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Sport – Football -The Losers
Updated: 20 May 2013
Sport – Football -The Losers
Commiserations for those teams (and their fans) who are relegated !
Sport- A Relegation Battle -The last Champions League place - Arsenal orTottenham
Updated: 18 May 2013
Arsenal and Tottenham set for day of reckoning
London rivals target wins in battle to reach Champions League
Friday 17 May 2013
by Greg Leedham
Football: Arsenal and Tottenham are braced for a nervy final day of the Premier League season as both London
clubs bid to claim a place in next season’s Champions League.
With Manchester United confirmed as league champions and Wigan, Reading and QPR already relegated, all eyes will be on two matches this afternoon — the Gunners’ trip to Newcastle and Tottenham’s home match with Sunderland.
Arsenal remain in the box seat for a top-four finish as they hold a one-point advantage over their local rivals, though they know that failure to win at St James’ Park will likely be punished by Andre Villas-Boas’s men.
Arsene Wenger’s side could yet finish third, depending on Chelsea’s result against Everton. There is even the faint prospect of a play-off for third spot — with automatic qualification for the Champions League up for grabs — with the Blues in the unlikely event that Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-1 and Chelsea are held to a goalless draw, leaving the two sides locked on points, goal difference and goals scored.
As much as Wenger would relish such a scenario, for now he is only focused on outdoing Spurs.
“I would fancy that,” said the Arsenal manager who is likely to be without midfielder Mikel Arteta but welcomes back striker Olivier Giroud from suspension. “But a play-off exists only if win the game, so let’s win the game and see what happens.
“The biggest task is to win the game and not speculate too much on what happens after because the first compulsory thing we face is to win the game on Sunday.”
Whatever the outcome, Villas-Boas maintains that Tottenham will not struggle to attract players this summer.
“Tottenham has a great tradition in football, it has conditions that other clubs don’t have and great facilities,” said Villas-Boas, who can call on Benoit Assou-Ekotto after the defender overcame a knee injury.
“And I think we have a group of players that attract other players to come here.”
Sport- Man(cini) C U- Ciao Bella
Updated: 14 May 2013
Roberto Mancini sacked by Manchester City as Pellegrini waits in wings
• Italian manager leaves after weeks of speculation
• Manuel Pellegrini, the Málaga coach, set to take over
Speculation had heightened over Roberto Mancini's future at Manchester City even before the FA Cup final defeat.
Photograph: Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar
Roberto Mancini was finally sacked on Monday night as Manchester City manager, a year to the day after he led
the club to a first championship in 44 years. The owners said the Italian's failure to meet any of his targets this
season, with the exception of qualifying for the Champions League, had led to his dismissal.
The dramatic Sergio Agüero strike that won the title last May secured Mancini a lucrative five-year contract worth
around £35m and a mandate to build City into an ongoing force. But 12 months on Mancini is unemployed, with
the Abu Dhabi-led executive's decision to remove him coming after they allowed him to limp on when news broke
on the eve of Saturday's FA Cup final with Wigan Athletic that they were in advanced discussions with Málaga's
Manuel Pellegrini, who is almost certain to replace him.
Although on Monday morning Pellegrini denied he had reached an agreement with City, discussions between the
club and his agent, Jesús Martínez, regarding financial terms and contractual clauses are at the stage where a deal
is ready to be signed. This should now be a formality.
The Chilean is likely to start his new role at the turn of the month after City said the assistant manager Brian Kidd
will "take interim responsibility for the remaining two games of the season and the post-season tour to the United States".
Until the announcement confirming Mancini's removal, posted on the club website at 10.22pm, City had not issued
any public comment since indications began that the manager's job was in doubt. This had cast the Italian as an
increasingly isolated figure, with it becoming a matter of when not if he would lose his job.
The statement said: "It is with regret that Manchester City football club announces that Roberto Mancini has been
relieved of his duties as Manchester City manager. This has been a difficult decision for the owner, chairman and
board to make and it is the outcome of a planned end-of-season review process that has been brought forward in
light of recent speculation and out of respect for Roberto and his extensive contributions to the football club.
"Despite everyone's best efforts, the club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the
exception of qualification for next season's Uefa Champions League. This, combined with an identified need to
develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find
a new manager for the 2013-14 season and beyond."
The reference to a "holistic approach" suggests a sea change in philosophy from top to bottom of the club, driven
by the chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and Txiki Begiristain, the director of football. This may include playing 4-3-3
throughout the academy and in the first team. Following the removal of Mancini, who could be a divisive figure,
there may also be a hope that the club will be more cohesive.
Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the chairman, said: "Roberto's record speaks for itself and he has the respect and gratitude
of Sheikh Mansour [the owner], myself and the board for all of his hard work and commitment over the last three
and a half years. He has clearly also secured the love and respect of our fans. He has done as he promised and
delivered silverware and success, breaking the club's 35-year trophy drought [winning the 2011 Cup] and
securing the title in 2012. I would like to personally and publicly thank him for his dedication to the progress that
he has overseen and for his support and continued friendship."
Before the club's pursuit of Pellegrini emerged, the plan was for Mancini to end the season and have a review in
the emirate. This would have been led by Mubarak and included Soriano and Begiristain.
Mubarak and his team were adamant that if it were decided to let Mancini go, there should be a candidate in place
who had agreed terms and would be ready to take over. This was the strategy under which Pellegrini was approached.
With regard to Mancini's position being all but untenable before he was removed, City were in precisely the same
position when he became manager in 2009. Then, it was common knowledge that he would supersede the
incumbent, Mark Hughes as the Welshman took charge of the club's match with Sunderland on 19 December.
Following a 4-3 win, Hughes was sacked.
City intend to make cuts lower down the club, too, with an extensive sacking programme. Soriano and Begiristain
have decided the faults in the existing coaching staff go all the way to youth level and will make their point
Sport- Wigan Peers - What a great example for Football
Updated: 13 May 2013
Roberto Martinez could stay, says Dave Whelan
Latics chairman hopes to retain Cup-winning manager
Sunday 12 May 2013
Football: Wigan chairman Dave Whelan is hopeful that FA Cup-winning manager Roberto Martinez will still be at the club next season.
Martinez has been heavily linked with the managerial vacancy at Everton, with David Moyes leaving Goodison Park for Manchester United at the end of this campaign to succeed the retiring Alex Ferguson.
“Roberto will make his own mind up. Roberto consistently says ‘I love Wigan, I will stay with Wigan’,” Whelan said.
“When the time comes he will leave for a big club, I have no doubt about that. But I think he might just stay with Wigan.”
Having won the FA Cup, Latics now face a fight for Premier League survival with games against Arsenal and Aston Villa to come over the next week.
Sport- FA Cup Fever -Two Roberto's but only one Underdog
Updated: 11 May 2013
FA Cup final preview: Roberto Martinez believes Cup win would be forever
Spaniard rallies Latics before Wembley clash with Manchester City
Friday 10 May 2013
by Alex Ballard
Football: Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has urged his players to grasp their chance to make history in
tomorrow's FA Cup final against Manchester City.
Latics are huge underdogs but the Spaniard believes that his side should not be afraid to dream of upsetting the odds.
And though their remarkable Cup run to their first-ever final has left Wigan teetering on the brink of relegation,
Martinez has told his embattled troops that an unlikely triumph tomorrow will have an effect on the club lasting
far longer than what league they end up playing in next season.
“You have to dream and the bigger the dream the bigger the achievement,” he said.
“Winning the FA Cup would be there forever. Just arriving in the final is a photographic moment in the history
of our football club. Winning a major trophy would take our club to a different level.
“Tomorrow is as good as it gets and we need to take advantage.”
Martinez’s own Cup final memory is watching Ricky Villa slalom his way through the Manchester City defence
to help win the trophy for Tottenham in 1981.
He joined Wigan in 1995 when they used to play in front of crowds of less than 2,000 in League Two and is
overjoyed by the club’s change of fortunes.
“Tomorrow we will be taking 21,000 to Wembley, which is incredible.
“It is a great example of how football can develop in a town and what you can achieve with it. It is difficult to
City are overwhelming favourites to lift the Cup, with some bookies giving odds of 16-1 on a Wigan win in
Their preparations have not been aided by an ongoing injury crisis at the back, which sees defenders Maynor
Figueroa, Jean Beausejour, Ivan Ramis and Ronnie Stam definitely out, while Antolin Alcaraz is unlikely to be
In contrast, opposite number Roberto Mancini has a wealth of talent to call on as he attempts to ease the
disappointment of City’s failed title defence.
“I think the FA Cup is the second trophy in England after the Premier League. It is an important trophy for
“For us it is the second final in two years. We have the chance to get another cup and we want to do a good
job. We know it will be difficult.”
Scott Sinclair is the only absentee after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder.
Sport- Will it be Fair Play for Moyes, Ref ?
Updated: 10 May 2013
Sir Alex Ferguson Retires:
Is This The End Of The Manchester United Referee Conspiracy?
by Nadim Bedran
8 May 2013
Fans of Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds, Spurs, Chelsea, Everton, West Ham, Newcastle - you name
the club and they've all suffered at the hands of the Manchester United Referee Conspiracy. This season Man U
were the only team not to have a player sent off or a penalty given against them.
That's just this season - there's plenty more proof out there...
Fans of Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds, Spurs, Chelsea, Everton, West Ham, Newcastle – you name
the club and they’ve all suffered at the hands of the Manchester United Referee Conspiracy.
This season Man U were the only team not to have a player sent off or a penalt given against them. That’s just
this season – there’s plenty more proof out there…
After I wrote my last piece, on Manchester United’s relationship with the FA, I was taken aback by the response I
had. I suggest to people who haven’t read it to jump to that post now as it gives a lot of background on what we
will look at in this article.
As stated in my previous post, the fortunes of the institutions surrounding football in the UK will be negatively
hit should any proof of corruption come out. It is naturally in their interest not to investigate the matter. In fact,
the managers that have come out and questioned the refereeing selection process (Rafa Benitez, Andre Villas
Boas) have been turned into laughing stocks by the English press corps.
So, investigate some more I did. And some of the stuff I found out surprised even me.
During United’s title winning 2010/11 season, they only lost 4 league games. I looked at who refereed those
games and how long they then spent without being assigned Manchester United games as well their
subsequent trend of behavior towards United.
Michael Oliver took charge of their first defeat, the February 2011 2-1 loss at Wolves. He was not given another
Manchester United game to referee until December 2011. Since then, Oliver has had 2 United games.
United have won both, with Oliver refusing to give a clear Fulham penalty in the 1-0 United win late last season at
Old Trafford; a game came right at the end of the title race. A few weeks ago, Oliver gave United a penalty for a
shocking dive by Danny Welbeck in the home win against Wigan.
The second game United lost was away to Chelsea. Martin Atkinson was the referee then and some of his
decisions incurred the wrath of Alex Ferguson. Atkinson was not given another United game to referee for an
Atkinson was further punished with his decisions that went against United that day. He was not given a single
Premier League game to referee for a full month. Even worse, he was subsequently given 3 lower league games
to referee that season- when he’d previously not officiated a single one that campaign.
It seems that Atkinson was given a clear message that day.
The 3rd United loss came at Anfield, where a Dirk Kuyt hat trick secured a 3-1 home win. The referee that day was
Phil Dowd. He was criticized by Ferguson for not sending Jamie Carragher off. In the very next United game
Dowd refereed, he gave them a penalty which secured a 1-1 draw at Blackburn and their 19th league title.
Giving United penalties in the very next game you referee for them after having been criticized is a trend we’ll
The final United loss of the 2010/11 season came at the Emirates, where Chris Foy refereed a 1-0 Arsenal win. It
will come to no surprise to people to know that Foy was subsequently not assigned a United league game for,
again, AN ENTIRE YEAR.
He did however referee 2 United games in the cups during that time. The first was in the Carling Cup against
CrystalPalace. He awarded United a penalty. The second was at Manchester City in the FA Cup. United got a
penalty and Vincent Kompany was sent off early in the game.
