Financial Fair Play?

An easy target perhaps, but it would be remiss of us to ignore Bayern Munich CEO, Uli Hoeness’s, current brush with the German tax authorities, not least because here is a man who has been so eager to remind the rest of Europe of his club’s unwavering commitment to financial rectitude.

Hoeness has refused to comment on an ongoing tax evasion investigation involving a Swiss bank account but plans to defend himself against what he said were “excesses in some media coverage” of the case. Given that some reports speak of the case relating to tens of millions of euros, one hopes for his sake, that the the media coverage has been wildly excessive.

In the current issue of World Soccer Hoeness stated that Malaga’s European ban is “a good beginning” for Financial Fair Play (FFP) and added that he hopes one of the continent’s biggest clubs is “killed” by the regulations in the near future.

“The Malaga punishment was a good beginning,: he said. “This gentleman [Al-Thani] did not pay his bills.”

Oh, the irony of it all.

“He lived beyond his means,” Hoeness continued. “But I hope this was only a start. If they kill the small clubs and let the big ones live then that is not okay.

“I hope that one day one of the biggest is killed. The sooner the better. I would be very angry if UEFA did not sanction clubs with big debts. I have asked Platini a hundred times and he says, ‘Uli, don’t worry. I will look after it’, so I will take him at his word.”

Just as the German tax authorities took you at your word.

Another one bites the dust

Liverpool have fined Luis Suarez for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic but insist the striker still has a future at the club.

Presumably, dressed in rags, standing on the Anfield halfway line, scaring the crows away.

Suarez had already apologised for biting Ivanovic during Sunday’s 2-2 draw in the Premier League, and Liverpool confirmed that they had fined the striker. In a move that smacks of an attempt to minimise the PR damage, the Uruguayan allegedly instructed the club to donate the fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Asked if the incident would affect the player’s future at the club, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said: “Not at all.”

“It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline.

“Luis is a very important player to the club.

“As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we’d all love to see him here throughout that contract.

“He’s a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we’d want in a striker, so there’s no change there.”

Though one would imagine that you’d prefer it if he didn’t bite opponents.

It’s a statement that’s reminiscent of Steven Gerrard’s mealy-mouthed post-match interview on Sunday, in which the Liverpool skipper said it would be unfair to discuss the incident in the light of Suarez’s outstanding season.

Rest assured Steven, the moment Suarez stops biting opponents, we’ll concentrate on his football.

Racism rears its ugly head again

Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was subjected to racist abuse before Sunday’s Serie A clash with Juventus in Turin.

The Ghanaian was targeted by sections of the home crowd during the warm-up and responded to the insults by putting his finger over his mouth.

However, it was not until the stadium announcer requested the miscreants cease their chanting that the verbal abuse stopped.

Juventus supporters, charming folks that they are, also displayed a banner during the game which read: “No to racism; yes to jumping”, which was a reference to a previous slogan often chanted at Milan’s Mario Balotelli: “If you jump, Balotelli dies”.

Both Balotelli and Boateng have been the victims of racist abuse in the past, with the latter having left the field after being singled out by Pro Patria fans during a friendly game in January.

Mud sticks

Viking Stavanger have suspended Senegalese midfielder Makhtar Thioune for two games for accusing a referee of racism, the club said in a statement.

Thioune was booked for a first-half tackle against Brann Bergen on Saturday and subsequently substituted in the second half of the Norwegian championship game, which Bergen won 2-0.

Thioune told reporters: “It was a personal and racist matter with the referee. That’s why it was better I went off.

“He is not a good referee. I wonder how he can be a referee and how he’s learned what he knows. He’s the worst referee in all of Norway.”

Referee Svein-Erik Edvartsen said the player came into his dressing-room after the game and accused him of being racist.

“He opened the door and shouted: ‘Damn racist referee’ before three or four people came and led him away,” Edvartsen told Verdens Gang.

Viking released a statement on Sunday saying that Thioune regretted his actions and that the club had suspended him for two games.

“We value him highly and he strongly regrets this today. We are certain what happened in Bergen will not happen again,” the statement said.

Goal of the day

A Goal of the Season contender by Lima for Benfica against Sporting. Brilliant build-up play, most notably from Argentinian Nico Gaitan, and a superbly controlled volleyed finish by the Brazilian.

Quote of the day

“The time where football was defined as a sport of 11 players against 11 players with the Germans eventually emerging victorious is something of the past. And we are the ones who ended it.”

Gerard Pique sets Barcelona up for a fall ahead of their eagerly-awaited Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

Pay attention!

An embarrassing moment for Chornomorets goalkeeper Dmytro Bezotosnyi who, amid the celebrations for his side’s goal against Metalist Kharkiv, turned his back on the game and was left with egg on his face courtesy of some quick thinking by Cleiton Xavier.

Coming home to roost

Jack Warner has resigned as national security minister of Trinidad & Tobago some 48 hours after a CONCACAF ethics panel accused him and another top former official of enriching themselves through fraud.

In a statement on Sunday night, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said that Warner offered to resign from her Cabinet and that she accepted his decision.

”I wish to thank Mr. Warner for his service to the government and people of Trinidad & Tobago,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Warner’s resignation, nearly two years after he stepped down as president of the CONCACAF region, comes at a time when he stands accused of profiteering of misappropriating at least $15 million by compensating himself with CONCACAF funds without authorization after his last contract expired in July 1998.

Details of the latest developments can be found here.

As World Soccer’s Keir Radnedge explains: ”If true, all the allegations recently made against Warner would paint the profiteering of various senior sports officials off the back of ISL appear as small change.”

This bodes well

News of Warner’s political demise coincides with the announcement that one of FIFA’s anti-corruption advisers has resigned, claiming that proposals to reform the organisation have been watered down.

The international group TRACE says its president, Alexandra Wrage, had given up her position on a FIFA advisory panel chaired by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth.

The group says FIFA ”remains the closed society that fuelled its problems to begin with.”

Wrage, a Canadian member of the Independent Governance Committee, said she last month was “frustrated and surprised” that FIFA had failed to back several measures she regarded as “really bland, straightforward governance provisions” after a meeting of its leading executive committee in March.

The IGC proposals included measures to:

  • toughen up the process for deciding how future World Cups are awarded
  • ensure independent oversight of Fifa’s powerful executive committee
  • disclose how much president Sepp Blatter and other leading executives are paid
  • ensure integrity checks for future executives are carried out independently

It is understood she resigned from the IGC following a meeting in Zurich last week.

Pieth’s panel had its final meeting last week in Switzerland before FIFA’s gathering of 209  nations. FIFA members will meet May 31 in Mauritius to approve a slate of reforms presented by President Sepp Blatter’s executive committee, whose rejection of some modernizing proposals frustrated Wrage.

It begins to look like the transparency promised by FIFA president Sepp Blatter will turn out to be nothing more than window dressing. Hands up who saw that coming. Not all at once.

Finally…

A Kenyan referee has filed a lawsuit, claiming a coach ran onto the field to dispute a decision and grabbed his testicles – an attack that he says left him impotent.

Referee Martin Wekesa is suing the national federation, seeking £157,000 in compensation.

Wekesa says that after he sent off a player during a game last year he was attacked by Sparki Youth team players and then by Daudi Kajembe, a member of the coaching staff.

Wekesa says the coach ”attacked me in my private parts. I was crying and could not get myself out from his hands.”

He says he was rescued by a police officer but slumped to his knees in pain before being taken to the hospital.

Kajembe is to appear in court in the coastal city of Mombasa on Thursday on a charge of assault.