Archive for August 7th, 2007

Waiting for Serie A: game times for day 1 are revealed

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Lega CalcioThe beginning of the Italian league is now less than 3 weeks away, and game times for the 1st day of competition have been announced.

Two games have been scheduled for Saturday August 25th, with Lazio-Torino opening the ball at 18:00 CET, and Juventus-Livorno to follow later in the evening at 20:30 CET. Sunday August 26th will see the rest of the teams involved, with Palermo-Roma as the evening game at 20:30 CET. Serie A

For all those interested, has made a printable PDF Serie A schedule available for download. You can find it here.

World News: Flamengo coach in trouble & Vogel sues club

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

In the category “soccer news out of the ordinary”, the phrase “Give him a good kick!” might prove costly for Brazilian club Flamengo coach Joel Santana. Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, swiss international Johann Vogel is suing his club Real Betis because his coach (Hector Cuper) forbid him from training with his teammates.

Joel Santana

“Publicly instigating violence” is a serious offence in the Brazilian soccer league (or in any other country or sport for that matter), and Joel Santana might have to pay the price for his words. In the last Flamengo-Santos match of the campeonato brasileiro (won 3-0 by Santos), Flamengo coach Santana pushed the envelope a little too far in trying to remotivate his team (already down by 3 goals). His phrase: “If they start clowning around, you have give them a good kick” was unfortunately (for him) caught on tape by the microphones set up near the substitute bench, and was widely broadcast on Brazilian television Monday.

Paulo Smith, attorney general of the Brazilian Superiour Court of Sports Justice (STJD) has opened an investigation, and declared that “the coach has a huge responsibility during a soccer game, higher than any other person present on the field. Soccer is passion and spectacle, and we can’t minimize this type of behaviour or pretend that nothing happened. If we don’t intervene, we will be sending the wrong message that actions like these are tolerated”.

In his defense, Santana admitted that he used an “inappropriate expression”, but that it was only a “typical expression of soccer”. Some are talking about a punishment of 1 or even 2 years’ suspension, we’ll see how it goes.

This incident is somewhat reminiscent of the trouble Spain’s coach Luis Aragones had to face over a year ago. In that episode, the Spanish coach also pushed the envelope too far in trying to “motivate” one of his players, José Antonio Reyes.

Johan Vogel, age 30In other news, it is now open war between Johann Vogel and Spanish club Real Betis. The swiss midfielder has just recently appealed to legal means to solve the dispute with his club, who will not let him train with the rest of the team.

Team manager Hector Cuper has made it expressedly clear that he would not be counting on Vogel for the upcoming season, and with the support of the club’s administration, forbid him to participate in the pre-season training sessions. This move was done to convince the Swiss player to start looking for a new club, but Vogel didn’t like the treatment and pulled out a move of his own.

First, he reported to the training session with his lawyer and a notary, who would testify to his ban from training. Then, he went to the local courthouse and sued his club Betis for “breach of contract” and “missed payments”. Indeed, Cuper’s decision negates Vogel’s “right to work” under the current contract. The Spanish press, while recognizing that Vogel’s performance at Betis so far had been quite poor, took sides with the Swiss player because he has every right to be training with the team.

So it seems that the bottom line is the following: you can take a player out of first team matches to make a point (see last season’s Real Madrid-Beckham issue), you can fine him and suspend him for inappropriate behaviour (see the numerous Antonio Cassano incidents with Roma and Real Madrid), but you can’t prevent a player from training? I agree with the notion of players protecting their own interests, but I don’t follow the logic. We’ll see what the Spanish courts decide…