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Blame game

Two Boca Juniors fans have been killed in a shootout between gangs ahead of a friendly match between the Bunos Aires side and their city rivals San Lorenzo.

The names of the dead men have not yet been released. Witnesses said about 100 shots rang out during the gun fight. Clearly, this was no ordinary bust-up.

The fatalities come after the Argentine Football Association had ruled in the final days of the 2012-13 season last month that all matches be played without visiting fans. It followed the death of a Lanus supporter in a clash with riot police.

Sergio Berni, head of national security, blamed Sunday’s violence on Boca club officials for not discouraging supporters from travelling to the match.

“It was an impressive shootout, more than 100 shots,” he told radio station La Red. “For 15 days we were insisting that the match is played without visiting support. Unfortunately what happened is what we feared.”

Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici responded by accusing the Argentine government of turning a blind eye to the growing problem of hooliganism.

“The state knows each one of them. They have their names, surnames and know where they live,” Angelici told TN television station on Sunday night.

“The state has the biggest responsibility… These are delinquents who must be eradicated. If (the government) is going to ask football directors to deal with them it’s because no-one wants to do anything about it.

“Whenever there are (national) elections, I see (the hooligans) working in the political parties, they don’t work at Boca Juniors,” he added.

“Until there is a strongly political decision (to deal with the issue) we’re going to keep suffering unnecessary deaths.”

The apparent impunity of hooligans is frequently discussed in Argentina with many incidents appearing to be about power struggles within the barras bravas of the clubs rather than fighting between hooligan fans of rival teams.

Barcelona shortlist

Lionel Messi has spoken admiringly of Gerardo Martino after the emergence of his fellow Argentinian as the favourite to succeed Tito Vilanova as the new coach of Barcelona.

Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is reportedly in Buenos Aires for talks with Martino, who led Newell’s Old Boys to the Argentinian Clausura title last season but recently left the club.

And Messi would appear to support such an appointment.

He told Diario Ole: “I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and he showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the team, the way it ended and how he did it. He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him.”

The Catalan club announced last Friday night (Spanish time) that 44-year-old Vilanova was stepping down as he continues his battle with cancer.

Former Paraguay coach Martino has been heavily tipped to take over ahead of the likes of Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup, Marcelo Bielsa, Luis Enrique and Rubi.

On Enrique, whose playing career at Barcelona overlapped with that of a young Carles Puyol, the current club captain said: “Everyone knows that I have a very good relationship with Luis.

“I think he has what it takes but that’s the same for the other candidates who have been mentioned.

“I don’t know who will come … we are ready to help whoever comes in any way we can.”

Barca cancelled a pre-season friendly against Polish side Lechia Gdansk at the weekend because of Friday’s announcement that Vilanova was leaving.

They are due to play German and European champions Bayern Munich, who are managed by former Barca player and coach Pep Guardiola, in a friendly in the Bavarian capital on Wednesday. Perhaps he can manage both sides – a half each.

Guus the man?

Meanwhile, Guus Hiddink has been installed as odds-on favourite to become the new Barcelona boss after the Dutchman has stepped down as the manager of Anzhi Makhachkala.

Hiddink has been in charge for a year and a half of the wealthy Russian club. He will be succeeded by the former Manchester United first-team coach René Meulensteen, who arrived at Anzhi in July after leaving Old Trafford. Following the announcement, Hiddink was immediately made the 1-3 favourite by bookmakers to take over at Barcelona following Vilanova’s resignation.

The new Russian league season is just two matches old, which makes the timing of Hiddink’s departure all the more surprising.

“This decision was not easy for me, but I’ve always said that my mission at Anzhi could end when the club is able to develop and continue to grow by itself, without my participation,” Hiddink said. “Now that time has come. I am convinced that a great future awaits the club and I am happy that I was a part of this vast football project.”

Hiddink led the heavy spending Dagestan-based club to side to a record third place finish in the Russian league last season and also guided them on a run in the Europa League.

“Anzhi FC has taken the decision to accept the request of the head coach and end their employment relations,” the club said in a statement.

“The club sincerely thanks Guus Hiddink for his significant contribution to the club’s development and wishes him success in his future career.”

Hiddink’s destination is unclear but news of his departure from Anzhi immediately led to speculation he was set to succeed Tito Vilanova at Barcelona.

The widely-travelled Dutchman has managed in Spain before at Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid as well as Real Betis and Valencia.

Goal of the day

Fenerbahce’s Raul Meireles unleashed a thunderous effort against Khazar Lankaran.

Quote of the day

“I don’t know how Neymar will do at Barcelona. At Barca, the style of play is more important than anything else. We will have to wait and see if Neymar fits in. All I’m saying is that you don’t know how something will pan out. Just look at what happened with Ibrahimovic. He had all the talent to play at Barca, yet in the end he did not fit in with the rest of the players.”

Former Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi feels Barcelona’s new signing Neymar could struggle at Camp Nou like Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Hard to compete

Bayer Leverkusen director of sport Rudi Voller believes Bayern Munich will once again be virtually unbeatable this season.

Bayern won the Bundesliga by a record margin of 25 points last season, and Voller cannot see their dominance being challenged any time soon.

