Voeller to be German team director after World Cup disaster – Arab News
BERLIN: Former German international Rudi Voeller will take over as director for the men’s national team, the German Football Association said Thursday, following a disastrous World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Voeller’s job would be to “lay the foundations for a successful home European Championship in 2024,” which will be hosted in Germany, he said in a statement.
The four-time winners crashed out in the group stages of the World Cup for the second time in a row, leading team director Oliver Bierhoff to step aside in December.
Voeller will take over the role for the senior men’s team on February 1.
The former International’s appointment came at the suggestion of a task force established by the DFB in December, which included Voeller himself.
“With Rudi Voeller, we have found the ideal person for the next 20 months,” DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said in a statement.
A prolific goalscorer in his playing days, and later coach, Voeller enjoys a cult-like status in Germany.
The striker scored 47 goals in 90 games for West Germany and Germany, eight of which came at World Cup level.
Voeller lifted the World Cup with Germany in 1990, winning a late penalty as his side triumphed 1-0 over Argentina.
He went on to coach the national side, taking them to the 2002 World Cup final, losing 2-0 to Brazil.
Voeller also worked as a sporting director, helping establish Bayer Leverkusen as one of the country’s biggest clubs during two stints with the side.
PARIS: The Celtics put Boston in the NBA spotlight on Thursday with a gritty 121-118 overtime win over reigning champions Golden State Warriors as the league polished its global credentials with a glitzy game in Paris.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown came alive late for the Celtics, whose eighth straight win — this one against the team that bested them in last season’s NBA Finals — pushed their league-leading record to 34-12.
Even as Tatum and Brown struggled to make shots early, the Celtics built a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter.
But the Warriors chipped away, and grabbed a 55-54 on Stephen Curry’s shot from the halfcourt logo at the halftime buzzer.
It looked like the Warriors, who dominated Boston in a December victory in San Francisco, had the Celtics’ number again as they pulled away to lead by as many as 11 in the third quarter.
They were up by nine early in the fourth, but Tatum’s running dunk pulled Boston within two with two minutes remaining. Al Horford came up with a three-pointer and a big block and Brown’s three-pointer tied it at 106-106 with 18.6 seconds left in regulation.
Marcus Smart’s opening basket of overtime gave the Celtics their first lead since the first half.
After a three-pointer from Curry put the Warriors up by one, Brown drove for a layup that put the Celtics back on top for good with 2:23 remaining.
“It was a crazy game,” Tatum, who scored 34 points with a career-high 19 rebounds, told broadcaster TNT, insisting the contest wasn’t about revenge.
“The fact of the matter is they beat us in the championship, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Tatum said. “This was a regular-season game against a great team that’s really well coached, and it’s just two tough-minded teams playing against each other.”
Brown, returning from a three-game absence because of groin tightness, finished with 16 points — including 12 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Curry paced the Warriors with 29 points. Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole added 24 apiece.
But the defeat was another road blow for the Warriors, who fell to 22-23 overall and 5-18 on the road. They have yet to beat a team with a winning record on the road this season.
The day tipped off at the Accor Arena in Paris, where DeMar DeRozan returned from injury to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 126-108.
DeRozan, who missed three games with a thigh injury, scored 26 points.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine led all scorers with 30 as the French capital hosted its second regular-season game after debuting on the NBA calendar in 2020.
Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year-old French prodigy who is expected to be the first overall pick in this year’s NBA draft — which could belong to the Pistons – was seated courtside.
So were past NBA greats including Magic Johnson and France’s Tony Parker, as well as celebrity spectators like rapper Lil Baby and music producer Pharrell Williams.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before tip-off it was likely another game will be held in Paris in 2024.
“Man, it was amazing,” DeRozan said. “Tonight is one of those games, I know for me, I’m going to look back years and years down the line and realize how great of a moment this was.
“It definitely was a beautiful atmosphere and a privilege to be part of this whole thing.”
Pistons guard Killian Hayes, who grew up in France, received a thunderous ovation when the starters were introduced, but Chicago started quickly.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 25 points and Jalen Duren had a double-double. Duren, the NBA’s youngest player at 19 years old, was late arriving in France after misplacing his passport.
But it was a difficult night for Hayes as the 21-year-old dished out eight assists but was limited to four points with as many fouls.
