Football: FOOTBALL AROUND THE WORLD

Mexico Only a game? Not likely, and especially not when it's a friendly. Tuesday's match between Jamaica's national team and a Mexican First Division side ended in a pitched battle that forced the referee to scrap the game.

Several Mexican players were injured when members of Toros Neza and the Jamaican squad punched and kicked each other for five minutes during the match. Several Jamaican players then stormed off the field and returned waving bricks and broken glass.

Jamaica were leading Toros Neza 1-0 in the 19th minute when a Jamaican midfielder slid into Toros' Argentinian-born German Arangio. He got to his feet and punched the Jamaican and an all-out fight ensued.

"That is not normal behaviour. It isn't possible that they react like this in a friendly," a Neza striker said, but Jamaica's coach, Rene Simoes, defended his players, saying they lacked international experience. So presumably it's all right at home then.

France

French players are to be given the same tax status as film stars in a drive to halt their emigration to lower-tax countries.

Alarmed by the exodus in recent years of more than 40 top players including Eric Cantona and David Ginola, the government has approved a bill to give clubs relief on payroll taxes for professional players.

Now 80 per cent of players' earnings will be considered to be royalties for the use of their image rather than a salary, and thus not subject to employers' social security levies which are about 55 per cent of gross pay.

However, no mention was made of the fact that players will still be keen to move countries because of the massive signing-on fees they can now receive following the Bosman ruling.

Italy

An Italian amateur player who had two teeth broken in a goalmouth clash and was sent off for protesting about the foul got even shorter shrift on Wednesday when he took his case to a judge.

The court in the north-west town of Aosta took just three minutes to rule that the foul on Stefano Giopp did not constitute a crime. It threw out a charge of grievous bodily harm and a damages suit against Adriano Perucca, whom Giopp had reported to prosecutors.

Giopp's team, HoneArnad, fared about as well as their player. They lost the match to LegaDoraBurolo 7-0.

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