Italian league probe Matuidi racist abuse claims

first_imgThe chanting reportedly came from all three levels of the ‘Curva Verde’ occupied by Inter Milan fans and took place 55 minutes into the game, which Juventus won 3-2 with two goals in the final three minutes.But before any ruling can be made officials, in accordance with rules governing discrimination in the Italian game, have to gather data to ascertain how many fans were involved.“We must acquire the data, even an approximate estimate, on the occupancy of the sectors involved, as well as receive confirmation that the chants heard came from all three sectors of the Curva Verde, as indicated in the report,” Serie A said in a statement.The punishment will depend on how many fans took part and how loud the chanting was, it added.Midfielder Matuidi has been the victim of similar abuse twice this season, by fans in Verona and Cagliari.Verona were handed a 20,000 euro ($24,000) fine and a suspended partial stadium ban, but Cagliari were not punished although the club issued an apology to the 31-year-old French player.Matuidi, who has 64 caps for France, joined Juventus before the start of the current season from Paris Saint-Germain and has scored three times for the Italian champions.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000France midfielder Blaise Matuidi (C) celebrates with Juventus teammate Gonzalo Higuain © AFP/File / MARCO BERTORELLOMILAN, Italy, Apr 30 – The Italian league are investigating reports that Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi was the victim of racist abuse during Saturday’s Serie A game against Inter Milan at the San Siro.Serie A disciplinary officials said Monday all three of their observers present in the San Siro heard “chants expressing racial discrimination… which lasted for a few seconds” aimed at the French international.last_img read more

From Russia with love… Brief stories from the World Cup

first_img0Shares0000A poll finds Argentina fans are most prepared to sacrifice hard cash to see Lionel Messi lift the World Cup on July 15 © AFP / JUAN MABROMATAMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 30 – AFP Sport takes a look at some of the stories you may have missed at the World Cup:Financial gains How much are you willing to pay to see your country win the World Cup? Dutch bank ING asked supporters of nine World Cup finalists.Argentines topped the poll, with 41 percent questioned saying they were prepared to give up one percent of their annual salary to see Lionel Messi and company lift the trophy on July 15.The French, Argentina’s last-16 rivals, were less committed, with only 14 percent prepared to sacrifice some of their hard-earned euros on seeing Didier Deschamps’s men triumph.On the chinBelgium’s Michy Batshuayi scores on social media after clumsy goal celebration © AFP / OZAN KOSEMichy Batshuayi’s clumsy celebrations after scoring against England have become a source of online amusement.The Borussia Dortmund striker mishit the ball, it ricocheted off the goalpost and hit him smack bang on his face. He took it on the chin, tweeting: “Why am I so stupid, bro?”SackedOne Mexican politician finds football and politics don’t mix © AFP / Hector RETAMALFootball and politics don’t mix. A candidate for mayor in the Mexican town of Atlixco can certainly vouch for that. Juan Antonio Villarroel Garcia travelled to Russia to support the national team.His trip appeared on social media, and he was promptly fired. “He abandoned his responsibilities,” his political party declared.India’s World Cup pupilsAn Indian school teacher paints the face of a student with the flag of Brazil at Bright Academy School, in Siliguri © AFP / DIPTENDU DUTTAIceland, population 330,000, made it but India, population 1.25 billion, has never graced the World Cup stage.That hasn’t stopped Indians keeping a close eye on events in Russia — especially teachers at a school in Siliguri, which has organised a World Cup for its pupils.Each team wears the colours of one of the finalists, an opportunity to learn about each the country, its culture, geography, and cultural differences, but also the rules of football, perhaps in anticipation of qualification for Qatar 2022.Ronaldo for president?US President Donald Trump talks Cristiano Ronaldo with his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the White House © AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM“Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player in the world.” That’s not only the view of all Portugal and Real Madrid fans but also the president of the United States.“They say he is the greatest player,” Donaldo Trump told Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa when the two heads of state met in the White House.“So, tell me, how good a player is he?” asked Trump. “Are you impressed?” I’m very much impressed. He’s the best player in the world,” nodded De Sousa.But despite his popularity, Ronaldo has no chance of swapping the keys of his dressing room locker for the keys of state.“So will (Cristiano) ever run for president against you?” Trump asked Robelo de Sousa.“He wouldn’t win! You know he won’t win?”. “Well, president, you know there’s something I must tell you,” replied Rebelo de Sousa. “Portugal is not the United States. It’s a little different!”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Klopp slams UEFA as fans count cost of Euro glory

