Coach commits suicide

The former coach of South Korean club Sangmu Phoenix has been found dead in an apparent suicide, three months after being charged as part of an investigation into a match-fixing.

Lee Su-chul was found guilty of blackmailing a player in the K-League match-fixing scandal.

Military side Sangmu had nine players charged with various offences connected to the match fixing allegations.

Lee’s death follows an apparent suicide in May of a player for the military side who was allegedly involved in the scandal.

Blazer on fire

FIFA official Chuck Blazer has dismissed allegations of impropriety made by former colleague Jack Warner, as “an amazing work of fiction”.

Warner, who resigned from all football activities after being charged with bribery, has hinted, none-too-subtly, that Blazer has a number of skeletons in his closet. As a longstanding member of FIFA’s executive committee, that is surely a given.

“The role of Blazer in CONCACAF will be exposed,” wrote Warner. “His addiction to the stock market and how this impacted on the CONCACAF’s finances will all be revealed.

“You will also be told why for some seven years I refused to sign Blazer’s contract and even today as I write to you he has none.

“You will learn why Blazer became vice-president of CONCACAF ahead of Sunil Gulati, the present President of the USSF (United States Soccer Federation).

“His wheeling and dealing will stymie the international football community; it is no wonder he has signalled his intentions to leave his CONCACAF post.”

Blazer seemed unconcerned by Warner’s claims, saying that Warner is not a man to be taken seriously.

“It is an amazing work of fiction,” Blazer told insideworldfootball. “If Jack has demonstrated anything during this process, it is that he says whatever he wants and then subsequently the facts prove he was lying.

“Regarding the other garbage from Warner’s mouth, since 1990 he had his personal accountant do the review of our books in New York.

“If there was anything wrong, he would have had it reported to him and it would have been addressed.”

Therein lies the problem with Warner’s much-talked about tsunami of revelations: he is implicated in so much wrongdoing that no one believes a word he says.

Goal of the day

Pablo Gabas thunderous strike opened the scoring for Alajuelense in their CONCACAF Champions League game against Morelia.

Four more years, four more years…

FIFA’s senior vice-president Julio Grondona, a key ally of Sepp Blatter, has won a record ninth four-year term as Argentine Football Association (AFA) chief.

Despite fraud and money-laundering allegations tarring his name, Grondona was the only candidate and was re-elected in a Kim Jong-ilesque 46-0 landslide by Argentinian clubs.

Grondona was elected to the AFA chair in 1979, a year after Argentina won the World Cup for the first time.

“In 32 years here we have done our job and I hope that in the future nothing changes,” said Grondona.

Whatever his faults, the 80-year-old can’t be accused of lacking a sense of humour: he famously wears a ring with the words “Everything changes” engraved on it.

Football haunted by ‘ghost’ matches

It’s hard enough monitoring matches that took place and were fixed, but imagine trying to investigate matches that didn’t actually take place. That is the surreal situation facing FIFA, according to a report in today’s Daily Telegraph.

FIFA investigators have been alerted to several potential “ghost internationals” claimed to have been staged last week that did not happen.

On the subject of these ‘ghost’ internationals, FIFA’s match fixing expert, Chris Eaton, was unavailable for comment. With Halloween approaching, this is a busy time of the year for him.

Storm in a tunnel

Sergio Aguero has denied claims that he taunted Villarreal players in the aftermath of Manchester City’s last gasp Champions League victory on Tuesday.

Villarreal vice-president Jose Manuel Llaneza said the Argentine mocked his players after the final whistle, as a row over Aguero’s injury-time winner continued into the tunnel.

Llaneza said: ”What he has done doesn’t say much about the guy. I think it’s a lack of respect, ethics and team spirit. I thought he had learned better. I don’t understand why he would mock fellow players for losing. I’m not saying it because of the result. We lost and we lost, and that’s it. Aguero is a player who should thank Spain very much.”

