Villa fined for celebration
Barcelona striker David Villa was fined on Wednesday for taking off his shirt to reveal a vest with a message dedicated to his family after he scored on his long-awaited return from injury last weekend. The Spanish soccer federation classes the removal of a shirt to display any form of publicity, slogan or picture as a serious offense punishable with a fine of between 2,000 euros (US$2,500) and 3,000 euros. Spain’s all-time top scorer came on as a late substitute when Barca beat Real Sociedad 5-1 in their La Liga opener on Sunday and netted near the end after an eight-month layoff with a broken leg. The 30-year-old ripped off his shirt in the celebration to reveal a photo of his wife and two daughters underneath the slogan “Impossible without you,” and was shown a yellow card by the referee. Villa broke his leg at the Club World Cup in December last year, missing the national team’s Euro 2012 triumph as he continued his recovery.
Diop forced to stay in Spain
Levante UD said they were forced to leave midfielder Pape Diop at home for their Europa League playoff at Motherwell over fears the Senegalese player would be turned away by British customs. Levante said Diop left the team plane on Wednesday after a two-hour runway wait in Valencia, with UEFA and the British government failing to assure the club that he would not be turned away upon arrival. Levante said the necessary paperwork was completed, but Diop did not have a special visa needed in line with security measures for the Paralympics in London.
Volunteer program a success
FIFA said that in 24 hours nearly 37,000 people applied to be volunteers at the 2014 World Cup. Soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday that applicants from 69 countries sent in their requests to participate in the volunteer program. Only about 15,000 will be selected to work during the tournament. FIFA said 80 percent of those who applied for the World Cup would also like to participate in next year’s Confederations Cup, when 7,000 volunteers will be needed. Local organizing committee member Rodrigo Hermida said the numbers “give us confidence that the volunteer program will be a success.”
Pato suffers injury setback
AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato is set to miss Sunday’s season opener against UC Sampdoria after suffering another injury setback. The club said Pato injured a muscle in his left thigh on Wednesday and that tests would be carried out to discover the seriousness of the problem. Reports said the Brazilian could be out for three weeks. Pato missed most of last season with injury and even flew to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit a specialist to find out why he picks up an unusually high number of muscle injuries. Milan responded to the news by signing Ze Eduardo on loan from Genoa.
Ajaccio sign Adrian Mutu
AC Ajaccio have confirmed they will sign former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu from Cesena. On Wednesday Mutu rescinded his contract with Cesena — who were relegated to Serie B last season — and Ajaccio announced the deal the same day. Ligue 1 minnows Ajaccio said Mutu would have a medical and sign a two-year contract, before making his debut at home to Evian Thonon Gaillard tomorrow. In 2004, Mutu was sacked by Chelsea and banned for seven months after testing positive for cocaine.