Most Czech dailies on Friday carry photos of the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, shaking hands with the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Mlada Fronta Dnes features a photo of a Greek actress lighting the Olympic torch on Thursday that will travel around the world for the next 141 days to return back to Greece to launch the Summer Olympics in Athens.
The main headline in today's Lidove Noviny speaks about a war between the government and Ales Husak, the head of the leading Czech lottery company Sazka that has built a giant multipurpose arena in Prague where the upcoming World Ice Hockey Championships will take place. Mr Husak announced earlier this week that Sazka would not be inviting Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla to the official opening of the arena this Saturday because his government had refused last year to provide state guarantees to Sazka which was struggling to find finances for the completion of the stadium.
Education Minister Petra Buzkova tells Lidove Noviny that she is going to complain about Mr Husak's behaviour in a letter to Sazka's shareholders and call on them to make Mr Husak apologise to the prime minister. If he does not, Minister Buzkova suggests that Sazka's shareholders should consider removing Ales Husak from the post of general manager. Culture Minister Pavel Dostal, who has been invited to Saturday's gala evening, tells Lidove Noviny he is not going, and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross is planning to stay at home, too, Lidove Noviny writes.
Pravo leads with what is turning out to be a bogus corruption scandal in Czech football. The daily writes that the regional Czech daily Deniky Bohemia reported on Thursday that a police video camera had recorded money changing hands between players of Banik Ostrava and Viktoria Plzen in a bar in the city of Plzen. Deniky Bohemia wrote that two members of the Viktoria Plzen football club allegedly received 750,000 crowns from Banik players for letting Banik win a match in Plzen. Pravo says that Czech police have denied any knowledge of such a transaction or even having installed a camera in the bar, meant to record potential drug dealers.
Pravo writes that the regional dailies that first released the information about the alleged bribe are owned by the same German financial group as the football club Sparta Prague, a rival of Banik Ostrava. The bosses of Banik Ostrava as well as the players who allegedly appear in the video have also denied any involvement in such a deal between the two clubs.
Staying with Pravo, and the paper reports that the first group of soldiers from the Czech Army's special forces left the country for Afghanistan on Thursday to take part in a combat mission as part the US-led Enduring Freedom operation. The Czech soldiers are supposed to search for Taleban militants and members of the Al-Qaeda network.
Mlada Fronta Dnes leads with the results of the latest opinion poll conducted by the STEM agency. According to the poll, the opposition Civic Democratic Party enjoys record public support, with almost 35 percent of the respondents saying they would vote for the party. Only half that number, precisely 17.1 percent of respondents, have said they would vote for the ruling Social Democrats, according to the STEM poll published in Mlada Fronta Dnes. The opposition Communists came second with 19.6 percent of potential voters. The leaders of the Civic Democrats have said that should this trend be confirmed in the forthcoming European Parliament elections, the party might make another attempt at bringing down the ruling coalition.
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