Referee attacked

Pieter Rumaropen is in line for a severe punishment after punching a referee in the face during an Indonesian Super League match at the weekend.

Rumaropen’s Persiwa Wamena were drawing 1-1 with Pelita Bandung Raya on Sunday when referee Wasit Muhaimin awarded a penalty to Pelita with eight minutes remaining.

Video replays of the incident (see below) showed Rumaropen running up behind Muhaimin and connecting with a swinging left hook on the referee, who had to be admitted to a hospital due to excessive bleeding from his nose.

The match was held up for 15 minutes before a replacement official took over and gave Rumaropen a red card.

“The case has been forwarded to the disciplinary committee,” the league’s communications manager Azwan Karim said. “There will be an extra penalty as well as the red card.”

Persiwa lost 2-1 after their opponents converted the penalty.

Match fixing latest

Javier Tebas, who was elected president of Spain’s National Professional Football League, last week, believes that the country needs to deal with the issue of match fixing as a matter of urgency.

The new LFP chief told Marca that Spain needed to abandon a culture of “anything goes” that meant some clubs facing relegation were buying games.

“If matches can be fixed that shows that the competition is not in the proper shape,” the paper quoted Tebas as saying.

“We have to take a step further in denouncing something that is happening, in isolation, but it is taking place,” he added, without naming specific cases of wrongdoing.

“When someone is operating at the limit there is a culture of anything goes in the league,” he said.

“This must be ended and the clubs are in agreement with me. I am not going to put a pistol to anyone’s head to make them speak up but I would be grateful if they could come forward.”

There is no indication that Tebas was referring to Spanish matches being fixed by betting syndicates, rather that some clubs were being paid to throw matches towards the end of the season to help rivals avoid relegation.

“Any rumour or telephone call in which I am told that this might be happening will be reported to the relevant authorities,” Tebas told Marca.

“They will be passed on to the police and the anti-corruption authority,” he added.

Anti-semitism?

Chelsea are investigating claims that Yossi Benayoun has been the target of anti-semitic chants – from his own supporters.

The Israeli midfielder has accused them of “crossing the line” – a reference to the anti-Jewish content of some of the abuse.

The midfielder was jeered again by some of the visiting supporters when he came on as a substitute in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

Benayoun took to Twitter on Monday to explain that fans started targeting him after he gave an interview supporting Fernando Torres in February.

He said: “The booing came from some small part of the Chelsea fans that have been doing it in the last few weeks since I did an interview about Torres. But I don’t really get bothered about it.. people need to understand what they read.

“There is (sic) some other issues that the club is taking care (sic) and try to handle them in the right way.. as sometimes people are crossing the line.

“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.”

Racism fine

Italian champions Juventus have reaffirmed their anti-racism stance after being hit with a €30,000 fine for fans racially abusing German-born Ghanaian Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Several dozen Juventus supporters targeted Milan forward in the latest manifestation of what may soon be considered Italy’s unofficial national pastime: racially abusing black players. The fact that Boateng was the subject of the abuse is pertinent, for it was he who walked off the pitch in protest at similar abuse during a friendly match in January.

Boateng made no statement about the incident following Sunday’s game, won 1-0 by Juventus. A genuine case of ‘words failing’, perhaps.

Juventus were handed a €30,000 fine by league disciplinary chiefs. 

Earlier this season the Italian champions launched an anti-racism drive following a similar incident, and on Monday they once again paid lip service to the cause of anti-racism.

“Juventus Football Club reminds its fans and the media that it is heavily involved in projects dedicated to integration and is against any form of racism or discrimination,” said a statement on juventus.com.

Juventus said it “works very closely” with the UNESCO Centre to fight racism using a programme called ‘Un calcio al razzismo’ (Kick Out Racism).”

The statement added: “This commitment cannot therefore be brought into question simply because of the actions of individuals or groups of spectators which are highlighted by the intense media attention that football receives.

“Such behaviour does not represent the position of the club, its millions of fans or even the vast majority of spectators at Juventus Stadium.”

Goal of the day

Displaying wonderful technique to volley home Wayne Rooney’s long range pass, Robin Van Persie scored one of the goals of the season in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

Quote of the day

“He will enjoy the tie. As the cule he is, he will be wanting Barcelona to win, I imagine, even though he has a future at Bayern. As a big football fan, he will enjoy a semi-final like this a lot.”