first_imgKlopp, whose side lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kiev last season, called on European governing body UEFA to show more consideration to travelling fans when choosing host cities for finals.“These guys who make the decisions, I don’t know what they have for breakfast really when they do it,” said Klopp.“Baku, I have no clue how to go there, if there is any regular flight at all? These decisions must be much more sensible, much more reasonable. It looks irresponsible. I don’t know how they do it.”Arsenal and Chelsea fans are further outraged that the clubs have been allocated just 6,000 tickets each for the 68,700-capacity Olympic Stadium.In March, UEFA put 37,500 tickets for the Europa League final on general sale to supporters.UEFA said in a statement to AFP that the number of fans requesting tickets for Europa League finals varied greatly from club to club and the amount given for the 2019 final was also based on logistics in Baku.“It is impossible to predict in advance which clubs will reach the final, while the venue has to be chosen around two years in advance,” it said.“Offering more tickets to fans of the participating teams, without any guarantee that they would be able to arrange suitable travel to reach Baku, was therefore not a responsible option.”There are currently no scheduled direct flights between London and Baku for the week of the final.“Really terrible ticketing and travel arrangements for Arsenal fans for the Europa league final,” the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust said in a statement.“AST meeting with the other supporter trusts also in European finals on Tuesday to discuss how more pressure can be brought to bear on UEFA for fairer treatment for fans.”Arsenal estimate that return travel will cost more than £1,000 ($1,300) per person.– Price hikes in Madrid –Arsenal and Chelsea will face off in the Europa League final, 4,500 kilometres from London, in Baku © IKIMAGES/AFP/File / Ian KINGTONLiverpool and Tottenham fans in theory have a much easier trip to the Spanish capital but have seen prices for flights and hotels sky rocket since both sides produced remarkable semi-final comebacks this week to defeat Barcelona and Ajax.“Yesterday I was calling some hotels to try and book some rooms because I don’t know if my family and some people from Argentina are going to be there,” said Spurs’ Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino.“I wanted to book and it was so difficult and the prices are so crazy. I am very surprised but it is normal that people take advantage of this type of opportunity.”A joint statement issued by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust and Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly fans’ group called for a cap on ticket pricing, transparency over allocation and consumer protection measures to be introduced to stop prices being forced up.“Our joy at reaching the final is tempered by the prices of travel, accommodation and tickets, and by the allocation of tickets,” it said.“Prices of flights to Madrid and surrounding towns have rocketed by up to 840 percent.“Hotel rooms are over £1,000 a night and we are hearing stories of room bookings being cancelled and resold at vastly inflated rates.“Ticket prices of in excess of £500 are also extortionate. And there needs to be transparency from UEFA and our clubs in how tickets are priced and allocated.”Liverpool and Spurs fans have been allocated 16,600 tickets each for the 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano stadium.Tottenham announced on Friday that they will screen the match at the club’s new 62,000-capacity stadium.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has expressed his sympathy with travelling fans © AFP / JAVIER SORIANOLondon, United Kingdom, May 10 – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp branded UEFA “irresponsible” on Friday as fans expressed their disgust over eye-watering price hikes after four Premier League clubs qualified for the Champions League and Europa League finals.Tottenham and Liverpool will meet in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, while supporters of London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea face a 9,000-km (5,600-mile) round-trip for their Europa League final in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on May 29.last_img read more

