Early Doors

Jay-Z gets World Cup call-up

Early Doors

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A quick internet
search for South African musicians throws up the following: Miriam Makeba
a.k.a. Mama Afrika (deceased), Dave Matthews, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, dismal
goth rockers The Awakening and Paul Simon's
backing group.

So World Cup
organisers are going to stick to universal football principles and bring in
somebody more famous for the opening ceremony.

Organisers have
hired Kevin Wall to stage the event. Wall has previously put on concerts for Madonna,
Michael Jackson (hopefully not an omen) and bizarrely Al Gore.

In line for World
Cup call-ups are rap/R&B power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce, plus the
ubiquitous but useless Black Eyed Peas.

Having seen some
of the gravity-defying heels she wears,
ED's money is on Beyonce to do a Diana Ross
and miss from the penalty spot.

You're damn right ED just linked to heatworld.com.

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Fitness is not high
on ED's agenda, but if it ever wants
to fulfil its dream of running off to join the circus it will have to get in
shape.

When that time comes,
it plans to pitch up at London
Colney and demand to train with the Arsenal squad.

The Gunners seem to
operate something of an open door policy at their Hertfordshire base.

Prior to his move to Milan last winter, David
Beckham was pictured doing laps and running through cones in an Arsenal
tracksuit.

Now Sol Campbell has
been granted use of the London Colney facilities
to stay sharp after his ignominious retreat from Notts County.

Campbell said: "I've
spoken to Arsene (Wenger), hopefully we can get everything right and speak to
the right people and get a couple of the physios and fitness guys to help me
and train. My overall fitness is OK. But something else might happen before
then."

London Colney also plays host to England
before home games, and in 2007 Arsenal lent the national team youngster Matthew
Connolly to make up the numbers during a training match.

England probably
needed somebody to ref, or possibly a stooge just to stand there and act as a
goalpost.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It's
not me. This statement was not made by me. I have no investment of any sort in
Qadbak. I have no role in the club." Pakistani businessman Anwar Shafi
denies any involvement in the group that owns Notts County,
despite being named on the club's
website.

FOREIGN VIEW: An amateur Muslim team has
provoked an outcry in France
after refusing to play against a team which promotes homosexual rights and has
gay players.

The Creteil Bebel Muslim team pulled out of
its planned tie with Paris Foot Gay at the weekend, saying it went against
their religious beliefs to play against homosexuals.

The PFG said they would sue Creteil Bebel for
homophobia.

"We have been insulted in the past, but
this sort of thing has never happened," Pascal Brethes, chairman and
co-founder of PFG, told Reuters.

Creteil Bebel defended their pullout, saying
their religious convictions were much more important than any sporting event.

"As a Muslim, I have the right not to
play against homosexuals because I don't
share their ideas," Zahir Belgarbi, one of the team directors, told France
Bleu radio.

PFG was set up in 2003 to fight against
homophobia, which is rampant in some of the poor suburbs around Paris where it plays.

Brethes said he was shocked by the way
Creteil Bebel players had openly revealed their prejudices.

"It is as if they find it normal to be
homophobes," he said. Human rights and anti-discrimination groups leapt to
the defence of PFG and city authorities also weighed into the row.

"The city of Paris will be inflexible when faced by
attacks on its principles and will continue to fight in a determined fashion
against all acts of discrimination," it said in a statement.

ED realises it is
treading on dangerous ground here, but since when did sharing somebody's ideas become a prerequisite for playing football
against them?

No decent human being
shares the values of most Premier League players - imagine if anyone signing
for a top-flight side had to go through a conformity test, which examined their
ability to squander massive sums of cash on tacky houses
and WAG-mobiles.

And as anyone who has
ever struck up a conversation with a local while on holiday knows, football is
one of the main things that brings different cultures together.

Going into a bar anywhere
in the world and uttering the words 'Nottingham Forest'
are likely to elicit a more enthusiastic response than any amount knowledge of
local customs and language.

So to vet your
opponents based on their lifestyle and beliefs seems a little intolerant, no?

COMING UP:
Continued live scoring from the Under-20 World Cup, starting at 15:30 UK
time. It's also on British Eurosport
- click this link to sign up to the Eurosport Player.

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