Europe Archive

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Canada announces roster for Czech Republic and Slovenia friendlies

Karl Ouimette

Karl Ouimette

Karl Ouimette will have the chance to earn his first national-team cap.

The inclusion of the Montreal Impact defender was the most notable item on national team coach Benito Floro’s roster for friendlies against the Czech Republic (Nov. 15) and Slovenia (Nov. 19).

The roster, announced Friday, also features three unattached players — all-time Canadian leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario, who had his contract option declined by D.C. United last week, Issey Nakajima-Farran and Stefan Cebara.

“From here to the first official games [qualifying matches], it’s important to focus on our level of play,” said Floro in a release issued by the Canadian Soccer Association. “It is necessary to pay attention in how we defend and attack so for me the best result is to take it step by step to improve our level.”
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Canadian striker Gigolaj waiting on DFB clearance before he can play with Hertha Berlin’s reserves

Elvir Gigolaj in his Hertha BSC kit.

Elvir Gigolaj in his Hertha BSC kit.

It’s a familiar refrain for Canadian soccer players trying to make it abroad: “Waiting on paperwork.”

For London, Ont.’s Elvir Gigolaj, that’s the case. He’s currently training with a Hertha Berlin reserve team, Hertha BSC Amateure II, but the former FC Edmonton and St. Mary’s University striker is waiting for the chance to step onto the field.

“Things are well, currently training with Hertha Berlin,” Gigolaj said in a message to The 11. “Don’t have clearance from the DFB to play yet.”

Gigolaj was cut loose by FC Edmonton in the break between the NASL spring and fall schedules, after an injury-ravaged early part of the season.

In 2011, Gigolaj was the buzz player coming out of CIS. For the Huskies, he scored six times in three AUS conference playoff games. And even though his St. Mary’s squad lost to the University of Victoria in the CIS final, it was clear that Gigolaj was the player of the tournament to watch. He scored in a quarter-final win over McGill. He scored twice in the semifinal triumph over the University of Alberta. And, in a losing cause, he scored against UVic.
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Slovenes say they’ve booked a friendly with Canada

sloveniaThe Slovenian Football Federation announced that its men’s national side will host Canada in a Nov. 19 friendly.

Canada is already booked to play the Czech Republic on Nov. 15, and having back-to-back games will allow new coach Benito Floro a chance to have an extended look at the team, which hasn’t scored in eight consecutive international matches, including a goalless run at the Gold Cup.

The Slovenes indicated that a deal to play Canada was made after an initial push to play Ireland in the November international window didn’t come to pass. The Irish play the Poles on Nov. 19.

Canada’s most recent international match saw it lose 3-0 to Australia, and concede a goal almost immediately after the opening kickoff.
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9

What will happen with beIN Sport’s Canadian service after Jan. 6 deadline passes?

beINTo call beIN Sport’s rollout of its online Canadian service a “soft launch” might be a bit of an understatement.

A couple of weeks ago, beIN Sports launched its online service for Canadian viewers, beIN Sport Play Canada. According to host Jeremy St. Louis, the service will be available on a free basis until Jan. 6.

The network holds the Canadian rights to La Liga, Serie A, League Championship and Ligue 1 Games and, before the launch of the online service, that monopoly had aggrieved Canadian viewers. Why? Because the company does not have the CRTC’s blessing to broadcast over the domestic airwaves.

The CRTC does not regulate Internet broadcasting.

But, it took until Thursday for beIN’s head office to actually acknowledge the existence of beIN Sport Play Canada. It was included in a release about this weekend’s coverage of the Real Madrid-Barcelona El Clasico. In said release, there was a brief sentence about how Canadian fans can view the big game using the online service. That was all. One line.

The 11 has been regularly in contact with beIN’s reps in the U.S., and we’ve submitted and then been asked to resubmit our questions about their plans for Canada. Mum is still the word from beIN’s head office when we ask if there are plans to approach the CRTC for a proper broadcast licence, or if beIN will try to add more Canadian programming (such as bidding for MLS, NASL or Canadian-national-team rights when they come up). We’ve asked how much the online service will cost after the Jan. 6 deadline.
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1

Canada’s search for a goal will continue Nov. 15 against the Czechs

imgres-1The Canadian Soccer Association and the Football Association of the Czech Republic have announced plans for a Nov. 15 friendly between the two nations.

The game will kick off in Olomouc, and will be played at 5 p.m. local time, to keep away from the colder night temperatures.

The game will mark the 10th anniversary of the last (and only) time the two nations faced each other. On Nov. 15, 2003, the Czechs thrashed Canada 5-1 in a friendly, with Tomasz Radzinski scoring a late consolation goal for the Canadians after the home side marched to a five-goal lead. Colin Miller was the interim coach of Canada at that time.

The Czechs won’t be going to the World Cup in 2014, as they finished third in a qualifying group that featured Denmark and Italy.
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Canadian Daniel Haber scores second-match winner in a row for Apollon Limassol

Daniel Haber

Daniel Haber

Daniel Haber wasn’t named to coach Benito Floro’s squad for Canada’s Aug. 15 friendly against Australia.

