Atalanta’s Colombia striker Luis Muriel reassured fans he was on the mend after being taken to hospital in Bergamo yesterday after hitting his head in a domestic accident. The 29-year-old, who has scored 17 goals in Serie A this season, received stitches but was later discharged after getting the all-clear following a scan.
“I’m fine, I’m home,” Muriel said on Instagram. “Fortunately, nothing serious happened. Tonight I will be at the stadium to cheer Atalanta, and already tomorrow I will return to train with my teammates. Thank you for the affection you have shown me in these hours.”
Details of the accident remain uncertain with news agency AGI reporting the forward slipped in the shower, while Sky Italia said he fell at the swimming pool at his home during a get-together with some friends.
Atalanta confirmed Muriel will miss their Serie A game against Lombardy rivals Brescia later last night, when the Bergamo side can move up to second in the league, but should return for the trip to Verona this weekend.
“Following a domestic accident, Luis Muriel will not be available for the Atalanta-Brescia match,” Atalanta said in a statement. “The player will be regularly available for the training session tomorrow, July 15th.”
Atalanta are through to the Champions League quarter-finals in their debut season in the competition and will play Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight next month.
CAS upholds sexual
abuse life ban for ex-Afghan football boss
Sport’s highest court CAS yesterday rejected former Afghan football boss Keramuddin Karim’s appeal over a life ban for “appalling” sexual abuse. Karim was last year found guilty of assaulting several Afghan women players with FIFA delivering their toughest sanction — a life ban and 1mn Swiss francs ($1mn, 934,000 euros) fine.
In its judgement upholding the June 2019 FIFA verdict, the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s panel had damning words for Karim’s crimes. It pointed out that while the plethora of bribery and corruption cases had damaged football’s integrity, Karim had “violated basic human rights and damaged the mental and physical dignity and integrity of young female players”.
The CAS statement continued: “With his appalling acts, he had destroyed not only their careers, but severely damaged their lives. The Panel determined that Keramuddin Karim should get the most severe sanction possible available under the FIFA Code of Ethics, i.e. a life ban and a fine of CHF 1mn.”
In welcoming the decision from the Lausanne-based court, FIFA said CAS had confirmed the importance of its “zero tolerance policy against physical, mental and sexual abuses at all levels of football”.
Karim had been the target of allegations made by five female Afghan players concerning acts of sexual assault committed between 2013 and 2018. The investigation by world football’s governing body found Karim “guilty of having abused his position and sexually abused various female players, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
Afghan footballer Khalida Popal had reportedly collected accounts from former teammates that included sexual violence, death threats and rapes. Karim has previously denounced the accusations as part of a “conspiracy” and “without evidence.”
Sneijder latest top
Wesley Sneijder is considering following in the footsteps of his former Netherlands teammate Arjen Robben and returning to playing football next season, Dutch media reported yesterday. The 36-year-old Sneijder will start training later this month at amateur team DOS Holland Stichtse Boys in Utrecht, which could be the prelude to joining home town club FC Utrecht.
Sneijder, who won a record 134 caps for his country and played at Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, is to make a bid to return to fitness after a year out of the game.
His brother Jeffrey Sneijder, who is part of DHSC’s technical staff, told reporters: “Wesley wants to lose weight and be busy. He did say that it might give him an itch to play again. He’s been out for a while. Wesley wants to experience what it is like to be back on the field after a while without football and regain the sense of enjoyment.”
Last week, Utrecht’s technical director Jordy Zuidam said he had spoken to Sneijder about a comeback. “Let it be clear that a top fit Sneijder is very an interesting prospect for FC Utrecht but the ball is in his court,” he told reporters.
Robben, who is also 36, last month announced he was returning a year after retirement to play with boyhood club Groningen, where he has signed a one-season deal.
Drogba’s election hopes
suffer serious blow
Didier Drogba’s hopes of becoming the next president of the Ivory Coast’s football federation has suffered a serious setback after the failure of his fellow players to support his candidacy. Drogba, 42, is one of three candidates standing for election as president of the Ivorian Football Federation in September but is yet to win the endorsement of any of the five special interest groups needed to get onto the ballot.
He was expecting to be backed by the footballers’ union, headed by former team mate Cyrille Domoraud, but they are supporting Idriss Diallo, one of the two other candidates. “The majority of our members decided to grant our endorsement to the list led by Mr. Idriss Diallo,” said a statement by the Association of Ivorian Footballers, adding they were remaining loyal to a grouping formed three years ago to contest the elections, before Drogba had declared his candidacy.
Diallo had also previously received the backing of the local coaches’ association. Drogba has also failed to win the endorsement of the referees and the association of former professionals, who are supporting rival Sory Diabate.
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