Setting a bad example

FBC Melgar manager Franco Navarro is trouble, after he assaulted a linesman and caused last weekend’s match with Universitario to be suspended.

With the Peruvian top-flight encounter evenly poised at 2-2, Melgar’s attack was halted by the assistant’s flag, who wrongly adjudged the offending player to have been offside.

When replays were shown, they prompted an angry reaction from the home bench.

The coaches and substitutes protested the decision in unison, but 51-year-old Navarro took matters into his own hands – literally – by throttling the official, before riot police removed the head coach from the pitch.

With this, the referee, called all the other players together to tell them he was suspending the game more than five minutes early. You can’t really blame him.

Constant abuse

Italy’s football federation (FIGC) has opened an investigation into alleged racist chanting after Milan midfielder Kevin Constant kicked a ball into the stands and walked off the pitch in protest during a match on Tuesday.

The incident, which occurred during a pre-season tournament match against Sassuolo in the northern city of Reggio Emilia, comes just months after a similar incident involving AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Boateng led the team off the pitch during a friendly in January in protest at racist chanting by the lower division side Pro Patria’s home fans.

“The federation’s prosecutor has opened an investigation to ascertain the extent of the racist episode which took place yesterday evening… which saw Milan player Kevin Constant subjected to chants from some supporters in the stands,” FIGC said in a statement on their website (www.figc.it).

Constant was replaced during Tuesday’s game that Milan went on to lose 2-1.

 Milan’s CEO Adriano Galliano condemned the abusive fans, but said Constant should not have walked off the pitch.

“The chants are despicable and must be fought,” Galliani said according to state news wire Ansa.

“Total solidarity to Constant because it was unspeakable, but I have said it before, he should not have walked off the field.”

 Sassuolo are about begin their first season in Serie A, after winning the Serie B title last season. Let’s hope this was a momentary aberration.

Cheeky bid

Arsenal have tested the resolve of Liverpool to hang on to Luis Suarez by offering £40 million + 1 pound offer for the striker.

In doing so, they have also tested the resolve of Suarez, who has frequently expressed a desire to leave England, in order to escape the persecution he claims to endure. The early indications are that his resolve to leave England is weaker than that of his club to keep him.

The unusual bid was designed to trigger a clause in the 26-year-old Uruguay striker’s contract. Under the terms of Suarez’s deal, Liverpool must inform him of the bid but do not have to accept it. This is the second, improved offer Arsenal have made for a player who has expressed his desire to play Champions League football.

Regardless of the new offer and the player’s Liverpool appear desperate keep the Uruguayan.

“The support he has received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said.

“In this period of time he’s missed a lot of games for the club through various reasons. The people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him. Whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be in his mind because it’s something you can never forget.”

“When you consider that Cavani has gone for £55m you know … Luis is up there in that bracket of top talent. Obviously it [Arsenal's first bid] was an offer we didn’t deem worthy of the talent and even if they came back with that kind of amount [£55m] there’s no guarantee he would be sold even for that because we are trying to build something here.”

There was encouraging news for Arsenal fans, as Uruguayan journalist Martin Charquero sent out a tweet, saying, “Luis Suarez is very close to Arsenal.” Charquero, who works for the Uruguayan sports network Tenfield, is reported to be a close confidante of Suárez.

Win some lose some

Arsenal’s interest in Suarez has been reignited by reports that their other summer attacking target, Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain, has agreed a £34 million switch to Napoli.

Rafael Benitez looks set to splash a large proportion of the £55 million raised from the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain to bring Higuain to Naples as his replacement.

Higuain was believed to have favoured a move to Arsenal, who thought they had secured the striker’s services after putting in a £23 million bid, but newly enriched Napoli have blown that bid out of the water.

Gazetta dello Sport reported that Higuain’s former Real Madrid team-mates Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon, who have both left the Bernabeu for Napoli this summer, convinced Higuain to move to the Stadio San Paolo.

Wonder if Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere still plans to put up that picture of Higuain’s wife in dressing room. Probably, best if he doesn’t.

Political football

A Swiss club has been fined 20000 Swiss francs after players wore shirts with a slogan promoting a political campaign for a new stadium.

