Racism rears its ugly head again

An Italian sporting court ordered Lazio on Monday to close the Curva Nord section of the ground for one game following racist chants aimed at Juventus players during the Super Cup at the weekend.

The Curva Nord is the area where many of the club’s ultras converge in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

Italian sporting authorities announced their decision to close Curva Nord after fans from the section “directed shouts and chants of a racially discriminative nature towards three players of the opposing team in the 16th and 28th minutes of the first half and continuously in the 20th and 43rd minutes of the second half.”

Spectators had been warned about racist chanting over the stadium loudspeaker during the game.

According to local media the chants were aimed at Pogba, Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and defender Angelo Ogbonna.

“We heard it, they’re ignorant,” said Pogba. “What can I do? I’m alone against 30,000 fans. They do that even though there are black players in their team.

“It’s also a lack of respect towards their own players. It’s really not nice to come to a football match and hear those sorts of things, but I’m a player, I concentrate on my job.”

Last season the club ordered to play their next two home European games behind closed doors following crowd trouble.

They were also fined £120,000 by Uefa following racist chanting in a Europa League game against Tottenham Hotspur.

The sanctions, which at he time appeared to be tough, have clearly made no impact on the numbskulls who populate the Curva Nord.

Racism again

It’s not just Italy that suffers from these periodic outbreaks of offensive chanting; Germany is that latest country to come under scrutiny after 1860 Munich supporters were accused of hurling racist abuse in Sunday’s Bavarian derby. The victim of the insults was Ingolstadt defender (on loan from Bayer Leverkusen) Danny da Costa.

“In the second-half, several fans, or whatever you want to call them, felt the need to shout stuff… in my direction,” the Ingolstadt defender told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

“There was only a few of them, but every time the ball came near me, there were monkey chants. Of course, it’s a pretty shitty feeling.”

The right-back said this was the worst abuse he had experienced in his short career.

“I have never seen anything like this before,” he said.

“Recently, I stood on the pitch with the Under-21 team and sang the German national anthem – now I have to take these insults.

“These are just morons who should stay at home and insult the wallpaper.”

1860 Munich’s chief executive officer Robert Schaefer apologised to Da Costa in a statement and said a stadium ban will follow for those responsible.

“Any abuse of this kind has no place at our games,” said Schaefer.

“We are very grateful to our stewards, who immediately responded professionally and consistently.

“We were able to identify the person and have him arrested.

“Additionally, we will immediately issue a stadium ban.”

Da Costa’s team-mate Ralph Gunesch, who sat on the Ingolstadt bench and heard what was being shouted, took to Facebook to vent his fury.

“To continually insult a dark-skinned player … only shows that their IQ is only just above that of burnt toast,” wrote Gunsch.

“Lock yourselves up at home and prattle on with your racist rubbish to the wallpaper, but save us all from these ideas.

“Racism is a crime not an opinion.”


Falcao staying put

Monaco striker Radamel Falcao has insisted there is no truth in rumours linking him with a swift return to Spain, just months after moving to Ligue 1.

Reports in Spain last week suggested the Colombian was unhappy with having to pay tax on his mammoth salary (estimated at €14 million a year) and was actively seeking a move to Real Madrid.

There have been reports in recent days that Monaco would also be forced to move their offices to France – causing the club to lose it’s current tax benefits, hitting players where it really hurt.

The 27-year-old said: “It’s a totally false article. I’m very happy at Monaco and I believe in the project.

“Everything is false, even the numbers quoted by the press are false. I feel great at the club and I’m going to stay here.

Monaco boss Claudio Ranieri also dismissed the reports, adding:”What do you want me to tell you? The rumours are rumours.

“Falcao is staying at Monaco.”

Goal of the day

New England Revolution’s Juan Agudelo produced a lovely piece of improvisation in his side’s 2-0 victory over Chicago Fire.

Quote of the day

“Madrid and Barcelona play a different league. This is a boring championship. We’ll have to wait for television distribution to change because now the league is only between two teams.”

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone rules out a title challenge from his side.