Elsewhere, D’Angelo Russell scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to help the Minnesota Timberwolves rally for a 128-126 home victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Russell’s two free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining sealed the win. Anthony Edwards added 23 points and Kyle Anderson scored 20 for the Timberwolves, who were without Rudy Gobert and Austin Rivers.
LOS ANGELES: PGA Tour rookie Davis Thompson bagged back-to-back eagles on the way to a two-shot lead on Thursday in the American Express Tournament at La Quinta, California.
Thompson, a 23-year-old graduate of the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, was 7-under through six holes thanks to his eagles at the fifth and sixth on the La Quinta Country Club course, one of three in use for the event in the Southern California desert along with the Nicklaus Tournament course and the Stadium course.
His 10-under par total of 62 put him two clear of five players, a group led by fourth-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm and including Americans Tyler Duncan, Taylor Montgomery and Sam Burns and German Matti Schmid.
Thompson already had three birdies under his belt when he eagled the par-5 fifth.
He missed the green at the par-5 sixth but chipped in for another eagle, becoming the first player to eagle consecutive holes in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since Shane Lowry in the third round of last year’s Open Championship.
He added a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at 8-under.
The former top-ranked amateur said staying focused on each shot was his main task coming in.
“That was kind of like my biggest challenge today was staying present-minded and trying to put one foot in front of the other,” said Thompson, whose two birdies on the back nine included an exclamation point at the 18th.
“Your mind definitely starts to wander a little bit. But I played enough rounds to where I try to teach myself over and over you can’t get ahead of yourself.”
Thompson, who has made 19 starts on the PGA Tour as an amateur and a pro, said he still feels like a rookie — especially at a tournament that features three new courses to learn.
“You kind of have to play practice rounds pretty fast and kind of figure out what you want to do during the week,” he said.
“But at the same time it kind of goes both ways. You don’t put as much stress on yourself kind of preparing for every course because you’re trying to see every hole.”
Rahm, who also opened his week on the La Quinta course, is no stranger to the event, which he won in 2018.
His nine birdies included three in a row at the fifth, sixth and seventh and another three straight at the 11th, 12th and 13th.
“It’s a great start to the tournament,” said Rahm, who won the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii two weeks ago.
“Solid round of golf, great putting out there. Hopefully I can keep that going the whole week and feel a little bit better tee to green.”
Rahm said he was happy to get his round at La Quinta, usually the easiest course in the rotation, done before the winds are expected to pick up on Friday.
“It can show some teeth because some of those fairways are quite narrow to hit,” he said.
Rahm is among five of the world’s top 10 players in the field this week.
Second-ranked Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who again has a chance to supplant Rory McIlroy at number one this week, opened with a four-under par 68 on the La Quinta Country Club course.
So did world No. 5 Patrick Cantlay –- who also has a slim chance of reaching No.1 this week.
World No. 6 Xander Schauffele headlined a group of nine players sharing seventh place on 65, while seventh-ranked Will Zalatoris carded a 3-under 69.
PARIS: Gaye Sarambounou is used to toiling long days for a pittance. He’s a Malian living in France with no working papers, but it’s a situation that occurs around the world.
The difference here is that Sarambounou is one of an army of construction workers preparing next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
The fact that France’s upcoming sporting showcase is being put together with the help of illegal workers is becoming a source of political and social tension.
For three months Sarambounou, 41, worked between eight- and 11-hour shifts for €80 per day.
Obviously, “overtime was never paid,” he said ruefully.
“I accepted because I know my situation. If you don’t have papers, you do all the hard work, all the crappy jobs. You have no choice,” he said as he boiled water on a stove on the floor of the tiny room he shares with four compatriots.
“Everyone knows what’s going on, but nobody talks about it,” said a smiling Sarambounou, who was kicked off an Olympic building site last year after a raid by labor inspectors.
Trade unionist Bernard Thibault, who co-chairs the Paris 2024 Social Charter Monitoring Committee says there is “a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of the political authorities.”
As a sign of the concern, the Labour Inspectorate has created a specialized unit that has been checking nearly one site a day for the past two years.
In June, nine irregular workers were identified on a site run by Solideo, the public company responsible for building facilities and infrastructure for the Olympics.
