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Soccer Extras: Coach Valverde gets Barca prez backing

May 16, 2019 23:11 IST

 News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

IMAGE: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says coach Ernesto Valverde remains the right man to lead the club next season despite overseeing successive calamitous Champions League exits.

Valverde has signed a new contract with Barca until 2020 with the option of another season and has won back-to-back La Liga titles with the Catalans as well as taking his side to the Copa del Rey final, where they will face Valencia on May 25.

His position has come under scrutiny though after his side spurned a 3-0 lead over Liverpool by losing 4-0 at Anfield in a semi-final second leg.

The result felt even more painful after they threw away a three-goal lead over AS Roma to exit last year's competition.

 

"Valverde said it the other day, he has the support of the president and the board. He is the coach we want," Bartomeu told reporters at a book promotion on Thursday.

"This is a long-term project, he has a contract and we are very happy with him. We're already planning for next season, we've signed some players and after the final we'll have more discussions."

Bartomeu said the club was still reeling from the painful Champions League elimination but he emphasised the importance of winning the league title and urged the players to focus on beating Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.

"The first objective is always to win La Liga and then the Cup and Champions League. It has been a great season, we won the league with games to spare but we all want more," he added.

"Next up we have the Copa del Rey final and we go into after a very painful defeat, but now is the time to come to terms with it and get our spirit back."

I-League teams, EB fined over Super Cup fiasco

The All India Football Federation's Disciplinary Committee on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh each to five I-League clubs, including former champions Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab FC, while East Bengal were told to pay Rs 5 lakh for pulling out of Super Cup in March-April.

Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala FC and Neroca FC were the other three clubs fined Rs 10 lakh each.

The Committee did not give any decision against Mohun Bagan and referred the case for arbitration since the Kolkata side did not sign for participation.

The premier knockout club tournament among I-League and ISL teams was severely depleted this season following the boycott by seven clubs -- Minerva Punjab FC, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, NEROCA FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC.

"The Committee thus imposed penalty of Rs 10 lakh upon Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala FC, Minerva Punjab FC, and NEROCA, each, to be utilised exclusively for benefit and further development of football at grassroot level and towards promotion of youth football in the country through proper transparent modalities with appropriate checks and balances and audit," the six-page judgment, accessed by PTI here, read.

"In default of payment by any club, the AIFF would be at liberty to consider disqualification of the clubs from participation in its next edition competitions," it added.

The Disciplinary Committee consisting of Ushanath Banerjee (chairman), Harsh Vora, Adithya Reddy, Prateek Chadda and Dr Madhab Milan Ghosh had heard the rebel clubs on March 27 and 28.

On East Bengal, the Committee observed that the club intended to participate but the sponsors revolted to the decision.

"The club cannot be held guilty of indiscipline or misconduct. It is the sponsors of the club (Quess) who committed so and intended to jeopardise the integrity of the competition.

"Balancing upon the degree of culpability the Committee felt that in order to reduce the humiliation upon East Bengal, quantum of fine should be less than the other clubs and imposed penalty of Rs 5 lakh."

The clubs revolted against the AIFF and sent a letter on February 18 requesting the president of AIFF to address the various issues, including lack of clarity regarding the future of I-League and lack of an agenda for the game at the grassroots level.

Terming this subversive, the order said: "Sports bodies cannot be hijacked or held under any threat by a group of vested interested persons or the clubs. Neither the president nor any office bearer has any individual power or authority to do so.

"Hence, demanding that unless the 'President' of the AIFF meets a particular Group of Clubs, they would not participate in the National Competition that too after entering the Competition and undertaking to ensure faithful compliances of the Regulations of the Competition, is nothing but intending to hold the National Federation under ransom and such subversive conduct cannot be claimed to be 'bonafide' and should be dealt with appropriately."

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