Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Brazil's official World Cup instrument under fire

Brazil's replacement for the vuvuzela is giving World Cup organizers a headache.

It wasn't the sound of the caxirola -- a maraca-like instrument not nearly as noisy as the South African vuvuzela -- that attracted attention Sunday during its official debut at a match in northeastern Brazil.

Instead, hundreds of the small green-and-yellow plastic objects were thrown onto the field by fans upset with their team's performance, forcing a brief interruption.

The incident came less than two months before the Confederations Cup begins in June.

Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said it was "not good news" to see the instruments thrown by fans but hopes it is an isolated incident.

"It doesn't mean that something like this will happen if Brazil is losing a match during the World Cup," Rebelo said.

The protest also came less than a week after Brazil's national team was loudly jeered by nearly 50,000 fans in a 2-2 home tie against Chile in Belo Horizonte.

Created by Brazilian artist Carlinhos Brown, the caxirola was presented earlier this month and recognized by the Brazilian government and FIFA as the official fan instrument of the World Cup.

It creates a continuous rattling sound that's softer than the one produced by the vuvuzelas in South Africa.

Bare knuckle football

An early form of Italian football began in the 59 BC in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence.

The sport of giuoco del calcio fiorentino - a mix of soccer, rugby, Greco-Roman wrestling and bare-knuckle fighting - was played by the aristocrats on every night between Eipiphany and Lent.

The official rules of calcio were published for the first time in 1580 by a certain Giovanni Bardi.

Just like Roman harpastum, it was played in teams of 27, using both feet and hands.

Goals could be scored by throwing the ball over a designated spot on the perimeter of the field.

The playing field is a giant sand pit with a goal running the width of each end.

There is a main referee, six linesmen and a field master.

Each game is played out for 50 minutes with the winner being the team with the most points or ‘cacce’.

MLS match officials unionize

Major League Soccer's referees and their assistants are unionizing.

The match officials said Monday they had voted to certify the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) as their collective bargaining agent in a vote conducted under the rules of the National Labor Relations Board.

Referees, linesman and fourth officials are included in the bargaining unit.

The Professional Referee Organization (PRO), responsible for managing match officials for MLS, will be required to bargain with PSRA over the terms and conditions of employment.

Lucas Middlebrook, a lawyer for PSRA, said the vote was 55-7 among 77 eligible voters.

He said some referees had annual contracts for 2013 but that many referees and all assistants and fourth officials did not.

£250,000 fine for missing a goal

BT Sport, who paid £738million for Premier League rights, have imposed remarkable financial penalties on their TV production partners if they miss a goal or even a corner next season.

The clauses Sunset+Vine had to agree for the production contract include a whopping £250,000 fine if a goal is scored without being screened live during one of BT’s 38 PL games in the 2013-14 campaign.

There will also be the small matter of £150,000 to pay if the S+V cameras miss a corner kick or what’s described as an ‘offensive free kick’.

The six-figure penalty code was described as ‘astonishing’ by others involved in the tender process, with their lawyers never having encountered such a roster of fines as a contractual part of filming football.

Jeff Foulser, chairman of S+V, said: ‘There are financial penalties included in the contract, but we were happy to sign. BT have paid an enormous amount of money and want the best possible coverage. It’s not our intention to miss any goals. We have one of the world’s best  football directors and vast experience.’

The S+V contract with BT is understood to be worth around £100m to deliver both PL football and Premiership rugby union. BT would not comment on ‘commercially confidential information’.

Danish striker goes into Incredible Hulk-Esque Rage

Walcott swapped shirts with Van Persie in the tunnel to avoid the wrath of fans

Theo Walcott has avoided an Andre Santos-style backlash despite swapping shirts with Robin van Persie on Sunday.

The Gunners striker was seen giving a post-match interview wearing a United shirt after the 1-1 draw.

And the shirt belonged to his former Arsenal team-mate after the pair swapped shirts in the Emirates Stadium tunnel moments after the final whistle.

Santos was the subject of a furious backlash from supporters after making a beeline to Van Persie at half-time of the Gunners defeat at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

He made the approach in full view of TV cameras and Arsenal supporters.

England stars remember the game's founding fathers

As part of their 150th anniversary celebrations, the FA is  asking for help from the public to trace the ancestors of the eight men who established the world’s most popular sport.

Living relatives who can be found will then be invited to a ceremony at Wembley in October where their ancestors will be honoured.

England manager Roy Hodgson said: ‘Football is part of the fabric of our society. Without the vision of these eight men 150 years ago, it may not have come to exist.

‘We should all recognise not only the sporting contribution that these men have made but also the impact that football has had in this country and around the world.’

Victor Valdes: My arms were too beefy for Barcelona captain’s armband

Victor Valdes has revealed he snubbed the chance to take over the Barcelona captaincy during the recent 2-2 draw with Athletico Bilbao because his arms were too big.

The Spanish goalkeeper, who is expected to leave the club in the summer after announcing he would not be signing a new contract, was the next in line to take the armband from Xavi after the midfielder was replaced by Lionel Messi in the 58th minute.

With Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta not on the field, the armband was handed to Thiago Alcantara to pass down to Valdes, but the shot-stopper surprisingly shunned the responsibility, meaning Messi had to stand in as skipper.

Valdes drew a host of criticism on social network sites for his apparent snub, but the 31-year-old moved to clarify his actions on Twitter, citing his bulging biceps as the reason behind the rejection.

‘The assignment of the captain’s armband to Messi during yesterday’s game was for no other reason than because of a problem with size,’ said the goalkeeper.

‘By not being able to adjust comfortably to my arm I decided to transfer it during the match.’

Dutch women's open goal miss

Van Persie takes wrong turn into the Arsenal dressing room

Rapid Vienna ultras build brick wall in front of club offices to keep management out

With their side lying a dismal third in the Austrian Bundesliga, 17 points behind Red Bull Salzburg in second place and a colossal 23 points behind FK Austria Wien at the top with just six games left, a group of thoroughly infuriated Rapid Vienna ultras protested the club's dismal performance this season by barricading the management out of their offices in the Austrian capital.

After losing 3-1 to Salzburg on Saturday, a group of Rapid supporters descended on the offices the following night and bricked up the entrance with breeze blocks, hanging a photo of general manager Werner Kuhn on it, along with the message: "I'm not allowed in."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Werder Bremen take stand on speeding by banning star duo

Bundesliga strugglers Werder Bremen have sensationally banned two of their players for the remainder of the season for speeding.

Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic and Holland international Eljero Elia were both caught speeding last week in separate incidents on the motorway.

The club have said that the two players' motoring offences have 'damaged' Werder as they battle to stay in the German top flight.

Werder sports director Thomas Eichin said: 'In the final stretch of the season we need all players to be fully focused.

'We have made it clear to Marko Arnautovic and Eljero Elia that their behaviour damaged the team in this phase.

'Both will train separately until the end of the season.'

GIF : Sturridge goal celebration

Gareth Bale featured in a school newspaper

Barnsely cancels awards dinner

Relegation-threatened Barnsley have decided to cancel their end-of-season awards dinner after selling only 57 tickets to fans.

The event was due to take place in the town’s Holiday Inn hotel but the Championship club made the call to pull the dinner for the first time in 50 years.

David Flitcroft’s side go into the final game of the season on Saturday against Huddersfield in the relegation zone, but could survive if they win and Peterborough slip up at Crystal Palace.

Director Don Rowing admitted that cancelling the event was ‘embarrassing’.

He said: ‘It is a real shame but we only sold 57 tickets. There is nothing more we could have done.

‘There just wasn’t much interest. We normally sell about 160 to 170 tickets for the event and we even reduced the ticket price this year.’

Di Canio learned English from Oasis

Paolo Di Canio has a karaoke machine and Liam Gallagher to thank for his English skills.

The Italian’s former team-mate Alan Stubbs has revealed how the Sunderland boss struggled with the language when he signed for Celtic in 1996.

But, within a year, he had mastered the lingo - after buying a karaoke machine and singing along to songs by Gallagher’s band Oasis among others.

Stubbs explained: "Paolo’s spoken English wasn’t great when he arrived at Celtic from AC Milan. It was broken and stilted and it used to frustrate him.

"Then he came in one day and said he had solved the problem - he’d bought a karaoke machine.

"He decided if he couldn’t speak English, he’d learn to sing it."


This year saw the inaugural Golfoot Masters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Former international stars  Teddy Sheringham and Christian Karembeu helped launch the new sport.

Messi goal vs Bilbao.

Di Canio feared Sunderland sack

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio says he feared the sack in the immediate controversy over his appointment.

Di Canio, 44, had to fend off questions about whether he held fascist beliefs as the focus on his political views overshadowed his arrival in March.

"He [chairman Ellis Short] might have thought, 'Now I'll sack him straight away' because he was under pressure," Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo.

"Instead he backed me 100%, 1,000%. He supported me in an incredible way."

Former West Brom defender facing corruption charges

Jockey Eddie Ahern and former West Brom defender and racehorse owner Neil Clement are among six people facing corruption charges at the British Horseracing Authority on Monday.

The group were charged late last year with breaching racing's rules.

The BHA hearing is due to run until Friday 3 May.

Ahern is subject to a number of allegations, including that he stopped a mount from obtaining the best possible position at Lingfield in 2011.

The others under investigation are James Clutterbuck, the son of Newmarket trainer Ken, and three individuals without licences - Paul Hill, Martin Raymond and Michael Turl.

Irishman Ahern has ridden more than 1,000 winners in Britain while Clement made more than 250 appearances for West Brom, including four seasons in the Premier League, but was forced to retire in January 2010 due to a knee injury.

Ahern is alleged to have stopped his mount Judgethemoment running on its merits at Lingfield racecourse in January 2011.

He is also accused of giving inside information, including for reward, to Clement and/or others.

Clement is charged with using inside information to place bets, breaching the rules by laying (backing against) his own horse Hindu Kush, and failing to provide requested details to the BHA.

He is also alleged to have conspired with Clutterbuck, the assistant trainer and owner of racehorse Stoneacre Gareth, while the other three are accused of placing bets having obtained inside information.

Columbus scoreboard catches on fire

Columbus Fire Dept is on the scene and is extinguishing the fire as we speak. We will have more details shortly. #Crew96

- Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew) April 27, 2013

The fire is under control and the players are heading back into the locker room. They will begin warming up in the next half hour. #Crew96

- Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew) April 27, 2013

Downing takes aim at plasma TV – and misses

Chelsea TV labels Frank Lampard ‘former Blues midfielder’

Hartlepool fans don penguin outfits

Die-hard Hartlepool fans helped their side pick up a point against Crawley after cheering them on from the stands - dressed as penguins.

In an end of season tradition, supporters donned the fishy gear and shocked London Underground users after taking the tube en route to Crawley’s Broadfield Stadium.

The same set of fans dressed up as Smurfs this time last year, and ended up going viral after being snapped on the underground escalators going to their away game with Charlton.

And it seemed the extra if not bizarre support from the stands worked, as already relegated Hartlepool wrapped up a dreadful season with a 2-2 draw.

Taylor compares Newcastle's six-goal thrashing by Liverpool to a death in the family

Steven Taylor likened Newcastle’s astonishing surrender to Liverpool to a death in the family as they were plunged deep into relegation trouble.

The Magpies’ 6-0 humiliation at the hands of the Reds was their heaviest home defeat since 1925 and left them just five points clear of the Barclays Premier League drop zone with three games to play.

They head for West Ham next Saturday knowing another pointless afternoon could leave them in genuine peril as the prospect of a second relegation in five seasons looms large.

Central defender Taylor said: 'It’s a sick feeling. At this moment in time, it feels like a family member has died, if I am being honest with you.

'In the dressing room, looking around everyone was devastated and realised the situation we are in.

'We have got to accept what’s coming our way, and that’s going to be the criticism this weekend leading up to the West Ham game.

'We have just got to put that to bed and focus on ourselves. Everybody is going to be criticising the team, the manager, everybody, but we have to stick together.

'We have heard those words a lot in the past six months, but that’s vital now. The last three games are going to be like cup finals for us.

Greatest ever finish to a game

Relegated QPR furious at Bosingwa laughing

Queens Park Rangers are furious with Jose Bosingwa after he was caught laughing just moments after the club’s relegation was confirmed.

Players and members of the Rangers hierarchy were said to be angered by the Portuguese defender’s antics after the final whistle of Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Reading - which condemned both clubs to the Championship next season.

Enraged fans took to Twitter and internet message boards to express their anger  - branding the 30-year-old,  who earns £65,000 a week, a ‘mercenary’ and a ‘disgrace’.

Bosingwa, who joined QPR from Chelsea last August, was already an unpopular figure among players and board members at Loftus Road after refusing to sit on the substitutes’ bench earlier in the season.

