73 killed, hundreds injured in Egypt soccer riot, official says
February 1st, 2012
02:45 PM ET

73 killed, hundreds injured in Egypt soccer riot, official says

[Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET] Political tensions flared Wednesday after more than 70 people were killed and hundreds more were injured when fans rushed the field and rioted at a soccer game in Egypt.

It was unclear whether intense sports rivalries or political strife caused the clashes in the northeastern city of Port Said.

But hours after the fighting, protesters in Cairo chanted, "Down with military rule" and "Tomorrow we come, we take the military down." And the secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood party blamed Egypt's military for the deaths.

Egypt's interior ministry blamed fans for provoking police.

"There were organized groups in the crowds that purposely provoked the police all through the match and escalated the violence and stormed onto the field after the final whistle," Gen. Marwan Mustapha said. "Our policemen tried to contain them but not engage."

At least 47 people were arrested after the clashes, he said.

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England soccer captain Terry to enter plea in racism case
Chelsea's John Terry, left, is accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, right.
February 1st, 2012
01:39 AM ET

England soccer captain Terry to enter plea in racism case

England soccer captain John Terry, who is accused of racially abusing another player during a match, is expected to enter a plea in a London's Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

It wasn't known whether Terry will appear in person for the hearing, or whether his lawyers will enter the plea on his behalf.

The case stems from comments the Chelsea footballer allegedly made to Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand in an English Premier League match last year.

Alison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for London, said Terry is being prosecuted for a "racially aggravated public order offense" because of the comments during the October 23 match.

"I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case," Saunders said in December.

The maximum penalty for the offense is £2,500 ($3,900).

The London-born defender denied the allegations, and his club has also backed him up.

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Goalkeeper scores on 90-yard kick
Everton teammate Sylvain Distin congratulates goalkeeper Tim Howard after he scored against Bolton on Wednesday night.
January 5th, 2012
09:27 AM ET

Goalkeeper scores on 90-yard kick

The goalkeeper sends it long ... Gooaaalllll!

American Tim Howard on Wednesday joined a select group of goalkeepers to score from the length of the field in the Barclays Premier League, England's top soccer league, which is widely considered the world's top league.

Howard's goal sails over Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Everton's Howard, kicking from his own goal area, sent the ball long into the windy night. It took one bounce behind the Bolton defense, and then the wind blew it over Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and into the Bolton net, 90 yards or so from where Howard struck the ball.

Watch Howard's goal.

Howard joins another American, Brad Friedel, and Peter Schmeichel and Paul Robinson as goalkeepers to score in Britain's elite league. That's just four goals from keepers among the almost 20,000 scored in the league's 20-year history.

But Howard had two reasons not to be too happy with his good fortune. One, though his 63rd-minute goal gave Everton a 1-0 lead, Bolton notched two goals to pull off an upset win. Two, goalkeepers are a pretty tight brotherhood who don't like to see misfortune come upon each other.

"I let (Bogdan) know that I was feeling for him. It's not a nice place to be. I've been there before, a long, long time ago, and that was why I didn't celebrate," ESPN Soccernet quoted Howard as saying.

Howard said the conditions in the stadium were rough.

"It's really awful actually. For the back four and the goalkeepers at both ends, there was an awful wind swirling. You could see everybody was mistiming balls," Howard was quoted in the Daily Mail.

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American Samoa, one of soccer's worst teams, scores first ever win
American Samoa are bottom of FIFA's world football rankings.
November 24th, 2011
03:25 AM ET

American Samoa, one of soccer's worst teams, scores first ever win

Talk about something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

The American Samoa soccer team, ranked dead last in the FIFA rankings, made history this week when it won its first ever international game.

That's cause for celebration for a team that for 16 years had never savored victory.

A team that played 30 games since 1994, losing all 30.

One that set a record for the largest loss in international soccer history, when Australia trounced it 30-1 in 2001.

But all that changed Tuesday when it beat Tonga 2-1 in a pre-qualifying game for the 2014 World Cup.

I hope that we can now improve our standing in the FIFA rankings and get into the hundreds," said coach Thomas Rongen to the country's football federation. "We are 204 at the moment and this win will have helped."

Rongen, who until May coached the U.S. Under-20 team, was hired just three weeks ago.

He told the Football Federation he wasn't even sure where the tiny U.S. protectorate in the South Pacific was when he was approached for the job.

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November 21st, 2011
01:01 AM ET

LA Galaxy wins MLS Cup in what may be Beckham's last game in U.S. League

The Los Angeles Galaxy beat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the Major League Soccer final Sunday night, in what could be David Beckham's last significant game on U.S. soil.

