Opening week 2021 has been eventful on and off the pitch and, as always, there are some stories that will have gone unnoticed.

We’re here to make sure you don’t miss a thing every week, whether it’s Karim Benzema’s legal scratches, Arsenal’s bank bailout, or an update from Mick McCarthy in Cyprus.

Here are some of the alternate titles from early January.

Benzema sex tape case in court

French prosecutors have confirmed that Karim Benzema will be judged for attempted blackmail in the affair starring the infamous Mathieu Valbuena sex tape.

The Real Madrid man, who has not played for France since the scandal broke in 2015, has been accused of paying individuals to threaten Valbuena with posting the video in exchange for money.

Benzema, now 33, claimed police used dishonest tactics to implicate him after Valbuena reported the blackmail attempt to police.

The episode cost Benzema and Valbuena their places in France’s UEFA Euro 2016 squad and the latter now plays for Olympiacos in Greece.

Alverca mourns the tragic loss of Apolinario

Portugal’s third tier team Alverca suffered a tragic loss earlier this week when Alex Apolinario passed away at just 24 years old.

The Brazilian suffered cardiac arrest last Sunday in the clash with Almeirim and despite resuscitation on the pitch, he was unable to survive the impact on his brain and died four days later.

Apolinario, who started his career with Botafogo in his native Brazil, is remembered for scoring the opening goal in last season’s 2-0 win over Sporting CP in the Portuguese Cup.

Blatter hospitalized

Former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter is hospitalized in serious but not fatal condition, his family has confirmed.

“My father is in the hospital and is getting better every day,” said his daughter Corinne. Swiss outlet Blick. “He needs time and rest. On behalf of my family, I ask for privacy.”

Blatter was FIFA president for 17 years from 1998 until a corruption scandal ended his term in 2015, which resulted in an eight-year ban from football – later reduced to six – for him and former UEFA supreme Michel Platini.

Niort injured during the passage to COVID of Valenciennes

French Ligue 2 team Chamois Niortais have publicly criticized the Professional Football League’s (LFP) decision to grant Valenciennes a victory in the postponed December 22 match.

Niort believes they were punished by the committee for “excessive caution” in the face of a number of positive COVID-19 cases and maintains their decision to “prioritize safety and follow medical advice”.

The club are now considering an appeal and will undoubtedly look to the example of Napoli’s clash with Juventus in Serie A where a similar default result was awarded alongside a points deduction and then later overthrown.

McCarthy’s APOEL adventure is already over

Mick McCarthy has already left as coach of APOEL Nicosia after only two months in charge of the Cypriot team. Four straight losses have seen the team drop to 10th in the standings after third place last season and the Irishman’s sacking came just hours after Jack Byrne’s recent signing made his debut.

Brest sees the lighter side of Larsonneur’s gaff

Stade Brestois 29 came close to registering a goal contender against their side of the year when talented goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur managed to hit his own crossbar and post while trying to clear the ball in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory on William Saliba’s OGC Nice in Ligue 1. Fortunately, Brest sees the funny side of it…

Arsenal takes out COVID loan

Finally, my CBS Sports colleague James Benge makes an appearance to break Arsenal’s loan from the Bank of England.

Large inflows of money in January usually send fans into transfer frenzy, but Gunners fans would do well to wait before cheering for the potential arrival of Emiliano Buendia or Julian Brandt.

Arsenal have just received a bank loan of $ 163 million, but it is not to fund an overhaul of Mikel Arteta’s team.

Instead, Londoners have secured funds from the COVID Business Finance Facility (CCFF) which will be used to keep the club’s finances running smoothly as the absence of fans at Emirates Stadium continues to hit hard.

No Premier League club earn as much of the day’s income as Arsenal and they have only been able to accommodate a small number of fans with two matches since the pandemic struck last March.

Those two home games with Rapid Vienna and Burnley came at a loss with just 2,000 spectators, club sources confirmed to CBS Sports.

Tottenham Hotspur and the Football Association (FA) have used CCFF funds in the past and are available for businesses that have “a big impact on the UK economy” and “demonstrate good financial health beforehand” with British Airways and John Lewis other beneficiaries.

With Arsenal losses potentially around $ 190million, CCFF funds appease any immediate cash flow issues until broadcast, Premier League, UEFA and sponsor money come to an end. of May.

Other countries, like France, are looking for other ways to avoid financial risks until the COVID-19 pandemic is over and Ligue 1 presidents met with the French football players’ union on Thursday to discuss the issue. ” possible salary reductions.

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