Wednesday, January 8, 2014

French prosecutors have given more details of Michael Schumacher's skiing accident

Seven-times World Champion had only just gone off-piste when accident happened; helmet cam gives "great deal of information"

Michael Schumacher: Remains in a critical condition

French prosecutors investigating Michael Schumacher's skiing accident have been giving more details of their enquiry.

In a press conference in Albertville on Wednesday, Chief Prosecutor Patrick Quincy said the investigation was "progressing well" and had spoken to various witnesses to the accident as well as doctors treating the seven-times World Champion, who remains in an induced coma in Grenoble Hospital ten days on from the incident.
M. Quincy also said they have viewed film from the camera Schumacher was wearing on his helmet at the time of the accident, but added that they needed more time to study it frame-by-frame.
"We proceeded to examine the film that was made, that particular film was extremely legible and gives us a great deal of information and at least confirms the information that we already had," he said.
"So we will take advantage of this film in order to be able to once again recreate the situation. We will know what exactly was the path that Mr Schumacher followed."
A technician and gendarme - who is also a ski guide - will now view the film to further establish what happened.
Already known is that Schumacher was skiing at an altitude of 2,700m in the French resort of Meribel at about 11am on December 29th when he went off-piste between two ski runs and lost control after hitting a rock.
According to investigators, Schumacher only went between 3-6m off-piste when he hit the rock. The second rock, which caused the serious head injuries which have left the seven-times World Champion critically ill in a Grenoble hospital, was about 8m off-piste.
"Mr Schumacher is in fact a very good skier, so he was going on the left-hand side in an area above what limits the main piste," Chief Gendarme Stephane Bozon explained.
"He was on terrain that was really more sloped and because of that slope there was certain speed. He tried to reduce the speed, but there were a few curves, so a parallel trace remained to the direction he was going in.
"We can't really estimate the speed in km/h, we can't really work out a figure, but he was a good skier on terrain that was slightly curved, but one couldn't in fact as it was off-piste, it made it difficult to slow down. He needed to remain in the line of the slope."
Relevant to any prosecution is the question of whether the skis runs were properly marked. However, police are denying that was the case and say they conform to French norms.
"As you are well aware, there are some French norms or standards that regard signalling, warning information and so on and what we were able to note was that those standards had been respected," M. Quincy said.
They have also ruled out Schumacher's skis being at fault.
"I would say the skis are not the reason for the accident," Bozon said. "The fixings were in a good state; but there was a scratch on the rocky surface. So the skis had been damaged because they came in contact with the rocky surface."
German paper Der Spiegel says it has film of the accident in addition to that taken from the camera on Schumacher's helmet. However, prosecutors expressed "reservations" and "feel quite dubious" about its veracity.
A sobering statistic also revealed by M. Quincy is that his department investigates as many as 50 such incidents each winter.

Fifa: No decision made on 2022 Qatar World Cup move

Sepp BlatterFifa has moved quickly to play down claims from its own general secretary that the Qatar 2022 World Cup will not take place in the summer.
The sport's governing body stressed no final decision will be taken until after the 2014 World Cup and only after lengthy consultation.It comes after Jerome Valcke told Radio France: "The dates for the World Cup will not be June-July."
He suggested it could take place between 15 November and 15 January.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter had already said the tournament would take place in November or December, with organisers in Qatar still hopeful of hosting it in June and July.
Following Valcke's Radio France interview, a Fifa spokesperson said the general secretary had only been expressing "his view".
The spokesperson added: "The precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process which involves all main event stakeholders, including both the international football community - Fifa confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players - as well as Fifa's commercial partners."The consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision.
"No decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil as agreed by the Fifa executive committee."
The Qatar 2022 Supreme committee said they "will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of the outcome of the consultation."
Britain's Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said he was "totally surprised" at Valcke's statement and confirmed the decision had to be taken by the executive committee.
The scheduling of the tournament has been debated since it was controversially awarded to Qatar in December 2010.
Fears have been raised that the summer heat in the Gulf emirate would be dangerous for players and fans alike.
Valcke said: "If you play between 15 November and the end of December, that's the time when the weather conditions are best, when you can play in temperatures equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe, averaging 25 degrees. That would be perfect for playing football."If the World Cup does go ahead at the end of 2022, it could pose problems for the Africa Cup of Nations, which is scheduled for January 2023.
Blatter said two months ago that a firm decision on dates for the 2022 World Cup will be made in December 2014.
Qatar organisers have indicated it would be happy to switch to a winter World Cup.
Failed bidders Australia have vowed to seek compensation from Fifa if the 2022 World Cup is played in winter.
None of the 19 World Cups to date have ever been played outside the months of May, June or July.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Real Madrid 3 Celta Vigo 0: Ronaldo scores 400th career goal as Bale returns from injury

