UAE U-17 coach accuses rivals of fielding overage players

Amid claims that the majority of players competing at the World Under-17 World Cup are overage, a FIFA spokesman has insisted that all 24 nations competing in the UAE complied with their pre-tournament testing programme.

UAE coach Rashed Amir reacted to his side’s 6-1 defeat to Brazil on Sunday night by claiming that “70 per cent” of the players in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup are overage.

The coach blamed FIFA for allowing players exceeding the age limit into the tournament.

Unfortuntely, given the gravity of the allegations, Amir was unable to name names and made it clear he wasn’t talking about Brazil or any other team specifically but did say that he will be lodging a complaint to FIFA.

Prior to the tournament kicking off FIFA said they planned to tackle the problem by undertaking MRI wrist scans randomly on four players from each team before the tournament. The tests were completed by October 16, the day before the World Cup kicked off.

“At least 70 per cent of the players we have seen here, I think, are over 17,” said the UAE coach. “We are a young team and only four players have experience of playing in other youth competitions.

“We are preparing for the Asian Under-19s Cup next year so we are getting experience for the players. I will be sending a memorandum to FIFA, who I blame for the existence of overage players.”

FIFA insist they are yet to receive any official complaint from Amir following his claim.

“We can inform you that since the final competition of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup UAE 2013 started, the Disciplinary Committee has not received any official complaints in the regard of players exceeding the age limit,” said a FIFA spokesman.

“In order to protect the integrity of the tournament and in the spirit of fair play, FIFA has conducted MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the wrist prior to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup UAE 2013.

“Four randomly selected players per team have been tested in the UAE under the supervision of FIFA’s medical experts.”

Brazil coach Alexandre Gallo, formerly of UAE champions Al Ain, moved to distance himself from the remarks, saying: “We don’t have any overage players, we pay so much attention to that. In Brazil, the clubs and the FA pay a lot of attention to that.

“Most of the players in Brazil start at a very young age and most of them have contracts with leading clubs.

“Their age has been verified and monitored throughout their careers.”

“And another thing is that we have 14 players who play for professional first teams so this generation just has a lot of talent.”

FIFA man banned in bribery case free to return to football

Former FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu’s three-year ban for seeking bribes to influence his World Cup vote has expired and he is free to work in again.

Amazingly, he is free to return to the football world again. And, clearly a man with no sense of shame, that is precisely what Adamu intends to do.

Adamu was one of a number of FIFA officials implicated in corruption allegations concerning the votes selecting Russia and Qatar as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The Nigerian, whose ban ended Sunday, told The Associated Press that he can ”only thank God it is over.” He says he holds ”no grudge against anyone” and wouldn’t comment on a possible return to the sport.

“My interest is not to rush back to the international federations,” Adamu said on the expiration of his ban. “But I am delighted that my ban has expired and I am free to contribute to the development of football and sports generally in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

“My focus is different now and those expecting me to rush back to football administration would be disappointed.

“I want to do serious business in sports. I am now a different person. This is the new Amos Adamu.”

Judged by FIFA standards of integrity, one can only assume that this ‘difference’ will manifest itself in a desire not to get caught in future.

Adamu was filmed in a British newspaper sting three years ago asking undercover reporters posing as bidders for £500,000 to influence his World Cup hosting vote, saying he wanted the money paid to him personally so he could finance building pitches in Nigeria. He was suspended and not allowed to take part in the December 2010 votes, was ultimately banned for three years by FIFA and failed in two appeals against his sanction.

When the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his second appeal and upheld his ban in 2012, a three-member panel at sport’s highest legal authority said his punishment was ”even relatively mild given the seriousness of the offence.”

FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia is looking into further allegations in a report by The Sunday Times that Adamu’s son, Samson, was paid $1 million by Qatar’s World Cup bid team to host a lavish dinner in South Africa before the 2010 World Cup.

The Qatar 2022 bid committee said it did not pursue involvement in the dinner and no agreement was signed and no payments were made.

Match fixing referee released on bail

South African referee Clifford Malgas accused of match fixing has been bail by the Cape Town District Court.

Malgas, 26, faces charges of perjury and corruption.

He was arrested last Thursday at the school in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, where he works as an administrator, and first appeared in the Protea Magistrate’s Court before his transfer, in custody, to Cape Town.

He allegedly “fixed” matches in the Vodacom Tournament in June 2011.

Earlier this year, former Bafana Bafana assistant coach Phil Setshedi, 57, was jailed for eight years for paying a police official, posing as the chief referee, R2,000 (£125) to manipulate the outcome of matches in the tournament.

Setshedi was arrested on June 8, 2011, after SAFA reported him to the police following representations to officials, in an alleged attempt to influence the outcome of a match.

