Fans’ fight prompts review
New A-League rivals Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers will review security measures after a brawl between opposing supporters left a six-year-old boy injured. The boy was hit in the head by a rock and a man was knocked unconscious at a pre-season match between Sydney and minor league side Macarthur Rams on Tuesday. Witnesses say a group of supporters from A-league newcomer Western Sydney confronted Sydney fans after a flare thrown by a Wanderers fan was hurled back. Wanderers chief executive Lyall Gorman yesterday said Football Federation Australia would now consider increasing security when the two teams meet for the first time on Oct. 20. He said “this is a game that will attract attention, and we’ll make sure the appropriate mechanisms are in place.”
Spain compete with baseball
The world’s top national team finds itself in a strange place this week: an island where baseball is more popular than soccer. Spain, the defending World Cup and European champions, were to take on 138th-ranked Puerto Rico last night in the first soccer meeting between the nations. “This will be good for the national players who are currently in pre-season training with their professional clubs,” Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas said on Tuesday. While the Real Madrid contingent had a relatively easy trek following Saturday’s exhibition against Glasgow Celtic in Philadelphia, Barcelona’s players were in Romania last weekend to play Dinamo Bucharest. Both Spanish powers are scheduled to open their La Liga seasons at home on Sunday, with defending champion Real Madrid hosting Valencia and Barcelona playing Real Sociedad. Spain’s national team will be playing for the first time since routing Italy 4-0 on July 1 for their second straight European title. “We hope the team is in optimum shape,” said winger Santi Cazorla, who could make his Arsenal debut on Saturday against Sunderland.
Maradona seeks new home
Chinese state media say Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona wants to coach in China, where clubs are spending big bucks to lure international names. The 51-year-old Maradona arrived in Beijing on Monday for an eight-day charity tour and the China Daily quoted him as saying: “I wish to contribute to the development of China’s soccer youth.” Maradona was recently fired as manager by the United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl. China Daily said Maradona plans to meet Wei Di, head of the Chinese Football Association, during his visit.
Sofia sent to neutral pitch
CSKA Sofia have been ordered to play their next home match at a neutral ground following crowd trouble during their opening Bulgarian league game at Litex Lovech on Saturday. The 31-time champions were also fined 6,000 levs (US$3,800) by the Bulgarian Football Union’s disciplinary commission on Tuesday. CSKA fans threw fireworks and other objects onto the pitch, forcing referee Stanislav Todorov to stop the game for a few minutes in the second half. Matches between the two teams have a history of crowd violence. In 2009, CSKA were given a two-match home ban after their supporters invaded the pitch and clashed with police during their match at Litex. The punishment will affect CSKA’s home game against Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Aug. 25. The new venue is yet to be decided.