VVV Venlo apologise for racist fans who abused PSV players at weekend

Venlo’s De Koel stadium. Photo: P Patrick via Wikimedia Commons

VVV Venlo has said it will take action against a group of supporters who hurled racist abuse at PSV Eindhoven’s black players during the weekend Eredivisie match between the clubs.

A small group of supporters was filmed shouting monkey chants and other abuse at the players as they walked up a staircase from the pitch in Venlo’s De Koel stadium. VVV later apologised to PSV for the incident and said those responsible would be sanctioned.

‘These deplorable racist noises have no place in a football stadium and are incompatible with the core values of our club,’ said a spokesman. ‘We will do all we can to identify the culprits and take appropriate measures against them.’

PSV came back from 2-1 down during the game to win 5-2 and now sit five points clear at the top of the Dutch premier league.

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Dutch rise in to 20th in latest Fifa ranking, despite World Cup blow

The Dutch national football team may not have qualified for next year’s World Cup in Russia but they have risen nine places to 20th in the latest Fifa ranking.

Two months ago, Oranje was in 36th place, its worst ever ranking. Wins over Belarus and Sweden in the final two group matches were behind the latest rise.

Germany tops the ranking, followed by Brazil and Portugal. Oranje headed the Fifa list in August 2011 and has an average ranking of 8th place.

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Arjen Robben steps down from Oranje, the Dutch are out of the World Cup

Arjen Robben during Tuesday night’s game. Photo: VI Images via HH

Dutch captain Arjen Robben is leaving international football after 14 years and with 96 caps to his name.

The 33-year-old made the announcement after the Netherlands 2-0 win over Sweden in Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier which still sees Oranje eliminated from next year’s competition in Russia. Robben, who has captained the squad since 2015, scored both goals.

Although both the Netherlands and Sweden have 19 points in their Group A World Cup group, Sweden will go through to the play-offs for a place in the final on goal difference.

Robben’s decision to stand down now had been widely expected. ‘I have thought about it for a long time and I did consider stopping a while ago but I kept going,’ Robben said. ‘I am now 33, I play for one of Europe’s best clubs (Bayern Munich) and then you have to make choices. I am now going to concentrate fully on my club. This is the right time to hand over the baton.’

Robben, who comes from Groningen, made his debut for Oranje in 2003 when the team drew 1-1 against Portugal. He has taken part in three European championships and three World Cups, the last of which in 2014, Oranje came third.

With 37 goals to his name, Robben is joint fourth on the Netherlands’ all-time goal-scorer list, level with former Arsenal forward Dennis Bergkamp and 13 goals behind leader Robin van Persie (50).

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Epke Zonderland makes one-armed swing to win gymnastics silver

Tin Srbic, centre, with Epke Zonderland, left, and Bart Deurloo. Photo: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Dutch gymnast Epke Zonderland turned a slip into an amazing save when he won silver in the men’s high bar event at the world championships in Montreal on Sunday.

Zonderland, the reigning Olympic champion, failed to grab the bar with one hand but rather than fall off, he continued to swing and grasped the bar on the return, keeping going to finish the routine.

‘It feels like winning, because I could have fallen off,’ the 31-year-old told reporters afterwards. ‘I don’t know what happened but I went on automatic pilot to finish the routine. I am so, so happy it ended like this.’

The event was won by Tin Srbic of Croatia with newcomer Bart Deurloo, also of the Netherlands, taking bronze.

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Dutch need a miracle to qualify for 2018 World Cup

The Netherlands need a miracle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, despite coming third in the 2014 tournament in Rio.

On Saturday night, third-placed Oranje beat Belarus 3-1 but Sweden thrashed Luxembourg 8-0, sealing their second place in Group A.

In theory, Oranje could still qualify if they beat Sweden by a margin of at least seven goals when they meet in Amsterdam on October 10.

Nevertheless Oranje captain Arjen Robben has given up hope of reaching World Cup finals. ‘Obviously we must keep believing until the last minute but I had better say what everyone is thinking. It is not realistic to think we can beat Sweden with a big score,’ Robben told Dutch television after the match.

France leads Group A with 20 points, with Sweden one point behind on 19. The Netherlands is third with 16 points.

Only the group winner automatically qualifies for the World Cup in Russia and the best of the second-placed teams take part in play-offs for the final places.

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Emotional Piqué offers to end Spain career after Catalonia violence – video | Football

Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué says he may no longer play for Spain following the violence in Catalonia over the weekend. Piqué, who has almost 100 international caps, claims he will end his international career if deemed ‘a problem’ by the Spanish Football Federation after voicing his support for a referendum on Catalan independence

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ABBA penalty shoot-out case goes on and on as court reserves judgment

Two amateur football clubs whose penalty shoot-out ended up in court after the referee rearranged the order of the spot-kicks will have to wait another week to learn if they have to replay the contest.

The saga began when FC Lisse and Hoek’s Dutch Cup contest two weeks ago ended in a 2-2 draw. FC Lisse won the shoot-out 5-4, but the Dutch football association KNVB ordered an investigation because referee Marc Nagtegaal used a non-standard penalty order.

The first eight kicks were taken using the ABBA method, whereby after the first kick each team takes two penalties in succession, to prevent either gaining an advantage from going first. Studies have found that in a regular shoot-out the team that goes first wins 60% of the time.

