World of Football

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England chef ‘shocked’to know pork and milk ban

england_crest.pngThe chef of the England international football team was “shocked” to learn that he would be banned from cooking the players food containing pork, bacon and ham when they stay at a kosher Israeli hotel this month, it has been reported.

The Football Association has booked 80 rooms at the five-star Dan Accadia Hotel in the resort of Herzilya, near Tel Aviv, when England play Israel in the forthcoming Euro 2008 match.

However in advance of their stay, the hotel has warned the England team, its officials and management, that they will have to abide by the laws of kashrut or laws of kosherness.

England’s chef usually cooks pork sausages for the players, and mixes meat with milk by serving cheese at the same time.

Captain John Terry particularly likes Parmesan cheese with every meal, the chef was reported to have revealed, and the rules of mixing meat with milk will prohibit that, the hotel has said.

“The England chef was shocked when he found out he wouldn’t be able to cook pork, sausage and cheese together,” Arik Porat, the hotel’s chef, told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper. “He said: ’What will I do with captain John Terry, who likes to have Parmesan with every meal – including meat?’”

In an official statement, the FA, however, said the restrictions would not cause any problems. “We are satisfied that we will have an enjoyable time in Israel, and we are looking forward to our visit,” a spokesman said.

For its part, the FA has handed a 13-page list of demands to the hotel with strict requirements for management to abide by in order to ensure that the team functions optimally on the playing field.

It includes removing mini-bars and restricting room service for all 80 rooms reserved for the team, it has been reported.

“We are very thorough in our preparation for matches and this is standard practice,” an FA spokesman said.

“We are doing nothing different in Israel than we do anywhere else.”

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Beckham may face Chelsea on debut

becks.jpgDavid Beckham is likely to face some of his ex- England colleagues early in his new career in USA after Chelsea announced their participation in a pre-season tournament involving his new club Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham will leave his current spanish side Real Madrid for the USA this summer and one of the first teams he might face is Chelsea.

Chelsea will play LA Galaxy on July 21 as part of a four-team tournament which also includes Korean side Suwon Bluewings (owned by Chelsea’s shirt sponsors Samsung) and Tigres from Mexico.

‘We are very happy that we are going back to the USA for pre-season and we have done it every year since my arrival,’ said Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho. ‘The facilities are very good and the people very well organised, giving us the best conditions to prepare for this important work. ‘In previous seasons we have always won a trophy and although I am not a superstitious person this has something to do with the good preparation. ‘This season will be a little bit more special because we have a tournament with teams that we have a special relationship with, the Samsung Bluewings for obvious reasons and also LA Galaxy and the fact that David Beckham is there brings something extra to the tournament and to the game. ‘This gives me the chance to wish him big success in the US. He will be very important for US soccer and for the relationship between US soccer and European soccer. ‘We look forward to coming for the tournament and I know already that my players will enjoy again pre-season in the US and they are happy with our decision to go back.’

The competition has been named ‘The World Series of Soccer’, and it is the first venture in the strategic alliance between Chelsea and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) – owners of LA Galaxy.

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Joint partnrship between English and Vietnamese Clubs

crest.jpgThe Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Football Club broke ground yesterday for an international football academy in the central highlands province of Gia Lai in collaboration with the English club Arsenal.

The club’s president Doan Nguyen Duc told that US$4 million would be spent developing the HAGL-Arsenal-JMG academy, which will be up and running in six months’ time.

The five-hectare academy, around 10 kilometers from Pleiku City, will have two training grounds, 30 twin rooms for trainees, coaches and experts, as well as dining rooms and a health club.

Duc said that recruitment would start in April for youths in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world. The first training courses are scheduled to begin in September this year and the selected candidates will be trained free-of-charge.

“Arsenal experts will select 16 candidates among some 10,000 applicants for training in line with the standards of the English club at the academy,” Duc said. He added the candidates would be taught academics and English before they became professionals.

Duc revealed that Arsenal experts said that the players trained at the academy would be able to join Vietnam’s national football squad for international games.

Keith Edelman, managing director of the Arsenal Football Club, told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony that the academy would train talent for playing in Europe so they would be qualified for the Vietnam team. He expected some 70% of the footballers trained at the HAGL-Arsenal-JMG academy would be for the team.

“I believe the academy was a very important development for the future of football in Vietnam and we are confident we will produce some world football stars of the future and also future Arsenal football club players,” Edelman said.

He explained that Arsenal was encouraged by the HAGL Football Club’s president Duc’s strategic vision in partnering with the English Club and JMG in the development, but it would be several years before this project yielded the results. “We all want to achieve and we are impressed with Mr. Duc’s foresight in joining with us in this venture.”

Edelman strongly believes that the HAGL-Arsenal-JMG academy will be successful.

