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Taxing times

German prosecutors have charged the president of Europe football champions Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, with tax evasion.

Lawyers for Hoeness have one month to respond to the charges before a court in Munich decides whether the case should go to trial.

The former German international footballer reported himself to the authorities earlier this year over an undeclared Swiss bank account.

Bayern Munich are reigning champions in the Uefa Champions League.

Ken Heidenreich, a spokesman for Munich prosecutors, refused to disclose the details of the indictment, citing tax secrecy laws.

“We have filed the charges to the Munich state court,” Heidenreich said. “The defence now has one month to pronounce itself.”

The court will then either set a date for the trial, reject the charges or ask for further investigations before making a decision, Heidenreich said. He would not speculate on how long that decision might take.

In May, Bayern’s supervisory board backed Hoeness to remain in the job despite the investigation against him. The club said then that Hoeness apologised and offered to temporarily give up his functions pending the outcome of his case but the board asked him to stay. 

That was not long after the time that he lectured the Spanish authorities for its failure to fully collect the tax owed to them by the country’s football clubs.

“This beggars belief. We pay hundreds of millions of euros to keep Spain out of the shit and then they let the clubs off their debts,” Hoeness.

“The Malaga punishment was a good beginning. This gentleman [Al-Thani] did not pay his bills. He lived beyond his means. But I hope this was only a start. If they kill the small clubs and let the big ones live then that is not okay.

“I hope that one day one of the biggest is killed. The sooner the better. I would be very angry if UEFA did not sanction clubs with big debts. I have asked Platini a hundred times and he says, ‘Uli, don’t worry. I will look after it’, so I will take him at his word.”

There isn’t a word in the English language for what has happened to Hoeness today, but there is one in Germany alright: schadenfreude.

Dubious performance

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) have threatened to expel Pirin Gotse Delchev from the country’s top flight if they continue to fail to respect the principles of fair play.

Pirin were criticised for their lacklustre performance in a 7-1 defeat at league leaders Botev Plovdiv on Saturday and Bulgarian media reported that were suspicions of match-fixing.

“The BFU will officially inform the competent state authorities and will ask them to place Pirin under a special monitoring,” the BFU said in a statement.

“If the team’s performance in the last match against Botev becomes a trend this season, BFU will not hesitate to expel the team from the first division to keep the principles of fair play and integrity in the championship,” the ruling body added.

To be fair to Pirin, this is only their second match of the new campaign and in their opening game they secured a draw, so it seems a little early to be deciphering ‘trends’ about their season.

Here are the goals from Sunday’s one-sided encounter. It has to be said that some of Pirin’s defending would not have looked out of place in a parks match.

Cisse speaks

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has spoken out about the row over club sponsor Wonga, revealing he consulted Islamic teachers before deciding to pull on the team’s new shirt.

Cisse will make his first appearance of pre-season against Scottish side St Mirren on Tuesday night, having been in a dispute with Newcastle over the deal with payday loan company Wonga, which the striker said conflicted with his Muslim beliefs.

The Senegalese striker missed the club’s training camp in Portugal over the row, but insists he is now ready to concentrate on his game and was spotted training in kit carrying the Wonga branding.

“I have had some useful discussions with my club, my family and Islamic teachers in the last few weeks. After a huge amount of thought and reflection I have made the decision to follow my teammates and wear the kit,” he said.

“Now I think it is important for the team and the fans that we concentrate 100 per cent on football.

“Although I did not go to Portugal on the training camp, I was back here working hard on my fitness and preparing for the start of the new season.

“Since then it has been great to be training with my team-mates again. I feel great and ready to go, and cannot wait to be out there against St Mirren on Tuesday and to play my part for the team.”

Some have accused Cisse of hypocrisy after a photo showing him gambling at a casino was published. However, surely all that shows is that while he may not be perfect, Cisse in his opposition to Wonga, is less imperfect than many.

Spanish Bale out?

Real Madrid’s sporting director Zinedine Zidane has urged Tottenham to allow Gareth Bale to speak with the Spanish club over a move to allow the Welshman to take the ‘once in a lifetime chance’.

Madrid are reportedly willing to offer in excess of £85m to land their top transfer target – a fee which would break the £80m world transfer record they handed over to Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. There are reports stating that Spurs are holding out for £125 million for the Welshman, which, if true, would suggest that the world has officially started spinning off its axis.

But with Tottenham unwilling to let Bale leave despite his alleged desire to speak with Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Zidane has stepped in to intervene.

“It is not unusual when a player knows that Real Madrid are interested in them that they get excited. There is nothing more prestigious for a player to wear the white of Real Madrid,” he said.

“If he has expressed a desire to join Madrid then Tottenham should give him permission to speak with us. The chance to play for Real Madrid might only come around once in a player’s lifetime – and it is understandable that Gareth doesn’t want to miss out on it.”

Further prompting came from Real Madrid skipper Iker Casillas, who believes Bale is one of the leading players in Europe.

“We’re talking about a player who, frankly, is one of the best three or four players in Europe, and it’s normal to talk about him,” the 32-year-old said.

“We’re talking about a decisive player. The market is still open and I’m sure someone will arrive here before the beginning of the Liga season.”

One suspects this will not be a case of if Bale leaves Tottenham, but when and more pertinently, how much they can get for him. Anything close to the £80 million Madrid splurged on Ronaldo – a reigning European Footballer of the Year, lest we forget – and Spurs would be well advised to take the money and run.

