Match fixing rears its ugly head

Atalanta’s Andrea Masiello has been arrested in connection with alleged match-fixing in Serie A last season, the Italian federation (FIGC) has revealed.

Eight of Masiello’s team mates from Bari last season were also being investigated by police over the possible fixing of matches, the FIGC added.

“Around one dozen people are under investigation and nine of these are ex players of the red and white team, involved in the alleged fixing of nine matches in last season’s Serie A championship,” FIGC said in a the statement.

Italian media said the allegations centre on a match between Serie A clubs Bari and Lecce in May last year in which Bari lost 0-2 with Masiello scoring an own goal in the 80th minute.

Bari had already been relegated by the time that match was played.

Bari’s sporting director Guido Angelozzi said the club had no involvement in fixing the result.

“We thought it was a normal match,” he told SkyTG24 television. “The club is a damaged party in this. It gained no advantage from this at all.”

Here’s Masiello’s own goal that has come under scrutiny.

From Russia with hate

Russian football authorities are calling for legal action against a student who threw a banana at Anzhi Makhachkala’s Congolese defender Christopher Samba.

The head of the Russian Football Union’s ethics committee, Vladimir Vasilev, told reporters that the person who threw the banana has been identified.

“We have sent the results of our investigation to the law enforcement body,” Vasilev said, adding: “I believe he (the perpetrator) should be penalised for it.”

Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow forward Emmanuel Emenike has been fined for an obscene gesture towards fans of Dynamo Moscow.

To be fair to Emenike there were mitigating circumstances; the Nigerian was reacting to racial taunts from opposing fans.

“We decided that it was an adequate punishment,” Vasilyev, said of the $17,000 fine. “We also took into account the fact that the player later apologised for his action.”

Emenike may have apologised, but understandably, he continues to nurse a sense of grievance about the incident.

“I never experienced a similar situation and never faced such racist insults. Fans of Dynamo constantly whistled as soon as I got to the ball, and I found myself next to them,” Emenike was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

“Now I understand perfectly the feelings experienced by Roberto Carlos and Christopher Samba when they were hit by bananas. Is it any wonder that Samba lost his nerve, and he threw a banana back at the podium in the direction of the offender?”

Goal of the day

One former French international striker and one current French international share today’s Goal of the Day.

David Trezequet is enjoying an Indian summer in Argentina with River Plate. His stunning volley against Ferro Carril Oeste combined power with precision.

Meanwhile in Spain, After good work from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema produced a Marco Van Basten-style volley to open the scoring for Real Madrid against Osasuna.

Own goal of the day

Chivas’ Edgar Mejia misjudged the flight of the ball, the distance from his own goal, the direction he was facing; to be honest it’s a wonder he knew what sport he was playing as he lofted the ball over his own keeper.

Unfortunately for the hapless Mejia, his was the only goal of the game in a 1-0 defeat to Estudiantes.

Dive of the day

Andy Carroll’s comical stumble when he was through on goal against Newcastle has presented a huge dilemma for Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish for Saturday April 14th: does he play the striker in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton at lunch time, or does he run him in the Grand National later in the afternoon.

Not so super Mario

On a weekend when their Premier League title hopes appear to have suffered a near fatal blow, Manchester City could have done without further distraction from maverick striker Mario Balotelli.

After arguing on the pitch with team mate, Aleksanar Kolorov over the right to take a free-kick, Balotelli then had to be separated from Yaya Toure after the pair clashed in the tunnel after Saturday’s topsy turvy 3-3 encounter against Sunderland.

On Balotelli’s performance, City coach Robert Mancini said: “Mario played like I said about him before the game, He can do nothing, like he did today for 70 minutes, but then score two goals.

“I don’t like it when he plays like this. Mario has everything to do his job well but he doesn’t understand very well his situation. In a game like this, the striker should be the difference. Not in the last two or three minutes, but before.”

There is a sense of inevitability about Balotelli’s time in England – a sense that for all the goodwill the Italian engenders, he will ultimately be regarded as the personification of a scattergun approach to team building that was destined to fail.

