Bulgarian soccer team reportedly not paying players until they start winning

When the Red Sox suffered their epic collapse in September last season, one of their main issues was the carelessness of the players. When guys are getting paid millions of dollars — win or lose, healthy or injured — you have to wonder where their motivation comes from. If Kaliakra, a soccer club in Bulgaria, continues its current losing streak, it won’t be because its players are content with their weekly paycheck. That’s because they won’t be getting paid until some wins start piling up.

According to the Daily Mail, Kaliakra team president Ventsislav Vasilev has informed the team that they aren’t getting paid if their current skid continues.

“The decision will be in force until further notice,” he said, adding that it has been made clear to the team that they will have to fight not only to win games but also to earn a paycheck.

Kaliakra suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss at home on Wednesday — their 14th of the season. They are second-to-last in their division and have not registered a point in their last five matches.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen money used as a motivator for a soccer club, as a Ukrainian team was reportedly fining its players for continuing to lose games last year. The Red Sox front office should try that if the team starts to slide again this season. I’m sure it will go over well with the Players Association.

H/T Dirty Tackle

Couple in Singapore has as Liverpool a wedding as you can possibly have (Video)

If you thought England was the home to the biggest Liverpool fans in the world, Mr. and Mrs. Han may change your mind. Liverpool fans are everywhere — even Singapore. As you can see from the video above that Dirty Tackle passed along, the newly-married Mr. and Mrs. Han are about as hardcore as they come. If they weren’t there’s no way they would have thrown down that hard for their wedding and decked themselves and their bridal party out in head-to-toe Liverpool red.

“We are Liverpool fans living in Singapore some 6823.5 Miles from the city of Liverpool,” the couple wrote on their YouTube video according to 101 Goals. “In late 2001, (through) our support for our beloved team, we met each other @ Official Liverpool FC Fanclub Singapore Branch. What (followed) was a courtship unlike other couples. Our dates were watching Liverpool FC together every weekend. Everywhere we go, we were dressed up in identical LFC tops…”

Then came the most diehard Liverpool wedding you’ll ever see and they all lived happily ever after. Your move, lady with the Manchester United wedding dress.

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks burns his shoulder while cooking

Professional athletes tend to eat out a lot. Since they are constantly on the move and can usually afford takeout and restaurants on a regular basis, it makes perfect sense. What we don’t take into consideration is that eating out may also be a safety mechanism. As Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks proved over the weekend, cooking can be dangerous.

According to the CBC, Mattocks was admitted to a hospital on Sunday after suffering burns to his upper arm and right shoulder while cooking. How did this happen? Your guess is as good as ours.

“It was an unfortunate accident, but Darren is handling everything well and remains in good spirits,” Whitecap coach Martin Rennie said in a release. “We will have a better understanding on the recovery time and course of action later in the week, but we fully anticipate Darren to make a complete recovery in due time.”

Was it the door of the oven? Did a pot of hot water go flying through the air and hit his arm? I could see a burn on the hand or lower arm, but this one is a head-scratcher. At least when that dude from Werder Bremen hurt his knee playing with his dog the physicality of the injury made sense.

H/T Dirty Tackle

Chelsea’s Jacob Mellis dismissed from team after admitting he set off a smoke grenade at training facility

When you think about athletes pulling pranks, harmless stuff usually comes to mind. Whether it be changing someone’s at-bat music or lighting their shoe on fire, guys usually settle for a cheap laugh or two. Not Chelsea midfielder Jacob Mellis, who decided he wanted to either go big or go home. He ended up doing both. According to the Daily Mail, Mellis was dismissed from the team this week after admitting he was behind the smoke bomb incident at Chelsea’s practice facility a couple weeks ago.

On March 3, Chelsea launched an investigation a day after a smoke grenade went off at their training complex. A number of players and coaches from youth teams and academies were forced to flee the locker rooms after a thick cloud of smoke filled the facility. The investigation was described as an “internal matter” at the time.

Mellis is no longer welcome on the team and teammate Billy Clifford is facing a fine after admitting he brought the grenade into the facility. Not to sound like the principle or anything, but how two full-grown adults could think something like that is a good idea baffles me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know someone who threw a stink bomb or two down the hallway back in high school, but clearing out an arena with a smoke grenade seems like a bit much.

H/T Dirty Tackle

Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba in stable condition after collapsing during match

Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba is in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a London hospital after collapsing during the club’s FA Cup match at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

During the 41st minute of the 1-1 match, Muamba suddenly fell face down on the pitch at London’s White Hart Lane. Paramedics rushed to his side and attempted to resuscitate him for several minutes using CPR and a defibrillator. Muamba reportedly wasn’t breathing when he was taken to the hospital. The match has since been postponed.

Doctors still haven’t confirmed what caused Muamba to collapse. Bolton, meanwhile, has described Muamba as being “critically ill” in a statement it issued on its website:

“Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to the Heart Attack Centre at the London Chest Hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care. No further information will be issued at this stage.”

Muamba is a political refugee of the Democratic Republic of Congo and a former standout on England’s U-21 squad.

Players on hand were visibly shaken as the incident unfolded and several were seen praying on the field as the 23-year-old was attended to. Tottenham star Rafael van der Vaart, one of those who first called for medical assistance for Muamba, offered his support on Twitter: “Fabrice Muamba is in stable condition according to the hospital. Great news, let’s hope he will get better.”

The FA also sent its best wishes, tweeting: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Fabrice Muamba and his family right now. A wonderful person.”

Here’s video of the scary scene shortly after Muamba collapsed:

[Read more...]

Fan wins training session with Didier Drogba, offers it to Fernando Torres

On Saturday night, Chelsea forward Didier Drogba raised more than 250,000 Euros for his charity, The Didier Drogba Foundation. One man paid 15,000 Euros for a personal training session with Drogba, and after winning the auction he promptly took the opportunity to use his prize as a hilarious punchline. Via the Daily Mail:

Didier Drogba managed to keep a straight face at his charity ball as the winner of a training session with the Ivorian striker offered to donate the prize to his misfiring colleague Fernando Torres.

Auction winner 1, Torres 0. For those of you who do not follow the Premier League, Torres has been struggling mightily this season. In 22 games, he has only two goals on 45 shots. Since signing with Chelsea from Liverpool in January, Torres has scored only three goals in 36 appearances and has hardly lived up to his 50 million-Euro price tag. Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea’s caretaker manager, believes the problem is between the ears for the 27-year-old.

“He has a psychological problem and only Fernando can unlock it,” Di Matteo said according to ESPN.com. “If he needs me, I am always here but it is obvious the change must come from him. He must not think about how much he cost the club. He must concentrate only on playing and not about scoring, or providing an assist or making a great play every time he touches the ball.”

Or maybe he could just accept the auction winner’s offer.

H/T Dirty Tackle

Portland Timbers Army sings National Anthem at team’s home opener (Video)

Say what you will about soccer in America, but the 20,000 fans you see in the video above singing the National Anthem in unison aren’t going to listen. The Portland Timbers are only in their second season as a part of Major League Soccer, but they have one of the most committed fan bases in sports. No, I’m not saying the Timbers have nearly as many fans as teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, but the ones they do have — who are known as the Timbers Army — are as die hard as they come.

Before the kickoff of their home opener against Philadelphia on, the Timbers Army took care of the National Anthem duties. For a crew of about 20,000 without vocal coaching singing together, they sounded pretty damn good.