He was fined two weeks’ wages over the incident and fiercely criticised by manager Harry Redknapp.

The full back has endured a torrid season on the pitch, too, and poor performances have failed to endear him to the home supporters.

Village team with population of 400 given 19,000 ticket allocation

The village has a population of 400, and they have an average gate of 50, but non-league Rimington have been handed a whopping allocation of 19,000 for their clash with Bay Athletic.

The game is Rimington’s biggest in their history, the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup final, which will be held at Leeds United’s Elland Road.

And despite the tiny village team promising to take a record crowd - of around 300 - club officials were left stunned when the FA awarded them 19,000 tickets.

Club manager Terry Braithwaite finds the allocation hilarious, telling the local media: ‘If we get 50 watching us for a home match against another local club we think we’ve done well!’

Tickets are priced at £7 each, but with thousands set to be returned, it appears it will end up costing the West Riding FA money to host it at Elland Road - rather than making them cash.

Jay-Z and Chris Martin watch Arsenal

Premier League Team of the Year

David de Gea (Manchester United)

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)

Leighton Baines (Everton)

Michael Carrick (Manchester United)

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Manchester United's Premier League title win in numbers

GIF : Yaya Toure goal

Premier league without top scorers

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fellaini will dye his hair silver if charity target is reached

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Blues' official charity, the midfielder has committed to dye his famous 'fro' silver - but only if Evertonians can reach a fundraising target of £25,000.

Chalobah’s 35-yard screamer

Brazil side raffles sheep at half-time

With dwindling attendances and spiraling overheads, it's no mean feat trying to balance the books at an amateur football club at the moment.

Brazilian regional league side Santo Angelo are no different, with the club close to skint as they struggle with keeping fans' buttocks on the seats at their Estadio da Zona Sul.

The severe lack of funds was beginning to bite at the Series A-2 Campeonato Gaucho club -- until one of the club's directors conjured up an ingenious scheme to reel their wayward fans back in: by putting on a half-time livestock raffle, with every ticket-buying fan being entered into the draw.

Despite Santo Angelo going down 2-0 to Rio Pardense at the weekend, attendances were up for the first time in months after word was put out around the area the club would be giving away a live sheep at half-time, with the club's president taking to the field at the break and pulling the lucky winning seat number out of a hat.

As well as the sheep, caps, t-shirts and beer glasses were also given away to a gaggle of runners-up.

Jack Warner blasts Blatter, FIFA

Former soccer official Jack Warner claims FIFA gifted him $6 million toward a training center in Trinidad to support Sepp Blatter's first election as president in 1998.

Warner says a deal in May 1998 with then-FIFA President Joao Havelange ensured backing from the CONCACAF region for Blatter in what turned out to be a tight contest against Lennart Johansson.

"Blatter would never have seen the light of day as president of FIFA" without 30 CONCACAF votes, Warner said in a speech distributed to international media Friday.

It's the latest attack on FIFA since Warner promised a "tsunami" of revelations after the then-FIFA vice president was implicated in a bribery scandal while opposing Blatter's latest election two years ago.

Warner's claim details his ownership of the Trinidad center of excellence, now valued at $22.5 million.

Last week, an integrity panel accused him of fraudulently managing the body running soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott learn Kung Fu

Friday, April 26, 2013

Barcelona cartoon

Adidas and Opta unveil ‘The Engine’

For the past two years adidas and Opta have identified a new type of player ‘The Engine’ from an algorithm summarised by a mathematical equation.

‘The Engine’ is a type of player who will not run out of energy, a box-to-box midfielder, a player who seeks goal scoring chances, tracks down his opponent such as Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez.

Based on the adidas insight, Opta have helped to reveal the fundamental character of ‘The Engine‘ by finding out how to measure and quantify his performances. adidas & Opta will analyse data from matches from the UEFA Champions League and the Confederations Cup and show ‘The Engine’ players via an index entitled ‘The Engine Scale’.

Opta are a statistics and insights company and followed Javi Martinez’s movements and work rate made in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League.

Some of the players believed to fit ‘The Engine’ stereotype are Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez, FC Barcelona‘s Dani Alves, Roma’s Daniele De Rossi & Paris Saint-Germain’s Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Aidan Cooney, CEO, Opta mentioned: "We are delighted to be working with adidas on confirming the existence of ‘The Engine’ player.

Football fans are passionate about comparing, contrasting and analysing world class players’ performances.

Liverpool warn fans to expect bans if they set off smoke bombs

Liverpool have warned fans they will ban anyone who lets off smoke bombs and other 'pyrotechnic devices' at matches.

This season there have been frequent episodes of canisters being opened at away games, sending plumes of red smoke into the stadiums.

It is not a trend purely limited to Liverpool fans but the Merseyside club have called for their supporters to cease or risk the prospect of exclusion.

Wenger claims German success in Europe is down to the winter break

From advanced training methods to a host of young stars and a sound financial footing, the theories have been many and varied.

But according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, the German clubs' success is down to one thing - a winter break.

'The only thing you can say is Germany take advantage of a longer winter break with their club and national teams [more] than anybody else,' Wenger told the club's official site.

'That goes when they are at the big tournaments with the national team and when you play against them in March and April, especially April.

'When you are an English club or a Spanish club, you have a handicap - that is for sure.

'What people forget with a long winter break is during that break the international players get real rest as well, which is not the case in the summer.

'In the summer your players only sometimes get two or three weeks off because they play in the big tournaments, you have to get them back and they do start the new season without being completely rested.

'If you have a big winter break, because the national teams don't play during that break, the international players who are the most exposed to severe physical stress have a real rest as well in winter, and that is a massive advantage.'

PM Cameron: Suarez bite set an 'appalling example' to my seven-year-old son

Prime Minister David Cameron said today that Luis Suarez's bite on Branislav Ivanovic set an 'appalling example' to his seven-year-old son - but the Liverpool striker's punishment is a matter for the FA.

Cameron told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that his intervention in the matter was merely that of a concerned father.

The Prime Minister said : 'I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game.

'I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country.'

UEFA take more than £1M from the English TV money

UEFA have taken more than a million pounds from the English clubs' pot of Champions League television money for scheduling domestic matches against the competition.

The 1.3million euro fine was imposed after UEFA's disciplinary panel found 'clashes relating to the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.'

The cash, which relates to 10 per cent of payments that were due to The Football Association in 2010-2011, was previously withheld.

