FIFA threatens Albania of suspension

ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 25 – A senior UEFA official said that Albania could likely be suspended from international soccer activities unless the government stopped interfering in the local association. UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said in a telephone interview with The

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Albania moves up in FIFA ranks, though no matches played

TIRANA, Feb. 13 – Albania ranked seven places higher in the FIFA ranking list to 73 from 80 in January with 421 points, or 14 more than a month ago. The team also played friendly matches while in Antalya, Turkey

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Haan named Albania national soccer team coach

TIRANA, Jan. 4 – Dutch coach Arie Haan signed a two-year contract to coach Albania on Friday. The 58-year-old former Dutch and Ajax player replaces Croatia’s Otto Baric who resigned after Albania lost two Euro 2008 qualifiers. The Dutchman and

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Albania asks UEFA to investigate into alleged sale of Euro qualifiers

TIRANA, Dec. 3 – The Albanian government has asked UEFA to investigate the country’s last two qualifiers of the Euro 2008 Championship claiming they were sold. In a letter sent to UEFA legal manager Gianni Infantino, Minister Ylli Pango “kindly

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Italian soccer coaches on list for heading Albanian national team

TIRANA, Nov. 26 – A number of Italian soccer coaches have been included in the list of persons who could soon lead the country’s national soccer team. This follows the resignation of Croat, Otto Baric, after heavy losses against Belarus

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Jorge Oropeza to join Flamurtari in Vlora

TIRANA, Aug 13 – The Mexican soccer star, Jorge Oropeza, traveled to Albania to complete the details of his being hired in Europe by the Flamurtari of the First Albanian Division. The club from the southwestern port city of Vlora

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Seventh heaven for Besa

KS Besa have confirmed their place in the first qualifying round of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup after a 3-2 win against neighbours KS Teuta in the Albanian Cup final. Seventh time lucky The Kavaja side had been beaten in six

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Duka deplores Albanian violence

With KF Tirana confirmed as league champions, Football Association of Albania (FSHF) president Armando Duka is looking to stem violence in domestic football. Tarnished season While Tirana confirmed their title success with a 1-0 win against FK Partizani on Wednesday,

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Kaka to play charity match in Albania

TIRANA, May 8 – Brazil playmaker Kaka will be present in July at a charity soccer match held in Tirana’s Qemal Stafa national soccer stadium, officials said Monday. A religious organization will hold the charity match in Tirana and Kaka

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Ahmet Jonuzi debuts with a goal

The third Albanian playing for Vorskla scored the only goal at Donetsk. Kosovo international, Ahmet Jonuzi, made his debut today with Vorskla in the Ukrainian First Division. He entered the game as a substitute in the 58th minute and scored

