Challenges await in AFC Champions Togel League

 

 

The draw for the group stage of the 2009 AFC Champions League has thrown up some tough challenges for Japanese clubs.

 

The opening stages of the Champions League are split into regionalised West Asian and East Asian groups, and Nagoya Grampus will have a tough time of things when they make their debut in the competition.

 

Dragan Stojkovic’s side have been drawn in Group E alongside A-League champions Newcastle Jets, Korean outfit Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i and passionately supported Chinese club Beijing Guoan.

 

In Group F defending Asian champions Togel Gamba Osaka face a similarly tough task when they come up against K-League runners-up FC Seoul, Chinese giants Shandong Luneng and Sumatra-based Indonesian outfit Sriwijaya FC.

 

There’s a mouth-watering clash of the giants in Group G, where current J. League champions Kashima Antlers will face off against Korean superclub Suwon Bluewings, with Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua also in the mix.

 

The final place in Group G will go to the winner of a play-off featuring Thai club Provincial Electricity Authority, Singapore Armed Forces and Indonesian side PSMS Medan, with the fixtures taking place in late February.

 

Kawasaki Frontale will fancy their chances of making it out of Group H, where they face Australian side Central Coast Mariners, Korean FA Cup winners Pohang Steelers and Chinese club Tianjin Teda.

 

The group winners and runners-up will both advance to the Round of 16, with the tournament kicking off on March 10.

 

The full draw is as follows:

 

Group A: Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Bunyodkor (Uzbekistan), Al Ahli (United Arab Emirates), Saba Battery (Iran).

 

Group B: Persepolis (Iran), Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia), Al Gharafa (Qatar), To Be Confirmed

 

Group C: Al Jazira (UAE), Esteghlal (IR Iran), Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), Umm Salal (Qatar).

 

Group D: Pakhtakor (Uzbekistan), Al Shabab (UAE), Sepahan (Iran), Al Ettifaq (Saudi Arabia)

 

Group E: Ulsan Hyundai (Korea Republic), Newcastle Jets (Australia), Beijing Guoan (China), Nagoya Grampus (Japan)

 

Group F: Gamba Osaka (Japan), FC Seoul (Korea Republic), Sriwijaya (Indonesia), Shandong Luneng (China)

 

Group G: Shanghai Shenhua (China), Kashima Antlers (Japan), Suwon Bluewings (Korea Republic), To Be Confirmed

 

Group H: Central Coast Mariners (Australia), Tianjin Teda (China), Kawasaki Frontale (Japan), Pohang Steelers (Korea).

 

The usually reserved Moore was moved to rubbish Bleiberg’s comments and said he knew for certain the former Roar boss had spoken to team-mates. Minniecon’s subsequent move suggests Moore was telling the truth.

 

Palmer and Bleiberg’s continued boastful comments seem set to make the Gold Coast the team most rival sides will take aim at when the new season kicks off this coming August.

 

They previously announced the signings of Wellington’s prolific striker Shane Smeltz and Newcastle’s Adam Griffiths, plunging those clubs’ playoff challenges into crisis.

 

Another three currently contracted A-League players have made the similar journey to the tourist strip.

 …

Serie A Calcio 2011-2012 Season Togel Preview

 

 

With the threat of industrial action on the part of the playing staff in Italy now averted, Serie A returns with AC Milan v Lazio at Molino Dorino. What’s the betting Milan can repeat?

 

Let’s look at the teams one by one.

 

Atalanta look like they will come out in a 4-4-2 with a strengthened defence. Andrea Masiello has exchanged the sunny climes of Bari for the chilly foothills of the Alps.

 

Bologna are likely to utilize the Christmas tree with Togel Di Vaio the angel at its peak. But will the formation lead to the lack of width that Milan discovered that they had two seasons ago? While Milan brought in Beckham to solve the problem, in my view it’s rather unlikely he will be rushing over from LA to help the Bolognesi.

 

Cagliari, under Donadoni’s watchful eye, may use Nene and newly-acquired El Kabir as two wide front men with Cossu breaking through the centre. With the dangerous David Suazo brought in from Inter they should be able to avoid relegation.

 

Catania have Montella as coach now, but have strangely unloaded Schelotto to Atalanta. The formation seems unclear – a lop-sided 4-4-2, perhaps. They might be heading even farther south – to the reaches of Serie B.

 

Cesena will place new boy Mutu in front of goal hoping € 5m Eder can help him in the scoring department.

