Mon 17 Sep by Mark Gleeson


* English football and the Premier League should be “streamlined”, with fewer domestic matches played, the head of Europe’s elite clubs has said. Andrea Agnelli, chairman of the European Clubs’ Association, pointed out that England’s top-flight clubs can play up to 53 games in the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup. Their equivalents in Germany play a maximum of 43. Agnelli, who is also the chairman of Juventus, said that there should be “a general reduction” in domestic games, with more international club matches. He also wants to see a cut in the number of international breaks, perhaps by squeezing three internationals into one window. Any move to reduce the size of the Premier League would be hugely controversial in England, although the big six clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — are more likely to be in favour.
* Bafana Bafana’s next home game against the Seychelles will be played at Soccer City on Saturday 13 October as the team need to catch a flight straight away after the encounter to fly to the Indian Ocean island for a return match three days later. The second encounter is on 16 October in the afternoon at Stade Linite in Victoria. If South Africa win both African Nations Cup qualifiers they could secure a place at next year’s finals, set for Cameroon.
*The Premier League’s demands for a ban on clubs paying agents is in response to intermediaries “sucking tons of money out of the game”, according to West Ham United’s joint chairman David Gold. A meeting of top-flight chairmen in London last week confirmed a decision for proposals on a series of measures to be passed to the FA to seek agreement from Fifa. Gold claimed that the governing body is broadly sympathetic and that a crackdown on agents was needed with only players being able to pay them. “They are starting to run football,” he said. “They are certainly sucking tons of money out of football.” It has been revealed that 80 percent of the 541 deals in the Premier League last season involved “dual representation” where agents were paid by both clubs and players for the same transaction.
* FIFA are to put a stop to elite clubs sending unlimited numbers of players out on loan, according to reports from Germany. Squad sizes and excesses in the transfer market have long been a thorny subject and, according to Bild Sport, FIFA plans to limit the number of players out on loan to eight pending agreement from other stakeholders like the European Clubs’ Association. In addition, a maximum of three players would be allowed to be loaned to the same club at the same time, the exception being those under the age of 21, who have been trained by their home club and have been under contract there for an extended period of time.