Newell’s fans shot by rival
Two Newell’s Old Boys fans were shot dead by a supporter of rival club Rosario Central after a match, local police said on Monday. Besides the two male victims, aged 34 and 39, a 29-year-old woman and a nine-year-old girl traveling in the same vehicle were wounded in a hail of bullets fired from a motorcycle by the assailant, who was wearing a Rosario Central T-shirt. Before the shooting, the driver and the gunman had been arguing as they drove near Newell’s Estadio Marcelo Bielsa on Sunday night. Newell’s and Rosario Central are the two main clubs in Rosario, 300km from Buenos Aires. Fan violence at local matches has grown so dangerous that authorities have banned fans from rival teams from games.
Court clears Ronaldo hugger
A US prosecutor on Monday dropped charges against 20-year-old Canadian student Ronald Gjoka for running onto the field to hug Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo at an International Champions Cup match between Real and Chelsea in Miami in August. Gjoka faced disorderly conduct and trespassing charges after he sprinted onto the field and did a knee slide — imitating the striker’s goal-scoring celebration — and then embraced Ronaldo, who reacted calmly and chatted with Gjoka during a hug that lasted almost a minute and elicited wild cheers from the crowd. After learning of his fan’s legal predicament, Ronaldo wrote a letter to the prosecutor in the case appealing for the charges to be dropped. The student said he hoped to have a chance one day to thank the star personally. “My dream now is just to see him again to say thanks,” Gjoka said.
EU to probe Spanish clubs
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel Garcia-Margello on Monday said that the EU will open legal proceedings this week into financial support for Real Madrid, Barcelona and several other top clubs to see if it meets EU state aid standards. The minister said his “government is going to give battle until the end to defend Spanish clubs,” saying they are an essential part of “the Spanish brand.” Brussels has refused to comment on the case, but said EU Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia was to hold a news conference on unspecified issues yesterday. A financial probe could have major repercussions for several clubs since many of them are in financial difficulties. If such aid is deemed illegal the clubs would have to return the money. Garcia-Margello said other clubs were Valencia, Hercules, Elche, Athletic Bilbao and CA Osasuna. Garcia-Margello said the government had already prepared arguments in case Almunia sets the process in motion yesterday. The objections the EU is looking into center on how clubs and local authorities handled fiscal issues.
Oldham player fired for fixing
Oldham Athletic have sacked forward Cristiano Montano for gross misconduct, the English third-tier club said on Monday, following his arrest in a spot-fixing investigation. The 22-year-old was one of six players arrested earlier this month by the British National Crime Agency following a newspaper expose. League One side Oldham suspended Montano without pay on Dec. 8. A statement on Oldham’s Web site from the club’s lawyers said that following a thorough investigation by the Latics into Montano’s conduct, the club’s board decided to sack him immediately. Born in Colombia, Montano moved to London as a child. He signed for Oldham in August last year.