Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - Page 18 News List




Japan urges ban explanation

Japan’s soccer chief has demanded a detailed explanation from soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, on its decision to ban Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed bin Hammam for corruption. “There is a need for FIFA to give us the reason for the life ban,” Japan Football Association president Junji Ogura said, according to Japanese newspapers yesterday. The AFC is due to hold an executive board meeting in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. On Saturday, FIFA’s ethics committee banned bin Hammam from all soccer-related activity at national or international level after being found guilty of graft during the ruling body’s presidential election last month. The 62-year-old Qatari, who was instrumental in helping Qatar win the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, had been accused of trying to buy votes with US$40,000 in cash gifts to Caribbean officials.


Atletico borrows ’keeper

Towering goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who joined Chelsea from Belgian champions Racing Genk earlier this month, is to spend this season on loan at Atletico Madrid. “Chelsea have given me the opportunity to be loaned to another team and then to come back and join the first team squad here,” the 19-year-old told the club’s Web site on Tuesday. Courtois, who has a five-year contract with the London club, helped Genk win the Belgian league last season for the first time in nine years. The 1.98m tall goalkeeper has been named in Belgium’s squad, but has yet to win his first senior cap.


Cazorla signs for Malaga

Malaga have signed Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla from Villarreal as they continue to overhaul their squad. Cazorla is Malaga’s 10th off-season signing and he joins veteran reinforcements Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jeremy Toulalan and Joaquin Sanchez. Spanish media reported the deal to be for about 21 million euros (US$30 million). The 26-year-old Cazorla says the chance to rejoin coach Manuel Pellegrini was “key” to his move. Pellegrini left Villarreal in 2009 for a short spell at Real Madrid, before joining Malaga. Cazorla helped Spain win the 2008 European championship. He scored 25 goals in seven seasons in La Liga for Villarreal.


Barcelona announce losses

Barcelona have announced losses of 9.3 million euros during last season when they lifted both the European and Spanish championships. Even so, the Catalan giants said on Tuesday that the losses were less than the forecast 21.4 million euros. The club said it had reduced its total debt from 430.6 million euros to 363.7 million euros over the course of last season. While the club’s expenditure grew by 10.4 percent, the club said “for the first time in recent years” its income growth of 14 percent outpaced its increase in spending.


Pele tapped as ambassador

Pele on Tuesday accepted an invitation from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to act as an honorary ambassador for the 2014 World Cup. The 70-year-old Brazilian said it was an honor that he could not turn down. “From the first World Cup that I played [in 1958] I’ve been doing this: I defend and promote Brazil. It’s a very big responsibility and I could not turn down the invitation,” Pele said. Pele told his compatriots to show their pride in hosting the tournament by putting aside criticism over delays and the slow pace of preparations to stage the best World Cup possible.

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