The Galaxy entered the final match, which was on their home turf in Carson, California, as the clear favorite. The squad hasn't lost this year at The Home Depot Center, and overall have won 19 games, tied 10 and lost five.

The Dynamo, meanwhile, finished second in the Eastern Conference having won 12 games, tied 13 and lost nine.

Yet while the Houston squad had strong players like Brian Ching and Brad Davis on its roster, they couldn't match the star-power of the Galaxy. That included U.S. national team stalwart Landon Donovan, Irish forward Robbie Keane and Beckham.

The sole goal of the game came in the 72nd minute. Beckham flicked a header to Keane who passed the ball to Donovan - who, in turn, sent it past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.

It was the Galaxy's third MLS title, and Beckham's first.

His $32.5 million contract is set to expire at year's end, and Beckham recently told CNN that he is still weighing where, if anywhere, he will go next.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Should FIFA president step down?
Sepp Blatter moved to clarify his comments on racism in football via a statement on FIFA's website.
November 17th, 2011
12:16 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Should FIFA president step down?

Editor's note: Readers have a lot to say about stories, and we're listening. Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter's controversial claim during an interview with "CNN World Sport" that there is no on-field racism in soccer sparked criticism from the soccer world and from the CNN.com reader community as well. Check out what some commenters said, and let us know what you think below.

Leading figures in soccer call on Blatter to step down

Many readers were outraged. "Leadership in every walk of life seem so out of touch with reality - football obviously no exception," said trp55. A commenter named Eurosun1 said:

"Blatter is a Clown and should have been thrown on the street years ago! Every football fan I know hates this man. Especially for his lack of incorporating technologies like goal line technology and replay for referee's. Many matches have been altered as a result of unnecessary errors in judgement. Not to even get started with this man's delusional overblown ego."

"This guy is a crook," wrote user fizos. "One wonders why, with such a quality, he's not a Wall Street executive."

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Only women, kids allowed into Turkish soccer game
Women and children fill the stands in Istanbul's Sükrü Saracoglu stadium on Tuesday night.
September 21st, 2011
01:55 PM ET

Only women, kids allowed into Turkish soccer game

Soccer authorities in Turkey may have hit on the perfect solution for unruly fans: Ladies Night!

The Turkish Football Federation had planned to make Istanbul favorite Fenerbahce play two games in an empty stadium after fans invaded the pitch after a friendly against Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk during the summer, according to a Turkish Weekly report.

But new rules say those games will be open only to women and children under age 12, National Turk reports. Admission is free.

The policy got its first test Tuesday night in Istanbul, as 45,000 women and children turned out to watch Fenerbahce and Manisaspor face off in the Turkish Super League.

“It was such a fun and pleasant atmosphere. At first, we Manisaspor players couldn’t believe in what we were seeing and hearing,” Manisaspor midfielder Ömer Aysan is quoted as saying by National Turk.

What they were hearing was something unexpected in the usual partisan atmosphere of Fenerbahce Istanbul’s Sükrü Saracoglu stadium: cheers for the visiting team.

Players from both teams greeted their female fans before kickoff, tossing flowers into the stands, Turkish Weekly reported.

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Spain's Real Madrid signs 7-year-old
Leonel Angel Coira has reportedly signed a contract to join the Real Madrid youth system ... at age 7.
August 8th, 2011
03:18 PM ET

Spain's Real Madrid signs 7-year-old

Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid has made what is sure to be one of the most talked-about moves of the off-season, signing a 7-year-old Argentine to its youth system, according to an Argentine sports website.

The Spanish-language Ole ran an interview with Leonel Angel Coira in which the youngster said he had signed a contract to play in the Galacticos' youngest division.

Real Madrid had no word of the signing on its website, but goal.com reported that club spokesman Juan Tapiador confirmed the news Monday.

According to goal.com, Real Madrid snapped up the youngster to ward off attempts by other European clubs in the future - namely rival Atletico Madrid, which Ole said had already expressed interest in Coira.

Coira told Ole last week that he preferred making assists over scoring goals, that he can juggle a ball eight or nine times without dropping it and that his dream is to play for Real Madrid's first team, which is home to some of the world's greatest players, including Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.

His training with the under-9 players - or Benjamins, as they're known - begins September 6, he added. The team's Benjamin A squad is composed of 10-year-olds and one 11-year-old.

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Japanese soccer player dies at 34
Defender Naoki Matsuda played on Japan's 2002 World Cup final 16 team.
August 4th, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Japanese soccer player dies at 34

One of Japan's top male soccer players died Thursday, two days after suffering heat stroke following a practice.

