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Kick racists out of football…literally!

Trabzonspor’s Didier Zokora renewed acquaintance with Fenerbahce midfielder, Emre Belözoğlu, the man he accused of racially abusing in a game earlier in the season.

From the outset, there was no hint of conciliation on the part of Zokora, who proceeded to exact revenge in a particularly ruthless fashion.

Here’s footage of the Ivorian refusing to shake hands with Emre, the multitude of assaults carried out by his fellow Trabzonspor players, and the coup de grace from Zokora.

Justice done? Who knows. It seems odd that Zokora only received a yellow card for his assault; one can only assume that the referee took into account the previous history between the pair.

Chickens come home to roost

Blackburn’s unhappy season is effectively over. Defeat in Monday night’s game to fellow strugglers Wigan, condemned the Premier League side to relegation.

The fans did their bit, as they have done all season: the match was played to the now-familiar backdrop of ‘Kean out!’ chants by a significant number of them, though the object of their derision, manager, Steve, says he has no intention of walking away.

“I believe I’ll be here, yes,” the under-fire boss said. “I’ll sit down with the owners and discuss a plan about building a squad for next season, so we can bounce back up straightaway.

“I’ve spoken with the owners, as I do every day, and although we haven’t spoken about tonight, I am confident we will have a plan in place as quickly as possible so that we can bounce back as quickly as possible.”

Presumably, though, that plan will include a new manager. Without wishing to wish ill upon a man whose thickness of skin if not his managerial ability continues to be a source of wonder, surely a fresh leader to lift the mood of despondency at Ewood Park, is the bare minimum the fans will demand next season.

Matters reached a head last night when a resourceful fan threw a chicken sporting a ‘Kean out’ placard on to the pitch.  In case you were unaware, the club’s owners, the Venky’s, made their fortune from selling chickens.

There is a persistent (though unsubstantiated) rumour doing the rounds, claiming that when they bought the club, the new owners were unaware that relegation existed in the Premier League.

Free World Cup tickets

In news that is bound to have Sepp Blatter choking on his cornflakes this morning, the Brazilian government has confirmed they will hand out free tickets to the country’s poor and indigenous people for the 2014 World Cup finals.

The host nation has already won concessions from FIFA over allowing students and pensioners half-price tickets but the latest announcement could well be a step too far to an organisation that protects its revenue streams with the level of tenacity that worker bees display to protect their queen.

Not that the person responsible for the pricing policy, Brazil’s minister of sport, Aldo Rebelo, cares one jot what FIFA think of his plan.

“I’m not going to expect [FIFA to support the proposal], I’m going to make it happen,” Aldo Rebelo, Brazil’s minister of sport, said. “This is extremely important, I am a man of the Communist Party. I cannot help organise the largest football party in the world without being concerned with the people who are poor and indigenous in my country.”

Rebelo is currently in Zurich to discuss preparations for 2014 with FIFA, but whatever the outcome of those talks, it seems clear that Brazil the country is determined not to lose sight of its own responsibilities.

“FIFA is a private organisation, its focus is on private interests and the interests of their sponsors. The Brazilian government is concerned with the public interest and the national interest and is not going to relinquish [that]. Where the public interest does not coincide with the interests of FIFA what will prevail is the public interest.”

To which one can only say: bravo!

End of an era

Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has spoken of his disappointment after missing out on winning the league title for the first time since 2003.

Juventus claimed the Serie A crown on Sunday to ensure that this was a rare fruitless year for the Swede.

“I’m not used to winning nothing – it’s the first time it’s happened to me,” he said. “I’m disappointed. It’s a failure.”

“Juventus have had a fantastic season and I congratulate them but we gifted them the title a bit because it was in our hands.”

Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and the forward was doing nothing to discourage his suitors from continuing to give him their come hither look.

“I want to win and everything depends on what Milan want. I have no doubts about myself but I want to understand what the club wants to do,” he said.

“There was a great Milan project. We’ll see if they take it forwards. I hope they do.”

Night fever

Bolivian coach Gustavo Quinteros has been has been taken to hospital with a suspected case of dengue fever.

