The EPL "lost another major figure" in its organization with the departure of head of int'l broadcasting Sunil Kaikini, according to Matt Lawton of the London DAILY MAIL. With the league still searching for a new CEO, Kaikini's decision to become the new managing director of football at marketing agency Pitch Int'l "represents a significant blow" to the EPL. Kaikini "worked closely with Scudamore in pursuing overseas right deals" in his eight years with the league (DAILY MAIL, 2/20).
'SOURCE OF PRIDE': ESPN.com's Adriana Garcia reported La Liga is unaware of any interest from the EPL in hiring its president, Javier Tebas, but described reports linking him to the job "as a source of pride." La Liga said in a statement, "We are not aware of this supposed interest. That said, if a competition as important as the Premier League is taking note of the work being done by La Liga, including its president, clubs and employees, it is a source of pride for the entire organization" (ESPN.com, 2/21).
Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop "ruled out any inquiry into the controversial sacking of former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic," according to Ed Jackson of the AAP. The sacked coach, and others, have called for an inquiry into January's axing, with Stajcic claiming "he was terminated without cause" just five months before the women's World Cup in France. The FFA "dumped" Stajcic following an internal review that it claimed revealed a "toxic" team culture and "issues with fat-shaming and homophobic remarks." Sitting alongside Stajcic's replacement, Ante Milicic, in a press conference on Thursday, Gallop said that the FFA board was "happy with the decision it had taken." Gallop: "The board has said they have made a decision. There won't be a review of the decision." While the decision itself will not be reviewed, the handling of the matter by FFA execs including Gallop and Head of National Performance Luke Casserly "will be looked at" (AAP, 2/21). In Sydney, Ray Gatt reported Gallop "yet again failed to provide any specific reasons" for the dismissal, citing a desire "not to betray the trust of those who provided information for the process." FFA has "come under pressure to explain the controversial decision that has left a majority of the Matildas bewildered," caused consternation among fans and the media, "attracted the attention of politicians and left the sport with a black eye." Gallop was handed a new two-year contract last year but has "come under increasing pressure over the past four weeks." Gallop: "I'm fully committed to the role. Week in and week out you are in a position where what you do is reviewed. ... You don't take decisions to change coaches unless you've got good reasons and hard decisions are difficult. This was particularly difficult and I acknowledge that" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/22).
Football’s lawmakers "will bring in a new wording on handball next week" in a move to end confusion over "deliberate" contact of the hand with the ball. There was "renewed controversy" during Man City’s win at Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday when VAR awarded a penalty against Nicolás Otamendi for handball even though the Man City defender "appeared to be trying to get his arm out of the way." That ruling was in line with UEFA's guidance to referees on handballs (LONDON TIMES, 2/21).
It is "increasingly unclear" when Indonesian top-tier football league Liga 1 will start its new season after a "massive match-fixing scandal led to the arrest and resignation of key organizers." The police arrested several officials of the Indonesian FA in the past three months for their alleged involvement in match-fixing, "recently revealed to be a deep-seated problem" in the league (JAKARTA GLOBE, 2/21).
Man City said that one of its fans is in "a critical condition in hospital" after an alleged assault following the club's Champions League win over Schalke in Germany on Wednesday. Man City said, "The club are working with Greater Manchester Police and German Police to ascertain more information" (BBC, 2/21).