Explaining the decision to opt for Arsenal, Duc said that with a famous training system in England as well as in developing nations, Arsenal would help HAGL train players.

The academy is part of the strategic cooperation agreement HAGL Corporation will sign with Arsenal today in HCMC. Duc said it took his company six months to talk with the English club before the two sides could ink it.

The agreement is outlined in HAGL Corporation’s strategy to expand the presence of its football club and business activities in Europe after achievements in Vietnam and other parts in Southeast Asia.


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No headscarf allowed – FIFA

headd scarfFIFA has banned head scarves. FIFA has ruled that no player can wear a head scarf or hijab on the field. The International Football Association Board (IFAB)was asked at its annual meeting Saturday to adjudicate on a decision to ban an 11-year-old Muslim girl from playing in a tournament near Montreal last weekend because she was wearing a head scarf.

“If you play football there’s a set of laws and rules, and law four outlines the basic equipment,” said Brian Barwick, chief executive of the English Football Association, which is one of the IFAB members.

“It’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies, but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law four being adhered to.”

Law four lists the items a player is entitled to wear and head scarves are not mentioned.

Goalkeepers are allowed to wear caps and protective headguards.

Asmahan Mansour was told to either remove her hijab or leave the field in an under-12 tournament near Montreal.

Quebec’s soccer federation said the hijab violated a no-headgear rule set down by FIFA for safety reasons.

Valmie Ouellet, the co-ordinator of regional technical services for the Quebec Soccer Federation, said the referee was simply enforcing that regulation.

Mr. Ouellet said it’s irrelevant that the game’s referee happened to be Muslim, adding that a similar call would have been made if it applied to a different religious group.

Ontario’s soccer association lets players wear religious headgear, while Quebec’s rules are more vague.

Sandra Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Soccer Association, said FIFA’s no headgear rule is up to referees to interpret.

Ms. Asmahan was allowed to play in two earlier games on the weekend because another referee didn’t act on the rules.

Her team withdrew from and forfeited the rest of the games.

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TV above urinals

A pub has installed television screens in the men’s toilets so football fans can relieve themselves without missing any action.

The Gardeners Arms – also known as The Murderers – in Norwich has fitted screens above urinals.

“During the World Cup we noticed that everyone went to the loo at half-time rather than go to the bar,” said landlord Phil Cutter.

“We wondered what we could do to stop that and thought of fitting TV screens in the loos.”

He added: “It’s been so successful that the women want TVs too – and we’ve agreed to do that. I don’t know if they’ll want the football though.”

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Lawmakers agree to test goal line technology.

The advent of goal-line technology moved a step forward yesterday when football’s law-making body agreed to experiment with the Hawk-Eye system favoured by the Premier League that is now used globally in cricket and tennis.

Almost immediately, the system will be tested in at least one, as yet unidentified, Premiership academy – Fulham already has the relevant technology – with a view to its eventual introduction throughout professional football, ending decades of debate about whether the ball has crossed the line.

“This is a critical moment; there is a general consensus that this is the time to move forward,” Brian Barwick, chief executive of the Football Association, said after the annual meeting of the International FA Board agreed four specific principles for goal-line technology. The main principle is for an instant signal to the referee to prevent the game being held up unnecessarily. “It has to be 100 per cent accurate; we are dealing with potential result-changing situations,” he said.

However, Barwick said there was no chance of extending goal-line technology to other contentious issues, despite a number of leading managers calling for video evidence to be used to rule on matters such as offside decisions and diving.

Yesterday’s move to allow the Premier League to lead the way came after a presentation to the IFAB by Keith Hackett, the referees’ chief. “We had to convince them we had a solid base for our system coming to fruition,” Hackett said. “Hawk-Eye has a great reputation. I would hope we could start trialling within weeks.”

Although the French and Italians have been pressing ahead with their own separate methods, the Premier League’s system has now jumped ahead as far as final implementation is concerned.

Frederic Thiriez, president of the French professional football league, was at yesterday’s meeting and endorsed the Hawk-Eye system under which an image would be captured on computer and transmitted immediately to the referee.

Sepp Blatter, president of Fifa, wants to see goal-line technology in place by the end of the year, but his timetable will almost certainly prove too early.

Paul Hawkins, managing director of Hawk-Eye, said: “We will first test it in a non-live controlled environment; there are different challenges for football, where a lot more players are around the ball than in cricket and tennis. But the core fundamentals are the same. We will only have one chance at this, and have to get it right.”

The IFAB also agreed to punish over-zealous goal celebrations; from July 1, any player displaying “political, religious or personal slogans” on T-shirts worn underneath official team kit should be cautioned, likewise any player who covers his face with a celebratory mask”.

Controversially, the IFAB also backed a recent decision in Canada to ban an 11-year Muslim girl from playing in the hijab, the Islamic veil or headscarf.



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