Karaoke, computer games await England players


AWAJI ISLAND, AFP and AP

Awaji Island does not offer the kind of nightlife some England players are fond of but the hotel that will be their World Cup home will be doing its best to ensure they do not get bored.

Managers of the Westin resort have set up a computer games corner for the exclusive use of the players, who will also be able to take advantage of the hotel’s karaoke facilities.

There is a main bar at the complex and a mini bar in each room stocked with a range of booze. But players will be kept on a strict diet of mineral water, said Westin’s general manager Shinichiro Fujimoto.

In honor of the team’s stay, the bar has concocted a range of specially-created cocktails such as an Essex, an English Garden or a Wembley Dream on offer at 1,000 yen (US$7.8) a glass.

However, the drinks will be pulled off the menu before the squad’s arrival on May 26.

“I am very excited about the England team coming here, but nervous as well,” barman Hiroyoshi Tsuchijima, who devised the cocktails, told AFP.

The Essex cocktail, a mix of dry gin, peach tree, fresh milk, cream, sugar and syrup was designed with England captain David Beckham in mind, said Tsuchijima, 23.

Beckham, and his pop star wife Victoria own an exclusive mansion in the English county of Essex.

“I do not think I will ask for the players’ autographs,” he said. “We plan to treat them just like any other guest.”

The Winder-more — a mixture of dry gin, dita, grapefruit juice and blue syrup — as well as a St Leonard — dry gin, dramburie, pisang garoeda and get27 — are also on the football cocktail list. Australian broadcaster accused of vilifying Koreans over dog report Australia’s national broadcaster was accused Wednesday of vilifying Koreans by screening a program about the consumption of dog meat in South Korea.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) was also said to have damaged relations with Australia’s trading partner by depicting Koreans as savages because of what is presented as their ill-treatment of “man’s best friend.”

The report is due to be screened on the ABC program “Foreign Correspondent” on Wednesday night, but promotional segments already shown have horrified many Australians.

A radio version of the report, prepared ahead of the football World Cup which kicks off on May 31, was also broadcast on the ABC’s national radio current affairs program AM. FIFA promises a peaceful World Cup Football’s governing body, FIFA, promised on Wednesday a “peaceful” World Cup in Japan and South Korea with unprecedented security measures in place following the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.

“About security organization, we are now completely satisfied with what we saw,” said Peter Velappan, the FIFA World Cup coordination director, after touring five Japanese venues in the past four days.

Velappan, who was on FIFA’s last inspection of Japan’s 10 host venues for the month-long World Cup finals opening on May 31, emphasized the “high level of security now required following the tragedy of September 11”.

Velappan said he could assure all fans from Japan and those coming from overseas there would be “maximum safety and security” at the tournament.

“It will be a peaceful festival. That is the level of preparation that we have seen in Japan.” Warning issued to any World Cup drug cheat Big Brother will be watching for any drug cheats during the World Cup finals in Japan, a medical official of the football’s world governing body FIFA warned. In addition to conventional urine analyses, FIFA will for the first time test players for EPO (erythropoietin), a drug which boosts the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, at the May 31-June 30 tournament to be co-hosted by South Korea.

“We have confirmed that there is space for blood testing in a clean environment at every doping control room” at all of Japan’s 10 World Cup venues, said Nozomu Ohata, a member of the FIFA sports medical committee.

He said that doping officers needed open and clear views of players as there was the possibility of samples being swapped and that contacts with other people could hamper fair testing as some substances could be handed over to players. Britain to create temporary consulate on Jeju island

Britain will set up a temporary consulate on South Korea’s Jeju island this month to help its soccer fans ahead of the soccer World Cup, the British embassy said. England, set to play in Japan in Group F, has chosen the island city of Seogwipo for its May 19-25 training camp before heading to Japan to play three first-round matches. As co-hosts of the May 31-June 30 World Cup, South Korea and Japan will stage 32 matches each.

England is scheduled to play a pre-World Cup friendly match against South Korea on the island on May 21.

Britain will set up temporary consulates in all the venues where England will play, he said. The consulate office in South Korea will be established at the Seogwipo City Hall for five days beginning May 20. FIFA officials satisfied with Japanese World Cup venues Top FIFA officials concluded an inspection tour of five Japanese World Cup venues, saying they were satisfied with security and safety preparations for soccer’s quadrennial showpiece.

“These are all great stadiums and would be ready for use if the World Cup were to start tomorrow,” FIFA coordination director Peter Verlappan told reporters.

Verlappan visited Kashima Soccer Stadium, Miyagi Stadium, Oita Stadium Big Eye, Osaka Nagai Stadium and Saitama Stadium 2002 along with technical director Walter Gagg and sports medical committee member Nozomu Ohata.

Gagg said he was fully satisfied with the security measures in place for the World Cup, now just 23 days away.

Gagg said he is convinced there will be no hooligan problem as co-hosts Japan and South Korea have taken extensive measures to keep known hooligans out of both countries.