Ajax robbed?

By Christiaan Frankin

AMSTERDAM – Fans of Ajax were outraged Wednesday, when a 7 goal difference between their team and Olympique Lyon was undone in the last round of the Champion’s League group stage matches. Not only did the linesman deny Ajax two legitimate goals for offside, some of Dinamo Zagreb’s defending was put into question as the Croatian goalkeeper was beaten seven times in twenty minutes.

Though the allegations of corruption in Champion’s League football are a serious matter, underlying are more important issues to the sport in today’s age.

After the match, Ajax manager Frank de Boer, though careful to make allegations, expressed his suspicions, saying, “If there was something unusual, UEFA should investigate what happened in Zagreb. My assistants have told me that the goals came quick and easy, because you can’t normally score these goals in half an hour.”

Dutch football analysis and former player Youri Mulder was quick to suggest the possibility of a fixed match, stating the score was “at the very least suspicious”

A reported wink from Dinamo defender Domagoj Vida to Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis, who set a Champion’s league record by scoring a hattrick within seven minutes, did little to quiet down the controversy around the controversial scoreline.

Declan Hill, author of ‘The Fix’, perhaps the most renowned and book on match fixing in football also commented that the 7-1 result fits the profile of a potentially rigged match. On his blog, Hill remarked, “any fair-minded person could be suspicious,” highlighting the progression of the match, the high stakes, and the historical prevalence of corruption in Croatian football as reason for suspicion.

There certainly is much evidence to suggest that Zagreb was the scene of a crime perpetrated on a greater scale than seen in a long scale in international football. But there is another side to the picture.

Dinamo Zagreb was, undeniably and throughout the group phase, the weakest team in this year’s installment of the Champion’s League, accumulating a total of zero points and conceding 15 goals in the five matches prior to Wednesday’s. Zagreb went a man down early, and perhaps a fired up Lyon squad desperately in need of goals was able to truly dominate over a  demoralized and unmotivated Zagreb to the extent that the scoreline demonstrated.

Furthermore, The Champions League organizational body UEFA has announced on Thursday that their Betting Fraud Detection System did not identify any inconsistencies, and they will therefore not investigates Lyon’s unlikely victory, the Telegraph reported

Assuming the match was indeed fixed, then even with an official UEFA investigation it is likely that nothing conclusive could have been proven and that Ajax fans would still be disappointed with their team’s exit from the Champion’s League. As long as huge amounts of money are involved in the sport of football, there will be attempts to circumvent the rules of play.

Therefore, supporters of Ajax and those seeking justice should redirect their attention to another issues that many see as a fundamental flaw to the sport as it is today. Namely, the archaic system of linesmen that is so obviously susceptible to the factor of human error.

If the Portuguese linesman Bertino Miranda had not incorrectly denied Ajax two goals, the match would have ended quite differently, and the controversial score in Zagreb would likely have been of no importance.

Instead, the FIFA has resisted various forms of ensuring correct calls such as goal line technology and instant replays, allowing for such injustices to occur frequently at all levels of football.

Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA has defended this decision, arguing, “Other sports regularly change the laws of the game to react to the new technology. … We don’t do it and this makes the fascination and the popularity of football.”

Further criticism of instant replay technology is aimed at the perceived interruption to the flow of the game that these measures would bring. Yet, considering the amount of time that play is halted because of players arguing with the referee after a controversial decision, this can hardly be considered a serious concern.

Though Ajax, arguably unjustly, is out of this season’s Champion’s League, and will have to improve on their domestic form to even have a chance to participate next season, for the sake of the sport of football, it is time for FIFA to abandon its outdated stance on technology and accept that we live in an age where such human errors are no longer acceptable.

Fortunately, change may be underway since the 2010 World Cup when England’s Frank Lampard scored a clear goal that was controversially disallowed. The resulting wave of outrage has finally caused FIFA to investigate the possibility of implanting technologies to prevent such fiascos.

Mistakes happen, but when the means to prevent them are available, yet not utilized, it is truly inexcusable .


