Stories we couldn’t make up

There was a bizarre incident during Australia’s 3-2 victory over Equitorial Guinea in the Women’s World Cup. A shot by Australian forward Leena Kharmis hit the post and rebounded into the hands of Bruna who, presumably, thought that play had been stopped. The referee who may have been unsighted or temporarily blinded, ignored Australian appeals for a penalty and waved play on.

According to Kicker magazine, a FIFA official apologised for the incident in the post-match press conference.

“We all know that there was an incident,” said the spokesman. “We have spoken to the referee. She said that she’s very sorry for not seeing such a clear handball.”

Here’s the incident in question. Blink and you still won’t miss it.

On the move

Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou are reported to have smashed the country’s transfer record to sign Fluminense midfielder Dario Conca.

Whether this move signals a shift in the balance of power in world football remains to be seen, but what is clear is that the Brazilian will become a very wealthy man at the end of his three-and-a-half year deal. According to reports, Conca stands to earn a remarkable $10.4 million a year, which will make him one of the highest paid players in the world.

“This is a good offer for the club, and words cannot describe what it represents to Conca. It will allow him and his family financial security in just two and a half years,” Fluminense coach Abel Braga told Brazilian website Globoesporte. Earning somewhere in the region of $25 million in two and a half years, that’s one high maintenance family Conca has to look after.

Here’s what $10.4 million a year gets you…in China at least.

Goal of the day

Sergio Aguero spared Argentina’s blushes with a stunning equaliser in the Copa America hosts’  1-1 draw with Bolivia. The much-vaunted attacking duo of Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez were subdued throughout, and it required a spectacular volley from the substitute Aguero to earn Argentina a point and a add a few million euros to his transfer valuation.

Missing in action

Nigerien referee Ibrahim Chaibou has disappeared after coming under investigation for allegations of match fixing in last month’s international friendly match between Nigeria and Argentina in Abuja. Nigeria won that encounter 4-1.

Chaibou has been under FIFA investigation since refereeing a match between Bahrain and a fake Togo team which the hosts won 3-0.

He was also in charge of the match in which South Africa defeated Bahrain 5-0 last year thanks to three controversial penalties.

Innocent until proven guilty, but it doesn’t look good for Chaibou.

Here’s the highlights from the Nigeria-Argentina game.

“We are trying hard to track down the referee and we are confident that we will succeed,”  Chris Eaton, FIFA’s head of security told BBC Sport.


Incidentally, Eaton is currently on official business in Zimbabwe, accompanying FIFA president Sepp Blatter on his two-day fact-finding investigation of the country beset by match-fixing claims. In a bid to enhance his flagging reputation the Swiss will meet president Robert Mugabe, one of the few people on the world stage who makes Blatter look good by comparison. For his part, the Zimbabwean president will be looking for some tips on dealing with problematic opponents and how stay in power indefinitely.


There’s no escaping the thorny issue of match-fixing at the moment. The August issue of World Soccer carries a special feature on the subject. Timely then, that Turkish police should make 30 arrests as part of an investigation into the alleged fixing of several Super Lig matches last season. Among those under arrest are Fenerbahce President, Aziz Yildirim, Vice-President Sekip Mosturoglu and technical director of Eskisehirspor, Umit Karan.

One of the matches under scrutiny is the final league game of the season – a 4-3 victory by Fenerbahce over Sivasspor that clinched the title. Here’s extended highlights of that game, so you can make your own mind up.

Rumour of the day

If press reports are to be believed Arsenal will soon be losing several components of the side that has flattered to deceive over the past few years. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is reported to be helpless to stop the departure of skipper Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy.

Fabregas, to no one’s great surprise, is expected to join his boyhood club, Barcelona, while both Clichy and Nasri are believed to be in talks with Manchester City, ahead of a £27million joint move. Still, it’s not all bad news at the Emirates, Nicklas Bendtner is being lined up for a summer move to Benfica.

Talent Scout

Tranmere Rovers have accepted Bayern Munich’s offer for 18-year-old striker Dale Jennings, who is expected to discuss personal terms with the Bundesliga side.

Rejected as a schoolboy by Liverpool, Jennings has attracted attention across Europe after impressing last season at Tranmere.

Here’s a glimpse of the youngter in action.

Quotes of the day

“Go and attack him (the referee), can you imagine what would have happened If this was a Hearts-Kotoko match?

“I hardly complain about referees but this one, no two ways about it. Ghana football must take the necessary steps to develop not to use such people with criminal backgrounds.”

Asante Kotoko’s Director of Operations Jerry Asare offers a candid assessment of referee Awal Mohammed after the offical ordered two missed spot-kicks to be re-taken in Friday’s President’s Cup against Berekum Cheslea.


On the subject of threatening referees, Argentina’s River Plate’s woes look set to be compounded after reports emerged of the club encouraging a leader of the club’s hooligan gang to attack the referee at half-time of their crucial relegation play-off match against Belgrano.

In his report the referee, Sergio Pezzotta, alleged that he had been threatened when a number of men gained access to the referee’s room at River’s Monumental stadium at half-time.

“When we opened the door and they threatened us, there was no official present. You ask if I felt looked after. The answer is no.”

Argentinian sports daily Olé, has published stills which purport to show River’s head of security, Gabriel Riccio, talking to a subordinate who then speaks to a man identified as a leader of Los Borrachos del Tablón (The Drunks in the Stands), one of River’s ultra gangs.

Oh dear.