The positive thing I like about UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin is that he keeps his mouth shut most of the time. The lawyer from beautiful Ljubiljana in Slovenia is paid 1.56million swiss francs( $1.64 US million) annually and donates 1% to Common Goals a charity. On my last visit to Ljubljana I went to lunch at one of the many outdoor restaurants on the banks of the Ljublijanica River but could not find ANY that were not full of smokers, so I left on the next train.
The Champions League Final last weekend at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv made the wrong kind of headlines with the tackle of The Andalusian on the Egyptian before half an hour had been played. At that time Liverpool had been attacking constantly although Los Blancos had weathered the storm. Sergio Ramos Garcia has accumulated 274 cards including 24 red ones in his long career. 171 in La Liga, 36 in Champions League and 20 playing for Spain. He is a bullfight fan and a Catholic with a large tattoo of Mary on his upper arm.
Mohamed Salah, a Muslim, has been a sensational season after his £39.6 million transfer from AS Roma. He was brought down by Ramos who locked arms with him and damaged his shoulder. After carrying on for a short while he left the pitch permanently in the 29th minute and at the moment is starting his recovery in Spain ahead of Egypt's first World Cup match versus Uruguay on June 15th. Evidently there have been 370,00 signatures on an online petition to punish the Spaniard and a stupid lawyer by the name of Bassem Wahba wants to sue him for $1 billion on behalf the the Egyptian people. You would think with all the nonsense and tragedies happening in his country in the last few years that there would be plenty of really good causes to take offence at and right some wrongs.
And then we come to Loris Karios, the young keeper that Jurgen Klopp signed from his old club FSC Mainz 05. He has battled with Simon Mimgolet for the starting role but after his HORROR SHOW in Kjiv it is unlikely that he will play another match for The Merseyside club. Imagine the fans at away matches next season. Probably will be transferred abroad and a new keeper will arrive, Another AS Roma player, Brazilian Alisson Becker, is the No.1 target with a record fee of £60 million mentioned. MONEY TALKS. Klopp has already spend big money on Brazilian Fabinho ffrom Monaco.. £44 million. Roma are suffering from UEFA's Financial Fair Play issues after reporting losses of £50 million and have had sanctions placed on them for three seasons.
What about Gareth Bale the two goal hero in the 3-1 victory? Real's 13th out of 16 final appearances since its inception in 1956 as The European Cup when they beat Rheims at Parc des Princes in Paris 4-3 in front of 38,00 fans. I watched it on a grainy black & white 7 " TV set.
A post match on field interview revealed that the Welshman wanted regular first team football, after he had come on as a substitute. Only Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd could afford him in the EPL but could even they match his extraordinary salary, reputed to be £600,000 a week?.
By far THE MOST IMPORTANT observation of the final was that it was in Kyiv at all.with limited accommodation and transport options. Next year it will be in Madrid at Atletico's new home, Wanda Metropolitano, and in 2020 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, site of Liverpool's wonder victory over AC Milan in 2005
UEFA pays scant interest to the plight of fans. Horrendously high accommodation and flight costs. Each host city has to have two airports, to keep rival fans part. Three charter flights from Liverpool were cancelled after being denied landing spots at Borespil Airport despite allowing 65 private jets to land. Zhuliany is the othermuch smaller airport. Each club was allowed only 16,000 tickets each and about 10,000 for any other fan with over 20,000 for sponsors abnd other hangers on. Far better if they had been given a wild weekend in Amsterdam or Hamburg instead !
I looked on line yesterday, Booking a round trip flight later this year from London Stansted (STN) to Kiev (KBP)would set me back no more than £40 return and a hotel room for 3 nights less than £100.00 !!
I still feel that Champions League Finals should be always held in such places as London, Paris, Munich, Barcelona where there are many transport options and hotels of all sorts and other cities within an hour. The final should ALWAYS be a day return flight or train away for the most likely finalists, usually English, German, Spanish and maybe Portuguese rf French. Isn't it THE PEOPLE'S GAME after all ??
UEFA passes around the youth tournaments of both sexes. to smaller nations, such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Ireland, Belgium etc. Isn't that good enough??