Categories: Opinion

Van der Wiel hints towards a transfer to C.F Valencia

By Maurits Pieper

Ajax defender Gregory van der Wiel is ready for a new challenge in Valencia. During an interview with NOS sport on Wednesday the young ‘Ajacied’ hinted towards a transfer in the upcoming summer.

“I expect a change soon” Van der Wiel said Wednesday night in wake of Ajax’s elimination from the Champions League. “I only have one year left on my contract at Ajax, so I am confident they will let me go”. The young international is eager to embark upon new challenges in Valencia “It would be an amazing challenge; Valencia is a great and impressive club”.

Van der Wiel’s acquaintance and Valencia player Hedwiges Maduro played a major role in a potential transfer “I am only hearing good things from Hedwiges” He said. “Maduro is a good friend; it would be great to play with him.”

The transfer will most probably take place in the summer of 2012. Despite Ajax being eliminated from the Champions League, Van der Wiel is not eager to leave in the winter stop “Never say never, but it would be best to wait for a transfer in the summer” He said. “I want to help my team mates at Ajax to win as much as we can for the remainder of the season”

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Final event to mark the end Learning Lab

By Maayan Arad

Amsterdam – The fourth round of the interdisciplinary honors course offered to students UvA and the VU students, the ‘Learning Lab’ will come to an end next week. It will be celebrated by the students and instructors in a special event in the occupied shell laboratories on Tuesday Dec 13, announced the students.

The learning lab is not the usual university course. It gives the students the space to research and discover what interests them the most.

“The course is about pioneering, it’s about figuring out what you want to create in the world, tapping into inspiration and creating it right now,” says Daniel Molloy, a student of the learning lab.

While working on individual and group projects, the students bring their own personality and insights in the world, while learning about group dynamics and creative enquiry.

They learn how to bridge the gap between their own aspirations and society and become pioneers in their own fields.

Every student will invite several guests to the final event, who will learn about the process and the projects of the students.

“We have this big space, the occupied shell laboratory and we have our own room to present our own project and also a general space to present the journey we have been on and show who we are, and for food and drinks of course”, Explains Molloy.

The future of this course at the university is uncertain but students have expressed their wish that it would continue to inspire many other students and influence education paradigms.

“The Learning Lab needs to continue or at least programs that share the ideals of the learning lab need to spread throughout education, because students need to start being the change they want to see in the world.” says another student Lena Klabukova.

Categories: Education

Russia Heading Towards Largest Confrontation in Twenty Years

By Meike Mol

AMSTERDAM – Russia is facing the largest demonstration in twenty years after Putin’s party United Russia won the Duma elections with almost half of the votes Dec. 4, as results are supected of fraud.

27 thousand people rallied on Facebook announcing  a protest in the centre of Moscow this Saturday.

Demonstrations against the suspected intrigues will be  held in various cities.

Both  Russian independent election monitors and opposition parties believe the election was sabotaged.

The opposition claims Putin only received thirty per cent of votes, while official statements announce a fifty per cent win for United Russia.

Their claims are supported by multiple testimonies, movies and pictures that circulate on the internet.

On Thursday, Putin portrayed the protests as a foreign conspiracy, accusing American secretary of state Hillary Clinton for inciting the demonstrations.

Putin also criticized ‘Golos’, an independent election monitor, stating that it forms a threat to Russian sovereignty due to its international funding.  He warned that Russia needed to prevent foreign governments from interfering with internal affairs.

Opposition group ‘Solidarity’ is granted a permit to demonstrate for Saturday, but this accounts for only 300 demonstrators.

The initial place of the protest, the Revolution square next to the Kremlin, was closed yesterday due to ‘unforeseen road constructions’. The Moscow municipality wants the protest to take place at the less central Bolotnaya square.

Organizers of the protest will only adhere to this request if the permit will be changed to allow for at least ten thousand protestors.

