Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2017 Contents sports A53
Saturday, April 8, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Phil Mickelson's gambler
pal convicted: I'm in shock
NEW YORK --- A Las Vegas gambler linked to golf-
er Phil Mickelson saw the jury verdict convicting
him of insider trading charges yesterday as only
a gambler could.
"I just lost the biggest bet of my life," William "Billy"
Walters said outside Manhattan federal court minutes
after the jury returned its verdict after two days of de-
"To say I was surprised would be the biggest under-
statement of my life," Walters said in the Southern drawl
that reflects his Kentucky birth and considerable time
spent in Texas. "Frankly, I'm in total shock."
Prosecutors said Walters made over $40 million il-
legally from 2008 to 2015 trading on the stock of Dean
Foods Co. Thomas Davis, a former Dean Foods board
chairman, testified that he fed Walters tips about major
developments involving the company before they be-
came known publicly. The Dallas-based Dean Foods is
one of the nation's largest processors of milk for retailers.
As the verdict was returned on 10 counts of conspir-
acy, securities fraud and wire fraud, Walters shook his
US District Judge P Kevin Castel set sentencing for
His lawyer, Barry Berke, promised an appeal. (AP)
Brazil coach hails
Neymar as world best
RIO DE JANEIRO --- Brazil coach Tite considers
Neymar "the best" player in the world in recent
months, after the striker spearheaded his coun-
try's early qualification for next year's World Cup.
The 25-year-old Barcelona forward has scored six goals
so far in qualifying to help Brazil become the first team to
qualify behind host Russia, which gets an automatic berth.
Neymar also inspired Barcelona to reach the quarterfi-
nals of the Champions League, scoring twice and setting
up another in a 6-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain.
This came after Barcelona lost the first leg 4-0 and
was counted out by most.
"In the last four months, the best is Neymar," Brazil
coach Tite said in an interview yesterday on Sao Pau-
lo-based Radio Bandeirantes.
Tite qualified that by saying "over a 10-year period"
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel
Messi have been the world's best.
Brazil has won all eight of its World Cup qualifiers
since Tite took over last year. The key match came last
month when Tite named Neymar captain in a 3-0 win
Neymar, who has 52 goals in 77 games for Brazil, re-
"I told him I wanted him to feel comfortable in that
role," Tite said, adding that Neymar replied: "'You can
count on me. I'm ready.'"
Tite, whose full name is Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, picks
France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Portugal as
the main World Cup threats from Europe.
Tite has talked of training in Europe in the run-up to
the World Cup, and he said Argentina coach Edgardo
Bauza has told him he has similar plans.
Argentina, however, is struggling to qualify with Mes-
si sitting out a four-match international ban imposed
by FIFA for insulting a linesman in a qualifier against
FIFA losses hit $369m in 2016
...but targeting $1bn profit for 2018
ZURICH --- FIFA finances
showed a loss of $369 million
last year as American and Swiss
added legal costs to the soccer
body's budget and scared off
An even bigger loss is expected
next year, FIFA said yesterday af-
ter publishing its 2016 accounts,
which reflect a new way of report-
FIFA expects to rebound with
$1 billion in profit in the accounts
for 2018, which will include income
from most TV broadcast deals for
the World Cup in Russia.
Still, the scandal-hit soccer
body's confidence will be tested
with 24 slots currently unsold
in a 34-sponsor program for a
World Cup that kicks off in only
"However, it goes without say-
ing that stagnant global trade and
subdued investment, combined
with investigations surrounding
previous FIFA officials, have put
pressure on the organization's
overall revenue generation," FIFA
said in the 116-page financial re-
port for 2016.
FIFA's costs in 2016 included
legal bills of more than $50 mil-
lion for the American and Swiss
federal investigations of bribery
and mismanagement linked to
international soccer leaders. That
legal bill rose from $20.2 million in
2015, the report said.
FIFA is sticking to its revenue
target of $5.56 billion --- mostly
from World Cup TV and spon-
sorship deals --- for the four-year
financial cycle tied to the tourna-
ment in Russia.
Using the new financial report-
ing standards, FIFA's reported loss
of $122 million in 2015 would have
been recalibrated to a $52 million
deficit. That suggests FIFA's loss in
2016 would have easily exceeded
$200 million under the old meth-
ods of booking contracted income.
TV rights fees are now included
in the accounts for the year that a
tournament is played and broad-
cast, FIFA said. The change in fi-
nancial reporting rules was made
midway through the World Cup
cycle rather than the mandatory
cutoff point in 2018.
FIFA has budgeted to earn al-
most $4 billion income in 2018
alone and end next year with record
reserves of $1.655 billion.
However, the reserve fund is now
down to $1.048 billion and should
fall to $605 million in a year before
the bounce back FIFA is relying on.
Its cash reserves have been above
$1 billion since 2008.
The 2016 accounts covered the
first 10 months under FIFA Presi-
dent Gianni Infantino since he suc-
ceeded the disgraced Sepp Blatter.
