Scottish Daily Mail

Gaddafi the football flop


QUESTION Did Al-Saadi Gaddafi play football for an Italian Serie A team? ONE of the stranger charges against the Gaddafi regime was that state funds were used to further the Italian footballin­g career of his third-oldest son, Al-Saadi.

Libya was an Italian colony between 1911 and 1947 and Italy’s economic interests there remain strong. In 2001, Gaddafi’s financial arm LAFICO ( Libyan Arab Foreign Investment) invested heavily in the Juventus stock market flotation, equating to about 5.5 per cent of the Italian club’s assets.

The Supercoppa Italiana (Italian Super Cup)was held in Tripoli in 2002 between Juventus and Parma, and later that year Al-Saadi began training with Juventus.

Gaddafi was a decent soccer player who played 18 times for the Libyan national team and was a regular for Al-Ittihad Club (Tripoli), but he was not good enough to play f or a Serie A club i n normal circumstan­ces.

Yet the following year he was signed by Perugia’s flamboyant chairman, Luciano Gaucci.

On reaching Perugia, Al- Saadi hired Diego Maradona as his technical consultant and disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as his fitness trainer. Given the calibre of his consultant­s, it is perhaps not surprising that Gaddafi was banned after testing positive for nandrolone in 2003 before even playing a game. He was suspended for three months.

After serving a suspension, he played only one competitiv­e match for the club, but it was a vital one, with the side beating Juventus in a crucial relegation contest in 2005.

Al-Saadi would have seen more action if not for Perugia coach Serse Cosmi’s refusal to play him. Gaucci had begged his manager to use him. Gaucci issued a revealing statement at the time as to why: ‘[Silvio] Berlusconi called me up and encouraged me. He told me having Gaddafi in the team is helping us build a relationsh­ip with Libya. If he plays badly, he plays badly. So be it.’

After Al-Saadi’s return from suspension, Cosmi held firm and Al-Saadi remained on the bench for a year. He finally saw some action, for 15 minutes, in a key relegation game against Juventus in May as Perugia won, 1-0. He received this less than glowing review in La Repubblica: ‘Even at twice his current speed he would still be twice as slow as slow itself.’ He never played for them again. In 2006, Al-Saadi had his second 11 minutes of game time, this time turning out for Udinese in a dead end- of- season match against Cagliari and coming close to scoring with a ‘great left-foot shot from the edge of the area’. His statistics for the entire season consisted of eight passes, one shot and two tackles.

Al-Saadi’s final season in Italy was at Sampdoria, where he failed to make a competitiv­e appearance.

Following the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Al- Saadi escaped to Niger, where he remains under the protection of President Mahamadou Issoufou.

Eric Moorhouse, London E4. QUESTION Why didn’t Sir David Frost do National Service? DAVID Paradine Frost was born in Tenterden, Kent, on April 7, 1939. A fine sportsman, he was offered a contract with Nottingham Forest but turned it down in favour of a place at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied English from 1958 to 1962.

Pupils like Frost, who enrolled at university before their 18th birthday, were able to defer National Service until the completion of their degree course. This meant that you sometimes had conscripts who were 21 or 22. National Service was abolished in 1960, two years before he graduated.

Terry Haynes, Wilmslow, Cheshire. I WAS at Gillingham Grammar School in the same years that Sir David Frost attended. I also was a member of the church where his father, the Rev Paradine Frost, was the minister.

I left school to start work in July, 1955. Sir David Frost continued into the sixth form and then on to university. Due to my studies at night school in the field of architectu­re/building I was given various ‘deferments’ under the National Service Acts.

Deferments ended on June 1, 1960. Therefore any person having a deferment date beyond that date was not required to enlist. My deferment ended on June 30, 1960, so I was not called up for the Forces. The same rules also applied to Sir David Frost. He was a good school chum.

Brian Bovis, Peterborou­gh.

QUESTION Have any crop circles appeared in the UK this summer? IT HAS been a bad year for crop circles. Just 20-odd poor attempts have appeared in Wiltshire, compared with about 60 last year. Not only that, their quality has seriously diminished. This either suggests a lower form of alien life — or the makers are getting lazy.

The truth is most top crop circle makers have quit f ollowing a clampdown by farmers, for whom each large circle represents hundreds of pounds of damage. Many now make sand circles, which are legal.

Former croppie Matthew Williams said: ‘The problem is that the best croppies have retired or gone on to something new, so there isn’t any competitio­n any more.’

Given that 90 per cent of the 10,000 crop circles observed in the past few decades have appeared in fields in a 10-mile radius of the Neolithic stone circle at Avebury, in Wiltshire, one can see why the farmers were frustrated.

However, the crop circles had been a major tourist attraction, pulling in cereologis­ts (those who study crop circles) from around Europe, and their demise has been bad news for local hotels, B&Bs and pubs.

Joss Evans, Glastonbur­y, Somerset.

QUESTION Why are the London docks so empty? FURTHER to the earlier answer, another factor in the loss of freight business is that it was cheaper and quicker via Felixstowe.

In the Seventies I was arranging regular imports from Scandinavi­a via Tilbury or Felixstowe. We used roll on, roll off. Our freight was loaded on to trailers at the factory in Sweden, taken to the port and driven on to the vessel where the cab and engine part would be uncoupled.

In the UK, another cab/engine would be coupled up to the trailer and, after import formalitie­s, driven to our premises. We stopped using Tilbury because their port charges were more expensive and the delivery time was two to three days longer, presumably because the sea (slower) part of the journey was longer.

V. Killick, London W4.

 ??  ?? Signing: Colonel Gaddafi’s son Al-Saadi holds up his Perugia shirt in June 2003
Signing: Colonel Gaddafi’s son Al-Saadi holds up his Perugia shirt in June 2003
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