Coach shot at in Libya

Egyptian coach Hossam Al Badri was shot at in Libya on Saturday, hours after his team Al Ahli Tripoli had drawn a league match.

The Egyptian coach was not injured in the attack but was shaken up and upset, according to the club’s manager Mohamed Balta. The incident occurred after Al Ahli drew 1-1 against Al Suwaihli club in a league match.

“Our coach was shot at, at his home after a match in the league against Al Sowaihili that ended 1-1. (He) is safe but upset after what happened,” the Libyan club were quoted as saying on Sunday.

“Three men in a car shot at (him). The police have launched a full scale investigation,” they added.

The 53-year-old Al Badri took Cairo’s Al Ahli to the Champions League title last November before resigning in May and taking up a job offer from the Libyan club.

League football in Libya only resumed last month after being brought to a halt in February 2011 by the civil conflict that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Al Ahli Tripoli won their first two games of the new season before Saturday’s draw.

Libya were only recently allowed by FIFA to host World Cup qualifiers after previously being forced to play home ties at neutral venues outside the country.

New TV deal confirms rise of the Bundesliga

The Bundesliga has signed a five-year global broadcasting agreement with 21st Century Fox, as it seeks to broaden its international presence and close the gap on the Premier League and La Liga.

The deal, starting from the 2015-16 season, will see matches from the top two German divisions broadcast in every country in north and Latin America, a majority of countries in Asia, as well as selected European territories.

“These deals underline the fact that the Bundesliga has been recognized as a top media right in the sports business world,” said German football league (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert in a statement.

“The collaboration with global partner 21st Century Fox gives German professional football new chances for wide global reach and growth in the near future.”

The DFL currently earns about 70 million euros from international media rights for the Bundesliga and the new deal with Fox covers about 80 markets worldwide.

The DFL can expect to double their foreign media rights revenues due to the Fox deal and several other contracts, with Seifert having targeted between 100-150 million euros for the next rights period.

“The Bundesliga has, on and off the pitch, developed into a leading global football league,” said James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox deputy COO.

“We look forward to working with the DFL and will use our unique offer of sports broadcasters to attract an even bigger global audience to the Bundesliga.”

The deal confirms the growing strength of the Bundesliga which has been experiencing a boom in the last few years with record attendances, growing television rights revenues, all of which has translated to success on the pitch.

Turnover rose to over two billion euros in 2011-12 from one billion euros in 2001-02.

The top-flight clubs posted a combined profit after tax of 55 million euros and a total turnover of 2.081 billion euros in 2011-12, up 7.2 percent from 1.94 billion in the 2010-11 season, the DFL has said.

The Bundesliga also enjoys the world’s highest average attendance per league game with over 44,000 spectators in the 2011-12 season. The English Premier League is in second place with 35,000.

On the pitch, Bayern beat Dortmund in an all-German final of the Champions League – Europe’s premier club competition – last season. Four German teams are competing in this season’s tournament.

Impressive though these figures are, Germany still trails in the wake of the financial juggernaut that is the Premier League.

Sales of rights around the globe have taken total television revenues for the league to an estimated £5.5 billion (6.4 billion euros) over the next three years.

In comparison, the Bundesliga’s top two divisions generated media revenues of just over 653 million euros for the 2011-12 season, up from 593 million in 2008-09.

Poland fans to make Wembley home from home

England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that the decision by the Football Association to double the allocation of tickets for Poland to 18,000, will lift the visiting side in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier.

The FA admits it took the decision to increase the number of tickets because it was worried about the prospect of Polish fans buying tickets for the home end and potentially causing a security issue.

“The FA, working with the Polish FA, have provided 18,000 tickets to Polish supporters,” an FA spokesman said.

“With high demand for tickets from the large Polish community in England the FA took the decision, based on safety grounds, to ensure Polish fans were allocated space in a specific area of the ground rather than attempting to buy tickets in home areas.

“Tickets in the home areas have been restricted to previous buyers only, with no tickets now remaining for this fixture.

“This is the same process that was employed for the successful Scotland and Republic of Ireland fixtures earlier this year.”

Hodgson acknowledged that the increase would benefit the visitors, but he reminded journalists that the away fans would still be outnumbered by more than 3-1 by England supporters.

“I presume it will, and they’d prefer to play in front of 18,000 rather than none of their own fans, he said.

“We have a lot of Polish people living in this country and there would have been safety problems if those tickets hadn’t been distributed in the way the FA have. The 65,000 against 20,000 is a good margin for us. I don’t fear them.”

“From what I understand the FA were forced into it otherwise there would have been infiltration by Polish fans.”

But he added: “We’re used to playing in games where the other team have their supporters behind them.”

England left-back Leighton Baines has no problem with the FA’s move.

“If it adds to the atmosphere, it is great,” the Everton defender said.

“I remember when we played Ghana – and I don’t know how many there were there – they were amazing and it just made it better.

“If these away fans add to the atmosphere the home fans are going to produce, then it just adds to the occasion.”

