Entries in soccer (21)


Soccer Diplomacy: North Korea Beats South Korea in Women's East Asian Cup

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEOUL) -- Despite tensions on the Korean peninsula, the game of soccer brought North Korean and South Korean players together for Women's East Asian Cup on Sunday.

North Korean women's soccer team won 2 to 1 against the South.

The game was held in hot humid weather in Seoul and was in favor of a strong North Korean team with defense Ho Un-byol scored two goals in the latter half.

"It was not easy for our players because of weather conditions and they were very tired. But we won with strong belief that our people (in the North) are waiting for good news," said North's coach Kim Kwang-min at a press conference. "Our dear leader Kim Jong-Un gives great attention and love to our players. So our players try to fulfill that expectation with love (to him) and do our best to compensate back."

North Korea is barred by FIFA from the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada after five of their players tested positive for steroids in the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany.

Coach Kim had said the doping was unintended and was due to a traditional medicine that contained musk deer glands to treat the five players because they had been struck by lightning while training before the match. They had lost 2-0 to the United States.

Analysts see the North's participation to the four-nation Women's East Asian Cup as Pyongyang's shot at sports diplomacy in line with recent efforts to ease tensions after bombarding South Korea and the U.S. with threats of nuclear strikes and missile tests in April.

"They are completely isolated from the world and they know that this is serious," said Yang Moo-jin, professor of politics at University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. The two Koreas are in rare talks to reopen a joint industrial park in Kaesong that closed after North Korea ordered closure as relations tumbled.

The game though did not shine any positive light in terms of easing tensions on the public level. Contrary to the strong emotional support showered by the public at times when North Korean sports teams made rare visits to the South, the 67,000 seat stadium was largely empty except for a few blocks of soccer fans and a few hundred scattered audience.

A large group of pro-North Japanese supporters were expected but only about 20 people were seen seated in a secluded area behind the goal.

"This is the harsh reality of where North-South relations stand at the moment," said Yang. "We used to greet them with open arms because Koreans are one nation even if relations were bad. But this time, both the public and the South Korean government are all in the 'let's isolate them more, they deserve it' mood."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Trinidad's National Security Minister Resigns Amid Corruption Allegations

Tony Quinn/WireImage(PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad) -- Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of National Security, Jack Warner, has resigned amid a cloud of allegations of corrupt dealings, and after being linked to an investigation by federal authorities in the United States.

Warner is a former vice president of soccer's world governing body, FIFA, and he's also the former president of CONCACAF -- the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

His decision to quit office as head of Trinidad and Tobago's national security ministry was announced by that country's Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, on Sunday night.

"I have today accepted the offer of resignation of the Minister of National Security, Mr. Jack Warner from the Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago," Persad-Bissessar said.

Attempts by ABC News to get a comment from Warner were unsuccessful, as calls to his cellphone went unanswered.

Warner's resignation comes after months of continuous calls for him to either step down from his post as a minister, or for the prime minister to remove him from office. The most recent call for this came on Saturday from Prakash Ramadhar, who is also part of the government as the Minister of Minister of Legal Affairs.

In 2011, Warner resigned from the posts of FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president, following accusations of him being involved in a cash-for-votes scandal to get people to vote for then-Asian confederation head Mohamed bin Hammam in the FIFA presidential election.

On Friday, a CONCACAF ethics committee released a report accusing Warner and the governing body's former general secretary -- American Chuck Blazer -- of enriching themselves through fraud while they were still part of CONCACAF.

Warner has continuously denied the stack of corruption allegations leveled against him. He has also been linked to an investigation by the FBI and the IRS. In March, the Reuters news agency reported that Warner's son, Daryan Warner, has been serving as a cooperating witness in an investigation by the FBI and IRS into corruption in international soccer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Protestors Kill 30 Due to Death Penalty Sentences Given to Violent Soccer Fans

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- At least 30 people are reported dead and more than 300 are injured after violent protestors went to the streets after death sentences were given to soccer fans in connection with last February's soccer stadium violent rampage, according to the BBC.   

Anger boiled over into violence on the streets of Egypt's Port Said, and military was deployed to try to control the protestors.  Relatives were furious over the death sentences given to 21 soccer fans involved in last February's soccer melee, in which 74 people lost their lives.

Some protestors stormed the prison. Others attacked the governor's office and the courthouse, where earlier the sentences had been handed down much to the approval of relatives of the victims, who said they would accept nothing less than the death penalty.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Olympic Rules: One Bad Tweet and You're Out

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A tweet insulting athletes from another country has cost a second Olympian a spot at the games.

Michel Morganella, one of the players on Switzerland’s Olympic men’s soccer team, sent out such a tweet following his team’s 2-1 loss to South Korea on Sunday. Morganella’s tweet said that Koreans should “burn themselves” and described them as “retards.”

Despite Morganella’s quick apology posted on his Twitter page, a prompt response from the Swiss team chief resulted in Morganella’s Twitter account deleted from the social networking site and his dismissal from the team.

Morganella is the second Olympian to get the boot because of a racially charged tweet. Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was left in Athens after her so-called “joke” about Africans in Greece.

“With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food!!!” she tweeted.

The triple jumper was no longer welcome to travel to London with her fellow Greek athletes.

“Social media is, in the end, about how people are using it,” says social media expert Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer and professor at Columbia University. “Social media doesn’t change the people who are using it and racism has been part of human nature and part of sports for centuries.”

He added, “Twitter is like athletes having their own press conference.”

The International Olympic Committee created “IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines” which clearly states that upon noncompliance of the guidelines an athlete can be stripped of their Olympic Games accreditations.

