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Soccer DAILY REPORT

Zambrano, MetroStars Cut Ties

April 18, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Octavio Zambrano, the former Galaxy and New York/New Jersey MetroStar coach, has left the MetroStars after an apparent falling out with Nick Sakiewicz, the team's general manager.

Zambrano was fired as the MetroStars coach near the end of the 2002 Major League Soccer season but remained with the organization as reserve team and youth academy coach at a reported salary of $200,000 a year.

That relationship has ended.

"Look, he wants to be the head coach of a professional team, and we needed to focus our energy on the academy and youth system," Sakiewicz told the Newark Star-Ledger. "Octavio needed to focus his energies on finding another job."

MLS Players' Union

The Major League Soccer Players Union (MLSPU) has been formally certified by an arbitrator in Washington, thereby gaining the right to represent the players in collective bargaining with MLS and, in the words of D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen, "ultimately improve our terms of employment."

In addition to Olsen, the union's executive board will include the Galaxy's Alexi Lalas, the San Jose Earthquakes' Landon Donovan, the MetroStars' Tim Howard and the Kansas City Wizards' Chris Klein.

All five are current or former U.S. national team players.

Stam Laughable

Dutch international Jaap Stam, once the world's most expensive defender, has rejected an offer from his financially troubled Italian team, Lazio, to take a 45% pay cut and also be paid in club shares for the next four months.

"We were told we must sign the new contract or be placed on the transfer list," Stam, 30, said on the icons.com Web site. "The offer is laughable. I cannot accept it, and if that means I am not a Lazio player next season, then so be it.

"I cannot go to the supermarket and buy groceries for my family with shares. I do not want to uproot my family, but I will not be held to ransom."

Several other Lazio players also have rejected new contracts.

China 2003

Spokesmen for FIFA and the Chinese Football Assn. (CFA) said that no decision has been made to move the fourth FIFA Women's World Cup out of China despite concern over the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia.

"It is 5 1/2 months away," FIFA spokesman Andres Herren told Associated Press. "We are continuing to monitor the situation. We are in contact with the World Health Organization and our own medical experts.

"At the moment we are on standby. For the moment, like everyone else, we have to wait and see."

Dong Hua, a spokesman for the CFA, insisted that the 16-nation tournament Sept. 23-Oct. 11 will go ahead in the Shanghai region as scheduled.

Meanwhile, the Asian Football Confederation indefinitely postponed five more qualifying matches for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games "in view of the severity of the SARS outbreak in the region."

Quick Passes

Former French World Cup player Jean Tigana was fired as coach of Fulham by club Chairman Mohamed al Fayed, who put the English Premier League team in the temporary charge of former Welsh international Chris Coleman.... Scotland Coach Berti Vogts has called on the Scottish Premier League to revert to a 16-team format and abandon its two-tier, 10-teams apiece system.

AC Milan and AS Roma advanced to the Italian Cup final with victories over Perugia and Lazio, respectively.... Ajax Amsterdam was beaten by Feyenoord and Utrecht upset PSV Eindhoven as both reached the Dutch Cup final.

AS Monaco downed Olympique Marseille and Sochaux edged Metz in overtime to reach the French League Cup final.... Jose Carranza, a midfielder for the Peruvian club Universitario, was released unharmed after being held for two days by kidnappers in the port of Callao, near Lima.

Portsmouth has clinched promotion to the English Premier League, putting it back in the top flight for the first time since 1988.

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