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Morning Ticker: Simek working his way back, a Cuban defector speaks and Atletico Madrid punished


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Good morning all. It is a relatively slow day in the soccer world, what with World Cup qualifying set for Wednesday. I will look to put up stories on Carlos Bocanegra and Michael Bradley later today. For now, here are some other stories to give a read:

Frank Simek is on the comeback trail and has made his way back on the field for Sheffield Wednesday.

Cuban defector Reinier Alcantara tells the Washington Post the harrowing story of his escape from the Cuban national team.

Atletico Madrid has been hit with a two-match stadium ban in Champions League play after racist chants and abuse at an Atletico Madrid-Marseille Champions League match. This means Atletico’s home match against Liverpool next Wednesday will be moved to a location far from Madrid, leaving Liverpool fans who have already made travel plans in a bind. Then there is also the fact that Fernando Torres’ return to Atletico Madrid has essentially been erased, unless Atletico has an appeal upheld.

UEFA’s punishment of Atletico Madrid comes just two days after a Houston Dynamo fan shouted racist taunts at D.C. United goalkeeper Louis Crayton, earning himself a stadium ban.

What do you think of these stories? Glad to see Simek close to returning? Think the stadium ban was a just punishment for Atletico Madrid, or was it too harsh?

Share your thoughts on these stories, and any other stories from Tuesday morning, in the comments section below.


  1. The story about the cubans is just sad and even though this country of ours isn’t doing well at the moment, we’re lucky to say that we live in a free society unlike Cuba.

  2. I wonder why US immigration officials don’t just park themselves on the sidelines and allow Cuban defectors to tell them that they want to defect before they walk into the locker rooms. That way they get to play one more game, but they would lose out on the escape stories.

  3. Racism=ignorance no doubt about it but if they start punishing for racist remarks then the US/Mexico rivalry should watch out. I went to a beautiful match in Chicago a couple of years ago, had my little brother with me, and both countries fans were pretty ruthless. If you can’t taunt an African, then you can’t taunt a Mexican. None of it should be tolerated but you can’t punish a squad for it.

  4. “There is a huge difference between widespread racist chants, and one racist jackhole acting like a racist jackhole, with the situation being immediately corrected. Lumping the two together is just very poor form, Ives. You are better than that.”

    Ives didn’t say they were the same. But it is relevant to mention it and Ives did point out it came just days after the UEFA penalty. Clearly they’re different–in one case a fan was penalized, in another a club was penalized–and Ives said that. But at the same time, racist behavior like this happens because the rest of us say or do nothing when it does happen. I’m sure the rest of the Houston fans near by didn’t say anything. But they also didn’t do anything either. So if we see someone stealing someone’s purse it’s okay to trip the mugger but if we see someone yell “go back to the jungle you monkey” (or whatever was said) it’s okay to just ignore it and say nothing? Racism flourishes when the rest of us chose to do nothing when we are witness to it.

  5. “Lumping the two together is just very poor form, Ives. You are better than that.”

    A bit dramatic don’t you think Dillon? When was the last time we read a news story about an NBA, NFL, MLB fan spewing racial aspersions at players during live action? Grouping them together is I think, an interesting commentary on how our pursuit of a league legitimate in the eyes of the world may come with unintended consequences.

  6. I don’t think the punishment is stiff enough. I know this is probably too harsh but crap like that should, in my opinion, be cause to move all of Atletico’s remaining home games in group play to the site of the opposition, in this case Liverpool.

    This isn’t the first time there have been issues in Spanish stadiums, right? I have only been following European soccer closely for about three years now, but I seem to remember incidents involving African players being taunted by Spanish fans during La Liga games two or three years ago. I think that was what helped prompt FIFA’s “Say No To Racism” campaign last year.

    I know these incidents are just the actions of a select few and should not reflect poorly on an entire country, and if I have any of my facts wrong I apologize, but there needs to be serious consequence for continued bad bahavior.

  7. I think the punishment is well deserved. I think its getting close to the point where ther have to be points docked for any racist behavior gotta get the clubs, national federations and fans attention. No more paltry fines.

  8. Sorry guys, I did write United first. I had Sheffield United on the brain because the story on him said there was an outside chance he would play against Sheffield United. I know he plays for Wednesday. I blame it on the flu (or whatever it is that’s kicking my butt today).

  9. Ives! As an Owls fan I am appalled!! Ok maybe not appalled because I know that Shef United has a bigger name right now, but Simek plays for Wednesday. To anyone living in the South Yorkshire area of England or Owls fans elsewhere, that’s a bigggggggg deal! Now, I like you and your site is great so I’ll give you a pass, but I’ll be waiting for that update. =)

  10. actually the person at the dynamo game is showing a worrying trend. first the crew incident, then there are reports of a sam’s army fan yelling at a minority member of the US team (serious WTF?) and then the dynamo incident. not good at all to see these popping up. soccer has a hard enough time gaining legitimacy in the mainstream media eyes. these sorts of things don’t help at all.

  11. There is a huge difference between widespread racist chants, and one racist jackhole acting like a racist jackhole, with the situation being immediately corrected. Lumping the two together is just very poor form, Ives. You are better than that.

  12. Good story about the Cuban defector. I was surprise to read that there have been about 12 cuban soccer players who have defected recently. They could create their own team the “Cuban Defectors”, pretty cool.

    It is kind of sad that they are not allowed to practice their craft.

  13. WHOA IVES! Simek plays for Wednesday, normally i would not correct but I have a friend that is a Wednesday fan and that kind of mistake would devastate him…..


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