Daily Archives: February 2, 2018

Russia agriculture ministry: World Cup could be affected by locusts

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Swarms of locusts could attack football pitches and cause a “global scandal” at this summer’s World Cup, according to Russian government official Pyotr Chekmarev.

Chekmarev, head of the agriculture ministry’s crop farming department, said that around a million hectares of land in southern Russia was infested with locusts.

Amongst the locations that could be affected includes the World Cup host city of Volgograd, where England play Tunisia on 18 June.

Volgograd has already seen an infestation of locusts last year.

“One way or another, We have learnt how to deal with locusts, but how do we not fall into a global scandal with locusts this year?” Chekmarev added.

“The whole world is coming here. Football fields are green. Locusts love it where there is lots of green. How would they not come to the place where football is being played?”

The 2018 World Cup gets under way on 14 June and matches will take place in 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities.

Ligue 1 referee who kicked player banned for six months

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Ligue 1 official Tony Chapron has been suspended by the French Football League (LFP) for six months for kicking Nantes defender Diego Carlos during a 1-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

In the late stages of the game in January, Carlos charged forward to join a Nantes counter-attack and clipped Chapron’s heels — clearly accidentally — sending the official tumbling to the ground.

However, Chapron retaliated and swung a kick out at the Brazilian before giving Carlos his marching orders with a second yellow card as the player complained.

The match official’s actions were immediately criticised by Nantes players after the game, with midfielder Valentin Rongier calling for him to be given a lengthy suspension.

“I don’t think Diego did it on purpose because he’s not a bad guy, and after the referee gets up and kicks out at him from the ground,” he said. “He dared to tell me that he slipped but I know he struck him. I know it’s difficult to referee, but they have to question themselves from time to time. If a player did that, we’d be banned for 10 matches. I hope the pictures speak for themselves.”

A retrospective review then saw Carlos’ red card quickly overturned by LFP officials, while the Chapron was suspended while the disciplinary committee investigated the situation.

However, despite the LFP having decided on the full extent of the referee’s punishment, half of his penalty has been suspended.

“After hearing Mr. Tony Chapron and reading the official’s report, the commission decided to sanction him with six months of suspension, three of which were suspended,” a statement on the website of the French football governing body read.

Mesut Ozil extends contract with Arsenal up to 2021

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Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has extended his stay at the Emirates stadium after signing a contract extension that ties him to the Gunners for three more years.

The deal comes on the day Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund and follows the departure of forward Alexis Sanchez, who joined Manchester United despite lengthy contract negotiations with the Gunners.

By signing the deal Ozil, 29, will be erasing months of uncertainty that shrouded him which also makes him the club’s highest paid player on £350,000 a week before tax and represents a massive statement of intent from both him and them.

His previous deal had been set to expire by the end of the coming summer, which would have allowed the German international to leave as a free agent by then.

The player was also allowed to discuss a move with foreign clubs since 1 January.

Ozil has made 21 appearances for Arsenal this season, scoring four goals and recording six assists, and his new deal commits him to the Premier League club until he is 32.

He won three FA Cups in his three-and-a-half-year spell at the Emirates — with no other player recording more assists or created more chances in the Premier League since his debut in September 2013.

Meanwhile, Arsenal saw the departure of another player in Olivier Giroud, completed a £18m move to Chelsea and signed an 18-month contract at Stamford Bridge. In turn, the Gunner’s London rivals allowed Michy Batshuayi to join Aubameyang’s former club Borussia Dortmund on loan for the rest of the season.