Football goalkeeper Petr Čech, who may well be the most famous Czech on the planet, will retire after a last appearance for Arsenal in the final of the Europa League on Wednesday. In a twist of fate, the game will be against Chelsea, the club with he won which virtually every prize going. To discuss his amazing career, I spoke to football journalist Karel Haering. He was first struck by Petr Čech in 2009 when he began appearing for Chmel Blšany at 17 – and offers this assessment of the qualities that took him to the top and kept him there.
Viktoria Plzeň can look forward to European football in the New Year after securing third spot in their Champions League group to earn a place in the Europa League. It is the fifth time coach Pavel Vrba has steered Plzeň to the spring phase of Europe’s second-tier competition – an impressive feat for a club of the West Bohemians’ stature.
The new season in Czech football kicks off this weekend and anticipation is exceptionally high. Titleholders Slavia Prague and their main rivals Viktoria Plzeň and Sparta Prague have all spent an unprecedented amount on new players, including seasoned internationals from Portugal, Israel and Turkey, with Slavia and Plzeň hoping for an immediate return in the form of qualification for this season’s Champions League. But why are the top Czech clubs flashing the cash just now? That’s a question I put to soccer journalist Karel Häring.
Police in Austria had to intervene against a group of Czech football fans, who broke into a petrol station in Tyrol on Saturday night, the Austrian APA agency reported on Sunday. Two members of the group stole alcohol and sweets in the store. According to the agency, the cashier had to lock herself in another room until police arrived. The incident happened on a highway about 12 kilometres from Innsbruck.
Czech football’s first division is set for a major shake-up from the start of the 2018–2019 season. Following 30 rounds of the regular season, clubs will form three groups, with the top one battling for the title and the bottom one fighting to avoid the drop. But what is the motivation for the huge change?
Visitors to Prague’s main Olšanské cemetery were treated to a somewhat strange sight last Saturday as Glasgow Celtic and Prague Slavia football fans congregated at one specific grave to the tune of a mournful bagpipe. They were paying homage to a Scotsman, Johnny Madden, a legend for both clubs who coached Slavia Prague for 25 years from just after the start of the 20th century to its third decade and took them to the top in Czech and European football.
Some 500 fans of Prague football club Sparta took part in a march on Sunday afternoon hours ahead of the club's derby with crosstown club Slavia. The march took them from Prague's Letná plain across the Old Town Square to Slavia's Eden stadium. The event was monitored by the police who apprehended several people for illegal handling of pyrotechnics. Up to 20,000 spectators are expected to attend the game, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Pavel Nedvěd, former Czech national football team captain and the best footballer of his generation, has appeared on a special set of coins, celebrating Czech football legends. Issued by the Czech Mint in Jablonec nad Nisou, the series already features 10 legendary Czech and Czechoslovak footballers, including Antonín Panenka and Josef Masopust. Part of the proceeds from their sale is used to support retired football internationals.
Europe’s football authority, UEFA, has banned Sparta Prague fans from the away leg of their Europa League match against Rostov. As well as the ban on travelling fans, Sparta will also have to pay a fine of 45,000 euros for the behaviour of their fans at the last group game at Milan. Around 100 Sparta supporters then tried to break down the barriers separating the opposing fans with 16 security guards injured in the ensuing melee. The game against Rostov is scheduled for February 16 with the return leg in Prague a week later.