To resume, we’ve just analyzed what happened to the 4 referees that officiated United’s 4 league losses in the
2010/11 season. 2 of them were not given any more United league games for a full year (Atkinson and Foy), a
third for 9 months (Oliver). 2 of those referees gave United penalties in the very next game (Foy and Dowd) they
took charge of and one refused to give a blatant one to the opponents (Oliver). Martin Atkinson, was not given
Premier League games to officiate for an entire month and assigned to 3 lower league games.
I also looked at Mike Jones after prompting from the comments board. Jones refereed the 1-1 home draw with
Newcastle last season and falsely awarded Demba Ba a penalty.
Subsequently, Jones was not given a single football game, at ANY level, to referee for an entire month. The next
United game he was handed came a few months later, the 2-0 home win against Stoke which saw… You
guessed it: 2 penalties awarded to Manchester United which, according to reports, were “very soft”.
How about Mark Halsey? Well, when he gave WBA a debatable penalty in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in May 2005 it was his 5th United game that season. He then also went an ENTIRE YEAR without being given any United
games to referee. From 5 games in a season to none for a year. His record since then? He’s refereed 11 Man Utd
games which have seen 11 United wins: the latest coming at Anfield, where 3 controversial decisions went the
away team’s way.
In terms of trends, considering what we discovered about Alan Wiley and Mark Clattenburg (whose record with
no United games to referee now stands at 36 league games since he took charge of the 6-1 home loss to
Manchester City), there’s enough to make you wonder what exactly is going on in the referee selection process.
It also ties in perfectly with ex referee Jeff Winter’s comments about The FA being reticent to assign United
games to referees Ferguson has criticized in the past.
The whole world revolves around incentives and punishment. From a young age, kids are brought up that way.
Positive and negative reinforcement are at the very core of child psychology. You can’t blame people who are
well aware of the punishment awaiting them (through the form of demotionsand suspension from future United
games) if they’d rather go for the safe option of keeping Ferguson happy.
I don’t blame the referees.
The people I blame are the ones that are letting this happen. The media who have not uttered a peep or written a
single article about this for 2 decades. The FA who run the game in this country and have allowed this situation
to fester. The clubs who see no issue with having David Gill, United’s CEO, on the board of the FA. And of
course, the PGMOB: the people who regulate officiating in England
The person at the head of the PGMOB and who is in charge of selecting which referee gets handed which game
is Mike Riley, an ex professional referee who is most famous for giving a penalty for a clear dive by Wayne
Rooney in the 2004 Man United 2-0 win against Arsenal which ended the Gunners 49 game unbeaten streak.
Riley was accused of pro United favoritism throughout his career. For younger readers, he’s my generation’s
According to the Guardian’s research, which goes to back to the beginning of the 1997-98 season until 2004,
“Riley refereed 23 United games in all competitions and gave 12 penalties for United in that time, but only three
against them. And he has sent off five of United’s opponents.
At Old Trafford, Riley’s record is weighted even more heavily in favor of United: He gave 10 penalties in the 14
games he officiated to the home side, Manchester United.”
Riley’s bias was so suspected than when was awarded the Everton vs Man Utd FA Cup semi final to officiate in
2009, David Moyes actually called for an investigation on whether Riley was a United supporter.
This is the man who now decides which premier league games to assign to referees.
Add that to everything we’ve found out: the year long waits for referees who take charge of United losses to be
given another United game to officiate, the penalties that are given to United in said referees next United games,
the punishment for making mistakes that cost United points (Atkinson’s month long suspension from premier
league games, Jones’ 1 month suspension from ALL PROFESSIONAL games), the comments from ex referee
Jeff Winter (see my previous post), the fact that 18% of Howard Webb’s career penalties have gone to
Manchester United,the retirement of Alain Wiley after being called unfit by Alex Ferguson and, of course, the
presence of David Gill inside the FA and surely there’s enough there for some investigative journalist in the UK
to actually look more into this.
If only to put the millions of football fans’ across the world’s minds at ease.
Because we could all be wrong and all of this may just be a set of freakish coincidences. Maybe English football
is squeaky clean like they make us believe and the referee selection process is completely unbiased.
Maybe we’re just paranoid…
Or maybe not… Chris Foy failed to give Manchester United a penalty in their 3-2 loss to Spurs last month. The
PGMOB did not handed Foy a Premier League game to referee the next weekend: instead, officiated in League 2
for the first time in more than 4 years.
Mike Jones meanwhile, who missed a blatant penalty on Luis Suarez at Norwich the same weekend, took charge
of West Brom vs QPR in the Premier League. Finally, Howard Webb (who sent off Jordi Gomez on Saturday; a
red card today rescinded by the FA) took charge of Newcastle’s home game against Manchester United.
Why did Foy’s errors on last month lead to his demotion to the lowest professional league in England while
Webb’s and Jones’ mistakes didn’t cost them?
I guess we all know the answer to that question…
Sport- The Referee played a Blinder !
Updated: 10 May 2013
1 April 2012 Last updated at 00:03
Do referees favour big football teams?
By Ruth Alexander BBC News
A familiar sight at Old Trafford - penalty dispatched
Famous football teams benefit from favourable refereeing decisions when playing at home, it has been claimed
this week. Is that true?
That was the complaint after Fulham were denied a penalty against Manchester United in a Premier League 1-0
defeat at Old Trafford, Manchester, last Monday.
The Fulham manager Martin Jol said afterwards that referees needed to be "brave" to give a visiting team a
penalty at Old Trafford.
And two days later, Manchester City executive Patrick Vieira gave voice to a widely held belief when he said:
"When United play at home, they may get some advantage that some other teams do not get."
The assumption among some fans has long been that big refereeing decisions tend to favour the big clubs
when they play in front of their large and fervent home crowd.
"If you go to Spain it's the same, if you go to Italy, it's the same," said Vieira, who played for Arsenal for many
Emphasising that he hadn't seen the incident in the Fulham game and wasn't criticising Manchester Utd, he
added: "It's something the teams who are used to winning get all the time, so we need to win games so we may
have this kind of advantage in the future."
So is there any evidence that referees are more likely to make penalty decisions that favour big teams playing at home?
More or Less: Behind the stats
Listen to More or Less on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, or download the free podcast
Among the current English Premier League teams which have played 50 or more home games since 2006, the
statistics supplied by the sports data specialists Opta show that, on average, Manchester United have conceded
one penalty every 12 home games.
This is more than Fulham, who have conceded roughly one penalty every 14 games at home.
So it is actually more common for a visiting team to get a penalty at Old Trafford than Craven Cottage.
Fulham are in fact among seven current Premier League clubs who have since 2006 conceded fewer penalties at
home than Man Utd.
Premier League, 2006 - present
|Team||Number of home games per penalty conceded|
It's true that the team in the Premier League that has conceded the most penalties on average (one penalty every
six matches) is one of the smaller clubs, Blackburn Rovers.
And also the team that has conceded the fewest (one penalty only every 18 games) is Chelsea, one of the top
They have also won a penalty on average once every five games.
But there could be a far simpler explanation than referee bias, says a sports correspondent with a keen eye on
the statistics, Bill Edgar of the Times newspaper.
"Given that Chelsea have been among the most successful clubs over that period, you would have expected
them to have given away the fewest penalties simply because the opposition are generally weaker and therefore
will spend less time in Chelsea's penalty area, so there will be less opportunity for them to win penalties," he
If the big clubs aren't necessarily conceding fewer penalties because of the referee, do they maybe have
penalties awarded in their favour?
Manchester United have been awarded a penalty every 4.4 games, on average. This makes them the second-
placed team in terms of the number of penalties won.
The first? Patrick Vieira's Manchester City. They were awarded a penalty every 3.93 games they played on average.
The two Manchester teams are the top two this season, battling it out for the Premier League trophy.
The team that ranks lowest in terms of the number of penalties won is Wolverhampton Wanderers who were
awarded a penalty only every 13 matches on average.
What does Sir Alex say?
- Sir Alex Ferguson conceded his Man Utd team were a little fortunate in the incident against Fulham
- But he denies his Man Utd team benefit from an advantage
- Penalty decisions even themselves out over the season, he says
- And he has pointed to instances when he says his team were denied clear penalties themselves
But Vieira also complains that refs are biased towards the big clubs in Spain and Italy. And Real Madrid's
manager Jose Mourinho is frequently up in arms over what he sees as bias in favour of Barcelona.
For the BBC, the sports statisticians at Opta have looked at every La Liga match involving Barcelona and Real
Madrid since 2006.
The stats show that Real Madrid conceded one penalty roughly every 11 games in front of their home crowd,
while Barcelona conceded one penalty in every 10 games.
So it's Jose Mourinho's own team, Real Madrid, who have a better penalty average.
And Real Madrid didn't just concede fewer penalties at home - they won more too - roughly one every four home
games, compared with Barcelona's one in five.
But statistics alone do not tell us the truth about whether big teams really are favoured in the penalty area, says
Edgar, who has an interesting solution.
And an ex-referee's view
- Graham Poll says there is no truth in referees favouring big teams
- "When any of the elite sides play at home they tend to dominate possession and, as a result, their opponents give away more free-kicks."
- "The only way you could really decide once and for all is to take disputed penalty instances at the home of each different Premier League team," he says.
"Then collect a panel of football experts and let them watch them. You would have the players' identities
removed and the teams' identities removed and compare [the panel's] consensus with the decision the referees
"And if there was a considerable difference, then that would point to a bias among referees."
This kind of anonymised approach is possible in some fields. Orchestras famously introduced blind auditions
where musicians played behind screens.
When they did, the number of women hired rose sharply.
But it would be somewhat trickier to conduct blind experiments involving referees.
Mind you, some football fans will tell you the ref's blind anyway.
Sport- Man Utd not yet Scot Free
Updated: 10 May 2013
Thursday 9 May 2013
Dour Scot to replace dour Scot
Manchester United are set to conclude their search for a new miserable Scotsman by appointing David Moyes.
With Sir Alex Ferguson announcing his retirement, the pressure was on to secure a suitably miserable Scotsman to keep transitional issues to a minimum.
A Manchester United insider told us, “It’s not a done deal yet, as the board are keen to see David’s watch-tapping skills and his angry gum-chewing stance.”
“We haven’t asked him about the hair dyer, but you only have to look at him to know he’s got that in his locker.”
“We’re quite sure that given time David can turn that bug-eyed death stare of his towards journalists who ask the wrong questions and referees who make the wrong decisions.”
“He’s got Manchester United written all over him.”
Moyes for United
Fans have welcomed the planned appointment, insisting that their International stars are used to gruff Scottish instructions from the side of the pitch.
Season ticket non-holder Simon Williams told us, “We really don’t want Wayne Rooney having to learn a new accent. That could take years.”
“We’re all about continuity, and what better way to ensure that than pick the second most miserable Scot in the managerial business?”
“If you close your eyes, he even sounds the same.”
Sport- Ice Cold from Alex ?
Updated: 10 May 2013
Wednesday 8 May 2013 by Yikes
Sir Alex Ferguson vows to continue abusing referees and journalists in retirement
Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted he will continue to abuse referees and journalists in an unofficial capacity after his retirement as Manchester United manager.
The prickly Scot said he would also continue to throw things at players, and make fun of Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez, if time allowed.
Sir Alex said recent health scares made him reassess his priorities, telling reporters, “While I enjoy winning trophies, at the end of the day, they are just another statistic.”
“Real satisfaction is gained by incandescent screaming at a referee who fails to award a penalty, or executing a perfect shoe-throw that leaves a tread mark on a prima donna player’s forehead.”
“Being free from day-to-day footballing responsibilities means I can go further than just banning a journalist – I can pull out his tongue and feed it to Luis Suarez.”
Going out on top
Football commentators said that it was good to see Sir Alex going out at the top, with last weekend’s match against Chelsea seeing a trademark tirade against referee Howard Webb.
“Ferguson loves Webb – they might as well be brothers” said Alan Hansen.
“But like the pro he is, Sir Alex still lambasted him for being blind and incompetent, and sent him a post-game text message suggesting he does something that is anatomically impossible with something it would take two people to lift.”
Sir Alex said that while he was looking forward to an angry retirement unrestrained by premier league protocols, he would be careful to not interfere with, or distract, his management successor.