Xavi answers the question on many people’s lips: namely, who will Pep Guardiola support when his former club, Barcelona, meet the club he will be coaching next season, Bayern Munich, in the Champions League semi-final.

Out of sight…

Guardiola may have taken a sabbatical from the game this season and kept a low profile throughout, but it would appear that his influence continues to pervade the upper reaches of the European club scene. Or, so says Jurgen Klopp, coach of Borussia Dortmund, who believes the Spaniard’s imminent arrival at Bayern Munich was the reason that playmaker Mario Götze opted to move to the Allianz Arena.

Dortmund confirmed that the Germany international will move to Munich at the end of the current campaign after the Bavarians triggered his €37.5 million clause and Klopp suggested the former Barcelona coach was involved in the move.

“The reason Gotze is leaving? He is the favorite transfer of Guardiola,” he told reporters. “So if it’s anyone’s fault it’s mine. I cannot make myself 15 centimeters smaller and learn Spanish! Gotze wants to work with this extraordinary coach that is Guardiola.

“I cannot preach football of quick transitions and now start playing Tiki Taka.”

Hans-Joachim Watzke, Borussia Dortmund’s CEO, stated: “We are obviously disappointed beyond measure, but emphasise that both Mario and his advisers have behaved within the terms of the contract. From Bayern Munich there has been nothing official on this matter up to this date.”

Prompted into a response, Bayern did release an official announcement, in a statement on their official website which read: “Bayern Munich confirm that the club have reached an agreement with national team player Mario Götze that he will play for Bayern Munich from 1 July 2013.

“Bayern are prepared to meet the release clause agreed between Borussia Dortmund and Mario Götze.”

The move itself is less surprising than the timing of it, coming as it does just over 24 hours before Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

Dortmund have asked for fans to support Götze and the rest of the players as they seek a place in the Wembley final against Bayern or Barcelona.

Their statement continued: “Coach Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Zorc asks all fans of Borussia Dortmund to support Mario Götze 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.”

If the fee is correct, Götze becomes the most expensive German player of all-time. Scant consolation for Dortmund should his departure undermine preparations for the biggest game of their season on Wednesday night.

Once bitten twice shy

Celebrating Manchester United’s title triumph on Monday, Patrice Evra, the man racially abused by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, couldn’t resist making fun of the Uruguayan’s cannibalistic tendencies.

Barcelona bound?

Brazil icon Ronaldo is the latest football figure to hint that Santos Neymar is bound for Barcelona.

Neymar, 21, has been repeatedly linked with a move to Europe, but in recent weeks, most of the speculation has focused on a switch to the Spanish champions elect.

Discussing his compatriot’s chances of establishing himself as one of the greats, Ronaldo appears to have suggested Neymar’s rumoured switch to Barca is a done deal.

“He has the potential (to become one of the world’s best),” the now-retired striker told Tuttosport.

“But we have to assess his impact on European football when he arrives at Barcelona.

“The first year will be difficult for him, but I’m convinced that when he adapts he’ll be one of the very best.”

On the move?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, has stressed that the Paris Saint-Germain striker has not instructed him to start looking for a new club. Not today, at least.

A number of recent reports – presumably placed by Raiola, who makes a tidy cut out of each of Ibrahimovic’s transfers – suggested that the Sweden international has set his sights on a move back to Serie A, with Juventus closely monitoring his situation in the French capital.

Nevertheless, Raiola has made it clear that his client is happy at PSG for the time being.

“Will Ibrahimovic stay at Paris Saint-Germain? At this moment, I’d say yes, but you never know how things look tomorrow,” Raiola told France Football. ”Up until now, Zlatan has not asked me to find him a new club. He wants to be part of the project at PSG. But it is my job to be ready for anything.

“There are teams out there that are interested in signing Ibahimovic, but I will not reveal the names of those clubs.”

However, it was only last week, that Raiola, was quite happy to discuss the clubs who could afford to buy the Swede.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia he said: “I’d rule it out today, but maybe not tomorrow. Everything is possible in the market.

“He has never hidden that Italy is his second home, and one which remains in his heart, but in Italy only Juventus, Inter and Milan could afford him, while in Europe there are other clubs.”

 

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