Heroes of the Week: Mark Crane, Dan Burns and Herbert Channick, the arbitrators who heard Debbie Keller’s frivolous lawsuit against US Soccer. The arbitrators found that US Soccer acted appropriately in selecting its roster for the 1999 women’s residency program. After not being selected to the 26-player residency roster in January, Keller, a member of the national team pool, filed suit in February claiming US Soccer was retaliating against her for her other suit, that for sexual harassment against the University of North Carolina and its head coach Anson Dorrance, who was also once the US head coach. Eight current or former UNC players are now with the team as it prepares for the Women’s World Cup and virtually every one of those players signed a letter supporting Dorrance in the case. More than 10 other witnesses testified over the four days of hearings, after which Crane, Burns and Channick conveyed their decision orally. (Keller subsequently filed suit claiming oral decisions are themselves a form of sexual harassment.) “With this matter behind us, our players, coaches and administrative staff can continue to focus on the most important task at hand, which is winning the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said US Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher. “At this time, we wish Ms. Keller good luck in all her future endeavors.” In other words, we’ll keep your resume on file; don’t call us, we’ll call you; don’t let the door hit you in your ass on your way out. (Keller has filed suit against TotW claiming the above mention of her ass is also sexual harassment.)
And the Stuard* goes to … Referee Antonio Lopez Nieto, who earned himself a dubious place in the annals of Spanish soccer history when he gave 16 yellow cards, and two reds, during the match between Atletico Bilbao and Atletico Madrid, setting a Liga Primera record for cautions. The match was not excessively physical. Only 33 fouls were committed, which meant Lopez Nieto booked a player for every other foul. After the match Lopez Nieto needed treatment for repetitive stress wrist trauma. Despite the referee’s lack of fitness, Doug “The Centrifuge” Logan and MLS Director of Game Operations Joe Machnik are rumored to be enthusiastically bidding for Lopez Nieto’s services. Upon hearing the news, DC United GM Kevin Payne began gibbering incoherently (somewhat like one of Bora Milutinovic’s more lucid moments), eventually needing to be taken away by the Happy Men in the white coats. (Thousands of thirteen year old boys stopped reading the Playboy magazines under their fathers’ beds when Debbie Keller filed suit against Lopez Nieto claiming ‘repetitive stress wrist trauma’ has sexual overtones and therefore constitutes harassment.)
Quote of the Week: “The most problems aren’t caused by the guys involved in the initial incident. It’s the Henry Kissingers who run 50 yards to get involved in something, thinking they can sort it out who give me most trouble.” (Hugh Dallas, Scottish referee, on dealing with on-pitch melees.)
YALLOP FATWA FURORE
By “John Rea’s Dirty Shorts”
International Soccer bung-scandal lid-blower David Yallop is in hiding tonight after hardline Fi’ifa leader Ayatollah Blatteri denounced his new book as “blasphemous” and called for a worldwide “fatwa” on the author.
The call for the death sentence for Yallop came during morning prayers at the Revolutionary Palace in Gehneva and sparked off huge rallies by Soccer fanatics, who demonstrated their support for the order by burning effigies of the author and chanting anti-Western slogans.
Yallop’s book “How They Bought the Game” accuses Blatteri of bribing twenty top-ranking Fi’ifa clerics to secure his position as head of the most powerful religious organisation in the world.
In a terse statement Fi’ifa spokesman Keith Coopah denounced the book as “the work of the devil.” Charges that the Fi’ifa theocracy was corrupt and nepotistic were, he said, “brimming with unsubstantiated slurs and meanness”, adding that Yallop himself was “in the thrall of Satan”.
Since the fatwa was announced bookstores in Europe and America have withdrawn their stocks amid fears of reprisals from Soccer fantics eager to martyrs themselves at Blatteri’s behest.
Blatteri, spiritual and secular head to over 200 million Fi’ifans, has long been viewed by Western observers as a mere mouthpiece for Joaotollah Havelangei, the 87-year old despot who stepped down as leader a year ago due to ill-health. Havelangei first swept to power in the 1974 Fi’ifa Revolution, using aid from militant African associations and taking advantage of popular discontent with the then Shah of Soccer, Stanili Rous.
Meanwhile more moderate Soccer followers spoke out against the fatwa. “We too find what Mr. Yallop has written deeply upsetting and offensive to our beliefs” said Ue’fa leader Lennart Johannjani, “but the death sentence is definitely not a penalty we agree with.”
Ian Rushdie was unavailable for comment.
Turd of the Week
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