Sports News

Libor Sionko, photo: CTK
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In Sports News: footballer Libor Sionko leaves Glasgow Rangers for the less glamorous FC Copenhagen - and hopes regular action will see him return to the Czech national squad; Sparta Prague sign Slavia goalkeeper Matus Kozacik just a week before the Czech league begins; and is the popular ex-skier Katerina Neumannova in danger of tarnishing her reputation?

Move to Copenhagen "step forward" for Sionko

Libor Sionko, photo: CTK
The Czech football international Libor Sionko is leaving Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers for FC Copenhagen. Sionko fell from favour at Rangers after the manager who signed him, Paul Le Guen, was fired half way through the midfielder's first season at the club. His agent Pavel Zika explains why Libor Sionko opted for a smaller club like Copenhagen, which some might consider a step backwards.

"The first reason is that after Glasgow Rangers changed coaches foreign players got very few chances to play. It was clear Libor didn't figure among Rangers' plans for next season. On the other hand, FC Copenhagen are ambitious. They have a really strong squad and even beat Man United last season in the Champions League group stage. They have ambitions for this season too, so, on the contrary, I think it's a step forward."

As for the player himself, Sionko says he's hoping regular starts at a new club will spell a new chance at international level - coach Karel Bruckner didn't select the player when he was out in the cold at Rangers in the first half of this year.

Sparta sign Slavia goalkeeper Kozacik on eve of new season

Sparta Prague, photo: CTK
In the Czech league there has been surprise at the purchase of Slavia Prague goalkeeper Matus Kozacik by arch rivals Sparta, just a week before the new season begins. Sparta sold international second choice Jaromir Blazek in the summer and evidently didn't think any of the three goalies on their books were up to replacing him. Meanwhile, Kozacik, who is Slovak, says he is looking forward to the move.

Matus Kozacik, photo: CTK
"I was going to leave Slavia anyway and I got an offer from Sparta and that's what happened. It gives me new motivation and it's going to be something new in my career. I hope things work out well. It won't be simple, but I hope I can handle it."

Perhaps Kozacik has made the right choice: ahead of the new season the bookmakers are backing Sparta to defend their league title.

Neumannova facing criticism over election to head big money committee

Katerina Neumannova, photo: CTK
The now retired cross country skier Katerina Neumannova has been very popular in the Czech Republic for some years, but could now have tarnished her reputation. The president of the organising committee of the 2009 Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec was dismissed last week to free the post for Neumannova, who admits to a lack of relevant experience. Critical voices have suggested the Olympic champion will be a cipher for her manager, who will be in control of the event's large budget, including a Czech government grant of CZK 700m (around USD 3.5m) .