Villarreal defender Carlos Marchena added: ”In football you have to have class, especially in times like this. What Aguero did is not acceptable. These situations are a shame and are a mark of the man who does it.”

Which goes to show that money can buy you a lot of things, but it cant buy you class.

Aguero has denied that he insulted anyone, writing on his official Twitter feed: ”I have no interest in getting involved in controversies, but I have to deny having mocked a Villarreal  player. Everyone can attest to my discipline and professionalism, I wouldn’t do something like that.”

Ban the banners

Lazio striker Miroslav Klose has asked the club’s supporters to refrain from making nazi-style banners.

Lazio supporters held up a banner that said “Klose mit uns” – “Klose with us” – during Sunday’s derby with Roma, with the S’s written in old German script in the style of the SS.

The phrase is taken from an old military slogan, “Gott mit uns” – “God with us” – that was also used by the Nazis.

The ANSA news agency reports Klose saying, “Football cannot be mixed with politics. Politics should remain outside the stadium.”

Klose’s remarks come in stark contrast to the response of the club’s hierarchy when it comes to dealing with the extremists within their midst, a response which can be best summed up as the three wise monkey approach.

Daylight robbery

Sevilla President Jose Maria del Nido has renewed his attack on Barcelona and Real Madrid, accusing the duo of “robbing the rest of the league”.

Del Nido was giving an interview with Canal Plus Norway when he spoke out.

“Madrid and Barca are robbing us and the rest of the league,” he said. ”They are taking what is not theirs, and they know it.”

The big two have negotiated their own TV deals since 1996 and at present receive around £140million each per season. This is over three times more than the next biggest earners, Valencia and Atletico Madrid, who each receive around £40million.

The impact of this financial disparity is there for all to see.

“Barcelona and Madrid are the only clubs in the league that can keep their best players,” del Nido said. ”The rest of us have to sell our superstars just to stay within our budgets.

“Atletico Madrid have had to sell Aguero, Valencia had to sell Villa, Mata and Silva. Villarreal sold Cazorla, and Sevilla have had to sell Baptista, Alves, Ramos and Keita. They (Barcelona and Madrid) keep their stars and take away ours.”

“The German, Italian, English and French league are ahead of us,” he added, a touch melodramatically.

See Naples and die…

Napoli entertained Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night, prompting their president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, to eulogise about the passions stirred by the competition.

“We have seen  beautiful evenings  in recent years, but the Champions League is an event that you live and you feel in great way. And then I saw that our fans have lived an intense night of passion like never before”

De Laurentiis was keen to pay tribute to the Napoli fans.

“This evening was the culmination of the maturity of our fans, they deserve to be in the Champions League and I’ve never had any doubts on internationalism of the Neapolitans,” he said.

Meanwhile their supporters offered a traditional Italian welcome to travelling Bayern fans. They stabbed two of them as they approached the stadium. Two more were stabbed the previous night, attacked as they walked towards the city’s Piazza Garibaldi, by thugs riding motorbikes.


Franz Beckenbauer wants FIFA’s task force to change the offside law and make it simpler for referees to interpret.

Beckenbauer is chairman of the FIFA panel that suggests law changes to the board of the world governing body. The panel meets next week.

“I’ve put it on the agenda,” Beckenbauer told yesterday’s edition of Bild newspaper. “All members of the commission should think about it, so that we can discuss it.”

“Offside has become too complicated. We don’t have to go back to the stone age of football but to return to a simpler interpretation. The referee should, for example, disallow a goal only when the goalkeeper is clearly hindered by the offside player,” Beckenbauer said.

At present, the offside rule, Law 11 of FIFA’s Laws of the Game, states that offside must be penalised for “interfering with an opponent”.

Which brings to mind the famous quote by former Tottenham manager Bill Nicholson, who when asked about the vagaries of the offside law, quipped: “If he’s not interfering with play, what’s he doing on the pitch?”