Serbia looks to Britain for inspiration in taming hooligans

The Serbian government has been advised to emulate Britain’s example if it wants to prevent football hooliganism, the country’s senior sports official Nenad Borovcanin said.

The call came after yet another Belgrade derby was marred by fan violence with trouble breaking out before and during Saturday’s clash between Red Star and arch rivals Partizan.

“The response of the state must be strong like the one Britain made when they removed the fences and replaced them with severe punishment for all offenders,” the 34-year old secretary of sport told state television RTS on Monday.

“If the authorities are consistent and willing to deal with this problem there is no chance that what we saw on Saturday will happen again, but the government must show that it’s stronger than hooligans,” he said.

Dozens of fans were arrested in the Serbian capital as rival supporters clashed on the outskirts of Belgrade before kick-off, while play was held up for 10 minutes in the second half after Partizan fans lit several bonfires in their section.

Seats in the south tier had been removed before the game for safety reasons but that did not stop Partizan fans from starting the fires.

“Club and government officials involved in sports must show a true commitment in dealing with the issue and their action must be strong and decisive in order to deter the leaders of die-hard fan sections from carrying on with the incidents,” added Borovcanin.

“Slaps on the wrist won’t do because that only encourages the ringleaders, who must be isolated from true fans.”

Uli Hoeness to stand trial on tax evasion

Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness will stand trial for tax evasion in March, a German court has confirmed.

The charges of the prosecutor’s office were admitted for trial which is set to start on March 10.

Hoeness said earlier this year that he had voluntarily alerted tax authorities in January to a Swiss bank account he held.

He said it was a personal account, created for his stock market trading. He admitted to gambling bigger and bigger amounts and taking a major hit as the dotcom bubble burst.

Bayern said in a statement the board’s position was that Hoeness should remain as chairman despite the trial hanging over his head.

“The board is of the unanimous opinion that Uli Hoeness shall remain in his position even with a trial being set,” the treble winners said.

Hoeness spent 30 years since as the team’s general manager before being elected president.

In an April 2013 interview he spoke out against clubs, notably those in Spain, living beyond their means.

“The Malaga punishment was a good beginning,” he told World Soccer. “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.”

Oh, the irony. If only the Germans had a word to describe the enjoyment one could derive from the misfortune of others.

Brazil 3rd division club attract 60,000 for match

A remarkable 60,000 turned up for a third division game in Brazil on Sunday, to witness the promotion of Santa Cruz to the country’s Serie B.

The attendance, the highest in Brazil over the weekend, was just the latest amazing display of support by the loyal fans of the Recife-based club.

The club, renowned for their fanatical fanbase, beat Betim 2-1 at Estadio do Arruda to win a playoff 3-1 on aggregate and secure a return to the second division for the first time since 2007. They did, at one point, sink as low as Brazil’s 4th division. But still the fans continued to turn up – an average of 39,000 for their season in Serie D.

To put these figures into perspective, on Sunday, Brazilian title favourites Cruzeiro were watched by fewer than 10,000 for their match against Santos.

É muita gente no Arruda

— Joao de Andrade Neto (@jdeandradeneto) November 3, 2013

You can see further images of the club’s by clicking here.

Goal of the Day

Wonderfully crafted goal completed with a fantastic piece of individual skill by Richard Ruiz for Tijuana against Atlante.

Guadalajara Chivas ignore fans’ threats

Guadalajara Chivas managed to ignore threatening banners displayed by fans to record a rare victory over UNAM Pumas in the Mexican Apertura championship.

The west stand of Chivas’s Omnilife stadium contained numerous banners denouncing players, coaching staff and club owner Jorge Vergara at Sunday’s match.

“Leave or you die”, “Enough is enough”, “You can’t mess with history”, “Our patience is up”, “Mediocre directors” and “Go, Vergara”, said some of the banners displayed.

Guadalajara, who hold a joint record 11 league titles but last won the crown in 2006, have been struggling to live up to their reputation.

Coach Juan Carlos Ortega brushed aside the banners, saying: “I didn’t even read or see them, the match was too good to be looking at threats on sheets.

“We already have a very serious worry trying to get the team to win,” he told reporters after Chivas’s second victory in 16 matches in the championship.

Guadalajara, three from bottom of the 20-team championship, have failed to reach the eight-team knockout rounds which is the bare minimum expected of Mexico’s leading clubs.

The worry for the club from now on, is that from the fans perspective, the threats appear to have had the desired effect.

Quote of the Day

“It is very important for me that the coach shows faith in me and believes in me. I had no doubt that I would stay at Real Madrid when last season came to an end. But then something happened and I no longer had the coach’s trust. At Arsenal on the other hand, I feel the exact opposite.”

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil explains why he left Real Madrid in the summer.

Jurgen Klopp prefers heavy metal to Wenger’s classical style

Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has expressed his admiration for Arsene Wenger but admits he prefers his side’s “heavy metal” style of football to Arsenal’s “orchestral” style.

Dortmund currently sits second in the Bundesliga, a point behind Bayern Munich, and second in their Champions League group, level on points with Wenger’s side.

Klopp, whose team have already beaten the north Londoners outfit at the Emirates Stadium, says he “loves” Wenger yet prefers “English, rainy-day football” where everyone fights for the ball.

“He is really something. I love him. He is Sir Arsene Wenger. He is ‘hello (making a handshake gesture)’. I’m this guy,” Klopp told reporters. “But he likes having the ball, playing football, passes… it’s like an orchestra,” gesturing as if playing a violin, “But it is a silent song. I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud.

“I like [Arsenal’s philosophy]. I love it but I cannot coach it because I am a different guy. If you watch me during the game I celebrate when we press the ball and it goes out,” Klopp continued.

“To enjoy football you have to do this. He can win, he can win, post, goalkeeper, save — that is what I love. If, in the last four years, Barcelona were the first team I saw playing when I was four years of age — this serenity of football, they win 5-0, 6-0 — I would have played tennis.

“It is not my sport. I don’t like winning with 80 percent [of possession]. Sorry that is not enough for me. Fighting football, not serenity football, that is what I like. What we call in German ‘English’ — rainy day, heavy pitch, 5-5, everybody is dirty in the face and goes home and cannot play for weeks after.”

Klopp also admits he received offers from other clubs in the summer but suggests he had no intention of leaving Dortmund.

“Clubs from other countries were also interested. You know these clubs, they changed coaches last season,” he continued. “We want this club to stay in the race against these unbelievably strong teams. There is no chance to be the best team in the world in the next 50 years like Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We need too many things.”

“The more interesting thing is that we can be a team which can beat the best in the world. You always want to beat the team with more money. What we have done in five years is write a history, a story that maybe in 100 years people will know about.

“We can go now and try to do the same at another place – but we have started this and now we have the chance to make the next step.”

The 46-year-old believes working hard, especially running farther than your opponent and giving your all, compensate for the financial disadvantages his side has compared to the richer European clubs.

“I am a very emotional guy. What I love, I do with all I have,” he added. “I fight for justice. It’s a very important point for me. You give all, there’s no guarantee that you get all but if you give all maybe you can get something. If you don’t have to give all to win and you still win, what’s this? It’s like this (he yawns). It’s only interesting for people if it’s close — and at the level we play against Bayern and Arsenal and all these other teams it always is.

“And if it’s close, how do you make the difference? You cannot make the difference because you have the better ideas or a genius moment. You make the difference if you work more than others. It’s not the most important stat but I love it when I read that we run more than the opponent. You can get respect if you do this and you have more chance to be successful.”