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Football News - Wembley, Racism & Mrs. Ronaldo

New Wembley Plan Finalized

Wembley stadium. After six years of false starts and excalating costs, plans for the redevelopment of Wembley stadium have at last been finalized. The English FA announced that 19 contracts have been signed and the finance guaranteed for the 757 million (US$1.2 billion) 90,000-seat stadium in north west London. The new design will replace the famous old twin towers with a new 133m high 'triumphal' arch.

The new national stadium will be the most expensive sports arena ever built. The FA has promised to underwrite the venture with 100 million upfront and a further 48 million in guarantees. The financial success of the project relies on the FA's ability to sell 18,800 premium seats at around 2000 a year for periods of two to four years aimed exclusively at corporate clients.

Further financing has been provided by the National Lottery which stumped up 120 million to purchase the site, German Bank WestLB and Credit Suisse First Boston which is providing a 12 million guarantee for the corporate seating.

The Australian developers Multiplex will begin demolition of the old stadium on Monday, as Wembley turns into London's largest ever building site employing over 1,500 people over the 39 months it will need for completion. The plans include a retractable roof and provision to build a prefabricated athletics track for major international events.

UEFA To Probe Racism

European football's governing body UEFA is to launch an enquiry into racist taunts and missiles directed at Arsenal's black players at the recent PSV Eindhoven - Arsenal European Champions League Game in Holland.

The incident follows reports of rascist abuse in Spain at the Valencia v Liverpool tie and in Croatia at the Hajduk Split v Fulham game the previous week involving black players from the two English clubs.

J.League/K.League

South Korean World Cup striker Ahn Jung-hwang made his J. League debut as a substitute for Shimizu S-Pulse on Saturday but finished on the losing side as his new team lost 2-1 away to Urawa Reds in Saitama.

In the K. League Songnam Chunma remain 7 points clear of Anyang Cheetahs at the top despite losing 1-0 away to third place Chunnam Dragons.

Ahn Jung-hwang's fellow World Cup striker Song Chong-gug continues to see action for Feyenoord in the Champions League and came close to opening his account in European competition in the 1-0 win against Newcastle.

Leeds United Fall Further In Debt

World Cup Shop.Leeds chairman Peter Risdale has announced that new manager Terry Venables will have little money available for new transfers as the club fell further into the financial mire.

The Yorkshire club are seeking to cut their playing staff from 30 to 24 players and reduce the ratio of players' wages to turnover from 66% to 55%.

The club made an operating loss of 28.21 million in the last financial year and is now over 77 million in the red, though this will be offset by the 37 million brought in through the sales of Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Keane to Manchester United and Spurs.

Cover.Ronaldinha to Rayo Vallecano

Milene Domingues, wife of Brazil and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo has chosen to play for Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish capital rather than sign for Atletico Madrid's women's team as was previously expected.
'Ronaldinha' has agreed to play for Rayo for the rest of the season for a monthly salary of US$ 2935 that will make her the highest-paid female soccer player in Spain.
Her husband, who has stated that he likes to relax with 'passive' sex with his wife a couple of hours before every game so that he can perform at his peak on the pitch, will no doubt be pleased at the extra income his wife will be bringing to the family budget.

Lemerre To Coach Tunisia

Roger Lemerre, the French coach who was sacked following the French national team's poor showing at this year's World Cup, will take over as the new coach of Tunisia. Lemerre will begin his new appointment with a friendly against Portugal on October 12.

FIFA To Act On Player Burn-Out

Football's world governing body has decided to introduce a maximum number of games for players ahead of qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup due to begin in mid-2004. FIFA has decided to act in response to the number of injuries suffered by leading players such as Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Robert Pires in the run-up to this year's World Cup.
FIFA's medical chief, Jiri Dvorak said: 'There are rules about the maximum number of hours per day you can drive a truck but there are no rules for footballers.' Dvorak was concerned about the number of players injuring themselves without contact, a sign of 'overuse' in his opinion. Opposition from the players' employers was voiced by Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates who blamed the number of international friendlies and added: 'Players have back problems because of the weight of their wallets.'

FIFA Introduces Immediate Red Card Ban

In a surprise decision announced this week, FIFA's executive committee will introduce an immediate one-match ban for red cards effective worldwide beginning next month. The ban will have serious consequences for the English game, where red card suspensions are not implemented for two weeks following a sending off and are sometimes overturned by video evidence. FIFA was heavily criticised by the head of the English footballers' union, Gordon Taylor, who described the decision as 'farcical'. FIFA supremo, Sepp Blatter, said when announcing the move: 'If we cast doubt over a referee's decision, we cast doubt over the whole of football.'
This is obviously not a view shared by England coach Sven Goran Erikkson - speaking at a UEFA coaching summit in Warsaw - who called for video replays to determine if a goal had been scored or a foul committed: 'It is time to ask technology for help. If a referee wants help, he should have the option to go to the touchline and look at the review during the game...especially if it is happening inside the penalty box.'

A Beckham Decade

The England captain and Manchester United icon, David Beckham celebrated 10 years in the professional English game this week with homilies in the British press and his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, declaring 'the best is yet to come.' Beckham, who burst into stardom with a long distance goal against Wimbledon in 1996 became the most-hated man in Britain for a while after his red card against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. Beckham's popularity came full circle when he scored the winning goal against the same opposition at this year's World Cup in Japan.

Torino Get Their Cup Back

Italian club Torino paid US$73,150 at an auction at Christie's in London to purchase the Italian Cup their team won in 1943. The all-conquering Torino side - who had won the league for a fifth consecutive season - were tragically wiped out in an aircrash in 1947. The Cup ended up at the auctioneers after it was given away in 2000 by Natalino Fossati, the club captain in the 1970s, to a friend in financial difficulty.
At the same auction the ball from the 1888 FA Cup Final between West Bromich Albion and Preston North End sold for a world record price of US$51,210.

For a match ball signed by the 1998 World Cup winners France, visit Our Shop - click here

Monochrome Images from the Far East

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