Czech football’s first division is set for a major shake-up from the start of the 2018–2019 season. Following 30 rounds of the regular season, clubs will form three groups, with the top one battling for the title and the bottom one fighting to avoid the drop. But what is the motivation for the huge change?
Visitors to Prague’s main Olšanské cemetery were treated to a somewhat strange sight last Saturday as Glasgow Celtic and Prague Slavia football fans congregated at one specific grave to the tune of a mournful bagpipe. They were paying homage to a Scotsman, Johnny Madden, a legend for both clubs who coached Slavia Prague for 25 years from just after the start of the 20th century to its third decade and took them to the top in Czech and European football.
Tomáš Rosický, once regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young footballers, has just undergone Achilles tendon surgery in the latest in a long series of injury setbacks. Now 36, Rosický says he hopes to return for Sparta Prague next season. However, the former Dortmund and Arsenal midfielder has spent less than 20 minutes on the pitch since returning to his boyhood club last year. I asked football journalist Michal Petrák whether he believed Rosický would ever play again.
Pavel Nedvěd, former Czech national football team captain and the best footballer of his generation, has appeared on a special set of coins, celebrating Czech football legends. Issued by the Czech Mint in Jablonec nad Nisou, the series already features 10 legendary Czech and Czechoslovak footballers, including Antonín Panenka and Josef Masopust. Part of the proceeds from their sale is used to support retired football internationals.