“Moyes or whoever takes over need to free to abuse referees and journalists in their own way – I’ll have a more ‘upstairs’ role, perhaps throwing shit from the director’s box and asking them where their girlfriends are.”
Sport- Neigh - to Corruption of British Horse Racing
Updated: 01 May 2013
Fresh scandal hits horseracing:
Newmarket's Gerard Butler faces anabolic steroid probe
Monday 29 April 2013
British horseracing has been hit by a new doping scandal just days after Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni
was slapped with an eight-year ban for using anabolic steroids on his charges.
Trainer Gerard Butler has admitted to an "unpardonable misjudgement" in injecting a drug containing the banned
substance into four of his horses, adding that up to 100 Newmarket animals could have been affected.
He claimed the steroids had been administered by mistake and had been contained in a joint treatment used
following the advice of a vet.
Butler now faces a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) inquiry over the incident which casts a fresh shadow over
the multibillion-pound horseracing trade.
"One of the objectives of this investigation is to clarify the extent to which this product has been distributed and
administered to horses in training," the BHA said in a statement.
Disgraced Zarooni was banished from the industry last week after being found guilty of using anabolic steroids
on at least 15 horses.
He was caught out during an April 9 visit by authority inspection which uncovered 11 animals had been given the
Following the Zarooni ruling BHA chief executive Paul Bittar described that case as "exceptional."
Butler told the BBC that he had been left "uneasy" following the Zarooni ruling and had decided to come clean.
Anabolic steroids are banned in Britain but are legal in several other top racing nations so long as they are
administered out of competition.
Today's bombshell comes at a busy time for the industry's ruling body with a separate hearing into alleged
corruption also taking place this week.
Sport- Should Suarez have been put down or confined to his kennel ?
Updated: 26 Apr 2013
Monday 22 April 2013 by Gary Stanton
Liverpool to consider having Luis Suarez put down
Liverpool face the unpleasant prospect of having their star striker Luis Suarez put to sleep, according to experts.
Brendan Rogers faces the difficult decision to continue with his Uruguayan pedigree after a biting incident left
Chelsea’s Ivanovic only identifiable by Suarez’s dental records.
Suarez was lucky not to be sent off after receiving a yellow card in the first half for sniffing John Terry’s arsehole
during a free kick.
“Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behaviour is unacceptable and he won’t be allowed out
for walks,” said Reds manager Brendan Rodgers.
“He loves chasing the ball but I’d like to see him do more than just sit there with it in his mouth awaiting further
“That’s something I’d hoped to work on in training.”
Suarez to be put down
Meanwhile, the FA would also like to speak to Suarez regarding an incident in the tunnel when the striker startled
match officials by lying on the floor and licking his own genitals.
Rodgers added, “Sniffing John Terry’s arsehole is bad enough, but this together with the incident where he
urinated against the corner flag at Carrow Road leaves me with very few options.”
“I’ve had him since he was a pup so it’s going to be very hard to have him destroyed.”
“Some of the younger players like Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge have become very attached to him so I’ll
probably just tell them he’s gone to visit his parents in Uruguay on an open return.”
Rodgers concluded, “I’d like to offer my apologies to Ivanovic who I understand was left foaming at the mouth at the
“He’ll probably want to get that checked out.”
Sport - A Bite for a Bite ?
Updated: 26 Apr 2013
Wednesday 24 April 2013 by Formelia Alberthine
Let Chelsea’s Ivanovic bite Liverpool’s Suarez, insist Saudi FA
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation have suggested it might be best for all concerned if Chelsea centre-back
Branislav Ivanovic sank his teeth into the forearm of the Liverpool forward Luis Suarez.
After Luis Suarez denied his bite on Invanovic warranted anything more than a three-game ban, the Saudi
authorities insisted they have the perfect way of dealing with such incidents.
The federation’s President, Ahmad Al Harbi, was aghast at the mealy-mouthed way the controversial incident had
been handled by their English counterparts, believing eye for an eye vengeance to be an amicable solution to the
“When we mete out justice in Saudi Arabian law with a decapitation, our stadiums are packed to the rafters with
ticket payers catching a slice of the action,” he told reporters.
“Why not the same for football?”
Al Harbi was quick to insist he wasn’t suggesting a death sentence for the Liverpool forward, at least not until he
has dived a few more times in order to win penalties.
He went on, “Now, we’re not saying chop off Suarez’s head – yet – but we are saying a vengeful munch on his
forearm from the Chelsea player could prove to be quite an attractive pull to most football fans.”
“Certainly the British seem to have an appetite for hardline justice, particularly in relation to Mr Suarez.”
Al Harbi continued by signalling the Federations willingness to facilitate the punishment, but was cautious about his
country’s chances of hosting the event.
“We’d like to host it, but we’re not sure we’ve bribed the right FIFA officials.”
Sport- It's a Racing Certainty - Time for this Punter to throw in the Towel
Updated: 24 Apr 2013
What the impact of Godolphin doping furore means to horse racing
Bookmakers do not have to refund bets on Mahmood al-Zarooni-trained horses
which will not be able to take up engagements
Trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni has admitted using steroids on some of his horses in the powerful Godolphin stable.
Photograph: Michael Mayhew/Sportsphoto/Allstar
Q Will ante-post bets on banned horses be refunded?
A No bookmaker is under any obligation to refund bets on horses trained by Mahmood al-Zarooni which will not be able to take up planned engagements in races such as the 1,000 Guineas. Ante-post bets are traditionally placed on an "all-in, run or not" basis and it is accepted by punters that the price they receive reflects the possibility that, for whatever reason, their horse will not line up. Nonetheless, most major firms have refunded ante-post bets on Certify, who had been a 6-1 chance for the 1,000 Guineas and was the only horse among those to test positive to have attracted significant support. Bets on the Betfair betting exchange, however, are losers.
Q What are the best ways to improve a horse by doping?
A One of the first drugs to be used to boost racing performance was cocaine, which was used by doping gangs in Britain towards the end of the19th century. However, its effects were so powerful that it was not easy to hide. More recently "milkshaking" – the administration of a powerful alkaline solution via a tube to the horse's stomach – has been used to boost performance, particularly in America where horses are trained on the track and the "shake" can be given shortly before a race. Steroids have more long-term effects, however, and muscle bulk built up while a horse is on steroids will be retained once the substance has left its system.
Q How common is 'testing in training'?
A About 7,500 horses are sampled for testing immediately after a race in Britain each year, roughly 8% of the total annual starters. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) does not release details of the number of horses tested in their stables but Zarooni would have been warned in 2012, after two of his horses tested positive for a painkiller, that he could expect a visit from the security department's testing team at some point over the next12 months.
Q Do steroids have welfare implications for racehorses?
A Certainly. Accelerating the process of building up muscle increases the pressure applied through the narrow column of a horse's leg, while steroids are, by definition, powerful hormones and the effects of even a slight change in hormonal balance will be felt throughout a horse's system. Given the stresses that are placed on their bodies during racing, the use of steroids can increase the risk of injuries to horses and, as a result, to their riders.
Q For how long can Zarooni expect to be banned?
A The "entry point" penalty for a positive sample after "testing in training" is a six-month ban but Zarooni has some "previous" in this particular area as he was fined when those two horses tested positive for a painkiller last year. What is more, this case is so extensive, and serious, that the maximum penalty of a 10-year ban is more likely to be closer to the mark. It is also possible that Zarooni will be charged with a "catch-all" offence, similar to a "disrepute" charge in football, which could well carry an additional ban.
Q Who will take over at Moulton Paddocks?
A Unfortunately 150 horses will not sort out their own exercise regimes or make their own entries. Someone will need to be in charge of such a significant string but it is unlikely that there will be a promotion from within, at least until Godolphin has established exactly what – if anything – everyone knew and when they knew it. Zarooni was hired in 2010 because Saeed bin Suroor, who looks after the other half of the Godolphin string in the middle of Newmarket, could not possibly cope with 300 or more thoroughbreds. However, he may be able to keep an eye on them all in the short term at least. As for a long-term replacement for Zarooni, following the excruciating embarrassment of the last two days, Sheikh Mohammed will probably want to take his time overthat decision.
Q How was Zarooni caught by the racing authorities?
A It should have come as no great surprise to Zarooni to find a testing team turn up on his doorstep, given that he had been warned to expect one. But it seems that he was either complacent or overconfident that his use of steroids would not be uncovered.
Q How long has it been going on for at Moulton Paddocks?
A This is a question that the BHA will certainly be desperate to answer. It is difficult to believe that these 11 horses from a sample of 45 were the only ones to have received what seems to have been an almost routine treatment atthe stable. Greg Wood
Sport ?-Refused Entry to the London Marathon-Not a Virgin Money Supporter ?
Updated: 22 Apr 2013
The Commercialisation of the London Marathon
How Political this race has become ?
Refused Entry to the London Marathon-Not a “Virgin Money” Supporter
Not having Virgin plastered all over me
I do have Non Named Running Shoes and believe in The Loneliness of the Long Distant Runner ?
But I would not run, or even be allowed to run, as I would object to having Virgin or Virgin Money
plastered over my shirt and everywhere else.
Not everyone wants to be associated with Virgin logo or Virgin boss Richard Branson.
The Lords have politiced the London Marathon by claiming Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is too “political”.
Peers try to block 'political' Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson Gold medalist's welfare policy criticism blamed for
delay in Sport England appointment
Alan Hubbard , Brian Brady Sunday 21 April 2013
Tory peers are trying to block one of Britain's most decorated Paralympians, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson,
from becoming chair of Sport England because they fear she would be "too political".
Prime Minister David Cameron must decide this weekend whether to bow to pressure from peers who believe she
would be unsuitable to run the country's grassroots sports body. It was expected that her appointment would be
rubber-stamped following her recommendation by the interviewing panel.
Several unnamed members of the House of Lords, however, have made representations in private to Downing
The cross-bench baroness is an acknowledged Labour supporter and a senior Whitehall source says her fierce
criticism of the Government's disability benefit reforms has caused several peers to feel she might be "too
political" for the job.
There is also thought to be concern in Whitehall that despite the recommendation of the panel, whose report was
presented by former London 2012 vice-chairman Sir Keith Mills, Lady Grey-Thompson does not have sufficient
experience of leading a major sports organisation or administering a budget the size of the Government quango's
But Baroness Billingham, a shadow spokeswoman on culture, media and sport, said of Lady Grey-Thompson:
"The only reason that she has been critical is that the Government have been hopeless.... I am sure the Tories
would like someone who is more compliant and is not so critical of their policies."
Mr Cameron himself is believed to be open-minded, and is worried that vetoing her appointment would be
perceived as a political stitch-up. Those opposing Lady Grey-Thompson do not include Lord Coe or his
predecessor as British Olympic Association chairman, Lord Moynihan, who are both supportive. Lord Coe was
one of her referees and he spent some time with Mr Cameron on Friday afternoon pressing her claim. He said:
"She would make an ideal chairman." The sports minister Hugh Robertson is also understood to support her for
Former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe said he believed Lady Grey-Thompson was "the best person for the job".
The Labour MP, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on disability sports, said: "She is a strong presence
in the world of sport, not just on the track but also as a leader for athletes and administrators.... No one should be
penalised for disagreeing with the Government." Her chief rival is long-serving board member and sports lawyer
Nick Bitel, chief executive of the London Marathon. However, it is possible Mr Cameron may ask for the application
process to be re-visited to draw out fresh candidates.
Lady Grey-Thompson, 43, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals as a wheelchair athlete, and has a degree in
politics, was seen as favourite to take over from Baroness Sue Campbell at UK Sport, after she made it known she
was applying for the vacant part-time roles both there and at Sport England. "I'm not sure if it's going to go in my
favour or against me that I couldn't decide which box to tick," she said at the time. She opted for the latter because
of her empathy with sport's grass roots.
The recommendations for both posts were reviewed by Culture Secretary Maria Miller and officials and passed to
10 Downing Street over a week ago. A spokesman at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said yesterday:
"The process of appointing the Sport England chair is completely fair. It is focussed solely on recruiting the best
person with the right attributes to serve grass-roots sport and deliver a lasting sports legacy from London 2012."
