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[June 28, 2006]


(Evening Standard Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Retired Meier makes one more referee call

URS MEIER, the referee who controversially disallowed Sol Campbell's 'goal' against Portugal at Euro 2004, has become a huge star as a German TV pundit during the World Cup. But what does the tanned Swiss grocer think of the refereeing so far? "They started well," says Meier. "But in the last games there have been a few serious errors. They are at the centre of attention, which is not good.

The aim must now be that all referees are professional by the 2010 finals."

Forget Becks appeal, Podolski turn Paris on

PARIS HILTON confesses to being a big fan of young British men, but David Beckham doesn't top her list of the sexiest World Cup players. The England captain got a mention when the American heiress (above) was interviewed on German radio but Germany striker Lukas Podolski is her favourite. He is "glamorous", she says, adding she wants to get to know Cologne.

Unfortunately for Podolski he is about to leave Cologne for Bayern Munich.

Women are a good advert for the game

IT may not be too long before traditional halftime adverts on TV screens for beer and cars could soon be replaced by commercials for lipsticks and perfume. The most interesting trend of the TV viewing figures for Germany 2006 is that the average percentage of women watching games has risen to 40 per cent.

In some countries the figures are close to 50 per cent. These new figures have huge significance for advertisers with the top five countries for female viewers being Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, South Korea and Singapore.

Ranting TV man guilty of Grosso misconduct

TV commentator Huang Jianxiang caused uproar in China after taunting Australia during their game with Italy. When Fabio Grosso went down in the area and a penalty was given, Huang roared: "Grosso's done it. He succeeded in the glorious traditions of Italy! Facchetti, Cabrini and Maldini, their souls are infused in him! The Australians should go home. They don't need to go as far away as Australia as most of them live in Europe. Farewell!"

Germans pass screen test at Fan Festivals

ONE of the biggest lessons of this World Cup is how well the Germans have organised public viewing of matches on outdoor screens. Beer is cheaper than water at these occasions and more than 2.5 million litres has been drunk at around 15 'Fan Festivals' which have been visited by some 11m people. Best comment overheard so far came from a seven-year-old boy when he heard the German national anthem.

"Dad, why are they playing the Michael Schumacher music?" he asked.

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