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                    [post_content] => ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 25 - A senior UEFA official said that Albania could likely be suspended from international soccer activities unless the government stopped interfering in the local association.
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that, earlier this month, FIFA had warned Albania it could be suspended.
Albania, which could also be suspended on March 14, is a concern for FIFA because the international governing body says the country's ministry of sport has threatened the independence of its soccer federation. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha even accused the soccer federation of fixing matches during the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament, but critics claim the move is politically motivated because federation president, Armando Duka, had a brother in the previous Albanian administration.
Albania lost to Belarus 4-2 and Romania 6-1during the qualifying matches. FIFA says it has asked for proof of match-fixing but received none, and Gaillard reiterated that no Euro 2008 qualifiers were under suspicion. He also said that Spain, ranked fourth in the world, was also threatened with sanctions.
Greece was suspended by FIFA on July 3, 2006, because it said a law interfered in the affairs of the country's soccer federation. The suspension was lifted nine days later when the Greek parliament amended the law.
If FIFA believes a government is interfering, there isn't much a country can do except comply and compete, or stand fast and sit out.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 13 - Albania ranked seven places higher in the FIFA ranking list to 73 from 80 in January with 421 points, or 14 more than a month ago. The team also played friendly matches while in Antalya, Turkey last month. Albania's best ranking has been at 62nd place in 2006.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 4 - Dutch coach Arie Haan signed a two-year contract to coach Albania on Friday.
The 58-year-old former Dutch and Ajax player replaces Croatia's Otto Baric who resigned after Albania lost two Euro 2008 qualifiers. The Dutchman and his staff will reportedly be paid 300,000 euro for the two seasons. He will also receive a bonus for every win by the national side.
Haan said that his task would be to improve Albania's ranking in the world list from 80 to 35-40. Haan, a former Dutch international who has previously coached China and Cameroon, said he aims to improve the small Balkan country's world ranking from 80th.
"But don't ask me to become world champion with Albania or I will leave now," Haan said Friday after signing the two-year contract.  For the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Albania is in Group 1 with Denmark, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, and Sweden. China fired Haan after failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 3 - The Albanian government has asked UEFA to investigate the country's last two qualifiers of the Euro 2008 Championship claiming they were sold. In a letter sent to UEFA legal manager Gianni Infantino, Minister Ylli Pango "kindly invite the responsible bodies of UEFA to investigate the run of both matches, and evaluate the results of this investigation."
"There are clear suspicions that both matches might have been sold by the President of our National Football Federation. This is a clear evidence that he is using our national football team's matches for his own interests, insulting the feelings of its fans and supporters wherever they are," said the letter. Soccer federation head Armando Duka took the post during former Socialist Party governing, now in opposition, and is also a former Socialist minister's brother. Albania lost 4-2 at home to Belarus and 6-1 away to Romania in the last two Euro 2008 qualifiers. Albania's 75-year-old Croatian coach Otto Baric resigned after the two dismal losses saying ``he was not capable of leading the team.``
Prime Minister Sali Berisha also harshly accused the players saying that Mafia clans among them was putting the national flag to shame.
Albanian Soccer Federation and players denied they had sold the matches not denying the disillusion from the losses.
Welcoming the investigation, they also asked pardon to the Albanian fans. "If that was true we would strongly denounce it and (punish) players not only firing them from the national team but also from any soccer activity in our country and abroad,`` said a federation statement, adding that, ``soccer is a game that besides winning recognizes the loss as well and though the loss is bitter one should know how to accept it."
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 26 - A number of Italian soccer coaches have been included in the list of persons who could soon lead the country's national soccer team. This follows the resignation of Croat, Otto Baric, after heavy losses against Belarus and Romania earlier this month.
Rumors have circulated that Italian coaches, and those working in Italy, such as Scala, Zeman, Zenga, Gentille and Manfredi were being considered by Albanian soccer authorities.
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                    [post_date] => 2007-08-21 02:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug 13 - The Mexican soccer star, Jorge Oropeza, traveled to Albania to complete the details of his being hired in Europe by the Flamurtari of the First Albanian Division.  
The club from the southwestern port city of Vlora is a member of the Albanian league and in the last season finished in the ninth position.  
Jorge Oropeza plays as right defender. He made his debut in May 2006 with Toluca under Argentinian coach Américo Rubén.  
"I am very happy with this opportunity. It is a very important challenge in my race. The league begins August 26 and I am already anxious to begin the competition. My agent sent videos to the club and they were seen by the coach and the technical staff. I will go to Albania as soon as they give a visa to me," said Oropeza.  
"We are negotiating the last issues with Flamurtari and hope that the contract is concluded shortly. The club is rebuilding before the new season and Jorge Oropeza will be a fundamental player in the new project of Flamurtari," said the player's agent, Carlos Turrubiates.
                    [post_title] =>  Jorge Oropeza to join Flamurtari in Vlora  
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                    [post_content] => KS Besa have confirmed their place in the first qualifying round of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup after a 3-2 win against neighbours KS Teuta in the Albanian Cup final.

Seventh time lucky
The Kavaja side had been beaten in six previous cup finals before finally claiming their maiden success at the seventh attempt. Parid Xhihani put Besa ahead after just three minutes but Daniel Xhafa levelled for Teuta with a header from a free-kick. Amarildo Belisha scored before the interval to restore Besa's lead. Under-21 international Emiliano Veliaj then extended their advantage before defender Robert Grizha deflected Bledar Mançaku's shot past his own keeper to set up a tense finale.

Teliti triumphant
Xhihani said: "This is a win for all the players who have played for Besa over the years and I can't explain how it feels. It is also for my father, Vasip, who played for Besa." Besa coach Ylli Teliti had been in charge of the club for just three days following Vasil Bici's dismissal. Meanwhile, beaten boss Sulejman Starova is looking to join Besa in the UEFA Cup by confirming second place in the league with a win against KS Shkumbini on Saturday. "Besa played better and deserved the win," he said.
                    [post_title] =>  Seventh heaven for Besa 
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                    [post_content] => With KF Tirana confirmed as league champions, Football Association of Albania (FSHF) president Armando Duka is looking to stem violence in domestic football.