Cristiano Ronaldo made it 400 career goals in just 652 games, as Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 3-0 to close the gap on leaders Barcelona.
Ronaldo was out of sorts for most of Real’s first game of the year but still arrived twice in the six-yard box to finish off crosses from full back Dani Carvajal and then Gareth Bale who came on as a second half substitute.
For a player whose finishing was seen as his weakness as a young winger at Sporting the 28-year-old’s achievement is an incredible one. His double took him to 29 goals so far this season in 22 games and it gets him off the mark for 2014 after closing 2013 on 69 goals for the calendar year.
All smiles: Real Madrid frontman Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his 400th goal of his career
All smiles: Real Madrid frontman Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his 400th goal of his career

The brace also carried him past Hugo Sanchez as the fourth highest scorer in Real Madrid’s history – not a bad way to count down the days to next week’s Ballon d’Or gala.
'The goals were for Eusebio,' said the player after the game. 'I am grateful to Spain for the way they paid homage to him.'
After the pre-match minute's silence for Eusebio it was Celta Vigo who had the best chance of the first half. Striker Charles shot wide after being  put through by Augusto Fernandez.
Borja OubiƱa also went close as the team coached by Luis Enrique, the former Roma coach linked with the Tottenham job last month. And with on-loan Barcelona midfielder Rafinha controlling the game in midfield Real struggled to make headway.
Luka Modric was their best player in a poor first half and came closest to scoring for the home side with a shot from distance that just cleared Yoel’s bar. Xabi Alonso, who is currently playing with a burst eardrum did not reappear for the second half with Asier Illaramendi coming on for the Spain international who is now in the last six months of his contract and is free to negotiate a move away from the Bernabeu.
Celta continued to threaten and Charles missed his second clear-cut chance of the game. This time it was Rafinha who put him through but his first-time shot went well wide of Diego Lopez’ goal.
The visitors were always going to pay for their misses and when Bale and 20-year-old forward Jese came on midway through the second half Madrid moved up into another gear. Jese might have scored with his first touch but saw his low shot smothered by Yoel. 
But moments later he crossed cleverly for Karim Benzema who gave Real Madrid the lead. That was the cue for Ronaldo to join the New Year’s party.
He tapped-in Carvajal’s cross from the right and then turned in Bale’s assist after the Welshman darted to the byline and pulled the ball back for Ronaldo to score.
Most expect him to be crowned Fifa World Player of the Year next week at the Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich. He will attend Monday’s presentation of the award and does so having scored the 400th goal of his career.
'What do we need to do to climb table?' lamented visiting coach Luis Enrique. 'See that rectangular thing? And that round thing? Hit the round thing into the rectangular thing.'
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said: 'We switched to  4-4-2 in the latter stages. Ronaldo prefers to play on the wing but he switched to the middle and managed to score from his two chances.'

Michael Schumacher remains critical but stable in hospital after skiing accident

Michael Schumacher: Condition remains unchanged
Michael Schumacher: Condition remains unchanged
Michael Schumacher remains in a stable but critical condition in hospital with Grenoble authorities urging the media to respect his privacy after a series of inaccurate reports over his health.
The 45-year-old seven-times World Champion has been in an induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital for eight days since suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps.
Although an update on Schumacher's condition was not expected over the weekend, his manager Sabine Kehm was forced to issue a statement to the media on Saturday stressing that his condition remained unchanged after quotes attributed to former F1 driver Philippe Strieff had claimed that the German's life was no longer in danger.
Providing an additional written update on Monday, the hospital confirmed Schumacher's condition continued to be "considered as stable" but again stressed that he remained "critical".
The medical team in Grenoble also made clear that no further updates on Schumacher would be delivered "for the time being" and that when they were only reports from the hospital and the ex-driver's management were valid.
"The privacy of the statement demands that we are not going into details of his treatment, and this is why we do not plan any press conferences, nor give out written press releases, anymore for the time being," the statement added.
"We again insistently ask you to...stick to the information given by the medical team in charge of the patient or his management, as this is the only valid information."
French prosecutors investigating the skiing accident confirmed on Monday that they will hold a press conference in the Alpine town of Albertville on Wednesday at 10am (GMT) to provide an update into their findings into the incident.

