Besiktas, Steaua probed
European governing body UEFA said on Monday it had opened match-fixing investigations into Turkish side Besiktas, while Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest could face expulsion from the UEFA Champions League over a previous offense. Steaua’s president Gigi Becali, who was already serving a prison sentence for corruption, was condemned to another three years of incarceration last week for having offered bribes to players from a rival team, Universitatea Cluj, in 2008. Under the criteria with regard to being eligible for the Champions League, UEFA can bar any club that has either been directly or indirectly involved in match-fixing. However, UEFA has not divulged the exact nature of the charges laid against either Steaua or Besiktas. Two Besiktas officials are under investigation relating to the 2011 Turkish Cup final, which the club won on penalties against Istanbul BB. The two cases are due to be heard by the UEFA disciplinary commission on June 21 in Nyon, Switzerland. The next day, the commission is to hear the case of another Istanbul club, Fenerbahce, who, along with five of their officials, are suspected of fixing matches as well.
Gerardo Pelusso resigns
Gerardo Pelusso resigned as national coach on Monday after the team saw its chances of qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals all but ended on Friday last week. The 59-year-old Uruguayan — who as a coach has won five national league titles spread over three South American countries — took the decision after Paraguay lost 2-1 at home to Chile. He has only been in the post since last year. Paraguay, who are bottom of the table on eight points with four games remaining, but retain a slim mathematical chance of still qualifying, have qualified for the past four World Cup finals, losing to eventual champions Spain in the 2010 quarter-final. They also reached the 2011 Copa America final where they lost to Uruguay.
Albelda to leave Valencia
Valencia captain David Albelda has not been offered a new contract and the defensive midfielder will leave the club after 15 years’ service, the Spanish side said on Monday. “[Albelda] ends a brilliant 15 seasons at the Mestalla, in which he won two La Liga titles, a UEFA Cup, a European Super Cup, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup,” Valencia said in a statement on their Web site. The club said the reasons for not extending Albelda’s contract were explained to the 35-year-old at a meeting earlier on Monday attended by new club president Amadeo Salvo and coach Miroslav Djukic, who played alongside Albelda. Former Serbia coach Djukic was appointed to replace Ernesto Valverde last week. Albelda has played almost his entire career at Valencia and he also won 51 caps for Spain, competing at the World Cup in 2002 and 2006, and at Euro 2004.
Weimann inks new Villa deal
Austria international striker Andreas Weimann gave last season’s Premier League strugglers Aston Villa a much-needed morale boost on Monday by signing a new three-year contract. The 21-year-old — who has been at Villa since he was 15 — scored 12 goals last season which helped Villa preserve their status among the elite. His goals also earned him the appreciation of manager Paul Lambert, who preferred him to Darren Bent. “I’m really happy that I’ve signed. I love the club and it’s been brilliant for me, for I have a feeling of being at home here at Aston Villa,” Weimann said.