FIFA bans Trinidadians

New York Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Trinidadians Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, connected to the recent bribery charges that forced former FIFA vice president and Trinidadian, Jack Warner, to resign his position and sever all ties with football (soccer), were banned by the FIFA Ethics Committee from all football activities for one year.

The committee, led by Judge Petrus Damaseb of Namibia in meetings last Friday and Saturday at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, also banned Asian Football (soccer) head Mohamed bin Hammam of Quatar for life. Warner was also CONCACAF (Confederation of North and Central America and the Caribbean) vice president and president of CFU (Caribbean Football Union).

At a Warner-bin Hammam meeting with CFU officials in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on May 10-11, 2011, it was reported to FIFA by some CFU officials that some of their counterparts took bribes of US$40,000, from bin Hammam in exchange for their votes as he prepared to oppose FIFA President Sepp Blatter in the presidential elections last June. When news broke of the scandal, bin Hammam was forced to forego his bid for the FIFA presidency and Blatter was re-elected unopposed.

The judge also called for more investigations; cases are being prepared against some CFU officials who it is believed accepted the money, and also FIFA executive committee members Worawi Makudi of Thailand, Vernon Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka and Hany Abou Rida from Egypt. Some CFU officials returned the money. CFU represents probably the biggest voting bloc in FIFA as it holds 25 of FIFA’s 208 votes.

Henry Saves The Night

Thierry Henry scored his league-leading eleventh goal of the season to save the New York Red Bulls from the jaws of defeat Saturday night in MLS play at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. The hosts were trailing FC Dallas, 2-1, with five minutes to play, with a man down and heading for their third defeat in the last four games; Henry received a pass from midfielder Dax McCarty just about 20 yards from the FC Dallas goal, turned a defender with a faked right-footed shot, then shot with his unfamiliar left to tie the game at 2-2 and give the home team a much-needed tie. The result leaves the Red Bulls (6-5-12, 30 pts.) in third place, a point behind Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew. FC Dallas (11-5-6, 39pts.) is in second place in the Western Conference, three points behind leaders Los Angeles.

In a drab first half that saw a mere three shots on goal by the Red Bulls and none from Dallas, the Red Bulls managed a goal from forward Juan Agudelo in the 39th minute. The forward one-timed a Dane Richards cross, which deflected off a Dallas defender and gave goal keeper Kevin Hartman no chance as New York welcomed the 1-0 lead at the half.

The second half was more lively as Dallas hit back six minutes into the period when forward Marvin Chavez worked a give-and-go with Ricardo Villa and finished with a hard shot from inside the 18-yard box that deflected off New York defender Tim Ream, past Red Bulls goal keeper Frank Rost. With the score tied at 1-1, Chavez struck again, this time in the 78th minute, when he hit a hard shot from about 16 yards from a low cross from Jair Benitez, which New York defenders failed to clear from the penalty area. The goals were Chavez’s second and third of the season. Just before Henry’s heroics, midfielder Richards was sent off after a second caution, which made Henry’s effort more valuable.

The Red Bulls will play in the 2011 Emirates Cup at the Emirates Stadium in London, England when Henri returns to his old club Arsenal. On Saturday, July 30 the Red Bulls play French club Paris St. Germaine (9:00 a.m ET; TV: MSG), followed by hosts Arsenal versus Argentina’s Boca Juniors. Sunday, the following day, Boca Juniors play Paris Saint-Germaine, followed by the Red Bulls versus Arsenal FC (11:20 a.m. ET; TV: Fox Soccer Channel).

Earlier in the week on Wednesday, the Red Bulls were crushed in Colorado as the Rapids (7-6-9, 30 pts.) racked up four goals to defeat the visitors, 4-1. Sanna Nyassi – making a start in place of the injured striker Conor Casey, who is out for the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles – registered a hat trick, while Wells Thompson got the other to lead the MLS defending champion. Henry got the goal for New York.

In other MLS games last Saturday, the Columbus Crew knocked off the Portland Timbers, 1-0; Sporting Kansas City beat the struggling Toronto FC, 4- 2; Colorado Rapids and the New England Revolution played to a 2-2 tie; Real Salt Lake topped San Jose Earthquakes, 4-0; and Chivas USA toppled the Houston Dynamo, 3-0. The MLS all-stars will play Manchester United at Red Bull Arena Wednesday night, July 27, at 8:30 p.m.

Wambach To Coach

Just back from World Cup play in Germany, U.S. international Abby Wambach is tabbed to be the player-coach of her struggling WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer) team, MagicJack (5-5-1), for the rest of the season. Owner Dan Borislow, who bought the Washington Freedom and took the team to Boca Raton, recently fired coach Mike Lyons and Wambach is now in charge.

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