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Oct 1, 2011

Tevez spits dummy, Barca get shirty

Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Carlos Tevez spits his dummy in spectacular fashion, Bath City's underpants cause a fracas, a Brazilian referee takes a dive after issuing a red card, Barcelona get shirty and poor old Olhanense striker Salvador Agra gets knocked out and then dropped off a stretcher.

Irish minnows make cheeky Tevez offer

Manchester-hating, £200,000-per-week, bench-warming troublemaker Carlos Tevez added the pre-fix "refusenik" to his already substantial Off The Ball sobriquet this week when, according to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, the Argentina striker scandalously refused to come on as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich.

Having had his £35 million rump relegated to the bench, thanks largely to the form of more personable countryman Sergio Aguero, disgruntled Tevez spat the dummy in sensational fashion. The controversial forward later insisted that he never refused to play at the Allianz Arena and dredged up the old excuse that it was all lost in translation - Studs Up have their own take on that.

And with Mancini insisting that Tevez is "finished" at City, Irish League club Limavady United have been quick to make a cheeky offer to take the super-star striker on loan for the rest of the season, as long as City agree to pay his wages. The move would see Tevez facing the might of Wolff Welders, Ballinamallard FC and the like.

Limavady's genius vice-chairman David Brewster sent City a fax that read: "We would be perfectly willing to take Mr Tevez on loan for the remainder of the season or until transfer, thereby permitting him to play football but without the risk of being cup-tied for the Champions League ... I am sure you can see the advantages of keeping him match fit prior to any possible sale."

Bath caught with their pants down

Bath City's FA Youth Cup hopes hit the skids this week when a "surreal" dispute over underpants caused their tie with Newport County to descend into farce.

FA rules dictate that underwear should be the same colour as the team's shorts and match referee Darren Adie got his knickers in a twist because some of The Romans players' white jockeys were visible through their black kit.

Briefs-ly after the match had started Bath's youngsters were forced to change at the side of the pitch - with one player reportedly having to 'go commando' - and a fracas then broke out when Newport scored their first goal of the game with two City players still changing their draws. Five players and manager Billy Clark, who was clearly y-affronted by the whole escapade, were sent off.

After the bizarre match, Bath's managing director, Paul Williams, said: "It was all very surreal. I was angry with the officials. Rules are rules but the officiating wasn't what it should have been for a youth cup tie. Why didn't the officials check the colours before the start?"

Brazilian ref caught diving

Brazilian referee Rodrigo Nunes de Sa turned the tables on annoying, play-acting footballers this week when he took a dive following an alleged "headbutt" from a player during a Paulistao league match between Operario and Mirassol.

After brandishing a red card to Operario defender George Santos Silva in the 38th minute of the match the duo exchanged a few heated words and when an angry George Santos went nose to nose with Rodrigo the man in black hit the deck like a saco de batatas, covering his face and writhing around in classic style.

TV replays showed that the player didn't touch, or barely touched, the referee, but Nunes de Sa insists he didn't dive. "I felt my forehead grazed. Then I fell down," he said. George Santos, on other hand, claims that the referee "reacted in a way worth an Oscar".

Either way, if Nunes de Sa's histrionics results in players thinking twice before they take a dive, then it will be worth all the hoo-ha, even if police had to be brought onto the pitch to calm the situation down.

Barcelona get shirty

Even Carlos Tevez would find it difficult to find something to complain about at all-conquering Spanish giants Barcelona, but five games into the Liga season and the blaugrana players have cracked it - their shirts are too heavy.

That is to say the claret-and-blue tops are fine before the match starts but once the whistle blows Nike's somewhat ironically named Dri-FIT shirts absorb so much sweat that the strip has more than doubled in weight by halftime.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Barca's superstars have started to weigh their mosture-ridden shirts on the Camp Nou scales and a 200g shirt can weigh up to 500g after just 45 minutes.

A Barcelona source reportedly declared that the shirts "stuck to the body like a limpet" and a slightly embarrased spokesman from Nike said the company is "working to find a solution to the problem."


Video of the week

England's Andrew Henderson takes on France's Gautier Fayolle in the World Freestyle Football Championship in Kuala Lumpur. There are some silky skills on show that Off the Ball can only dream of recreating. To watch England win the freestyle world cup click here .


More than words...


Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov and Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand get acquainted. ©PA photos


Around the web

• Joey Barton only supposed to look at autobiography pictures - Neil Warnock

• Bayern's Breno arrested on suspicion of setting his own house on fire

•  Portuguese striker gets knocked out and then dropped off a stretcher


• You can follow me on Twitter at @ESPNsoccernetFC

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