Fri, Jan 24, 2014 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

ENGLAND

Blues accept bid for Mata

Manchester United’s £37 million (US$61.4 million) bid for playmaker Juan Mata has been accepted by Premier League rivals Chelsea, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday. The paper said Mata had agreed personal terms with the English champions and would undergo a medical yesterday. The Spain international has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after struggling to cement a regular starting spot under manager Jose Mourinho. The 25-year-old has found game time hard to come by this season, with Mourinho favoring Brazil internationals Oscar and Willian, and Belgium’s Eden Hazard. The fee would break United’s transfer record paid for striker Dimitar Berbatov, who joined in 2008 from Tottenham Hotspur for £30.75 million. Chelsea paid £23.5 million to sign Mata from Valencia in 2011 and he has been voted the London club’s Player of the Year two seasons in a row.

JAPAN

Forlan to join Cerezo Osaka

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan says he is leaving Brazilian club Internacional to play for Cerezo Osaka in Japan. Forlan, voted the best player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, told Brazilian media on Wednesday that he had “received a good offer” from Cerezo Osaka last year and could not pass it up. The 34-year-old striker did not disclose the financial details of the offer. Forlan had been playing for Internacional since 2012 after transferring from Italy’s Inter. He played 55 matches and scored 22 goals with the Brazilian club from Porto Alegre.

URUGUAY

Brawl leads to long bans

Nine players were banned from soccer and related activities for two months on Wednesday after a free-for-all in a clash between Uruguayan giants Penarol and Nacional, whose bitter enmity boiled over in a friendly. Kicking and punching broke out among the two teams near the end of the match at the Centenario on Monday evening, a 1-0 win for Nacional in a four-team tournament during the summer break. Referee Martin Vazquez sent off two players from each side as a token gesture, saying he could not quickly identify other culprits and otherwise would have had to show his red card to all of them. Eleven players were detained on Tuesday, spent the night in jail and went before judge Blanca Riera who handed down the bans with effect from Wednesday. Two players, including Uruguay defender Andres Scotti, Nacional’s captain, were absolved. “We profoundly regret [what happened] because, like it or not, we are an image for many kids, many people,” Scotti told reporters.

FRANCE

Discharge Ribery: prosecutor

A prosecutor asked on Wednesday that France internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema be discharged of solicitation of an underage prostitute. “It is impossible for the accusation to prove that Franck Ribery was aware” that Zahia Dehar, a prostitute-turned-fashion model, was under 18 — the age of majority in France — prosecutor Jean-Julien Xavier-Rolai told the Correctional Court of Paris. Xavier-Rolai added that Benzema should also be discharged. Real Madrid striker Benzema and Bayern Munich forward Ribery, who were not attending the four-day trial, were being tried on charges of paying Dehar when she was aged 16 and 17. Ribery has admitted paying her for sex, but said he did not know how old she was. Benzema has denied having any sexual relations with Dehar. Paying for sex is not illegal in France, but underage prostitution is.

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