Champions League Change is New UEFA President’s Priority

first_imgSlovenian Ceferin said his organisation should show the clubs “we are the ones who are the governing body”.Under the reforms announced last month, Europe’s top four domestic leagues will be guaranteed four places each in the group stages of the Champions League from 2018-19.The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), which represents the continent’s 24 domestic football leagues, called on UEFA to scrap the proposals, claiming national leagues will suffer.“It will be the first thing to deal with,” said Ceferin, who succeeds Michel Platini following his resignation after being banned from all football activity last year.“UEFA is a very good, strong organisation. It was without leadership for some time and that was a problem dealing with this.“We have to speak and have dialogue with the clubs and I think it can be solved.”Ceferin, who has been the head of the Football Association of Slovenia since 2011, takes on the remainder of Platini’s term of office, until 2019.The lawyer said Financial Fair Play rules – introduced, in UEFA’s words, to “improve the overall financial health of European club football” – should be enforced more strongly.He added there was “a lot of work to do”, citing match-fixing, security and safety, and racism as issues to address.England’s Football Association last week declared its support for Van Praag, who – unlike Ceferin – is a member of UEFA’s executive committee.The Scottish Football Association said it would vote for the Slovenian.After the vote, FA Chairman Greg Clarke said he was happy to work with Ceferin, and welcomed his clear mandate.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram New President Aleksander Ceferin said insisted wednesday that UEFA must show Europe’s big clubs who is in charge as he made Champions League reforms his first priority.Ceferin, 48, yesterday defeated Michael van Praag 42-13 in the poll to become the new head of European football’s governing body.UEFA and European clubs last month agreed changes to the Champions League, which critics said favour bigger clubs.last_img read more

Football: Can defense return to 2017 form following poor 2018?

first_imgSummer is finally over and the Wisconsin Badgers are back.Back like their dominant 13-1 2017 season? Maybe not completely. But after a disappointing 8-5 season during which they barely managed a winning record against Big Ten opponents, Head Coach Paul Chryst’s team is taking strides back toward 2017 form.Lost in disappointing year for Badger football, Jonathan Taylor ready to finish historic seasonIf I told you before the season began that Jonathan Taylor would be entering the Badgers’ bowl game with 1,989 Read…That team was built on a stingy defense, a strong offensive line and a game manager at quarterback handing the ball off to Jonathan Taylor 25 times a game.The difference between the team’s success in 2017 and the lack thereof in 2018? The stingy defense.Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonhard’s 2017 defense ranked third in the nation with only 13.9 points allowed per game, and the team as a whole paced the country with an SRS score — a statistic which takes into account point differential and strength of schedule — of 22.61.The 2018 defense? They finished the year 34th in the country with 22.6 points allowed per game, 100 more points allowed in total than the 2017 team and an SRS of 7.67, good for just 30th in the nation.This decrease in defensive production not only affected the Badgers statistically, but also significantly lowered their ability to close games. While part of 2018’s 8-5 record can be attributed to the injury of Alex Hornibrook and a weakened receiver core, the loss of a stalwart defensive played an extremely large role in exacerbating the existing problems on offense.Much of the dropoff can be attributed to Chryst and Leonhard saying goodbye to seven defensive starters, most notably leaders of the unit Leon Jacobs, Nick Nelson, Alec James and Natrell Jamerson. And while the linebacking core of T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly — the team’s two leading tacklers — returned for 2018, the cast of new faces on the defensive line and in the secondary hurt Leonhard’s unit immensely.Football: Four former Badgers selected in 2019 NFL DraftThe NFL Draft has come and gone, and several former Badgers are now employed to play at the next level. Read…Specifically, Leonhard’s secondary in 2017 only allowed a 48.6 percent completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks, a number which jumped up to 58 percent with his young secondary in 2018.His 2017 defensive line only allowed 98.4 rush yards per game, .5 touchdowns per game and a yards-per-carry average of 3.2. His new-look 2018 line conceded a whopping 155.1 rush yards per game, 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game and a yards-per-carry clip of 4.4.In total, Leonhard’s 2017 defense gave up 262 yards per game. In 2018 that number was 344.Now with the 2019 season underway, Leonhard returns the majority of the secondary and defensive line. And though he and Chryst lost defensive leaders Connelly and Edwards to the NFL, Chris Orr returns to lead the defense and will line up behind a vastly improved defensive line that is headlined by senior Zack Baun and junior Isaiahh Loudermilk.This formula, a strong and athletic defensive line paired with tough, veteran linebackers, is what brought Chryst’s 2017 team one drive away from the College Football Playoff and is what will determine whether the 2019 defense can return to that dominant form.Friday night against South Florida, all signs pointed towards the return of Wisconsin’s defense as we know it.From the first drive of the game the defense’s experience, talent and improvement were apparent, and the unit shut out USF Head Coach Charlie Strong’s explosive offense. The final score, 49–0, didn’t even tell the whole story on how dominant the defense was.South Florida’s final statistics: nine total first downs, three of 16 on third and fourth downs, 157 total yards, 26 rushing yards and three turnovers including one returned for a touchdown.The last time Wisconsin allowed fewer than 30 rushing yards in a game was Sept. 30, 2017 against Northwestern. It was also 2017 when the Badgers last shut out an opponent.On top of an already-impressive game defending against South Florida’s rushing attack, the Badgers also managed to largely shut down veteran senior QB Blake Barnett. The defense held him to just 131 yards passing for the entire night and managed to also force two interceptions.This impressive performance points toward signs of a revamped secondary that barely weathered a storm of injuries and lack of experience last season.Football: To fuel 2019 season, Badger secondary looking for consistencyAfter last week’s dive into the units of defensive backs and linebackers, this week the focus is on Coach Paul Read…If it hasn’t been made apparent already, Friday night’s game bled shades of 2017 and is pointing toward a great season in Madison.If Orr, Sanborn and the defensive line can continue to control the run game and pressure opposing QB like they did on Friday and like the 2017 unit was able to do, expect the defense to build upon its impressive week one showing and bring the Badgers to the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis.Tough tests certainly remain for the Badgers throughout the season, including multiple high-powered threats such as The Ohio State University offense and Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez.It remains to be seen whether or not the Badgers defense will be able to hold up to its performance against South Florida. More importantly, it remains to be seen whether or not they can live up to the defense expectations set by their highly impressive 2017 season.If they don’t, and teams like Northwestern, Minnesota and Michigan are able to run the ball like they did last season against Chryst’s team, expect another subpar year and more never-ending Graham Mertz talk as the 2020 season approaches.last_img read more