UEFA says the money will be spread among clubs in other countries, with the majority of it to be spent on youth training.

The FA have also been fined 50,000 euros (£42,000) for their involvement.

English officials are said to have been repeatedly warned about league and cup matches clashing with the Champions League.

A UEFA statement said it will 'establish a working group, which will involve representatives of the FA, in order to avoid calendar clashes in future.'

Sunderland fans send gift to horse punched by fan

A group of Sunderland fans have chipped in to send a box of 'Paolo Mints' to police horse Bud who was punched by a rioter outside St James' Park at the end of the Tyne-Wear derby.

Balotelli still struggling to get his training kit on

First England dismissal

Alan Mullery of Spurs was the first England player to be shown the red card in an international when he was dismissed against Yugoslavia in Florence on 5 June 1968.

The football wonder of all time

The star attraction at most grounds during the Edwardian era was bandy-legged outside-right Billy Meredith. 

Once described as ‘the football wonder of all time’, Meredith was footballs first superstar.  

With his trademark toothpick he played for both Manchester clubs in a long career consisting of 1,584 games (at various levels) during which he scored 470 goals.   

This is more remarkable feat given the fact that the FA suspended him on two occasions over allegations of match fixing and illegal payments.   

Meredith was almost 50 when he played his last competitive game for Manchester City against Newcastle United in an FA Cup semi final.

Real Madrid players taunted by their own fans

Translation : "Menos milliones, mas cojones," (less millions, more balls).

City sponsors offer cheeky tribute to United

Twin sisters to sponsor Newcastle

One start-up company will have their name publicised to millions of football fans across the globe during Newcastle's match against Liverpool on Saturday.

Virgin Money, the club's main sponsor, has presented one business with the chance to publicise their brand on advertising hoardings, in the matchday programme and on posters inside St James' Park.

Chocolateas, an organic chocolate tea company created by twin sisters Jodi and Stella Kean with an £11,000 start-up loan, won the competition launched as part of the Big Kick Off campaign under the Start-Up Loans scheme in the North East and will have their name on show in front of the 50,000 fans and a live TV audience.

Longest soccer bans

David Layne, Peter Swan and Tony Kay (Sheff Weds): banned for life (but ban lifted after 7 years) after betting on their own team to lose, 1965

Billy Cook (Oldham Athletic): 12 months for refusing to leave the pitch after being sent off against Middlesbrough for persistent fouling, 1915

Eric Cantona (Man Utd): 9 months and 120 hours community service for a kung fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan, 1995

Mark Bosnich (Chelsea): 9 months after failing a drugs test for cocaine, 2003

Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd): 8 months for forgetting to turn up for a drugs test, 2003

Adrian Mutu (Chelsea): 7 months and £20,000 for failing a drugs test for cocaine.

Cristiano Ronaldo tricks with Jeremy Lynch.

Goalkeeper grabs dog

First goal scored directly from a corner kick

The first goal scored directly from a corner kick was in 1924.

Cesareo Onzari, who played for Argentina took a corner kick and the ball ended up in the net without anyone else touching it.

This type of goal is also referred to as an "olympic goal".

Unfortunately for Uruguay, they lost that game because of such a goal, but they did end up winning the gold in the Olympics.

This is why this type of goal is referred to as "olympic".

Stupid handball

Red Card in 5 seconds

MLS plans stadium, team for Queens

Major League Soccer hopes to announce plans in four to six weeks for a stadium in Queens for a 20th team.

The league and New York City have been involved in negotiations to build a stadium on a site in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

MLS hopes a team there would start play in 2016 and be rivals of the New York Red Bulls, who play in Harrison, N.J.

"If we get this done, it will be in Flushing Meadow Park. There is no Plan B," MLS commissioner Don Garber told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday.

Agent hints at Lewandowski move

Borussia Dortmund is facing up to the possibility of losing two key players this summer after the agent of Robert Lewandowski claimed a deal is being worked on for the Poland international to leave the Westfalenstadion.

Lewandowski scored all four goals as Dortmund thrashed Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg of its Champions League semifinal Wednesday, but much of the postmatch talk centred around his future.

His contract expires at the end of next season, leaving Dortmund in the unenviable position of having to decide whether to cash in this summer or risk seeing the 24-year-old leave on a free in 2014.

Reports in Germany on Thursday suggest Dortmund has opted for the former with the player's agent, Maik Barthel, suggesting Dortmund has sanctioned his departure.

"We have reached an agreement with a club and intend (him) to move this summer," Barthel told Sport Bild.

"There is a very interesting offer for Robert which fulfills entirely the demands set by Dortmund and also the demands of Robert. Dortmund have assured us that Robert can move at the end of the season under these conditions.

"We stick to agreements and now it's up to the clubs to sort things out."

Barthel stopped short of naming the club in question but speculation suggests it is Bayern Munich, which earlier this week agreed to activate the 37 million euros ($48.3 million) release clause of Dortmund playmaker Mario Goetze.

World Cup matches fixed in '34, '78

Soccer's biggest prize may have twice been won with the help of dictators fixing matches for the host team.

Argentina's triumph in 1978 and Italy's in 1934 were said to be influenced by military leaders seeking propaganda coups, delegates were told Thursday at a symposium titled "The Relevance and Impact of FIFA World Cups."

"It's the same old story: Sport and politics are brothers and sometimes sport is under the other brother," Italian writer Marco Impiglia told The Associated Press.

Impiglia presented a paper suggesting Benito Mussolini ensured favorable refereeing decisions, helping the Italian team win.

Raanan Rein, an Israeli professor of Latin American history, said he was "100 percent persuaded" that Argentina's military junta influenced a 6-0 win against Peru.

The match is a notorious chapter of World Cup lore and ensured Argentina advanced to the final instead of great rival Brazil.

Still, Rein and Impiglia said their claims lack documentary proof.

The four-day gathering of academics and historians is studying the political, social and economic impact on nations that have hosted the biggest and most-watched sports event since the World Cup was first played in Uruguay in 1930.

FIFA's choice of Brazil, Russia and Qatar -- three countries with growing economies and diplomatic influence -- as the next hosts from 2014 to 2022 suggests soccer and politics will continue to mix.

Iniesta - puppet master

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Auto censorship fail

National Anthem dropped for Irish Cup final

The UK National Anthem will not be played ahead of this year's Irish Cup final, BBC Sport NI understands.

The decider between Cliftonville and Glentoran will be staged at Windsor Park on Saturday, 4 May.

