Australian clubs charged
A-League sides Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by Australian soccer officials after a brawl involving their fans before a match last weekend. Both clubs were charged yesterday by Football Federation Australia (FFA) not only for the behavior of their supporters, but also for the dispute that erupted afterwards and had until Tuesday next week to explain why they should not face sanctions, the FFA said. Local media reported a fight had broken out between opposing fans outside a bar in central Melbourne before their clash last Saturday, which resulted in eight supporters needing medical treatment. Western Sydney said Victory fans had sparked the fight, while Victory then said that flares had been set off by visiting fans inside the stadium during the match as both sides engaged in a public tit-for-tat blame game earlier this week.
Fifty million follow Barca
Barcelona have become the first sports club to reach 50 million followers on social networking Web site Facebook, the Spanish soccer champions said on Thursday. Barca’s Facebook page, which provides fans with photo and video content, has the most followers in Indonesia with 4.73 million, followed by Mexico (3.5 million), Brazil (2.5 million), the US (2.1 million) and Turkey (1.75 million), the club said on their Web site. Cairo is the city with the most Barca followers with 746,000, followed by Mexico City (666,000), Jakarta (623,000), Lima (481,000) and Bogota (420,000). “Barca is the world’s most popular club and this is just the latest evidence of that,” said Didac Lee, a Barca director responsible for new technology. Real Madrid are not far behind bitter rivals Barca with 46.7 million followers, while Real’s Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has nearly 69 million and Barca’s Argentine World Player of the Year Lionel Messi 52 million.
Solskjaer aims at Swansea
Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named as manager of English Premier League strugglers Cardiff City on Thursday and told the fans one of his immediate aims was to finish higher than rivals Swansea City. The 40-year-old Norwegian earned a place in United’s history by scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. And just as he did as a player, Solskjaer hit the target perfectly when he told a news conference: “I would like us to finish above Swansea, that must be an aim ... that will be important for everyone here.” Cardiff are fourth from bottom, while Welsh rivals Swansea are four places higher in the table.
Chabal faces lengthy ban
Former France international Sebastien Chabal was to face a lengthy ban for throwing a hefty punch during his club Lyon’s second division game against Agen when he appeared before a disciplinary hearing yesterday. The bearded back-row forward, who has made it clear he intends to plead guilty, could be suspended for between two weeks and one year over the incident, which has become a popular YouTube hit. Chabal struck Agen’s Marc Giraud, who was holding onto his shirt in the game last month. The blow knocked Giraud unconscious and he was carried off on a stretcher. Chabal picked up a yellow card for the strike. The 36-year-old, an iconic figure in the French game, earned 62 international caps between 2000 and 2011.