Five for 25th November


Real Betis fans racially abuse their own player

Real Betis may face punishment after fans were filmed aiming racist abuse at their own club’s defender Paulao after he was sent off during Sunday’s 4-0 city derby defeat at Sevilla.

Paulao picked up two quick bookings with the game at 1-0 just before half-time, and television footage of the incident (see below) appeared to show a number of fans directing ‘monkey noises’ towards the player.

Estadio Deportivo reported Paulao as telling reporters in the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan’s mixed zone that he was sorry for having cost his team the game, but apparently he was not asked about the behaviour of the ‘supporters’.

“I apologise to the fans and my teammates, I am the one responsible,” the Brazilian said. “We lost because of me. I had a yellow card and my will to win overcame me. The only thing I can do is apologise, because I did not remember I had the yellow.”

Sunday’s was not the first time Betis fans have abused  their own players – last year midfielder Nosa Igiebor reacting angrily after receiving similar abuse during the home derby match. He too apologised for his reaction.

 Ribery talks up Balon chances

Franck Ribery said he was confident of winning the World Player of the Year award because he "made the difference" and "set defences on fire".
"I have no fear, I am confident. I have done all I had to," the Bayern Munich and France winger told French daily Le Monde in an interview on Monday.
"If you look at my performances all year long, I have made the difference. I may not score in every match but I set the defences on fire," he said.
The 30-year-old Ribery, who helped Bayern to win an unprecedented Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble last season, was crowned UEFA Best Player in Europe in August and is in contention for FIFA's worldwide Ballon d'Or award.
"So far this year, I have never failed. I have been good during the whole year with my national team and my club. What we did with Bayern last season was historic," said Ribery, who also helped France to qualify for next year's World Cup.
Asked if he feared competition from 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo after the forward scored all Portugal's goals in their 4-2 aggregate win over Sweden in the World Cup playoffs, Ribery said: "Not at all, honestly.
"Ronaldo certainly scores goals, but I do too. He certainly scores more than I do, but we don't have the same style."
FIFA will announce a three-man shortlist from the candidates, who also include four-times winner Lionel Messi, Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and Ronaldo's Real Madrid team mate Gareth Bale, early next month.
The winner will be announced on Jan. 13.

Pep goes after the mole

The Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola had little time to celebrate his team's 3-0 league win at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, threatening instead to uncover a mole he said has been leaking team details to the media.

"It does not matter who it is, heads will roll," Guardiola was quoted in the Bild newspaper as having told his players after the game, angry that tactics had made their way into the press before the game. "I will throw him out. He will not play under me again."

The club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed the existence of a mole, saying he should stop or face action from the club.

"We will obviously not bring in the NSA [National Security Agency] to find out who it is," Rummenigge told Sky television. "But I advise him to stop doing it or he will have a serious problem not only with Pep Guardiola, but also the entire club."

Bayern are enjoying a successful first season under Guardiola. They have gone four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and are already through to the Champions League knockout stage, undefeated so far in all three competitions they are taking part. Saturday's victory was their first against their rivals in the league since 2010 and put them seven points ahead of third-placed Dortmund.

Bayern travel to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday for a Champions League group game.

FIFA wants divers to examine their conscience

Detested in some countries and regarded as act of cunning in others, the practice of diving and feigning injury to win penalties and get opponents sent off has become ingrained in football almost everywhere.
Forwards have become increasingly adept at what is officially known as simulation, often provoking contact themselves yet somehow making it look the defender's fault.
Referees have been caught in the middle and have to judge in a split second whether a foul was genuine or enacted, often an impossible decision to make even with the use of slow motion replays.
With the World Cup looming and the stakes higher than ever, soccer's governing body FIFA is hoping that it can appeal to the conscience of the players to stamp out a practice which many feel is ruining the game.
"We need fair play," FIFA's head of refereeing Massimo Busacca told Reuters in an interview. "You cannot win the game with simulation, what are you to tell your children when you go home?
"Will you say, 'I won the game by simulation, it was cheating'? It should be an honour to win a game on merit."
Busacca's comments may sound idealistic, especially in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a World Cup, but he was hopeful that players would listen.
"I'm always positive," said Busacca, a former Swiss and international refereee. "We stress that we want fair play, we want to see football, spectators want to enjoy football, so you have to win the game correctly. If we continue to say that, in my opinion we can achieve results."
In some cases, he said, players would even own up if a referee asked them what had happened.
"It happened to me twice in my career, in the first division. I asked the player if he was sure it was a foul and he said it wasn't then I changed my mind...
"It wasn't in the penalty area but it was close. He said sorry and I changed my decision...imagine if we could have more of that in the future."
He added: "Of course, everyone wants to win, and such an important competition, sometimes the adrenalin and emotion are so much that you forget, sometimes you do not think, it's like a habit."
On a positive note, Busacca said he believed that dangerously violent tackles had largely been eradicated from the game.
"I think that because we have worked a lot on prevention, we don't see the really bad fouls any more," he said. "I think the safety of the opponent is clear for the referee today. In my opinion we have reduced these bad tackles."
Referees, he said, still had to be aware of the use of tactical fouling by some teams, where players took it in turns to commit minor fouls in midfield to disrupt the opposition's rhythm and passing.
"If you realise in the first 10 minutes that the coach has prepared the game (plan) in that way, you have to understand what is happening have to do something.
"This is what we expect from top understand how the coach prepared the game, respect the other team and say now we have to stop this type of play."
Busacca emphasised that it was essential for referees to have a good understanding of football and know about the tactics of the teams they were refereeing.
"The more you understand football, the more ready you will be for the game, and the more you are likely to be in the right place at the right moment, and run less," he said.
"It's about anticipation, you are there and then you wait. If not, you continue to run."
He added that passing sides such as Spain were less physically demanding for referees and that, the worse the game, the more the official would have to run.
"Usually, you run around nine or 10 kilometres in a game although it can reach 12 if the teams are not playing well and keep losing the ball.
"You can imagine that when a team is passing and passing and keeping the ball, the referee doesn't have to run a lot, but if they lose it all the time, there is attack and counter-attack, so you run all the time."
Referees are often the brunt of angry outbursts from players and Busacca said the only way to avoid this was with better communication.
"Unfortunately, I realise that it's quite impossible to eliminate this kind of behaviour from players," he said. "I don't know why we accept (it) and I don't know if really (we could) do more to eliminate this kind of arrogance sometimes.
"It's important to communicate and if it happens at the start of the game, you have to send a message.
"Today, referees are lacking in communication sometimes...and with the players you need that because sometimes they are on full of adrenalin."

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