Old wounds yet to heal

Fiorentina midfielder David Pizarro has been referred to the Italian Football Federation’s disciplinary commission after suggesting his club had been unfairly denied a Champions League place.

The club finished fourth behind Milan last night to miss out on preliminary qualifying for the competition by two points. While La Viola were beating Pescara 5-1 on the final day, Milan had to come from behind to beat Siena 2-1 in a game which saw the Rossoneri awarded a controversial late penalty.

Fiorentina players and staff expressed their unhappiness over the decision at the time and, in interviews with Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport published last week, Pizarro revealed how he feels the authorities have turned his side “into a joke”.

The FIGC have subsequently taken issue with the Chilean’s comments, with a statement on their official website reading: “The federal prosecutor has referred Fiorentina player David Pizarro to the national disciplinary commission.

“In statements published on the websites of the Gazzetta dello Sport and the Corriere dello Sport on July 22, he publicly expressed opinions and remarks likely to infringe on the prestige, reputation and credibility of the Federation, casting doubts on the neutrality of the institution itself, the fairness of the games and the championship and the objectivity and the impartiality of the referees.

“For their objective liability, (Fiorentina) have also been referred.”

Pizarro was quoted in the Corriere dello Sport as saying: “They didn’t let us play in the Champions League even though we deserved it, they turned us into a joke and, just like all Florentines, I am yet to digest what happened.

“I am protesting about a system that allows these kind of things to happen; the same things I saw at Roma. It’s a shame to work hard all week only to be frustrated every Sunday.”

Given the recent history of Italian football, it would be a foolish man who dismissed Pizarro’s comments outright.

Goal of the day

Manchester United have enjoyed some mixed results in their pre-season tour of the far-east, but one player who has enhanced his reputation is promising young striker Jess Lingard. The 20-year-old scored his fourth goal in four matches with a lovely 20-yard effort against Kitchee.

Quote of the day

““Of course, the closer the World Cup gets, the more the anxiety rises. I’m very happy to have been part of this winning group at the Confeds, but I know I have to kill a lion every day and continue to prove that I deserve a spot in the Brazil team for the next 10 months.”

Brazil striker Fred explains the lengths he will go to in order to be involved in Brazil’s Wold Cup squad next year. We presume he doesn’t mean literally.

Banner outrage

Japan has lodged a protest with the East Asian Football Federation demanding an investigation into a provocative banner displayed by South Korean fans at the East Asian Cup final in Seoul.

During Sunday’s game, which Japan won 2-1 in injury time, home supporters jeered the Japanese national anthem and raised a huge horizontal banner referring to Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula that was translated as “there is no future for people who forget their history” and was purportedly a reference to Japan’s reluctance to acknowledge its colonial and militaristic past.

“I was hoping something like this would not occur this time, so it’s unfortunate,” Japan Football Association chief Kuniya Daini said. “We ask the East Asian federation to thoroughly investigate the matter and act in the appropriate fashion.

It remains to be seen how thorough the EAFF probe will be since it is headed by a South Korean, Chung Mong-gyu.

FIFA prohibits political statements of any kind during games but in a fixture such as this they they seem the norm. During the final visiting Japanese fans responded to the banner by waving the military flag of the Rising Sun, a symbol of Japan’s imperialistic past, before being ordered to remove it.

The incidents were reminiscent of a diplomatic row at the 2012 London Olympics when South Korean footballer Park Jong-woo held up a banner referring to a territorial dispute while celebrating his country’s 2-0 win over Japan in the bronze medal game.

Park was banned by FIFA for two games, fined 3,500 Swiss francs and had his bronze medal temporarily withheld.

Snapping with the snapper

A photographer has filed a police complaint accusing Argentina legend Diego Maradona of kicking him in the groin.

Enrique Medina, who works for celebrity magazine Gente, claims the attack happened outside Maradona’s father’s home as he waited to take a picture of the former midfielder on Sunday night.

Medina clams the 52-year-old came out of the house, charged towards him “like he was taking a free-kick” and kicked him so hard that he “doubled over in pain”.

“This wasn’t the kick of an ordinary person,” Medina told the Associated Press. “This is from someone used to kicking…He seemed very angry, out of his mind. Like something had happened in his father’s house.”

Maradona has often complained that the media follow him too closely. In 1994 he fired an air gun at reporters and was given a two-year suspended sentence. In May he stopped his car on a highway and threw rocks at cameramen following him home from the airport.

And while manager of the Argentina national team, he responded to his critics after his side sealed their place at the 2010 World Cup by telling a press conference to “suck it”.

Never a dull moment with Diego.

Finally…

Dinamo Zagreb have been fined 25,000 euros by UEFA for racist chanting by their supporters during a Champions League qualifier.

The punishment was for incidents during Dinamo’s 1-0 home win against Luxembourg’s CS Fola Esch in the Champions League second qualifying round last week.

In addition to the fine, Dinamo were ordered to close part of their stadium when they take on Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol later on Tuesday. The east section of the club’s Maksimir Stadium must be closed for the first leg of their third-round qualifier.

The UEFA website stated: “the fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA. UEFA has a policy of zero tolerance towards racism and discrimination on the pitch and in the stands. All forms of racist behaviour are considered as serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.”

We shall see.

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