Arsenal pen Campbell deal
Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell on Friday became Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger’s fourth summer signing when he moved from Deportivo Saprissa, the Premier League club announced. Campbell completed his transfer after representing Costa Rica at the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia and follows the club’s earlier acquisitions of defender Carl Jenkinson, Lille forward Gervinho and Southampton starlet Alex Oxlade--Chamberlain. The 19-year-old Campbell has six full caps and was in the Costa Rica squad for the recent Copa America in Argentina. He has two international goals to his name — one on his debut in a 5-0 win over Cuba at this year’s Gold Cup as his side reached the quarter-finals, the other against Bolivia in the Copa America.
National team disqualified
Syria have been disqualified from the 2014 World Cup after fielding an ineligible player in qualifiers, FIFA said on Friday. World soccer’s governing body said in a statement that Tajikistan would be reinstated into the competition in Syria’s place. “The Syrian team is disqualified from the competition, losing their second-round knockout phase by forfeit,” FIFA said in a statement. “These decisions are final and binding and not subject to appeal.” FIFA said the same ineligible player, who has not been named, had taken part in both legs of Syria’s Asian qualifying second round tie against Tajikistan on July 23 and July 28 and a 3-0 defeat had been imposed on them in each match as punishment. When the matches were played, Syria had won 6-1 on aggregate. Syria, who have never reached a World Cup finals, were not expected to reach the 2014 edition in Brazil. Tajikistan will now play in the third round of qualifying, where they are in Group C with Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea. Their first game in this stage will be at home to Uzbekistan on Sept. 2.
Atalanta deducted six points
Newly promoted Atalanta will start this year’s Serie A season with minus-six points because of their involvement in a match-fixing scandal, the Italian Football Federation said on Friday. A three-and-a-half-year suspension for club captain Cristiano Doni was also upheld. Doni, 38, has retired from the sport. Atalanta could now turn to the Italian Court of Arbitration for Sport. Former Atalanta star Giuseppe Signori, who also represented Lazio and Bologna, was banned from all football-related activity for the next five years for his part in the affair. Serie B’s Ascoli have also had six points docked. The scandal erupted at the end of last season amid revelations from an inquest launched in November last year by Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino. In total, 18 teams and 26 people were investigated in the scandal dubbed “Calcioscommesse,” which translates as “betting on football.” Those investigated also risk criminal prosecution. The Serie A season begins next Sunday.
Mata set for Chelsea move
Valencia winger Juan Mata will soon put pen to paper on a transfer to Chelsea, Spanish media claimed on Friday, in a deal worth between 27 million and 30 million euros. “Mata will play for Chelsea,” said the As newspaper on its Internet edition which claimed the Londoners will pay 30 million euros. “Mata’s departure is imminent,” Marca said. “The club will accept an offer of between 27 and 28 million euros which will allow him to play in the Premier League.” Mata has long been tipped to leave Valencia, but Arsenal and Tottenham were thought to be his main pursuers.