The new league season in Czech football gets underway after the summer break this weekend. And the very first game of 2010-2011 could well take place in front of half-empty stands on Friday evening. Bohemians 1905 are hosting Slavia Prague, but both clubs’ fans are organizing a boycott of the game to protest the fact that they are now sharing the modern Eden stadium. It was built for Slavia, but it is now also Bohemians’ home ground, after they were forced to leave their traditional stadium about a kilometer away.
One of the most keenly watched players in the Czech league this season will be defender Tomáš Kalas. Though the 17-year-old has only made one appearance for Sigma Olomouc, some of Europe’s top clubs were tracking him and he has now joined England’s Chelsea in a deal that will see him move to London next year and could net Olomouc USD 8 million. I discussed the signing of Tomáš Kalas with Chelsea’s sporting director Frank Arnesen, who was in Prague on Thursday.
Baník Ostrava beat WTI Georgia 6:0 in the first leg of the second qualifying round of UEFA’s Europa League in Tbilisi on Thursday. The Czech side first scored some 15 minutes before the end of the first half but added five more goals within 20 minutes in the second. The home side only came close to scoring in the 37th minute but the header missed the goal. The second leg is scheduled for July 22 in Ostrava.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic beat Chile to reach the semi-finals of tennis’s Davis Cup, but will face a sterner test against Novak Djokovic and his Serbian team-mates in September; Roman Kreuziger can enjoy a rest day in the Tour de France after finishing fourth in the first Alpine stage on Sunday; and the Czech football season begins with a piquant game in Prague’s Vršovice district.
Interpol has given up searching for the deputy chairman of the Czech and Moravian Football Association and businessman Miroslav Kříž according to Czech media reports which point out he not on the list of Czechs being sought. Czech police have refused to confirm the reports but say their search is continuing. Mr. Kříž was last seen in Prague on May 22. The latest turnaround in events has raised speculation that Mr. Kříž might be a key police witness or that police know of his whereabouts abroad but cannot take any action to get him back.
Betting agencies say that Czechs bet more than one billion crowns on the 2010 football World Cup. The company Fortuna said that it expected a final total of more than 400 million crowns, while Tipsport projected half a billion in wagers, all in spite of the fact that the Czech team is not playing in the tournament. The agencies agreed that the results were worse than general due to the many upsets in the tournament; betters, they said, were pulling for Brazil and Argentina, both of whom lost in the semi-finals. According to the bookmaker, the favourite for the championship title is Spain.
The Czech football season will kick off on Thursday for the first time with a super cup match between the league and cup champions. In this context, league leaders Sparta Prague will face cup winner Viktoria Plzeň. Although such matches have traditionally opened the season abroad, this is the first time the format has been tested in the Czech Republic. The match will take place at Sparta’s Letna stadium.
Czech football player Tomáš Kalas will continue to play for Sigma Olomouc in the Gambrinus League in the upcoming season in spite of having been signed by English club Chelsea. Chelsea announced the news that it will loan the 17-year-old defender out to his old club on its website. Chelsea beat off offers from a host of other top clubs, reportedly including Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan to sign Kalas for around 160 million crowns. Kalas already played for Olomouc’s first team last season.
The German Bundesliga club Hamburger SV signed a three-year deal with Czech goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobný on Monday. The 30-year-old Czech footballer comes from Hertha Berlin which was relegated to the second top division last season. Jaroslav Drobný told the Hamburg club website that he was extremely happy with the transfer, and was looking forward to competing for the league title.
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