Football: Porto anger after cup defeat

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The Independent Online
THE CHAIRMAN of league champions and Portuguese Cup holders, Porto, yesterday promised changes after their embarrassing home defeat in the fifth round against a minor team.

Torreense, a club from the Second Division B who have a part-time coach, beat Porto 1-0 in Tuesday's fifth round, knocking the First Division leaders out of the competition.

The Porto coach, Fernando Santos, was jeered by fans at the Antas stadium. "A lot will have to change, especially attitude," the club chairman, Jose Pinto da Costa, said.

"We didn't expect this. There's no acceptable justification for it," Da Costa told reporters. He said the players, who were criticised for being over-confident and sluggish, would have to change their attitude.

The result was softened by the 2-0 defeat of Benfica, Porto's main rival, at Setubal. Sporting Lisbon, the country's third most powerful club, was knocked out in the previous round, leaving northern club Boavista as favourites to take the title in June.

The Former German international Stefan Effenberg said yesterday the European Championship could be abolished in favour of staging the World Cup every two years.

"In practice that would mean a break for one year, then the World Cup the following year," the 30-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder said. He felt that introducing a World Cup every two years would suit spectators.

"If you have to choose between the European Championship and the World Cup - ask the fans. They prefer the World Cup. It's also more attractive for players," he said. The prospect of a biennial World Cup was raised last month by the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, who caused an uproar with his controversial proposal.

A new Fifa committee involving legends such as Pele, Sir Bobby Charlton, Michel Platini and George Weah will hold its first meeting next week, the governing body said yesterday.

The 20-member Fifa Football Committee, launched in November, will discuss "a number of issues central to the future" of the sport when it meets on Monday, Fifa said.

Those include Blatter's biennial World Cup plan, the release of players for national teams, the congested international calendar and the activities of players' agents.

Blatter has said the panel, expected to meet four or five times a year, will not discuss the laws of football but will concentrate on "the future welfare of the game in more general terms".

Competition regulations and youth development, as well as indoor, beach and women's football, will also be up for discussion Monday. The panel in- cludes referees, coaches, administrators and players.

French pay-television company Canal Plus said it had signed a multimedia marketing agreement with five top French football clubs and sports advertising executive Jean-Claude Darmon.

First Division clubs Lyon, Monaco, Marseilles, Lens and Paris Saint German, Darmon and Canal Plus have created "Club Europe" which will use electronic commerce and television channels to promote the clubs.