within the coming days they will be clearing all outstanding tax debt. At the same time Xerex, relegated from Segunda B, missed payments to the Spanish taxman and moved a step closer to bankruptcy.

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UEFA confident France will have no problems delivering 2016 stadia


June 27 – UEFA is convinced France will be ready to stage Euro 2016 even though a good deal of the necessary stadium construction has yet to get under way. At a news conference to unveil the 2016 tournament logo, both UEFA president Michel Platini and his number two Gianni Infantino shrugged off any doubts about the tournament stadia, the first tournament to comprise 24 teams, not being ready on time.

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