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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 May 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 MAY 2016 25 SPORT New president for UEFA to be elected in September Vice-president and Dutch football chief Michael van Praag to stand for election in Athens UEFA is set to elect a president on 14 September to replace Michel Platini, who was removed by FIFA for accepting a $2 million illegal payment approved by Sepp Blatter. The new president will complete Platini's term, which runs through to March 2019, and become a FIFA vice president. "The 55 national federations would vote at an extraordinary congress in Athens, Greece," UEFA acting general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said. "Because of his FIFA suspension, Platini could be barred from any official function at Euro 2016," which is to be held in his native France from June 10 to July 10. "I never said we're inviting or not inviting [him], but we have to clarify what we can do and what we cannot do. Any decision will follow, and it's not mine," Theodoridis emphasised. Candidates will have until July 20 to put themselves forward for the UEFA presidency. Dutch FA president Michel Van Praag became the first official candidate but others could follow, AP reports. Several UEFA executive committee members, including Wolfgang Niersbach and Allan Hansen, say the 55 national federations will vote during the meeting in Athens. Other possible replacements include Slovenian federation president Aleksander Ceferin and UEFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar from Spain. Gilberto Silva becomes new Panathinaikos technical director Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak. PHOTO: ANTHONY DEVLIN/PA VIA AP. Underdog Palace looks to emulate Leicester in FA Cup final against Manchester United How high can the Eagles fly? And will they be able to deny the Red Devils a 12th FA Cup trophy? If Crystal Palace skipper and Socceroo captain Mile Jedinak is the player who lifts the FA Cup trophy at Wembley later today, it will complete a magical year for the underdog in English football, following Leicester City's remarkable triumph in the league. Palace, which narrowly survived relegation from the EPL this season, winning just two of its last 21 league matches, has turned its season around in reaching the final, where it comes face to face with the biggest club in the world, Manchester United. It's not the first time the two clubs have met in the FA Cup final. But the Eagles will be playing for a histori- cal first-ever FA Cup trophy, having contested a final just once before, in 1990, ironically against today's opponent Manchester United, when it lost in a replay 1-nil. In the midfield for Palace that day was Alan Pardew, the current Crystal Palace manager, who hopes that some of the magic that fell on Leicester City in the league this season falls on his side in today's final. " It's almost like some stardust has fallen on Leicester. We hope it falls on us in the final. Football isn't all about logic. City deserves all the plaudits and it's a lift for us, because it demonstrates the underdog can do it. And we are definitely that." While reaching the final has turned Palace's season around, simply reaching the Cup final isn't enough for a club of Manchester United's stature. Its fans will be expecting a win from Louis Van Gaal's team after the disappointment of missing out on a Champions League place by finishing fifth in the league behind fierce rival and neighbour Manchester City. The team also suffered early exits from the Champions and Europa league competitions this season. United hasn’t had the ideal preparation, forced to hastily reschedule its last league match of the season against Bournemouth from the weekend to the Tuesday just passed, after a bomb scare at Old Trafford, interrupting its build-up to Saturday's final. There are a number of similarities between both teams. Both have tall powerful players in the middle, with Fellaini for United and Jedinak for Palace. Both are blessed with ample pace up front with Frenchman Anthony Martial and Englishman Marcus Rashford for United, while Palace has Bolasie and the tricky Zaha. However, United has definitely held a firm upper hand in league encounters between the two teams since Palace returned to the Premier League in 2013-14, winning five of their six encounters and drawing in the other. The most recent match between the two just a month ago resulted in a 2-nil home win to Manchester United. United are a strong favourite to win but Palace are capable of causing an upset. What an occasion it would be for Palace's Jedinak to lead his club to its first-ever FA Cup trophy, over the team which denied it silverware 26 years ago. The former Brazil captain has assumed his duties as technical director for the Greens, while the Greek team's Super League composition was announced on Monday. "Panathinaikos welcomes Gilberto Silva back to the family," the club said in a statement, announcing that the Brazilian had signed a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee. The 39-year-old had been in discussions with his former team for several weeks, after club president Giannis Alafouzos identified him as the man to help the club regain its prestige in Europe. Silva began his career with America Mineiro in 1997 and also won the Premier League title with Arsenal in 2004, playing for the English side from 2002-2008. He was on the Arsenal team that lost the 2006 Champions League final 2-1 to Barcelona for whom he played as defensive midfielder and defender before signing with Panathinaikos. In his 119 matches for the Greek outfit from 2008 to 2011 he scored six goals, while he has been capped 93 times for Brazil from 2001 to 2010, scoring three goals in total. Silva finished his playing career with Brazilian clubs Gremio (2011-2012) and Atletico Mineiro (20122013). Risdon prepares for England clash Perth Glory's Socceroo Josh Risdon will jet off to the UK this weekend to join his national teammates ahead of the international friendly against England, to be held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on 28 May. Risdon was also named this week in the 23-man squad for 'The Dodoni Series' against Greece next month in Sydney and Melbourne. The Socceroos last played England 13 years ago at Upton Park, which Australia won 3-1. West Australian Socceroo Stan Lazaridis played a pivotal role in that match, delivering a free kick into the path of Tony Popovic, who scored Australia's second goal.
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