PSV available for hire

An unusual partnerships between a club and its fans has been launched with Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven effectively being loaned to supporters as part of a sponsorship deal with online credit company Freo.

Fans have been offered the chance to borrow up to 100 items, from the club’s stadium to captain Mark van Bommel, the team bus and even the UEFA Cup trophy.

The campaign sees a virtual PSV stadium invite fans to search for the item they want to borrow, then claim it.

To be awarded the object each fan must post a message on the relevant page explaining why they should be lent the item.

A jury comprising PSV players and Freo will then assess the claims and determine the best.

To launch the campaign players advertised that they are “For Hire” on their shirts during Saturday’s (October 20) match with Willem II of Tilburg.

The campaign is a collaboration between Havas Worldwide Amsterdam and digital production company MediaMonks Amsterdam.

Freo spokesman Bart Weerkamp said: “The Freo Loan League is a money-can’t-buy, once in a lifetime opportunity that rewards loyal fans, for free.

“With The Freo Loan League, supporters can access parts and people within PSV Eindhoven that are normally out of their reach.

“The campaign mirrors the Freo philosophy: making dreams possible, making the impossible possible.”

Technological breakthrough

Goal-line technology moved a step closer today after FIFA signed licence agreements with two technology providers.

GoalRef and Hawk-Eye have been given the go-ahead to install their systems around the world after deals with world football’s governing body were agreed.

A FIFA statement said: “Between October 2011 and June 2012, both companies passed a series of extensive laboratory and field tests, tests in simulated match situations, as well as tests in live matches.

“This milestone in the goal-line technology process, which began in 2011, means that the two companies now have official authorisation to install their respective goal-line technology systems worldwide.”

But obstacles remain before the systems can be signed off, and FIFA explained: “Once a system has been installed in a stadium, it undergoes a final inspection to check its functionality.

“This is carried out by an independent test institute and the results of this so-called ‘final installation test’ must be successful. Only a positive final installation test qualifies a system to be used in official matches.”

The Hawk-Eye’s system employs six cameras, focusing on each goal, to track the ball on the pitch. The system’s software then uses “triangulation” to pinpoint the exact location of the ball. If it crosses the goal-line a signal is sent to the referee’s wristwatch to indicate a goal has been scored.

GoalRef uses a microchip implanted in the ball and a range of low magnetic waves around the goal. The system then detects any change in the magnetic field on or behind the goal-line to determine if a goal has been scored.

Most parties seem keen on its introduction, though Michel Platini, luddite ’til the end, has vowed to block its use in UEFA-sponsored competitions. He prefers his own system which employs a referee to run the game, two assistant referees to run the line, one fourth official to run the timekeeping, and two additional assistant referees whose role continues to be a mystery.

Zidane statue causes controversy

A row is brewing over the recently unveiled giant bronze sculpture depicting French footballer Zinedine Zidane headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final, which has been placed outside the Pompidou Arts Centre in Paris.

The 5m-tall tall statue is the work of artist Adel Abdessemed, who is being honoured by the Pompidou with a retrospective on his work from October to January.

But the statue has angered French football officials who claim that it is not the positive portrayal of Zidane they would like to see promoted.

“By choosing this provocative image, the artist has deliberately opted to ignore all your talents and all the postitive emotions that you were able to share with the people of our country,” the officials wrote in an open letter to Zidane.

They have called upon him to have the statue removed immediately, adding that it would have been better to have highlighted his two headed goals in France’s 3-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final.

Pompidou Centre chief Alain Seban expressed shock at the complaints, saying that they amounted to an attempt to censure artistic creativity.

The jury is out

Johan Cruyff has insisted that while Tito Vilanova has performed “greatly” since his appointment as Blaugrana coach, it is still too early to pass judgment on the coach’s abilities.

Aside from a Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, Vilanova has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season and his Barcelona side sit atop La Liga standings.

Nevertheless, Cruyff, who one senses is a man who will always bristle at the suggestion that he is not the club’s greatest ever coach, is reserving judgement on the new incumbent for the time being.

“Everything is going great for him now, just as we all expected,” Cruyff told The Daily Mail.

“He knew the players, he knows the club very well, he helped Guardiola and was a part of a successful management team. But now is not the time to judge him as a coach. The time to judge him is when something goes wrong; when things don’t work out, when there is a crisis. That’s when you know if the coach is capable.”

The Dutchman was also less than effusive about the standing of Lionel Messi in the pantheon of all-time great players.

“Messi is the star, of course. But he only plays so well, because he has [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi or [Cesc] Fabregas to help him,” Cruyff said.

“Look at the difference when he plays with Argentina, when the supporting quality is not there. But Messi is in a different league, on a different planet.”

