Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 09 December 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER 2017 27 SPORT Olympiacos and APOEL bow out of Europe Serie A Champions Juventus have made it through to the Champions League Round of 16 by defeating Greek champions Olympiacos 2-0 in Piraeus in their final Group D match on Wednesday morning. Olympiacos rarely posed a serious threat to the Italian giants especially after the visitors took an early lead through a 15thminute Cuadrado goal. Juventus continued to dominate possession for long spells but couldn’t find a second goal until the 90th minute when Bernadeschi sealed the result and safe passage to the next stage for Juventus with a late goal. The result means a disappointing end to their European campaign for Olympiacos. Coach Takis Lemonis’s side finished bottom of a difficult Group D which included Barcelona and Juventus, two of the teams among the favourites to win the trophy, as well as Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon. Olympiacos’s single point from the group matches came in a scoreless home draw against Barcelona, and it marks the lowest ever points total for a Greek side in the Group Stages of the Champions League. Olympiacos’s poor showing was only slightly bettered by Cypriot Champions APOEL Nicosia who also missed Europa League qualification after finishing bottom and winless in Group H (albeit with two points). The Cypriot team lost their final Group match 3-0 away to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley midweek. Meanwhile, the midweek completion of the Matchday 6 fixtures, means that the 16 teams who have qualified from the Group stage to the knockout Rd of 16 stage are: Seeded: Manchester United, PSG, Roma, Barcelona, Liverpool, Man City, Besiktas and Tottenham Unseeded: Basel, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Porto, Real Madrid. The draw for the knockout stage is scheduled for Monday 11 December, and will pit a seeded team against an unseeded team with the restriction that two teams from the same league cannot be drawn against each other in the Round of 16. This restriction is lifted in the quarterfinals. FIFA president Gianni Infantino will send a FIFA/ AFC delegation to Sydney in the new year to meet with stakeholders. FIFA Mission headed to Australia in new year in bid to resolve Congress impasse A FIFA/AFC mission will head Down Under in the new year in the latest bid to bring warring parties together to resolve the stalemate over the proposed expanded Congress model. The FFA and chairman Ste- ven Lowy have, it seems, for the time being, been able to avert FIFA installing a ‘normalisation committee’ to run the game in this country. Instead, the FFA and chairman Lowy have been able to convince FIFA to agree to the FFA’s proposal of establishing a Congress Review Working Group (CRWG) involving all relevant stakeholders with the intention of finding an agreement on a future Congress model. Following a meeting of FIFA Member Associations Committee earlier this week, the committee informed the FFA by letter that it agreed to support FFA’s intention to establish the working group with the Argentine star Paulo Dybala in action for Juventus against Olympiacos midweek. PHOTO: ITEUROSPORT.COM additional conditions “that FIFA and AFC are fully involved in the process and that a clear roadmap ensuring a timely conclusion with the adoption of a more inclusive and representative model is established. “ TO THIS END, A FIFA/AFC MISSION WILL VISIT SYDNEY EARLY NEXT YEAR WITH THE FOLLOWING OBJECTIVES: • To meet with the stakeholders (member Federations, A-League clubs, PFA) and any other relevant interlocutors, such as the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), that have been established in the meantime. • Based on the feedback received, to define the terms of reference of the working group, which include its objective, composition, mandate and timeline.” According to an FFA media statement following FIFA’s decision, Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy welcomed FIFA’s decision and thanked the Members’ Association Committee for its support of FFA’s recommendation that a working group be established with Australian stakeholders, FIFA, and AFC. Lowy said “FIFA’S ruling gives all of us a chance to take a fresh look at how the Congress can best represent the Australian football community, with the direct involvement of FIFA and AFC officials in that process. “In a wider sense, this process will enable all Australian stakeholders to work together on a shared vision for our game at every level.” At the same time, in his statement Lowy was keen to promote the idea that it was business as usual for the FFA. “In the meantime, FFA will be working with the clubs to promote our Sum- mer of Football, engage with stakeholders on a new league operating model and expansion of the Hyundai A-League as soon as possible, continue its work with federal and state governments on Australia’s bid for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, appoint a new head coach for the Caltex Socceroos and continue our preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.” FIFA’s decision to support and lead the CRWG means a stay of execution for the FFA Board something which no doubt will frustrate the A-League club owners. Whether the current board and chairman will be able to continue to run the game will depend on whether the CRWG can find a way through the bitter impasse to reach an agreement on a new expanded congress, and also whether that new congress will allow Lowy and his board to remain in their positions.
02 December 2017
16 December 2017