FIFA booked $502 million in in-
come --- with zero reported from
European broadcast rights deals
that are now backloaded to 2018
--- and had reported expenses of
The spending rises were in part
to fulfil Infantino's campaign
promises last year of increased
grants to national, regional and
continental soccer bodies world-
wide. FIFA's 211 member federa-
tions are now entitled to $5 million
from each World Cup.
The document also blamed Blat-
ter's regime for "ill-considered"
investments on a soccer muse-
um and adjoining four-star hotel
in downtown Zurich. The World
Football Museum lost FIFA $50
million in 2016, including some
one-off costs, the soccer body said.
FIFA also spent $7.9 million on
the February meeting in Zurich
to elect Infantino, and paid $2.44
million in tax, mostly due to its
There was a $5.6 million increase
in payments to FIFA Council mem-
bers, who received a combined
$13.8 million --- though $3 million
was saved by not paying pension
entitlements to former officials
who were banned for unethical
Weekend watch in Europe's main leagues
What to watch in the leading
soccer leagues in Europe this
Real Madrid will have the Span-
ish league lead on the line when it
hosts Atletico Madrid in the city
Madrid will be defending its
two-point lead over Barcelona
against an Atletico team in its
best spell of the season, coming
off five straight wins and with its
stout defense working well again.
Madrid also has won five games
in a row, and its attack has scored
at least a goal in the last 51 games
in all competitions.
Defending champion Barcelona
visits Malaga, which ended a six-
game winless streak by beating
Sporting Gijon on Wednesday.
Also today, Sevilla will try to halt
a five-game winless run against
Deportivo La Coruna.
The biggest game in German
soccer is also in danger of being
overshadowed by the looming
resumption of the Champions
Bundesliga leader Bayern Mu-
nich and fourth-place Borussia
Dortmund meet on Saturday, yet
both could be preoccupied by what
awaits them in the quarterfinals of
Europe's top competition in the
coming days. Dortmund hosts
Monaco on Tuesday, and Bay-
ern is at home to Real Madrid on
Today's game sees the top
scorers in Germany go head-to-
head. Dortmund's Pierre-Emer-
ick Aubameyang leads with 25
goals, while Bayern's Robert Le-
wandowski has 24 before he faces
his former club.
Aubameyang scored the winner
in Dortmund's 1-0 victory over
Bayern at home last November.
That defeat in Dortmund was
Bayern's first of the season.
Dortmund is under more pres-
sure as it bids to overtake Hoffen-
heim for the last automatic Cham-
pions League qualification place.
A place in the Premier League
history book is available for Craig
Shakespeare when the Leices-
ter manager takes the resurgent
champions to Everton tomorrow.
Since taking over from ti-
tle-winning coach Claudio Ra-
nieri in February, Shakespeare
has steered Leicester away from
relegation danger and into the
comfort of mid-table with five
straight league wins. One more at
Goodison Park and he'll match the
record of consecutive victories at
the start of a managerial career in
the Premier League, shared by Pep
Guardiola (Manchester City) and
Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea).
Whether Shakespeare joins that
esteemed pair may depend on what
lineup he selects against Ever-
ton, because he might have one
eye on the first leg of Leicester's
Champions League quarterfinal
match against Atletico Madrid
on Wednesday. Is it worth Shake-
speare risking the likes of Jamie
Vardy and Riyad Mahrez ahead
of possibly the biggest game in
Leicester's history, especially now
that the team is up to 11th place in
the 20-team Premier League and
appears safe from relegation?
Boosted by victory in last week-
end's League Cup final, Paris
Saint-Germain has its sights set on
catching Monaco in the title race.
PSG trails Monaco by three
points, although it is effectively
four given Monaco's huge goal
difference of plus 61 --- more than
20 goals better than PSG.
But PSG hopes the 4-1 win
over Monaco in last Saturday's
final can crank up the pressure,
with the teams facing each oth-
er in the French Cup semifinals.
Monaco also has extra games in
the Champions League, playing
Borussia Dortmund in the quar-
terfinals, and has a smaller squad
Still, top scorer Radamel Falcao's
return from a hip injury comes
at the perfect time for Monaco
coach Leonardo Jardim, who will
be counting on the striker's big-
Falcao looks to add to his 24 goals
this season when Monaco travels
to play Angers on Saturday, while
PSG hosts eighth-place Guingamp
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring his sides second
goal with Daniel Drinkwater, right, during the English Premier
League match, Leicester against Sunderland at the King Power
Stadium, Leicester, England on Tuesday. AP PHOTO
FIFA President Gianni Infantino
speaks during the 41st Ordinary
UEFA Congress on Wednesday
at the Fair Centre Messukeskus,
in Helsinki, Finland. AP PHOTO
In this March 28, 2017 file photo, Brazil's Neymar
celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal against
Paraguay during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer
match at the Arena Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo,
Brazil. AP PHOTO
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