Del Nido sentenced to jail

The campaign to secure a more equitable distribution of TV money in Spain, will need a new figurehead.

Sevilla president, Jose Maria del Nido, who has been at the vanguard of the movement, will be otherwise occupied for the foreseeable future. He has been sentenced to 7½ years in prison for his involvement in the embezzlement of public funds in the town of Marbella.

Del Nido will also have to pay the Marbella town hall $3.5 million for his role as a lawyer in the corruption ring from 1999-2003.

He has five days to appeal the sentence handed down by the regional Malaga court to Madrid’s Supreme Court.

Coach Marcelino Garcia said the court ruling would not affect the team on the field.

“I am not going to say anything on the subject because it belongs to the personal life of the president, but I do want to show my total and sincere support,” said Marcelino, who in the wake of a a 6-2 home defeat to Real Madrid at the weekend, will certainly not want to get on the wrong side of his boss

“I hope he continues as Sevilla’s president for a long time and continues to be as successful as he has until now,” he added.

Qatar fire coach

Qatar have fired Sebastiao Lazaroni after only four months in charge of the national team.

Qatar’s official news agency says the Football Association has terminated Lazaroni’s contract after “a series of weak performances,” including the team’s failure to progress beyond the group stage in the Arab Games last week.

The Brazilian, who led his homeland at the 1990 World Cup finals, is the third Qatar coach to have been sacked this year.

Qatar is eager to make an impact on the international stage, if only to silence those who have questioned FIFA decision to award the 2022 World Cup finals to a tiny Gulf state with no football heritage.

Grudging praise

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho can probably think of better ways to spend his time than praising rivals Barcelona, but the Portuguese could hardly avoid such talk in the wake of the Catalan side’s stunning Club World Cup triumph on Sunday.

Real take on Ponferradina on Tuesday in the Spanish Cup, but all the talk in Spain was about Barca and their place in football history.

“I’m too young to talk about whether they are (Barcelona team) the best in history, because history in this sport is very long,” Mourinho said through gritted teeth.

“There are and have been a lot of fantastic teams in the history of this sport and I obviously don’t know all of them. However, they are a great team that is right now, the new (world) club champion. I want to congratulate them on that title, even though I think that it’s more important to win the Champions League.

“We are in agreement. They are very good, and if you can compete with them and beat them in any competition or be ahead of them, it is good. We have scored more points than they have in 2011, but this doesn’t mean anything as what counts in is the titles.

“If we had a direct rival who was fragile then we would surely have an easier job. We will see who is the (La Liga) champion in May. If our squad played in any other league, we would win it easily.”

On that final point, it’s hard to disagree.

Brazil keen to reduce carbon footprint

Brazil hopes to make the 2014 World Cup the most environmentally-friendly yet.

At a number of stadium construction sites around the country, builders are hoping to exceed new FIFA recommendations aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the world’s biggest sporting event.

“We are no longer accepting engineering works that do not take into account environmental sustainability,” Jose Roberto Bernasconi, the head of the Sao Paulo architecture and engineering syndicate (Sinaenco-SP), told AFP.

At the Governor Magalhaes Pinto stadium in the south-eastern city of Belo Horizonte, planners say they have exceeded FIFA guidelines and are looking to secure an official certification from the US Green Building Council.

“Everything was reused. There was no other waste or discarded materials that could have been reused,” said Vinicius Lott, of the state government’s Sustainable Cup project.

Builders plan to install 6,000 solar panels on the roof to provide electricity to some 1,500 nearby homes.

Now, that may seem like a drop in the ocean in the context of a multibillion pound sporting extravaganza that will fly millions of people across the world and hundreds of thousands across Brazil, and of course it is.

Trezeguet set for River journey

France striker David Trezeguet has become River Plate’s first signing of the transfer window, but he will not be unveiled until January.

“Trezeguet is already a new River Plate reinforcement, that’s clear. He passed the medical revision and will sign this week,” River said on the club’s official website.

“He will be present on River’s first training day of the New Year at the Monumental stadium on Jan. 4 … when he will be formally presented to the media as a member of the squad and wear the team’s colours of white with a red diagonal sash for the first time.”

The 34-year-old, a River fan since his childhood in Buenos Aires, is joining the club as a free agent after terminating his contract with Dubai outfit Baniyas.

China corruption case opens

The former head referee of China’s football Super League has gone on trial on charges of bribe-taking.

A handcuffed Zhang Jianqiang appeared in court in the eastern city of Dandong charged with accepting match- fixing bribes, state television said.

No matter how much money is being poured into the sport in China, the credibility of football has been shattered by a series of scandals involving match-fixing, crooked referees and poor performances by the national team.

Sponsors abandoned the sport and state television network CCTV refused to broadcast Super League games. More than 20 former football officials and referees, including former CFA vice head Yang Yimin and Lu Jun, a referee who officiated at the 2002 World Cup, will go on trial this week.

Standing room only

Scottish Premier League clubs have been given the go-ahead to have safe-standing areas within their stadiums.

The league’s chief executive Neil Doncaster said the move came in response to supporter demand.

“Whenever we talk to supporters about what they’d like to see, safe standing comes up as one of the things they’d like to see,” he told BBC Scotland.

Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing areas in top-flight football in England, which came into force after the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster.

The proposal could face one potential stumbling block before getting the green light.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman expressed surprise at the announcement, saying: “We have not had any detailed discussions with the SPL around the safe-standing areas.

“If the SPL would like to discuss the issue with us then perhaps we would be able to understand what the specific proposals are.”

Basement battle

Blackburn Rovers’ Steve Kean and Bolton’s Owen Coyle were both in a positive mood ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash that could see one of them lose their job.

The stakes are high as bottom-of-the table Bolton make the short journey to Ewood Park to play a Blackburn side just a point above them.

While Kean has spent all season resisting calls from supporters for him to be sacked, Coyle has emerged relatively unscathed thus far, although another defeat tonight could change all that.

Coyle, backed publicly by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside, dismissed talk of the losers of the match sacking their manager.

“It is news to me but that is the nature of football,” said Coyle. “Everyone has an opinion and loves a negative story.

“It doesn’t faze me. Whatever ultimately happens to you in life will happen.”

Kean menwhile, believes he will still be in charge of Rovers come the January transfer window.

“The owners are concerned with where we are, as everyone is,” said Kean.

“But they have given me their full backing and given us full backing in the transfer window.”

Azhi close to appointing new coach

Anzhi Makhachkala expect to name a new coach by the end of the year, the Russian club’s newly-appointed general director has confirmed.

Money, as we know, will be no object, so the list of candidates linked with the vacancy is not only long, but packed with experience. Suffice to say, if either Steve Kean or Owen Coyle find themselves out of a job tomorrow morning, neither would make the shortlist to become the next Anzhi coach.

The Russian club, funded by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, have been linked with several high-profile coaches, including England manager Fabio Capello, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and former Russia coach Guus Hiddink.


Hector ‘Pichon’ Nunez, who coached Uruguay to the 1995 Copa America title has died in Spain at the age of 75 after a long illness.

After starting his playing days with Nacional in Montevideo, Nunez had a long spell at Valencia in Spain before moving into coaching.

He was in charge of several top clubs including Atletico Madrid and Valencia in Spain, but was best known for leading his country to the Copa America title on home turf in 1995. In the final the hosts defeating reigning World champions Brazil on penalties.