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Major Link Soccer: England-Bulgaria match marred by racist incidents

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The Euro qualifying match was not close on the field but the stories are what happened off the field.

Bulgaria v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

What happened in Bulgaria is bad for soccer and bad for UEFA but will they step in and doing anything about racism this time? NWSL playoff previews, MLS award finalists, and the Canadian National Team wants to make sure fans show up for their match against the USMNT.

Seattle

Great cause to donate to! Extra Life | Play Games. Heal Kids.
Cascadian Gamers are back to play games and raise money to heal local kids.

MLS/USL

Sounders aren’t number one and they aren’t 14. I’ll give you that much of this. Also I don’t actually disagree with the list this time. Bogert: Ranking playoff teams most under pressure | MLSsoccer.com
Though each of the league's remaining 14 clubs want nothing more than to win MLS Cup, pressure is different for every side heading into the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Morris is one!! MLS 2019 year-end awards finalists revealed; Ibrahimovic, Vela, Martinez up for MVP | MLSsoccer.com
The finalists were revealed Monday for Major League Soccer's year-end awards, narrowing down each of the categories to a final three.

If Nashville really puts together a strong academy and fast, while it won’t pay dividends in year one or two, it should have them with a good crop of talent coming into the first team in a few years. Nashville SC launch academy, plan to be "proactive" across the country to find talent | MLSsoccer.com
Nashville SC announced the official launch of the academy, naming Jamie Smith as their first academy director. Nashville's academy will play their first matches as the Under-12 side competes in Generation Adidas Cup.

NWSL

When the World Cup just isn’t enough, make a run to the NWSL playoffs. Behind a heavy 2019 workload, Julie Ertz leads Chicago into another postseason – Equalizer Soccer

Great rundown on the upcoming NWSL playoffs. NWSL playoffs preview: Who to watch and how to follow the 2019 postseason – The Athletic
The North Carolina Courage, Portland Thorns, Reign FC and Chicago Red Stars will all be vying for the NWSL Championship.

Is fixing the have-nots more important than adding new teams, even new bigger clubs? NWSL: Expansion might be wrong discussion | Yahoo Sports
Should the NWSL be adding new teams when existing ones are so clearly have-nots compared to others?

USA

Will Canada have the homefield advantage when they host the USMNT? Borjan implores fans to support Canada in massive US showdown at BMO Field | MLSsoccer.com
“A lot of people don’t believe in this team,” said Borjan. “You could see that with the fans today: 10,000 only, with Canada playing. With all these young guys, with a lot of future in them, playing in big clubs. It’s too bad we don’t have enough fans to fill the whole stadium.”

World

This doesn’t impact soccer at the moment, the rule change could impact future athletes and creates a debate across all sports. IAAF changes testosterone limits for trans female athletes - BBC Sport
Governing body the IAAF halves the limit on natural testosterone levels for trans female athletes.

First of many articles on the England v. Bulgaria match. The match wasn’t much on the field, England won 6-0 but there were racist incidents from the Bulgarian fans throughout. UEFA is doing effectively nothing to stop these incidents and aren’t controlling fans or forcing associations to. England vs. Bulgaria, and why UEFA is useless at dealing with racism - SBNation.com
Racism in soccer can’t be curbed unless the sport’s governing bodies start holding teams accountable.

England held themselves up to a great standard and reported every incident but this game should be more known for what Bulgaria did wrong and not what England did right. Vile and disturbing Sofia spectacle will live long in sporting infamy | Barney Ronay | Football | The Guardian
England should take great credit for their response to a toxic atmosphere that led to two stoppages for racist chanting on a wretched night for football.

The Guardian does a good take mixing both the incidents and an on-field recap, in case you want to more about how the Three Lions responded after their match against Czech Republic. England crush Bulgaria 6-0 but racist chants force stoppages in qualifier | Football | The Guardian
Racist abuse marred England’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win in Sofia in which Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling both scored twice.

In case you wanted a rundown on what the protocol for the matches are when incidents happen, here you go. England-Bulgaria halted under UEFA racism protocol
England’s Euro qualifier against Bulgaria was temporarily halted to caution fans that the match could be abandoned due to UEFA racism protocols.