Tarnished season
While Tirana confirmed their title success with a 1-0 win against FK Partizani on Wednesday, there remains a danger that the season will be remembered not for their exploits on the pitch, but the violent scenes that tarnished some games, with match officials being assaulted at several games. Moreover, concerns have been raised about match-fixing in Albanian league games.

Awful incident
Perhaps the most disturbing incident of the season came in November when former Tirana coach Sulejman Mema, who was working as an FSHF match delegate, was attacked in his dressing room after a second tier game between KS Burrel and KS Erzeni and badly beaten, spending 15 days in intensive care. Match officials were regularly subject to abuse and intimidation in other matches.

Duka accusation
"I think the violence at these matches is caused by people with power, whose only concern is for their team to win regardless of the cost," Duka told uefa.com. "The violence at matches is caused by the VIPs in the stands, not the players. There were fewer confrontations between players and referees this year but there is still a lot of work to be done."

Tough response
He added: "We are working with the clubs, the interior ministry and the police to improve security but certain people have a very hard time following the rules and we have to stop that. Our observers were attacked on a few occasions in the cities of Berat and Burrel and because of that we banned the teams concerned, who were automatically suspended and relegated."

Claims refuted
However, while he accepted that violence was a worrying element of Albanian football, Duka was not convinced that the impressive form of the league's top clubs in the final rounds of the season represented evidence of match-fixing. "Teams who need to get results raise their game and their results improve," he said, adding: "If I ever see evidence of match-rigging then the teams and individuals involved would be banned for a long time."

Bici dismissed
In other Albanian news, KS Besa have been left without a coach following the dismissal of Vasil Bici. Besa play KS Teuta in the Albanian Cup final on Wednesday.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 8 - Brazil playmaker Kaka will be present in July at a charity soccer match held in Tirana's Qemal Stafa national soccer stadium, officials said Monday.
A religious organization will hold the charity match in Tirana and Kaka is one of the invited players.
The match was first planned for June but due to the schedule of Kaka's national team it was postponed to July.
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                    [post_content] => The third Albanian playing for Vorskla scored the only goal at Donetsk. Kosovo international, Ahmet Jonuzi, made his debut today with Vorskla in the Ukrainian First Division. He entered the game as a substitute in the 58th minute and scored the only goal for Vorskla towards the end of the match. Vorskla lost 1-2 away to Shakhtar Donetsk. The former Kosova Vushtrria forward is the third Kosovar Albanian to play for Vorskla, after Debatik Curri and Armend Dallku. Jonuzi was caped by the Kosovo national team coach, Edmond Rrugova, in the Kosovo-Stars game, where he debuted with a goal as well.  As usual, Armend Dallku and Debatik Curri were starters for Vorskla in Thursday's game at Donetsk, where Dallku was booked in the 65th minute.
                    [post_title] =>  Ahmet Jonuzi debuts with a goal 
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            [post_date] => 2008-02-29 01:00:00
            [post_date_gmt] => 2008-02-29 01:00:00
            [post_content] => ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 25 - A senior UEFA official said that Albania could likely be suspended from international soccer activities unless the government stopped interfering in the local association.
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that, earlier this month, FIFA had warned Albania it could be suspended.
Albania, which could also be suspended on March 14, is a concern for FIFA because the international governing body says the country's ministry of sport has threatened the independence of its soccer federation. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha even accused the soccer federation of fixing matches during the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament, but critics claim the move is politically motivated because federation president, Armando Duka, had a brother in the previous Albanian administration.
Albania lost to Belarus 4-2 and Romania 6-1during the qualifying matches. FIFA says it has asked for proof of match-fixing but received none, and Gaillard reiterated that no Euro 2008 qualifiers were under suspicion. He also said that Spain, ranked fourth in the world, was also threatened with sanctions.
Greece was suspended by FIFA on July 3, 2006, because it said a law interfered in the affairs of the country's soccer federation. The suspension was lifted nine days later when the Greek parliament amended the law.
If FIFA believes a government is interfering, there isn't much a country can do except comply and compete, or stand fast and sit out.
            [post_title] =>  FIFA threatens Albania of suspension  
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