The decision was taken by the IFA's Challenge Cup Committee in the interests of fostering a "politically neutral environment" for the game.

In 2009, a similar decision was reached before the Irish Cup final between Cliftonville and Crusaders.

The anthem was also not played when Cliftonville, which has a mainly Catholic support base, took on north Belfast rivals Crusaders in this year's League Cup final.

The IFA said the playing of the anthem at future finals would be reviewed on a case by case basis.

“Less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup,” says FIFA general secretary

Too much democracy can be a hindrance when organising a World Cup, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.

Valcke said one of the reasons FIFA had encountered difficulties in organising the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was due to the various levels of government in the South American nation.

He expected fewer problems for Russia 2018 with President Vladimir Putin.

"I will say something which is crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup," he told a symposium on the tournament.

"When you have a very strong head of state who can decide, as maybe Putin can do in 2018 - that is easier for us organisers than a country such as Germany" where you have to negotiate at different levels.

Irish pundit writes off Borussia Dortmund at half-time

GIF : Lewandowski's hat-trick goal

Tottenham turned down Lewandowski

Elisabeth Jeppesen goal

Mancini to create custom timepiece

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is known, among other things, for his eloquent sense of style.

Cross-city rival Sir Alex Ferguson is known, among other things, for his trusty wristwatch.

But now Mancini can compete with the Scot after collaborating with watchmaker Richard Mille to create the RM11-01.

Mille was inspired to create a bespoke watch for the Italian after Sergio Aguero’s title-clinching goal in the final moments of a thrilling match against Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad on the final day of last season.

Le Tissier makes Guernsey debut

Matt Le Tissier made a return to his playing days by turning out for Guernsey, but was unable to stop his side losing 4-2 at Colliers Wood.

The Southampton legend, 44, came off the bench in the second half after signing playing forms at the club where he is honorary president, to help with their incredible fixture list which sees the club in the middle of 20 games in 36 days.

United defender Jones' injury-blighted season costs former club Rovers £2m

Phil Jones' injuries this season has cost his former club Blackburn Rovers a mammoth £2million windfall.

The payment was agreed between the two clubs on the proviso Jones played half of United's league matches in a title-winning season.

Knee and ankle injuries this season have reduced the defender's appearances to just 10 this year - short of the 18 required.

Jones moved to Old Trafford in a £16.5million deal which included other incentives for the Ewood park club.

But they will be sorely disappointed to miss out on the payday due to injuries when he would certainly have triggered the clause if he had remained fit.

Jones' 10 appearances this season qualifies him for a winner's medal and will be there when United parade their 20th League trophy through the city on May 13.

Indonesian footballer given life ban for punching referee

An Indonesian player who punched a referee in the face has been banned for life by the country's football authority.

Pieter Rumaropen, a striker for Papua province club Persiwa Wamena, punched referee Muhaimin in the face after he awarded a penalty to Pelita Bandung Raya during a Super League match on Sunday in West Java's capital Bandung.

Muhaimin was taken to hospital where he received four stitches.

Hinca Panjaitan, a member of the disciplinary commission of Indonesia's Football Association, PSSI, said Rumaropen's behavior damaged the image of the country's football.

In 2008, PSSI imposed life bans on four players for beating up a referee and his assistants.

Lewandowski nearly joined Blackburn

During his Blackburn Rovers days, Sam Allardyce invited Lewandowski from Lech Poznan for a trial after being quoted £4 million.

However, Lewandowski got stranded by the volcanic ash cloud, never came over, and went to Dortmund instead.

Manchester United ‘new badge’ leaked

Striker lobs keeper from kick-off

Federer to be in the stands for Europa League semi vs Chelsea

Roger Federer, who will attend the match with Swiss tennis mate Marco Chiudinelli, predicts a famous victory for his team.

He told Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung: 'We are looking forward like little kids to this game. In the end it will be 2-1 for FC Basle and all will have experienced an unforgettable evening.'

The world No 2 maintains a keen interest in his club, constantly keeping up to date with the scores as he travels the world on the tennis tour.

Rooney wears his collection of Premier League medals

World Cup hosts unveil caxirolas

Following the international sensation of questionable musical value that was the vuvuzela - the multi-coloured two-foot long plastic horn that became such a hit with football fans at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that they were subsequently banned - the caxirola has been unveiled as the aural stimulant of choice at next year’s tournament in Brazil.

This time the instrument, which has been created in a collaboration between the Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown and the country’s ministry of sports, has been carefully designed to sound considerably less grating.

Unlike the vuvuzela, which has historical cultural significance in South Africa, the caxirola has been designed especially for use in stadiums.

A yellow and green percussion instrument which makes a rattling sound when shaken, it makes a sound not dissimilar to the traditional South American "rainstick".

Made from recycled plastic, the noisy implement will be handed to fans attending the Confederations Cup in June, the country’s unofficial dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup.

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, said: "It is an object that has the ability to do two things: to combine the image with sound and take us to our goals."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

English football finance

Old Firm absent from Scottish player award shortlist

For the first time in 23 years, the Scottish player of the year will be from a team other than Celtic or Rangers.

The shortlist for the award was published by the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association on Wednesday and included players from less fancied sides.

The last time a player from outside Scotland's dominant 'Old Firm' duo won the award was when Aberdeen's Jim Bett was crowned in 1990.

It was unlikely that any Rangers player would make this year's shortlist after they were demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish football having collapsed under a pile of debt last season.

They have won the fourth-tier title this term.

However, it is a surprise that no Celtic player is in the running after they romped to a 44th Scottish league championship by beating Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Sunday.

Bayern's goal differential exceeds the total goals scored by any other club

GIF : Alves the hairstylist

Neymar's diamond encrusted watch

Player tries to pay prostitute with iPhone, steals her purse, gets caught by transvestite

A Lecce soccer player was charged Monday for stealing a purse from a prostitute and fleeing by bicycle after reneging on a deal to give her his iPhone 5 for sex.

Ousmane Drame, a French national and striker for the third-division club, was reportedly chased down by a transsexual friend of the robbed Nigerian streetwalker after the incident early Monday.

GIF : Alba throws ball at Arjen Robben’s face

Borussia Dortmund fans burn Mario Gotze jerseys

Mario Gotze’s defection to Bayern Munich was always expected to spark a fiery reaction from Borussia Dortmund fans, but some took it to the extreme by burning their former hero’s jersey hours before the biggest game of their season.