Women’s World Cup kicks off with interest at a new high

first_img“Different teams are now rising and it’s going to be a very open World Cup and we’re excited to go out there and attack it.”Interest from the public is high with both semi-finals and the final, all to be played at the 69,000-capacity Groupama Stadium in Lyon, sold out as well as the opening game at the Parc des Princes. The cheapest group game tickets are just nine euros ($10).The United States are the queens of the game after winning the World Cup three times and the Olympics four times and that experience is clearly visible in their current lineup.At the end of May, FIFA calculated that the US had collected 1,893 caps between them and included eight players with at least 100 international appearances. Among them Carli Lloyd has 274 caps, Alex Morgan 163 and Becky Sauerbrunn 158.For France, the key members of the Lyon team that has won four straight Champions League titles, Sarah Bouhaddi, Wendie Renard, Amel Majri, Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer, are fast becoming French celebrities.Germany, who can boast another Lyon star in Dzsenifer Marozsan, have won two World Cups and eight European Championships. Japan and Norway have both won the World Cup once.Jill Ellis coach of the United States women’s team says ‘It’s going to be a remarkable World Cup’ © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / Mike LawrieHowever the power of the Americans and Germans is set to be challenged now that some of the other traditional football powers, who for years did not take women’s football seriously, are catching up.England and France, ranked third and fourth in the world, arrive with genuine hopes of winning the title. Spain, the Netherlands and Italy are all in the top 15, with the Dutch reigning European champions.– Competition getting stronger –The 24-team format means the group phase will eliminate only eight teams. The top two nations in each of the six groups and the four best third-place finishers will qualify.That means the underdogs know that one victory could be enough to reach the second round.Dzsenifer Marozsan is set to star for Germany © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Jamie Sabau“Aside from USA, France and the Netherlands, teams like Australia, Canada, Sweden and Norway are also playing very well,” German coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told broadcaster ARD.“It will be a very tight tournament, and I think there will be some upsets in the group stage.”“I think this World Cup is a tipping point for the women’s game where I think it’s just going to go boom,” England manager Phil Neville said.Yet, as they prepared to try to emulate the men’s national team and win the World Cup, France’s women’s team received a reminder that they are still not quite equal.They had to move out of their rooms in the “chateau” on the grounds at Clairefontaine, the French football federation’s luxurious training base, when the men’s squad arrived last week to prepare for two Euro 2020 qualifiers.There are other subtle differences.When France hosted the men’s World Cup and Euros, the finals were held at the 80,000-capacity Stade de France. A large proportion of the matches at this summer are taking place in stadiums with a capacity of 25,000 or less.“We did not always choose big grounds because we didn’t want any empty stadiums,” Noel Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation, told AFP.The French women’s team are ready to step out of the shadows © AFP / FRANCK FIFE“We got the women’s World Cup in 2015 … At the beginning, possible host cities were not exactly shoving each other out of the way to come forward.“I was a bit scared about the Parc des Princes, but the opening match sold out in five minutes.”The enthusiastic demand for tickets has surprised the hosts.“We didn’t see it coming,” said Erwan Le Prevost, head of the local organising committee.– ‘Virtuous circle’ –Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of Lyon, told AFP that “it was a gamble at the time that we bid for the games.”Aulas believes the improvement of the French team and the rise of fan interest are linked.“We are in a virtuous circle with an audience that will come and watch,” he said.In many countries, women’s football remains an afterthought, yet even in the nations where women’s football is strongest, players feel attitudes are not changing fast enough.The US team, whose popularity in their homeland has been the financial motor that has driven women’s football, arrive embroiled in a legal dispute with their federation.They want to be paid the same as the US men’s team, who remain also-rans internationally.Women’s Ballon D’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, who scored a hat trick for Lyon in the Champions League final, will be absent from the World Cup. She is boycotting the national team even though Norway pays women and men internationals the same, because she believes that more needs to be done to improve the way women footballers are treated.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000France are considered one of Europe’s strongest challengers for the global crown © AFP/File / FRANCK FIFEPARIS, France, Jun 4 – The women’s World Cup kicks off on Friday amid unprecedented attention as hosts France take on South Korea in Paris.“It’s going to be a remarkable World Cup. The level of competition four years on from the last one has exponentially increased,” said Jill Ellis, coach of the US team, the reigning champions.last_img read more

Classic Transfer: Liverpool sign giant of a centre back to bolster defence

first_imgtalkSPORT looks back at the signing of Sami Hyypia by Liverpool, in May 1999.When Liverpool were struggling to find a long-term solution to their problematic centre back position prior to the turn of the millennium, many expected the Merseysiders to make a marquee signing.So when then-manager Gerard Houllier signed a man plying his trade in the relative obscurity of Dutch side Willem II, apparently on the advice of a club cameraman, few would have foreseen what would happen next.Sami Hyypia’s arrival may not have been eye-catching at the time, but it certainly proved to be an inspired piece of business, considering he cost a paltry £2.5 million. That kind of money will get you one eighth of Dejan Lovren these days.Back then, the 25-year-old Finn went to Merseyside having almost joined Newcastle United five years earlier, but the Kop was soon thankful their new defender’s trial in the North East had ended in failure.Hyypia was named as stand-in captain after club skipper Jamie Redknapp was injured (again), while the Finland international’s partnership with Swiss centre-back Stephane Henchoz proved to be crucial as Liverpool claimed a cup treble in the 2000/01 campaign.After Henchoz and Houllier’s departures, Hyypia went on to forge a handy understanding with Jamie Carragher under the management of Rafa Benitez. Hyypia had proudly spent a brief spell in sole possession of the captain’s armband, before he relinquished the role in the autumn of 2003 to a certain young buck named Steven Gerrard.The defender, who made up for a lack of pace by reading opponents’ runs for fun, was a defensive linchpin in the Champions League-winning side of 2005, which secured his place in the pantheon of Liverpool greats.Those among you with good memories will recall Hyypia’s cracking left-footed finish against Juventus in the quarter-final stage of the tournament, just one of three key goals he scored in Champions League quarter-finals (the other two coming against Leverkusen and Arsenal).Hyypia left Merseyside for Bayer Leverkusen in 2009, with a total of 464 appearances to his name.Let’s hope that cameraman got a raise. Or at least a new lens or two. 1 Sami Hyypia Liverpool last_img read more

