FIFA saddened by violence in Brazil

FIFA has moved to play down the risk of violence inside stadiums at next year’s World Cup in Brazil, after shocking scenes of violence during Sunday’s Brasileirao clash between Vasco da Gama and Atletico Paranaense.

Manoel scored a goal after just five minutes to put Atletico in front – a scoreline which would have seen four-time champions Vasco relegated.

Violence broke out within the stands just minutes later, with riot police forced to use rubber bullets to break up groups of fighting fans and a helicopter used to airlift one fan who had fallen into a coma.

FIFA said in a statement that what happened was ”very sad for Brazilian football” and ”such incidents should not happen in any football stadium.”

“For the 2014 FIFA World Cup a very comprehensive security concept is in place in an integrated operation between private and public security authorities to ensure the safety for fans, players and any other stakeholder involved in the event.”

“The concept has worked very well during the FIFA Confederations Cup and is built on models used at previous FIFA World Cups.”

There were no police inside the stadium when the match started, with supporter safety within the Joinsville Arena left to a private security firm.

“A football match like this usually demands 80, 150, 200 men working exclusively on it – men that we could be using elsewhere, taking part in other operations and protecting the city,” a police officer explained to Radio Globo after being asked why police were not already inside the ground.

“These officers are taking care of other areas and we also have men on leave, because they have the right to take a day off and shouldn’t end up losing those days off because of the matches,” the officer said.

“The police force allocated to the match is going to work exclusively outside the stadium. Inside, only private security hired by the teams.”

At least 30 people have been killed in incidents in and around Brazil’s stadiums this year.

Lance, Brazil’s best-selling sports newspaper, said 234 had been killed in football violence since 1988.

The paper recently called the organised fan groups “gangsters dressed up as football fans” and blamed the authorities for not doing more.

“The problem is not the lack of laws but the lack of commitment and rigour shown by authorities in upholding the laws that exist,” the paper said in a front-page editorial in October after fans fought with police at the Sao Paulo derby between Sao Paulo and Corinthians.

Judging by the events of Sunday, that message remains unheeded.

German club drops Saudi airline deal over its refusal to fly Israelis

A German second division club has terminated a sponsorship with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned airline following reports that it refuses to fly Israeli citizens.

According to the Berliner Morgenpost , Frankfurt FSV director Clemens Kruger admitted the club had made a “mistake” by going into partnership with Saudia, a deal that was revealed last week but immediately came under fire.

FSV Frankfurt said it had asked Saudia for clarification of the reports that it bans Israeli passport holders, but had been told to contact the Saudi embassy in Berlin, “upon which both sides agreed to terminate the contract by mutual agreement” immediately.

New York’s mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, has already demanded that Saudi Arabia’s airline be banned from the city’s airports because of its anti-Israeli policy.

“No city in the world has closer ties to Israel than we do, and yet Israeli citizens are being discriminated against right here at JFK. It’s not only illegal; it’s an affront to who we are,” said de Blasio, prior to his election victory.

German Jews and a Jewish football club had criticized the contract between FSV and the Saudi Airline.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung paper, the president of the club Maccabi Frankfurt, Alon Mayer, said it is a slap in the face and “I now see the previously highly valued club FSV with different eyes.”

Alex Feuerherdt, a German who writes about anti-Semitism and football, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday “for Saudia that would have an upgrade of its brand name” if the sponsor contract with FSV had been approved.

Berlusconi to devote more time to ailing Milan

Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has promised to devote more of his time to the Serie A club as their troubled start to the season continued with a 2-2 draw at lowly Livorno on Saturday.

That result left Milan 22 points adrift of league leaders Juventus, while a gap of 14-points separates them from third placed Napoli and a spot in next season’s Champions League.

Things have gone better in Europe this season, although they must gain at least a draw at home to Ajax on Wednesday night to be sure of reaching the knockout stages.

“Last year, after a disastrous first half of the season, I took more interest and we snatched third place,” Berlusconi said. “I believe that the team currently needs a bit more attention.”

“I had taken a step back. I wanted to dedicate myself to the three things which mean the most to me: building hospitals for children in the world, the University of liberal thought, which is ready and is beautiful, and AC Milan,” he added.

Which shows that despite his recent tribulations, and the fact that he has a seven-year prison sentence hanging over him, Berlusconi’s sense of humour remains intact.

For coach Massimiliano Allegri, to whom Berlusconi has shown commendable loyalty, the greater involvement in the running of the club of the president may be a concern, though. Berlusconi was reported to be keen on getting rid of Allegri last season, only to be talked out of it by his vice-president Adriano Galliani.

Goal of the Day

After good work down the right, the ball is dummied before Andres Oña lashes one in for Independiente del Valle against Manta.

Quote of the Day

”The Ballon d’Or is not the most important thing in a footballer’s career. There are many more years. It is important for many players and I can understand that, but it’s just an individual trophy.

 Of course, it would be nice to win but it would not be the end of the world otherwise. Moreover, great players who deserved it have never won it.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is unconcerned if he does not win the Ballon d’Or this year.

Player’s honesty shows Corinthian values are still intact

Greuther Fürth Florian Trinks midfielder has made a name for himself after admitting he handled the ball in the build-up to a goal in his side’s encounter with Sandhausen.

Trinks’ honesty resulted in the referee disallowing the goal and earned him the appreciation of his opponents, not to mention the admiration of those who still believe there is a place in competitive sport for Corinthian values.

This was no hollow gesture either, with the incident occurring in the 52nd minute, when the match was still evenly poised at 1-1.

Trinks received his just reward later in the game when he netted Fürth’s third in the final 15 minutes.