Sulley Muntari 'caught smoking' and Sepp's smug overload
World Cup whispers: Ghana midfielder was sent home for 'smoking during team meeting'
Sepp in seventh heaven
Fifa president Sepp Blatter was even more smug than usual during a sport management seminar in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. Football's favourite friend gushed that he was "a very happy man today" because of the way the World Cup has unfolded. Not just the goals and the captivating action on-field – give or take the odd bite – but the way Brazilians have embraced the tournament. "It is a success of the country, of this game," simpered Blatter. "I would like to address my compliments to the people of Brazil. They accepted this World Cup." None of the social unrest that blighted Brazil in the months before the tournament has occurred (although a handful of people staged a small protest against Fifa during the seminar), and Blatter declared: "Let's cross fingers, hoping that the last games will take place with the same pattern, the same atmosphere."
No smoke without fire
How did he sully his name to the extent that he was kicked out of the Ghana squad at the World Cup? Sulley Muntari isn't saying what caused the "blazing row" with team officials but a video on Metro's website might provide a clue. The leaked footage shows the AC Milan midfielder at a squad dinner enjoying a large cigarette, much to the bemusement of teammates who can be heard calling him 'Ganja Man' in the background. There are also allegations that once he'd had a puff or two, Muntari "slapped a member of staff and then chased one of the coaches around the hotel with a broken bottle". Makes the England team look like choir boys…
The Demon drink
Fifa secretary general Jérôme Valcke has come in for some alcohol-related abuse in the Brazilian media after comments made during an interview with SporTV. "I'm worried by the alcohol [in the World Cup]," the Frenchman fretted after a small number of drink-related scuffles in and around stadiums. "I have been surprised by the amount of alcohol. Perhaps many people were drunk and, when drinking, violence tends to increase." This brought a sharp retort from many Brazilian news outlets, quick to point out that before the tournament started Valcke pressurised the Brazilian government to amend the nation's laws so World Cup sponsor Budweiser could sell beer inside stadiums.
Defending the indefensible
The latest Uruguayan to argue against the nine-game ban dished out to Luis Suarez for his infamous bite on Giorgio Chiellini is Eugenio Figueredo, president of the South American Football Confederation. For many years the chief of the Uruguayan FA, Figueredo confirmed that Suarez will miss his country's Copa America matches next year and some of the their qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup. But with Fifa's tradition of imposing stringent punishments only to reduce them at a later date, Figueredo is confident that the striker will be free to play. "Suarez's punishment is barbaric," he said. "I hope that [the ban] is not for as many games…our goal is to see that the ban is lowered and we are working on that."