Quinteros, 47, was driven to the admitted to the Foianini clinic in Santa Cruz de la Sierra having shown the symptoms of the tropical disease.

Some sources have suggested that the 47-year-old has contracted hepatitis but a spokesman for the Bolivian Football Federation insisted this was not the case.

“Gustavo is resting and tomorrow we will know the results of a test on his liver,” a spokesman for the Bolivian Football Federation told Fox Sports.

“For now hepatitis is ruled out, he has dengue.”

Time for a break

The father of Pep Guardiola has explained why his son was right to take a break from football.

Guardiola has quit Barcelona after four hugely successful years in charge.

Valenti Guardiola has stated that his son was overworked and exhausted, and feels he made the right decision to walk away from Camp Nou.

“Pep was absolutely exhausted and overworked. He was thinking about football 24 hours per day, and always thought about the fans and the people who care about the club. It was a big responsibility for him,” Valenti said to Catalunya Radio.

“I don’t know what he will do next, but I do know that he will enter his next job with the same commitment that he showed at Barca.”

Pain in Spain

Carles Puyol, pivotal member not only of Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona side but also of the Spain national team that won the European and World championships in 2008 and 2010 respectively, may miss this summer’s Euro 2012 finals.

The defender experienced discomfort after Saturday’s 4-0 defeat of Espanyol and will now undergo surgery.

On the club’s official website, Barca explained Puyol decided to “undergo an arthroscopy on May 12” and that the approximate recuperation period is six weeks.

That rules the Barca skipper out of the Spanish Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on May and makes him a doubtful participant in Poland and Ukraine.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque will announce a provisional squad on May 15 which will then be reduced when the final party is confirmed on May 27.

School’s out for summer

Julian Draxler missed the phone call from Joachim Low to announce his selection for the German national side ahead of Euro 2012 because he was in class at school.

The 18-year-old was attending a history lesson and was forced to ignore his phone, but Low left a message.

“The nomination came for me, quite unexpectedly. When I listened to my voicemail this morning during the school break, I had a message from Joachim Low,” Draxler told Bild.

“This is a great honour for me. Of course I will do my best.”

The midfielder will now travel to Sardinia to prepare for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine instead of travelling to the United States for pre-season with Schalke.

The selection was met with great enthusiasm by the Gelsenkirchen club, with general manager Horst Heldt and coach Huub Stevens both wishing the teenager well.

“This is a great honour for Schalke and a great thing for Julian,” said general manager Horst Heldt.

Emery quits Valencia for Spartak

Valencia coach Unai Emery is to leave  the Spanish club to become the new manager at Spartak Moscow.

­“The time has come to leave Spain,” Emery told Lasprovincias.es. “Spartak’s proposal was the most interesting in comparison with the other two, which also came from Russia where football is progressing at a great pace now. There were also contacts with clubs in Turkey, Greece and Portugal.”

“Another Spanish manager – Juande Ramos – has already worked in Russia, so this experience can be very positive in professional terms,” he added. “Besides, Valery Karpin and Dmitry Popov, whom I know from our work in Spain, are already busy at the club.”  

Karpin will step down as head coach after Spartak play their final game of the season to focus on his duties as general director.  Popov, meanwhile, will continue on as the sporting director at the club.

On the subject of the weather, a pertinent consideration now that Russia has switched their season to run in tandem with those of western Europe, Emery was unperturbed.

“And I’m not afraid of the cold. I’ll get used to it,” the Spaniard added.

Finally…

Just days after the untimely death of Nigerian forward Rashid Yekini at the relatively youthful age of 47, comes news that former Senegal striker Jules Bocande has passed away at just 54.

“I’m totally devastated,” said FSF president Augustin Senghor. “It’s an enormous loss for Senegalese football.”

“Bocande revived Senegalese football. He gave everything to Senegalese football through his talent and his commitment.”

Bocande enjoyed his greatest success while playing for Metz, with whom he finished top scorer of France’s Ligue 1 championship in 1985-86. He also played for  for Paris Saint-Germain, Nice and Lens. More recently, he worked as assistant coach to Frenchman Bruno Metsu as Senegal reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002.

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