The LondonMarathon Charitable Trust Limited
His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
John Disley CBE
Chairman - John Bryant
Joyce Smith MBE
John Spurling OBE
Sir Rodney Walker
Treasurer / Company Secretary:
David Golton LLB FCA
Nominee of President of UK Athletics:
Dame Mary Peters DBE
Chairman Sport England:
Representatives of London Councils:
Representative of Greater London Authority:
Chairman England Athletics:
Chairman England Federation of Disability Sport:
The London Marathon Limited
Chairman - John Spurling OBE
John Disley CBE
Nominee of the City of London:
Nominee of the City of Westminster:
Nominee of the Greater London Authority:
Nominee of London Councils:
Moira Gibb CBE
Nominee of UK Athletics:
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE
The LondonMarathon Charitable Trust - The London Marathon Ltd.
The London Marathon Ltd is wholly owned by the London Marathon Charitable Trust and is responsible for organising the Virgin London Marathon, adidas Half Marathon, Bupa London 10000 and the Standard Chartered Great City Race. Its income comes from sponsorship, marketing, advertising, entry fees, TV etc. and after costs 100% of its surplus is handed to The London Marathon Charitable Trust which then awards grants to recreational projects mainly in London. The amount of the surplus handed over to the Charitable Trust in 2009/2010 was £4.6m which is more than any other Marathon makes anywhere in the world. We are proud of the fact that 100% of this surplus goes to charity.
In addition runners in the 2011 Marathon raised more than £51.8 million for charities of their own choice and this money went, as always, directly to those charities.
Since the race began £45m has been allocated by the London Marathon Charitable Trust in total to recreational projects and the runners themselves have raised over £557.8m which has gone directly to charities of their choosing
Roberto Martinez v Paolo di Canio and a Wearside Boycott ?
Updated: 08 Apr 2013
Roberto Martinez v Paolo di Canio and a Wearside Boycott
I have enormous respect for Roberto who is loved by Wigan FC and sadness for Sunderland supporters who
have been lumbered with this nasty little fascist di Canio.
Di Canio was stopped at the gates of the Russian’s Club and did Martinez a favour.
Wigan took a point away at QPR and the result does not look good for Rednap and puts Sunderland nearer
to the drop zone.
So all in all, it was probably the best decision for Sunderland.
While I don’t wish relegation on any club, it may be the best thing for Sunderland and the only way to get rid of
Surely he would not survive the drop ?
However the next Sunderland home game may be the best way for Wearside to make sure and protest.
A Boycott of the game will hit the Directors of that Club where it hurts ,in the pocket.
Wigan should do another Houdini and their supporters will have all their efforts focused on keeping Roberto at
It is well known that I support Martinez replacing Wenger at the Arsenal but that is a story for another day.
Sport- Wearside with a Fascist stuck in its throat !
Updated: 08 Apr 2013
The media have missed the point of Paolo di Canio saga
The right-wing press are treading a dangerous path in their analysis of Sunderland’s appointment of their new
Friday 05 April 2013
by John Millington
Football comment: The media storm whipped up over
Paolo di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager has been far-reaching.
From David Miliband to mainstream anti-racist activists and militant trade union groups, all have taken steps to
criticise — and in some cases taken symbolic action to show their disdain for — the Wearside club’s decision to
employ someone who has described himself as a fascist.
Even the Daily Star carried a front page questioning the appointment, showcasing di Canio’s nazi salute while
playing in Italy seven years ago.
But instead of universal outrage across the press, which one might expect considering that not so long ago
Britain, along with her allies, fought a world war against fascism in Europe, right-wing commentators have
ended up turning the story into an attack on the “left,” criticising di Canio’s detractors.
LBC’s Iain Dale highlighted the so-called hypocrisy of the “liberal left,” emphasing the fact that no-one cared
about di Canio when he was Swindon manager, while treading a dangerous path of attempting to distinguish
national socialism from fascism.
He concludes by suggesting he would not boycott a team or complain if “a devoutly left-wing socialist” or
“Chinese communist” became a manager of a Premier League club.
Jonathan Liew in the Telegraph suggests our obsession with the di Canio story is particularly British “middle
class” pre-occupation and that reminders of the crimes of fascism in the Guardian were all designed to simply
make us all feel better, serving no wider practical purpose.
All of the above raises the questions: when did it become taboo to not like fascists, to criticise them, or to
remind ourselves of the horrors of the worst economic and political system ever devised?
If people were a bit late coming forward to have a pot shot at di Canio, does that make their condemnation any
The fact that there wasn’t much coverage of GMB — Britain’s third largest union — withdrawing their
sponsorship of Swindon when di Canio was manager due to his fascist sympathies — views he has now
retracted — is the fault of major newspapers, not anti-fascist commentators.
Durham Miners Association (DMA) leader Davey Hopper, whose group have asked for their banner at
Sunderland to be returned in protest at di Canio’s appointment, was a deep pit miner for 27 years.
I know Davey and have interviewed him several times over the last four years and he would be insulted to be
labelled “middle-class” or to have his association’s decision questioned on the basis of what it “hopes to
As difficult as it might be for Liew, Dale and others to understand — as I am sure they have never covered a
National Union of Mineworkers AGM before — the decision by the DMA is based on principle, one that dates
back to before Adolf Hitler and his partner in crime, Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
Opposing fascism whether by pen or sword is something that goes back to international brigades and the
Spanish civil war when thousands of working-class people volunteered to go over to fight fascist dictator
Franco and defend the Republic.
This was something war veterans who fought in the Second World War for Britain can relate to and why several
have come out vigorously opposed to di Canio’s appointment.
Hopper does fit the description of Dale’s “devout left-wing socialist” and the kind of society Davey wants, one
of peace, equality and workers’ rights, is the antithesis to fascist ideology.
As for the defence that di Canio has “several best friends who are black,” how many times have we heard that
one from somebody after they have made a racist comment?
Racism is political and therefore contradictory.
The BNP and English Defence League all have black members
— does this mean that both organisations are any less racist in their policies?
To use the other argument, that sport and politics should be kept separate, is to ignore the platform that
professional sport gives individuals and their viewpoints.
Similar arguments have been used to allow fascist countries or individuals to benefit from such regimes.
One need only look at the World Cup in Italy in 1934, the nazi Olympics in 1936, the open racism of the
International Olympic Committee towards militant black US sprinters in the ’60s or the breaking of sanctions on
apartheid South Africa by England cricketers, to see how sport and politics are inseparable.
The Premier League could learn a thing or two from the Greek footballing authorities who recently banned one
of their up and coming stars Giorgos Katidis from representing the national team due to his nazi salute at the
end of a league game last month.
The di Canio incident has underlined the need to step up campaigning against fascism, whether in uncovering
extremists in the world of sport or entertainment as well as far-right political movements.
To stand still or to ignore the seeds of fascism it is to fall into the trap of appeasement.
Need we be reminded of the concentration camp survivor Pastor Niemoller’s chilling quote about the perils of
“When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew.
“Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”
This article first appeared on the Left Foot Forward blog.
Sport-Sunderland AFC's Paolo Di Canio -A "Fascist not Racist" Denial is a PR Stunt and Rejected-
Updated: 05 Apr 2013
Campaigners refuse to accept Paolo di Canio U-turn
Hope Not Hate demand apology from new Sunderland boss
Thursday 04 April 2013
by Michael Jones
Football: Anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate today rejected a statement from new Sunderland
manager Paolo di Canio that he is not a fascist.
The group dismissed his “I do not support the ideology of fascism” claim as no more than a PR stunt and
demanded an apology for his past actions.
Hope Not Hate said di Canio’s track record — fascist salutes, association with fascist organisations, praise
for Italian dictator Mussolini — still stands.
“Until we hear Paolo di Canio apologise for his past actions and his views, and this comes from his own
mouth, we will not draw a line under the matter,” said a spokesperson.
Di Canio’s appointment at the weekend sparked a storm of protest owing to comments made in 2005 to
Italian news agency ANSA in which he stated: “I am a fascist, not a racist.”
The Durham Miners Association (DMA) have demanded the return of a union banner on display at the club’s
stadium and Sunderland anti-fascists have launched a petition demanding his dismissal.
The DMA also said that they have not taken a decision to accept di Canio’s statement that he is not a racist
and does not adhere to the ideology of fascism.
They said: “We have agreed to meet a representative from Sunderland AFC today and on the basis of that
meeting the DMA executive committee will make a statement on Friday.”
Meanwhile Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson refused to weigh in on the controversy today.
The Scot has never made any secret of his own political views, sticking to the Labour roots he inherited from
his parents growing up in Glasgow, but he ducked out of commenting on the di Canio issue.
“The only thing I am focusing on is how Sunderland are going to do in their next few games,” he said.
“It is a challenge for Paolo, there is no doubt about that, because their programme is not an easy one.”
In contrast, Trevor Sinclair, who played with di Canio at West Ham, insisted that the Italian’s claims should
be “taken with a pinch of salt.”
Sinclair, along with current Charlton manager Chris Powell, was named by di Canio as black players who he
befriended during his playing days in England.
“I was not surprised to be named as a character witness.
“We genuinely got on well and I don’t mind giving my opinion on such a relevant and important issue within
not just football but society,” Sinclair said.
“Paolo’s comments should be taken with a pinch of salt because he’s as mad as a hatter.
“But I feel he should apologise for upsetting so many people with his actions and comments and make it
clear once and for all if he is or isn’t racist or fascist.”
Sport- Di Canio -A Mussolini Man - It's time for him to hang up his boots too !
Updated: 04 Apr 2013
Paolo Di Canio insists he does not support 'the ideology of fascism'
• Di Canio responds to 'vicious and personal accusations'
• Sunderland manager: 'I am not racist … I respect everyone'
Paolo Di Canio, pictured during his first Sunderland training session, has denied supporting fascism.
Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images
After almost three days of controversy and confusion, Paolo Di Canio was finally forced into distancing himself
from fascism on Wednesday. The Sunderland manager's move came after criticism that culminated in the dean
of Durham calling on him to renounce the ideology publicly or risk being associated with "toxic far-right
Di Canio and the club had reacted slowly to the firestorm that has engulfed them since the Italian's appointment
on Sunday night, when David Miliband reacted to the 44-year-old's installation as Martin O'Neill's successor by
resigning as the club's vice-chairman.
In the past Di Canio has said he was "a fascist but not a racist" . He refused to confirm whether he was still a
fascist during an introductory media briefing on Wearside on Tuesday but now Di Canio has sought to clarify
"I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation," he said in a statement to Sunderland's website
clearly designed to draw a line under the matter. "I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I
I am a football man and this and my family are my focus.
Now I will speak only of football.
"I feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however I will
say one thing only – I am not the man that some people like to portray."
Sunderland's American owner, Ellis Short, and Northern Irish chief executive, Margaret Byrne, have evidently
been shocked and stunned by the opposition to their new manager from assorted quarters including the
Church of England, former Durham miners and war veterans.
It certainly did not help the struggling club when, earlier on Wednesday, new photographs emerged of Di Canio
seemingly attending the funeral of a well-known Italian fascist and when the Lazio historian Alfonso Dessi told
ITV News: "He was a true fascist. He declared himself a fascist and never denied his ideas but this matter had no
impact on the … football institutions. He had a huge impact on the so-called hooligans because of his political
ideas but no impact on the media."
Belatedly Sunderland's previously confusingly opaque manager has answered back in a coherent manner.
"I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply
hurt by the attacks on the football club," he added. "This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and
hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles
come from my family and my upbringing."
His words were posted on the club website shortly after the dean of Durham wrote an open letter to Di Canio.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, a Sunderland supporter and the son of a Jewish war refugee, said he
was struggling to stay loyal to the club and that he found Di Canio's "self-confessed fascism deeply troubling".
In his letter Sadgrove wrote: "Your appointment raises very difficult questions.
You see, I am the child of a Jewish war refugee who got out of Germany and came to Britain just in time.
Some of her family and friends perished in the Nazi death camps.
So I find your self-confessed fascism deeply troubling.
"Fascism was nearly the undoing of the world.
It cost millions of innocent lives.
