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This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t mean nothing…

Many years ago Channel 4 produced The Manageress, a light-hearted TV serial based upon the novel idea of a female coach managing a professional football club. It remains the closest a woman has come to taking charge of any English professional club. Elsewhere though, clubs and players are more open-minded and from South America comes a story of one woman enjoying a modicum of success coaching a second division side.

Nelfi Ibanez coach of Hijos de Acosvinchos, operates in the traditionally macho world of Peruvian football. The Bolivian-born woman trained at home and in Spain and has directed youth clubs and a Bolivian club with whom she won an amateur title. Ibanez is a keen student of the game, taking a series of elite courses at the Association of Catalan Football as well as Barcelona’s Universidad de Montjuic.

Her story is a fascinating one.

There’s also a revealing interview with Ibanez on FIFA’s site, in which the 43-year-old details her ambition to one day coach a national team at the  World Cup finals.

World Cup slave labour?

International trade unions said they were moving ahead with plans for a global campaign this summer under the motto ‘No World Cup in Qatar without labour rights’, to deprive Qatar of its right to host the 2022 World Cup if it failed to bring it’s human and workers rights into line with international standards.

“It is not too late to change the venue of the World Cup. This is not an industrial skirmish about wages; this is a serious breach in regard to human and labor rights. The country is incredibly wealthy and is portraying itself as a model country. That is simply not true. Our members are football fans and they don’t want to see the game played in a country that practices slavery,” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), said.

The ITUC said it had requested an meeting with Qatari labor minister Sultan bin Hassan, alleging that “workers are dying in Qatar as they build World Cup stadiums and infrastructure, and suffer large scale exploitation every day.”

Ms. Burrow said she had yet to receive a reply to the letter, which was also sent to world football’s governing body, FIFA. To be fair to FIFA, what with all the corruption going on, they have had rather a lot on their plate in recent months.

The background and full details of the campaign can be found here.

To drop one trophy may be considered unlucky, but two…

Ajax celebrated their latest Dutch title success in time honoured tradition… by dropping the Eredivisie trophy.

Jan Vertonghen dropped the trophy during a TV interview, but managed to break its fall with his foot.

Last year it was butter-fingered keeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, who dropped the trophy off the team bus as it went on a tour of Amsterdam. Here you can see the trophy plummeting to the ground, sliding across the road like a loose hub cap, before being retrieved by a well-wisher.

Role models

Aston Villa trio James Collins, Chris Herd and Fabien Delph have done their bit for the reputations of professional footballers in England, by becoming involved in a brawl with bouncers at a nightclub.

The incident, which was caught on camera (see below), came after the club’s annual end-of-season gala at Villa Park. Herd can be seen kicking out at the doors of Birmingham’s Gatecrasher nightclub early on Tuesday.

The players have apologised for their behaviour, been fined by the club and warned about their future conduct.

Referee assaulted

A former Samoa international player who punched a referee, breaking his jaw in three places, has been banned from the sport indefinitely.

Tama Fasavalu, 36, scored two goals in a World Cup qualifying match in 2004, and played three matches for his country.

The Manukau City player has appeared in court charged with assaulting volunteer referee Len Gattsche after being sent off in a clash against Tauranga City.

A police spokeswoman said Fasavalu had been ordered to surrender his passport and reside at a Mangere address as part of his bail conditions.

Gattsche was released from Middlemore Hospital yesterday, his birthday, after he underwent surgery to fix his jaw. His wife said he would not be able to eat solid food for at least two months.

Witnesses said Fasavalu had been sent off after receiving two yellow cards for heavy tackles.

Gattsche, who has at least 15 years’ experience as a referee, is unlikely to return to the sport.

And who can blame him.

Goals of the day

All 68 of the goals Lionel Messi has scored for Barcelona this season.

Pre-season tour of duty

Football clubs tend to leave no stone unturned when it comes to trying to expand their global reach, but one does wonder whether Arsenal might have taken it a little too far when planning ahead for the 2012-13 season.

