Cameron to target racism
Prime Minister David Cameron was to meet with soccer chiefs and anti-racism campaigners late yesterday to address the recent spate of racist incidents that have blighted the national game. Representatives from the Football Association, the Premier League, the Football League, The Professional Footballers’ Association and the League Managers’ Association were expected to attend. Cameron’s intervention comes following high-profile incidents. Controversy was stirred when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez refused to shake hands with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra before their clubs’ match at Old Trafford earlier this month. Suarez has only recently returned for Liverpool after serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra during a game in October. Meanwhile Chelsea’s John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy while he awaits a criminal trial on charges of racially abusing Queens Park Ranger’s Anton Ferdinand.
FRF reports illegal deal offer
The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) made an official complaint on Tuesday after being offered money to appoint a different referee for next week’s friendly against Uruguay. FRF media officer Paul Zaharia said the federation had reported the matter to world soccer’s governing body FIFA and Europe’s ruling authority UEFA after receiving an approach to replace Hungarian Viktor Kassai. “We received a phone call from abroad and it was followed by an email from the same person,” Zaharia told Reuters. “He asked us to release Viktor Kassai to officiate another friendly and in exchange he offered us a donation of US$20,000 and also to provide FIFA referees for the game against Uruguay free of charge.” The FRF, which said it did not want to disclose the name of the person or the federation while the investigation was ongoing, said the other federation had asked for an official invitation to change referees.
No fields, no play for PLS
The inaugural edition of India’s Premier League Soccer (PLS), featuring World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro and former France international Robert Pires, has been postponed because of a lack of venues, organizers in New Delhi told reporters yesterday. “Discussion is on with the state government, but even if it is sorted out by the end of this week, we would need time to prepare the fields,” Dharamdutt Pandey, CEO of the event management company that conceived the PLS idea, said by telephone. “These are minor issues and PLS is very much on. We are now targeting a mid-April start for the league,” he said.
Leon McKenzie sent to jail
A former Premier League soccer player has been jailed for six months for sending fake letters to the police to avoid a driving ban. Leon McKenzie, who played for Norwich in England’s top division in the 2004-2005 season, sent letters claiming to be from a fictional garage that said his car was off the road. The 33-year-old -McKenzie was sentenced at a court in Northampton, England, on Tuesday after pleading guilty to six charges of perverting the course of justice between February 2008 and December 2009. McKenzie released a statement on Twitter, saying his behavior was “totally unacceptable and very naive” during a time in which he “fell deep into depression, which led me to try and take my life.” He retired from soccer in December.