Mussolini, who you say has been deeply misunderstood, openly colluded with it. You are said to wear a tattoo
DUX [the Latin equivalent of Duce and a reference to Benito Mussolini's title Il Duce] which speaks for itself. This
all adds up to what I find baffling.
"You say that you are not a racist, but it needs great sophistication to understand how fascism and racism are
ultimately different. I can promise you that this distinction will be lost on the people of the north-east where the
British National Party is finding fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of its pernicious and poisonous
"You did not necessarily know this before you came. But I believe that unless you clearly renounce fascism in all
its manifestations, you will be associated with these toxic far-right tendencies we have seen too much of in this
Di Canio had little choice but to respond.
Now Sunderland can only pray that the only F-word mentioned at the Stadium of Light is football.
Considering the team are without a win in eight games, one point above the relegation zone and due to visit
Chelsea on Sunday and Newcastle United the following week such refocusing seems essential.
"I doubt Paolo's political views are really relevant to keeping Sunderland in the Premier League," said Jeremy
Wray, Di Canio's former chairman at Swindon. "I've known Paolo for two years and I don't think I've heard him
discuss politics once."
Short will doubtless be delighted if the same proves true at Sunderland
Sport-Di Canio -Get Rid of this Fascist. Sunderland Football Club's New Sporting Ambassador ?
Updated: 04 Apr 2013
Fascists should get the boot
Wednesday 03 April 2013
Paolo di Canio's scanty declaration that he is not a fascist, does not support fascist ideology and respects
everyone would carry more weight had it not been extracted from him through gritted teeth.
It is clear that Sunderland football club has been embarrassed by a situation of its own making and has insisted
on a statement from di Canio to get it off the hook.
Even now his assertion that his current priorities are football and his family and that he will "speak only of
football" essentially reflects his previous stance that he has no responsibility to explain earlier deeds and
It will take more than a club-dictated terse offering that raises more questions than answers to allay the fascist
ghost haunting Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
The stadium is built over the former Monkwearmouth colliery where Durham Miners Association general
secretary Dave Hopper worked for 27 years.
The historic colliery lodge banner, behind which Hopper led the march back to work in 1985 after the end of the
year-long miners' strike, currently hangs proudly inside the stadium.
Durham miners and Sunderland AFC have an intertwined history, which di Canio's appointment besmirches.
The city of Sunderland provided volunteers for the 15th International Brigade that fought fascism in Spain. Its
citizens stood firm against fascist air attacks in World War II when hundreds of Mackems were slaughtered.
How could the board of the football club have ignored such history in deciding to employ a man with a tattoo of
Benito Mussolini on his arm who has constantly voiced his admiration for the fascist dictator?
No wonder that the Durham Miners Association demands that its banner be returned and backs the Sunderland
Anti-Fascist Coalition petition for di Canio's dismissal.
This is not a matter of punishing someone simply for his thoughts.
Despite di Canio's attempts to draw a line between his well-attested fascism and his self-proclaimed opposition
to racism and anti-semitism, fascism's historical record is clear.
Italian society continues to be plagued by politicians seeking either to rehabilitate or excuse Mussolini even
while his political heirs deploy violent acts, up to and including mass murder, as in the 1980 Bologna train
The fact that di Canio was a close associate and mourner at the 2010 funeral of Bologna bombing suspect Paolo
Signorelli, at which the coffin was greeted by massed fascist salutes, cannot be minimised by the Sunderland
AFC board of directors.
They must surely see a contradiction between their newly appointed manager's record and the club's
commitment to kicking racism out of football.
If they fail to act decisively, they may find their hand forced by the less blinkered Invest in Africa company
reviewing its £20 million club sponsorship deal.
Di Canio insists that he is not a politician and should be judged solely on his record as a football club manager.
But just as anti-racist campaigners refused to accept the "Don't mix politics with sport" whining refrain of
apologists for apartheid South Africa, di Canio's employers should ignore his weasel words and act for the good
of football and for their club.
His deeds and comments provide more eloquent testimony than his new-found political shyness.
The ball is firmly planted on the Stadium of Light penalty spot, but the Sunderland AFC board has to show it has
the guts to take the kick.
Sport- Di Canio - A Fascist supporter in Sunderland
Updated: 04 Apr 2013
Paolo di Canio belatedly claims he doesn't support fascism
New Sunderland manager distances himself from far-right ideology as pressure mounts
Wednesday 03 April 2013
by Greg Leedham
Football: Under-fire Sunderland finally responded to the furore over their appointment of new manager Paolo di
Canio by releasing a statement today in which the Italian said he is not a racist and that he does not support “the
ideology of fascism.”
Di Canio and Sunderland have come in for a raft of criticism from anti-fascism campaigners, fans and even the
Dean of Durham, who called on the former Swindon boss to renounce his far-right views.
With Sunderland clearly caught by surprise by the extend of the storm — with new photographs emerging today
of di Canio apparently attending the funeral of a well-known Italian fascist — a statement was released on the
club’s website in a belated attempt to draw a line under the controversy.
In the statement, di Canio said: “I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than
football, however. I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club.
“This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is
painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles come from my family and my upbringing.
“I feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this. However I will
say one thing only — I am not the man that some people like to portray.
“I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology
of fascism. I respect everyone.
“I am a football man and this and my family are my focus. Now I will speak only of football.”
Sport- Aintree Grand National -6th April
Updated: 03 Apr 2013
The Aintree Grand National
Saturday 6th April 2013
49 horses are in contention for THE race of the year
The Radical has chosen the following selections and current price offered.
Cappa Bleu 11/1
Colbert Station 11/1
Tea for Three 12/1
Imperial Commander 14/1
Join Together 18/1
Balthazar King 20/1
Across the Bay 33/1
Saint Are 50/1
Ninetieth Minute 66/1
Oscat Time 66/1
Cloudy Lane 100/1
Viking Blond 100/1
These horses have the ability to get round the 4 mile trip
Can run on soft ground and jump fences
Have a jockey on board who has done it all before
Their trainer thinks they have a chance
All that remains is to hear it from the horses mouth
Most Bookies are offering a return on the first 5
Sport- Jack Boots at Sunderland !
Updated: 02 Apr 2013
Anti-fascist campaigners turn up heat on Paolo di Canio
New Sunderland boss insists ‘I'm no racist’ after critics question appointment
Monday 01 April 2013
by Greg Leedham
Football: Anti-fascism campaigners said Paolo di Canio’s appointment as the new Sunderland manager was “an
insult” to the people of the city who died fighting fascism and have called on the Italian to explain his political beliefs.
Unite Against Fascism’s joint national secretary Weyman Bennett called on di Canio to publicly retract
comments made in the past in which he identified himself as a follower of the far-right ideology.
Bennett, whose comments come shortly after David Miliband quit his role at the club in protest at the Italian’s
appointment, said: “If he wants to be a manager and wants to be a public figure, he needs to make it clear he
accepts these views are completely inappropriate.
“Football has made great strides in opposing fascism. It’s simply not true that you can say you agree with
fascism and that’s OK. It’s something that isn’t acceptable.”
Miliband left his role as the club’s vice-chairman and non-executive director almost immediately after di Canio’s
selection on Sunday night.
The former foreign secretary said that “in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right
to step down.”
Di Canio released a statement through the club today in which he said that it was “stupid” that he should face
scrutiny over his beliefs every time he changes clubs.
He said: “I don’t have a problem with anyone. I don’t know why I have to keep repeating my story, to be
defending myself on something that doesn’t belong to me every time I change clubs.
“Talk about racism? That is absolutely stupid, stupid and ridiculous.”
The Italian added: “What I can say is that if someone is hurt, I am sorry.
But this didn’t come from me — it came
from a big story that people put out in a different way to what it was.
“The people who know me can change that idea quickly.
When I was in England my best friends were Trevor Sinclair and Chris Powell, the Charlton manager — they can
tell you everything about my character.
“I don’t want to talk about politics because it’s not my area. We are not in the Houses of Parliament, we are in a
I want to talk about sport. I want to talk about football, my players, the board and the fans.
I don’t want to talk any more about politics — I am not a politics person.”
Football Against Racism in Europe director Piara Powar also expressed concerns over Sunderland’s choice of manager.
“When there is a rise of intolerance and there is a coach in the Barclays Premier League, which is the most
watched league globally, who hasn’t clarified or wanted to renounce his fascist views during his time in the UK, it
is a worrying time,” Powar said.
Di Canio told Italian news agency ANSA in 2005: “I am a fascist, not a racist.” In his autobiography, he claimed
that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was “basically misunderstood.”
The ex-West Ham forward was also pictured in 2005 making a raised-arm salute to a group of supporters of
Lazio, where he was playing.
Di Canio has signed a two-and-half year deal with the club and replaces Martin O’Neill who was sacked on
Sport- Dyke v Discrimination against Match Officials
Updated: 22 Mar 2013
Thursday, 21 March, 2013 18:37
Against Match Officials !
In 1950 I went to a Boys school where Hockey was the main game.
We had two umpires,one in each half.
Because the game was so fast
The Umpires were based in opposite quarters of each half.
As the game moved from one half to another, the umpire in that half took control.
Linesmen ran the line.
There was no technology
Today we have technology
Less officals and an ever faster game
We need goal line technology and two referees.
At present there are too many games being decided on wrong official decisions
That must change.
Greg Dyke must address the problem
The UK FA can take the initiative here.
Start with the two top football divisions
Other decisions that he needs to address
1. A break in the season of competitive matches.
2. Transfer windows
3. Managers contracts
- Players wages
- Modern Slavery ?
Sport- Greg Dyke to shake up the FA ?
Updated: 22 Mar 2013
The BBC's loss is the FA's gain - Greg Dyke is the right man for the job
Thursday 21 March 2013
Those who remain unmoved by protestations about the dangers of interference in a free press would do well to
recall the events that led to Dyke's departure
Football Association and the BBC have quite a lot in common: national institutions responsible for delivering a
product about which a vast number of Britons feel passionate, they have also been mired in scandal and
mismanagement in recent history.
So, it is entirely logical that the FA should choose as their next boss the man who led the BBC with great style
In fact, I would argue that the Beeb hasn't been the same since Greg Dyke resigned from the
corporation in 2004 in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of weapons inspector David Kelly.
Dyke felt he had to resign after Lord Hutton criticised inaccuracies in a BBC report that the government had
"sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's illegal weapons.
It is worth remembering the febrile atmosphere of the time: a government, desperate to convince a reluctant
public that the invasion of Iraq was justifiable, and the BBC, discharging their remit for independent, investigative
journalism, were locked in a desperate battle.
Every day, the government spinmeister, Alastair Campbell, would lob rocks in the BBC's direction.
The corporation's credibility was at stake, and, in the end, Tony Blair's administration won the day.
Dyke - accompanied by his chairman, Gavyn Davies - walked out.
This, I'd suggest, was a victory for the government which came at a considerable cost.
Martin Bell, the saintly, veteran journalist said of Dyke's tenure at the Beeb that "he revived the confidence of
The result of his departure was that this self-assurance drained away, and many of the failures of the BBC since -
up to and including the Savile affair - can be traced back to the wounds suffered in this bitter confrontation with
the government, and to the effect it had on the editorial confidence of the corporation.
Those who remain unmoved by the current protestations from newspapers about the dangers of government
interference in a free press would do well to recall this chain of events.
Dyke's departure from the BBC led to protests from journalists, who took the unprecedented step of paying for a
full-page advertisement in the Daily Telegraph to convey their displeasure, and his time there was marked by a
plain-speaking, genial approach that will stand him in good stead in his new post.
The FA is an organisation that, similarly, is steeped in tradition and is steadfast in its way of doing things.
Dyke said, early on in his time at Broadcasting House, that he was determined to "cut the crap", and this may be
refreshing to reprise in a week when the FA put the fine detail of their rules ahead of the spirit of the game and
chose not to punish retrospectively a Wigan player for the sort of tackle that, had it happened on the street, might
have resulted in a GBH charge.
Also, Dyke looked around at the BBC and vowed to change the "hideously white" profile of its staff.
He might feel the same as he surveys the FA boardroom.
