Said & Done

The sea­son so far: Maradona, Fifa 2.0 and a ban for be­ing la­conic

The Observer - Sport - - Football - David Hills

Quote of the week

Jorge Al­berto Hank, hir­ing Diego Maradona to work for Do­ra­dos in Mex­ico’s drug car­tel heart­land. “Dur­ing my con­ver­sa­tions with him he’s been very ex­cited to come here. Hon­estly, it was eas­ier to con­vince him than I thought.”

► Also up­beat about the deal: Maradona’s agent Ma­tias Morla – con­fi­dent his client is fit to hon­our both the Do­ra­dos tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor job and the three- year con­tract he signed in July to run Di­namo Brest in Be­larus. Morla says Maradona, filmed in Be­larus last month sit­ting on the roof of a car show­ing fans his nip­ples ( be­low), is “ready to serve both

clubs … Diego is happy to lead.”

Also keep­ing busy

Gianni In­fantino – re­new­ing his Fifa 2.0 re­brand after a “best ever” sum­mer, and vis­it­ing the Oval Offi ce. Among the on- cam­era ban­ter in Washington last month: a) In­fantino giv­ing Trump a red card to “send off ” the fake news me­dia; b) In­fantino telling him: “You’re part of the Fifa team now.” Trump: “I like that. I like that”; plus c) Trump: “You’re pretty fa­mous, right? Pretty im­por­tant and pretty fa­mous?” In­fantino: “Yeah, it looks like it.” Trump: “Th e job you’ve done is re­ally fan­tas­tic, Gianni. So thank you very much.”

Mean­while

Also press­ing for a fair hear­ing this month:

1) Ex- Paraguay FA head Juan Án­gel Napout – ap­peal­ing after be­ing jailed for nine years and made to for­feit rack­e­teer­ing gains of $ 3,374,025.88. Napout, who se­cured an apol­ogy in 2012 for “un­founded” smears when Olimpia pres­i­dent Marcelo Re­canate called him an “em­bez­zling filthy rat bas­tard”, de­nies all charges. 2) Ex- Brazil FA head José Maria Marin – ap­peal­ing against his four- year sen­tence after Brook­lyn fed­eral court judge Pamela Chen ig­nored his “dra­matic pleas” dur­ing sen­tenc­ing – the 86- year- old shout­ing: “Christ car­ried a cross, I carry one too” while point­ing at a rash on his leg. His key mes­sage to Chen about the $ 14m he made while run­ning the FA: “Don’t take away my wife and fam­ily’s in­her­i­tance!”

3) Ex- Ghana FA head Kwesi Nyan­takyi – con­test­ing a new ex­ten­sion to his ethics ban after he was filmed putting a $ 65,000 cash “gift” into a bag in a ho­tel room. Th e ban comes a year after he was re- elected to the Fifa 2.0 coun­cil on a pledge to “make the winds of change blow”. He de­nies wrong­do­ing.

And 4) Ex- Do­mini­can Repub­lic FA head Osiris Guzmán, also con­test­ing a ban ex­ten­sion, three years after he ad­dressed Concacaf’s congress on fall­ing press stan­dards. Guzmán ar­gued the me­dia should show Fifa “more re­spect”, given that Sepp Blat­ter com­bined the virtues of some key fig­ures from his­tory: “Je­sus Christ, Nel­son Man­dela, Moses, Abra­ham Lin­coln, Win­ston Churchill and Martin Luther King.”

Other news: most wise

Uli Hoe­ness – Bay­ern pres­i­dent and € 28.5m tax eva­sion con­vict – ad­vis­ing PSG on ethics after di­rec­tor An­tero Hen­rique’s failed eff orts to sign Jérôme Boateng. “A world- class club can­not have a fig­ure­head like Hen­rique. Th at guy just doesn’t project the right im­age.”

Surest touch

2012: Boris John­son ( left) ne­go­ti­ates a rent deal with West Ham: “It’s just a ques­tion of mak­ing sure that

the value of an as­set which is a pub­lic as­set and some­thing that tax­pay­ers put half a bil­lion pounds into is prop­erly refl ected in the com­mer­cial deal that is now be­ing done with a pri­vate sec­tor en­tity. People will un­der­stand that my job is to get the best pos­si­ble deal for the tax­payer.”

2018: Sta­dium op­er­a­tors con­firm the tax­payer now faces losses “for the next 97 years”.

Most la­conic

France: Laval coach François Cic­col­ini – banned for five months for telling a re­porter who asked about tac­tics: “You ask me bad ques­tions.

I’m go­ing to hurt you. Per­haps I’m go­ing to hit your head on the ground.” Laval said Cic­col­ini ( right), who also told the jour­nal­ist to “take your Dic­ta­phone and in­sert it like a sup­pos­i­tory”, had just been “speak­ing la­con­i­cally”, due to the re­porter’s “un­pro­fes­sional approach”.

Man­ager news: best start

Bil­ler­icay owner Glenn Tam­plin ( above)– nam­ing him­self man­ager for a third spell hav­ing sacked him­self in Fe­bru­ary, deny­ing co­caine smears and look­ing to sell up due to crit­ics “bait­ing me, bait­ing me, bait­ing me”. His pledge to fans about find­ing the right in­vestors: “I will not let this club down.” 

Also mak­ing fresh starts this sea­son: a) Notts County chair­man Alan Hardy, writ­ing a pre- sea­son ad­dress to fans on 3 Au­gust, call­ing for Kevin Nolan to be given time and space: “I hope and be­lieve this can be a very spe­cial sea­son and, with your sup­port, it will be. One thing I would ask for, how­ever, is pa­tience. With so many new sign­ings through the door, it’s only nat­u­ral that there will be hic­cups along the way.” His main mes­sage: “A league sea­son is a marathon, not a sprint.”

26 Au­gust: Sacks him.

b) Brad­ford co- owner Edin Rahic, un­veil­ing 32- year- old Michael Collins on 20 June, hail­ing their mu­tual “trust” and “bond”. “It’s not about the age, but about the football knowl­edge. We’re com­mit­ted in what we are do­ing here. [ He] has free­dom and will be pro­tected 100%.” 3 Sep: Sacks him.

Most re­grets

Romania: Arges man­ager Emil San­doi – “feel­ing sad” to go vi­ral last month after leav­ing his tech­ni­cal area to foul a winger. San­doi, fined and banned last week, said: “I just lost my sense of self. I’ve seen the pic­tures, but I just don’t know how this came to pass.”

Fewest ex­cuses

Bul­garia: Atanas Dzham­bazki, coach of sec­ond- tier Kar­i­ana, refl ect­ing on his one- year ban for beat­ing an as­sis­tant referee who got in his way while he was try­ing to beat the ac­tual referee. “No ex­cuses. But I hope ref­er­ees will be more care­ful with de­ci­sions in­volv­ing us in fu­ture. Th ere’s been a real bad trend lately.”

Best ne­go­tia­tor

Nige­ria: For­mer na­tional coach Joe Erico – giv­ing the FA an in­cen­tive to set­tle his long- run­ning un­paid wages claim. “Back when it first hap­pened I was very an­gry at the time, I was an an­gry per­son. So I went back home, stripped naked and put a hex on Nige­ria football. But to­day I can say this: if they come round and pay me my money, all of this will go away.”

Plus: most re­laxed

Paraguay: Sec­ond- tier Club Sport­ing 2 de Mayo coach Car­los Saguier, re­laxed about global me­dia in­ter­est after pho­tos emerged of his “new as­sis­tant” – offi cial club dog Te­sapara – lead­ing train­ing. “She just likes to show them the stretches. She has earned their re­spect.”

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