Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2014 Contents A66
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In this November 4, 2008 file photo, newly named soccer head coach for
Argentina, Diego Maradona, centre, poses for a photo with Julio Grondona, the
president of Argentina's Football Association, (AFA), right, and new manager
Carlos Bilardo, at a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Grondona, who
served as president of the AFA since 1979, and vice president of FIFA since 1988,
died yesterday, from a heart problem. AP PHOTO
Court orders Neymar's father to testify
MOSCOW---Fabio Capello is
staying in his post as Russia coach
despite the team s World Cup fail-
Russia was eliminated after the
group stage in Brazil without win-
ning a game, prompting specula-
tion the Italian would be fired.
"If I m here, then it s clear that
I ll continue to work with the Russ-
ian team. It s already confirmed,"
Capello said yesterday after a sec-
ond meeting with Russian Football
Capello said he had the trust of
the RFU and the country s sports
ministry, and was prepared to
resign if he ever felt he had lost
RFU president Nikolai Tolstykh
said the organisation s executive
committee had not discussed the
possibility of Capello leaving when
the Italian met the members yes-
Capello signed a contract exten-
sion in January taking him through
to the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
That deal reportedly contains a
clause that would require the RFU
to pay at least US$25 million in
compensation for firing him at this
The 68-year-old Capello has
previously said the Russia job will
be his last.
The Italian took over the Russia
team in July 2012, five months after
leaving his job as England coach.
Capello guided Russia to the
World Cup, finishing ahead of Por-
tugal in qualifying, and set a target
of reaching the quarterfinals in
After Russia s group stage failure,
nationalist lawmaker Vladimir
Zhirinovsky called Capello "a thief"
over his reported US$11 million-
The head of the Russian parlia-
ment s sports committee said
Capello would be called to testify
in October, although it is not yet
clear whether that will take place.
Capello said yesterday he is now
focused on qualifying for the 2016
European Championships, in
which Sweden, Austria and Mon-
tenegro await Russia in qualifying.
Capello says he's staying as Russia's coach
MADRID---A Spanish judge has
ordered the father of Barcelona
star Neymar and the club s chief
financial officer to testify as wit-
nesses in a case investigating an
alleged tax fraud in the signing
of the Brazil striker.
Pablo Ruz cites Neymar Da Silva
Santos to appear at the National
Court in Madrid on October 1 and
also requires Nestor Amela,
Barcelona s financial director, to
do the same later that day.
Ruz says in a statement yester-
day that he requires Neymar s
father to provide the court with
documents relating to his 22-year-
old son s signing, including the
payment terms and conditions,
and wants Barcelona to supply its
2013 boardroom minutes up to
Neymar s transfer fee has been
under scrutiny since his unveiling
at the Camp Nou on June 3, 2013.
Premier League to use
League referees will start using a
vanishing spray to prevent
encroachment by players in a
defensive wall during free kicks.
The water-based, shaving
cream-like foam was successfully
deployed by FIFA at the World
Cup in Brazil and will be used by
the Premier League when the new
season starts next month. It
ensures players lining up in a wall
against a free kick respect the 10-
yard distance from the ball.
failure in Brazil
Eden Hazard has acknowledged
he was a bitter disappointment at
the World Cup after he failed to
have a decisive impact on the
team s run to the quarterfinals.
Hazard said in yesterday editions
of Sudpresse that "the criticism
targeted at me was justified."
While Belgium was generally
lauded for winning its first four
games before losing 1-0 to Argenti-
na in the quarterfinals, Hazard was
targeted for his lackluster perform-
ances during the 2-1 win over the
United States in the second round,
and the game against Argentina.
He said "it didn t work out the
way it had hoped it would."
The 23-year-old Chelsea player
said he was already looking forward
to the 2016 European Champi-
onship in France.
