Italian Soccer Leagued Renamed for Online Gambling Site

serie_bwinAhh, like to see it …

Italy’s Serie B has been renamed for their title sponsor, and now will be known as Serie Bwin.

It’s a two-year deal according to Reuters. This comes after an operational split between Italy’s second-tier professional football league and Serie A.

Below is a list from Wikipedia of who will be in Serie B, er, Serie bwin, for 2010-2011:

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Giovani Becali Goes “Nuts” at Bucharest Poker Tournament

We’ve long been seeing the confluence of poker and soccer. But some of the football people just don’t quite get it yet … the whole gentleman’s game component. Outbursts are not uncommon in poker — but there’s an understanding, whatever you do, don’t mess with the chips … and if you’re gonna come to blows take it away from the table so you don’t slow down the action as authorities come to arrest you.

Check out what happened this weekend at the World Poker Tour’s stop in Bucharest. Football agent Giovani Becali was playing, but supposedly got frustrated at another player hogging the masseuse, and somewhere along the way lost it — throwing chips in the air and cocking his arm as an invitation for the altercation to come to blows:

This was the biggest poker tournament in the history of Romania — so having a brash Romanian sports agent playing seemed a great fit. But after seeing the video of Becali’s spitting in a sportscaster’s face, I can only imagine what it might be like doing a bust-out interview with him.

Earlier this year, Becali got into it with Fiorentina management over his public courting of Man City for his client Adrian Mutu.

The Weekly Dump – January 25th

Larne captain Liam Hogan meets Darren King

God bless the Irish – Once I read Unprofessional Foul there was no doubt what would lead the link dump. Irish sides Newry City and Larne met up in something called the Irish Cup which I assume is their version of the FA Cup. Here’s what I can tell from searching the news sites. Things were going along fine until the 80th minute when Larne captain Liam Hogan committed felonious assault on Darren King (pictured above). After that all damned hell broke loose. Punches, kicks and everyone sent home.  My favorite group of pictures were presented by the BBC, insanity.

Editorial comment: Soccer players fight like little school girls.

Should have paid the electric instead – Real Madrid were paid €2,000,000 for a trip to Albania (Elbonia?) to play a friendly against Gramozi, a newly promoted side who borrowed players from other teams for a little boost. Then the stadium lights went out. Things were thrown, curses cursed, and somebody got sacked. Eventually Real Madrid won the match and got the hell out of Dodge.

Captain Raul was the only Real player to stay for the presentation of a cup, before leaving in a hurry surrounded by bodyguards.

Personalized stab-proof vests in time for the World Cup – This summer’s World Cup will see ~500,000 fans heads to South Africa where they are averaging 50 murders per day and more than 50% of them via knife/shank/sharpened nail clipper (reference TSA procedures). Now local crime lords promise to boost up the mayhem quotient. It makes perfect sense a company would now offer stab-proof vests for those making the trip and kind enough to give supporters the chance to order a vest with their national flag.  World Cup officials are pissed at everyone.  Customized personal protection equipment will be all the rage. (h/t Wicked Chops Poker)

Nine men, No problem – The top fixture in Serie A was the derby between AC Milan and Inter who were 7 points clear before the match. Inter scored their first goal early and then played much of the match with 10 men when Wesley Sneijder was sent off in the 27th minute. An injury time dismissal was enough to grab the 9-man headline then Secreteriat-like Ronaldinho has a penalty attempt rejected. I do think the reporter by have blown the size of this match out of proportion.

During a build-up which had involved more tactics than any game of football, Sneijder and Alessandro Nesta were both set to miss an eagerly-anticipated Milan derby.

Stoke City gun down the Gooners – Winner for worst EPL headline. Stoke City took points from Liverpool last week and this time around they knock Arsenal from the FA Cup. Wenger fielded a fairly weak side after the mid-week clash with Bolton but he’ll have some questions to answer. Who’s left in the FA Cup besides Chelsea and Coca Cola pretenders? Manchester United and Arsenal are now tied atop the leaderboard with the mighty Chelsea (KTBFFH) but they have two games in hand on ManU and one on the Arse.

