Author Archive

Holiday blues | Chief problem is the stores

Johannesburg | Players for traditional South African powers Kaizer Chiefs of Soweto might be planning a “stay-at-home Christmas” due to poor recent form, according to Business Day. The Chiefs stand in a tie for sixth in the 16-team Premier league, although just eight points adrift of leading Orlando Pirates with a game in hand. Chiefs have […]

Best cortège | Parade to the white colonnades

Belfast, Northern Ireland | At 1000 GMT on Saturday, Dec 3, a cortí¨ge will depart the George Best family home in Protestant east Belfast and wind to the Grand Hall of Stormont Parliamentary Building, a white, colonnaded edifice on a hill. The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it was planning for more than 100,000 mourners. Both […]

Peñarol v. Nacional | The superclásico north of the border

Montevideo, Uruguay | The superclásico between C.A. Peí±arol and Nacional Montevideo finished in a goalless draw Sunday, but viewers watching live across Latin and North America could share vicariously in pre-game confetti storms and a first-half red-card imbroglio at Estadio Centenario, the site of the first FIFA World Cup final in 1930. Peí±arol, or “El Manya,” […]

What fans do | Disdain for anthemic strains

London | Farayi Mungazi of BBC Sport worries about Sepp Blatter‘s recent suggestion about banning pre-game national anthems from international football. On the idea that FIFA could commission a generic anthem, in accord with that presaging UEFA Champions League fixtures, Mungazi writes that “[n]ot only do I beg to sing a different tune, but I would […]

Snooping around | FIFA as investigator and investigated

Zurich | FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren verified a Sunday report in Swiss paper SonntagsZeitung that police had seized documents from FIFA headquarters related to the bankruptcy in May 2001 of longtime FIFA marketing partner International Sport and Leisure. Journalist Andrew Jennings had noted the importance of this developing story in his Nov 9 presentation at the Play […]

Losing interest | Calcio, by and for Berlusconi

Milan | Messina and Ivory Coast defender Marc Zoro picked up the ball in the 66th minute of a Sunday match at Inter Milan and started to leave the pitch to protest the monkey sounds with which spectators greeted his touches. The match continued, with Zoro’s participation, but the display at least has galvanized Italy’s soccer […]

Premiership life | Choppers with penne arrabiata

London | The glossy bimonthly with a limited but profligate demographic has hit the shelves: Icon, a magazine for rich footballers and their families. Jamie Redknapp, formerly of Liverpool and Tottenham, founded the publication with help from similarly well-heeled connections. In the inaugural issue, he talks to mate Les Ferdinand about the joys of piloting a […]

The late George Best | No end to allusions for a Piper and Pimpernel

London | George Best died at 1255 GMT at a west London hospital on Friday. News outlets had more than enough time to ready their copy, and the obituaries became available within minutes of his last breath. Perhaps the most comprehensive supply of pathos exists in a special section of Best’s hometown Belfast Telegraph. The Best […]

Thanks for heroes | Jordanian melds many into one

Decatur, Georgia | In the first in a series of Thanksgiving-timed editorials on immigrant leaders in the Atlanta area—titled “New American Heroes”—the Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Jordanian Luma Mufleh (see 6 April). Through soccer and the creation of a refugee-staffed cleaning service, Mufleh, 30, has helped give new arrivals to Atlanta a sense of belonging as well as […]

Here are the women | Burma excels in Southeast Asian Games

Manila | Women’s football competition has started at the 11-nation Southeast Asian Games, with the most surprising results posted by Burma: an opening-day victory over Vietnam and a 5–0 victory over Indonesia on Friday. Burma now has the early-tournament lead. The final in the biennial competition is scheduled for Dec 4. The Games include 23 other sports, […]

In the trenches | ‘Eerie sound’ of the Great War’s Christmas truce

Newtyle, Scotland | The famed football truce (see 26 Dec 2003) of 25 December 1914 has lost its last witness. Alfred Anderson, 109, believed to be the oldest man in Scotland, died in a nursing home Monday. His death severed “the last tangible link between the nation and the 690,235 Scots who served in the Great […]

Listening in | Tradition-rich Calcutta setting trends

Kolkata (Calcutta), India | Dating to 1893, the Indian Football Association Shield is one of the world’s oldest cup competitions. Administered by the sport’s governing body in West Bengal, the event that begins Thursday will feature what organizers claim is a first in world football: microphones on referees. IFA honorary secretary Subrata Dutta says that the […]

Spirituality of Pelé | ‘It was pretty !@$#%# glorious’

Chicago | University of Toledo professor of Catholic studies Richard R. Gaillardetz, in an essay in U.S. Catholic proposing “a spirituality of sports” (“In the Spirit of the Game,” Dec 05), reminds us of the long-forgotten 1985 film Vision Quest and its brief discourse on football. The film features a high-school wrestler and his quest to drop […]

Heinie town | Sinclair, Pilots move 5,000 seats in 6 minutes

Portland, Oregon | Who says that women’s football can’t put butts in the seats? Five thousand tickets to the University of Portland–Notre Dame NCAA Division I women’s soccer quarterfinal sold out in six minutes on Monday. “They’ve officially achieved rock star status,” said University of Portland athletic director Larry Williams. The demand for seats to Friday’s contest […]

Mending fences | England needs to oust ‘retreads’ for 2018 bid, says Coe

London | Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the successful effort to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London, encourages an England bid for the 2018 World Cup finals but warns that the Football Association’s standing has slipped since the previous hosting in 1966. “When Fifa gave the finals to us last time round,” writes Coe in […]

Photo finish | Kebab-backed footballer among prize finalists

London | Tony Saddique of Red Star Harehills in Leeds is not a well-known footballer. The side is sponsored by a kebab shop. But, until 12 Feb 2006, his picture will hang alongside 59 others in the National Portrait Gallery as a finalist in the Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize competition. In a Financial Times review, Francis […]

Killing field | Burmese soldiers open fire on soccer crowd, DVB says

Matupi, Burma | Two people—including a 7-year-old boy—were killed and six wounded when Burmese soldiers opened fire on football spectators on Nov 12, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma. The attack, which occurred during an awards ceremony at a stadium in Burma’s northwest, was attributed by state news sources to the Chin rebel army. But […]

Men of the match | Logging ‘football time’ at £20 per week

London | The story of a stoical, much-journeyed footballer for Scotland, Nottingham Forest and several other clubs has been named William Hill’s Sports Book of the Year. My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes (Yellow Jersey Press) by Gary Imlach chronicles a period (the 1950s) when top-class players earned £20 per week and looked to other […]

Banned songs? | On open-mike night, Blatter sings new tune

Zurich | Sepp Blatter, for once, may be on to something. In the latest of his open-mike brainstorming sessions, the FIFA chief, disturbed by booing during anthems in the Turkey–Switzerland and other World Cup qualifying playoffs, has suggested eliminating the pre-game rituals. “We should at least consider not playing them,” Blatter told Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte […]

Witch-doctoring | Bathing in chicken blood for the good of the side

Sydney | Now that Australia has ended a 32-year absence from the World Cup finals, comedian and spiritual dabbler John Safran has been extolled for his sacrificial efforts in revoking a Mozambican witch doctor’s curse dating to 1969. The footage of Safran being bathed in chicken blood on the grounds of a Mozambique stadium at which […]

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