Cops called to Spain practice
Riot police were called to Spain’s training ground in Gniewino, Poland, on Tuesday as hundreds of ticketless fans were denied access to the defending champions’ practice session. Locals and Spanish fans loitered outside the entrance as a line of riot police stood guard, while those with tickets streamed in to the session. There were no disturbances. The 900-seat capacity had been reached to watch the World Cup champions, who play the Republic of Ireland today following a 1-1 draw against Italy in their Group C opener. Local authorities and the Spanish federation distributed the tickets, which were free, but disorder reigned as fans were given no information about how to secure entry. “It’s chaos here,’’ said Angel de la Serna, a 33-year-old fan.
Former soccer chiefs jailed
A court yesterday jailed two former chiefs of the nation’s soccer association, four former national team players and two others, in the culmination of a major crackdown on corruption in the scandal-plagued sport. Former Chinese Football Association head Nan Yong and his predecessor Xie Yalong were each given sentences of 10 years and six months for taking bribes, Xinhua news agency said. Nan took bribes worth 1.48 million yuan (US$235,000), while Xie accepted 1.7 million yuan, it said. The sentences mark the culmination of a campaign to root out entrenched graft in the game that has ensnared dozens of officials, referees and players accused of match-fixing, gambling and other crimes. Xinhua said four former national team players and a former national team official were also sentenced by courts in the northeastern province of Liaoning for accepting bribes to fix domestic matches. Wei Shaohui, a former national team official, was jailed for 10 years and six months. Player Shen Si was sentenced to six years in jail, while Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming each received five-and-half year sentences.
WORLD CUP 2014
Hospitality selling well
A FIFA partner said it had already sold US$262 million in hospitality packages for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, equaling the total revenue generated by the hospitality program for the 2010 tournament in South Africa. MATCH Hospitality AG, the worldwide exclusive rights holder of the program, said on Tuesday it had surpassed its sales target in the first seven months since the packages were put on sale. It said some of its packages were sold out in Sao Paulo, site of the World Cup opener, and that they were almost sold out in Rio de Janeiro, home of the final at the Maracana. MATCH Hospitality AG said nearly 90,000 packages in total had already been sold.
WORLD CUP 2014
US held by Guatemala
An 83rd-minute goal from a free-kick by winger Marco Pappa earned Guatemala a 1-1 draw with the US on Tuesday in their qualifying tie. Clint Dempsey put the US ahead with a goal in the 40th minute, before Pappa fired the equalizer under the bar before goalkeeper Tim Howard had a chance to react. It was a disappointing result for the US, who were expected to win the Central and North American region third-round match, but instead squandered a chance to take control of Group A. The US opened their campaign with a 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda, and they have four points to leave them level with Jamaica, who drew 0-0 with Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday.