Gladbach appoint Ziege
Struggling Borussia Moenchengladbach named ex-AC Milan, Liverpool and Tottenham player Christian Ziege as director of sport on Thursday. He replaces Peter Pander who quit earlier in the day after a string of poor results. Pander's departure follows that of coach Jupp Heynckes who left just over a month ago. Ziege, 35, has been an assistant trainer at Gladbach since June 2004. Pander had come under increasing pressure at the club, who are bottom of the Bundesliga.
■ South America
Caracas earn historic win
Ivan Velasquez scored the winner as Caracas FC of Venezuela held off a furious rally by River Plate for an historic 1-0 victory in the Copa Libertadores on Thursday. It was the first time in the tournament's history that a Venezuelan club had scored in Argentina, let alone won there. The victory also snapped River's unbeaten streak of 12 victories and two draws against Venezuelan clubs, prompting whistling and booing by River fans. Velasquez showed speed and dexterity as he collected a pass from Wilson Carpintero and scored in the 10th minute.
Roberto Carlos to leave Real
Roberto Carlos will leave Real Madrid in June. "I'm not going to renew [my contract]." Spanish media yesterday quoted him as telling radio station Onda Cero. He pointed to Wednesday's Champions League loss to Bayern Munich as the reason for his decision. "It's a signal that God brought me to wake up, to understand that this decision is best for me," Carlos said. "I'm 33 years old and I don't deserve more suffering. I've been at this club 11 years, in which in seven-and-a-half years we won many things, but we lose one game and all of the fault has landed on me.'' Carlos blamed recent criticism and Madrid's elimination from yet another Champions League competition as the main motivation for not renewing his contract.
Wembley almost ready
Final safety checks on Wembley have been made and the keys to the world's most expensive soccer stadium will be handed over by the constructors to the owners any day now. There's even speculation that the first game to be played at the new venue will take place on March 24, with England facing Italy in an Under-21 level game. A community day is scheduled to go ahead next Saturday, with local residents allowed in to take a close-up look at the ?800 million(US$1.54 billion) stadium in northwest London. The old Wembley was demolished after staging its last game in 2000. Rebuilding costs have spiraled and the scheduled opening date has been put back several times.
Ban draws condemnation
Egypt warned against racism and intolerance in Canada after a young girl was expelled from a soccer tournament for insisting on wearing an Islamic headscarf, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. Ihab Fawzi, a senior official at the ministry, met on Tuesday with Canada's deputy ambassador to Cairo, Christopher Hull, to express concern over "mounting signs of racism and intolerance in Canada" after the incident, it said. "The question of wearing the headscarf should remain a part of individual freedoms, so long as it does not harm security, public order or the values of a society," the ministry said in a statement. Hull was quoted as saying the decision was taken by a referee and did not represent the position of his government.