Russia ready to
incorporate Crimean clubs
MOSCOW---Football clubs in the
Crimea region annexed by Russia
could play in the Russian leagues
this season, the Russian Football
Union president Nikolai Tolstykh
Tolstykh told local media they
will make a decision today about
moving clubs from the cities of
Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta
into the Russian third tier.
Since Russia seized the peninsula
in February, it has registered five
new clubs there. The Simferopol
and Sevastopol teams are using
stadiums occupied by Ukrainian
Premier League teams last season.
The Ukrainian Football Federa-
tion says Russia has no right to
register clubs on what Ukraine
considers its territory.
The RFU has "no doubts" that
Crimean clubs must play in Russia,
even though FIFA and UEFA
"sanctions are possible," Sergei
Stepashin, a former Russian prime
minister who sits on the RFU exec-
utive committee, said. (AP)
BUENOS AIRES---Julio Grondona, the
longtime head of the Argentine Foot-
ball Association, has died. He was 82.
The announcement was made yes-
terday by the South American football
Grondona, a powerful ally of FIFA
President Sepp Blatter, had been hos-
pitalised earlier yesterday. Local media
reported that he died hours later of
Grondona, who was known as "The
Godfather," had been the AFA s pres-
ident since 1979.
He was also a FIFA senior vice pres-
ident and head of FIFA s finance com-
mittee. He had announced that we
would step down from his posts in 2015.
Blatter responded to the death almost
immediately with a tweet: "Very sad
for the loss of a great friend. Julio Gron-
dona has left us at 82. Rest in peace."
Grondona attended the World Cup
final three weeks ago when Argentina
lost 1-0 to Germany at the Maracana
stadium in Rio de Janeiro. He mingled
in the stands with other top football
officials before the match.
Argentina star Lionel Messi was
among those to send condolences after
"It s a very sad day for football, for
all of Argentina and for me," the
Barcelona forward wrote on his Face-
book account. "Our president, Julio
Grondona, you have left us. I want to
send my sincere condolences and a
large hug to all his family members and
Cesar Menotti, who was Argentina s
coach when it won the World Cup in
1978, called Grondona "a football man
who knew the game as a leader."
Grondona rose from modest roots.
He helped found Argentine club Arsenal
de Sardani and was a director from
1957 until he left in 1976 to take over
the presidency of club Independiente.
He stayed there until taking over at
AFA three years later.
With Grondona in charge, Argentina
won the World Cup in 1986 and lost
the finals in 1990 and 2014.
Grondona became one of world foot-
ball s most powerful figures, despite
speaking almost no English.
"I speak only Spanish," he said in an
interview. "But I have an advantage
over the rest of the polyglots. I speak
the language of football very well."
Grondona worked with few assis-
tants, often answering the phone in his
office himself. He kept his books the
old-fashioned way, putting entries in
a ledger, shunning computers.
"Technology---I know nothing and
don t have any interest," he said a few
years ago. "It s too late for me."
He was never far from controversy.
Critics blamed him for the endemic
fan violence in Argentine football, where
every club match faces the threat of
violence by hooligan groups. Grondona
said the problem simply reflected the
growing violence on the streets of the
He was also heavily criticized by for-
mer national coach and retired star
Diego Maradona, who blamed Gron-
dona for many of the festering problems
in the national game.
Grondona hired Maradona as the
national team coach and then dismissed
him after Argentina lost in the quar-
terfinals of the 2010 World Cup. During
the 2014 tournament, Maradona
responded to being called a "bad luck
charm" by Grondona by showing him
the middle finger on live TV.
A son, Humberto, was questioned
by FIFA during the World Cup in Brazil,
amid media reports that he had sold
some tickets for profit.
FIFA said later that he "most prob-
ably" gave tickets to a friend and did
not sell them.
He had various health problems in
recent years and was badly affected by
the death of his wife Nelida in 2012.
As a mark of respect, this weekend s
Argentine football matches have been
postponed, along with a news confer-
ence scheduled yesterday at which
national team coach Alejandro Sabella
had been expected to announce his
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