Becks gets groped – I have no idea how to explain the video below. I cannot speak a lick of Italian but I believe the lass spends a few minutes talking about David Beckham’s junk and then goes on a sneak attack. You have to struggle through the first few minutes of yapping and close ups on his manhood but the two minute mark gets entertaining.

Ronaldinho: Don’t Worry Play Better Now

soccerati-ronaldinho-ac-milan

Apparently all it takes is a little off-field happiness to transform a player from overpaid bust back to FIFA World Player of the Year. Or so seems to be the case with Ronaldinho.

Explaining his recent resurgence (6 goals in the past 3 games), the AC Milan midfielder said, “I feel the love and so I am happy. I step onto the field happy and everything goes smoothly from there.”

Turn up the Bobby McFerrin!

Mutu Bufu’d

Sa ma ia dracu
Sa ma ia dracu

I cannot in any legal sense get my head around this.   In 2003, Chelsea uses it’s newly printed oil mafia cash to overpay Parma for the rights to Adrian Mutu.  Mutu plays for a year, gets caught doing blow, and is suspended for 7 months.  Chelsea decides to terminate his contract, escaping having to pay his wages during the suspension by firing him “for cause.”  So far, I get it.

Chelsea then sues Mutu (through the various sport arbitrators) to try and recover the amount that it didn’t earn by reselling Mutu in the transfer market, and WINS, to the tune of over $24 million dollars.  Wha?  So many problems with this:

1. Where’d they get that figure? It is unfair to assess his market value based upon the inflated amount Chelsea paid, and he certainly didn’t live up to the valuation in his year at the Bridge.  Plus, the rumors of drug use had been confirmed by the suspension, which hardly increases a player’s value.

2. Chelsea didn’t have to terminate his contract and make him a free agent.  I understand why they did, and they benefited financially by not having to pay Mutu during his suspension; further, they gained by not paying his wages for the term of the contract that, cynically, he wasn’t worth.  But again, they CHOSE to forfeit their rights to Mutu rather than try and sell him, even for pennies on the dollar.  In any legitimate tribunal, Mutu is at least entitled to an offset for what they might have been able to get for him, and this is a sum that can be gleaned by looking at Mutu’s subsequent transfer history.

3. This is dangerous precedent.  Mutu was terminated for violating his contract, and has to pay what he would be worth if the club had sold him.  That figure was determined entirely by looking at what Chelsea paid for him.  Isn’t this a way for clubs that spend silly money overpaying for players just to make a splash to get out from under their own stupidity?  City could have terminated Robinho for going awol last year, and perhaps they’ll consider it moving forward if they could get their 55m back from him.  This is not a frivolous concern.

4. His wife is smoking hot.  Consuelo, Soccerati is here for you if you need anything.

Online Gambling on Football Dot Com

bolton-kit

The connection between online gambling and soccer continues to grow in prominence — damn, I really need to learn to bet on soccer — with 188Bet becoming the first two-team kit sponsor in the EPL … their brand soon to be on both Wigan and Bolton. In a two-year deal, gone is JJB Sports and Gone-ish is Reebok.

188Bet-Bolton and 188Bet-Wigan join Mansion-Tottenham and SBOBET-West Ham … making online gambling outfits the torso sponsor of 20 percent of the EPL.

PokerStars, of course, recently entered into Mexico’s Primera Division with FC Chivas, PartyBets has a Coca-Cola team with Leyton Orient, and of course the big boys, Bwin, have Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich. I’m almost sure I’m forgetting a few others …

188Bet, interestingly enough, is an online gambling op that currently draws 80 percent of its customers from the Asian market, and it’s just a coincidence that the new Bolton jersey image above happens to be sized at 188 pixels