Maybe he’s out to prove a point. For the second league game in a row, Haber has scored the match-winning goal. On Monday, he scored in the 73rd minute to give Apollon Limassol a 1-0 lead over Doxa in Cyprus League action. Apollon would go on to win the game 2-0.

“The ball was loose in the box and I beat my man to bury the chance,” Haber told The 11. “Felt great to score a second goal and continue to earn my manager’s trust. Also had the assist on the second goal.”

The Toronto native scored the winner last weekend, a 36th-minute strike in a 2-1 win over Alki.
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Hutchinson didn’t allow match-fixing case to affect his desire to move to Turkey

Atiba Hutchinson in action against Japan earlier in 2013. PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER

Atiba Hutchinson in action against Japan earlier in 2013. PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER

When Atiba Hutchinson made the move to Turkey this summer, he knew exactly what he was getting into.

His new club, Besiktas, had been kicked out of the UEFA Europa Cup in the fallout of a match-fixing scandal that took place before Hutchinson ever joined the team.

Besiktas was allowed to play pending its appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport and, while the team knocked off Tromso of Norway to advance, the CAS ruled against Besiktas late last month and it was subsequently kicked out of the competition again.

Training with the Canadian team in advance of Sunday’s friendly against Mauritania, Hutchinson said he knew the situation going in.

“We knew about it. It’s a little bit difficult but you just have to be focused on what you do on the pitch and let everything off the field take place,” said Hutchinson as the Canadian national gathered in Spain ahead of two friendlies with Mauritania. “We couldn’t really do anything about it but just remain focused on what we had to do. In the end we didn’t get the chance to play in the Europa (League) but hopefully we’ll be able to get back there.”
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The ruling: Hutchinson, Besiktas tossed out of Europe

Atiba Hutchinson

Atiba Hutchinson

It’s official in the eyes of the court — the team that’s home to Canadian Atiba Hutchinson is a bunch of cheats.

Yes, those are harsh words. Those are cruel words. But when it comes to match-fixing, we need to be harsh and cruel. Besiktas is a team of cheats. Say it again.

On Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Besiktas’s appeal of UEFA’s decision to ban it from the 2013-14 Europa League because of the team’s role in a Turkish match-fixing scandal. Because UEFA had to respect the appeal process, it allowed Besiktas to play in the Europa League playoffs, and the Istanbul side eliminated Tromso with a 2-0 win at home on Thursday.

But Hutchinson, who played 90 minutes in that Tromso match, and his teammates had less that 24 hours to celebrate before learning that the CAS had rejected the club’s appeal. Now, Besiktas’s ban from European competition can begin.
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Canadians in Europa League: Haber advances, Hutchinson waits out court decision

Daniel Haber

Daniel Haber

The news is good for Canadian forward Daniel Haber, while midfielder Atiba Hutchinson faces a nervous wait.

Haber’s Apollon Limassol side was able to advance out of the Europa League playoffs, losing 1-0 on the road to French side, Nice, on Thursday. As Apollon took the first leg at home by a 2-0 count, the Cypriot sidewent through on aggregate.

In both the first and second legs, Haber came on as a late sub. The Toronto native and former Cornell University standout spent the second half of the last European campaign with Maccabi Haifa, but made the move to Cyprus in the summer (CLICK HERE). Haber made his debut for the Canadian national side in a May friendly against Costa Rica and will be part of new coach’s Benito Floro’s camp that kicks off Sept. 1 in Spain.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson and his Besiktas teammates recorded a 2-0 win over Tromso to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit. But that doesn’t mean Besiktas is going anywhere, yet. While Besiktas has been allowed to take part in the Europa League’s playoffs, the Istanbul side could be tossed out of Europe on Friday. That’s when the Court of Arbitration for Sport will rule whether or not to overturn UEFA’s decision to ban Besiktas from European competitions over match-fixing claims. If the CAS upholds the UEFA decision, the Besiktas win over Tromso will be tossed out, and Hutchinson and his mates will be banned from Europe.
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The beIN debate II: Why blame the broadcaster and not the leagues?

bein-sport-logoChances are, if you’re angry that you can’t watch La Liga, the French League, Serie A or the English Championship in Canada, you are in a bad relationship.

You just might not know it yet.

A couple of weeks back, I wrote an article outlining the Canadian broadcast regulations, showing the kind of hoops that beIN Sports would need to jump through to make itself available in this country. It was, as ratings go on this site, a smash hit: No doubt, the fact that beIN has swallowed up the Canadian broadcast rights to Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and the English Championship — but isn’t itself available in Canada — has touched many nerves.

Last time, I wrote politely about the rules in Canada. (CLICK HERE) This article will not be as polite. In fact, I am going to give you, the readers, some very tough love.

I do this, because, like you, I care. I care too much.

So, let’s get this straight. If you’re frustrated with the beIN situation, fine. But, if you are angry with beIN, if you think the broadcaster is 100 per cent at fault here, then you need to give your head a shake.
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