By DAN KARELL
They may have lost the right’s to the English Premier League starting this season, but there will still be plenty of high quality soccer on Fox Sports’ family of networks for the next four years.
Fox Sports announced on Monday that they had renewed the rights to televise the UEFA Champions League and Europa League in the United States and the Caribbean through the 2017/2018 season. Fox has held the rights to the Champions League since 2009 and the Europa League rights since 2012.
“We are elated to continue our partnership with UEFA and serve as home of its flagship properties through at least 2018,” general manager and chief operating officer of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 David Nathanson said in a statement. “The combination of UEFA Champions and Europa leagues provides viewers with the complete club competition experience at the highest level.”
Fox Sports say they plan to show 146 Champions League and 205 Europa League matches each year across multiple platforms, including Fox, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports Regional, and their online platform Fox Soccer 2Go.
Despite showing the Champions League final on Fox each of the last four years, last year’s final generated the lowest ratings since Fox Sports won the rights to televise the match, with an estimated 1.4 million viewers tuning in.
Here are some more stories to keep you caught up around the world:
FIFA BANS CROATIA’S SIMUNIC, WILL MISS WORLD CUP
Croatia will have to be without one of their key defenders at next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
FIFA announced on Monday that they have handed down a ten-match ban on Josip Simunic for displaying “discriminatory behavior in interaction with the Croatian supporters,” following Croatia’s 2-0 victory in the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs against Iceland. Simunic, in his excitement over the achievement, took a microphone and lead the Croatian supporters in a salute that was used during World War II by the fascist Croatian government.
In addition to the ban, Simunic will not be allowed to enter any stadium where Croatia is playing, whether during or after the World Cup, and he’s been fined 30,000 CHF (nearly $33,800). The statement released by FIFA does not mention whether Simunic can appeal this decision.
Though 35-years old, Simunic has been a key member for the Croatian National Team over the course of his 18-year professional career, making 105 appearances for the Vatreni. Simunic represented Croatia at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
COACHING CAROUSEL CONTINUES
It likely won’t help him feel any better but Andre Villas-Boas wasn’t the only head coach to lose or leave their job on Monday.
Barely six months into his new job with a former club, Miroslav Djukic was informed this morning by Valencia’s president that he was relieved of his duties following a poor defeat to Atletico Madrid. Valencia, who will now be coached by Nico Estevez, sit in ninth-place in the La Liga standings, 23 points behind leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. San Lorenzo head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is the media’s favorite to take over at the Mestalla.
Just north of London, Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola surprised everyone with his resignation today, saying that he left the club for a “variety of reasons” which he would not disclose. Zola joined the English Championship side in July 2012 and lead them to the promotion playoff final, where they fell, 1-0, to Crystal Palace. This season, the Hornets have had a tougher time in the league and they currently sit in 13th place, with no wins since Oct. 5.
Lionel Messi and his father have been cleared of any wrongdoing by Spanish investigators over allegations of money laundering. (REPORT)
Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic has been banned for only one match after receiving a red card in Croatia’s 2-0 victory against Iceland last month. He’ll miss the World Cup opener against Brazil. (REPORT)
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has admitted that Arsenal were the last team that his side wanted to face in the Champions League Round of 16. (REPORT)
Borussia Mönchengladbach’s sporting director Max Eberl believes there’s still a 50/50 chance that Marc-Andre ter Stegen could remain with the German club, despite the advances of Barcelona. (REPORT)
What do you think of this news? Expect Fox Sports to show more games across their networks? Agree with Simunic’s punishment?
Share your thoughts below.