Sports News

By Peter Smith.

Starting with some important football news, and the dismissal earlier this week of one of the most respected Czech coaches, Zdenek Zeman. The 53-year-old has been dumped as the coach of the Italian Serie A team Napoli and replaced by the former Torino man Emiliano Mondonico. The Napoli board voted unanimously on Monday to dismiss the Czech after the team's dreadful start to the season--they currently lie rock bottom of Serie A.

The one big transfer story is Slovan Liberec record purchase of Drnovice's attacking midfielder Miroslav Holenak. Liberec didn't take long to splash out some of that UEFA Cup cash for Holenek--the fee is in the region of $380,000--too much for hard-up Drnovice to reject.

The under-21 international has put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half-year deal, telling the website iDnes, "Liberec have a good team... they want to be at the top of the table and may well play in European competition again next season." Drnovice have also off-loaded their Slovak defender Vladimir Holenak to the Bratislava team Petrzalka.

In an extraordinary statement on Tuesday, the Czech international Tomas Repka insisted that he was being targeted for extra punishment by Italian officials after his infamous bust-up at Euro 2000 with the equally infamous Pierluigi Collina.

The Fiorentina defender was handed his 5th red card in two seasons during his team's 1-1 draw with Bologna at the weekend, leading him to believe that the Collina incident has turned a number of Italian referees against Czech players.

"At referees' seminars I guess they bad-mouth me and they all set their sights on me," Repka told Mlada Fronta Dnes, "I've been marked out as a butcher." Collina, by the way, is the referee who awarded Holland that controversial penalty in the dying seconds of the Czechs opening match at Euro 2000

Finally, tennis: it was a very short Parisian break for Jiri Novak. In the first round of the Masters Series Novak crashed in three sets to the Australian Chris Woodruff. Oh, would that there were a bright new Korda or Novotna!