The ABBA method has been trialled in some football competitions but the Dutch Cup employs the traditional ABAB system, where the kicks are taken alternately. The KNVB decided the match score should stand but ordered the penalties to be retaken on October 4. FC Lisse then applied for an injunction to uphold the outcome of the original shoot-out and confirm the club’s place in the next round.

Club chairman Leon Annokkee argued that the referee’s decision should be honoured. ‘It’s mainly about the fact that this is an executive decision and the KNVB has completely overruled the referee,’ he told NOS. ‘As far as I’m concerned the referee is still in charge on the pitch.’

The KNVB said it was disappointed that FC Lisse had gone to court, but it would abide by the court’s decision. ‘We think the game should always be decided on the pitch,’ said a spokesman.

The case was heard on Monday, but the judge decided to consider the decision and give a ruling by October 9.

The eventual winner of the contest will play Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo in the second round.

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Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué offers to end Spain career over Catalan turmoil | Football

The Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué says he is ready to stand down from Spain duty if he is deemed a “problem” by the national team coach, Julen Lopetegui, or the Spanish Football Federation as a result of his support for Catalan independence.

Piqué made the claim in an emotional interview after Barca’s home match against Las Palmas, which was played behind closed doors as a protest on a day when violent scenes broke out during Catalonia’s unofficial independence referendum.

According to Catalan health officials, more than 750 people were injured as security forces used rubber bullets and baton charges as they clashed with protesters.

Piqué, having been pictured casting his vote in the election earlier in the day, played the full match against Las Palmas before speaking to reporters about the decision to go ahead with the fixture, his international future and Sunday’s events in the region.

The Barcelona-born defender said: “You vote yes, no, or leave it blank, but you vote. In the Franco era we couldn’t defend our ideas. I am, and I feel Catalan, and I am very proud of the people, of their behaviour, like in the last seven years.”

Attempts to shut down the polls by Spain’s Guardia Civil led to clashes described by Catalonia’s president, Carles Puigdemont, as “unwarranted, irrational and irresponsible”.

Piqué, who was also critical of the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, continued: “After what has transpired it has been my worst experience as a professional. It has been a tough day. There were families, children and grandparents, and the police and Guardia Civil have intervened.

The match between Barcelona and Las Palmas is played at a fan-less Camp Nou.

The match between Barcelona and Las Palmas is played at a fan-less Camp Nou. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

“The people protested without violence. I thought they would try to stop the vote in a peaceful way. Everyone has seen what happened. They’ve made things worse. This is among the worst decisions in the last 50 years. They’ve separated Catalonia from Spain even more and there will be consequences.”

Barcelona, La Liga leaders, had asked the Spanish football authorities to postpone Sunday’s game against Las Palmas, citing the unusual circumstances. But when the club’s request was rejected by the Madrid-based Liga de Futbol Profesional, Barca took the remarkable step of playing the top-flight fixture in an empty Nou Camp. They won 3-0 to stretch their winning start to seven games.

Piqué said: “The board tried to postpone the game at all costs. We debated it between the players and the club and chose to play. It was difficult without the supporters. There were many arguments in favour and against but we were playing for the points and the league and Las Palmas wanted to play.

“The club have decided and that’s it. My opinion is not so important. I expressed mine, like the board members expressed theirs. In the end it was decided to play the game. We are a club and we are all in it together. But I understand perfectly those who criticise us for having played.”

Piqué is now due to link up with the Spanish national team for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel – but says he is willing to step aside before next year’s finals if his involvement is an issue.

The former Manchester United centre-back has played almost 100 matches for Spain and helped them win the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012.

He said: “I honestly think I can join up with the national team because I’m convinced there are thousands of people who totally disagree with what has happened.

“I also say that, if the coach or anyone from the Federation thinks I’m a problem or a nuisance, then I will step aside and leave the national team before 2018.”

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Dutchman Max Verstappen wins Malaysian Grand Prix on birthday weekend

Max Verstappen waves on the podium. Photo: AP Photo/Vincent Thian/HH

Dutchman racing driver Max Verstappen ended a long spell of bad luck on Sunday by winning the Malaysian Grand Prix in what some commentators said was an ‘incredible performance.’

Lewis Hamilton finished second while Verstappen’s Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo was third.

Verstappen has dropped out of seven GPs so far this season, due in part to technical problems with the car as well as driver errors.

‘I hope the poisoned chalice is now empty,’ he said after the race. ‘It feels extra special to have won here after such a difficult season,’ he said after the race. ‘This victory has come at exactly the right time.’

Verstappen, who turned 20 on Saturday, already holds the record as the youngest ever Formula 1 winner after taking the Barcelona title in May last year when he was just 18.

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Football clubs don’t see a ‘championship effect’ from women’s Europe win

Photo: KNVB.nl

Just four in 10 football clubs in the Netherlands say more women and girls have joined since the Dutch women won the European championships this year. The rest say they have detected no such ‘championship effect’, public broadcaster NOS has found.

Clubs in Groningen and Zuid-Holland in particular have recruited more new female players than last year, NOS said.

Football is the fastest growing organised sport  for women, NOS writes. Some 150,000 women now play the game compared to 75,000 in 2004. Most new football enthusiasts were under 13.

Football association KNVB figures show great regional difference in women’s football membership. The highest number can be found in towns and cities along the Wadden coastal area and in the border area south of Breda. One in five footballers there is female, NOS writes.

The lowest number of female KNVB members, 0.5%, was recorded in hockey town Bloemendaal.

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