Real Madrid and Barcelona part of La Liga quartet to play in Saudi Arabia in 2020

Stars from Real Madrid and Barcelona, such as Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi, will be in the Kingdom for the Super Spanish tournament in January 2020. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2019

Real Madrid and Barcelona part of La Liga quartet to play in Saudi Arabia in 2020

  • The Kingdom has previously hosted the Italian Super Cup final
  • Tournament was part of the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to host major global sporting events

RIYADH: La Liga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia will play in a new four-way Spanish Super Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia next year.

A tweet on Monday from Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, confirmed the participation of the teams in a “Super Spanish” tournament, slated to take place between Jan. 8-12. The Spanish Football Federation gave Saudi Arabia a three-year deal on Monday.

The prince said the tournament was part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to host major global sporting events.

The Spanish Super Cup was previously a one-off match between the Liga and Copa del Rey champions at the start of the season. But the federation has changed it to semifinals and final featuring four teams — the top teams in each competition — in the middle of the season.

Real Madrid will face Copa del Rey holder Valencia in the first semifinal on Jan. 8 at King Abdullah Sports City stadium outside Jeddah, then Liga champion Barcelona plays Atletico Madrid in the second semi the next day at the same venue.

The final will be on Jan. 12. Barcelona won last year's Super Cup in Morocco.

The Kingdom previously hosted the Italian Super Cup final in 2018 and will do so again in December this year. 

Saudi Arabia also hosted the "Super Clasico" clash between Brazil and Argentina in 2018, with Miranda scoring a late winning goal at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.


Manchester City’s European ban quashed on appeal

Updated 13 July 2020

Manchester City’s European ban quashed on appeal

  • Initial fine of $34 million was also reduced to $11.3 million on appeal

LAUSANNE: Manchester City will be free to play Champions League football next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted a two-season ban from European competitions imposed by UEFA on Monday.
An initial fine of $34 million was also reduced to $11.3 million on appeal.
City were accused of deliberately inflating the value of income from sponsors with links to the Abu Dhabi United Group, also owned by City owner Sheikh Mansour, to avoid falling foul of financial fair play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.
The case against City was reopened when German magazine Der Spiegel published a series of leaked emails in 2018.
However, CAS found that “most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA Club Financial Control Body) were either not established or time-barred.”
City welcomed the decision that will have huge ramifications on the club’s finances and potentially the future of manager Pep Guardiola and star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.
“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisers are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.
“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover 12 years ago, City’s fortunes have been transformed from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.
On Saturday, they secured qualification for the Champions League for a 10th consecutive season with a 5-0 win at Brighton.
More silverware could come before the end of the season as Guardiola’s side face Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinals on Saturday before restarting their Champions League campaign in August, holding a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg of their last 16 tie.
City’s victory in court will raise fresh questions over how effectively UEFA can police FFP.
But European football’s governing body said it remained committed to the system which limits clubs to not losing more than 30 million euros, with exceptions for some costs such as youth development and women’s teams, over a three-year period.
“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the five-year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations,” UEFA said in a statement.
“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.”