Young Turks

Fenerbahçe have introduced a new policy forcing all players, regardless of their nationality, to learn Turkish. Failure to attend lessons will result in the players being deemed in violation of their contracts.

Fenerbahçe will provide lessons for their players and expect at least a basic level of Turkish to be learnt.

 The Istanbul club currently have eight foreign players, speaking seven different languages, and manager Aykut Kocaman has complained about a lack of understanding and team cohesion due to the language barrier.

Foreign players in Turkey have experienced problems with the language barrier in the past. Often several interpreters are needed at training ground sessions and during half time team talks leading to misunderstandings.

Kocaman was recently quoted as saying, “Hiring translators for our foreign players makes their life easier in the short-term however, it ends up preventing their adaptation to the club and country.

“Nobody is above the club, neither the players nor myself.”

Goal of the day

From Sunday night, Rodrigo Alba nutmegs one defender before unleashing an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area for Douglas Haig against Rosario Central.

Quote of the day

“He’s not interested in money. He choose [to stay] for his development and because of that he’s at Ajax. He’s got a excellent relationship with Frank de Boer and he’s enjoying himself in Amsterdam. Christian didn’t think about it [the offer from Manchester City] for longer then 10 seconds.”

Christian Eriksen’s agent Martin Schoot tells De Telegraff explains why it took his client just ten seconds to reject an approach from Manchester City.

Madness!

Thirty-six players, including both teams and substitutes, have been sent off during a Paraguayan junior league match.

In the last few minutes of Sunday’s game, referee Nestor Guillen handed out two red cards, one to a player from each team, but the pair ignored him and continued their fight on the field.

Moments later, players from both teams and all the substitutes became involved in a huge free-for-all.

“Many of the players that were on the field and on the substitutes’ bench, everyone went on to the field to try to control their team mates and even the players from the other team,” said Hernan Martinez, president of the home club, Teniente Farina.

Rather than trying to calm the situation, the match officials ran off the field in fear.

Martinez believes their failure to correctly identify the guilty parties resulted in them issuing red cards to all 36 players.

“The referees didn’t even stay on the field. As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room,” he said.

“They ran through the tunnel to their dressing room. They weren’t able to see anything that happened. But, in the report, to more or less wash their hands of the responsibility, they expelled all 36 players,” said Martinez.

Visiting Libertad club president Sixto Nunez said he thought the referee could have done more to avert the mass brawl.

“The referee needed to take better care of the boys. He should have made sure that the two dismissed players were completely off the field,” Nunez said.

“Instead, the officials left the field and when the players were all leaving together that’s when the fighting started again.

Here, the two teams going at it hell for leather.

Advance warning

Paris Saint-Germain have warned the Croatian authorities that approximately a hundred or so supporters, some considered armed and dangerous, plan to travel to Zagreb for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Dinamo, despite the travel ban the club imposed on the match last month.

PSG has decided not to put on official trips for fans or even sell any tickets for the Group A match because of security concerns.

The French club confirmed in a statement it has made authorities in Croatia aware of “persistent rumors that 100 individuals recognized as dangerous will travel independently to Zagreb for this match, which has been classified as high risk by UEFA.”

A statement on the club’s official website said: “Paris St Germain have alerted the Croatian authorities about the threat. The club wants everything to be done to avoid incidents during the game.”

Plagued in the past by hooligan gangs, the Parisian club has made strenuous efforts to rebrand the club following the Qatar-funded takeover of the club,. Old habits, it would appear, die hard.

Finally…

Earlier today Celtic could be be backed at a tempting 45-1 to beat Barcelona in their Champions League match in Spain – the longest odds ever offered for a British side to win away from home in the competition.

A helpful site has examined some of the more unlikely bets to to give you an idea of how unlikely the bookmakers rate a Celtic win this evening.

Scotland to have first contact with aliens – 25-1

Julian Assange to be smuggled out of the Ecuadorian Embasssy in a laundry van – 40-1

David and Victoria Beckham to have a baby named Rupert by the end of 2014 – 40-1

None of Prince Charles, Prince William or Prince Harry to be the next monarch – 40-1

Mike Tyson to play The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway or in the West End by end of 2014 – 40-1

Facebook to win the Nobel Peace prize – 20-1

Will Smith to play the next James Bond – 20-1

Wayne Rooney to name his new baby Alex after Sir Alex Ferguson – 33-1

Lady Gaga’s first child to be called Baby Gaga – 45-1

Cocaine to be made legal before 2020 – 25-1

Jordan’s next boyfriend to be Teddy Sheringham – 16-1

UK to win the Eurovision song contest 40-1

Germany to leave Euro by end of 2012 – 40-1

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