Friday Morning, Dumping and Pumping

Via the excellent WORLD CUP BLOG comes word that conducting all those Euro 2008 matches may just be a waste of time: THE CZECH REPUBLIC IS GOING TO WIN.

Of course, if these guys turn out to be right year after year, the bookmakers will all have to find honest work. Not that it matters to us here in the US anyway: Las Vegas still isn't terribly interested in taking soccer action and the US Government is doing everything it can to keep you from betting overseas.

Talk about discrimination: you can bet football and basketball until the cows come home, but laying some money down on a soccer match is next to impossible.

For all of you (well, OK, maybe both of you) who are following the Rochester Rhinos soap opera, JEFF DIVERONICA HAS BEEN BLOGGING HIS FINGERS TO THE BONE over the past few days.

For those of you whose interest may be less than all-consuming: Dan Williams, the wealthy British guy, walked away from the table after the lead bank refused to deal. Meanwhile (or maybe as a result) the City of Rochester announced on Tuesday that they're probably going to take over ownership of PAETEC Park, maybe as soon as today.

Now there's another investor, someone connected to another of the banks, who is interested in taking over the team if he can swing a deal. The sticking point is that while several people are willing to try and run the team, nobody wants to assume the millions of dollars of debt the team has run up in order to do it.

Then there's the question of whether a new owner could use the Rhinos' name and if the USL agreement will prevent "another" team from doing business in Western New York.

In any case, the original owners, who nobody is even talking to any more, are going to be seeing a lot of courtrooms as their creditors seek to collect their money. Like the old saying goes: the only way to make a small fortune in American soccer is to start with a large fortune.

A correspondent felt that I was only giving the NYRB point of view when I linked to the NYT's Jack Bell writing on the Marmol kerfuffle. So just to keep everyone happy, HERE'S A LINK TO LUIS ARROYAVE'S TAKE on the subject. Can't get more Chicago than that.

Chivas USA lost to DC United NOT ONCE BUT TWICEyesterday. They didn't want their first teams to rick injury on the substandard field the organizers provided, so they played one game someplace else and then let the reserves play on the original field.

I'll bet that made both teams' reserves all warm and fuzzy feeling.

I wish someone out there would explain to me why there is this movement afoot to enter a "Great Britain Soccer Team" in the LONDON OLYMPICS.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are understandably reluctant to go along for fear it's the first step in eliminating them as independent organizations. Organizers are insistent that nothing of the sort is afoot, but they think this would be great fun to try just this once.

I just don't get the point.

Maximum Leader for Life Sepp Blatter HAS SOME THINGS TO SAY on a number of topics, first and foremost being leading a crackdown on "thugs", and demanding that officials stop finding excuses to not send players off.

He makes some interesting and responsible points about protecting the gme's stars and how the only thing that's going to change this legalized assault is to come down like a ton of bricks on the offenders.

Of course, being Sepp, after making some good points and acting remarkably like a responsible leader, he then went on to comment that there sure are a whole bunch of lesbians in Women's soccer.

He just doesn't know when to shut up.

Sepp will be at the IFAB meetings this weekend where the prime topics will, as always, involve tweaking the rules. AMONG OTHER THINGS FIFA wants permission to experiment with adding two additional Assistant Referees.

I'm not sure how that would work exactly, but I don't see how that's the answer to the game's on-field problems.

UPDATE: Finally, the truth is out. David Beckham has been conspiring with Pakistani intelligence to operate a remote controlled ball from the stands at Galxy games in return for which he'll be receiving money looted from Iraqi banks - some of which he'll naturally have to kick up to the Queen - along with the key to the US city of his choice.

I KNEW IT ALL ALONG but finally the world is coming around.