Bob Bradley's buy-out clause spares him sacking from Egypt; more soccer news
Some insider news from the world of soccer:
• Bob Bradley’s Egypt got smacked 6-1 by Ghana in their first World Cup playoff game Tuesday, and there were reports from Egypt that Bradley had been fired afterward. But Bradley himself told me late Tuesday that was not the case. Bradley said at the moment he’s still the coach, and if it’s up to him he will stand with the team for the second leg in Egypt next month. Bradley also added, though, that it’s not his call whether he sticks around. That will be the decision of the Egyptian soccer federation. The Egyptian FA head told the BBC today that Bradley’s buy-out clause means he will be staying for the second leg.
• The big winner among national teams over the past week: Switzerland, which will earn a surprise top seed for the World Cup draw when the FIFA rankings come out Thursday. The top seven World Cup teams in the rankings plus host Brazil will get group seeds, and Switzerland will move from No. 14 to No. 7 Thursday. The other World Cup top seeds will be: Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Colombia and Uruguay. (If Uruguay loses its intercontinental playoff to Jordan, the Netherlands would take Uruguay’s seed.) Some very good teams are missing out on seeds, including the Dutch, Italy and England. The U.S., meanwhile, will stay at No. 13 in the new rankings.
• There has been talk this week that MLS is considering moving to the European calendar at some point and having a fall-to-spring season. But one MLS owner who has been involved in talks says the earliest a switch could happen is 2015, and that it’s “far from a sure thing or even likely at this point.” He adds there are some very strong differences of opinion between MLS owners on this topic, which would involve some major structural changes to the league.
• Last week we talked about the lack of a home building for the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Well, I’ve learned Sporting Kansas City will include a new Hall of Fame in its proposal next month as part of a $40 million U.S. Soccer training facility that has already been announced as a plan for the area. U.S. Soccer says a new Hall of Fame would require a $10 million startup and a $2 million annual operating budget. We’ll see if it can get done in Kansas City.
• U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann will be a busy man at the World Cup draw in Brazil in early December. Klinsmann tells me he already has plans to speak to several other World Cup coaches that weekend and firm up some pre-World Cup friendlies for next year, especially in May and early June. The reason for waiting until the World Cup draw? Klinsmann says teams want to see who their World Cup group stage opponents will be before they schedule friendlies, the better to find foes that will best approximate those countries’ styles of play. WAHL: Q&A with Jurgen Klinsmann on his desire for an extension, a possible England friendly and more