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Football shorts: News from around the world

After a week away, Dave's Football Shorts are back! In stories you might have missed last week, a legend is linked to French football, comedians are fined, South America is mental, and the rest of the lesser reported stories!

Velez Sarsfield Fans In Trouble

Yet more South American crowd trouble! The Argentinian giants will play without their fans in the remainder of their away games up to the semis of the Copa Libertadores after causing trouble away to Penarol in their Group 4 match. Velez must play their home game against Penarol without their fans in attendance after both sets of fans clashed at the previous game.

Velez fans were pictured throwing bits of fence and seating at the home fans and were adjudged to have started the trouble, leading to the punishment mentioned above, as well as being fined £66,000 by CONMEBOL. Penarol were fined £9,200 for their part in the shenanigans.

The Copa Libertadores is notorious for its crowd trouble over the years, but CONMEBOL have acted a lot swifter and more harshly than in recent years in an attempt to eradicate the issues and change the reputation of the tournament.

Maradona to Ligue 1?

Diego Maradona to France?

Diego Maradona to France?

According to the agency which holds the legend’s French image rights, Diego Maradona has agreed to talk to last season’s Ligue 1 champions Montpellier about taking over as head coach next season. Current manager Rene Girard will leave the club at the end of the season and it’s believed the club want a big name to take over.

Youssef Haijoub, a director of sports marketing agency SGM, said:

“This morning, Maradona told us he had agreed to discuss terms with Montpellier about an eventual proposal at the club’s leisure. This afternoon (5/3) we sent a fax to the club indicating that it is okay to start talks.”

SGM hold Maradona’s French image rights and also work closely with Montpellier, so there could be something to this story. Maradona’s managerial career hasn’t even been close to reaching the heights of his legendary playing career, with an average spell as Argentina coach from 2008-2010 and a year in charge of Dubai side Al Wasl FC from June 2011 before being sacked at the end of the season. It seems the Montpellier job would be too much for Diego, but you never know…

Red Star Belgrade Players On Minimum Wage

The former European Cup winners are so deprived of cash that coach Aleksandar Jankovic has admitted the players are struggling to pay for rent and basic bills in the Serbian city. Red Star’s debts are estimated at in excess of 50 million euros and the coach admitted to fans after a board meeting that first team players have only received three minimum wage payments since November, amounting to an approximate total of 600 euros each.

To try and put that into perspective, a quick bit of research showed renting a flat in central Belgrade tends to costs upwards of 1100 euros per month.

Serbian papers quoted Jankovic as saying:

“The situation has never been as grave as it is at the moment and the players’ very existence is at stake here. The problems are mounting, there is no solution in sight and I don’t have a magic wand.

I know this team has the potential to be much better but hungry players can’t perform and although I criticised them after a below-par display against Rad, the audience should know their situation.”

Corinthians Fans Allowed Back Into Pacaembu

Brazilian side Corinthians’ fans had been banned from all home games in the Copa Libertadores after the death of young San Jose fan Kevin Beltran during the game between San Jose and Corinthians on February 20th. Corinthians were expected to appeal the decision as it could cost the club an estimated $700,000 for every home game played.

CONMEBOL have since decreed the ban on fans for last week’s game against Colombians Millonarios was sufficient, as long as there is no further trouble. Instead, they have imposed a $200,000 fine on the Sao Paulo-based club and banned its supporters from attending away games in CONMEBOL-sanctioned tournaments for 18 months.

The fans are allowed back in the Pacaembu. Courtesy of Heitor Carvalho Jorge

Valentin Eysseric Banned For 11 Games

The Nice midfielder has been banned for 11 games after a challenge on ex-Rangers and current St Etienne star Jeremy Clement after a challenge which left Clement out for at least five months with a fibula fracture. As the freeze-frame of the video shows, it’s rather sickening to watch, so please be warned.

Palmeiras Goalkeeper Attacked By His Own Fans

Fernando Prass was attacked in Buenos Aires airport by his own fans after a disappointing loss to Argentina’s Tigre in the Copa Libertadores.

Prass suffered a cut to his ear and some glasses were broken during the attack by about 30 fans before the team boarded a flight to return to Sao Paulo after Wednesday’s Group Two match and the board are now considering what action they can take. The fans were believed to be looking for Chilean midfielder Jorge Valdivia, who apparently had a poor game.

Jorge took the only sensible option and hid in the toilets until the police stopped the mini riot. Palmeiras said in a statement:

“Palmeiras repudiate the acts of violence which injured Fernando Prass and do not recognise the people who took part in this sad episode as supporters of the club.”

Comedian Fined For Zidane Comments

Frenchman Christophe Aleveque has been ordered to pay 5,000 euros in damages over comments made about Zinedine Zidane.

Aleveque is a well-known satirical figure in France and insulted Zidane with comments made in a magazine interview in January 2011:

“This chap is an advertising billboard with three neurons. The manner in which he profits from his image is a disgrace. It is prostitution. This man is a whore; he is bald and dumb, like a penis.”

A French judge decreed this statement was slanderous and ordered Christophe to pay the damages, as well as another 5,000 euros for court costs.

Zidane’s lawyer, Carlo Alberto Brusa, said he was:

“Very pleased with the decision, which was just and fair because what he said was unacceptable. There are limits to humour.”

Zidane seems a bit happier here. 

Fabio Faria Retires Due To Heart Problems 

The Benfica defender has been forced to retire at the tender age of 23 after routine tests showed the youngster had a heart defect. In an emotional press conference announcing this, Fabio said:

“This decision really pains me but I had the support of my parents, girlfriend, Benfica, Rio Ave(he was on loan to the club at the time), my agent and also from the players’ union. That’s life. The last exams did not go as well as we hoped for.

“I realised I had to stop after some tests with physical exercise. It’s a heart problem but I am not really able to explain you what it is.”

Fabio hadn’t played professional football in over a year since his loan spell at Rio Ave. Benfica have ensured the player will be looked after in this new chapter of his life. Benfica’s president Luis Filipe Vieira said at the player’s side in the conference:

“He can count on Benfica, he won’t be unemployed. We have a contract with Faria until 2015 and we will keep to it. Benfica’s door will remain open.”

It’s a real shame to see someone so young having to retire, but when we look at what happened to Fabrice Muamba on the field, or even Piermario Morosini tragically passing away during a game due to similar heart issues, it’s clearly the right thing for Faria to do.

Published with permission from BornoffSide.

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