Mid-Day Ticker: UEFA fines Cassano; Champions, Europa League draws & more

Cassano (Getty Images)

Euro 2012 is almost three weeks in the rear-view mirror, but punishment is still being handed down for remarks made during the tournament.

Italy forward Antonio Cassano was fined €15,000 by UEFA for his anti-gay remarks. Cassano's comments were made when answering questions of whether he thought he had any gay teammates on the Italian national team. Cassano offered that he hoped there were not while using a derogatory word, prompting an outcry from gay rights organizations and the eventual punishment.

He issued an apology the following day, saying, "I sincerely regret that my statements have sparked controversy and protest from gay rights groups. Homophobia is a sentiment that is not mine. I did not want to offend anyone, and I can not question the sexual freedom of other people. I only said that it is a problem that does not concern me and it is not for me to pass judgment on the choices of others, who are all respected."

Here are a few more stories to carry you to the weekend:

GATT, KLJESTAN LEARN UCL QUALIFYING DRAW

A pair of Americans learned what their paths will be to the fourth round of UEFA Champions League qualifying, as the draw for the third qualifying round was conducted Friday.

Should Molde and American winger Josh Gatt, which hold a 3-0 lead over Ventspils heading into next week's second leg of their qualifying tie, advance to the next round, they'll face either Estonia's Tallinn or Swiss power FC Basel, which made it out of the group stage last year.

Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht, meanwhile, will await the winner of the qualifying tie between Ireland's Shamrock Rovers and Lithuania's Ekranas.

The full third-round UCL qualifying draw can be seen here.

EUROPA LEAGUE QUALIFYING DRAW CONDUCTED

Inter Milan and Liverpool find themselves in the unfamiliar position of qualifying for the Europa League group stage as opposed to competing in the Champions League, and the two powers learned who they will face with the draw for next month's third qualifying round being conducted.

Inter will face either Croatian side Hajduk Split or Latvian club Skonto Riga, while Liverpool will meet Macedonia's Renova or Belarusian side Gomel.

As for the Americans in the quailfying rounds, Steve Cherundolo's Hannover will go up against either Irish side St. Patrick's or Bosnian club Siroki Brijeg; and Terrence Boyd's Rapid Vienna will play either Serbian club FK Vojvodina or Lithuanian club Suduva.

The full third-round UEL qualifying draw can be seen here.

HAZARD'S BROTHER SIGNING WITH CHELSEA

It appears that there will be not one, but two members of the Hazard family suiting up for Chelsea this season. 

Eden Hazard's younger brother, Thorgan, is nearing a deal with the Blues on a transfer from French side Lens. Like Eden, the 19-year-old Thorgan is an attacking midfielder, and he has featured in the Belgian youth set-up at various levels, including the U-23 side.

Eden, who scored against the Seattle Sounders Wednesday night, is set for his first season with Chelsea after making a high-profile move from French side Lille.

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Think Cassano deserved to be punished for his remarks? What's your take on the UEFA Champions League and Europa League qualifying draws? How do you rate the collection of young talent that Chelsea has amassed?

Share your thoughts below.

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4 Responses to Mid-Day Ticker: UEFA fines Cassano; Champions, Europa League draws & more

  1. NE Matt says:

    Besides Gatt and Kljestan, who else do we have in the UCL this campaign? The only other 2 I recall are Parkhurst and Jermaine Jones.

  2. Felix says:

    I’m not condoning Cassano’s remarks.
    But on the field, he is brilliant – I’ve always loved watching him play. His personality, skills, ability and sense of showmanship would make him a great MLS DP. I just don’t know if he could adjust living here though.

  3. Happy Boy says:

    Serves Cassano right

  4. Matt says:

    American-Bosnian-Croatian attacker Danijal Brkovic and Zeljeznicar, his Bosnian team, face a 4-1 deficit to Slovenian power Maribor, in ghe current 2nd qualifying round.

    Bryan GerIcich and his surprise Israeli champs Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona face a 1-0 deficit to Slovakian champs Zilina in the current round as well.

    Lastly, Scottish Third placers (qualifying through Rangers downfall) Motherwell and their largely unknown (to American fans) Irish-American ‘keeper, Darren Randolph face Panathinaikos of Greece in the next round, as annouced today