Bayern will reportedly pay the £31.5million release fee in Gotze’s contract, and the German international will join up with his new team-mates on July 1.

Dortmund tried to calm supporters ahead of their clash against Madrid, with Gotze still set to play a key role, saying: ‘Coach Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Zorc asks all fans of Borussia Dortmund to support Mario Gotze unconditionally as they would any other player in the final games of the season, but especially in the important Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.’

Fabregas girlfriend locked in multi-million pound divorce battle

A bitter battle involving Cesc Fabregas, a London property tycoon and his Lebanese ex-wife has reached the Court of Appeal.

Elie Taktouk, 38, objects to having to shell out for a home for Daniella Semaan when her new boyfriend, Barcelona midfielder Fabregas, has millions to lavish on her.

She gave birth to Fabregas' baby girl, Lia, while he was on the pitch in a Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago.

Mr Taktouk claims that, whilst their divorce was going through, Miss Semaan under-stated the financial support she will now get from Fabregas - who is believed to earn £5million-a-year at the Nou Camp.

Her evidence led to top judge, Mr Justice Coleridge, ruling that the £7m flat where the former couple lived in Belgravia should be sold. The profit, with a top-up payment from Mr Taktouk, would provide the £1.4m Miss Semaan needs for a new home.

But the case took an 'extraordinary' twist when a company controlled by Fabregas put in a bid for the Grade II-listed Upper Belgrave Street flat, offering about £5.4m, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Mr Taktouk says it could mean his ex-wife having her cake and eating it - being allowed to stay in the flat if Fabregas buys it, but with £1.4m in her pocket.

Newcastle interested in Andy Carroll.. but only for £25m less than Liverpool bought him for

Andy Carroll is on Newcastle's radar for a summer transfer - but only at a knockdown £10million price.

Anfield chief Brendan Rodgers is undecided whether Carroll has a future on Merseyside, but admitted last week the club has not missed his presence.

The indications are that Carroll will be shipped out again and Newcastle want to bring him home for a staggering £25m less than they sold him to Liverpool for two years ago.

Asprilla's famous fur coat finds a new home

The famous fur coat once worn by Toon favourite Tino Asprilla has sold for thousands of pounds.

The Newcastle United striker wore the jacket when he first stepped foot in the region in 1996 to bolster the Magpies’ title ambitions.

And now the distinctive designer garment has sold for £2,300. The cash will be donated to CAFA - Tino’s football club in his hometown of Colombia.

"It’s great that I have sold my coat and that the money is going to an excellent cause," said Tino.

"Fans often tell me they remember the day I arrived in Newcastle, wearing the jacket, and I’m happy that it now has a home in Newcastle.

"I’m sure that it will be in safe hands and it will be well-looked after."

The Byblos fur coat had been earmarked for auction but didn’t meet its reserve price at a talk-in event earlier this year at the Lancastrian Suite at Gateshead’s Federation Brewery.

Instead, it was bought by Leanne Anderson, from the LA Productions Company North East, who met Tino when he took to the stage in Singin’ Alang The Scotswood Road, at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre last month.

The 31-year-old, who comes from a Toon-mad family, plans to frame the coat, along with a signed photograph of Tino, which will be displayed in her home in Ponteland, Northumberland.

First World Cup winners were Geordies

County Durham-based West Auckland’s claim to immortality came after the original invitation to the inaugural competition was offered to the English Football Association, which was asked to nominate a team, but they declined.

Tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton, who provided the trophy, insisted that Great Britain was represented and it is thought that an employee of his recommended West Auckland.

The team was in the Northern League but it funded its own trip to Italy to represent Great Britain, where it won the trophy without conceding a goal, beating FC Winterthur of Switzerland 2-0 in the final on April 12, 1909.

Two years later they returned to Turin and beat Juventus 6-1 to win the Sir Thomas Lipton trophy outright.

Brazil to patrol borders at Confed Cup

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff says security will be reinforced on the country's borders in preparation for the Confederations Cup in June.

She said on Tuesday that beginning in May "a grand military operation will cover our frontiers of nearly 10,000 miles to prevent crimes and improve security" for the World Cup warm-up tournament.

Defense minister Celso Amorim said recently about 20,000 troops would be added to reinforce border security during the June 15-30 Confederations Cup.

Brazil will also use newly acquired drones to provide safety for the tournament of continental champions.

Brazil neighbors 10 countries in South America. Most police action in the region is against drug traffic and the illegal entrance of goods.

Chelsea investigate barracking of Benayoun

Chelsea are investigating abuse directed towards Yossi Benayoun from their own fans after the Israeli described the comments as "crossing the limit".

The 32-year-old believes he has been a target for Blues supporters since commenting on Fernando Torres following the Europa League match at Sparta Prague in February, when he backed the Spaniard to rediscover his best form.

Benayoun was a second-half substitute at Anfield in the 2-2 draw with a former club, Liverpool, and took to Twitter afterwards following further abuse.

"Disappointing result yesterday, always great to go back to Liverpool - really grateful for the warm reception from the fans as always," Benayoun wrote. "The booing yesterday came from some small part of the Chelsea fans that doing it in the last few weeks since I did an interview about Torres.

"But I don't really bothered about it - people need to understand what they read. There is some other issues that the club is taking care and try to handle them in the right way - as sometimes people are crossing the limit.

"And I'm sure the club will sort it, what's important for me is to do the best for the team till the end of the season.

"And try to finish at the top 3 and win the Europa league - and then look for my next challenge for next season."

Taylor distracts goalkeeper

Arsenal expect to give Manchester United guard of honour

The prospect of Arsenal's players giving Manchester United and Robin van Persie a guard of honour is likely to incense Emirates fans. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Arsenal anticipate providing Manchester United's newly crowned Premier League champions with a guard of honour when they visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday despite the tension sure to be whipped up by Robin van Persie's first return to the London club.

Van Persie, Arsenal's captain the previous campaign, completed a controversial £24m move to Old Trafford last summer having questioned his former club's ambitions.

The centre-forward registered a hat-trick against Aston Villa on Monday, swelling his goal tally for the season to 28, as United secured their 20th domestic title.

The Dutchman's defection provoked an angry reaction among Arsenal fans and that antipathy will resurface this weekend, a reality that had cast doubt over a pre-match ritual that has become commonplace in recent seasons.

Suarez finds a friend in Tyson

Luis Suarez has found a friend in the wake of his bite controversy - fellow chomper Mike Tyson.

