Into the Zone: 8 stories that breathed life into our week

ZonalSports summarizes the most news-worthy footballing headlines from Monday, May 2

Moscow -Russia August 20, 2018, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, during the World Cup Champion Trophy Award Ceremony alongside FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar

Hammer of justice: FIFA punish Nigeria, Algeria, Chile, Senegal, Colombia

On Monday, FIFA issued the Disciplinary Committee's verdict on the match between Algeria and Cameroon on March 29, which served as the second leg of the last round of Africa's 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The Algerian Federation was fined 3,000 Swiss francs for rioting, hurling missiles, and igniting fireworks in the bleachers at Mustafa Çakir Stadium after Cameroon's national team qualified for the World Cup in dramatic circumstances .

Following Algeria's 1-0 triumph in the first leg at Jaboma Stadium, the Lions of Cameroon snatched a 2-1 victory away from their homeland in the final minutes of the return encounter.

Additional penalties

FIFA also levied significant penalties on Senegal, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the punishment of playing a match in front of an empty stadium, for infractions during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Nigeria was fined 150,000 Swiss francs for violating the match's rules, which included storming the pitch and throwing projectiles from the stands on March 29.

Additionally, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was penalised 120,000 Swiss francs for infractions during its March 25 encounter against Morocco's national team, including "failure to arrange the match correctly."

Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras were also penalised and, in some cases, barred from attending fan events by FIFA for different qualifying infractions.

Into the meta verse: Serie A inaugurates virtual reality

With the match between Milan and Fiorentina, Serie A became the first football league to broadcast across what the metaverse refers to as a "complete digital space," in which users may interact with all of the aspects.

Metaverses become a reality over time, as they evolve into a new digital universe in which all parts may be connected, and now it is football's turn to follow.

On this road, Serie A became the first league in the world to introduce football to this area, with the match between Milan and Fiorentina serving as the catalyst, despite the fact that the project was mainly targeted at the Middle East and North Africa region.

Luigi Di Servo, the CEO of Serie A, said on Monday that the move aims to "get as close as possible to our fans."

He added that since young people spend so much time in the metaverse, they are attempting to establish the first football league that expresses the notion of innovation.

According to Radio Radio, he stated: "It's similar to watching a sport with other people, a shared engagement with the football experience... 

"However, does the game lose its human element? Definitely not, since they are two distinct occurrences. Nobody wants to see football lose its energy or compassion."

Soler system: Barca sign Soler to implement new system

Valencia released an official statement on Monday in reaction to a news claim that the club had reached an agreement with Barcelona about the sale of midfielder Carlos Soler.

Additionally, the Spanish publication "AS" stated that the two teams had agreed on a 20 million euro deal.

The paper claimed that this agreement necessitates the sale of Frenkie de Jong, who Barcelona president Juan Laporta wants to offload during the next summer transfer season.

However, Valencia denied this in an official statement: 

"In light of the information published today, Monday, in the newspaper (AS), Valencia CF firmly rejects that it has reached an agreement or is in the process of negotiating a transfer of Carlos Soler with Barcelona."

"The club is now in discussions with the player and his representatives to extend his contract with Valencia," the statement read.

Carlos Soler's contract with The Bats ends in the summer of 2023, and the two parties have yet to agree on a renewal.

War in Rome: Roma and Lazio in war of words after referee clanger

Lazio replied to Jose Mourinho's criticism of the referee who oversaw last Saturday's encounter between Spezia and Lazio (3-4), in which the capital's Eagles snatched victory in the last minutes with an offside goal.

Francesco Acerbi, an Italian defender, scored the game-winning goal for Lazio in the 89th minute. Despite the fact that he was offside, the VAR did not summon the field referee, and the goal was scored.

With Lazio's victory and Roma's 0-0 draw against Bologna in the 35th round of the Italian League, the two clubs are now level on points (59) and therefore in the race for European rankings.

Mourinho lashed out at the referee, saying: 

"In the 22 years I've been a coach, two things have remained constant: the debate about who played and who didn't, and the chance of winning with an offside goal.

"It was conceivable 22 years ago, and it remains so now... Everything in football changes, but these two things do not."

Mourinho's words did not go ignored by Lazio, who replied to the Portuguese coach with a statement that read: 

"The fact that a coach from another club regularly alludes in his press conferences in 2022 to a purported preference by arbitration for rival teams shows certain things."

Several of these include that "Lazio is compulsively present in his thoughts, more than other professional objectives to be accomplished... and that, as is often the case, focus is diverted to others in order to deflect attention from poor achievements."

It's worth mentioning that this arbitral blunder has significant ramifications in Italy.

According to Italian media reports, referees Luca Pierreto, the match's primary referee, and Luigi Nasca, the match's video assistant referee, have been punished and will be barred from officiating for the remainder of the season owing to what was deemed a "sequential mistake."

No need to RUSH: UEFA slap more penalties on Russia

The European Football Association's (UEFA) Executive Committee voted on Monday to exclude all Russian clubs from competing in European competitions in the season (2022-2023), after the extension of sanctions imposed on Russia in February in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

"In the 2022/2023 season, Russia will not have affiliated clubs competing in UEFA club tournaments. As a result, the access lists for men's and women's club competitions have been rebalanced in compliance with the competition rules," UEFA stated in an official statement. 

Similarly, the Continental Federation announced the "rejection" of the Russian Federation's candidacy to host both the European Nations Championships (Euro 2028) and the (Euro 2032)

Interestingly, the restrictions will not be limited to Russian clubs. According to UEFA, despite qualifying, the Russian women's team will not compete in the final stage of the European Women's Championship 2022, which will be held in England next July, and will be replaced by Portugal, Russia's qualifier opponent.

For its part, the Russian men's team will skip the second group of the European Nations League's second level and "shall automatically finish fourth in this group."

Nico BECKons: Dortmund announce new defender

Borussia Dortmund have signed international defender Nico Schlotterbeck to a five-year deal.

The German club added on its official website that the 22-year-old will join the team in 2022/2023 after finishing the season with Freiburg, who are currently fourth in the German Bundesliga.

Schlotterbeck passed a medical check in Dortmund on Monday and has signed a new contract extension until June 30, 2027, according to the statement. 

Dortmund are second in the German Bundesliga with 63 points, 12 points behind Bayern Munich, who won the League Championship for the tenth consecutive season.

All about the DIOLA: Man City to face Bayern in Guardiola derby

Bayern Munich confirmed that it will meet Pep Guardiola's old side, Manchester City, in a friendly match during the squad's pre-season tour of the United States of America.

The German Bundesliga champions confirmed on Monday that the match would take place on July 23 at Lambeau Field, home of the American Football League's Green Bay Packers.

Bayern Munich will also meet DC United three days earlier in Washington.

Bayern's trip, which runs from July 18 to 24, will be the club's first overseas appearance in two years, and its sixth in the United States.

The Old Lady's Key: Juventus sign Chiesa on a permanent basis

Juventus have triggered the purchase clause in the contract of one of their most notable offensive players this season, Italian Federico Chiesa, who has spent the past two seasons on loan from Fiorentina.

Fabrizio Romano tweeted: "Juventus activated the purchase clause in Chiesa's contract. There was no question about that."

The transfer expert stated that Fiorentina would get a guaranteed 40 million euros in addition to another ten million in variable funds, with a loan cost of about ten million euros.

Chiesa is reportedly rehabilitating from a cruciate ligament injury and is anticipated to join Juventus in time for the start of the new season.