Van Marwijk helms Hamburg
Hamburg SV confirmed the appointment of former Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk as the club’s new boss on Monday. The 61-year-old takes over from Thorsten Fink, who was fired after two years at the helm on Tuesday last week, two days after his side were crushed 6-2 by Borussia Dortmund. Van Marwijk, who once coached Dortmund, has signed a two-year deal worth 1.4 million euros (US$1.9 million) a year, Hamburg said. The Dutchman, who had two spells as Feyenoord coach either side of his two-year stint in the Bundesliga, has been out of work since resigning from the Netherlands job following the country’s abject elimination after three group defeats at the Euro 2012. He had previously led the team to the World Cup final in South Africa in 2010.
Referee attacker sentenced
An amateur soccer player who assaulted a referee who sent him off was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence on Monday. A court in the northern town of Arras heard that Francky Joly, 34, exploded after receiving a second yellow card for repeatedly contesting the official’s decisions while playing for his club, Etoile de Vendin-le-Vieil, in April. Joly allegedly felled the 33-year-old referee with a punch to the face, then kicked him twice, once in the back of the neck. Joly has been banned from all national soccer stadiums for 20 years by the French Football Federation. The referee, who missed four days of work due to the injuries and then took two months off due to depression linked to the incident, has given up officiating. His lawyer told the court that he could no longer watch a soccer match without bursting into tears.
Balotelli gets ban for insults
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been given a three-match ban for his sending off at the end of Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat by SSC Napoli, Serie A said in a statement on Monday. Balotelli, who missed a penalty and scored a late goal in the game, was given a second yellow card after the final whistle for arguing with match officials. In addition to the automatic one-match ban, he was given an additional two games for “directing insulting and intimidating expressions to the referee at the time of the sending off,” the league said in a statement. Milan were also ordered to partially close the Estadio San Siro for their next home game because of insulting chants their fans directed at Napoli supporters.
UEFA favors Istanbul as host
A European soccer official has said that Istanbul is the favorite to host the 2020 European Championship semi-finals and final. Thirty-two countries — more than half of UEFA’s 54-country membership — have expressed an interest in staging matches at the one-off pan-European event. European soccer’s governing body will choose 13 host cities in September next year, but only one bidder will be awarded the three showpiece matches at the tournament’s end. England is one of the contenders, but English Football Association General Secretary Alex Horne says there is a “sympathy for Turkey” after Istanbul’s sole Euro 2020 bid collapsed because it was also bidding for the 2020 Olympics. “[We] get the politics around Istanbul having not got the Olympics... I would say Istanbul would be the front-runners to host the semi-finals and the final,” Horne said.