Liverpool suspend Itandje
Liverpool have suspended reserve goalkeeper Charles Itandje for 14 days after he was caught on camera apparently laughing during Wednesday’s Hillsborough memorial service. The actions of the 26-year-old Frenchman enraged Liverpool fans, with complaints over his behavior flooding in on Internet message boards. Itandje was instructed by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez not to attend training on Friday. A Liverpool spokesman said in a statement on the club’s Web site: “Charles Itandje has now been officially suspended for 14 days by the club while we investigate his conduct during the Hillsborough Memorial Service.” The memorial service, attended by players past and present and thousands of Liverpool fans, was to honor the 96 fans who died at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.
Schalke move into sixth
Schalke 04 beat Energie Cottbus 4-0 on Friday for their third straight win to move back into contention for a place in Europe. Christian Pander and Halil Altintop scored in the first half and Jermaine Jones and Kevin Kuranyi added goals after the break to lift Schalke provisionally past Hoffenheim into sixth place. Schalke dominated the game and were never threatened by Cottbus, who have lost their last six games in Gelsenkirchen. The team from eastern Germany remain next-to-last. The game was decided early after Pander had scored on a deflected shot four minutes in and Altintop doubled the lead in the 23rd minute. Schalke cruised in the second half, with Jones netting in the 60th minute and Kuranyi completing the win in the 89th minute.
Pobeda banned by UEFA
Macedonian club FC Pobeda were on Friday banned from UEFA competitions for eight years for match-fixing, the sport’s European governing body announced. The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body added that club president Aleksandar Zabrcanec and player Nikolce Zdraveski had been banned for life as a result of the investigation. UEFA said Pobeda had been punished “for breaching the principles of integrity and sportsmanship under Article 5 of the UEFA disciplinary regulations by manipulating the outcome of a match.” The investigation centered on a Champions League qualifying tie between Pobeda and Armenian side Pyunik which took place in 2004.
Physio admits Viagra use
The former physio of Bolivian side Blooming said on Friday he had administered Viagra to several players to help them conquer the effects of playing at altitude in La Paz. “We used Sildenafil, better known as Viagra. In Bolivia, the best-known brand is Segurex. We prescribed it for several players, especially those who suffered most from altitude,” Rodrigo Figueroa told La Prensa newspaper. Figueroa said he administered the product, which La Prensa said aids oxygenization, mixing it with fruit juice for matches at La Paz, which stands 3,570m above sea level. Blooming’s base at Santa Cruz, in contrast, stands at barely 400m above sea level. Figueroa, now with Bolivar, who are based in La Paz, admitted the players were unaware of what they were taking. “Eight or nine players were concerned,” he said, while stressing Sildenafil was not on the list of banned products either of the World Doping Agency or FIFA. Asked about his old side’s results using the product, Figueroa said: “At altitude you win, you draw, you lose. The best results came when the team relied on strong tactical nous.”