Zurich says in a statement it accepted the Swiss League sanction because the club did not ask for permission for the gesture. The phrase ”Yes to the Stadium” in German appeared instead of a sponsor logo when Zurich beat Thun 3-2 in a season-opening match July 14.

Residents will vote on Sepember 22 whether to approve funds for a new stadium to be shared by Zurich and city rival Grasshoppers.

The project on the site of Grasshoppers’ former Hardturm home was promised for the 2008 European Championship but stalled over legal disputes.

Both clubs currently play at the Letzigrund track stadium.

Big winners

Juventus earned more from the Champions League than any other club last season.

The Serie A champions were beaten by eventual winners Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, but still made 65.3 million euros from the competition – around 10m euros more than the German side.

This is mostly due to the Italian side gaining a higher proportion of the TV money allocated to Italy, with UEFA explaining that “monies from the market pool were divided according to the proportional value of the national TV market each individual club represented.”

According to the organization, “the amounts given varied from country (or national association) to country.”

Bayern took home 55m euros after their Wembley triumph over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund, who earned 54.16m euro.

Milan and Barcelona were the next biggest earners, gaining 51.3m and 45.5m euros, respectively, even though the latter beat the former in the last eight stage.

In total, 904.6m euros was handed out to 32 clubs. In the Europa League the overall fund was 209m euros.

Defeated semi-finalists Fenerbahce were the biggest earners from the competition with 11.18m euros, and winners Chelsea made 10.7m euros – the kind of small change that owner Roman Abramovich’s cleaner finds down the back of the sofa.

Act in haste…

A member of FIFA’s executive committee says awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a ”blatant mistake” and that even moving it to avoid searing summer temperatures wouldn’t be ideal.

Former German football federation president Theo Zwanziger has told SportBild that a suggestion by FIFA President Sepp Blatter to play the tournament in winter would seriously affect the European leagues and threaten the ”unity of German football.”

Blatter plans to ask the committee to consider the switch – reversing his previous position of that the tournament could be staged during the summer in a country where the temperature regularly exceeds 100 degrees.

Zwanziger said Blatter’s U-turn showed that most of the executive committee had voted ”against a fair awarding procedure” in giving the World Cup to Qatar.

You can read World Soccer’s Brian Glanville thoughts on this here.

Down under

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Unless, that it is, you’re in Australia where things haven’t changed much in the past 20 years – at least in the footballing sense – and Liverpool’s status remains undiminished by two decades of non-achievement.

A truly remarkable crowd of 95,000 turned up to see Liverpool take on Melbourne Victory as part of the Premeir League club’s pre-season tour. It was, unsurprisingly, a record attendance for a football match in Australia.

Before the game, the players were treated to a rousing rendition of their club anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The camera focuses on Steven Gerrard, who looks deep in contemplation. To stand there on the pitch, while 95,000 fans sing the Anfield anthem, must have been a special moment for the Liverpool captain – even if it took place in a meaningless pre-season friendly fixture in Melbourne. Moments like this, he will be thinking, vindicate my decision to stay at Liverpool – even if it meant sacrificing the much-craved league title.

This must be what it feels like to be a member of a cult.

Quote of the day

“What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”

Liverpool owner  John W Henry  responds to Arsenal’s bid of £40,00o million + 1 pound offer for Luis Suarez. ‘The same stuff that you were smoking when you spent £35 million on Andy Carroll,’ would be an appropriate response.

Finally…

Former Palmeiras and Brazil legend Djalma Santos has died in Uberaba at the age of 84. He is considered by many as the best right-back of all time.

Djalma Santos was admitted to hospital on January 1 with pneumonia, his condition got worse yesterday after briefly improving a few days earlier.

He started his career in 1948 at Portuguesa, where he played for 11 years before joining Palmeiras in 1959, playing 501 games for the Verdão, and retired in 1970 at Atlético Paranaense.

The right-back played four World Cups, winning the title in 1958 and 1962 and being named in the best team of the competition three times.

Djalma Santos was never sent off in his career, and was awarded the Belfort Duarte award for outstanding fair play.