Goleo makers to sack staff
German toymaker Nici said on Wednesday it would lay off some 120 of its workers following poor sales of soft toy versions of Goleo the Lion, the World Cup mascot. Nici last week received more than 700,000 orders for the shaggy lion but said this alone was not enough to cure its financial ills, which it has blamed on the Goleo venture. It paid 28 million euros (US$35 million) for the license to produce Goleo but sales have failed to match its profit forecasts.
■ Hong Kong
Illegal Web casts popular
An estimated 40,000 households in Hong Kong have been watching the World Cup through illegal Internet broadcasts without paying a cent, media reported yesterday. Peak traffic times occurred while soccer sites operating out of China were streaming matches from state-run CCTV's broadcasts, according to the Hong Kong Internet eXchange, cited by the South China Morning Post. Hong Kong viewers can only watch the games live with a subscription from the local Cable TV station.
Tax office nabs TV
Tax officials hit a tax cheat where it hurts most on Wednesday, confiscating the man's plasma TV two days before Argentina plays Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. It was the latest move in a "shock" campaign by Santiago Montoya, the top tax man in Buenos Aires Province, the country's biggest, to curb rampant tax evasion. Tax officials carted off the new big-screen television from a man who owes some 6,100 pesos (US$2,000) in back taxes.
Lunar ambassador sells air
A Chinese entrepreneur who once tried to sell land on the moon is offering soccer fans bags of stadium air. Li Jie, who describes himself as chief executive of the Lunar Embassy to China, is selling his "World Cup air" for 50 yuan (US$6.25) a bag. "The air was packed at the World Cup venues while the workers were cutting the grass before matches," Li told the Beijing Daily Messenger. Li suggests soccer enthusiasts who are not able to make the trip to Germany hang the bag around their neck and breathe in the air while watching World Cup matches on television. "Whichever stadium you like, I can give you its air," he added.
Spanish born to lose
Spain are destined to lose -- it's part of the whole business of being Spanish, according to AS sports daily. "We just must believe that there is something in us which prevents us overcoming at the crucial moment ... Maybe there's something deep within us," AS said in a commentary which said the defeat by France in the last 16 could be added to a long list of losses including "Cuba, Trafalgar ...."
Frings adding skin art
Germany's all-action midfielder Torsten Frings says he wants to add to his already extensive collection of tattoos. The collection of squiggles snaking down his right bicep -- including the Chinese star sign of his wife and two daughters -- and a smaller tattoo on his left arm are set to be adorned by further designs done by an old friend who has a parlor in the Netherlands, he told Bild newspaper.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s grandmother Niculina Raducanu wanted her to quit tennis because of concern about the teen’s health after breathing difficulties forced her to retire from Wimbledon this year. The 88-year-old Romanian told the Daily Mail that her granddaughter’s “health is more important” than wealth or fame. Fortunately for the 18-year-old Briton, neither her father, Ian Raducanu — Niculina Raducanu’s son — nor her Chinese mother, Renee Raducanu, took the advice and she swept through the US Open to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. Niculina Raducanu — known to Emma as “Mamiya,” a Romanian term of
REVENUE SHARING: The US Soccer Federation said it believes that the best path forward for the men’s and women’s national soccer teams is a single pay structure The US Soccer Federation (USSF) on Tuesday said that it has offered “identical” contracts to its men’s and women’s national teams as part of efforts to end a long-running gender pay dispute. A statement from the USSF said that the proposed contracts had been sent to the players’ associations acting on behalf of the US men’s national team (USMNT) and US women’s national team (USWNT), with the goal being to bring the national squads under a single collective bargaining agreement (CBA). “US Soccer firmly believes that the best path forward for all involved, and for the future of the sport in the
Making money in boxing means never having to say: “Sorry.” Not for allowing Evander Holyfield to risk his life at the age of 58 just to make a few bucks. Certainly not for stealing money from gullible fans for a farce of a pay-per-view show that would have done terrible damage to the sport if only the sport was not so badly damaged already. No one was apologizing — at least not loud enough to hear — among the crew at the Triller Fight Club, a fledging promotional outfit on the fringe of boxing. They managed to get Holyfield licensed in Florida and
Brazil’s Gabriel Medina on Tuesday won his third surfing World Championship, beating compatriot Filipe Toledo in a new, best-of-three final format in southern Californian surf. Not even the appearance of a 1.8m-long shark in the last heat could unsettle Medina, who qualified in the top spot for the five-man, one-day event, giving him the luxury of a direct passage to the final at Lower Trestles in San Clemente. Hawaii’s Carissa Moore, the reigning Olympic and world champion, capped a dominant year to win her fifth world title over Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb in the women’s final. Under a new format introduced this year, the