Suarez is facing a long spell on the sidelines after the FA charged him with biting Branislav Ivanovic on the arm in Liverpool’s draw with Chelsea.

Tyson was involved in a similar incident when he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a WBA heavyweight title fight in 1997.

But the American hardman eventually made amends with his rival.

And, despite Ivanovic refusing to accept Suarez’s apology, Tyson reckons the duo will eventually see eye to eye.

He said: "Suarez bit someone, it happens. I am sure he will make amends with this guy.

"I made amends with Evander and we got on with our lives."

Tyson started to follow Suarez on Twitter when he heard of the weekend incident.

He added: "I saw this guy on the Twitter thing and thought I would check it out and see what his journey was all about."

Arsenal Ladies Crossbar Challenge

Evra mocks Kop cannibal

Patrice Evra tasted title glory at Old Trafford... then had a dig at his old foe Luis Suarez.

The French full-back was seen biting a fake arm as Manchester United celebrated their Premier League success.

Liverpool striker Suarez was infamously banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra.

The Uruguayan is now facing another lengthy suspension after sticking his teeth into Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic at Anfield yesterday.

And Evra could not resist mocking his arch-enemy when he was thrown the blood-covered prosthetic limb during United’s title-winning party.

Mum blames Suarez after son is bitten by another child in 'copycat' incident

A mother from Wales believes Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is to blame after her son was bitten by another child at school this morning.

Suarez was fined £300,000 by his club after digging his teeth into Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

The Uruguayan striker escaped a red card at Anfield yesterday, allowing him to remain on the pitch to score the 97th-minute equaliser against the visiting Blues. Suarez will not face criminal charges for the incident but has since been charged with violent conduct by the FA.

But now a concerned parent believes her son was the victim of a 'copycat' incident after he was bitten on the elbow while at school.

She told Richard Bacon on BBC 5Live: 'I had a phone call from the school headmistress earlier this morning saying that my son had been involved in a biting incident with another child and it appears to be a copycat of the Luis Suarez incident yesterday.'

Although the mother did not know for certain whether the child, who has been suspended from the school, was copying Suarez, Bacon quizzed the caller about whether she blamed the Premier League top scorer for the incident at school.

She added: 'I think if this [Suarez biting Ivanovic] hadn't have happened yesterday then my son wouldn't have been bitten today.'

Suárez pizza

Keep Ups - Henderson v Chamberlain

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

GIF : van Persie volley

Norwegian club return from break to find new road built over their pitch

Norwegian side Ny Krohnborg IL were presented with the added hindrance of returning from their off-season break to find that the local council had taken the executive decision to lay tarmac over a portion of their pitch without telling them.

While the regional club were away on winter hiatus, the council pressed ahead with their plans to build a supply road to the new Krohn Minde psychiatric hospital on the campus of Helse Bergen University, which just so happens to be situated right next to Krohnborg's home pitch.

Sepp Blatter 'resigns' as FIFA's Twitter accounts hacked

It has been confirmed that FIFA grand fromage Sepp Blatter had his official Twitter account hacked yesterday after a series of hoax messages were posted over the course of the evening.

The following Tweets, among others, appeared on Blatter's feed:

"So what if I took money from Qatari prince? I am the family’s bread earner"

"His excellency the Emir of Qatar has been the most generous figure I have ever met"

"I do not apologize for my decision. I have done the best for FIFA"

"For almost 15 years I have toiled for this organization"

"The royal family has done much for #FIFA I am sure Jordan will make an excellent host for 2030"

"I have recommended his excellency prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan as my successor"

"It was decided that the president Sepp Blatter is to step down due to corruption charges"

Indian telecoms consultant denies being Robin Van Persie after Twitter mix-up

Over-excited Manchester United fans looking to congratulate hat-trick hero Robin van Persie inadvertently bombarded a telecoms consultant in India with random Twitter messages.

As former Arsenal striker Van Persie netted three times to help United beat Aston Villa 3-0 and secure a 20th Premier League title on Monday evening, fans took to the social networking site to hail their new hero.

However, rather than using the Dutchman’s correct Twitter handle - @Persie_Official - the timeline of Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad began to strain under the weight of users tweeting @rvp.

Indonesian footballer facing heavy punishment after punching referee

Ibrahimovic shoves opposing player after being kissed on the neck

Defender Renato Civelli planted a kiss on Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic  after the pair tussled during the Ligue 1 match.

The Argentinean, with his arms held aloft while approaching the big Swede, arched his neck and laid a wet one on Ibrahimovic.

Tottenham fans celebrate with bizarre 'shoes off' chant

Tottenham fans joined the bizarre 'shoes off' craze during their side's Under 21 victory over Arsenal on Monday night.

Just 24 hours after celebrating a 3-1 victory over Manchester City in the Premier League, more than 1,000 Spurs supporters turned up at Barnet's Underhill stadium for the 'mini derby'.

Nabil Bentaleb's 46th minute strike secured a 1-0 victory over their north London rivals and fans celebrated by chanting 'shoes off, if you love Tottenham'.

The bizarre chant was first sung by Newcastle fans in 2006 and has since been taken up by Bangor, Cardiff and Wolves fans.

Some believe it was inspired by the Islamic insult of showing the soles of your shoes while others claim it was simply an act of bravado during a freezing match-day at St James' Park.

Monday, April 22, 2013

WW1 Christmas football match

The famous First World War football match of the Christmas Day truce started after a ball was kicked from the British lines into No Man's Land.

The disclosure emerged in a previously-unseen letter describing the famous match.

Staff sergeant Clement Barker sent the letter home four days after Christmas 1914 when the British and German troops emerged from their trenches in peace.

He described how the truce began after a German messenger walked across No Man's Land on Christmas Eve to broker the temporary cease-fire agreement.

British soldiers went out and recovered 69 dead comrades and buried them.

Sgt Barker said the impromptu football match then broke out between the two sides when a ball was kicked out from the British lines into No Man's Land.

 Rodney Barker, 66, found the letter from his uncle when he was going through some old documents following his mother's death.

Sgt Barker wrote to his brother Montague: "...a messenger come over from the German lines and said that if we did not fire Xmas day, they (the Germans) wouldn't do so in the morning (Xmas day).

"A German looked over the trench - no shots - our men did the same, and then a few of our men went out and brought the dead in (69) and buried them and the next thing happened a football kicked out of our Trenches and Germans and English played football.

