First punishments handed out in latest Italian match-fixing scandal

Atalanta have been the first club to be punished as a result of Italian football’s latest Italian match-fixing scandal

Atalanta, who were promoted from Serie B last season, were handed a six-point penalty for their part in the Calcioscommesse betting scandal.

The club’s veteran captain Cristiano Doni was also banned for three-and-half years, effectively ending the 38-year-old’s career.

Former Italy and Lazio striker Guiseppe Signori, the best known figure caught up in the scandal, was banned from any football-related activity for five years by the Italian Football Federation’s Disciplinary Committee.

Another Atalanta player, Thomas Manfredini, received a three-year ban.

Question of the day: Can Newcastle revive Gabriel Obertan’s career?

Newcastle have signed French winger Gabriel Obertan from Manchester United on a five-year deal for a fee reported to be in the region of £3m.

“I have come here with a lot of ambition,” Obertan said. “I just want to play football. I am hungry for football so I’m just relieved.”

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew  said: “It’s good news for us. He is a player we have been after for some time. With Wayne Routledge moving on there was an opportunity to bring him in.

Obertan, who joins fellow Frenchmen Johan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux at St James’ Park, made only four Premier League starts for United after joining from Bordeaux in 2009.

Neymar upsets Madrid press with praise for Barcelona

Brazilian starlet Neymar, who is expected to join Real Madrid in January, has made the mistake of praising Barcelona in an interview with

His comments upset Madrid sports daily, AS, which said his “praise of Barcelona has caused concern in Madrid”.

London games off as police prioritise riot control

England ‘s friendly against Holland at Wembley on Wednesday has been called off  amid concerns that police cannot guarantee player safety in the light of the rioting of recent days in London.

All police leave has been cancelled as the authorities prepare to put 16,000 police officers on the streets of London in a bid to control the rioting, which has been taken place for  the past three nights.

The friendly international between Nigeria and Ghana at Watford’s Vicarage Road ground was also cancelled on the advice of local police and there are now concerns that Saturday’s Premier League programme will be affected.

Fabregas named in Arsenal’s Champions League squad

UEFA says Arsenal have included Barcelona transfer target Cesc Fabregas on their list of eligible players for the Champions League play-off matches against Udinese.

UEFA rules prevent any player who appears in a play-off from representing another team later in the competition, prompting speculation that Fabregas might refuse to play against Udinese to preserve his Champions League eligibility for Barcelona.

Goal of the day

A great volley from Rodrigo Rodriguinho for America against Fluminense

Deals of the day: Michel, Petrovic and Giuly

Getafe have signed midfielder Michel from relegated Birmingham for an undisclosed fee. Michel was signed last year from Sporting Gijon, playing 12 games before being loaned out to AEK Athens.

Blackburn Rovers have completed the signing of Partizan Belgrade midfielder Radosav Petrovic for an undisclosed fee. The 22-year-old, who has made 19 appearances for Serbia, has signed a four-year contract.

Former France winger Ludovic Giuly has joined Monaco on a two-year-deal. The 35-year-old was released by Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season

Ton up for Liechtenstein’s Frick

European football is preparing to pay tribute to one its lesser lights, Liechtenstein forward Mario Frick, who will make his 100th international appearance on Wednesday against Switzerland.

Rumour of the day: Alvaro Pereira to Chelsea

The Daily Telegraph reports that Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is keen to return to his old club Porto to sign Uruguayan wing-back Alvaro Pereira as a replacement for Yuri Zhirkov, who has returned to Russia, joining Anzhi Makhachkala. Porto are demanding a fee of £26million.

Slimmer, happier Benni McCarthy responds to Brady attack

Benni McCarthy is dominating the sporting headlines back in South Africa, having joined defending champions Orlando Pirates ahead of the new season after being released by West Ham.

He responded to criticism of his weight from West Ham director Karren Brady with an acerbic put-down: “It makes me want to throw up. There’s the devil with a set of tits. I am conditioned and can last for 90 minutes, but I’ll push myself more to get in even better shape.”