11-06-2001

By Peter Smith

Sport now and let's begin with the news that the captain of the Czech football team, Pavel Nedved, may be on his way to pastures new after all. The president of Nedved's present club, Lazio, has confirmed that the their Italian rivals Juventus have lodged a $26.5 million bid for midfielder, after the Czech's contract negotiations with Lazio ran aground.

Sergio Cragnotti is reported to be concerned by the size of Nedved's salary demands and is of the belief that a move may be best for all parties. 'No player is untouchable,' Cragnotti said. 'There always offers for the top players - I would prefer not to sell any of my players, but the club has to protect finances and its wage policy.'

Two traditional rivals look set to join forces at the helm of the French second division club Strasbourg. The former coach of Sparta Prague, Ivan Hasek, looks almost certain to appoint his old adversary from across town as his coaching assistant at the newly relegated French club. Hasek - who took over at Strasbourg after stepping down at the Czech champions last month - has asked the former Slavia coach Karel Jarolim to join him in France, an offer which Jarolim seems likely to accept. Language ability may be key to Hasek's thinking - as a player Jarolim spent four years playing in the French league.

Turning to tennis, and the last hope of Czech glory at the French Open was extinguished on Sunday when the Czech pair of Petr Pala and Pavel Vizner were beaten in the Men's Doubles Final. Seeded 13, the Czechs went down in straight sets at Roland Garros - 7-6 6-3 to the so-called Indian express of tennis - Leander Paes and Mahes Bhupathi

Ice-hockey finally and the Czechs have won the Stanley Cup - well, two of them anyway. Milan Hejduk and Martin Skoula were members of the victorious Colorado team that overcame New Jersey 3-1 in the deciding match of the Stanley Cup Final at the weekend. Every silver lining has a cloud, though - three Czech players - Patrik Elias, Robert Holik and Petr Sykora all play for the defeated team.

Elias - scorer of New Jersey's goal on the night - seemed particularly upset after missing out on his medal. 'When you lose in the final, it is the worst thing,' Elias said. 'I think that we are a better team than this - we must think about that it time for next season.' Never mind, though - the Czechs still won the Stanley Cup!

11-06-2001