 

Chievo have bought Perparim Hetemaj from Brescia hoping the Finn can finish like he did with his controlled volley against Roma. Does Jokic have what it takes on the left of midfield to help Pellissier?

 

Fiorentina’s 12-goal hero Gilardino will be fed by Kharja, 26 year-old Andrea Lazzari (from Cagliari) and Montolivo, who stays in Florence (it’s amazing that, despite years of his being often the best player on the park, it’s only recently that bigger clubs have been taking serious interest in him).

 

Genoa have made an effort to improve their “goals against” column by bringing in the experienced Sebastian Frey, 31, from Fiorentina. The addition of Birsa (Auxerre), Pratto and Seymour (U. Catolica) provides evidence that Genoa plan to do more than merely survive this time.

 

Internazionale di Milano have managed to retain Wesley Schneijder (to Manchester United’s detriment). So allenatore Gasperini has kept his defence and midfield intact. Up front, the decision to unload Samuel Eto’o seems odd indeed: the mobility of the attack may well be impaired. How long will it take Ricky Alvarez to adapt to the tiny spaces afforded by Italian defences, compared with the wide grasslands found in Argentina? But then they’ve now got Diego Forlan .. South American Champion as well as the best player in the 2010 World Cup.

 

Juventus, the creaky Old Lady, is going to be the most interesting team to watch this season, I predict. The fans (perhaps forgetting that he can land a ball on a one euro coin from fifty metres)

are already …

Catcalls continue for Togel Hongkong embattled Okada

 

 

If Japan coach Takeshi Okada wanted a tough run out for his players at the fourth East Asian championships in Tokyo, he’s got it.

 

As the jeers rained down on the Samurai Blue from all quarters of Ajinomoto Stadium following their scoreless draw with China last Saturday, Okada could have been forgiven for cracking a wry smile.

 

Japan’s friendly schedule in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup finals has been blasted by those who claim that a lack of genuinely competitive fixtures continues to hamper the national team.

 

However, there’s no lack of competition at the four-team East Asian championships – although the hosts will be expected to hammer Hong Kong at the National Stadium on Thursday.

 

Shorn of their overseas stars – coach Okada Togel Hongkong selected an entirely local-based squad for the tournament – last weekend Japan found themselves unable to breach Yang Zhi’s goal in front of a partisan Tokyo crowd.

 

Things would have been even worse had veteran goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki not saved Yang Hao’s weak penalty attempt with eight minutes remaining.

 

The 0-0 stalemate was the second in a matter of days, after Japan turned in an insipid display in a scoreless draw with Venezuela in friendly in Oita on February 2.

 

Now the Samurai Blue turn their attentions to a Hong Kong side that was thrashed 5-0 by Korea Republic in their opening match, with coach Okada no doubt hoping that his strikers can rediscover their goal scoring form against the South-East Asian minnows.

 

Despite claiming that his team are capable of reaching the semi-finals in South Africa, Okada remains a largely unloved figure in his home country.

 

His blustering predictions belie frustratingly cautious tactics that have left fans despairing for a consistent goal scorer who can finish off Japan’s often intricate build-up play.

 

Unless Okada unveils a regular goal scorer, Japan could be on the first plane home from South Africa rather than troubling the big guns in the knock-out stage.

 

The clash with Hong Kong represents the first step in rehabilitating Okada’s fading image, however a much tougher test awaits.

 

On Sunday the hosts meet arch-rivals Korea Republic in a Valentine’s Day blockbuster, and more catcalls await should Japan fail to win – and win convincingly – against their bitter East Asian foes.

 

UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying Draw

 

Group A: Germany, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan

Group B: Russia, Slovakia, Eire, Macedonia, Armenia, Andorra

Group C: Italy, Serbia, N.Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Faroe Islands

Group D: France, Romania, Bosnia-Hrzg., Belarus, Albania, Luxembourg

Group E: Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Moldova, San Marino

Group F: Croatia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Georgia, Malta

Group G: England, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales, Montenegro

Group H: Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Iceland

Group I: Spain, Czech Rep., Scotland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein

 

The nine group winners and best runner-up qualify automatically. The eight remaining second-place teams play-off to decide the final four qualifiers. Ties take place …

Qatar Stars Toto Hk League – Week 25

 

 

Qatar Stars League’s reigning champions Al Gharafa are likely to retain their title this season as well. With just two rounds left, they are six points clear at the top of the League table. The team has peaked at the right time and their 3-0 win over Al Khor should help Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta heave a huge sigh of relief.

