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Friday cannon fodder: video killed the bad referee

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MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Portland Timbers
If this guy is replaced by a robot, nobody would care
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Howdy! How was your week? Got any exciting plans for the weekend? My plans include finally starting to do some training for this year’s Bike MS. Speaking of that, I should let you know that we are not doing a Charity Challenge this year, at least in the summer; both us and CFC are super busy with non-blog stuff this summer and, more importantly, we couldn’t really figure out a way to do a challenge that took into account the vastly different sizes of our readership. On a normal day, CFC is at least twice our size; on days when they have big news and we don’t, they can triple us or more. That doesn’t make for a level playing field as far as soliciting stuff goes, for sure.

Given that and the time constraints, we haven’t gotten together to figure out how to do something that would give us a fighting chance at winning, so I think this year we’re giving it a pass. I do, however, still help organize and ride in Bike MS, which a bunch of you wonderful people gave so generously to last year; if you’d like to do so again, with nothing on the line except my eternal gratitude and thanks, please feel free to click here and donate as much as you can. Thank you again for making last year so awesome, and thanks in advance for helping me out this year, should you choose to do so.

Manchester City among clubs accused by Monaco of tapping up Kylian Mbappé | Football | The Guardian
Manchester City are one of four clubs Monaco are threatening to report to Fifa for allegedly making an unauthorised approach to Kylian Mbappé. Fortunately, Arsenal are not among the four.

Africa Cup of Nations moved to summer in boost to Premier League clubs
This is legitimately good news; the Africa Nations Cup will be switched to the summer and expanded to include 24 countries starting in 2019. No more January absences!

The Premier League players forced to stay against their will and how it panned out | The Independent
With Arsenal thinking about holding Alexis to contract, the Independent takes a look at other instances of that decision and how they worked out.

From the army to Bristol Rovers: Tom Broadbent’s extraordinary journey | Football | The Guardian
The defender tells Stuart James how he was shot at in Afghanistan, had his biceps squeezed by Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the FA Cup final and why he is leaving the army to pursue his dream. Meanwhile, I had pizza and beer for dinner.

Premier League chief insists 39th game idea is dead despite support from clubs - Wales Online
This idea has been floating around for 20 years or so, and I think it’s finally never going to happen.

Atlanta United fans use Pulse to trash talk Orlando City match | WFTV | WFTV
Charming.

Major League Soccer to Implement Video Review League-Wide Beginning Aug. 5 | MLSsoccer.com
I'm excited about this, despite a somewhat rocky test period. It won't magically cure all the ills of the game, but anything that helps referees - particularly MLS referees - get more things correct should be encouraged. Before you bring up the “flow of the game” argument, it’s important to note that VAR will be used only in four situations: penalty decisions, goal/no goal, red cards, and mistaken identity.