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UK arrests at football clubs is hopefully start of genuine change, transparency

Soccer has long been a sport in need of transparency. Will some be forthcoming?

Is something finally happening? Are they actually getting off their rear ends?

Clubs in France and England, including West Ham and Newcastle United, newly promoted to the Premier League, woke up this morning to raids from tax authorities. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said in a statement that "several" men working in "professional football" have been arrested for suspected tax fraud.

We don't know the details, so there's no point in speculating right now about who and why and what...

Lionel Messi's Clasico for the ages, Arsenal surprise us, Inter in trouble

The FC crew debate if Lionel Messi truly is the greatest footballer to ever play.

Sometimes they live up to the hype. Sometimes they surpass it.

From the neutral's perspective, Sunday night's Clasico took it to another level. No matchup in the world has as much talent on the pitch even with Neymar missing and Gareth Bale succumbing to injury after just more than half an hour, and few have had as much drama, individual displays of talent, handbrake turns in the narrative and end-to-end excitement as what we witnessed.

And, as far as Lionel Messi is concerned, we've had the...

Mistake-filled Madrid vs. Bayern tie a prime example of why VAR is needed

Paul Mariner is fully supportive of VAR amid the refereeing controversy surrounding Real and Bayern's quarterfinal 2nd leg.
The black mark of Madrid's stunning win over Bayern, were the many refereeing gaffes, which the FC crew dissect fervently.
Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal says his side were robbed in their quarterfinal Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

We really ought to be discussing 210 minutes of captivating football between arguably the two best teams in the world. Instead, the aftermath of Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich has been dominated by talk of the match officials and their decisions.

With it is the usual talk of conspiracies and it's not just fans and media fanning the flames: Two World Cup-winning teammates, separated by the age-old Barcelona-Madrid divide, have been going at it as well.

Moments after Cristiano Ronaldo's goal to make...

Mourinho gets it right, Conte gets it wrong; drama in Milan; Messi, Isco star

Stewart Robson joins the FC show to analyse Man United's massive win over Chelsea, including Mourinho's stellar tactics.

Jose Mourinho made it seem like it was no big deal. It was, he said, pretty much the same game plan that Manchester United used against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup last month, and had that quarterfinal tie remained 11 vs. 11 -- Ander Herrera was sent off in the first half -- he was "totally convinced" that it would also have resulted in victory, just as it did on Sunday when his side beat the Premier League leaders 2-0.

In fact, though, it was a big deal. Mourinho left out the likes...

Dybala has the ability and work ethic for Juventus to be built around him

FC's Serie A expert, Paolo Bandini lavishes Paulo Dybala with praise for breaking out on the European stage against Barca.

Google Earth does a fine job of describing just where La Joya -- the jewel -- was first mined. It shows Paulo Dybala's hometown of Laguna Larga, in Argentina, as a grey-white rectangle surrounded by hundreds of green rectangles.

In the aftermath of World War II, Dybala's grandfather Boleslaw was forced to emigrate from Poland to Argentina. The Nazis had occupied his village and taken him away to work for the German Reich, and he struggled to find work when he returned home. His story, eloquently...

Real vs. Bayern a real UCL blockbuster with no margin for error. Who will win?

With both clubs having key league derbies over the weekend, the FC panel agree those won't affect their UCL performances.

This is not what football's founding fathers intended. Any enduring conspiracy involving "hot balls and cold balls" and rigged draws to keep the heavyweights apart suffered a blow when Real Madrid were pitted against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals.

UEFA club rankings may be purely mathematical constructs (although they're probably somewhat more reliable than their cousins, the FIFA rankings), but they are pretty unequivocal here. They look at the past five seasons, and they...