 

Al Rayyan and Al Sadd, who two weeks earlier posed a serious threat to Al Gharafa’s title hopes, share 48 points each. However Al Sadd, who received a boost through the return of their injured Ecuadorian striker Carlos Tenorio, are ahead on better goal difference.

 

Umm Salal, ever since their promotion to the first Division two seasons ago, have been unpredictable. Last season, they emerged surprise champions in the Emir’s Cup, thus assuring themselves of a place in the Asian Football Confederation’s Champions League. They put up a commanding display against Al Rayyan, beating them with a strong 3-1 display. Bahrain international Ala Hubail, with two goals, did the star turn for them.

 

Al Rayyan, trained by Paulo Autouri de Mello who once headed the Peru national team, sorely lacked a few good players. Defensive problems have always plagued them and their game against Umm Salal was no different. They started the season in grand style, but failed to sustain the momentum. Al Rayyan’s think-tanks need to work overtime to put the team back on track in time for the Heir Apparent’s and Emir’s Cup competitions.

 

Al Sailiya’s hopes of an upset away draw were Toto Hk dashed when Al Sadd’s Carlos Tenorio hit an injury time goal to snatch victory. The Ecuadorian, who played in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, had recently returned from a career-threatening injury. Al Sailiya tool a shock lead in the 42nd minute through Cameroonian Emmanuel Eifa before Al Sadd’s Ebrahim Majed equalised in the 57th.

 

Qatar Sports Club are well on course to finish fourth in the League so as to ensure a place in the Heir Apparent’s Cup competition. Only the top-four teams from the Qatar Stars League qualify for the event. Al Kharaitiyat stunned them through Frenchman Sabri Lamouchi in the 37th minute. However, Qatar fought hard for a draw and found their saviour in Abdulla Al Kuwari, who equalised in the 87th minute.

 

Al Arabi scored a comfortable 2-0 win over Al Wakra. Al Arabi, who are famous for their bright red uniforms, were unstoppable at home. Al Wakra continued their heavy fluctuations in form. They could not withstand the Al Arabi onslaught and succumbed meekly.

 

At the end of the 25 weeks of the Qatar Stars League, Al Gharafa leads the table with 54 points. Al Sadd and Al Rayyan are six points behind (48 each) while Qatar Sports Club (41), Al Khor (34), Umm Salal (32), Al Wakra (27), Al Arabi (25), Al Sailiya (19) and al Kharaitiyat (15) follow.

 

 

 …

Emperor’s Cup consolations for J. League Bandarq Online Terbaik also-rans

 

 

When the dust had settled on another gripping J. League title race, many wondered whether anyone could stop Kashima Antlers after they picked up their third straight Japanese crown.

 

They got an answer – of sorts – after Gamba Osaka dumped the Antlers out of the season-ending Emperor’s Cup at the quarter-final stage.

 

Gamba’s belated victory came courtesy of a brace from Bandarq Online Terbaik ex-Oita Trinita striker Masato Yamazaki, who scored either side of a goal from Kashima front man Yuzo Tashiro.

 

The Osakans march on to a semi-final showdown with promoted side Vegalta Sendai, who shook off any ill-affects from their recent J2 title celebrations to beat a star-studded Kawasaki Frontale.

 

In front of a packed house of 18,340 fans at Yurtec Stadium in Sendai, the hosts prevailed thanks to a 2-1 extra-time victory.

 

Yuki Nakashima opened the scoring for the hosts, and Vegalta looked to be cruising to a place in the final four until Kazuhiro Murakami drove home a stoppage-time equaliser.

 

There was to be no monumental fightback from Frontale, however, as Vegalta striker Tomoyuki Hirase scored a late winner to seal Sendai’s place in the semi-finals.

 

The other semi-final will be contested by Tokai rivals Shimizu S-Pulse and Nagoya Grampus, although both sides experienced contrasting fortunes in their quarter-final matches.

 

Shimizu required a dramatic extra-time winner from veteran defender Arata Kodama to seal a 3-2 win over a plucky Albirex Niigata, with Kodama’s goal coming just a minute from full-time.

 

Meanwhile, Nagoya cruised past cash-strapped local rivals FC Gifu courtesy of a 3-0 win in front of 12,211 fans at Mizuho Stadium, with Australian international Josh Kennedy scoring a hat-trick.

 

The win sets up an intriguing final four clash with regional rivals Shimizu S-Pulse on December 29, with Shimizu set to enjoy the lion’s share of support as the two sides run out at Ecopa Stadium.