“They have never had a squad like they have now,” he said. “They don’t just have 11 top players, or 15, they have 22 really top players.

“It really is overwhelming for the other clubs. Now they have also got a player like Thiago (Alcantara) for the midfield shows just how far away they are. They are miles in front.”

With Borussia Dortmund also strengthening with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Voller believes the Bundesliga has become a two-horse race.

“Coming third is more of a priority than winning the DFB-Pokal,” he told Bild am Sonntag.

“It would be a real season-long achievement.”

Women’s team banned

The Libyan Football Federation (LFF) has prevented its Women’s Team from participating in a tournament in Berlin, Germany.

The federation claims the reason behind the ban is to do with Ramadan, but the ban has been linked to threats and opposition to women’s football from Islamic extremists.

The Libyan Women’s National Team has faced numerous obstacles from participating in tournaments, including the stadium in which they trained being taken over by a militia and threats from Islamic extremists which have forced them to train in secret under armed guard.

According to the Guardian, Libyan Football Federation general secretary, Nasser Ahmed, gave the reason froi the ban as “It is Ramadan,” adding, “We are not against women playing football.”

The Guardian reports that a televised sermon by Sheikh Salim Jabar, in which he demanded a women’s team disband.

According to a MemriTV translation of a sermon screened on June 7, the deranged Salim Jabar spoke out about a team being set up at a university.

He ranted: “Is it for youth who are failing in their studies? Or is it for outstanding youth? No, it is for neither. Tall, young, and beautiful girls were picked for the team. Just what our country needed … a woman’s soccer team.

“Every day, I hope to hear on TV that from now on, anybody who drinks wine will receive 40 or 80 lashes, or that a fornicator – male or female – will receive 100 lashes, in accordance with the explicit word of the Koran.

“Whose daughters are these? Are they the daughters of Jews, of Christians, or of Zoroastrians? Are they the daughters of heretics? Of Communists? It is written in their fathers’ ID cards that they are Muslim. But today, these girls are exposing their heads.

“Is this to be allowed? In a few months’ time, they will be exposing their legs. The day they joined [the soccer team], exposing what should be hidden, these girls sold out their honour, and soiled the honour of their families with the filth of nudity and shamelessness.”

Good luck women of Libya.

Flexing their muscles

German Football Federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach says Germany are considering a bid to host the European Championships in 2024 and has not ruled out a bid for the UEFA presidency if it becomes vacant.

Niersbach said Germany would consider bidding for Euro2024 if they are not chosen to host the final phase – the semi-finals and final – of the 2020 competition, saying “UEFA will announce the 13 host cities in September 2014… Thereafter we will be able to decide what to do.”

Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006 but last hosted the Euros in 1988.

Asked about the UEFA presidency, Niersbach, a friend of current President Michel Platini, said: “Things must be taken step-by-step. I think we will know by the time of the UEFA-meeting in September in Dubrovnik how things stand with FIFA and what Michel’s ambitions are. Then we will have a clearer picture and will be able to be more precise.

“It is an honour that my name is mentioned in this connection. But I don’t bother myself about it for a moment.

The post of UEFA President would be free if Platini were to succeed Joseph Blatter, with Niersbach suggesting a bid by Platini was more likely than not.

One for the future

Newly appointed Palermo boss Gennaro Gattuso has revealed he would like to return to  Milan to become the club’s coach in the future.

The 35-year-old left San Siro in 2012 after 13 years as a player with the Rossoneri, joining Swiss side FC Sion firstly as a player and then in a coaching capacity last season.

He was ultimately sacked in May after just three months in charge of the club, before the relegated Palermo gave Gattuso the opportunity to manage in his homeland.

“I would be hypocritical if I said that one day I would like to return to Milan. I still have a lot of work to do before I can get to that bench. I try not to think about it at the moment,” he told Republic.

Trigger happy Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini appointed Gattuso, but despite his reputation for hiring and firing at will (sacking 50 different coaches in his 27 years in the game), the former Italy international insists they enjoy a healthy relationship.

“With Zamparini there is a great relationship. I am confident that the results will give me a longprofessional life with him,” Gattuso stated somewhat optimistically.

“I have to think about winning the Serie B title where all the opponents are waiting for us at the gate.This is my challenge.”

Finally…

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) National executive member Hussein Terry has claimed that his life is in danger after he was attacked on Saturday in Nairobi.

Terry says the attackers were hired to intimidate him adding that he had reported the matter to the police and was awaiting investigations.

The news of the attack comes days after Hussein Terry alleged corruption at the federation where a purported $410,000 was unaccounted for.

Terry has also reiterated that he will not attend the summons by FKF that asked him to report on Monday saying that statutes article 33 requires that one is given a one week notice to appear before any committee.

“A group of men attacked me when I was on my way from an interview with a local TV station. Some people are trying to intimidate me and I was lucky because I was accompanied by Lordvick Aduda and Kabanze who recognised some of the goons.

“I will not appear before the committee since according to article 33 they are supposed to give one week’s notice. I had already planned my schedule and furthermore following the attack I can only table my evidence when a FIFA official is present.”

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