Outside Edge

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The Independent Online

Another tense European football tie against Croatia looms this weekend: if British Colleges United lose to the Croatian Seminary, they can kiss their hopes of progress in the Clericus Cup goodbye. The tournament, played on the Vatican pitches overlooking St Peter's between 16 teams of Catholic priests and seminarians, has run into a spot of bother with the neighbours this year; following protests about noisy support, megaphones, drums and rattles are now banned. But last year's champions, the Neocatech-umenal Way's Redemptoris Mater – known as "Red Mat" – insist their fans will still sing their anthem, "Alma Redemptoris Mater". In Latin. It is not thought the Ibrox faithful are planning to learn the words.

3,614

Number of members of Facebook site "I am better than Titus Bramble so why am I not a Premiership footballer?" The Wigan defender does have some supporters... at least we think so: the "Titus Bramble for England Society" has 198 members.

Contract killers of the week

Michel platini, Uefa's president, popped into London last week, but he may be less keen to visit Belgrade after his predecessor, Lennart Johannson, airily revealed on the Serbian TV station B92 that when the terrorist Arkan owned the Belgrade club FK Obilic, he put out a contract on the Swede's life. The reason? Hurt pride after being banned from the dug-out during a 1998 Champions' League tie at Bayern Munich. Happily, like Obilic's strikers (Bayern won 4-0) Arkan's hitmen failed to find the target.

Good week for

Francis Joyon beat Ellen MacArthur's solo round-the-world sailing record by more than 14 days... Mark Selby, won snooker's Masters title at the first attempt... George Burley, appointed as Scotland football manager... and Lawrence Tynes, Scottish-born kicker, took New York Giants to Super Bowl with a field goal in overtime.

Bad week for

Justine Henin, world No 1, beaten by Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open to end 32-match winning run... Kieren Fallon, banned from riding for 18 months after a positive dope test... Jerry Flannery, Ireland hooker, misses Six Nations after eight-week ban for stamping... and Scott Macartney, US skier, knocked unconscious after crashing at 88mph in Kitzbühel downhill.

Diehard supporters of the week

It's minus 23c at Lambeau Field, home to the Green Bay Packers American football team, and beer is freezing in cans, but the cold doesn't deter the Bikini Girls, sisters Jen and Liz and cousin Ashley, from wearing their customary minimalist outfits as they cheer on their team in last weekend's Super Bowl play-offs. Back home another fan, Mathew Kowald, is so unhappy his seven-year-old son won't wear a Packers jersey while they watch the game on TV that he tapes the lad to a chair, then tapes the shirt on him. No, Mathew, you're supposed to tape the programme, not the audience.

s.redfern@independent.co.uk

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