Charlie Nicholas: Theo Walcott absence could cost Arsenal title

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Eusebio: Portugal football legend dies aged 71

Portugal football legend Eusebio, who was top scorer at the 1966 World Cup, has died aged 71 from a heart attack.
Born in Mozambique in 1942 when it was still a Portuguese colony, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira went on to play 64 times for Portugal, scoring 41 goals.
The Benfica striker's nine goals at the 1966 World Cup in Englandincluded four against North Korea.Widely considered one of the best players of all time, he scored 733 times in 745 professional matches.
He had been admitted to hospital several times over the past year for the treatment of heart and respiratory problems.
Famed for his blistering acceleration and dazzling dribbling skills, Eusebio was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965.
He won the European Cup with Benfica in 1962 and was in the side that lost to Manchester United in the 1968 Wembley final.
Eusebio enjoyed 10 league championship victories and five Portuguese cup triumphs in his 15 years at the club and was Portugal's top league scorer seven times.
Current Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was among those to pay tribute.
"Always eternal, Eusebio, rest in peace," the Real Madrid and former Manchester United striker wrote on Twitter  alongside a picture of both men together.
Former Portugal winger Luis Figo  tweeted: "The king! Great loss for all of us! The greatest!"
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho called him one of his country's "great figures".Cristiano Ronaldo and Eusebio
Cristiano Ronaldo and Eusebio - photo was posted on Ronaldo's Twitter account on Sunday

Mourinho told state broadcaster RTP: "I think he is immortal. We all know what he meant for football and especially for Portuguese football.
"He was not only a great inspiration but also an important figure in upholding the values, principles and feelings of football, even after finishing his career."
Greg Dyke, chairman of the Football Association in England, said Eusebio and Brazilian striker Pele were the best-known international footballers in the 1960s.
"He was the [Lionel] Messi or Ronaldo of his time," Dyke told the BBC News Channel.
"Every generation has great footballers. He was clearly a world-class footballer who scored an awful lot of goals. He had a level of natural talent that most players don't have."
Eusebio's goals in the 1966 World Cup helped his country to third place, after they were beaten by eventual winners England in the semi-finals.
Portugal won all of their group games as title holders Brazil were eliminated in the first round, and Eusebio starred in a dramatic 5-3 win over North Korea in the quarter-finals, with his four goals helping his side come back from 3-0 down.
Portugal went on to lose 2-1 in the last four to England, with Eusebio in tears as he left the pitch at the end of the game.
But he had captured the hearts of the British public and his figure was soon added to Madame Tussauds' waxwork collection.
Eusebio continued to play at the highest level until 1974, but knee problems had already begun to slow him down.
In 1975, he moved to the North American Soccer League and then returned to Portugal in 1976-77 to play for SC Beira Mar, before further spells in the USA and Mexico.
After his playing career ended, he was an ambassador for Benfica and Portuguese football.

Eusebio factfile

Born: 25/01/42 in Mozambique.
Early career: Started with Sporting Lourenco-Marques, a nursery club of Sporting Lisbon, but was signed by Benfica for £7,500 at the age of 19.
Benfica: Helped side beat Real Madrid 5-3 in the European Cup final in 1962. Won 10 league championships and five cups in his 15 years at Benfica.
Portugal: Scored 41 goals in 64 internationals.
Starring roles: Named European Footballer of the Year in 1965 and top scorer at the 1966 World Cup with nine goals.

Robert Lewandowski vows to give his all for Dortmund

Robert Lewandowski promises to give his all to Borussia Dortmund before joining Bayern Munich.
Robert Lewandowski says he will not let his performances drop for Borussia Dortmund before he joins Bayern Munich in the summer.
The Poland international, 25, signed a five-year deal with Bayern on Saturday and will join the 2013 Champions League winners when his Dortmund contract expires in June.
Lewandowski said: "There are still some goals we want to achieve.
"I for one will give my all [for Borussia Dortmund]."
He added: "I hope you will support me, even if some of you don't agree with my decision."
Lewandowski, who joined Dortmund in 2010, has scored 15 goals in all competitions for the club this season.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says Lewandowski's summer arrival does not mean top scorer Mario Mandzukic will leave the club.
Like Lewandowski, Croatia international Mandzukic has 15 goals this season, and Rummenigge said: "He's a fantastic player who has come on leaps and bounds with Bayern.
"His contract runs until 2016 and I told his advisor in Marrakech that we would be willing to talk about an extension. We have absolutely no intention of selling Mario."

Lewandowski at Dortmund

  • 2010/11: 43 apps; nine goals
  • 2011/12: 47 apps; 30 goals
  • 2012/13: 49 apps; 36 goals
  • 2013/14: 24 apps; 15 goals