Defender Naoki Matsuda, 34, who played in 40 matches for Japan's national team, including the 2002 World Cup tournament, suffered cardiopulmonary arrest after practice Tuesday, The Japan Times reported.

He died shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, Kyodo News Service reported.

"On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football, I wish to extend our condolences to you, to the Japanese football community and, most importantly, to Naoki Matsuda's friends and loved ones. Please let them know that today the football community stands by their side," Joseph S. Blatter, president of the international soccer's governing body, said in a statement.

Matsuda played 385 Japan Football League games for Yokohama F. Marinos from 1995 to 2010, according to The Japan Times.

Hiromi Hara, Japan Football Association technical director, fought back tears after being informed of Matsuda's death during an unrelated press conference Thursday, Kyodo reported.

The death comes less than three weeks after the Japanese women's national team captured the Women's World Cup in an emotional victory over the favored U.S. team.

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U.S. Soccer names ex-German skipper Jürgen Klinsmann as national team coach
Former German national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann has been tapped to head the U.S. national squad.
July 29th, 2011
01:27 PM ET

U.S. Soccer names ex-German skipper Jürgen Klinsmann as national team coach

The U.S. men's national soccer team, a day after firing its coach of almost five years, has named former German skipper Jürgen Klinsmann to take the helm ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, in announcing the team’s 35th manager, said he was excited to see Klinsmann taking over.

“He is a highly accomplished player and coach with the experience and knowledge to advance the program,” Gulati said in a statement. “Jürgen has had success in many different areas of the game and we look forward to the leadership he will provide on and off the field.”

Gulati announced Thursday that Bob Bradley, who had coached the team since January 2007, had been relieved of his duties.

The U.S. Soccer Federation will hold a news conference Monday to formally introduce the 46-year-old Klinsmann as its coach. His first match will be a highly anticipated August 10 bout with Mexico, which thrashed the U.S. 4-2 in this year’s Gold Cup final.

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U.S. men's soccer coach Bradley fired
Bradley, who was hired in January 2007, had a 43-25-12 at the helm.
July 28th, 2011
03:06 PM ET

U.S. men's soccer coach Bradley fired

[Updated at 5:21 p.m. ET] U.S. Soccer said Thursday it has fired men's national team coach Bob Bradley, who was less than a year into a four-year contract extension he signed last August after leading the Americans to the World Cup's second round.

A U.S. Soccer spokesman, Neil Buethe, said the organization is "not getting into specifics at this point" as to why Bradley was let go. The move comes a month after the team lost the final of CONCACAF's regional championship - the Gold Cup - to Mexico in Pasadena, California.

"We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement released Thursday. "During his time as the head coach of our men's national team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change.

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Record crowd greets soccer hero Wambach in hometown
U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach returned to her hometown of Rochester, New York, on Wednesday.
July 21st, 2011
11:08 AM ET

Record crowd greets soccer hero Wambach in hometown

Huge crowds turned out Wednesday in Rochester, New York, to see hometown soccer star Abby Wambach and other members of the women's World Cup second-place team.

A record 15,404 people attended Wednesday night's Women's Professional Soccer league match between Wambach's pro team, the magicJack team from South Florida, and the Western New York Flash. The attendance was a record for any game in the history of the six-team women's pro league.

The Flash won, 3-1, but Rochester native Wambach was clearly the hero of the night, getting a key to the city from Mayor Tom Richards and a proclamation of "Abby Wambach Day" in Rochester. Wambach, who scored four goals in the World Cup in Germany, did not play in Wednesday's match because of an injured Achilles tendon.

"I'm proud that I was here tonight," Wambach told the crowd, according to CNN affiliate WHEC-TV. "Rochester came out for a WPS attendance record, and I think that goes to show how much Rochester supports soccer. It's a great night, a night to remember."

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Women's World Cup No. 2 all-time for daytime cable telecasts
Fans in Silver Spring, Maryland, watch the World Cup final Sunday. Nearby Baltimore was the game's No. 1 market, ESPN says.
July 18th, 2011
07:15 PM ET

Women's World Cup No. 2 all-time for daytime cable telecasts

The women’s World Cup final between the USA and Japan on Sunday pulled in some big numbers on the small screen.

The telecast ranked No. 2 all-time for daytime cable, according to ESPN, citing the Nielsen Company (This year’s Rose Bowl was No. 1). The final was watched by an average 13.458 million viewers, ESPN reported

The game also was the sixth-most watched cable telecast this year, ESPN said.