Harsh punishment

Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Victor was sent off for angrily kicking a ball into the crowd after his team’s goalless draw at Internacional in the Brazilian championship.

After the final whistle went, goalkeeper Victor immediately collected the ball, turned around and hoofed it into the Internacional fans behind him.

As he left the field, Victor, who had already been booked for time-wasting during the game, was given a second yellow card and sent off.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” he told reporters, adding he had been provoked. “There are matches where you are spat for the whole match and they throw other liquids which you can’t identify.”


Having seen several bids for Cesc Fabregas turned down and appearing to be running out of options to freshen up his squad, Manchester United manager David Moyes has returned to his former club, Everton, in an attept to sign Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.

According to media reports United offered a total of £28 million pounds for Belgium midfielder Fellaini and England defender Baines. Considering Fellaini’s recently-expired release clause was for £23.5 million and Everton had already rejected a £12 million bid earlier this summer for Baines, the two-for-the-price-of-one offer was, even for a club of limited means like Everton, on the low to insulting side.

“Everton can confirm it has received bids from Manchester United for two players,” director of communications Alan Myers said in a statement on Monday. “Those bids were immediately rejected out of hand as derisory and insulting.

Moyes has obviously forgotten how angry he was when Manchester City tried to sign Joleon Lescott four years ago.

“You just hope people will do things correctly, but that hasn’t happened here,” he said at the time.
“They should look at how Real Madrid tied up Cristiano Ronaldo by paying what United considered the right price and doing it in time for United to spend the money, if they wanted.”

It clearly annoyed Moyes and before Everton played City in January 2010, he accused them of “acting with no class” and of “treating us with little respect”.

The boot is on the other foot now.

Natives getting restless

He’s had three months to make a signing and done nothing about it, but the shock of an opening day home defeat to Aston Villa appears to have jolted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger out of his summer lethargy.

That 3-1 loss, which was accompanied by boos of derision from the Arsenal fans and chants of  “spend some f**king money!”, combined with a short-term injury crisis, appears to have finally persuaded Wenger to forsake his traditional transfer strategy of procrastination. Now, it seems, is the time for action, with Wenger reported to have made a bid for Newcastle United’s Yohan Cabaye as well as reviving his interest in German international midfielder Lars Bender.

The bid for Cabaye is reported to be worth £10 million, a derisory (that word again) offer and naturally one that Newcastle will turn it down. Bender, for whom Arsenal offered Bayer Leverkusen £19 million for earlier in the summer, although not the marquee signing that Arsenal fans crave, would nonetheless offer a versatility that could come in useful.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom at the Emirates. Roma have bought Ivory Coast striker Gervinho from Arsenal for €8 million, the Italian Serie A team said on Monday.

So, that’s more money in the bank for Wenger not to spend.

If you’re interested in the current mood of Arsenal fans in the wake of Saturday’s defeat, then you could do worse than listen to the forthright (and NSFW) opinions of an Arsenal fan on the ongoing Arsenal transfer debacle.


Jailed former Bayern Munich defender Breno will start work as a youth coach at the club as he serves out his sentence for arson with part-time work outside prison.

The 23-year-old Brazilian was jailed in 2012 for three years and nine months after he burned down his rented Munich villa.

“This time spent in prison, these 13 months, have been hard,” Breno told a news conference, sitting alongside club president Uli Hoeness.

“I have changed as a person and I have learned a lot in there. I am happy to be given this chance by Bayern.”

Breno will work five-hours-a-day as an assistant coach to the under-23 team and return to prison each afternoon.

“Breno is a member of the big Bayern family, who once had problems,” said Hoeness, who is facing charges of tax evasion and could stand trial. There but for the grace of god…

“Now there is a glimmer of hope and we want to give it to him,” said Hoeness.

Breno had joined the Bavarians from Sao Paolo as a teenager in 2008 but failed to grab a starting spot.

A brief loan spell at Nuremberg in 2010 was cut short by a serious ligament injury before returning to Bayern.

The former Brazil under-23 player was arrested in 2011 after his rented home went up in flames with him at home recovering from injury. He was later convicted of arson.