First of all, a little bit of trivia: There are 5 clubs in the top 4 pro leagues beginning with L and four of them lead their respective leagues: Liverpool, Leeds United, Luton Town and Lincoln City, while Leyton Orient lead the 5th tier, The National League. Leicester City are the odd one out.
Nasty scenes once again at The Den, home of Millwall, and prior to kick off at nearby Surrey Quays station where 200-300 rival fans clashed in riotous behaviour prior to their 4th Road FA Cup tie. One Everton fan, Jason Burns, was slashed across the face by a rival fan. Two video camera police captured the scenes as mounted police with batons drawn arrived.
Millwall had a late 3-2 winning goal to take them to the next round, but hundreds of their fans chanted racial and other words throughout at Everton fans. Millwall the club has done much to combat this kind of thing at home and on the road, but only a closure of part of the stadium will be enough. The police are trolling through the video footage to ID the hooligans.
Over in the Middle East the ASIAN CUP semi-final between hosts UAE and Qatar was marred by fans behaviour. Nicknamed EL GASICO, Qatar are diplomatically isolated from their neighbours and the 42,000 crowd was almost all local fans in the Mohamed bin Zayal stadium in Abu Dhabi with many give away tickets and no away fans. Qatar won 4-0 but their national anthem was booed and fans threw their shoes and plastic bottles onto the pitch as the goals pored in, and their team was humbled.
The final against Japan will take place on Friday in the Zayed Sports City Stadium.across the city.
Carlos Queioz stepped down as coach of Iran after Team Melliran lost 3-0 to Japan in the other semi-final.. He had coached Portugal to 2 youth World Cups and was also an assistant at Manchester United, boss of Real Madrid.. I thought that he should have been No.1 choice by US Soccer for the recent top job. Rumour has it that he might take over Colombia. He also coached Portugal twice, plus South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Sporting Lisbon, NY/NY MeroStars ...and Iran for 8 years.
We now have the sorry affair in Bahrain, one of the most restrictive and controlled Middle East nations and it is hoped that FIFA and the IOC will interveen. Hakeem al-Araibi has been held in a cell in Bankok, Thailand originally on an Interpol red notice ( since cancelled). He is a Shia Muslim and was arrested in Bahrain in 2012 and tortured, along with many athletes who opposed the nasty regime. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison at an unfair trial. He was accused of vandalising a police station when in fact he was playing in a televised match at the time. He fled to Australia in 2014 and was granted refugee status there in 2017. He had arrived in Bangkok for a vacation with his wife in November and has been in detention since.
He opposed Asian Football Federation President Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa and member of the ruling Bahrainian royal family when he ran for FIFA President. Al-Araibi played for the Bahrain national team and recently for Pascoe Vale FC of Melbourne.
FIFA and IOC boss Thomas Bach have promised to turn the screw on the Thais and the Bahrainians.