History beckons Nelly Viennot

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By (REUTERS) in Berlin
  • Published 13.04.06

Berlin: Nelly Viennot of France could become the first female ‘linesman’ at a World Cup if she passes fitness and skills tests, Fifa officials said on Wednesday. The 44-year-old, who became the first woman to run the line in France’s first division in 1996, is one of 82 candidates for 60 places at the tournament in Germany.

“There is certainly excitement about the possibility she could be the first female referee’s assistant in the World Cup,” said Fifa spokesman Andreas Werz. “But we want to underscore the fact that she is not going to be at the workshop because she’s a woman... Rather, she is coming because of the fact that she is good enough to be among the best assistants in the world.”

The assistant referees will be tested from April 18-21.


Charter of confidence

Berlin: Confident Brazilian fans have reserved slots for charter flights to Berlin before the World Cup final on July 9, a spokesman for the capital’s airports said on Wednesday.

Eberhard Ilie said travel operators in Brazil had reserved slots at Berlin’s three airports ? Tegel, Tempelhof and Schoenefeld.

The world champions will be bidding for their sixth title.


Amateur teams may lose turfs

Berlin: Several German amateur soccer teams may have to leave their grounds a month before the end of the season to allow new turf to be laid for the World Cup. Twenty-six of the 32 World Cup finalists picked hotels in Germany near training grounds that are now being used by amateur teams in regional leagues whose season run into late May.

“The (World Cup) teams obviously want to have pitches that are in perfect condition,” said Helmut Sandrock, the organising committee official responsible for training venues.

Six amateur sides may have to reschedule matches after the end of the month, when the venues are inspected, because some grounds may need to be returfed, repaired or simply preserved during May. All training venues have to be ready, and free of any advertising, by May 29.


Kalou not amused

Amsterdam: Ivory Coast-born Salomon Kalou, denied the chance to play for the Netherlands at the World Cup, wants a spoof advert showing him playing for Germany withdrawn. Kalou has launched a court battle for the withdrawal of the advert. In the advert Kalou is announced as part of a German team facing the Dutch in a World Cup final.

Netherlands coach Marco van Basten had guaranteed Kalou a spot in his World Cup squad if he got a passport in time. The Netherlands immigration minister, however, ruled last month that Kalou did not fulfil the criteria for fast-track citizenship.


Temptation-freezone for Saudis

Bad Nauheim (Germany): The pictures of naked women are being removed from the hotel’s health spa, hard-core porn channels will be switched off and all alcohol will be removed from the mini bars before Saudi Arabia arrives.

“We’re following some basic ‘do’s and don’ts’. The whole staff is taking cross cultural training sessions to make them aware of the differences of Germany and Saudi Arabia,” Michel Prokop, the hotel’s general manager, said. “ To avoid all problems, all women staffers are going to wear trousers instead of dresses.”