Before the match, Bulgaria’s coach discussed his thoughts on racism in soccer and that it is worse in England. Ummm...okay... Bulgaria’s Krasimir Balakov says English game has more of an issue with racism | Football | The Guardian
Bulgaria’s manager, Krasimir Balakov, pointed to ‘incidents of racism’ in English football as he responded to England player fears of racist chanting before the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

Moving on from the incidents in Sofia, Barcelona as a club is denouncing a court decision that sent activists for jail and is quashing Catalan independence. Barcelona denounces Spanish court decision on Catalan independence – ProSoccerTalk
Barcelona says "prison is not the answer" after 12 political activists jailed.

On the field, Ansu Fati has already played a six matches for first team and bagged two goals. Now, he may sign a permanent deal with the first team that includes some staggering numbers. Barcelona reportedly set to sign young Ansu Fati to first-team – ProSoccerTalk
With Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi both struck down by injury, the 16-year-old has emerged as a vital contributor.

Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on a train by “forcibly and sloppily” planting an unwanted kiss on her lips. Ex-England midfielder Gascoigne on trial for sexual assault – ProSoccerTalk
He last played in 2004 for a National League side, 6th division in England. His big years early on were with Newcastle and Tottenham.

The Mighty Reds are the club most talked about for transfers now it seems as the club has needs EVERYWHERE and are reportedly willing to spend practically anything to improve the squad. Here’s an idea though when you do that, buy players that actually have the value you are paying for and work for your team! Sources: Manchester United ready to spend in January transfer window
Manchester United are prepared to back manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the January transfer window, sources have told ESPN FC.

The players and the German FA said they were not making a political statement. Even if they weren’t, the departure of Mesut Özil last year from the Germany National Team setup over his Turkish heritage holds a cloud over this. German FA backs Gundogan, Can in Tosun Instagram post controversy
Ilkay Gundogan and Emre Can have been backed by the German FA after controversially liking a post on Cenk Tosun's Instagram.

He converted a PK which was goal 95 for the Portuguese National Team. He’s only the sixth player to reach 700. Cristiano Ronaldo reaches 700 career goals in Portugal's game vs. Ukraine
Cristiano Ronaldo has reached 700 career goals in official matches by scoring for Portugal in its Euro 2020 qualifier against Ukraine.

No TV feed back to South Korea, likely no way to email or chat updates back means that South Korea will likely rely on government faxes for the score. Fans may be forced to follow Korean Derby by fax
South Korean football fans are facing the prospect of having to follow Tuesday's 2022 World Cup qualifier against North Korea in Pyongyang by fax.

Tottenham had bigger plans than just Lo Celso and Ndombele which largely revolved around sales of players who ended up staying put. Tottenham were unable to sell the players they wanted to - Daniel Levy - BBC Sport
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy says the club were unable to sell all the players they wanted to in the summer.

Looks pretty close. Mohamed Salah: Electronics engineer stands in for striker as lookalike - BBC Sport
Electronics engineer Ahmad Bahaa reveals he acts as a stand-in for Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah in TV commercials.

St. Pauli is well-known for its leftist political leanings and as a club, and supporters, those values are expected to be kept. St Pauli part company with player who voiced support of Turkey’s invasion | Football | The Guardian
The German club St Pauli have released the Turkish midfielder Cenk Sahin after an Instagram post that ‘ran counter to the club’s values’.

Barnes takes a view that is counter to what many are now pushing but rightly so, Barnes looks at the root issues being a bigger problem than what is chanted in a soccer stadium. John Barnes: ‘I was seen as the voice of reason on race. I haven’t changed’ | Sachin Nakrani | Football | The Guardian
The former England and Liverpool winger on why he is no apologist for racism and how it can be tackled at its roots.

What’s on Today?

9:00 AM - Finland v. Armenia - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+, TUDN

10:00 AM - Denmark v. Luxembourg - Int’l Friendly - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Switzerland v. Ireland Republic - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Gibraltar v. Georgia - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Sweden v. Spain - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+, TUDN

11:45 AM - Romania v. Norway - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Faroe Islands v. Malta - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Israel v. Latvia - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Liechtenstein v. Italy - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Greece v. Bosnia and Herzegovina - UEFA Euro Qualifying - ESPN+

2:00 PM - St. Lucia v. El Salvador - CONCACAF Nations League - TUDN

4:00 PM - El Paso Locomtive v. Timbers II - USL Championship - ESPN+

4:30 PM - Canada v. USA - CONCACAF Nations League - ESPN2

6:30 PM - Mexico v. Panama - CONCACAF Nations Leauge - TUDN

11:00 AM - 5:00 PM TONS of NCAA Men’s Soccer, ESPN+ and ACC Network. 14 games kickoff at 4:00 PM alone.