Whatever else, football's governing body gets a man at the top who combines commercial nous with an
experience of life, and has an abiding love of the game.
He has only one dirty secret: a fondness for Manchester United.
Sport- Racehorses political names
Updated: 09 Mar 2013
The list of polical racehorses' names grows
Friday 08 March 2013
Giles Wynne (M Star March 1) notes the politics in some racehorses' names.
On the same day that No To Trident ran, so (unusually) did Antonio Gramsci, Sylvia Pankhurst, Krupskaya and Khachaturian.
The past couple of years have seen Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Alexandra Kollontai, Tussy Marx, Countess Markievicz, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, James Larkin, AJ Cook, Thomas Bell, Sean O'Casey, Woody Guthrie, Theodore Wolfe Tone, Penderyn and The Black Jacobin.
Zhukov and Molotof had some success (as did The Cheka and Kay Gee Bee).
Sport-Man U-Real Madrid -One Two-A Turkish Referee succeeds in decimating Turkey's Tourist Industry
Updated: 06 Mar 2013
MAN U v REAL MADRID- One Two
"The Best Team Lost"- Mourinho
The Referee is also One Too !
Once again the referee decides the result making the game a charade
Nani sending off – There was no intent other than to control the ball. The Real player ran into him on purpose.
The decision won’t do Turkey’s tourist industry any good either !
Sport - Man. U v Real Madrid - Tuesday ITV - K.O 7.45 -Move over Coronation Street !
Updated: 04 Mar 2013
Manchester United 4 Norwich 0: Alex Ferguson expecting goals against Real Madrid
United manager believes both teams will score in Champions League tie
Sunday 03 March 2013
Football: Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson is anticipating an open game against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
On Saturday Ferguson’s men warmed up for the Champions League last-16 second leg with a comprehensive
win over Norwich in which the hosts kept their second consecutive clean sheet.
Ferguson, who saw Shinji Kagawa become the first Asian player to score a Premier League hat-trick, said he
would be hoping for more of the same against the Spanish giants but conceded another shut-out was unlikely
against a side that has defeated Barcelona twice in a week.
“If I thought we could get a blank against us on Tuesday I think we’ll go through,” said Ferguson, for whom
Wayne Rooney also scored late on.
“But I think both teams will score and I hope we score more than them.”
Ferguson, whose side have restored their 15-point lead at the top of the table, believes that Kagawa, a summer
signing from Borussia Dortmund, will hit top form next season.
He said: “He (Kagawa) got that injury in October/November and he was out for quite a while. It knocked him back
a bit but he is gradually coming back and I think you’ll see a really good player next year.”
Having ended a run of nine Premier League matches without a win by beating Everton last weekend, this result
left Norwich manager Chris Hughton “disappointed.”
He said: “Any team who comes here has to put in a real tough shift because you know they will have the majority
“The first goal was a poor one by our standards, but I think the second hurt us perhaps that bit more because we
had to open up a little bit and when you do that against United they have the quality to really hurt you.”
Sport-For Ryan life begins again at 40
Updated: 02 Mar 2013
Ryan Giggs signs contract extension to keep him playing past his 40th birthday
Friday 01 March 2013
Giggs's deal, on the eve of a likely 1,000th senior appearance, will keep the Welsh midfielder at Old Trafford beyond his 40th birthday.
It will stop speculation that the most decorated player in British football history will retire at the end of the season.
He will win his 13th league championship if United don't blow their 12-point lead over Manchester City.
Giggs's 1,000th game - including playing for Wales and Team GB - is expected to come at Norwich tomorrow or against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Ferguson said: "Twenty-three years in the first team is unbelievable.
"He is an example to all in the way he looks after himself.
"I told him this morning I expect a bill from his mother for all the sandwiches and teas she used to make for us when we went to his house every week when we were trying to get him to sign schoolboy forms," said the United boss.
Giggs said: "I am feeling good, enjoying my football more than ever and, most importantly, I feel I am making a contribution to the team."
Meanwhile, Ferguson told new magazine Twentyfour7 that he could move onto the club's board - but that's a long way off.
"There's no getting rid of me. I will probably become a director," he said. "Nobody knows. Neither do I."
Ferguson added: "That's a long time away, I hope."
Robin van Persie will be in the squad to face Norwich after hurting his hip when he crashed into a TV camera at QPR last Saturday.
Paul Scholes (knee) and Phil Jones (ankle) are sidelined, although the latter could be fit to face Real Madrid and Ferguson confirmed Scholes should play some part in the title run-in.
Canaries midfielder Alex Tettey is out with a knee injury.
On-loan striker Kei Kamara could get a first start after coming off the bench to open his account in the win against Everton last weekend.
Sport- England v Brazil- Playing at home should be worth one goal, at least
Updated: 06 Feb 2013
World Football - Matchpack: England v Brazil
Team news, manager quotes, stats and video preview ahead of England's prestige friendly with Brazil at
Wembley on Wednesday night at 19.45
England are without Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge (thigh), Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe (ankle) and
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick (hip). Wayne Rooney is likely to be joined in attack by Danny
Welbeck, but Theo Walcott could feature in a central role up front at some stage.
Roy Hodgson has confirmed Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole will start the match to earn his 100th cap.
Ronaldinho could start for Brazil after earning a recall for the first time in a year. QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar is
one of four Premier League players who could all feature for the visitors with David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar also available for selection.
Roy Hodgson on why Steven Gerrard will captain the side despite Ashley Cole earning his 100th cap:
"I don't see any reason why the captain should let anyone else lead the team out.
Ashley does his talking and work on the field and I don't think he's ever pushed himself forward during his 100
appearances as a potential captain of the team.
I think he's just very happy to be a key player in the team so I'm pretty certain he won't be trying to rip the
armband off Steven. If he does I might have to step in."
Luiz Felipe Scolari on his decision to reject the England job six years ago: "Of course, it hurts.
It hurts a lot because I would have loved to have been the manager of the England team.
It's a wonderful national team.
When I was invited to be national coach of England, when we sat down I still had a contract with the Portuguese
national team and I was not willing to break that contract.
It was my duty to fulfil it. Imagine what it would have been like when we played each other in 2006 and I had
signed that contract with England.
I wish all the best for the English players and their manager on their path to innovation."
England have won just three of their 23 previous internationals against Brazil, drawing nine and losing 11.
England’s 13% win percentage over Brazil is their worst against any nation they have faced more than twice in international matches.
The Three Lions are without a win in eight against Brazil (D4 L4), with Bobby Robson the last England manager
to oversee a victory against them back in March 1990 (1-0, Gary Lineker with the goal).
This run of eight without a win against Brazil is also England’s longest current run without a victory against any side.
Brazil have only won two of their 10 games against England at Wembley, however, though six of these games
have ended level (two England wins).
England have only lost two of their last 22 internationals in all competitions (W13 D7) and have only been defeated once in 12 under Roy Hodgson (W7 D4, including one defeat after penalties).
England have scored at least one goal in all but one of their 31 internationals at the new Wembley, with Montenegro the only side to prevent them from scoring back in October 2010.
Brazil were the last team to prevent England from scoring in a friendly match, beating them 1-0 in Doha in November 2009.
Danny Welbeck, who finished last year as England’s top scorer, scored with all five of his shots on target for Roy Hodgson’s side in the year 2012.
Brazil have won 15 and lost just two of their last 18 internationals (all friendlies), with both defeats coming in the
space of a week back in June 2012 against Mexico and Argentina.
Neymar has scored eight goals in his last six appearances for Brazil.
England (9/4) Brazil (7/5) Draw (5/2)
"Will the Real Wenger please take the reigns in Spain ?"
Updated: 31 Jan 2013
"Will the Real Wenger please take the reigns in Spain ?"
Arsenal 2 Liverpool 2:
Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud score as Gunners come from two goals down to claim draw
Londoners fight back to cancel out goals from Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson
Wednesday 30 January 2013
by Greg Leedham at Ashburton Grove
Football: A combination of scintillating attacking and woeful defending ensured that journalists fingers were kept
warm in the winter air at Ashburton Grove as Arsenal and Liverpool shared the spoils from a thrilling encounter.
The number of chances in this match would have been enough to fill a small book, let alone a match report. In the
end, it wasn't so much Arsenal's comeback from two goals down that was remarkable, but the fact that the sides
only plundered four goals between them.
Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson gave the visitors, still smarting from Sunday's surprise FA Cup exit to
Oldham, a two-goal lead, but the second of those goals sparked a fightback from the home side, who hit back
through Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
In the end, it was Arsenal who finished the stronger, with Reds keeper Pepe Reina forced into making a string of
saves late on, though Suarez forced a save from Wojciech Szczesny right at the death after Liverpool had seized
on a stray pass from substitute Andre Santos.
Liverpool will feel particularly disappointed given that victory would have seen them go level with their hosts, as
well as reduce the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Norwich.
Both sides have shown themselves to be vulnerable at the back this season, so the end-to-end slugfest was
hardly a surprise.
Nonetheless it was quite a sight to behold as the two English giants went for each other from start to finish.
Liverpool took the lead on five minutes. Bacary Sagna's slip down the left flank allowed Reds left-back Glen
Johnson to cross for the unmarked Daniel Sturridge.
Szczesny did well to save the Englishman's goal-bound effort, but the ball fell to Suarez.
The Uruguayan did well to get his shot away through a sea of players and the ball flicked off defender Per
Mertesacker, wrong-footing Szczesny, who watched in agony as the ball went into the net.
Arsenal nearly hit back immediately.
Walcott found space down the right side of the Liverpool area and stung the palms of Reina with a rasping drive.
The Gunners were pushing forward with intent, but Liverpool, with Suarez, emboldened by his 22nd goal of the
season, and Sturridge, had pace with which to counter-attack.
The latter went close again with the game just 12 minutes old when he pulled away from Thomas Vermaelen to
latch onto a delightful pass from Suarez. Running at goal from the right-side of the area, the Englishman drilled a
half volley a couple of yards wide.
Arsenal were living dangerously, but continued to push a high line as they went in search of an equaliser.
As would be the case on more than one occasion, they found goalkeeper Reina, back in the team for Brad Jones, in fine form.
After a couple of corners in quick succession, the ball fell to Walcott on the edge of the Liverpool area.
The England international steadied himself before bending an Thierry Henry-esque effort.
Reina dived acrobatically and tipped the ball away.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard was the next to come to his side's rescue, cutting out Lukas Podolski's cross
which, had it reached its intended target of Giroud, would have given the Frenchman a simple finish.
Yet a second goal for Liverpool looked just as likely.
First Podolski cleared off the line from Daniel Agger's downward header.
Seconds later the lively Suarez flashed a low, diagonal drive inches wide of Szczesny's goal.
Worse was to come for Arsenal when Kieran Gibbs pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury. He was
withdrawn eight minutes before the interval for Santos, who was given a torrid time by Brighton's forwards in Saturday's FA Cup tie.
Arsenal's main striker in Giroud had been quiet, but briefly announced himself when he rose highest to a Walcott
cross and flashed a header into the hands of Reina.
Liverpool should have gone in 2-0 at the break.
Stewart Downing, an improving performer in recent weeks, released Henderson down the left flank.
Most of Arsenal's players were a long way from their own goal, having ventured forward for an attack.
Szczesny rushed out to meet the former Sunderland man, but stopped at the edge of his area.
Henderson went for the lob, but could only plant his effort on the roof the Arsenal net.
It was a missed opportunity.
Neither side were able to shore up their defences after the interval.
Sturridge scuffed an effort just wide, seconds after he had appealed for a penalty for handball against Vermaelen.
Arsenal were screaming for a spot kick themselves within a minute when Podolski ran at Andre Wisdom and
appeared to be clipped by the Liverpool defender.
Referee Kevin Friend never looked interested and, in truth, Podolski did himself no favours with a theatrical tumble.
The chances were coming thick and fast.
Podolski picked out Walcott at the back cross with a delightful cross, but the England man headed over with all
the finesse one would expect from a winger.
The next goal would surely change the game and it came to Liverpool in remarkable fashion.
Sturridge drove into the Arsenal half in typically menacing fashion and found Liverpool's forward-most player Henderson.
