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The Hat-trick | City Inflict More Misery on Arsenal; FIFA Lodges Criminal Complaint Against Former President Sepp Blatter; Napoli Win Appeal to Play ‘Forfeited’ Match vs Juventus

The Hat-trick (Top Football Stories of the Day): Arsenal’s miserable season continued with a 4-1 home defeat by holders Manchester City in the League Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday. The global body lodged a criminal complaint against Sepp Blatter over the finances of the FIFA museum in Zurich | Napoli and Juventus will face off after the original match was not played due to coronavirus scare.
Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City scores against Arsenal in their League Cup quarterfinal on Tuesday (Pic:


Defending champions Manchester City drubbed Arsenal 4-1 in the League Cup (EFL Cup) quarterfinals at the Emirates on Tuesday.

City, who won the EFL Cup the last three seasons, took the lead early when Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus nodded home a Oleksandr Zinchenko cross.

Arsenal, who have been struggling for form this season, equalised in the 31st minute through a fine diving header from Alexandre Lacazette connecting to a cross from Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli. The joy was short lived for Mike Arteta’s side though as City took charge after the half time.

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Arsenal goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson gifted the visitors a 2-1 lead with a mistake in the 54th, letting a harmless Riyad Mahrez freekick through his arms.

Phil Foden scored City’s third --  lifting the shot over the advancing Runarsson. City completed the rout through a goal from Aymeric Laporte, who headed in a Foden cross.

Gunners are languishing in 15th spot in the Premier League, only four points above the relegation zone. Arteta said that despite the result he saw the fighting spirit in his players that is needed to turn the season around.

“I will focus on the fighters we have in the squad and the spirit we showed tonight against a really difficult opponent. I see a lot of fighters,” he said.

City joined Brentford in the semifinals after the Championship side recorded a 1-0 win over Premier League side Newcastle United.

Criminal Complaint Against Blatter

In addition to Blatter’s already existing woes, the global body he presided over has lodged a criminal complaint against him over the finances of the FIFA museum project in Switzerland.

This is the latest allegation of financial impropriety against Blatter, who resigned from his post as president in 2015 amid a corruption scandal. The 84-year-old has always denied any wrongdoing.

FIFA says the previous Blatter-led administration cost them 500m Swiss francs (£420m) to renovate "a building that the organisation doesn't own", while also "locking itself into a long-term rental agreement on unfavourable terms".

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"Given the massive costs associated with this museum, as well as the general way of working of the previous Fifa management, a forensic audit was conducted in order to find out what really happened here," Alasdair Bell, FIFA’s deputy secretary general (administration) said.

"That audit revealed a wide range of suspicious circumstances and management failures, some of which may be criminal in nature and need to be properly investigated by the relevant authorities,” added Bell. “We came to the conclusion that we had no choice other than to report the case to state prosecutors, not least because the current management of Fifa also has fiduciary responsibilities to the organisation and we intend to live up to them, even if those before us dismally failed to."

The complaint has been sent to the Zurich prosecutor, and FIFA says it will "continue to cooperate with the authorities in Switzerland and elsewhere so that those people who damaged football are held accountable for their actions".

The museum project began in 2013, two years before Blatter, who was FIFA president for 17 years, announced his resignation. In response, Blatter's lawyer Lorenz Erni, said the global body’s accusations are "baseless and vehemently repudiated". 

Blatter is currently serving a six-year ban from all forms of football.

Napoli Win Appeal to Play Juventus

Napoli and Juventus’ Serie A fixture, originally scheduled for October 4 in Turin, was deemed a forfeit due to coronavirus concerns after Napoli was barred from travelling for the away fixture. The original fixture was quickly mired into doubt after the club from Naples had faced off with Genoa a few days prior. Over a dozen players in the Genoa squad developed symptoms of Covid-19.

Napoli were also docked one point for not travelling for the match -- a harsh penalty considering the club couldn't do anything about it. Now Napoli have won their appeal to replay the fixture at a different date. 

Originally the Serie A, as well as the and the Italian football federation (FIGC) ruled that Napoli had not adhered to the league's Covid-19 protocols, hinting that their inability to play matches was their own doing.

Napoli's appeal was also denied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who determined that Napoli "deserve the sanction because it was not at all impossible for them to take part in the match, having instead pushed the situation in that direction in a voluntary and pre-ordained manner."

However, Napoli appealed the ruling, stating that they were legally unable to travel as they were ordered by the local health authority not to due to two positive coronavirus cases.

On Tuesday, Napoli won that appeal with CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) deciding that the match will be replayed and Napoli's deducted point will be restored.

As a result of the ruling, Napoli will move up one place in Serie A, overtaking fourth-place Roma on goal difference.

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