Beckham bust-up

LA Galaxy’s David Beckham stormed out of the ground without speaking to reporters after being substituted at half-time following a spat with team-mates Sean Franklin and Marcelo Sarvas, during the defeat to New England Revolution.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena claimed the decision to replace Beckham was purely tactical, although a man of his experience would be aware that taking off a player of Beckham’s status at half time is going to invite enquiry.

Arena seemed prepared for the expected bombardment from the press.

“I’m sure he is not pleased about it,” he said when asked about Beckham’s removal. “But that’s not the issue in the game. The issue in the game was that 11 players from New England soundly outplayed 11 players from the Galaxy.

“I don’t [know] of any players that would be happy about coming out at half-time. I just felt we needed a little bit more.

“We needed to make a change in the midfield. It was purely a coach’s decision.

“I couldn’t change 11 players. That’s what I told the team at half-time. If I had 11 substitutions, I would have considered that. I can’t give you all the answers right now, that’s for sure. It wasn’t good.”

Still, at least Beckham’s removal answers one question much pondered by MLS observers: we now know who runs the show at LA. For the time being at least.

Brazil violence escalates

A football fan was killed in a weekend fight between rival groups in Brazil, the fourth fatality from hooliganism in the country in less than a month.

Twenty-three-year-old Diego Rodrigo Costa de Jesus died after being shot in the back during a confrontation between supporters from Goias and Vila Nova in the city of Goiania on Saturday.

Two Palmeiras fans were killed last week in a fight at Sao Paulo, and a Guarani supporter died about two weeks ago about 100 kilometers away.

The death was the worst incident on another grim weekend of violence across Brazil.

Police in Rio detained 60 Botafogo fans who reportedly were waiting to ambush rival Fluminense fans. The group were carrying rocks and pieces of wood, according to police.

In southern Brazil, supporters from Gremio and Pelotas invaded the field after the match and confronted each other and police, but no serious injuries were reported.

Still, when the alcohol ban for the 2014 World Cup is lifted, things are bound to calm down.

Homophobic banner ban

Borussia Dortmund has issued a group of fans with a three-year ban after a homophobic banner was displayed at a recent Bundesliga game.

The club spoke with the fan group responsible for the banner to identify the individuals involved during Dortmund’s 1-0 win at home over Werder Bremen on March 17.

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke says, “In these discussions we made it very clear that Borussia Dortmund is for tolerance, openness and respectful behaviour toward everyone. We condemn violence and racism.”

Dortmund said the group responsible publicly apologized for the incident.

A group of fans raised a banner saying “Better a group who gets criticized then sucker and homo-fuck”. It disappeared about a minute later due to other Dortmund fans, who objected to the banner.

The Werder Bremen fans began to sing “Gay Werder Bremen” about their own club in response to the banner.


Former Italy and Lazio striker Giorgio Chinaglia has died aged 65. Chinaglia suffered complications after undergoing treatment for a heart problem.

Chinaglia was born in Italy, but grew up in Wales and began his career with Swansea before returning to Italy in 1966. He made his breakthrough after signing for Lazio in 1969, with whom he won the Scudetto in 1974 before moving to New York in 1976.

Chinaglia played alongside Pele and Franz Beckenbauer for the Cosmos, winning five scoring titles in seven seasons and helping the Cosmos win NASL championships in 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982. He became the most prolific scorer in league history, with 193 goals in 213 regular-season games and another 50 in 43 playoff matches

Talking about Chinaglia’s time at the Cosmos, Charlie Stillitano, who hosted a sports programme on satellite radio station Sirius XM alongside the striker said: “I recently had dinner with Pele, and he would always say (to Chinaglia), ‘Giorgio, I heard you played with Pele’, and (Giorgio) would say, ‘No, no, Pele played with me’.”

There’s plenty of footage of Chinaglia online. Here’s an extract from the documentary: Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos.

And for a look back at the career of a man who lived life to the full, here’s some footage of his time in Italy.