The Wisconsin men’s soccer season came to a close on Nov. 8 as Indiana knocked them out of the Big Ten tournament 1-0. The loss marked the second consecutive season in which the Badgers failed to finish with a win percentage of at least .500. But a lot of positives can be taken from this season’s performances.The core of the team is still relatively young, setting Wisconsin up for the opportunity to excel in upcoming seasons. In terms of departures, the Badgers will need to find replacements to fill the voids of senior captains Drew Conner (midfield), Adam Lauko (defense) and Carl Schneider (defense).But compared to the 2014 season, in which the team failed to win a single game in Big Ten play, and only managed to produce three wins, significant improvements were made during this season. The Badgers finished in seventh place in the final conference standings, claiming a total of nine points — an improvement from the single point the team earned a season prior. Wisconsin also improved their win total to five this season.Four of those wins came on the road in 2015, as the Badgers proved to be a much better team playing away from the McClimon Complex. For some unexplainable reason, the team’s home record dropped considerably this season. Wisconsin claimed only one win in Madison, and that didn’t even occur until the final regular season game versus Northwestern.A major part of the team’s success this season was the emergence of sophomore midfielder Christopher Mueller. The Schaumburg, Illinois native led the team in points (15) and goals (5) on the season, including the game-winning goal in double overtime against Rutgers, which gave Wisconsin their first win of the season. Expect Mueller to be a major contributor to the Wisconsin attack in his final two seasons on the team.But Mueller isn’t the only sophomore that will have a major role to play in the next two seasons. Tom Barlow, Mark Segbers, Adrien Remeniuk, Alex Masbruch, Nick Jones, Mike Catalano and Enda O’Neill are all slated to be key pieces in the Wisconsin starting eleven next season. The youth trend should continue as Big Ten All-Freshman defender Sam Brotherton will likely hold down the center back role in defense throughout the entirety of his Wisconsin career.In terms of seniority, players like Matej Radonic, Brian Hail, and Luc Kazmierczak will have to serve as leaders during the 2016 season.It’s also expected that freshman Isaac Schlenker, freshman Elan Koenig, and sophomore Nikola Atlija will see more game time next year as the Badgers reload and refocus on getting back to a level capable of contending for the Big Ten crown.That young core means the future for the Wisconsin men’s soccer program looks bright on paper. The team, comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores the last two seasons, is gaining valuable experience, and the growing process may finally have a chance to pay dividends in 2016.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has condemned the “action of individuals” for bringing “shame and humiliation” on football in a corruption scandal.But he said that although many held him “ultimately responsible” for the football community, he could “not monitor everyone all of the time”.He was speaking at the opening of Fifa’s congress, a day after seven top officials were held in a US inquiry.Mr Blatter has faced calls to quit but is seeking re-election on Friday.Many of Fifa’s major sponsors have expressed concern over twin corruption investigations by both the US and Swiss authorities.’Dragged through the mud’Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fifa congress in Zurich, Mr Blatter said the events of the week had “cast a long shadow over football”. In his first public appearance since the scandal broke, he said: “The actions of individuals bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.”We cannot allow the reputation of football and Fifa to be dragged through the mud and it has to stop here and now.”Many people hold me ultimately responsible for the… global football community… I cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong they will also try to hide it.”But he added: “It must fall to me to bear the responsibility for the reputation and well-being of our organisation and to find a way forward to fix things.”Mr Blatter admitted the “next few months will not be easy – I am sure bad news will follow” but that with Friday’s vote, “we have the opportunity to begin on what will be a long and difficult road to rebuilding trust”. Mr Blatter had faced calls to resign, including from UK PM David Cameron and the head of European football’s governing body Uefa, Michel Platini.Mr Platini had earlier taken part in an emergency meeting with other Fifa confederation heads and Mr Blatter.Mr Platini said he had asked Mr Blatter “as a friend” to resign, saying: “I have had enough – enough is enough, too much is too much.”The president refused, and the other confederations agreed with him that Friday’s vote, in which Mr Blatter is seeking a fifth term, should go ahead.Uefa will back Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Mr Blatter’s only challenger. Mr Platini said that if Mr Blatter won, Uefa could hold an extraordinary meeting in Berlin at the time of the Champions League final.When asked if this could include withdrawing from Fifa competitions, Mr Platini said: “We will raise all possibilities.”Britain’s David Gill said he would not take up his post on Fifa’s executive committee if Mr Blatter were re-elected.Swiss investigationSome of the 14 people indicted on Wednesday in the US investigation are accused of receiving bribes to influence the outcome of bids to stage football tournaments, such as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2016 Copa America in the US.South African government officials have denied the claim. Fifa on Wednesday provisionally banned from football-related activity 11 of the 14 people charged in the US. On Thursday it added another, Aaron Davidson.Fifa’s major sponsors Coca-Cola, Visa, Adidas, McDonald’s, Hyundai Motor and Budweiser are pressing Fifa to take immediate action to restore its reputation.Swiss prosecutors plan to interview 10 Fifa executive committee members as part of a separate investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup tournaments in 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.
Google is expected to close its acquisition of Motorola Mobility this week following the crossing of its last major hurdle, approval by the Chinese regulatory authorities.The Chinese authorities gave the US$12.5 billion (€9.8 billion) acquisition the green light on condition that Google continues to offer its Android operating system free of charge for the next five years.Google is known to be interested in acquiring Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio, particularly strong in the mobile devices area, which would position it better to challenge patent lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft and others.To allay fears on the part of other Android device manufacturers that the acquisition would mean Google competing directly with them in the hardware market, Google is expected to keep Motorola Mobility at arms length, operating as an independent unit. There has been speculation that Google could sell off the set-top box part of the business at a later date.
Fox International Channels (FIC) has launched a new on-demand service, Fox Play, for pay TV subscribers in Poland. Polish operator Vectra will be the first to offer the service to its subscribers, allowing them to watch full series and shows from the Fox and Fox Comedy channels.Viewers able to access the service via the foxplay.pl website with smartphone and tablet apps for iOS and Android due to launch soon.
Marco LeonardiMediaset has named Marco Leonardi as the new CEO of its struggling pay TV unit, Mediaset Premium.Leonardi, who is currently head of acquisition and sales rights at Mediaset, will replace Franco Ricci, who has decided to pursue new professional opportunities outside the group.Mediaset said the appointment was to be seen as part of its strategy of making the Mediaset Premium offering ever-more innovative.In addition to Leonardi, Luca Poloni, the media group’s head of procurement, will also join the Mediaset Premium board with responsibility for leading digital transformation.Leonardi contributed to the launch of the pay TV unit in the role of content and marketing director.Mediaset said in January that it was rethinking its pay TV strategy, making pay channels and content available to other operators and opening up its domestic digital-terrestrial pay TV platform to all third-party content players interested in a “quality pay” proposition.Mediaset said it would “remain a non-sport channel publisher with a multi-platform distribution” and would “adopt an opportunistic approach to football rights”.The future of Mediaset Premium remains uncertain. Mediaset is currently in the midst of a long-running legal dispute with French media giant Vivendi over the latter’s decision to pull out of an agreement to take over the loss-making unit, amidst press speculation that the pair could still strike deal.Mediaset has reportedly also been in talks with pay TV rival Sky about an alternative deal that would see Sky take control of the service.