While Japan deservedly basks in the glow of  championship and the U.S. women dig in for some well-earned rest, the ball continues to roll: School-age girls, inspired by Team USA, have taken up the sport in at least one urban soccer club.

The Web also got in on the action. The World Cup set two Twitter records, both for number of tweets sent per second.

Baltimore was the game's No. 1 TV market, with a 12.3 rating, according to ESPN. San Diego (11.8), West Palm Beach (11.7), Washington (11.5), and Norfolk,Virginia (11.1), followed.

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'What we saw was the soul of Japan'
July 18th, 2011
01:33 PM ET

Japan's character seen in women's World Cup victory

At perhaps the most tense time in Sunday’s FIFA Women's World Cup final - preparations for the penalty kick shootout - TV cameras showed Japanese coach Norio Sasaki smiling and laughing with his players. Cameras focused on the U.S. women showed a different mood, with expressions of grit, focus and determination.

The contrast was stark, and that wasn’t a surprise to Sasaki.

"It seemed to me there was more pressure on the Americans," he said.

It was a remarkable moment for Japan, a country that has had little to smile about this year, and a keen insight from the coach of a team that had not beaten the Americans in 25 games.

But Sasaki’s assessment was spot-on.

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Women's World Cup showdown reaches the White House
July 17th, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Women's World Cup showdown reaches the White House

World Cup fever has reached the White House, where President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are watching the women's final between the United States and Japan.

The White House released this photo Sunday, which was taken in the White House's Treaty Room office.

Are you watching the game? Send us your photos, videos

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SI.com: NBA Draft tipoff, college baseball, Dempsey goal sends U.S. to Rose Bowl
Kemba Walker was a stud at UConn, but one SI analyst questions whether he can be a powerhouse in the NBA.
June 23rd, 2011
12:41 PM ET

SI.com: NBA Draft tipoff, college baseball, Dempsey goal sends U.S. to Rose Bowl

With just hours before the 2011 NBA Draft kicks off in New Jersey's Prudential Center, speculation continues about the fate of this year's class. Will Jimmer Fredette experience a major falloff in the pros? Will Kemba Walker be able to mold his skill set into one that is valuable in the NBA?

SI.com's Seth Davis offers up a collective scouting report on 40 of this year's draft prospects. Player breakdowns include:

- "Kyrie Irving, 6-4 freshman point guard, Duke. Just a great kid. He has only an 11-game body of work, but he has an incredible ability to get in the lane. He's a pass-first point guard, but he can also score. He's not a freak athletically like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. His game is more of the Chris Paul variety, but I don't know if he'll be that good. His lateral mobility is probably his biggest question."

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June 20th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

FIFA VP facing ethics probe resigns

World soccer's governing body FIFA have confrmed that vice president Jack Warner has resigned from his position within the organization.

Last month Trinidadian Warner, along with fellow-FIFA member Mohammed bin Hammam, were provisionally suspended by FIFA's Ethics Committee, pending the outcome of an investigation of corruption allegations against them.

But, following Warner's resignation, that investigation will now not take place.

A FIFA statement read: "His resignation has been accepted by world football's governing body, and his contribution to international football and to Caribbean football in particular are appreciated and acknowledged."

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FIFA's follies and soccer in the United States
Mohamed Bin Hammam was one of two high-ranking FIFA members suspended Sunday over allegations of corruption.
June 1st, 2011
11:11 PM ET

FIFA's follies and soccer in the United States

It was less than a year ago when the United States made it to the knockout stage of the World Cup in South Africa, giving soccer some new American fans along the way.

Now, two high-ranking members of the sport's world governing body have been suspended amid allegations of corruption. The uproar may be giving some of those new soccer fans a crash course in the role that FIFA plays in the sport, and it may leave them wondering what the corruption allegations might mean for soccer in America and around the globe.

"FIFA likes to say that it has more members than the United Nations - and it does," said Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl. "Their members include 208 nations around the world."

It also earned more than $4 billion last year, more than the gross domestic product of some of its member nations.

FIFA is the top of the pyramid of the organization of the sport worldwide. And like the U.N., the organization is full of politics and has the occasional scandal. In the latest scandal, high-ranking FIFA officials Jack Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam - a candidate for FIFA's presidency - were accused of offering bribes in return for votes for Bin Hammam. Both were suspended over the weekend, and the only remaining presidential candidate, incumbent Sepp Blatter, was re-elected on Wednesday.

Before that, some FIFA members allegedly sought bribes for a different kind of vote - the December decisions on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Two members have denied claims that they took money to vote for Qatar, which was awarded the 2022 event. That vote was of particular interest for the United States, which was vying to host the 2022 edition.