Malgas was one of three witnesses to testify against Setshedi. It is alleged Malgas lied to the court under oath, which forms the basis for the perjury charge.

After Setshedi’s prosecution, Malgas and the two other referees who testified were suspended from the sport.

On the corruption charges, Malgas allegedly manipulated the outcome of a match during the 2011 second division play-offs in Cape Town.

Claims of lower-league corruption are common as clubs promoted to the top division bank at least R1,500,000 (£97,000) each month.

Goal of the Day

He has his critics but even they might concede that when it comes to scoring great goals, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in a class of his own.

And this is not the first tine he has conjured up such a goal.

Quote of the Day

“This result gives us the confidence to do something good. Ferguson of Genoa? There is great respect towards me, I hope to reciprocate. I know very well that every time it starts again, but I am satisfied with my choice to come back here.

After their 2-1 win over Chievo, Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasparini gets a little carried away with himself by comparing himself to Sir Alex Ferguson. When one has been sacked after five matches (as he was at Inter) and twice in the season by one club (as happened at Palermo) then three months in a job must seem like a lifetime.

FC Twente coach Michel Jansen loses tooth

FC Twente manager Michel Jansen was left requiring emergency dentistry after being caught by a punch while celebrating his team’s opening goal against Ajax on Saturday.

The punch came courtesy of his assistant, Youri Mulder, who, according to Reuters, accidentally caught Jansen with a “fist pump” gone wrong while jumping up to celebrate Luc Castaignos’ opening goal.

The punch dislodged one of Jansen’s front teeth, sending it out of his mouth and into the middle of the technical area.

“Youri got rather excited,” Jansen told reporters.

Evra outburst does not go down well in France

Patrice Evra’s decision to publicly criticise four French pundits on the eve of the World Cup play-off draw has not gone down well in France.

National team coach Didier Deschamps told Canal+ that he was “sorry” that Evra chose to go public with his complaints during an explosive interview that was broadcast on Sunday.

Speaking on TF1, Evra called his critics “tramps” and “parasites”. The former France captain, 32, referred specifically to former players Bixente Lizarazu, Luis Fernandez and Rolland Courbis, as well as journalist Pierre Menes.

“There are some pundits with whom I will soon settle my differences … they want to sell a lie to the French people that Evra is disliked. But that is not the case at all.

“I do not know what Lizarazu has against me. I was twice voted best left-back in the world, four times the best left-back in the Premier League. Him, I don’t even know if he was ever voted best left-back in the world.

“I recall my first call-up to the national side, all the others shook my hand apart from him. Thierry Henry said to him, ‘Oh Liza, here is the opposition.’ And Lizarazu looked at me and said, ‘Why? Someone told you that I was already retired?’.

“People have a good impression of me, it won’t be these tramps who dirty my image. They must stop lying to the French people.”

With a World Cup play-off match against Ukraine looming, national team coach Deschamps said he had some some sympathy with Evra.

“I’m sorry that he made such remarks,” Deschamps said on Sunday night. “It’s a slip up. I can understand the substance that brought him to it. It’s someone who has run out of patience with a situation.”

Deschamps offered a qualified defence of the left-back, pointing to a recent survey that suggested 82 percent of French people had a “bad” opinion of the national team.

“The proliferation of media outlets makes things difficult (for the players),” he said. “I’m not saying Patrice Evra is right but there is a context.”

Lizarazu, who responded to Evra’s interview immediately after it was broadcast, went into further detail in L’Equipe on Monday.

“I was shocked by the aggression, the vulgarity, the loss of control, the lack of nuance and perspective,” the ex-Bayern Munich full-back said.

“Recently, I’ve been wondering about the fact that the leaders of today are the same as those in 2010 in South Africa… If he’s a leader and he takes the initiative to do that, it’s quite worrying.”

Lizarazu said that the full interview, which was carried out after France’s win over Finland last Tuesday, was even more shocking.

He said: “I’ve seen the whole video — Patrice Evra was not manipulated. He insisted that the interview be broadcast in full and TF1 had the kindness to cut out some frankly vulgar clips.

“He says that we’re responsible for his bad image but he’s managing really well by himself.”

Former France midfielder Fernandez, who now hosts a radio show on RMC, hit back by noting Evra’s part in the training ground strike at the 2010 World Cup.

“I’d simply say that I honoured the French jersey,” he said. “As a player and a coach, I have a lot of titles.

“On the eve of the draw for the playoffs, the timing is badly chosen. He could have waited to win a bit more with les Bleus.”

L’Equipe was scathing in their their criticism of Evra.

“He’s 32 years old and he seems to have neither learned anything nor understood anything from previous episodes,” wrote Vincent Duluc.

“The tone employed by Evra and the time he chose to unload his resentment are catastrophic for the image and interests of the French team.”