Angry Hoeness denounces death threats

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Uli Hoeness, whose comments triggered a chain of events that ultimately led to the resignation of the German coach-designate, says he feels threatened and harassed by a hate campaign.

Uli Hoeness, whose comments triggered a chain of events that ultimately led to the resignation of the German coach-designate, says he feels threatened and harassed by a hate campaign.

The general manager of the German champions Bayern Munich claimed yesterday that he had been the target of assassination threats and anonymous attacks. "What I am living through now, I wouldn't want anyone to experience," he told a Bavarian radio station. "It's the worst thing you can imagine.

"I've just about had it," he added, repeating the possibility that he could resign over the affair. Hoeness said police had raided his sausage factory after an anonymous tip that he was employing illegal workers. He was also threatened with a car bomb and a website offered a prize for "whoever shoots him from the bench" during a recent Bundesliga game.

Bayern's general manager lifted the lid on a Pandora's box when he suggested last month that Christoph Daum was unfit for the job of national team coach if persistent rumours of his drug habit were true. Hoeness has denied planting the rumours that first appeared in a Munich newspaper.

Daum, who was due to take charge of the German national team next June, reacted by supplying a sample of his hair for a drug test in an attempt to clear his name. However, the analysis proved positive and he resigned three weeks ago from his job as coach of Bayer Leverkusen. Daum, who was also dropped from his national team role, has denied any wrongdoing and has promised to clear his name. He has been staying in Florida.

Ronaldo's physiotherapist and doctor are optimistic that the Brazilian player will make a full recovery from his knee injury. The 23-year-old has been convalescing at the European Sports Medical Centre in the French town of Cap Breton since the start of the month.

"There is no reason why Ronaldo should not play again, Patrick Middleton, the centre's director, said. "If he wants to play again there is nothing to stop him. I've seen others with more serious knee injuries get back to fitness."

Similar sentiments were expressed by Remy Roulland, the physiotherapist working with Ronaldo. "I've seen rugby and football players come back from worse, but there's work to be done on the mobility of the joint and strength." Ronaldo has become a popular figure at the centre and staff have asked him to play Santa Claus at the annual Christmas party for their children.

The substitute Erjon Bogdani scored twice to help Albania to a 3-0 victory over Malta in yesterday's friendly in Tirana in another solid display by the home side following October's 2-0 win over Greece.

Despite having the striker Igli Tare sent off in the 37th minute, Albania had the better of a poor first half. Rudi Vata, the Albanian captain, opened the scoring with a spectacular volley just before half-time and Bogdani, who scored for his Italian club side Reggina against Roma last Sunday, sealed the victory in the second half. In an aggressive match, Delco Jakimoski, the Macedonian referee, booked eight players as well as showing Tare the red card for a tackle from behind.

Medin Zhega, the Albanian coach, played the same eleven that beat Greece in the World Cup qualifier. That victory put them two points ahead of England in Group Nine.

Armenia's season will today end on a bitter note for a second successive year following a four-team boycott of the penultimate round of matches last weekend. Football officials expelled Zvartnots Yerevan on Tuesday and three other clubs - last season's runners-up Ararat, Mika and Dynamo - were handed 3-0 defeats after only one Premier Division game was played.

Ararat, Mika and Dynamo have also been threatened with expulsion if they fail to turn out for today's matches. Three games were called off after the four clubs refused to take to the field in protest against what they allege has been biased refereeing. It was Zvartnots' second refusal to play this season.

Araks, who were scheduled to play Zvartnots, were the biggest beneficiaries from the situation, being awarded a 3-0 win, which took them five points clear of Ararat with only one match remaining. Araks, who have 58 points from 27 matches, will clinch their first league title if they avoid a defeat at bottom club Dynamo. Last year's champions Shirak moved into second position on 55 points after they were awarded a 3-0 walkover victory over Mika.

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