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Backheel breakfast: FIFA is allergic to change

A new feature with everything you need to know about soccer for one day.

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Video replay has been affordably available for well over 30 years now and most top-level sports around the globe over the last decade have implemented some kind of technology to help them get decisions right. Soccer has been the most resistant to change and is now arguably the last major sport to implement video or similar technology on a widespread basis.

There was a fun instance in which technology would have helped this weekend, with Sunderland's Wes Brown getting a red card that should have gone to John O'Shea. Sunderland will appeal the decision.

For anyone thinking this common-sense change is going to come soon, we're afraid we've got some bad news. Despite widespread support for video replays, FIFA is delaying experimenting with it for at least one year. Not implementing. Experimenting.

The biggest arguments against video technology can already be discredited pretty easily. It undermines officials? FIFA already removes refs from consideration for officiating more games in a tournament or later tournaments if they perform poorly. It might delay the game? Surely players crowding an official and berating him for a bad call delays the game just as much. Also, it's pretty easy to put a time limit on replays, and also only stop the game for reviews during natural stoppages. It can't be used at grassroots level? There aren't millions of dollars on the line in youth or rec soccer, plus FIFA doesn't have a lot to do with administering that -- individual FAs do, and many of the most important ones support technology.

In the year 2022, the World Cup will be ruined by a phantom penalty and straight red card in a huge game.

In the news

"I am aware of the report -- sure we are concerned, definitely," said FIFA President Sepp Blatter about a report regarding racism in Russian football. Of course, racism in Russian football is a new phenomenon that definitely wasn't present when they were awarded the 2018 World Cup. (BBC)

As he headed to a meeting between players and owners, MLS veteran Nat Borchers said he was optimistic the two sides could work out a deal and avoid a work stoppage. Realistically, the two sides need a deal by Thursday night or Friday morning to avoid delaying the start of the season. (ESPN).

MLS commissioner Don Garber was at the Sloan Sports and Analytics Conference and also said he was optimistic about working out a deal. (SI)

Rangers continue to be a tire fire, but maybe new chairman Dave King can change that. (Telegraph)

Panamanian international Luis Tejada walked out of a game in Peru over the weekend after suffering racist abuse. (ESPN)

After losing to Liverpool, Manuel Pellegrini admitted that Manchester City "have a lot of problems". (Mirror)

"If the fans don't understand then I'm sorry," said Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti about substituting Isco on Sunday. Madrid drew a heavily rotated Villarreal team, 1-1, despite fielding their first choice side. (AS)

Lukas Podolski struggled for Inter Milan in a loss Sunday, and Roberto Mancini has opted to challenge his player instead of protecting him. "Lukas needs to do more. This is clearly not enough ... Considering the way Shaqiri played when he came on, yes, I do regret not starting him." Ouch. (Football Italia)

Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang talked about their awesome Batman celebration. (

Stoke's Stephen Ireland suffered a disgusting injury, and you can click here if you like to look at that sort of thing. (Telegraph)

Apparently Lionel Messi was just very good and not amazing last year because he ate a lot of pizza. (Yahoo! Eurosport)

You should be reading

Miriti Murungi on why investigations into Qatar 2022 bidding are probably racist and definitely hypocritical. (Soccer Gods)

Rene Maric with some great analysis of Bayern Munich's win over Köln. (Spielverlagerung)

James Yorke on how much early goals matter for Arsenal. (Stats Bomb)

Fun with transfer rumors

The section in which nothing should be taken seriously.

Apparently Juventus could ditch Alvaro Morata a year after signing him, even though he's in great form. They'd offload him to a Premier League team and sign Pablo Dybala. OK! (Express)

Manchester United need a wide forward and are already kind of over Angel Di Maria. Enter Ezequiel Lavezzi? (Metro)

Mario Balotelli is struggling for playing time at Liverpool, so of course he's being linked to MLS. (The Mane Land)

The weekend's games

Chelsea have won the League Cup, ending a two-plus year trophy drought. (We Ain't Got No History)

Villarreal held Real Madrid to a draw. (Managing Madrid)

Sevilla and Atlético Madrid couldn't find a goal between them. (ESPN FC)

Liverpool beat Manchester City thanks to their great midfield. (SB Nation)

FC Porto trounced rivals Sporting Lisbon. (

Hearts dropped 10 goals in a Scottish Championship match. They lead that league by a lot. (Guardian)

Arsenal had no problem beating Everton. (The Short Fuse)

Bas Dost and Kevin De Bruyne went HAM again. (SB Nation)

Fiorentina pulled off a big win over Inter. (Viola Nation)

Fellow top three challengers Napoli were poor against Torino. (The Siren's Song)

What to watch today (click for listings, all times ET)

Roma vs. Juventus (2:45 p.m.) - Because this might be the last day we pretend someone other than Juventus can win the scudetto.

Celta Vigo vs. Elche (2:45 p.m.) - If Spanish football is more your thing.