Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - Page 18


Parachutist halts match

A non-league match was halted at the weekend when a parachutist landed in the middle of the pitch. To the amazement of the Salisbury City and Chester players, and the 1,000 fans inside the stadium, the airborne invader touched down in the second half. He then calmly packed up his parachute and walked off to applause from supporters. Former Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham, now playing for fifth-tier Chester, said it was one of the strangest things he had seen in his long career. “The most bizarre thing I have ever seen on a football pitch happened today,” he said on Twitter. “Halfway through the second half out of nowhere a parachutist landed on the pitch. No idea where he was supposed to land but he hit the ground hard. #bizarre.”


Injured Kaka refuses pay

Kaka has asked AC Milan to stop paying his salary until he recovers from an injury. In a video message on Monday, Kaka said: “I don’t want anything from Milan except for love and support until I am better... for this reason, I have decided to suspend my current pay for this period of time.” Kaka returned to Milan in the summer, four years after leaving for Real Madrid in what was a world-record transfer at the time. The Brazilian is expected to be out for about a month with an injured left adductor. Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said Kaka was “crying” on the telephone when he called to inform Galliani of the injury and his decision.


Ex-referee warns of stress

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has said officials could commit suicide as a result of the pressures related to the job. In his autobiography, which has been serialized by the Sun newspaper, Halsey writes that his former colleagues should receive more help to cope with the stress of their job. Halsey, who retired at the end of last season, said: “It will not be long before a referee has a nervous breakdown... I also believe that if we do not do something to help referees with mental health and stress issues, then we could see a suicide.” Halsey was abused on Twitter by fans last season after officiating a 2-1 win for Manchester United against Liverpool. The tweets referred to his treatment for throat cancer in 2009.


Roma rout Parma, go top

Goals from Alessandro Florenzi, Francesco Totti and Kevin Strootman — from the penalty spot — moved AS Roma joint top of Serie A thanks to a 3-1 win over Parma on Monday. With three wins in as many games and level on goal-difference with SSC Napoli, Roma sit just behind Rafael Benitez’s leaders, but two points ahead of Inter, ACF Fiorentina and champions Juventus following draws for all three at the weekend. Roma went north feeling confident, having lost just once to Parma in their past 14 Serie A encounters. However, it was Parma who secured a halftime lead on 39 minutes after Jonathan Biabiany headed past Roma goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis from Mattia Cassani’s delivery. Roma leveled barely two minutes after the restart when Miralem Pjanic sent a chip into the path of Florenzi, who beat Antonio Mirante with a well-struck shot. In the 70th minute, Roma captain Totti was played onside by a Parma defender on the other side of the field and collected Strootman’s chip, before sending Mirante the wrong way. The visitors’ joy was complete when Gervinho won a penalty five minutes from the final whistle and Dutch midfielder Strootman stepped up to beat Mirante.