Mon 12 Nov by Mark Gleeson
* The South African Football Association have lifted the suspension on top referee victor Hlungwani, who had been put on ice after September’s game between Black Leopards and Bloemfontein Celtic because he changed his strip to avoid a clash of colours. He was supposed to wear the new referee’s strip that carries the livery and colours of OUTsurance, the controversial new sponsors of match officials. But he decided not to wear it as he felt it would clash with the green of the visiting team and so wore an old strip to avoid a clash of colours. This led to him being hauled over the coals.
* Eden Hazard says the aggressive treatment that he is often subjected to by his markers is starting to take its toll on his body. The Chelsea forward has been fouled on average every 24 minutes in the Premier League this season, 28 times altogether. “I’m 27 now and starting to get older, so I have to take more care of my body,” the Belgian international told reporters. “I am feeling the wear and tear. I have been playing as a professional for more than 10 years now.” Chelsea are trying to protect him, too, by using him less than expected as they rotate players regularly.
* The Premier League has broken its silence on the financial fair play allegations levelled at Manchester City in the ‘football leaks’ allegations and promised to act if it finds any of its own rules have been broken. City have been accused of fudging their finances, which comes from oil-rich Abu Dhabi, including striking a backroom deal with UEFA having broken the European governing body’s financial fair play regulations. The Premier League does not permit its teams to lose more than 105-million pounds over a three-year period.
* This year’s Copa Libertadores final between two great Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate is arguably the most anticipated club match in the history of Latin American football. Saturday’s first leg was washed out however in an anti-climax. But the two-legged tie is guaranteed to stir the passions and Radio Colonia, from neighbouring Uruguay, have been planning a special live broadcast of the decider for fans with heart conditions. Organisers said the show would feature co-commentary from a cardiologist and “Zen music” replacing crowd noise would “put the safety of our listeners first”.