Liverpool starlet not given the opportunity to shine at Anfield

first_img Fabio Borini in action for Liverpool 1 Fabio Borini has not been given the opportunity to prove his worth at Liverpool, according to his agent.As talkSPORT told you, the former Chelsea hitman is expected to leave Anfield in the coming days and it is believed Serie A is his likely destination.And now the 24-year-old’s agent says his client was not ‘given the opportunity’ to show what he can do on Merseyside after making just 38 appearances in three years, in addition to a season-long loan spell at Sunderland during the 2013-14 season.“He wants to play, to show what he can do, as he has done in recent years, such as at Sunderland,” his agent, Marco De Marchi, told Sportitalia in an interview.“Borini is being followed by many European clubs, including Italian ones. We’re still evaluating (the situation) because a lot of clubs have changed their manager and (we) must wait.”The Italian became Brendan Rodgers’ first signing back in 2012 and, despite having two years remaining on his contract, he has been told he has no future with the Reds.last_img read more

Liverpool set to make a move for Ligue 1 star?

first_img1 Alexandre Lacazette in action for France Liverpool could still make a swoop for Alexandre Lacazette this summer.The forward has yet to pen a new deal with Lyon, sparking speculation he will submit a transfer request before the new season starts.According to L’Equipe, Lyon have been in regular contact with Lacazette’s representatives this summer but have so far failed to thrash out new terms.The 24-year-old’s current contract with Lyon runs until 2018 but last year’s Ligue 1 runners-up are keen on securing a fresh deal to stave off interest from Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.last_img read more

Fenerbahce holding out for £9m for West Ham and Sunderland target

first_img1 Dynamo Moscow have had a £5.6m bid for West Ham and Sunderland target Moussa Sow rejected.According to reports in Turkey, the Russian club tested Fenerbahce’s resolve to hold on to the striker with a cut-price bid.But Fenerbahce are holding firm on their insistence that Sow will not be sold for anything less than his £9.1m release clause and rejected Dinamo’s offer.West Ham and Sunderland are both working hard to add a new striker to their squad before the transfer window shuts and have been heavily linked with the prolific Senegalese.Sow has hit 52 goals in 107 outings since arriving from Lille in January 2012 but is currently in the final year of his contract.However, his Turkish employers insist they will not let him leave on the cheap this summer. Moussa Sow last_img read more

Man United already have the perfect replacement for De Gea, insists Steve Bruce

first_imgManchester United legend Steve Bruce believes the Red Devils can cope without David de Gea if the goalkeeper moves to Real Madrid, thanks to the form of summer signing Sergio Romero.The Spanish number one has long been linked with a move back to his homeland with European champions Real, though talk of the deal has cooled with the clubs seemingly at a standoff over a fee for the Red Devils’ two-time player of the year.De Gea – currently exiled from first-team affairs over the speculation – is keen on the switch and has turned down a new contract at Old Trafford, meaning he could leave for free next summer if a deal can’t be finalised before the September 1 deadline.If he does go, many have questioned if Louis van Gaal can find an adequate replacement in time, with Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris one of the players linked.But, with United yet to concede a goal in their first three Premier League games, Bruce believes Argentina No.1 Romero – a free signing earlier this summer – has proven himself capable.“Romero has been fabulous,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “United haven’t conceded a goal in the league yet, he’s done great.“It [the De Gea saga] has dragged on.“For their player of the year for the past two seasons not to be in goal seems a bit ridiculous really.“I suppose [his proposed move to Real Madrid] will be happen before Tuesday.“The boy has one year left on his contract and obviously Manchester United want a decent fee for him, otherwise he’s not going.“There seems to be a bit of a stalemate, it’s not an ideal situation, but with the resources the club have and the goalkeeper they’ve got at the moment, they’ll be fine.”last_img read more