If there's no football in heaven ...

van Nistelrooy to return to Manchester United for charity match

Ruud van Nistelrooy will return to Old Trafford - to make an appearance for both Manchester United and Real Madrid in a charity match for Red Heart United.

The Dutchman was a hero on the red side of Manchester during his five-year spell at the club between 2001 and 2006, scoring 95 goals, before falling out of favour and joining Real.

Now he will return on June 2 as two of football’s giants square up in the ‘Legends Are Back’ post-season game which also features the likes of former United stars Teddy Sheringham, Edwin van der Sar, Denis Irwin and Jaap Stam.

Real will be no slouches themselves, as they will be able to call on some reasonably talented players themselves: Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Fernando Hierro, to name just three.

Ex-Red Devils captain Bryan Robson will manage the United side, with pop stars JLS and Amelia Lily performing on the night.

Mark Clattenburg set for Stamford Bridge return for first time since racism row

Mark Clattenburg will return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was embroiled in a racism row with John Obi Mikel, when he takes charge of Chelsea’s must-win clash against Swansea.

The Blues’ 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United in October was marred as Clattenburg was accused of using ‘inappropriate language’ towards Mikel.

The referee was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the Football Association, but missed several weeks of action while the case was ongoing.

Following the findings, the Blues - in conjunction with the Premier League and Professional Game Match Officials Limited - issued a statement insisting the would have no problem with the referee officiating their games in future.

‘Chelsea FC made it clear they would welcome Mark Clattenburg back to Stamford Bridge in the future and PGMOL would have no issue in appointing him to a Chelsea FC match going forward,’ the statement said.

‘Wembley Pass’ to commemorate 90th anniversary of English football’s home

Wembley Stadium will mark its 90th anniversary next Sunday with the ‘Wembley Pass’ which will see the official match ball of the FA Cup final head from the showpiece’s first venue, the Oval, to the current home of the final.

Kicking off from The Oval on Saturday, the trail to Wembley will see players, musicians, football freestylers and fans come together to deliver this year’s match ball to the iconic stadium.

The official Nike match ball will travel on a glass-sided truck through the streets of London via various landmarks including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

Along the road to Wembley, the match ball will be kept moving with the help of the Red Bull Street Style champions.

At key points along the route, including the Kennington football pitches, London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Wembley Way, the truck will stop allowing fans to enjoy the experience.

There will be the opportunity for fans to have their photo taken with the Cup and the match ball and interact with football freestylers, football legends and more.

England’s first club in Europe

Clapton FC are acknowledged by the Football Association as being the country’s first representatives of the beautiful game on the Continent when they beat a Belgian XI 7-0 at Antwerp in 1890.

The five-time FA Amateur Cup winners, alas, never really pushed on in comparison to their Premier League neighbours West Ham, and have been plying their trade in the hard world of non-league, most recently in the home of tough tackles, the Essex Senior League.

But the club founded in 1878 are hoping to shatter their season’s attendance figure by attracting a whopping gate of 100 for their final league game against Hullbridge on Thursday April 27,  at their Old Spotted Dog ground, Forest Gate, east London - just a short bus ride from the Olympic Stadium.

Player injured performing Gangnam Style dance

Valencia star Adil Rami is in hot water with supporters after picking up a nasty foot injury - after dancing to Psy hit Gangnam Style.

The incident happened during a charity concert last week at former club Lille, where Rami made an appearance in a bid to drum up support to raise some much-needed funds.

But after being called up on stage by organisers, Rami soon found himself rocking to Psy’s YouTube sensation Gangnam Style, and even had the moves to match.

It was all a bit of fun, but the defender - a reported target for Manchester United and Arsenal - had been suffering from a foot injury and the dancing aggravated it.

Rami returned to Spain in discomfort, with the Spanish media since reporting he has suffered a nasty case of blisters all over his feet that have stopped him from training.

Borussia Dortmund’s stadium has home and away jail cells

One of the most curious things about the home to Borussia Dortmund is located in the north end of the stadium, where less than 15 metres from the stand there is a small police station with two prison cells - one for the home fans (on the right) and one for the away fans (on the left).

"We made two in order to avoid any scuffles between the opposing fans" said a guide at the German stadium.

Each cell can hold up to 130 people.

They are soundproof to ensure the people they hold are truly being punished by not being able to hear what's going on with the day's match.

Dutch fan gets hit in the back of the head by pre-match shot

Peter Crouch’s poor form down to lost teeth, says Stoke City boss Tony Pulis

Stoke striker Peter Crouch’s toothless performances in front of goal are because he has three less teeth than at the start of the season.

That’s according to Potters boss Tony Pulis. He reckons the 6ft 7in striker’s collision with Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini last November is the cause of his loss of form.

Revealing the full extent of the former England international’s injury, Pulis said: "Peter had a dip in form when he had that injury to his mouth. If you go back to that, that was a major concern for him in lots of respects.

"He’s had to have surgery done within the jaw bone above his teeth, some really serious work done.

"There’s been a while, especially after his injury, where Peter’s not performed to the level he was at before, because he had a good start to the season and looked a real handful.

"Hopefully, fingers crossed, he’ll be back to what he was in the next five games."

Crouch has scored just once in his 18 games since sustaining the injury.

Striker's daughter born, then he scores hat-trick

Red Bull Salzburg striker Jonathan Soriano woke as normal on Saturday, but was soon forced to rush his wife into hospital as she was expecting the birth of their child.

Because of the delay in the birth, the striker missed the first half of his side’s game against WAC.

Impressively, he made it to the ground before half time, leaving his new baby boy and wife in the hospital.

Brought on for the second half, Soriano proceeded to score a hat-trick as Red Bull Salzburg ran out 6-2 winners.

Romanian side uses motorized wheelbarrow as a stretcher

Fabrice Muamba playing five-a-side football in his Bolton shirt

Fabrice Muamba was forced to retire from professional football last year after his heart stopped for 78 minutes during a match at Tottenham - but he was back on the pitch this weekend.

The former Bolton midfielder was brought back to life by medics and surgeons and made a miraculous recovery after he collapsed during an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane in March 2012.

He spent several weeks in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital, and has been fitted with a mini-defibrillator which re-starts his heart automatically if it fails again.

Adlington-based company Fairpoint were inspired by his story to hold a ten-hour 5-a-side match to raise money for two lifesaving AEDs (automated external defibrillators) for the The Heart Rhythm Charity.

Muamba himself arrived at the ground on Saturday and couldn't resist joining in - the first time he has played since his forced retirement last year.

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