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Football News - Strikes, Bribes, No Tickets, Suicide, Arguments, Foul Language

Hooligan Watch

Thai police are on the alert after a tip-off from their English counterparts that hooligans may congregate in Thailand ahead of the World Cup and may try to enter Japan from Bangkok. A Thai police spokesman said, "We are keeping a close-eye on them. There is an invitation on the Internet to get these fans to Thailand, but so far only two or three of them have arrived."
Andrew Cooper, a 37-year old Derby county supporter, became the first person to be denied entry into the host countries, when he was detained at Incheon airport and deported on a later flight. Cooper had served a four-month prison term in 1999 for possessing tear gas.

Not Keen on Roy Keane

Ireland's best arguer, Roy Keane, has been sent home by manager Mick McCarthy. In a fit of pique, Roy Keane, known as a softy, stamped his foot and hurt it on the hard ground. His language was deemed inappropriate by McCarthy, who sent him packing.
Manager Utd boss Alex ‘Fergie' Ferguson is expected to be pleased by Roy Keane's early dismissal from the World Cup: no injuries to Roy Keane will help Manager Utd qualify for the later stages of the European Champions League, a far more important tournament than the World Cup.

Roy Keane Factfile

Date of Birth: 10/August/1971
Place of Birth: Cork, Ireland
Playing Career: Cobh Ramblers (1987-1990), Nottingham Forest, England (1990-1993); 33 goals, Manchester United, England (1993-).

Stress Too Much

Osamu Okamura, aged 52 and an official in charge of organizing the Senegal team's training camp in Shizuoka prefecture, committed suicide on May 18. He left behind a note citing the pressures of his job for his final act.

Economic Effects – A Mixed Picture

Japanese Green Tea.

It's a mixed picture as far as the financial benefits of the World Cup on the sluggish Japanese economy is concerned. Daiichi Life Research Institute predicted a US$2.8 billion increase in consumption by both domestic and foreign fans but this could fall sharply if Japan fails to advance from Group H.
Kirin Brewery has seen increased sales of its Tanrei malt beer, which is labeled ‘Japan national supporters' can' but Victor Co, a major electronics producer has seen only a 10% increase in sales of TVs so far in the second quarter. Satellite broadcaster SkyPerfecTV, which will air all 64 games, is expecting subscriptions to double in May. Japan Airlines (JAL) is expecting strong growth in its Japan-US and Japan-Europe flights, but hotel accommodation scarcity in Korea may mean Japan-Korea flights may be down 10% on forecasts.
Domestic travel groups have been hampered by FIFA's decision to forbid the sales of tickets to travel agents, who are unable to market a ticket/accommodation package.
Vacancies still exist for hotels in Tokyo and accomodation in Osaka even on match days though hotels in Oita and hotels in Niigata are pretty much fully booked.
Due to the early kick-off times in the US and Europe TV companies have had a hard time selling advertising, though official sponsors Coca-Cola, Gillette and Nike, who paid close to US$30m each for their official status, are all running big promotions. Nike's ‘Scorpion' campaign featuring Eric Cantona and a host of big-name players playing 3-a-side on a warship off the Japanese coast is estimated to be the most expensive TV commercial ever produced.

No Cell Phones, Papers or Fat

South Africa's squad will be prohibited from carrying mobile phones and reading newspapers during the World Cup in an effort to clean up the team's image. During France '98 two players, Brendan Augustine and the eponymous Naughty Mokoena were sent home for ignoring a team curfew and attending a local disco.
Meanwhile Japan boss Philippe Troussier has instructed the eleven chefs preparing food at his team's hotel in Shizuoka to avoid fatty and greasy foods such as ramen, curry or tempura.


Match ticket.South Korea's World Cup organizing committee (KOWOC) announced it would allow fans to enter stadiums with tickets bearing other people's names after FIFA bowed to inevitable market forces and relaxed its previous restrictions. The climb down was also made necessary due to delays in the delivery of tickets worldwide.
100,000 tickets had still not arrived for distribution in Korea by May 25, and there were fears by the organizers that ticketless fans would sue them.
Japan was still waiting for over 15,000 tickets on May 24. Further delays in distribution were also reported in Australia, the UK and the USA.
The Japanese press reported that the hold up was due to the distributors, British-based Byrom Consultants, being required to print the purchaser's name in Chinese and
Korean characters.
Last minute ticket distribution at stadiums could make the segregation of fans well nigh
Japan's organizing committee (JAWOC) has yet to make its position on names on tickets clear and stated that fans would be able to change the names on tickets by fax to its offices including ID for the ticket holder and the transferee, though details have not been released as yet. JAWOC officials, however, strongly hinted that checks would be more stringent for drunken or unruly fans.

Cameroon Finally Arrive

After a marathon journey taking in Paris, Ethiopia, India and Thailand, the Cameroon squad finally arrived at its training base in Kyushu six days overdue. Various rumors were circulating in the Japanese press that the delays were owing to some players forgetting to apply for visas and arguments over bonus payments. The Cameroon squad's chartered plane was held up in Bangkok on the last leg of its journey, as it had to seek permission to overfly Vietnam and The Philippines. Cameroon drew 2-2 with England in a warm up friendly in Kobe on May 26.

South Korean Strikers

The Korean national team may be short of strikers but not so the working population. Metal and chemical workers, hospital staff and some taxi drivers joined a call for higher wages and shorter hours. Around 70,000 workers took industrial action despite calls from the government not to disrupt the World Cup.

World Cup poster.

Tight Security for US Team

Around 500 police and commandos were on hand to escort the US team through Incheon airport as the team arrived in Korea on May 24. The terrorist attacks in the USA last September has seen an unprecedented security operation mounted around the American squad.

Swedes Lose Their Cool

Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg and Aston Villa's Olof Mellberg were reportedly involved in a training ground bust-up at the team's Miyazaki base and had to be separated by perplexed teammates.
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback played down the incident.

Nigerian Bribery Story

Nigerian soccer officials claimed that player's agents were offering the Nigerian FA up to US$30,000 to ensure their clients made the Nigerian squad for Korea/Japan.
"But Adegboye Onigbinde (the Nigeria coach) stood his ground and never at
any time surrendered to such pressure. A younger, less principled coach would
not have resisted such temptation."

World Cup T-shirt.

Take yer boots to Japan

Fans who are members of 'EnglandFans' may be able to play in 5-a-side matches against local and world opposition.

British Police Not Expecting Trouble

East meets West.Plain-clothes spotters working for Britain's Criminal Intelligence Unit told Soccerphile that they are not expecting any major trouble during the finals from England's fans. They defined their role as passing on their experience gained over the troubled years of football violence in England and "allaying the fears of the Japanese police" as well as "doing their best to make Japanese law-enforcement officials grasp the whole concept of football."
The plain-clothes officers have set up liaison offices in Seoul and Tokyo and will follow the England team through the group stage and beyond if England advances to the knock out competition. They rubbished reports in some Japanese media that English hooligans had arrived ahead of the tournament to scout out likely places to cause trouble and cast doubt on the Japanese police feeling tempted to try out their new and expensive anti-hooligan equipment on boisterous fans.
The only problems they could foresee were in Tokyo's entertainment districtswhere some fans might be disgruntled at the practice of pubs and sports bars charging to reserve seats in front of big screens. England's first match in Japan, a 2-2 friendly draw with Cameroon in Kobe passed off without incident.

CCTV installed in Sapporo

202 CCTV cameras have been installed in Sapporo to monitor the behaviour of fans in the city centre and around the new stadium. A spokesman for the local government said: "This kind of thing is unheard of in World Cup history."

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