Rovers sign winger Vukcevic
Blackburn Rovers have signed Montenegro winger Simon Vukcevic from Sporting Lisbon. The 25-year-old Vukcevic, who will join on a three-year contract, is awaiting a visa and British work permit, but manager Steve Kean hopes he will be available for the Premier League match against Everton on Saturday. Kean says Vukcevic “is an exciting player, who can play wide on either side.” Blackburn are also close to signing Dallas centerback George John from Major League Soccer, which holds his contract. To avoid the necessity of obtaining a work permit, the American has traveled to Greece — his grandparents’ homeland — to collect a passport, since he holds dual citizenship.
Pique out for three weeks
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will be sidelined for three weeks after injuring a calf muscle in training on Tuesday. The centerback will miss tomorrow’s European Super Cup when the Champions League winners play Europa League victors Porto in Monaco after tearing a muscle in his left leg, the Spanish club said. The World Cup winner will miss Spain’s international friendly against Chile in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 2 and a European Championship qualifying match against Liechtenstein four days later. The 24-year-old Pique has been a regular in Pep Guardiola’s squad since arriving from Manchester United in 2008, helping the Spanish champions to 11 major trophies, including two European Cups.
Angry fans clash with police
Angry Olympiakos Volos fans clashed with police in the center of the northern Greek city on Tuesday evening shortly after the club were demoted to the amateur fourth division. Greece’s Professional Sports Commission made the decision in Athens to demote both Olympiakos Volos and fellow Super League outfit Kavala to the fourth tier. They said that neither club had been able to show that they are not still being run by owners who were banned from soccer for life for their involvement in a match-fixing ring. The decision will most likely postpone the start of the Greek Super League season, scheduled for this weekend, as the two clubs are expected to appeal. The two club owners, Achilleas Beos (Olympiakos Volos) and Makis Psomiadis (Kavala), were fined 90,000 euros each and banned for life from any involvement in soccer. Beos, who has since handed over ownership to a consortium, was arrested in June and accused of being at the center of a ring that fixed matches so members could make money from betting on the games.
’Keeper denies he’s anti-gay
Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller said on Tuesday that he is not homophobic after comments he made about being left out of the Germany squad were interpreted by the media as being anti-gay. The 31-year-old made sarcastic comments last weekend after he was overlooked for Germany’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Austria in Gelsenkirchen on Sept. 2 and the friendly with Poland in Danzig four days later. Weidenfeller was disgruntled after Hannover 96’s uncapped 22-year-old goalkeeper Ron-Robert Ziegler was called into the Germany squad ahead of him behind first-choice Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen’s Tim Wiese. Wiedenfeller made remarks implying he should soften his image to impress Germany coach Joachim Loew.