Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

VATICAN CITY

New, old stars play for pope

International soccer sensations from Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi to Roberto Baggio will take to the pitch in Rome next week for a charitable “peace match” organized by Pope Francis, organizers said on Monday. Kickoff will be at 8:45pm on Sept. 1 at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, but the 77-year-old pope will not be cheering from the stands, despite being an avid soccer fan. Nor will he catch it on the big screen, a Vatican official said, although the Argentine pontiff is expected to meet with all the players before the match. Players on the match list include Argentina’s Messi, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o and Israel’s Yossi Benayoun. Former stars will also dust off their boots for the game, from Italy’s Baggio, to the Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchencko and Chile’s Ivan Zamorano. Former Inter captain Javier Zanetti, who is organizing the event, told journalists the idea had first been discussed during a private audience he had with the pope last year. “It’s the pope’s initiative and a new challenge for peace,” said Zanetti, a fervent Catholic known for his charity work. Viewers will be able to donate money by text message and the funds collected going to a project supporting poor children in Buenos Aires.

LA LIGA

Dangda thrilled with debut

Teerasil Dangda, the first Thai to play in La Liga, has spoken of his delight at making his debut for UD Almeria in a 1-1 draw with RCD Espanyol on Sunday. The 26-year-old striker, who is on a season-long loan from Thai Premier League side Muangthong United, came off the bench in the first fixture of the new season. “I was already happy when I was named one of the substitutes,” he was quoted as saying by the Nation on Monday. “I’m delighted to see action on the pitch. I can’t really describe my feelings. I didn’t know whether I was delighted, excited or nervous.” While little-known overseas, Teerasil is a household name in Thailand. He refused to be drawn on the prospects of a long-term deal with Almeria — who narrowly avoided relegation last season. “Let’s see how it turns out,” he was quoted as saying.

CHILE

Federation sues Puma

The Football Federation of Chile has filed suit against German sportswear and equipment maker Puma for “systematically violating” its contract, a newspaper reported. The federation filed its complaint through the Santiago Chamber of Commerce saying Puma sent its uniforms for the FIFA World Cup late, after first mistakenly sending kits for Ghana, according to daily El Mercurio. Puma failed to do marketing and advertising studies it had agreed to, and delivered balls in such poor shape they had to be swapped out, the complaint reportedly alleges. The federation wants to cut short the contract with Puma, which runs through July 31 next year, the newspaper said.

PREMIER LEAGUE

Russia takes ex-Hearts boss

Russia has granted asylum to Vladimir Romanov, the former owner of Scottish Premier League side Hearts, who is wanted in Lithuania over alleged bank fraud, prosecutors said on Monday. The chief prosecutor’s office in Vilnius said Moscow had refused to extradite the Russia-born Romanov, who is suspected of fraudulent activity as the head of his now-bankrupt Ukio Bankas group. The 67-year-old magnate fled Lithuania last year after the central bank suspended operations at Ukio Bankas, citing irregularities. Romanov faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty.

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