 

The other semi-final will take place at the National Stadium in Tokyo, as the four remaining Emperor’s Cup combatants fight for their place in a New Year’s Day showdown.

 

 

Whilst at Al Nasr, I found out about a football exhibition taking place in Abu Dhabi – “Footie.” It would be a get together of all corners of the football world, with competitions, freestyle shows, auctions and……. lots more beside. What’s more it would be the first even of its kind in the Middle East.

 

Michael was considering having his club represented at the event, but worries over whether their display would be the best meant that they decided not to bother. It was interesting to see the mentality behind the decision. The Emiratis clearly were interested in doing this only if they were going to be the best.

 

Their decision was probably the right one as I was possibly the only visitor paying that day. Bernard Lama was the only one of a host of football stars who were due to attend. …

Sport in Doha Togel Online Qatar

 

 

Doha in the oil and natural gas rich state of Qatar takes center stage in the world of sport today as the 2011 Asian Cup kicks off this evening.

 

Meanwhile on the tennis courts Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are battling it out in the Qatar Open.

 

In a different type of court, the Togel Online International Cricket Council’s spot fixing inquiry into claims against three Pakistani cricketers is being held in Doha.

 

Ex-captain Salman Butt and pace duo Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir pleaded not guilty to charges of bowling no-balls to order in last summer’s test series in England.

 

Brazil – the next generation

 

Once again Brazil failed at the World Cup despite entering the competition as favourites. Robinho looked to have sent them on their way to the last four in Port Elizabeth before a Wesley Sneijder brace put the Dutch through instead. The expected fightback never came and for a second World Cup in a row the world’s most valued soccer nation trooped off into the shadows.

 

So once again, young starlets are emerging post-tournament to raise the spirits of the seleçao.

And most hopes are being pinned on the Santos duo of Ganso and Neymar.

Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima, known as ‘Ganso’, is a 21 year-old number ten, has drawn comparisons with Zinedine Zidane and seems the obvious replacement for Kaka once he hangs up his boots. His first game in the yellow and green was in last August’s 2-0 friendly win over the USA.

 

The name of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, who turns 19 this week, has been in global circulation a little longer, as he exploded onto the scene as a 17 year-old striker, but only made his Brazil debut in the same friendly last summer, bagging the opening goal.

 

Needless to say, almost every big European club has been linked with the duo, especially with Neymar, and one hopes neither young man will risk hopping across the Atlantic too soon.

 

With Brazil sure to be a force in 2014 with the World Cup on home soil, this young pair from Pelé’s old club could be following in the great man’s footsteps and raising gold to the sky…

 

Golazo from Yer Man!

 

Not every day the Northern Irish league is in the spotlight, but was there a more audacious strike in 2010 than this effort by Glentoran’s Matty Burrows, which looks better on each viewing…

 

Burrows’ strike makes it to the ten best goals of the year chosen by FIFA, along with usual suspects Messi, Neymar & Robben, plus Bafana Bafana’s opening strike of the World Cup Finals:

 

* Here’s one they missed, from Andrea Pirlo, as the Parma defence obligingly opens up.

 

George got 2 results right last week and 1 perfect score.

 

Sat 1 January 2011

 

WBA 1 v Man Utd 2

Liverpool 1 v Bolton 0

Manchester City 2 v …

A Chick with a Bandar Poker Online Pick

 

 

I’m unwilling to pigeon hole myself politically, but if forced, I would happily place myself in the ‘frustrated feminist’ box. If I was around in the early part of the twentieth century I’d have been more than happy to burn bras with the Suffragettes, as it’s a literally evil contraption.

 

The bra-burning remains a point of contention amongst the modern day collection of men-haters, but the fact that these freedom-fighters went on hunger strike to promote their cause is a recorded fact; although they may have just wanted to lose a bit of weight in order to catch a husband.

 

Lefty troublemaker Emmeline Pankhurst would have got her reinforced knickers in a twist over Wimbledon’s antiquated policy of paying the men more than the bints. In the All England Club’s defence, they probably had to insure against a cushion dispute escalating into violence, or a mouse stopping play. This year, the lovely ladies will receive identical restitution to their completely equal in every way male counterparts.

 

Amelie Mauresmo will be ecstatic with this development. The reigning ladies champion looks a great shout at 12/1 to get her shovel-hands on the improved wedge. Grass courts always suit the big hitters, and they don’t get any bigger than the gigantic Frenchman.

