Sunday 28 July 2013

Hong Kong Killer Pitch

Hong Kong played host to the Barclays Asia Trophy on Wednesday 24 July and Saturday 27 July. The three EPL teams were Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, with reigning local champions South China making up the quartet.

Sunderland coach Paolo Di Canio called the 40,000-seater Hong Kong Stadium a "killer pitch" due to its poor drainage during torrential downpours. Spurs boss Andre Villa-Boas was not happy because his team lost 1—3 to Sunderland plus his Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen twisted ankle ligaments on the sodden surface. Villa-Boas flew in his own head groundsman to help with the pitch conditions at Hong Kong Stadium (see story here).

Here are some photos of Hong Kong Stadium during the BAT pre-season tournament ...

 First day's first match (Sunderland vs Tottenham) and the pitch is getting cut up

 The pitch conditions worsen. Pic courtesy Getty Images.

Hong Kong groundstaff doing their best to keep dry from the rain and mud-free from the pitch. Pic courtesy Getty Images.

Second day's second match (Man City vs Sunderland) and Spurs' head groundsman flew in and advised laying sand in the muddy patches of the pitch

The match Referees for the BAT tournament were EPL referees Anthony Taylor and Neil Swarbrick, who were joined by Hong Kong Referee Liu Kwok Man.

Next up, just two days after the end of the BAT, Manchester United play Kitchee (local league runners-up) on Monday 29 July. United manager David Moyes attended the BAT on Saturday 27 July to inspect the pitch. Understandably, Moyes called off the planned open training session for Sunday 28 July, in the hope that the pitch would be "playable" on Monday (see story here).


Tottenham 6 South China 0

Manchester City 1 Sunderland 0

United Refuse To Train At 'Killer' Hong Kong Stadium

Thursday 25 July 2013

Shinpads and Shinguards Play An Important Role

In the modern era of soccer, with powerful professional athletes playing at terrifying speeds and commitment, it is amazing and alarming to see players wearing close-to-nothing protection. What does it take to get the proper message through to their 'tiny' minds?

Newcastle United's physical and boisterous midfielder Cheick Tiote plays with tiny teeny shinpads. Pic from EPA.


Are you Ferguson in disguise? Echoes of Everton bad boy as Coloccini sees red in 'friendly' match (Daily Mail)

Related Posts

Mike Dean Masterclass Display Part 1

Probing Lee Probert Part 3

Shinpads Guard Against Stupidity From Others

Shinguards Should Protect Properly

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Lebanese Referee Jailed in Singapore … Sings

The Lebanese Referee jailed in Singapore has revealed how match-fixers "advise" match officials how to rig games.

"The best way to rig a match [is] to award penalties"

Referees already know this ... and if you look at the example here of Niger Referee Ibrahim Chaibou on 1 June 2011, it is quite obvious that he is fixing the match. So what has FIFA or Interpol done about charging Chaibou?

Singaporean businessman and match fixer Eric Ding Si Yang. Pic from AFP

Related Posts

Suspect Referee Performance: Nigeria v Argentina

China's Golden Whistle Admits Accepting US$44,000 Bribe

Lebanese Referees Guilty of Accepting Sexual Bribes For Match Fixing


Referee given match-fixing tips on YouTube, court told (SCMP; paywall)

Jailed official tells court he received links from businessman on how to make 'wrong decisions'
Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 3:59am

Agence France-Presse in Singapore

A Lebanese referee jailed for accepting sex to rig matches testified yesterday that a Singaporean businessman used YouTube to show him how to fix a game.

Ali Sabbagh, speaking on the first day of the trial of Eric Ding Si Yang, said the businessman sent him "20 to 30" YouTube links by e-mail to "teach me how to make wrong decisions".

"The videos had too many decisions where the decision made by the referee is not the right decision," he said.

Ding is accused of providing Sabbagh, 34, and two other Lebanese officials with women who gave them free sexual services before a match in Singapore in April..

Sabbagh and the other two officials were withdrawn from duty and placed under investigation before the match. He was found guilty in June and sentenced to six months in jail, while his assistants - Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb - were also convicted and have since been released and deported.

Sabbagh said that in a series of e-mail exchanges late last year, Ding told him that the best way to rig a match was to award penalties. Sabbagh quoted Ding as saying that "nobody will stop you, nobody will do anything ... When the corner comes, just blow and say pushing and pulling ... If there is anything in the penalty area, you can blow your whistle".

He said Ding gave him assurances that he would not be asked to rig matches that would affect his career within the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Sabbagh, who is scheduled to be released from jail on August 3, told the court he was the one who first proposed that Ding "arrange for girls" when the three match officials were in Singapore for the AFC Cup tie between Singapore's Tampines Rovers and India's East Bengal in April.

Sabbagh said Ding asked them to choose between Colombian or Asian girls and "we all told him we want Asian girls".

He added that Ding had likely offered the free sexual favours with the expectation that they would help rig unspecified AFC Champions League matches to be held in South Korea, Qatar and Iran. "He [Ding] is very interested in these matches, there is too much spectators, there is too much goals," Sabbagh said in stuttering English.

Ding seemed relaxed but appeared to show disapproval at parts of Sabbagh's testimony.

He faces a maximum of five years in jail and fines of up to S$100,000 (US$80,000) for each of three counts of corruption. He separately faces two charges of stealing evidence and obstructing police after declining to disclose the password to his laptop computer. He denies the charges.