At the same time, a local public prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation into the “employment of foreigners without a permit in an organized gang.”
Solideo swiftly “took the necessary steps” by terminating the contract of the offending subcontractor but also of the construction giant that used it, said Antoine du Souich, the company’s strategy director.
Since then procedures have been tightened up, he assured, while admitting it’s impossible to set up a system “entirely impervious” to such fraud.
“All these beautiful stadiums are built by poor people… who are exploited,” said another Malian worker, who requested anonymity.
“It’s always 80 percent immigrants who do the work. You see Malians, Portuguese, Turks. And the French… in the offices!” he added.
The Malian workers want nothing more than to be regularized, so they don’t have to live in fear of an identity check.
The left-wing CGT union is preparing to submit an application for Sarambounou to receive his working papers.
If he gets those within 18 months, the recent hardships will seem like nothing more than a bad dream, he says.
“I’ll be legal for the Games!“
PASADENA, California: A California lawmaker introduced a bill Thursday that would require schools that play major college sports to pay some athletes as much as $25,000 annually, along with covering the cost of six-year guaranteed athletic scholarships and post-college medical expenses.
The College Athlete Protection Act is sponsored by Assembly member Chris Holden, who is a former San Diego State basketball player, and is the type of state-level legislation that the NCAA is looking to federal lawmakers to preempt.
“I know how close you can come to an injury taking away not only the game you love to play but also your opportunity to finish college,” Holden said at a news conference outside the historic Rose Bowl stadium.
California was the first state to pass a law that gave college athletes the right to be compensated for name, image and likeness back in 2019. That triggered similar action by state legislatures around the country.
Holden is eager for the state to be at the forefront again.
“I’m not prepared to wait for Congress to address this pressing issue,” he said, standing in front of a bronze statue of Jackie Robinson, who was a multi-sport star at UCLA. “This is an extremely competitive and comprehensive bill that I believe will provide the income and health services that our college athletes deserve.”
The NCAA lifted its ban on athletes cashing in on their fame with sponsorship and endorsement deals, but more than two dozen state-level NIL laws have made it impossible for the association to create detailed and uniform rules of its own.
Just last week at the NCAA convention, college sports leaders reiterated the need for Congress’ help in regulating NIL compensation and protecting the association from state laws that undercut its ability to govern college sports.
“We need to solidify that as it relates to college sports, federal law preempts state law,” Baylor President Linda Livingstone, the chairwoman of the NCAA’s Board of Governors, said last week. “In areas such as NIL, we already see that state legislators will take action that they believe will give the universities in their states a competitive edge over their neighbors.”
Assembly Bill 252 — introduced by Holden, a Democrat whose district includes Pasadena — calls for Division I schools in California to share 50 percent of revenue with athletes who are considered to be undervalued because the amount of their athletic scholarships doesn’t match their market value. That would mostly be aimed at athletes competing in the revenue-generating sports such as football and basketball, but not exclusively.
“It’s a bill that will end the blatant exploitation of California’s college athletes,” said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association. “The NCAA’s economic model is illegal and based on racial injustice. The NCAA uses amateurism as cover to systemically strip generational wealth from predominantly Black athletes from lower income households to pay for lavish salaries of predominantly white coaches, athletic directors, commissioners and NCAA administrators.”
Money paid toward scholarships would be included in the 50 percent that goes toward the players. The rest would go into a fund that would pay out yearly. Individual payments would be determined based on what schools bring in and could not exceed $25,000 per year for any one athlete.
Any excess revenue from the athletes’ share would go into a degree completion fund that athletes would be eligible to draw from after they have graduated within six years.
“It’s going to improve things, not only for football players, but for all student-athletes at the college level, which is great,” said Elisha Guidry, a graduate student and football player at San Jose State, who joined Holden in announcing the bill.
“I came here and college sports was a certain way and I’d like to think when I’m finished with my career that college sports are better and moving toward a better direction in the future,” said Guidry, who previously played at UCLA before graduating last year.
The bill also calls for schools to provide coverage of sports-related medical expenses, establish and enforce safety standards and transparency in recruiting, preserve all sports programs — not just those that produce revenue — and Title IX compliance.
Also joining Holden at the Rose Bowl was Amy LeClair, a 2017 San Jose State graduate who competed in gymnastics. She said she was bullied and manipulated by her coaches, and was sexually assaulted by the program’s head trainer during her career.
