Porto punished for fixing
FC Porto president Jorge Pinto da Costa has been suspended for two years and Boavista relegated to the second division for their part in match-fixing, the Portuguese league (LPFP) said on Friday. Porto were found guilty of fixing two league matches in 2003/04, the same season they won the world’s richest club competition, the Champions League. The president of the LPFP disciplinary committee, Ricardo Costa, added at a press conference in Oporto that the club had also been deducted six league points and fined 150,000 euros (US$231,000). However Porto have already been crowned champions and are 20 points ahead. Boavista, in ninth spot on 36 points, were relegated for putting pressure on referees during three league matches during 2003 and 2004 and Oporto’s second club were also fined 180,000 euros. The club’s ex-president, Joao Loureiro, also got a four-year suspension and a 25,000-euro fine. The third club found guilty of corruption was bottom club Uniao Leiria, who were deducted three points and their president Joao Bartolomeu handed a one-year ban. The affair initially came to light in April 2004 with numerous officials and referees coming under the spotlight. Five referees were also suspended for periods between two-and-a-half and six years.
■ CZECH REPUBLIC
Rosicky to miss Euro 2008
Czech captain Tomas Rosicky will miss next month’s European Championship because of an injury. The Arsenal midfielder said on Friday he will undergo surgery on his injured tendon next week on Tuesday in London and won’t recover in time for the June 7- June 29 tournament in Austria and Switzerland. “I want to announce that I won’t be able to play at the European Championship,” Rosicky said at a news conference in Prague. The Arsenal midfielder had to be substituted in the first half of an FA Cup match against Newcastle on Jan. 26 and has not played since. His absence is a serious blow for the Czechs. Rosicky has become the team’s undisputed leader after taking over the captaincy from Pavel Nedved. The 27-year-old has played 68 internationals.
Milligan cleared for tour
Mark Milligan has been cleared to join his international team mates on their upcoming tour of Malaysia after having a lengthy suspension reduced. Milligan had been ruled out of the tournament after he was banned for five matches for failing to attend a training session in Queensland so he could trial with English Premier League club Arsenal. But the 22-year-old lodged an appeal with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), saying he had informed them of his plans before the training camp. Local media reported yesterday that the FFA had agreed to reduce Millgan’s suspension to two matches, ruling him out of two warm-up matches but allowing him to join the squad for the tournament.
England gain UEFA Cup spot
England will get an extra club in next season’s UEFA Cup after topping European soccer’s Fair Play league. The extra club, still to be decided, will be added to the three which have already qualify from England — League Cup winners Tottenham, the fifth-place finisher in the Premier League and the winner of the FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff City. After the Premier League season ends today, the league’s own Fair Play rankings will decide which club gets the spot. It will go to the highest placed team in the rankings not already qualified for European competitions, and that currently is Manchester City.