England lead Group H on 19 points and will guarantee a place at Brazil 2014 if they defeat Poland. Anything less than a win will open the door for second-placed Ukraine, provided they beat unfancied San Marino in their final qualifying match.

Goal of the Day

Mexico’s Raul Jimenez scored not only the best goal of the latest round of World Cup qualifying matches, but also one of the most important. Here’s his stunning overhead kick against Panama.

Real deny Bale surgery reports

An interesting scenario is developing in Madrid with Real Madrid forced to issue a statement denying reports that Gareth Bale has suffered a lumbar disc hernia in his back that would require him to undergo surgery.

The revelation came in traditionally Real-friendly Marca, with the newspaper claiming that the injury explains why the world-record signing has been suffering from a thigh muscle injury since his arrival in Spain.

Bale has played just 132 minutes since his £86m switch at the end of the summer transfer window, although Real have acted quickly to play down fears that the injury is serious.

A statement released by the club said: “It is completely false that the player has a discal hernia between vertebrae L5-S1 as reported by Marca. The player has a small chronic protrusion in a spinal disc that will not affect him playing.”

The club are confident that he is still on for his predicted comeback ahead of their crucial Champions League match with Juventus on October 23 and the first El Classico of the season when they meet Barcelon three days later.

Marca claimed that the injury had been spotted by medical staff on the day of Bale’s presentation and said that the player suffered no pain and could continue playing for now, but that in the future he could suffer pain or be forced to have an operation.

Marca gathered the opinions of several doctors, one of whom, Dr. Avelino Parajón, said: “If Real Madrid have signed Gareth Bale knowing about this protrusion, they have committed an error”.

“That is not to say that tomorrow it can be operated on and he can continue playing, like has happened many times. But if he already has problems with protruding discs, that indicates that it is not a one-off.

“When a person has those problems at that age, it suggests that he has a great possibility of suffering herniated discs and symptoms arising from that over time. It is a bad sign for any athlete.”

Quote of the Day

“I was amazed, but not only with the fact that he had signed for us. I was also surprised that Madrid had allowed him to leave.”

Santi Cazorla was as amazed as the rest of us to see Arsenal dust off the cheque book to sign Mesut Ozil.

France to appeal against World Cup seeding

France are to complain to FIFA over the seeding system for the World Cup playoffs in November, claiming that it discriminates against the side finishing second in a five-team group.

The World and European champions Spain are three points ahead in Group I and host Georgia in their final qualifier on Tuesday when second-placed France, who look certain to go through to the playoffs, entertain Finland.

The play-off seeds will be determined by FIFA rankings and 25th-placed France face a meeting with a higher ranked nation.

Les Bleus believe the system is flawed because fewer ranking points were available in the five-nation Group I while the other sections all contained six teams.

“We’re going to contact FIFA,” the French Federation’s president Noël Le Graët told the radio station RMC. “There is a little injustice between the group of five and the groups of six. Our rivals from other groups have been able to score more points … that’s a fact.”

Undeniably true. But, with 18 countries still in with a theoretical chance of qualifying for next year’s finals, perhaps the talk of potential play-off opponents is just a little premature.

Diego Maradona will support UAE, not Argentina

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona insists he will be supporting his adopted country the UAE and not his  homeland at the forthcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

Argentina are among 24 nations involved in the battle for the biggest prize in youth football.

Hosts UAE drew 1-1 with the Argentina in a pre-tournament friendly-up last week and have been tipped by some to go far in the competition.

Maradona, a sports ambassador for Dubai, has resided in the country for the past three years and having come to call the UAE home, he will be supporting the hosts over the coming weeks.

“I will support the UAE and not Argentina because of my differences with my country,” said Maradona. “I urge all the fans to come in large numbers to support the home team.

The tournament kicks off on Thursday in Abu Dhabi with Brazil taking on Slovakia in the opening match of Group A at 5pm followed by hosts UAE versus Honduras at 8pm.

Seats destroyed at World Cup stadium

The latest outbreak of football hooliganism in Brazil has seen seats destroyed at a World Cup stadium in Fortaleza and dozens of supporters detained after clashes in Sao Paulo.

World Cup organisers say about 100 seats have been destroyed at the Arena Castelao by Fortaleza fans angry with the team missing out on promotion to the second division. However, local media, citing police, painted a bleaker picture, saying the number of damaged seats could be close to 3000.

The stadium will host six matches in next year’s World Cup.

Several teams have been punished by Brazil’s sports tribunal this year because of fan violence, and more punishments are expected to be handed down after this weekend.

The problem at the Arena Castelao happened after the third-division club Fortaleza drew 2-2 against Sampaio Correa, a result that ended the club’s chances of promotion to the second division.

Nearly 60,000 Fortaleza fans packed the stadium, and some of them began destroying the seats after the final whistle ended the team’s hopes.

At the Morumbi Stadium, police hit fans with batons to keep Sao Paulo supporters from invading the Corinthians fan section.

Television images showed bloodied fans throwing punches at officers and some fans with small children trying to flee the chaos.

Authorities detained at least 30 people involved in the clash.

So much for the beautiful game…