Thursday Kickoff: Abidal needs liver transplant, 75 charged in Egypt & more

Abidal (Reuters Pictures)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Barcelona will be without Eric Abidal for the rest of the season as the defender needs to undergo liver transplant.

Abidal had liver surgery a year ago to remove a cancerous tumor but was able to recover by the end of the season to make an emotional return. This will also likely rule out the French international from the summer's European Championships.

A club statement said the transplant should occur "during the next couple of weeks." Aside from the risk involved and the long-term health ramifications for Abidal, the developement hurts a Barcelona side chasing the Champions League and has relied heavily on the left back, who has made 20 La Liga starts this season. He also delivered one of Barcelona's more important goals of the season, scoring against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday.

EGYPT CHARGES 75 IN CONNECTION WITH SOCCER RIOT

Egypt's top prosecution office announced that 75 people have been charged in connection with the deadly soccer riot in Port Said that left 74 people dead in early February. The charges range from murder to negligence.

Nine police officers were among those charged along with two minors. This move could clear the way for the Egyptian Federation to take punitive measures against club side Al-Masry. The punishment is widely expected to force relegation and a lengthy ban on matches being played in Port Said. 

As it stands, the remainder of the current Egyptian season has been cancelled.

BERBATOV SET FOR UNITED EXIT

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed out-of-favor striker Dimitar Berbatov could be moving on during the summer transfer window.

The Bulgarian international has seen his role with the Red Devils steadily decrease since arriving on a fee of £30.75 million from Tottenham in 2008. Berbatov has started just five league games this season and has fallen behind Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck in the depth chart.

"At 31, he is looking at first-team football, Ferguson said ahead of United's Europa League clash with Athletic Bilbao. "It is difficult for me to guarantee that so it could lead to him looking elsewhere."

RICHARDS APOLOGIZES FOR FIFA RANT

Premier League Chairman Sir David Richards has apologized for a rant against FIFA and UEFA in which he accused both organizations of "stealing football" from the English.

Richards said his comments were supposed to be lighthearted but they quickly drew criticism from both the Premier League and the English FA.

"England gave the world football. It gave the best legacy anyone could give. We gave them the game,'' Richards said at a dinner in Doha. "For 50 years, we owned the game … we were the governance of the game. We wrote the rules, designed the pitches and everything else.

"Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said you're liars and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA. Fifty years later, another gang came along called UEFA and stole a bit more.''

Richards said he would write a letter of apology to both FIFA and UEFA.

QATAR QUESTIONS ALCOHOL SALES AT WORLD CUP

The 2022 World Cup might be more than a decade away, but comments coming from Qatar have raised additional questions on what the first World Cup in the Middle East will look like.

Hassan al-Thawadi, a senior member of the 2022 organizing committee, questioned the need for alcohol in World Cup stadiums. Alcohol is banned in almost all areas of Qatar, only appearing in high-end hotels. It was widely expected these rules would be relaxed during the month-long tournament.

Al-Thawadi said "alcohol will be allowed in Qatar" during the World Cup but refused to commit to it being allowed in the stadiums. He instead encouraged potential visitors to "have a great time, have fun and be exposed to Qatari culture."

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What do you think about the latest with Abidal? Where would you like to see Berbatov end up? What's your reaction to people getting charged in the Egypt soccer riot? Is Richards' apology enough or should more action be taken?

Share your thoughts below.

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11 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Abidal needs liver transplant, 75 charged in Egypt & more

  1. winston says:

    and to think, I was planning on kicking my feet up in an air conditioned stadium with a frosty beverage.

    What’s next to go Qatar?

  2. DanO says:

    Tragic for abidal. I’d be surprised if he ever plays again. Alonzo mourning did after a kidney transplant, but this is even bigger. Lifetime immunosuppression… Really just sad. On the positive side, hopefully they caught it early enough that he can live an otherwise fruitful life. Best of luck to him.

  3. chris says:

    As long as they have hashish

  4. WendellGee says:

    Yeah…a liver transplant is a lot more serious than a kidney transplant. Best of luck to him.

  5. MidWest Ref says:

    This is interesting because in Brazil for 2014 they are also trying to allow alcohol sales in the stadia, which is currently prohibited, but allowed everywhere else.

  6. alka246 says:

    I am guessing the alcohol ban in Brazilian stadiums has more to do potential fan riots.

    Not so much the case in Qatar…

  7. patrick says:

    Qatari culture? Other than the lack of alcohol and misogynistic laws, what “culture” do they have?

  8. eman says:

    porn watching and aljazeera

  9. GSScasual says:

    yay… stupid, illogical, theocratic laws for the win.. worst world cup ever, and it hasnt even happened.

  10. WeatherManNX01 says:

    Berbatov to MLS!

    No, I don’t think it’s going to happen, but someone had to get the insanity started.

  11. CrispyST3 says:

    OOOOOOORRRRR…..YOU can take a month off of YOUR culture, and have a great time with US and get drunk and wasted? Yah?