1 Brazil’s sports minister quits in corruption scandal
Brazil’s 2014 World Cup preparations have been thrown into disarray by the resignation of sports minister Orlando Silva after the country’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into allegations that he helped arrange kickbacks worth millions of dollars from a fund to promote sport for poor children.
Silva has maintained his innocence but said he was resigning to avoid a continuation of a political crisis for the government.
“I submitted my resignation. I decided to leave the government so that I can defend my honour,” Silva said after an hourlong meeting with President Dilma Rousseff.
The departure of Silva could spell trouble for Brazilian FA boss Ricardo Teixeira as the man being tipped to replace Sila is Aldo Rebelo, a former minister of Institutional Relations, who has been a vocal critic of corruption in Brazilian football..
Teixeira is currently being investigated by federal police over another series of corruption allegations surrounding payments from FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL.
2 John Terry racism row rumbles on
There’s no end in sight for the John Terry racism row after QPR denied reports that Paddy Kenny, Clint Hill and Shaun Derry had been called to give evidence in an enquiry and pointed out that Shaun Derry had not even been on the pitch at the time of the alleged incident between Terry and Anton Ferdinand.
With Chelsea manager Andrea Villas-Boas adding fuel to the fire by dedicating Chelsea’s League Cup victory at Everton to absent captain Terry, footage emerged on YouTube that appeared to show Terry being elbowed by Ferdinand, an incident not seen by referee Chris Foy.
The fear of retrospective punishment for a possible elbow may explain Ferdinand’s reluctance to speak out against Terry.
3 Levante’s Liga miracle continues
The amazing Levante story continues. the second team from Valencia remain top of Spain’s Primera Division after a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad last night.
After nine games, they have 23 points, more than half their total of 45 last season. As Sid Lowe reports in this month’s World Soccer, their progress is amazing, given their slender finances:
Poor is an understatement. Last season, coach Luis Garcia admitted he did not use the normal player-tracking programme because it cost too much and the club could not afford it, even though it is just £2,500 a time. Sporting director Manolo Salvador talked about waiting until every other team had signed their players and then picking up the “scraps”. He also revealed that Levante could not compete with many second-division clubs in wages, so often lost out on players.
In four years they have only paid for one player – Felipe Caicedo – and they only did that in order to exercise their option to buy, so they could immediately sell him on. “Agents run away when they hear what we have to offer,” Salvador says. The average annual salary at Levante is £250,000 – and Cristiano Ronaldo can make that in a week.
Survival was a miracle last year, thanks to a spectacular second half of the season after Levante looked dead and buried at the halfway mark. But that did not mean anyone expected them to play well this season. Their success had been based on unity and psychology,
but Luis Garcia, the coach who made them tick, had left and was replaced by Juan Ignacio Martinez. Top scorer Caicedo had also gone, and the man who replaced him on loan from Sevilla, Aruna Kone, had scored just one La Liga goal in four years. All this, plus the fact that the team was a year older – which is significant when your goalkeeper and back four have a combined age of 170.
4 FIFA pulls in £1.15bn on World Cup TV deals
Crisis, what is a crisis, as Sepp Blatter would say. Despite all the scandals, everything is rosy is FIFA’s financial garden after the world governing body completed broadcast deals worth $1.85bn (£1.15bn) for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, including an estimated $1.2bn earned from US sales to Fox, Telemundo and Futbol de Primera. FIFA confirmed it has also sold rights to SBS in Australia, Bell Media in Canada and IMC across the Caribbean.
Fifa’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, said: “Fifa is delighted with the progress of our media rights sales to date which, coming amid austere economic times, more than confirm the strength and appeal of our competitions.”
5 Zizkov’s Zapalac is latest to test positive for clenbuterol
The Czech football federation has banned midfielder Petr Zapalac of Viktoria Zizkov for 18 months after he tested positive for clenbuterol.
Zapalac, 24, acknowledged he used a drug containing clenbuterol to treat an allergy. He said he didn’t know it was banned and that he would appeal. Zapalac tested positive after a league match against Teplice on September 18. He faces a ban of up to two years.
Earlier this year, Manchester City defender Kolo Toure tested positive for clenbuterol after taking a weight-loss drug while more than 100 players at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico were found to have tested positive after eating contaminated meat.
6 Kemsley quits New York Cosmos
All is not well at New York Cosmos. British businessman Paul Kemsley has quit as chairman of the company that is seeking to Major League Soccer franchise for the former NASL club.
In a brief statement, the club said: “It was announced today that Paul Kemsley will be stepping down from the board and resigning his position as Chairman/CEO of The New York Cosmos. Kemsley wishes to pursue other interests and commitments, and the Board of Directors of The New York Cosmos is in full support of his decision.
Kemsley, a former property speculator and past Tottenham Hotspur director, had been pursuing plans for New York Cosmos to become the 20th MLS franchise but the company has yet to find a stadium.
7 Al Sadd reach Asian Champions League final
Qatar football has good reason to be cheerful after Al Sadd became the first Qatari club to reach the Asian Champions League Final.
However, Al-Sadd reached the final in controversial circumstances, beating Suwon Samsung Bluewings of Aouth Korea in the semi-finals. Although the Koreans beat Al Sadd 1-0 away, they went out 2-1 on aggregate after the Qatari side’s controversial 2-0 win in the first leg, when a mass brawl saw both teams trade punches in an ugly late-game melee.
Coach Jorge Fossati said his Al Sadd side had overcome “injustice” stemming from a foul-tempered semi-final, but they will have their work cut out in the November 5 final against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who will be playing at home as they bid to keep Asia’s top club title in South Korean hands for the third year running.
Jeonbuk went through with a 2-1 victory over Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in Wednesday’s semi-finals, to make it 5-3 on aggregate.
8 Goal of the day
From Austria, a great set-piece from a corner.
9 Kaka back in Brazil squad
Former World Player of the Year Kaka has been rewarded for his impressive early season form for Real Madrid by being recalled to the Brazilian national squad for November’s friendlies against Egypt and Gabon.
The squad contains only Europe-based players because the domestic Brazilian championship is about to reach its climax, but there was no place for Milan forward Robinho.
Goalkeepers: Neto (Fiorentina), Diego Alves (Valencia)
Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves, Adriano (both Barcelona), Alex Sandro (Porto), Fabio (Manchester United), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Luisao (Benfica)
Midfielders: Dudu (Dynamo Kiev), Elias (Sporting, Portugal), Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk), Hernanes (Lazio), Kaka (Real Madrid), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Sandro (Tottenham), Bruno Casar (Benfica)
Forwards: Willian (Shakhtar Donetsk), Jonas (Valencia), Kleber, Hulk (both Porto)
10 Moldova midfielder quits after attack on ref
Finally, from Moldova, Sfuntul Gheorhe midfielder Julian Bursuc has announced his immediate retirement after punching referee Gennady Sidenko during a league match against Iskra-Stal.
Bursuc, 35, who played for leading clubs in Moldova, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Belorusia, attacked Sidenko with a right hook after being shown a red card.
He has form when it comes to contact with match officials, having been banned twice in the past for on-pitch altercations. He was banned for two years from international football after pushing the referee in the 90th minute of an Under-21 match between Moldova and Poland. Then, in a league game a few years later, he placed his hands on the neck of an official in an apparent bid to strangle him.
Needless to say, Bursac says he would now like to pursue a career as a coach.