What do these allegations mean for soccer fans in the United States? Do they care? CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum looked for the answers. Click the audio player to hear Kastenbaum's story:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Friday's intriguing people
Sir Alex Ferguson could become the first coach to win three Champions League titles.
May 27th, 2011
04:09 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Sir Alex Ferguson

The coach of Manchester United leads his team into the biggest soccer match of the year seeking a title of his own - greatest coach ever.

In his 25 years in charge of the club, Ferguson has won 12 league titles and countless other domestic trophies. If he leads United to victory Saturday, he will become the first manager to win three Champions League titles, reports CNN's Greg Duke.

The matchup Saturday between Manchester United and favored Barcelona will be played at one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Wembley in London, so the English side may have a edge in fans, but most experts favor the Spanish side on the field.

Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Wilson says Ferguson will have an interesting decision to make with his tactical formation: Does he play the same lineup or opt for the addition of a defensive-minded player?

Not everyone thinks Barcelona is certain to win. Gabriele Marcotti says Manchester United has an advantage at the end of this very long season.

Nathan Bootz

The Ithaca Public Schools superintendent reportedly wants Michigan's governor to put more money into schools.

Maybe the state should make them into prisons, he says in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, originally published in the Gratiot County Herald on May 11.

In part the letter reads: "The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding."

Bootz goes on to write that by providing more funding the state can help keep students out of prison.

The letter apparently was cheered but also booed by some in the state.

State Rep. Tom McMillin, a Republican from Rochester Hills, called the letter “inflammatory rhetoric,” according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential, a news service that "reports on the public officials who seek to limit government, those who do not, and those whose votes are at odds with what they say."

The Michigan Capitol Confidential looked at the budgeting issue a different way, saying that prisoners are in state care 24 hours a day while students spend only eight hours.

"Students cost roughly $6.46 per hour to educate. Prisoners cost $5.92 per hour to house," Tom Gantert wrote.

Jack Scott

The mayor of Cordova, Alabama, has plenty of mad residents. Scott says a city ordinance passed in the 1950s doesn't allow for single-wide trailers as residences, reports say. But many people were displaced after a tornado hit the town April 27, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the trailers as temporary housing.

So while some city bureaus are using trailers for offices, the mayor won't allow FEMA to give out the single wides, according to reports.

ABC 33/30 in Birmingham said it called the mayor to ask why, and he hung up on the reporter.

CNN affiliate WIAT-TV in Birmingham reports that some people have resorted to living in tents.

Luke Smith

The 8-year-old was upset the U.S. flag flying on a pier in Oceanside, California, was damaged, according to CNN affiliate KSWB-TV in San Diego.

"I was actually standing right under this pier at the starting line (of a 5-kilometer race). I looked up at the flag and noticed it was all ripped up and tattered," he told KSWB.

So he wrote the man in charge, according to the station.

"Dear Mr. Mayor,

"During my last visit to the pier, while I was looking around, I saw the American flag at the top of the pole waving in the breeze. I felt proud, then I was sad. The flag was all ripped up and tattered. I think it was disrespectful to our country and the people who fight for it. I would be pleased if you would replace it.

"Thank you, sir, for your attention.

" Your friend, Luke Smith, 8 years old."

Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said budget cutbacks made it harder for officials in the military town to spot such problems, according to KSWB.

Wood sent Smith a letter of proclamation and had the flag replaced, the TV station reported.


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Defiant al Fayed puts Michael Jackson statue outside soccer stadium
Fulham Football Club owner Mohamed al Fayed says fans who don't like his statue of Michael Jackson can start cheering for a different team.
April 3rd, 2011
11:46 PM ET

Defiant al Fayed puts Michael Jackson statue outside soccer stadium

London’s Fulham Football Club is now home to a 15-foot-tall memorial to Michael Jackson. And soccer fans who don’t like it can "go to hell," the club's owner said Sunday.

Fulham owner Mohamed al Fayed on Sunday unveiled a statue of the King of Pop on the grounds of the soccer club’s Craven Cottage stadium in London before Fulham’s English Premier League match against Blackpool, the Daily Mail reported.

Al Fayed, an Egyptian businessman who once owned London’s famed Harrods department store, counted Jackson as a friend. He was going to put the statue at Harrods until he sold the store in 2010, according to The Sun.

Sensing criticism for erecting a statue of a man who had little discernible connection to the club - Jackson once attended a match in 1999, according to The Sun - he essentially told critics to beat it.

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