Michel Platini, UEFA’s president, has launched a desperate plea to the leaders of all European countries asking them for help in the battle against ruthless soccer capitalists.
“A serious threat hangs over the development of European football. (…) Money has never been the ultimate objective of football: the main purpose has always been to win trophies. For the first time we may be entering an era in which financial profit alone will be the measure of sporting success,” wrote Platini in his letter to the only people who could stop several dozen tycoons from bringing all the best world’s players to several dozen West European clubs leaving the rest with nothing.
Platini knows that it is the EU politicians who have enabled the businessmen to treat soccer as just another branch of industry disregarding its particularities as a sporting competition with strong ties to local communities.
The interests of tens of millions of fans from less affluent parts of the world are being largely ignored by EU legislators and their protégés.
Quality soccer has been played for decades in hundreds of clubs over five continents but the unstoppable onslaught of magnates investing in English, Spanish, Italian and German team threatens to turn all other territories into a soccer desert.
UEFA’s president believes that English soccer is the most threatened due to the increaing interest of foreign billionaires investing in the Premier League, but it is really soccer elsewhere in the world that is being endangered by the situation, since hundreds of quality players pour into the Premiership draining other sources.
But, will any legislator put the long-term interest of soccer (and the fans) ahead of the profit of the football fat cats?
Alex Del Piero gives Donadoni a semi-ultimatum
Juventus’ captain Alessandro Del Piero, Bandar Togel Singapore is disappointed with his display against France (0-0) in the wide left role, but even more so by coach Robert Donadoni’s decision to play him where he doesn’t feel right.
“I accepted to play on the left flank, but it was the last time I have played where I don’t belong. It is not blackmail but a statement of facts. As a forward, I can do certain things that I cannot do as a midfielder. Let Donadoni play me upfront or not at all,” said Del Piero.
The coach has chosen the latter option by leaving the veteran out of the team for Ukraine in Kiev.
The Italian media suspect that this semi-ultimatum is Del Piero’s tactic to sneak out of the national team as both Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti have done recently.
Still, the “Juventino” says: “I would like to complete this cycle and play at Euro 2008.”
Mourinho leaves Chelsea with plenty of money
José Mourinho leaves Chelsea. The consensual termination of his contract will make the Portuguese coach a very wealthy man, as the severance pay may reach 35 million euros. Mourinho brought Chelsea to two League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups, but also made the team less than popular among rival and neutral fans thanks to his antics and arrogant comments in the press.
The former Porto coach said goodbye to all in a statement published on the club’s web site, declaring himself proud of having worked at Chelsea and of the job he had done. The wording of the statement was uncharacteristically polite for Mourinho who proclaimed a never-ending love between himself and the fans.
Doubtlessly, this successful yet sometimes not quite likeable coach will soon secure another phenomenally paid job, but it will be much harder for Roman Abramovich to find someone quite as hard-nosed as José Mourinho. Maybe he should try with Luiz Felipe Scolari.
A fortuneteller “saves” Rosario: “Ditch number 14 and you will win”
The Argentinians of Rosario Central had a weak start to the championship with four draws and four losses in eight games. Fan leaders thought they could ask a local fortuneteller for advice.
A complete ingorance of the game of soccer did not prevent the lady in question from offering a solution:
“The player with number 14 must not play”.
Indeed, for the next game the regular left back Andrés Imperiale, Rosario’s no. 14, was left out of the team. He was not even on the bench, and the media believe the fans and the fortuneteller had something to do with it.
Amazingly, without the no. 14 Rosario scored their first win of the season and against no less a rival than their nemesis Newell’s Old Boys. Rosario won 1-0 although they had two players sent off and coach Carlos Ischia was ecstatic: “This is one of my favourite wins ever. We deserved the points and we had a little luck.”
If the coach really believes the no. 14 brings him bad luck, Imperiale could be left out of action until the end of the season, because that is the only time when Argentinian clubs can change shirt numbers.
Mexico change green colour to “stand out from the grass”
Mexico, one of the best soccer nations in the world, plans to abandon the traditional green colour of their shirts. Reason? The players are not sufficiently visible against the turf.
“In the future we shall wear white shirts at home games, and red shirts away from home, because in green uniforms our players do not stand out from the pitch,” said the coach Hugo Sánchez.
“We have been considering this for a long time. The people responsible in the FA have agreed with my assesment that the green colour creates a feeling that our players are outnumbered on the pitch. Since the Mexican flag contains white and red, I have persuaded them that our team should wear all white or all red uniforms,” added the greatest Mexican player in history.
Some media have hinted that Sánchez pleads for the white shirts because of his unforgotten love for Real Madrid, where he played for seven seasons.
“I like this colour because it is featured on our flag and it is a coincidence that Real Madrid wears it too. Soon it will seem there are 12 or 13 of us on the pitch rather than 10.”
The FA may approve the definitive change of colours in December or January.
Dinamo Zagreb closes in on Benfica’s record
The Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb could match Benfica’s record for the number of consecutive league wins if they overcome Varteks in Varazdin on Sunday.
The Blue Lions have won their last 28 league games – 20 in the past season and eight in the current campaign, coming within one win of Benfica’s 35 years old record.
In the meantime, Dinamo have extended their perfect domestic home record to an amazing 30 wins in a row. Since March 24th 2006 until last week’s game with Slaven (4-0), the Zagreb team has won 25 league games, four in the FA Cup and one in the Supercup, scoring 80 and conceding only 15 goals.
A fire-cracker kills a boy in Ecuador
An 11-year old Barcelona Guayaquil fan, died from a fire-cracker that perforated his lungs before the big game in Ecuador between Barcelona and Emelec.
Little Carlos Cedeno passed away as the doctors attempted to resuscitate him. The police started an inquiry because pyrotechnic devices are banned from Ecuadorian stadia. All the fans from the grandstand from which the missile was probably fired were identified by club officials.
The fire-cracker was fired by an unknown fan towards an already full stand at the Monumental Stadium, in spite of hundreds of stewards trying to maintain order at the venue.