Vice-mayor of Moscow Akleksandr Gorbenko said earlier this week that every person exceeding the three hundred limit will be prosecuted.

Over the last days, almost a thousand protestors were arrested, amongst whom many journalists. Many state that OMON, the Russian special police force, used excessive force after the arrests took place.

Part of them has been released, but many are still in custody, waiting to get either a penalty or 15 days of detention.

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VVV Venlo coach Glen de Boeck resigns

By Maurits Pieper

Glen de Boeck offered his resignation as VVV-Venlo coach on Tuesday. The trainer’s stay at the team from Limburg was cut short due to disappointing results.

De Boeck’s resignation took place in the wake of Venlo’s devastating 7-0 loss at Heracles Almelo on Friday. VVV only managed to collect 7 point in 15 matches and currently resides at the bottom of the league table.

“I do not have the freedom to run the team the way I want to run it” De Boeck said as he clarified his decision. “I have made my decision and I am sticking to it, I have no reason stay with VVV Venlo”.

The Board at VVV Venlo declared they regret the trainer’s decision, but they respect his choice. Mario Captein, the technical director at VVV, expressed his dissatisfaction with the recent activities “This is a great loss for VVV Venlo, I am not happy with his departure” Captein spoke in support of the Belgian.

VVV Venlo was the first Dutch team De Boeck has coached, before being signed to Venlo he was active as a Coach in Belgium.

His career as a trainer started as an assistant at Anderlecht. He then moved to Cercle Brugge and Germinal Beerschot where he was let go in November 2010, also due to unsatisfactory results and disagreements with the board.

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Eredivisie giants decimated by Spanish visitors, UEFA chances completely crushed

By Alex Camille

Wearing their away colours black, Real Madrid took to the field to take on home turf defenders FC Ajax in a champions league group D match. An eagerly awaited match proven with a sell-out arena, the away team were the favourites to win with five wins in their last five matches.

Currently the Spanish side are the only team that have been able to find the net against Ajax in Europe this season. These stats proved a good indicator of the match to come with the final score 3 – 0 to Real Madrid.

The match’s first goal came in the 14th minute from Real Madrid. Ajax’s defence was caught napping, allowing a long through ball from Kaká to be passed to a completely unguarded José Callejón who finished with clinical ease. Several calls were made for offside but a careful review of the footage proved that it was simply a mistake on the defense’s part for not keeping their offside trap intact.

The second goal came in the 41st minute another long ball from the halfway line found its way to a lone Gonzalo Higuain who in his one on one with the keeper kept his cool to slot the ball in the left corner of the net. Another appeal for offside was made and yet again but to fall onto deaf ears.

The third and final game of the match comes in the 92 minute of extra time. A soft lift from substitute Xabi Alonso allowed José Callejón to yet again get behind the Ajax defense and the goalie to slip in the final nail in the coffin of Ajax’s dream of a win against Real Madrid on home ground.

It is the officials who are being described as the villains of the day with two disallowed Ajax goals from offside. Lodeiro and Sulemanji find themselves in disbelief as two crucial goals go to waste.

Ajax’s defeat and Lyons 7 – 1 win over Dinamo Zagreb means that Ajax are completely out of the UEFA champions league. Who would have thought, even with their convincing possession of the ball that Ajax’s worst possible outcome would have come true?

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Dutch FARC-member Tanja Nijmeijer still alive

By Linda Meijvis

AMSTERDAM – Tanja Nijmeijer, the Dutch woman who joined the FARC 9 years ago, is still alive, a NOS interview showed.

“If you are here in the jungle and you continuously hear bombs and guns, then the only thing you think of as a guerrilla is shooting,” she said in the interview, held in November.

The FARC is a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Columbia.

Nijmeijer (33) went to Pereira, Columbia in 1998 to teach English to children at an elite, private school. She befriended several people who were later found to have FARC connections. In 2002, she joined the FARC.

If she is found guilty on terrorism charges, she faces 60 years of custody.

Parts of interview will be broadcast Wednesday 8pm.

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