The midfielder, who had been industrious to that point, seemed to be going nowhere but managed to wriggle his
way free of three Arsenal defenders, with Santos and Mertesacker particularly befuddled.
The ball rebounded off Santos and Aaron Ramsey, who was rushing back, before finding its way back to
Henderson, who slotted home for a simple finish.
Henderson's persistence was admirable, but the way he bullied his way through almost an entire Arsenal
defence on his own was nothing short of outrageous.
As the Englishman celebrated in front of the visiting support, the home fans hurled programmes and abuse towards the pitch.
Their ire would turn to glee remarkably quickly as Arsenal mustered a quick-fire response.
Giroud rose highest to head home from Wilshere's free-kick to reduce the deficit.
The Frenchman could have driven a bus through the gap left by Reds centre-backs Agger and Jamie Carragher,
and he punched the air in delight as he claimed his claimed his fifth goal in a week.
Three minutes later and Arsenal were level. Santi Cazorla found Giroud in the Liverpool area with a cute pass and
the striker laid the ball off to Walcott who simply rifled the ball through Reina for the equaliser.
Suddenly the home fans were in full voice again, imploring the team to go for the jugular.
They responded in kind, with Walcott nearly giving his side the lead with a left-footed drive from the edge of the area that skimmed inches wide.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers responded to the sudden crisis by removing Sturridge for defender-cum-
midfielder Jose Enrique. Walcott and Giroud forced further saves from Reina and Suarez nearly gave Liverpool
all three points deep into injury time after Santos inexplicably gave the ball away on the halfway line.
In the end though, a draw was fair, but leaves neither side really where they want to be in the pursuit of a top-four finish.
Sport-Footie's Swiss Blatter says- too many foreign players ,( inc Managers ?) in the English game
Updated: 16 Jan 2013
England will never win a World Cup unless the influx of foreign players to
the Premier League is brought under control, says FIFA president
• Sepp Blatter claimed England will stay in the shadow of Europe's elite
• He said national team will fail to develop if managers keep looking abroad
• FIFA president believes England significantly behind Spain, Italy, Germany
By Dominic King and Larisa Brown
| UPDATED: 17:58, 15 January 2013
England will stay in the shadow of Europe's elite unless the influx of foreign players to the Premier League is
brought under control, the FIFA president has said.
Sepp Blatter is adamant the national team will fail to develop if managers keep looking abroad for players.
He believes England are significantly in the shadow of Spain, Italy and Germany - and so will therefore never win a
World Cup unless the buying of players from overseas is limited.
He is however impressed with how the Barclays Premier League has been marketed and sold around the world.
Mr Blatter was speaking during a wide-ranging interview with Special Report on Sky Sports News, in which he
tackled subjects including racism, future World Cups and the possibility of being succeeded by Michel Platini.
He said: ‘I don’t think the Premier League is too global (but) you have too many foreigners and not (enough)
English players, so your national team is not yet at the level of these national teams.
‘If you look to Spain, Italy and Germany, you realise 80 per cent or even more of the players of the national team
play in their own league.’
Mr Blatter, who confirmed that goalline technology will be trialled during this summer’s Confederations Cup, called
for clubs whose fans racially abuse players to be docked points.
‘A more radical solution would be deduction of points,’ said Mr Blatter.
‘Deduction would have a better impact. To have a match played without spectators is a warning. You can never
solve a problem by running away.'
England's striker Wayne Rooney, England's midfielder Steven Gerrard and England's defender John Terry as they
lost 4-1 against Germany in the 2010 World Cup
England was once one of the most fancied teams when entering into the World cup but betting odds this time
round suggest otherwise.
Betfair odds for England winning the cup in 2014 are 25:1 - relatively poor compared to previous years.
The national team appears to have been on the decline for a while now, with most of the so-called 'Golden
Generation' having retired from international football.
England will take a new generation of players to the Brazil World Cup in 2014 and it is thought the team would do well to reach the Quarter Finals.
In 1990 England did well, making it to the Semi Final but being eliminated on penalties against West Germany.
But in 1994 the team did not even qualify.
In 1998 the team were eliminated on penalties against Argentina in the first Knockout Round.
They did better in 2001, where they made it to the Quarter Final but lost 2-1 again Brazil.
Again in 2006 they made it to the Quarter Final but were eliminated on penalties against Portugal.
2010 saw an embarrassing 4-1 defeat against Germany in the Second Round.
The team have so far had a shaky start in Group H, showing the road to Rio is set to be an uphill struggle.
England drew with the Ukraine in September and drew again with Poland in October.
They still have to play San Marino, Montenegro and Moldova and only group winners progress to the finals.
The eight best runners-up from the nine Europe groups - according to all their matches except for games against
the sixth-placed team in their group - play off for the four remaining spots.
Sport - Short Changing - Poor Shooting Premier League Clubs
Updated: 11 Jan 2013
Premier League ‘short-changing’ fans, says FSF chairman
Supporters’ group claims clubs could cut ticket prices by £32 in wake of latest TV deal
Wednesday 09 January 2013
Football: Football Supporters Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke hit out against “blatantly unfair” ticket
pricing today after Manchester City fans baulked at the £62 they were asked to shell out to attend Sunday’s
match at Arsenal.
Clarke said the game’s authorities need to wake up to supporter resentment at rising prices and follow the
example of Germany’s Bundesliga where fans can attend matches at a fraction of the cost paid by their English counterparts.
Premier League champions City sent back over 900 tickets for the match at Ashburton Grove after their fans
chose not to pay the extortionate fee, which does not take into account food, drink and travel.
City’s increased status within the English game means they have joined Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea,
Arsenal and Tottenham as clubs who get charged the highest prices for tickets.
Clarke says such ticket prices are unjustified, especially in light of the recent television rights deal agreed by
Premier League clubs, which was worth over £4 billion.
“We have not done the final calculations, but we estimate clubs could cut £32 off the cost of every single ticket
purely from the increase in the TV pot this time around,” Clarke said.
“I know the clubs make the argument of needing the money to attract the biggest stars, but I think I know what
even Manchester City fans — with their large and enthusiastic following — would go for if they were given the
choice of lower ticket prices or slightly worse players than they have now.
“There are many ways of measuring what is the best league.
But if you look at the Bundesliga, where fans can attend matches for 15 euros, stand up, have a pint if they wish,
and even get a ticket for the Metrolink, it seems the Premier League is short-changing its own supporters.
“This business of categorising matches is blatantly unfair.
Just because Manchester City have a lot of money doesn’t mean their supporters have, and the same is true of
the other teams who get charged the highest prices every time they play.
“And if they are starting to say enough is enough, and that in turn affects the atmosphere within the stadiums,
will it retain its worldwide popularity?
I am not so sure it will.
“This is a real test for the Premier League.
They seem to think football is immune from the economic situation elsewhere.
But it isn’t.
And how it responds, especially next year, will shape the game for years to come.”
Sport- Liverpool's Referee Mariner ( and Linesman )- Men of the Match as Mansfield are Stag-gered
Updated: 07 Jan 2013
Liverpool’s Referee Mariner –Man of the Match
as Mansfield are Stag-gered
FA Cup - Suarez handball shatters Mansfield as Liverpool survive
FA Cup third round, Field Mill - Mansfield 1 (Green 79) Liverpool 2 (Sturridge 7, Suarez 59)
By Jonathan Symcox - follow on Twitter @Symco_Eurosport | Eurosport – 12 hours ago
Eurosport - Liverpool's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (C) appears to handle the ball in the lead up to his goal
during the FA Cup third round football match between Mansfield Town and Liverpool at Field Mill …more (AFP) less
A handballed Luis Suarez goal was the difference between Liverpool and Mansfield in the FA Cup third round as
the Reds won 2-1 at Field Mill.
The Uruguayan, seemingly never far from controversy, clearly blocked the ball with his hand after Mansfield
keeper Alan Marriott had saved his close-range shot in the 59th minute.
It rolled into the goal and he acknowledged the incident by pointing to his hand as the home fans bayed for a free-kick.
£12 million signing from Chelsea Sturridge opened the scoring in the seventh minute.
A stirring second-half performance from Mansfield saw them pull one back on 79 minutes through Matt Green but they fell just short.
Liverpool will travel to Oldham in the fourth round in late January.
Brendan Rodgers handed Sturridge his debut as Suarez was left on the bench and Steven Gerrard rested from the squad altogether.
It did not take the England striker long to find the net as Jonjo Shelvey, with whom he linked up repeatedly in the first half, played him through and he finished low past Marriott.
Two minutes later he was in again after a weak backpass on a muddy pitch but could not get enough on the ball to stab past Marriott.
It was beginning to look like the Sturridge show as a quarter of an hour in he again sprung the offside trap from a Shelvey pass. The old adage 'too much time' was appropriate as he dallied and Marriot was able to close him down and save.
A famous FA Cup upset seemed remote with Liverpool seemingly at ease as Mansfield toiled in front of them. The Stags had giant defender Exodus Geohaghon to thank for flying back to put off Shelvey when in behind, with Marriott completing the save.
Green, who may provoke Football League interest with this sharp showing, had space 25 yards out to rifle a shot and force a block out of Brad Jones just after the half-hour mark.
On the counter Sturridge motored down the right and cut inside to the byline, where Geohaghon again made a crucial challenge to prevent a cut-back to Shelvey and certain goal.
Sturridge should have made it two on the stroke of half-time, again from a Shelvey pass, as his low shot was tipped wide of the far post.
Mansfield were galvanised by manager Paul Cox at the break and carved out chance after chance in a frenetic few minutes.
Lindon Meikle found Anthony Howell at the near post and his strike was deflected just wide. Another cross, this time from the left, had Jones unsighted by a defender and the ball jumped out of his grasp before being hacked away.
Soon after Green was denied by a last-ditch block then, as Louis Briscoe pounded down the right, diving Liverpool youngster Jack Robinson cut the ball out with his hand right on the edge of the box. Referee Andre Marriner did not give a free-kick or penalty and Briscoe's shot was tipped wide of the near post by Jones.
The Conference National side can point to many decisions that went against them on the night, including another strong penalty shout from the resulting corner: Geohaghon leapt to head thunderously towards goal, Jones blocked and Green executed a brilliant jumping backheel which Joe Allen blocked on the line with his arm.
Liverpool finally broke out of their half on 54 minutes, with Sturridge wasteful in firing wide of the far post, and he was withdrawn for Suarez immediately afterwards.
It took him five minutes to make his mark - but not in ideal fashion. He should have scored his initial chance, but could do nothing about the ball coming off his hand once Marriott saved.
Mansfield kept running but some of the fight had gone out of them - at least until Green got on the scoresheet with 11 minutes left.
Substitute Colin Daniel crossed to the far side of the box where Beevers tapped it back for the striker to fire home via a deflection.
Late on Green was flagged offside when level - Jones made the save anyway - while a series of Geohaghon long throws caused problems but Liverpool held on.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) - He should have scored more, but gave Liverpool fans a glimpse of what he can do and scored on his debut.
Mansfield: Marriott 8, Thompson 6, Geohaghon 7, Dempster 6, Beevers 6, Clements 7, Murray 6, Howell 7, Briscoe 7, Green 8, Meikle 6. Subs: Rhead 6, Daniel 7.
Liverpool: Jones 7, Wisdom 6, Robinson 6, Carragher 6, Coates 6, Lucas 5, Allen 6, Shelvey 7, Suso 6, Downing 6, Sturridge 8. Subs: Suarez 6, Henderson 6, Flanagan 6
Sport-Protest- Stop the India Tour!-"England Women's Cricket Team heads for Mumbai in February 2013"
Updated: 05 Jan 2013
England confirm squad for 2013 Women's Cricket World Cup in India
• Charlotte Edwards will captain England in tournament
• England will face India, West Indies and Sri Lanka
Charlotte Edwards will captain England at the 2013 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters
The England squad for the 2013 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup has been announced, with Charlotte Edwards
confirmed as captain of a 15-strong party.
The tournament, being held in India in February, will be a fifth World Cup for Edwards, whose team are reigning
champions following their triumph in Australia in 2009.