 

In the men’s draw, big things are expected of rising star Andy Murray. A good run may well lead to the injury-prone Sweaty being promoted to a Brit.

 

Roger Federer is the man they all have to beat. The Swiss genius has a backhand so strong; Lee Chapman can only look on in envy. The Fed Express is a good thing at 4/9.

 

Organisers expect to sell 60,000 pounds of strawberries and 1,500 gallons of cream during the Wimbledon fortnight, although that figure will collapse if Frank Lampard fails to show. Tim Henman will definitely turn up, but he’ll be lucky to see the second round.

 

The Copa America kicks off on Tuesday and it’s a straight two horse war between the Brazilians and the Argentineans. The Samba Boys will be without a tired Kaka and Ronaldinho has also withdrawn following advice from his dental hygienist. I’m getting my teeth into the Argies at a delightful 17/10.

 

Controversy surrounds Wayne Rooney’s involvement in Ricky Hatton’s super-fight against Jose Luis Castillo. Wayne is a now so nervous about his role, there’s a real chance that he may drop his belt in Las Vegas. Castillo has looked jaded following his wars with Corrales, the 4/7 for the Hitman is particularly striking.

 

The final of the Under-21 Championships will pit the total Bandar Poker Online football of the Dutch against the thuggish Serbs. I’ll be on Holland at 11/10 as beauty will always beat the beast in the end. You should really follow me in on this one: I’m a leading expert in the field of beast-beating.

 

 …

The Lying, the Hitch and the Gnawed Dominoqq Lobe

 

 

Often in the past, I’ve been accused of being over careful with money. I refute this allegation, only last week I forked out more than a fiver on the wife’s Christmas present. But why should I spend a fortune taking the little ones to see the new movie ‘Narnia’, when for no cost I can share ‘The chronicles of Harry Redknapp’, an epic fantasy adventure.

 

It’s a tale so ridiculous, any movie executive worth his white powder would have laughed out loud before binning the script. Harry managed Portsmouth, walked out, joined their fierce rivals, then marched the Saints out of the Premiership. A few mistruths, a snag or two and a word in the ear from Frank Lampard Senior later, and Harry is Frattonising with Pompey once again. You couldn’t make it up.

 

Every team in the country would fancy their chances against the Portsmouth circus this weekend, the computer has generously handed Spurs the three points. Tottenham at 4/9 are the weekend nap.

 

Some credit the form of Stevie Gerrard for Liverpool’s excellent recent run of results; others believe Peter Crouch’s battle against adversity has inspired his team-mates to greater dominoqq  heights. Personally, i put it down to Harry Kewell elbowing his Mrs to the other side of the World.

 

Liverpool’s improved form can be directly linked to Harry’s other half being 10,000 miles away in a rat infested hell-hole; Australia.

 

Kewell never saw eye to eye with antipodean compatriot Mark Viduka when both played for Leeds, possibly because of Harry’s pro-podean beliefs. Harry’s 5/2 to outscore Viduka on Saturday, a decent looking bet considering Liverpool’s water-tight defence.

 

May I be one of the first to congratulate Peter Crouch on opening his goal scoring account for the Reds. Crouch’s strike was welcomed by thousands of punters across the land, but it’s not all good news, it means we’re in for another three months of winter. Crouchy can be backed at 11/8 to score at any time against Boro, as the 8/15 Pool take all three points.

 

Newcastle were outplayed by an average Villa team last weekend; imagine what an on song Arsenal could do. The Gunners are a great bet at Even money, they’re literally a re-mortgage job if Michael Owen is ruled out. Graeme Souness is fighting for his life as the manager of the Toon; the fat lady is clearing her throat.

 

Birmingham City are going to absurd lengths to try to record their first home win of the season, Emile Heskey even tried a Diego Maradona impression against the Hammers last week, or ‘The hand of God-awful’ as it should be christened. Fulham are the latest visitors to St Andrews who are guaranteed at least a point; back the draw at 11/5.

 

 

 

 

 

 …

Lies, Damn Lies, Jamie Redknapp and Bandar Togel Hongkong

 

 

My heart goes out to supporters of Liverpool FC. The club have been rocked by Champions League failure, the validity of their Merseyside derby victory has been questioned, and they have to travel to Liverpool at least once a fortnight.

 

Steven Gerrard probably received the brunt of the criticism after the controversial derby day win. I have an enormous amount of sympathy for the talismanic captain; it can’t be easy to play football, roll over and referee all at the same time.