The London outfit have confirmed they will play their first match ever on Nigerian soil as part of the English Premier League side’s extensive pre-season tour that also includes visits to China and Malaysia.

Arsenal will play at the 60,000-seater Abuja National Stadium on August 5 against opposition yet to be confirmed.

The match in Abuja will conclude a hectic pre-season tour that starts in Kuala Lumpur when the team plays a Malaysia XI on July 24. Arsenal will play Manchester City in Beijing three days later and Kitchee FC in Hong Kong on July 29.

Lest we forget, Arsenal’s dreadful start to the current season came after pre-season jaunts to Malaysia, China and Germany.

Next season, presumably a pre-season friendly on the moon will be up for serious consideration.

Match fixing latest

Pin a map of the world on a wall, throw a dart at it and there’s a good chance that you will hit a country that is involved in match fixing. Even Singapore, a country that prides itself on its zero tolerance for crime – although contrary to popular myth, chewing gum is not illegal there – has fallen victim.

Two former Geylang United footballers have been sentenced to jail for bribery.

 Kim Jae Hong, 27 and Jeon Byungeuk, 24 was convicted on Friday of bribing two current Geylang United’s players.

Kim admitted to giving Geylang United’s current goalkeeper, Mohamed Yazid Mohamed Yasin, 32, S$4,000 to ensure the club loses its S-League football match against Harimau Muda.

  The match was played on May 3 and Geylang United lost 0-2.

Kim, who was charged on two counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act, was jailed 10 months.

Jeon, who faced one charge, was jailed for five months.

Quote of the day

“All I will say is that I got a fair hearing, I think the punishment is pretty fair as well. The judicial panel don’t want to be punishing people, but when you cross the line I expected to be punished and I have been and I am going to learn from this.”

Things you didn’t expect to hear. Hints of a growing maturity from Celtic’s famously combustible boss, Neil Lennon, after he was given a six-match touchline ban – half of which is suspended – for his Scottish Cup semi-final conduct.

Sticking the knife in

The British press continues to struggle to come to terms with the fact that the FA had the temerity to ignore their advice when they appointed a successor to Fabio Capello as England manager. The FA chose, instead, a man who not only has a mild speech impediment but, as we have now learned courtesy of some fearless investigative work by a crack team of roving reporters, someone not widely recognised on the streets of Germany.

This startling revelation comes after several intrepid journalists quizzed Bayern Munich pair Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm about Roy Hodgson’s suitability as England coach.

The pair were understandably non-plussed when, what was ostensibly a pre-Champions League final press briefing, turned into an examination of Hodgson’s coaching credentials.

Asked if he had heard of Schweinsteiger, the Bayern midfielder replied: “Yes, but I can’t tell you anything about what he’s like with players, or how he trains them.”

Similarly, Lahm was politeness personified, stating: “I don’t know Roy Hodgson well. But I think it was very, very important they made a decision and that there is a manager in place now.”

All fairly uncontroversial one would have thought, but in the hands of a typical British hack, it was sporting dynamite.

The Sun, Britain’s biggest selling, but least read newspaper, still smarting at having it’s wrists slapped by the FA for mocking Hodgson’s speech, led their sports pages with the headline ‘Roy Who‘.

The Telegraph, purportedly a proper newspaper, went with ‘Who are You‘ and also carried the headline on its website ‘You’ve got the Wrong Man‘ – since changed, presumably because no one actually said anything remotely like that.

The Times couldn’t resist joining in the party, citing quotes from Fabio Capello about the difficulties Hodgson would face as a national team manager.

“It’s not a normal job,” Capello states. “It’s difficult to create something. You can’t do something in a short space of time. The idea is to create the team spirit and winning mentality in a really short time. This is very difficult. It will be hard.”

Well, certainly in your case Fabio, it proved impossible.

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