Kissinger tapped by FIFA
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is counting on former US state secretary Henry Kissinger to help clean up the tarnished image of world soccer’s governing body through new transparency and corporate governance policies. An avid soccer fan, Kissinger is scheduled to advise FIFA’s ethics committee after months of explosive corruption allegations. “Although Dr Kissinger has not yet received a formal request, he did receive an exploratory letter from FIFA president Blatter ... inviting him to join a ‘council of wisdom,’” Kissinger’s spokeswoman Jessee Leporin said on Thursday. The 88-year-old worked on the failed bid to bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to the US.
Fan throws punch at Messi
A man threw a punch at Lionel Messi on Thursday as the Barcelona star was signing autographs and meeting with fans in his hometown, according to witnesses. The star forward played down the incident, which took place in the town of Rosario, about 300km north of Buenos Aires, telling local media he didn’t feel a thing and only found out about the punch later. Witnesses said the assailant was among a group of young people who had gathered to get autographs and that he pulled a hood over his head and ran away after the attack. Local residents said he was likely a fan of local club Rosario Central, the archrivals of Newell’s Old Boys, a team Messi, 23, once played for.
Mark Hughes quits Fulham
Mark Hughes resigned as manager of Fulham on Thursday and immediately brushed off speculation linking him with the vacancy at Premier League rivals Aston Villa. Birmingham club Villa were left without a manager after former France boss Gerard Houllier stepped down on Wednesday following a heart scare. Fulham finished eighth, one place above Villa, last season and Hughes was immediately touted as the man to replace Houllier.
Player probed over racism
Prosecutors on Thursday said they had opened a case against Patryk Malecki of newly crowned champions Wisla Krakow over alleged racist abuse against an African player from archrivals Cracovia. “This investigation relates to public insults on the grounds of race,” prosecutors’ office spokeswoman Boguslawa Marcinkowska was quoted as saying by PAP news agency. Malecki’s alleged verbal attack on fellow winger Saidi Ntibazonkiza, who hails from Burundi, came in the opening minutes of the second Krakow derby of the season on May 15. Malecki has already been fined an undisclosed sum by Wisla, who have themselves been hit with a 5,000 zloty (US$1,820) penalty by the first division’s disciplinary body.
Irons bid no joke: Fernandes
Entrepreneur Tony Fernandes hit back furiously yesterday after West Ham United dismissed his offer for a controlling stake as “two bob” and “bizarre.” Fernandes, who owns budget airline AirAsia and Formula One’s Team Lotus, said his bid — announced on Twitter — was not a joke or a publicity stunt, but would have boosted the team after their relegation from the Premier League. “Make up your mind Sullivan and Gold. One minute you say no offer, then you say it’s a joke offer. It was a good offer with good money and brought in good people,” Fernandes tweeted, referring to co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold.