Goleo makers to sack staff
German toymaker Nici said on Wednesday it would lay off some 120 of its workers following poor sales of soft toy versions of Goleo the Lion, the World Cup mascot. Nici last week received more than 700,000 orders for the shaggy lion but said this alone was not enough to cure its financial ills, which it has blamed on the Goleo venture. It paid 28 million euros (US$35 million) for the license to produce Goleo but sales have failed to match its profit forecasts.
■ Hong Kong
Illegal Web casts popular
An estimated 40,000 households in Hong Kong have been watching the World Cup through illegal Internet broadcasts without paying a cent, media reported yesterday. Peak traffic times occurred while soccer sites operating out of China were streaming matches from state-run CCTV's broadcasts, according to the Hong Kong Internet eXchange, cited by the South China Morning Post. Hong Kong viewers can only watch the games live with a subscription from the local Cable TV station.
Tax office nabs TV
Tax officials hit a tax cheat where it hurts most on Wednesday, confiscating the man's plasma TV two days before Argentina plays Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. It was the latest move in a "shock" campaign by Santiago Montoya, the top tax man in Buenos Aires Province, the country's biggest, to curb rampant tax evasion. Tax officials carted off the new big-screen television from a man who owes some 6,100 pesos (US$2,000) in back taxes.
Lunar ambassador sells air
A Chinese entrepreneur who once tried to sell land on the moon is offering soccer fans bags of stadium air. Li Jie, who describes himself as chief executive of the Lunar Embassy to China, is selling his "World Cup air" for 50 yuan (US$6.25) a bag. "The air was packed at the World Cup venues while the workers were cutting the grass before matches," Li told the Beijing Daily Messenger. Li suggests soccer enthusiasts who are not able to make the trip to Germany hang the bag around their neck and breathe in the air while watching World Cup matches on television. "Whichever stadium you like, I can give you its air," he added.
Spanish born to lose
Spain are destined to lose -- it's part of the whole business of being Spanish, according to AS sports daily. "We just must believe that there is something in us which prevents us overcoming at the crucial moment ... Maybe there's something deep within us," AS said in a commentary which said the defeat by France in the last 16 could be added to a long list of losses including "Cuba, Trafalgar ...."
Frings adding skin art
Germany's all-action midfielder Torsten Frings says he wants to add to his already extensive collection of tattoos. The collection of squiggles snaking down his right bicep -- including the Chinese star sign of his wife and two daughters -- and a smaller tattoo on his left arm are set to be adorned by further designs done by an old friend who has a parlor in the Netherlands, he told Bild newspaper.
Floyd Mayweather Jr yesterday knocked out mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Mikuru Asakura in the second round in Japan in the latest of the boxing great’s post-retirement exhibitions. The 45-year-old Mayweather floored his opponent with a right hand as his former welterweight foe Manny Pacquiao watched ringside in Saitama. The American Mayweather, who retired in 2017 with an unbeaten 50-0 record, afterwards dismissed any prospect of a fight with the similarly retired Pacquiao. Mayweather arrived at Saitama Super Arena, north of Tokyo, just an hour before the fight. He was shown on TV relaxing in a dressing room full of takeaway fast food, prior
NO APOLOGIES: The American said he was not sorry for the victory, adding that it was Federer who should apologize for ‘beating everybody’ in the past 24 years Frances Tiafoe on Sunday returned to haunt Team Europe with a dazzling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas to give Team World their first Laver Cup title, ending Roger Federer’s hopes of finishing his career by lifting another trophy. Two days after he and Jack Sock beat Federer and Rafa Nadal in a tearful farewell for the Swiss great at the O2 Arena, American showman Tiafoe saved four match points against Tsitsipas before roaring to a 1-6,7-6 (13/11), 10/8 victory. Tiafoe’s win, worth three points for his team, gave John McEnroe’s Team World an unassailable 13-8 lead, having started the day trailing 8-4 and
Fifteen female soccer players are expected to quit Spain’s national team after their demand for a change of coach was rejected by the Spanish federation on Thursday. The federation said it received identical e-mails from the 15 players saying they would renounce their places on the team if coach Jorge Vilda was not fired. The federation said that, according to the players, the situation “significantly” affected their “emotional state” and their health. The federation did not elaborate on the “situation” or name the players who made the demand. Spanish media reported that Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was not among them. “The federation will
Denmark are to wear a “toned down” kit at this year’s FIFA World Cup in protest at Qatar’s human rights record, sportswear maker Hummel said on Wednesday. Qatar’s organizing committee accused Hummel of “trivializing” the country’s efforts to improve conditions for migrant workers and called on the Danish Football Union (DBU) to intervene. The logo of the Danish sportswear brand and the Danish national badge are barely visible on the shirts the company designed for the World Cup, which is to start on Nov. 20. Several competing nations and rights groups have criticized Qatar’s rights record and FIFA for allowing the event to