June 18th, 2012

FB: Vida captain

So the EPL fixture lists are out!


So the 2012/2013 EPL fixture lists were released at 09:00 BST today ... I've posted up the opening and closing fixtures for each team but you can find the rest on the official EPL site, here

Opening Day fixtures to be played on Saturday, August 18:
Arsenal v Sunderland
Everton v Man Utd
Fulham v Norwich
Man City v Southampton
Newcastle v Tottenham
QPR v Swansea
Reading v Stoke
West Brom v Liverpool
West Ham v Aston Villa
Wigan v Chelsea
Final weekend fixtures to be played on Sunday, May 19:

Chelsea v Everton
Liverpool v QPR
Man City v Norwich
Newcastle v Arsenal
Southampton v Stoke
Swansea v Fulham
Tottenham v Sunderland
West Brom v Man Utd
West Ham v Reading
Wigan v Aston Villa

Happy with the fixture list?

When are your big derby game?

Have a terrible run of games you just want to get over with?

Which do you think will be the key games for your team this season?
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More than 35 million viewers in the two countries tune in for the grudge match.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Germany vs. The Netherlands is arguably the biggest rivalry in international soccer, and it translated to record ratings when the two teams met Wednesday night in the first round of the Euro 2012 Championships.

In Germany, 27.2 million viewers tuned in to public broadcaster ZDF to watch their side defeat the Dutch 2-1 and all but guarantee that the German team will advance to the quarterfinals. The figure -- representing 75 percent of the viewing audience on the night -- was a record for a first-round match at the Euros. In the key 14-49 demographic, a jaw-dropping 80 percent of the audience watched the game.
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For the US;
Continued Strong Ratings for UEFA EURO
Through eight matches, ESPN’s English-language presentation of the event is averaging 978,000 households and 1.260,000 viewers -- up 172 percent and 183 percent, respectively, versus the first eight games of the UEFA EURO 2008 (360,000 households and 446,000 viewers in '08). Wednesday’s Group B games also produced strong overnight ratings, according to Nielsen. The Netherlands-Germany afternoon matchup posted a 1.2 overnight rating, while the earlier Denmark-Portugal game posted a 0.9 overnight.
The top 10 metered markets through the first 10 matches include: New York (1.9), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (1.8), Los Angeles (1.3), Providence (1.3), Jacksonville (1.3), Washington, DC (1.2), Richmond, VA (1.2), Atlanta (1.2), Greensboro-High Point, NC (1.2) and Austin, TX (1.1).
ESPN Deportes has also delivered strong ratings for UEFA EURO 2012, averaging a 3.0 Hispanic household coverage rating (+58 percent from 2008) with 157,000 Hispanic households (+131 percent from 2008) through the first eight matches.

In Uefa's sad world a pair of marketed underpants is worse than racism

What price ambush marketing? Well, the going rate seems to be €100,000 (£80,000) according to Uefa, which has fined the Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner that extraordinary amount for revealing a pair of underpants with the name of an Irish bookmaker on it.

They have also banned him for one game, meaning that Denmark will be without their top striker for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Czech Republic in September. It is a ban that could have huge implications for the Danes' hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup and, subsequently, the Danish FA's income for the next few years.

It is a ridiculous punishment. It is ridiculous to start off with but when you start comparing it to the fines Uefa has handed out for racism, it becomes embarrassing. Here is a list of Uefa bans in the past:

• October 2000: Patrick Vieira says Sinisa Mihajlovic called him a black bastard and a fucking black monkey, which Mihajlovic denies. What happens? Two-match ban for Mihajlovic.
• June 2007: Serbian fans aim racist abuse at England's Nedum Onuoha at the Under-21 European Championships in Holland. What happens? Serbian Football Federation is fined £16,500 by Uefa for "the racist chanting of supporters and the improper conduct of their players".
• June 2008: Some Croatia fans are found guilty by Uefa of "displaying a racist banner and showing racist conduct" during a Euro 2008 quarter-final against Turkey. What happens? Uefa fines the Croatian Football Federation nearly £10,000.
• February 2012: Porto fans subject the Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli to prolonged racist abuse in the Europa League tie. What happens? Porto are fined €20,000 (£16,700) by Uefa.

So in some of the cases Bendtner's "crime" has been judged by Uefa to be about 10 times as bad as racist chanting. How can anyone possibly justify that? What we need now is for someone from Uefa to come out and say why it has decided to fine a single player £80,000 for breaking a rule he said "he wasn't aware of" while punishing racist abuse less severely.

The absurdity of Uefa's fining system was there to be seen earlier this season after the above-mentioned fine handed out to Porto for the racial abuse of Balotelli (£16,700) was followed by a higher fine (£24,740) for Manchester City – for returning to the field less than a minute late after half-time.

The sad thing is that the only winners in this pitiful tale is Paddy Power, the bookmaker whose name so offended Uefa. The governing body said on its website on Monday that Bendtner had been fined and banned for "improper conduct" – but surely it is Uefa that should be held to account for that offence.


As usual, UEFA's got their priorities right.