“Universities have not earned the privilege of operating unchecked nor have they earned the benefit of the doubt,” LeClair said. “I never imagined that the very system designed to protect me would be the source of my exploitation. This is what has driven me to sit here today to help advocate for the protections of NCAA athletes.”
The bill is reminiscent of one introduced in 2020 at the federal level by four Democratic senators, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, called the College Athlete Bill of Rights.
That bill, similar to numerous others introduced in Congress related to college sports and more specifically NIL, went nowhere.
Holden introduced the College Athlete Civil Rights Act of 2019 that was eventually signed into state law. That required schools to document and inform athletes of their rights and prohibited retaliation against athletes who reported violations or abuse.
LONDON: Arsenal face a stern test of their Premier League title credentials against Manchester United this weekend as Liverpool and Chelsea meet in a clash of two clubs desperate to escape mid-table obscurity.
At the bottom, Frank Lampard takes Everton to face David Moyes’ West Ham, with both managers under intense pressure as the relegation trap door looms.
Here are some of the key talking points ahead of the action.
Arsenal vs. Manchester United used to be the match that defined the Premier League, pitting Arsene Wenger against Alex Ferguson in a rivalry for the ages.
In recent years the game has been reduced to a sideshow, but there is a growing sense leaders Arsenal can end a wait of nearly two decades to be crowned English champions, while United are a rising force under Erik ten Hag.
Mikel Arteta’s young team are now clear favorites to claim Arsenal’s first Premier League crown since the 2004 “Invincibles.”
The Gunners have more points at this stage of a league season than ever before and are benefiting from the stumbles of those beneath them, particularly the inconsistency of champions Manchester City.
Aside from the game against United and a match against City in February, Arsenal’s league fixtures over the next two months look kind.
Even so, Arteta believes a successful title tilt will “demand almost perfection.”
Eight points behind Arsenal, Ten Hag’s men travel to the Emirates Stadium without suspended midfielder Casemiro after the Brazilian was booked in the frustrating midweek draw at Crystal Palace.
After nearly two decades of sparring for silverware, the startling declines of Liverpool and Chelsea will be laid bare when they meet at Anfield on Saturday.
Just last season, Liverpool came within touching distance of an unprecedented quadruple, while Chelsea were winners of the FIFA Club World Cup.
Liverpool finished second in the Premier League and Chelsea came third, with the Reds beating the Blues in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals.
Those battles will seem like distant memories this weekend as ninth-placed Liverpool host 10th-placed Chelsea.
Both still harbor faint hopes of climbing into the top four but with injuries hurting Jurgen Klopp’s side and Graham Potter’s team, gatecrashing the race to qualify for the Champions League looks a tough ask.
Klopp has achieved enough in his long reign to keep the critics largely at bay, but Chelsea’s Potter is on shaky ground only four months after replacing the sacked Thomas Tuchel.
Despite a huge spending spree under the club’s new owners, Chelsea had lost seven of their previous 10 matches in all competitions prior to a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Potter could give a debut to Ukraine winger Mykhailo Mudryk after his £88 million ($108 million) move from Shakhtar Donetsk as he seeks to find the magic formula.
Everton manager Frank Lampard and West Ham boss David Moyes are fast running out of time heading into their crunch clash.
Either team could end Saturday at the bottom of the Premier League table depending on Southampton’s result against Aston Villa, and neither will approach the game in London with much confidence.
West Ham have taken just a single point from their past seven league games and Everton have one point from a possible 18.
Rumors have swirled this week that Moyes is likely to be dismissed if he loses the game.
But the Hammers finished seventh last season, also reaching the Europa League semifinals, and Moyes has pleaded for loyalty from fans.
“What we’ve given West Ham supporters in the last few years, I hope they can give us back,” he said.
Former Chelsea boss Lampard, for his part, says he will not “cry” at the pressure he is under.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea (1230), Bournemouth vs. Nottingham Forest, Leicester vs. Brighton, Southampton v Aston Villa, West Ham v Everton, Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle (1730)
Leeds vs. Brentford, Manchester City vs. Wolves (both 1400), Arsenal vs. Manchester Untied (1630)
Fulham vs. Tottenham (2000)