Sports News

By Peter Smith

Starting with football and Sparta Prague are in a tug of war with the Greek side Panathinaikos for the services of the young manager Ivan Hasek. The Gambrinus League team are desperate to hang onto Hasek in spite of the rumours that the man himself is eager to leave. The former Czechoslovakia international already has an offer to coach the Athens club, but Sparta are hoping that their counter-offer of an improved four-year deal may induce him to stay in this country.

Pananthinaikos president Angelos Phillipides is apparently still in negotiations with his Sparta counterpart over the release of Hasek, and the man himself has reportedly asked for more time to consider his decision. The Athens club are also flexible over Hasek's other guise as assistant to national team coach Josef Chovanec. It is understood that Pananthinaikos would be willing to release Hasek for international duty at least until after the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea.

Turning to the weekend action in the Gambrinus League and Slavia continued their recent good form and kept alive their chances of a Champions League place with a resounding 5-1 victory away to Olomouc. The result lifts Slavia up to 5th in the table, only three points behind second placed Pribram, who recorded a 1-0 home win over Ceske Budejovice.

Turning to the hockey and Vsetin took the opening honours in the first match of the 2001 Extraliga Play-offs final. Jiri Dopita was the hero for the home side, scoring the first and last goal for Vsetin - Lipansky grabbed the second whereas Bros and Zelenka replied for Sparta. Still a long way to go in the series, though, with Vsetin now leading one-zero.

Finally to North America and for the 5th time in his career, Czech winger Jaromir Jagr has won the Art Ross Trophy for the most number of points against Canadian teams this year. In his battles against the Canadians this year, Jagr totaled 121 points from 52 goals and 69 assists.