Singapore’s zero tolerance of racism

Singapore football officials have vowed “zero tolerance” of racism after a Liberian player responded to racial taunts by raising his middle finger to the crowd.

Terengganu’s Francis Forkey Doe, 26, was verbally abused in the warm-up of Tuesday’s Malaysia Cup quarter-final second leg against Singapore’s Lions XII.

“There was a group of maybe seven or eight fans at the opposite end of the grandstand who were making racial slurs… Orang hitam (black man) and even nigger also came out,” spectator Muhammad Nadjad Bin Abdul Rahim, 24, told AFP.

“The rest of the crowd would cheer these guys and some joined in,” he added.

Doe, who angered Singapore fans over an incident in which Hariss Harun was sent off in the first leg, explained why he made the gesture to the fans.

“They kept calling me ‘monkey’ and ‘black’ and I didn’t appreciate that… Why call me those names? Because I’m black? Because I’m African?” the player told Singapore’s The New Paper.

“Football is a game, a friendly game. You can’t say things like that. It’s not right.”

Indeed.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said it had not been informed of the incident, but issued the usual platitudes about racism.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of racism and have always stressed that there is no place for racial discrimination in our society,” a spokesperson from FAS said.

Quaking in their boots – literally!

It takes more than a 7.1 magnitude earthquake to stop play in Chile.

When Colo Colo faced Palestino the players carry on despite the evident tremors.

16′s company, 24′s a crowd

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has admitted that the decision to increase the number of finalists for the Euro 2016 finals to 24, may be reversed if the qualification process becomes a formality.

“It is 24 teams and that is a problem,” Infantino said. “If it turns out it is boring because everyone qualifies, we will change the qualifying format for the next time (for Euro 2020).”

It seems odd that it’s taken UEFA so long to spot what has been obvious to everyone else for years.

Luddite tendencies

Infantino also revealed that UEFA is considering not using goal-line technology in future Champions League and European Championship matches, even if such a system is endorsed by FIFA.

“If the technology is approved on July 2 we have to see what is approved, how it will work, how complicated or not it will be … and then it will go to our executive committee,” Infantino said at the SoccerEx convention.

UEFA President Michel Platini spoken against the use of technology, while promoting the use of two additional officials in matches to help rule on disputed goals.

“What we have at the moment is two additional referees, with which we are very happy,” Infantino added. “And if the two additional referees are approved by the IFAB on July 2, then it’s likely we will use that. Certainly that (system), then we will see about goal line technology.”

Infantino said using extra officials has an added benefit as they can help the referee rule on more situations than just disputed goals.

“On goal-line technology you can see whether a goal has been scored or not,” he said. “An additional assistant next to the goal can see this, but also some other things.”

That’s the theory, but the reality is somewhat different, with the officials reluctant to overrule or even consult referees on matters that may be in any way controversial.

Inter chief blames sacked coach

Inter president Massimo Moratti has blamed former coach Gian Piero Gasperini for Inter’s poor season after firing Claudio Ranieri and replacing him with the unheralded Andrea Stramaccioni.

Ranieri took over from Gasperini a month into the season but was sacked after a run which saw the Nerazzurri pick up just one win in 10 league games. Ranieri was absolved of responsibility for Inter’s failings, as Moratti focused his considerable frustration on Ranieri’s predecessor.

“Ranieri is a fantastic person, very intelligent, I thought he would tell me where to go (after being fired) but instead he offered his services as a consultant, he’s a true gentleman,” said Moratti.

“But it’s Gasperini’s fault for the disaster that is this season.

“He ruined everything, he stripped the atmosphere of determination and complained constantly of the players.

“He was really terrible.”

It wasn’t just the former coach who was on the receiving end of Moratti’s ire; several players were also singled out for criticism.

“(Diego) Forlan, but you have to say that he’s been injured a lot,” said Moratti. “Maicon and (Wesley) Sneijder could also have given a lot more and (Diego) Milito has done little, even though he seems to be back”.

That seems unlikely to improve the “atmosphere of determination”.

Surprise appearance

While Ranieri packed his bags, his successor, Andrea Stramaccioni, was unveiled to the waiting press, only for his thunder to be stolen by an unexpected appearance by a former Inter player.

As Stramaccioni spoke, in wandered Mario Balotelli to shake the hands with those present, including the new coach who exclaimed “What a surprise!”, before ambling out of the room.

It was a characteristically enigmatic contribution from the Manchester City forward.

“He came to say hello to everybody at the training centre then left,” Inter CEO Ernesto Paolillo told Sportsmail. “We did not know he was coming but it’s not the first time. It’s typical of Mario. I see him sometimes when he comes to Milan.

“I did not see the Ferrari as I was inside the press conference unveiling our new coach Andrea. We kissed hello and he left. We had no time to speak. I’ve known him at Inter since he was a young boy.”

Here’s Balotelli interrupting the new Inter coach’s big moment.

Goal of the day

Scored last weekend, a stunning volley of Crouchesque proportions from AmaZulu’s Thamsanqa Sangweni.

Quotes of the day – so many to choose from

“I felt like crap when I was sitting in the locker room with Guardiola staring at me like I was an annoying distraction, an outsider. It was nuts. He was a wall, a stone wall. I didn’t get any sign of life from him and I was wishing myself away every moment with the team. Then Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bullsh*t about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff.”

“Guardiola was staring at me and I lost it. I thought ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head!’ I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ and probably worse things than that.”

“You are sh*tting yourself because of Jose Mourinho. You can go to hell!”

“I don’t know whether I will shake Guardiola’s hand. What has happened, has happened. Do Guardiola and I still have problems with each other? He has his problems and I have mine. The past is the past.”

As Milan prepare to face holders Barcelona in Wednesday’s Champions league quarter-final, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who ensured an unhappy season at Camp Nou, discusses his former coach, Pep Guardiola.

Don’t give up the day job

Coach Carlo Ancelotti joined his Paris Saint-Germain players to record a rendition of the Pet Shop Boys’ version of Go West.

Javier Pastore looks a little sheepish as he and the rest of his team-mates belt out the song.

Finally…

This year marks the centenary of Brazilian club Santos. When the history of the game is eventually written, it’s reasonable to assume that Santos will feature quite prominently. The club that discovered Pele, the player many regard as the best in the world, as well as Neymar, a player some believe will one day become the best player in the world.

A soon-to-be released film, Santos: 100 Anos de Futebol Arte charts the story of the club’s history.

Here’s a trailer of the forthcoming film.

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