Players pay for night out
Three players were fined 40,000 Swiss francs (US$32,000) each for a night on the town before their Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia this month, the country's soccer federation announced on Thursday. Strikers Bosko Balaban, Ivica Olic and midfielder Darijo Srna sneaked out of their team hotel to go to a Zagreb nightclub, four days before the Group E game, played on Sept. 6 in Moscow. Coach Slaven Bilic immediately ruled them out of the tie which ended 0-0. The errant trio apologized to their teammates and to Bilic, who was named coach in July. The federation's disciplinary commission had already fined them 4,000 euros each.
Vieira gets three-game ban
Inter Milan midfielder Patrick Vieira was handed a three-match ban by the Italian soccer league's disciplinary council on Thursday for the red card he received in the Serie A match against Roma. The France captain was sent off on Wednesday night for picking up two yellow cards in his side's 1-0 win at the Olympic stadium, an offense which would normally result in a lighter penalty. But Vieira was hit harder for allegedly using foul and abusive language towards the referee. Inter director Marco Branca said the club would be appealing against the punishment.
Platini outlines UEFA plans
Michel Platini vowed to implement a soccer evolution rather than revolution in a manifesto-style letter sent to the 52 presidents of UEFA-affiliated soccer associations. Platini will contest the European soccer governing body hot-seat with current incumbent Lennart Johansson in elections in February. Platini promised to unify the soccer family, return power to UEFA's members and to improve solidarity among members. And he also vowed to stamp out racism and xenophobia, sporting fraud, illegal betting, doping, embezzlement and corrupt agents. "I am all for clean football," added Platini. "Cheating in football is a crime against the spirit of the game."
Romario mulling Oz move
Legend Romario is mulling over a move to Australian team Adelaide United, the 1994 World Cup winner said on Thursday. "We have had a first telephone conversation with Adelaide United and we will have another next week," said the former world player of the year in an interview with TV Globo. The 40-year-old striker was speaking after returning to Rio on vacation after a spell with Miami FC in the US second division. "I don't know what I'm going to do this year, nor in 2007," added Romario. "For the moment I will return to the US in October to play in some friendly matches." According to the player, he needs to score 18 more goals to reach the 1,000 mark for his career, although official figures on his professional goals put him at the 507 mark -- still a phenomenal total.