Did UEFA Fix The Champions League Semifinal?

Sundays are for topless photos of Lakers girls … and for football. So while there’s no football going on over here, there’s always “football” (cough, soccer) going on across the pond, and three days after a miraculous late goal landed Barcelona, not Chelsea, in the Champions League final, more and more evidence keeps popping up that the game’s referee — Norweigan Tom Henning Ovrebo — may have been under orders to do whatever he could to get Barcelona to the final.

uefa.com screen grab

As fully elucidated in THE SPOILER, not only did Ovrebo fail to call up to four clear penalties on Barcelona down the stretch of the game, UEFA also may have unintentionally let the cat out of the bag on its own official web site, posting a match report of the game (think an American game story) claiming a 1-1 draw before it had even been played.

There aren’t any visual screengrabs of the 1-1 report, but there have been multiple correspondents confirming its existince, and the fact that it called for Barcelona to score late to force a tie and advance to the Champions League Final on the competition’s bizarre away goals rule. Making the matter even stickier is the fact that it also said Chelsea stars Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Alex would all receive yellow or red cards … and all were in the second half.

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NBA Mourns Death Of Chuck Daly During Playoffs

Chuck Daly won’t ever be known as the greatest basketball coach of all-time, but he’s definitely one of the best. He led the Pistons to a pair of titles and delayed the long reign of Michael Jordan. He installed a defensive identity that helped forge the identity of Detroit basketball and Detroit itself. And he coached the Dream Team. That’s right, not the second bogus Dream Team or the subsequent Team USA squads stocked with NBA stars. The original Dream Team, with MJ, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Barkley and co.

chuck daly pistons

(The hair changed color, but the style didn’t.)

Daly passed early Saturday morning from pancreatic cancer,  losing a battle he’d been fighting for months. The NBA wasted little time in announcing that they’d honor his memory with “CD” pins on the lapels of all coaches’ jackets during the playoffs. They NBA Coaches Association is also creating the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, which tells you just about all you need to know about how other coaches feel about Daly.

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Nike Shoe Deal Forcing Soccer Star To Be Traded?

Just how much sway does Nike hold over the collective global sports zeitgeist? If we’re to believe a rumor that’s popping up about a summer transfer of Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery to FC Barcelona, the answer is: Everything.

franck ribery bayern munich

(Coming soon to Barcelona, courtesy Nike.)

Last week, Ribery renewed his exclusive boot (read: shoe) and clothing deal with Nike, pushing his existing contract with the company through 2014. That means that, for the next five years, Ribery is beholden to Nike for a significant amount of his personal revenue, with some of the undisclosed bonus clauses likely reliant on how much personal paraphanalia he can sell.

According to THE SOCCER BLOG, the clauses in that Nike deal would be a lot easier to fulfill if his gear assimilated with the kits (read: uniforms), jackets, etc. sold by his club. Naturally, that’s only possible if he were playing for a team sponsored by Nike — say, Barcelona — rather than a team sponsored by Nike’s biggest rival, Adidas (like, say, Bayern Munchen).

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