 

The persecution of Dirk Kuyt is equally as perplexing. The flying Dutchman was pilloried for an alleged dangerous tackle, but who wouldn’t jump in the air if they caught an unexpected glimpse of Phil Neville?

 

Jamie Redknapp has also been slaughtered for a perceived bias in his punditry. The ex-Red claimed that Jamie Carragher’s body-slam of Joleon Lescott did not merit a penalty, and amusingly maintained his stance while watching replays of the assault. Even Comical Ali would have thrown his hands up on that one.

 

I hope Jamie will be in the studio for Sunday’s big Liverpool v Arsenal match, as I’m trying to land a touch on potential Redknapp quotes. ‘Stevie didn’t dive, he fell over,’ ‘This rotation policy is a masterstroke,’ ‘Sure, Jamie kicked him three times, but they were accidental’ and ‘Rafa’s beard does not make him look camper than a bowl of strawberries’ are all confident selections.

 

I’ll probably have to settle for a Bandar Togel Hongkong bet on Arsenal to win the match. The Gunners are flying high in the Premiership and they scored a magnificent seven in midweek. I’m going to dive on the 21/10 like i’ve just received the merest of nudges outside of a penalty area.

 

Fulham have to be opposed at the Stadium of Light. Apparently, millions of Chinese people have been killed, and people are pointing the finger at Chairman Mo. Sunderland look a great bet at 11/10 to take advantage of a club in crisis.

 

Dave Whelan remains a genuine character. He’s quick to condemn foreign managers, third-party player ownership and the loan system, yet his views on price fixing in the retail industry are kept remarkably close to his chest. The 23/20 for a Birmingham win over Wigan is vastly over inflated.

 

I’ve got a lot of time for Sven Goran Eriksson, probably because he’s pulled more darlings than the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s wife. The 3/1 for Manchester City leaving Chelsea with a draw ticks a multitude of boxes.

 

Joey Barton’s return to first team action will take his mind off the impending court case. There’s a real chance that Joey may end up doing a little stretch, and his cellmate will definitely be doing a little bird. You should be locked up if you miss out on the 13/8 for a Newcastle win at Reading.

 

The wife is a massive fan of MC Hammer: she sings ‘you can’t touch this’ every …

Bigger than Judi Slot Becks

 

 

 

 

Why MLS’ fine on its star is a real own goal

 

Poor MLS. Just as European observers were calling it a credible league they go and ruin it all by fining their star man the equivalent of a night out in Beverly Hills.

 

I am not sure who thought $1,000 (£608) would be a suitable fine for David Beckham’s confronting a drunken fan last week but it has made Judi Slot MLS somewhat of a laughing stock among its new-found followers, who had taken a lot of notice following GoldenBalls’ wee altercation in the first place: Beckham and the Galaxy have occupied column inches in all the British media this week.

 

It is actually a fairly standard penalty for MLS. Clint Mathis was fined half that amount for an almost identical confrontation six years ago, while Brian Ching also lost $500 for a recent Twitter post criticising a referee. And why a fine in the first place instead of the ‘first warning’ the rest of us are familiar with in our workplaces? Could Beckham have not been called to MLS’ HQ in 5th Avenue for a dressing-down and if a financial penalty really was necessary, why not add a few zeros to placate the naysayers? The league’s rules state that “misconduct detrimental to the reputation and public image of MLS” will be punished, the equivalent of England’s ‘bringing the game into disrepute.’

 

Fair enough. But the screaming problem with the figure of $1,000 is that people have inevitably compared it to what the offender is earning and laughed, at MLS, who have in effect sullied the league’s reputation more than the man they are punishing. Becks’ annual base pay of $6.5m from the Galaxy is augmented by his endorsements and business interests – he rakes in circa 4 or 5 times that a year from ‘Brand Beckham’, which makes the fine appear to be mere chump change for him.

 

Fines for the rest of us have some connection to the transgression in order to teach us a lesson. When I once parked in the wrong place in London I was fined by Haringey Council what I earn in a week . I felt that was harsh but it made me think twice the next time I looked for a spot all right. The council showed me who was boss in the same way MLS should with their star product. But that is their dilemma. They have built Beckham up to be bigger than the league so they cannot infuriate him to the point he ups sticks and leaves, much as he might like to right now.

 

Recruiting Becks was the centerpiece of MLS’ growth strategy in 2007 and all the publicity negative or positive is unquestionably raising their public recognition. The England star remains effectively untouchable, as long as he does not go and do a Cantona on one of the beery lard-asses now eager to confront him wherever he …

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