“These athletes know they live in a world of sponsorships, public opinion and their fans,” said Sreenivasan.  “The world today is about branding, having a following, having people cheer you on and social media has a role in that, social media can build you up.”

Social media can also break you down. An inappropriate tweet can send you out of London, out of the Olympics and straight home faster than you can tweet your apology. Game over.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


2012 Olympics: Flag Flub Prompts North Koreans to Walk off Field

Stanley Chou/Getty Images(GLASGOW, Scotland) -- The opening ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics are still a day away and already there's a controversy.

As usual, the soccer competition started early as North Korea's women's team met the Colombian squad at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, and as is custom, profiles of the players were shown beforehand on the big screen along with their country's flag.

Only in the case of North Korea, some signals were crossed and the South Korean flag was flashed.

Since the two countries remain bitter foes 60 years after the Korean War ended, the coach pulled his team off the field and refused to return for over an hour.

Meanwhile, the games' organizers in London issued a statement saying, "Clearly this is a mistake, we will apologize to the team and the national Olympic committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."

The faux pas evidently inspired North Korea, which wound up beating Colombia, 2-0.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Political Football: Greece Takes On Germany

Pixland/Thinkstock(GDANSK, Poland) -- Greece will wiggle itself out from under Germany’s boot heel for at least 90 minutes on Friday, as the international spotlight shifts from the Eurozone’s hottest fiscal feud to an unlikely European Championship quarter-final soccer match in Gdansk, Poland.

Victory against the heavily favored German side, with Chancellor Angela Merkel flying in from Berlin to support her squad, would make for a rare and glorious night in Austerity-blighted Athens.

Tabloids newspapers around the world spent the past four days chewing up the storyline.  

“Rejoice, dear Greeks,” wrote Germany’s Bild newspaper, “your bankruptcy on Friday is on us!”

“Bring us Merkel,” read a headline in Greece’s Goal News, “You will never get Greece out of the euro.”

Players from both sides have downplayed the political angle, with Greek striker Georgios Samaras (no relation to new Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras) calling the subplot “a bad thing,” and declaring his team was “going to play and enjoy it because we love it, nothing else.”

German manager Joachim Low sounded a similar note on Tuesday.

“Angela Merkel and the national teams are on very good terms,” he told reporters.  ”We have reached an agreement where she doesn’t interfere with my tactical instructions and, in return, I don’t deal with her political agenda.”

If only it were so simple.  While it’s a touch overwrought to say “soccer explains the world,” there should be little doubt that the sport has a way of synthesizing the politics of the moment and calling up the pain of generations’ past.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt Begins Mourning Those Killed, Injured in Soccer Clashes

AFP/Getty Images(PORT SAID, Egypt) -- Three days of national mourning were declared in Egypt Thursday after 74 people were killed and 1,000 others were injured in violent clashes that erupted at the end of a soccer match the day before.

In what has been described as the worst violence in the country since the riots that led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak a year ago, fans of the Masry soccer club rushed the field in the city of Port Said following a 3-1 victory over the favored Ahly club.  Bloody clashes between the two rival groups of fans ensued, with many dying or suffering from blunt trauma to the head.

In response, the Egyptian parliament and cabinet are holding emergency meetings. A protest march is also planned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Soccer Riots Leave Dozens Dead

AFP/Getty Images(PORT SAID, Egypt) -- Violence after a soccer match in the northern Egyptian town of Port Said has left dozens of people dead, perhaps as many as 73, and around 1,000 people injured -- a sign the death toll could still climb.

Fans of the Masry soccer club rushed the field following a 3-1 victory over the favored Ahly club. Video shows thousands of Masry fans descending onto the field -- the Ahly team and fans fleeing.

Egyptian media is reporting that most of the casualties came as a result of suffocation or head injuries.

It was the deadliest day in Egypt since former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down from power a year ago next week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


VIDEO: Wind-Blown Goal Sweeps Goalkeeper into Record Books

Alex Livesey/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The 90-yard goal American goalkeeper Tim Howard scored Wednesday night in an English Premier League soccer game put him in the record books, but just how the ball landed in the net is what’s getting all the attention.

Howard’s assistance in making the goal, his first in a professional soccer game, came not from his fellow Everton players, but from the wind.

Video of the game shows the moment Howard’s improbable goal began, with a right-footed kick about five yards inside his own penalty area, followed by an enormous bounce about 30 yards from the goal of the opposing team, Bolton.

The wind then blows the ball high and wide over the outstretched hands of leaping Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and lands with a swish in the net.

With the goal, Howard joined the record books in becoming only the fourth goalkeeper to score in English Premier League history.

Despite Howard’s goal, and the wind, his team went on to lose the match to Bolton, 2-1.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Korea Upsets Japan in Historic Soccer Match

Pixland/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- The North Korean soccer team led an emotional upset over Japan in a historic World Cup qualifier on Tuesday -- the first played between the teams in Pyongyang in 22 years.

Fifty thousand fans packed Kim Il-Sung Stadium, decked largely in black but waving red North Korean flags. The sound of drums and silver megaphones drowned out the dozens of Japanese fans who were granted special visas for the game and told to support their team quietly.

Pyongyang granted visas to 200 Japanese nationals ahead of the game -- 150 fans, two dozen journalists and diplomats -- along with strict rules accompanying their visit.  Fans were banned from bringing laptops, cellphones and cameras with zoom lenses, as well as drums, vuvuzelas, and Japanese flags.

Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic ties, and Tokyo has strongly discouraged travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) since imposing economic sanctions in 2006 following a North Korean missile launch. But the two sides made an exception in the name of sports.

The match ended 1-0, with North Korea scoring the goal early in the second half.  Despite the loss, Team Japan advances to the final round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, while North Korea is out.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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