India gets U-17 World Cup
FIFA continued its policy of taking tournaments to developing soccer frontiers when it awarded the 2017 Under-17 World Cup to India on Thursday. It will be the biggest soccer tournament staged in India, who won the nomination by beating bids from 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa and Uzbekistan. FIFA also awarded the Under-20 World Cup in 2017 to South Korea, while the women’s Under-17 World Cup in 2016 was given to Jordan and the Under-20 women’s World Cup is to be played in South Africa. FIFA president Sepp Blatter told reporters: “This is of enormous importance for a land of 1.2 billion people in sporting, political and geo-political terms.” India have never taken part in the World Cup finals and although soccer matches there attract sizeable crowds, cricket is the country’s national sport.
Toulouse snatches a draw
A late equalizer saw Toulouse snatch a 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyonnaise and end a run of six successive league defeats at the Stade Gerland on Thursday. Alexandre Lacazette fired Lyon in front in the 25th minute. The 22-year-old forced his way through a bunch of players on the edge of the area before drilling a shot into the bottom near corner for his seventh goal of the season. Lyon, who lost 4-0 at leaders Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend, had several chances to seal the match and were made to pay for their profligacy eight minutes from time. Aymen Abdennour tried his luck from distance and his effort bounced off Lyon defender Milan Bisevac before falling to Martin Braithwaite, who fired into the top right corner on the half-volley.
Three admit match-fixing
A Malaysian national and two English players yesterday pleaded guilty to fixing soccer matches in Australia’s second tier Victorian Premier League. Four players and a coach of Southern Stars, already suspended from all soccer activities by the Football Federation of Australia, were also facing criminal charges related to match-fixing. The multimillion dollar racket had links with betting syndicates in Malaysia and Hungary, and was smashed by the Australian police in September this year. Defender Reiss Noel and goalkeeper Joe Woolley, both Britons, were convicted and fined yesterday for throwing games on the instruction of the syndicate. Noel was slapped with a fine of A$2,000 (US$1,811), while Woolley got a penalty of A$1,200 for his role in the crime. The players avoided a stricter punishment after agreeing to help the prosecutors with evidence in the investigation, a Melbourne court said. Malaysian Segaran Gsubramaniam, 45, described by police as the linchpin of the Australian operation and a link between the team and off-shore betting syndicates, also pleaded guilty and is to be sentenced next year.
Two more players arrested
Two players from an English sixth tier semi-professional team have become the latest to be charged as part of an investigation into match-fixing, British police said on Thursday. Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22 and from Whitehawk FC in Brighton, were charged with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law and have been bailed to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday. “They are the third and fourth people charged to date in connection with the National Crime Agency investigation into an alleged international illegal betting syndicate,” a statement said.