Eight members of that victorious squad are included this time, while there are six players experiencing their first
World 50-over competition.
Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight, Danielle Hazell and Danielle Wyatt, along with the uncapped Amy Jones from
Warwickshire, were all part of the ICC World Twenty20 squad to reach the final in Sri Lanka in October but have
never played in the 50-over Women's World Cup.
Georgia Elwiss will be experiencing the world stage for the first time in her career and is the only addition to the
recent World Twenty20 squad.
Edwards said: "The whole team is really excited about defending our world title in Mumbai in February.
I'm so proud to be captaining such a talented team in what is the pinnacle event in our sport."
Drawn in Group A, England will face India, West Indies and Sri Lanka, with the top three from that stage moving
through to the Super Six round along with the top three teams from Group B (Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa).
Charlotte Edwards (Kent, cap), Tammy Beaumont (Kent), Arran Brindle (Sussex), Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire), Holly Colvin (Sussex), Georgia Elwiss (Sussex), Lydia Greenway (Kent), Jenny Gunn (Nottinghamshire), Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire), Amy Jones (Warwickshire), Heather Knight (Berkshire), Laura Marsh (Kent), Anya Shrubsole (Somerset), Sarah Taylor (Sussex), Danielle Wyatt (Staffordshire)
Sport- Premier League- Pressure leads to Depression
Updated: 04 Jan 2013
Premier League - Survey shows depression an issue for footballers
Depression affects large numbers of footballers in the English professional game according to a survey by Four Four Two.
Reuters – Wed, Jan 2, 2013 19:12 GMT
A preview of February's issue on the magazine's website said that 78 per cent of 100 professionals surveyed
agreed depression is a problem for footballers.
Former Everton, Newcastle United and Wales player Gary Speed was found dead in his home late in 2011 after
hanging himself having spoken of "taking his life" according to his wife at the inquest.
In the wake of Speed's death, players' battles with depression became more of an issue and the Professional
Footballers' Association sent out advice leaflets to 50,000 ex-players.
Former Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke killed himself by leaping in front of a train in 2009 and his suicide was
chronicled in the award-winning book "A Life Too Short."
Former Hull City striker Dean Windass said he had tried to commit suicide early in 2012 and that he had little
money left despite earning more than £500,000 a year at the height of his career which ended in 2010.
Other findings of the survey revealed 43 per cent believe there are too many foreign players in the English game
and three-quarters said match tickets are too expensive.
Sport- Ferguson rant out of order - Wenger says "Sir A.F should have been punished by FA"
Updated: 29 Dec 2012
Arsène Wenger says Sir Alex Ferguson should have been punished by FA
• Wenger says of referee row: 'Should you behave like that? No'
• guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 December 2012 13.32 GMT
Arsène Wenger believes Sir Alex Ferguson should not have behaved as he did during the Manchester United match against Newcastle Link to this video
Arsène Wenger has criticised Sir Alex Ferguson for his on-field confrontation with the referee Mike Dean on Boxing Day.
The Arsenal manager, who has had his fair share of run-ins with Ferguson during his 16 years in England, thinks the Manchester United manager behaved improperly and should have been punished.
"Should you behave like that? No," said Wenger, who was sent to the stands by Dean for kicking a water bottle in 2009.
"I did not always behave like I should and you can call that a bad example, yes.
The message it sends out when you look at the pictures is just not to behave like that.
"We go sometimes overboard on the touchline and when we do it we have to be punished, it is as simple as that.
[If] it is me or Ferguson or anybody else in the world, the rules are the rules. It is not rules for one person and the rules for another person, it is the same for everybody."
Speaking ahead of Arsenal's home game with Newcastle United on Saturday, Wenger also appeared to rule out a move for Demba Ba.
The Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, admitted on Thursday that Ba would be sold if the striker did not remove the £7.5m release clause in his contract.
"I like Demba Ba, yes," Wenger said.
"I don't think [this] is the right place to speak about that, because he plays against us tomorrow. I wouldn't like to put Newcastle or us or him in an uncomfortable position.
If you ask me do we sign Demba Ba, I say no."
Wenger refused to comment on reports he is interested in Barcelona's David Villa, but he was more forthcoming on the possibility of re-signing Thierry Henry for a second loan spell.
"I've not lost interest in him," he said. "He's still coming today to practise with us.
We have a close relationship.
You have to be cautious that it's not one time too many.
I have not completely [ruled out a second loan spell] but I haven't spoken about it with him at all."
Sport-Should Referee Dean have shown Red Card or given Whistle to Manager (not God) Ferguson ?
Updated: 27 Dec 2012
Fergie stands by ref rant after United go clear with thrilling win over Newcastle
By Simon Stone, Press Association
UPDATED: 20:45, 26 December 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson defended his decision to give referee Mike Dean a half-time blast of his hairdryer before Manchester United sealed another famous comeback win.
Javier Hernandez's last-minute winner against Newcastle at Old Trafford gave United a 4-3 triumph from a game when they had trailed three times, and took them seven points clear of Manchester City.
But an incident-packed afternoon had one of its most notable moments as the teams came out for the second-half.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) argues with referee Mike Dean after he allowed a Jonny Evans own goal to stand
Ferguson gave Dean a blast of his famous hairdryer during half-time of the game that eventually saw Manchester United win 4-3
Ferguson first rounded on Dean, then fourth official Neil Swarbrick before finally launching into assistant referee Jake Collin over Newcastle's second, an own-goal from Jonny Evans, which he was convinced should not have been allowed to stand.
'The referee changed the linesman's mind,' said Ferguson after Collin had flagged for offside against Papiss Cisse, only to get over-ruled after Evans turned home Danny Simpson's cross.
'He said it was an own goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can't, the guy is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans' arm.
Indecision: Ferguson said that Dean changed the mind of assisstant referee Jake Collin (right) who had ruled out the goal for offside
'If that is not interfering what is? I think it was a bad decision.'
Yet former World Cup official Graham Poll had already taken to Twitter to insist Dean was correct, as Newcastle chief Alan Pardew also felt.
'At the time I thought it was an own goal,' Pardew said.
Fergie congratulates Javier Hernandez, scorer of the decisive 90th minute goal
'It doesn't matter who is offside, he could be 20 yards offside if the defender sticks it in.
'I don't know if the striker got a touch before the defender but I don't think so. I can't see a problem with it.'
The Premier League also confirmed that 'as Cisse did not play the ball, then he was not interfering with play'.
They also stated that: 'It is also the case that Cisse didn't interfere with the opponent.'
It is now down to Dean to decide whether Ferguson overstepped the mark with his protestations, although he did have the option of sending the United boss to the stand, which he declined to do.
There was further controversy in stoppage time too, when Antonio Valencia slid in on Vernon Anita, leaving the Newcastle man needing to be stretchered off with an injured ankle.
'I was a bit upset with that tackle,' said Pardew. 'I have seen it again and I don't think it was malicious but Valencia has mistimed it badly and unfortunately it might cost us a player.
'I am not sure what is wrong. It is too early to say.
'It is a bang on the ankle. We will have to see whether he will make Arsenal, which would be a loss to us.'
Chicarito's 10th of the season means Manchester United are top of the league, seven points clearer of local rivals City
Pardew also confirmed midfielder Jonas Guttierez faces a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury after missing today's game.
'He will be missing the next two or three games,' he said.
'Guttierez will have an injection in his knee tomorrow. It is not clearing up and he is not 100%.'
And those talking points do not touch on an amazing game.
Three times Newcastle led, through James Perch, Evans and Cisse, only for Evans - becoming the third player this season to score at both ends - Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie, with his 16th goal of the season, to respond.
Further chances came and went in a thrill-a-minute game.
But when Sammy Ameobi struck the inside of a post with a shot Pardew thought was going in, he feared the worst.
Dean received some flak for his decisions from players of both Manchester United (above) and Newcastle United (below)
'When it went back to the goalkeeper I thought 'mmm, it might not be our day', said Pardew.
He was right. And it wasn't Manchester City's either as Hernandez struck in the dying seconds to ensure United will be top on New Years' Day no matter what the outcome of matches against West Brom and Wigan.
'I wish it was the last game of the season,' said Ferguson.
'It tells you about the courage of our team though.
'We had a lot of bad decisions against us in the first-half.
Newcastle had lead three times with goals from James Perch, a controversial Jonny Evans own goal (pictured) and Papiss Cisse, but were pegged back with goals at the right end from Evans, Patrice Evra, Robin van Persie (below) and Javier Hernandez
'That could have demoralised the team. But they didn't give in. That is the great quality they have.
'We were down three times and came back three times, then we scored the winner.
'It is a really significant result for us. It puts us in a good position.
'But as I always say about December, it is a month that tells you everything.
'Hopefully when we come to January 1, after that game at Wigan, we are still top of the league.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2253441/Sir-Alex-Ferguson-defends-referee-rant.html#ixzz2GEMMH9j0
Alan Pardew's (pictured) Newcastle side slipped to 15th in the table and are still without an away victory in nine attempts this season
Sport-Cricket-England to rely on Spinners and the Barmy Army for support
Updated: 12 Dec 2012
Cricket - England need one last push
England's hard work has taken them a long way already in India, but they must raise their game one last time to
make sure they do their country proud here.
- Alastair Cook's England must raise their game one last time against India
Defeat in the final Test in Nagpur, where a draw is highly unlikely on what is sure to be a spinners' pitch, would
be an anti-climax after England's back-to-back victories in Mumbai and Kolkata to take an unassailable 2-1 lead.
A drawn series would, of course, still be a substantial achievement - many experts were predicting a 4-0 defeat
after England lost the first Test by 10 wickets - but not the glorious outcome so many supporters crave for
Alastair Cook's team.
They stand on the verge of modern cricket history as the first from England to win a Test series in India for
almost 28 years - and batting coach Graham Gooch believes it is within their grasp. Endeavour and
determination have combined with world-class skill to silence many of their doubters, and Gooch hopes there is more to come.
"Our guys have a good work ethic," he said. "They've taken on board all the help they've been given about
playing the turning ball and how to shape their technique - how you can score runs in these conditions.
"Credit to them - they've worked hard since the first training camp in Mumbai - so it's not just turning it round
since the first Test. All the work they've put in over a long period of time has now started to show rewards.
"We've got to make sure we carry that on in the next game and perform well there and come away from this
country with our supporters being proud of the England cricket team."
England's batsmen struggled haplessly against Pakistan spin in the Middle East last winter, and appeared no
better when this tour started in Ahmedabad.
"India were the better team in the first Test," said Gooch.
"We made a good showing in the second innings, but once you're bowled out for a low score in a five-day
game, you're up against it.
It was a good fighting performance in the second innings, Alastair leading it with a big hundred, but it was too
little too late."
Since then, it has been a very different story.
Sport-England with Monty and Swann face India in final Test
Updated: 12 Dec 2012
Graeme Swann warns England against India fightback
Bowler says hosts will give everything to avoid home series loss
Tuesday 11 December 2012
Cricket: Graeme Swann has warned his England team-mates of an Indian backlash in the fourth and final Test
which starts in the early hours of Thursday morning.
England lead the series 2-1 and have a golden chance to win a Test series in India for the first in nearly 30 years.
Swann is expected to play a crucial role alongside fellow spinner Monty Panesar, and the 33-year-old expects
the hosts to come out fighting as they bid to stop England ending a difficult year on a high.
A drawn series is the best India can achieve, but Swann said: “It is tough, but sometimes it’s a good position to be in.
“If there’s only one possible result you can get, you can go all out fighting.
The last Test of a series, if you know the result hangs on it, is normally a very exciting one.”
India have dropped three big names from their squad after last week’s second successive defeat in Kolkata, but
Swann is expecting a stirring response in Nagpur.
“I’m sure India will come out fighting because they have to win the game,” he added.
“Equally so, I’m sure we’ll approach the game thinking attack is our best form of defence.
I think that’s what has proved crucial in the last couple of games.”
Swann can draw on his own experiences with England when they turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-1 victory in 2010-11
to clinch the Ashes in Australia for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.
“Back in Australia, we didn’t carried away before that Sydney game,” Swann said. “We spoke of how important it was to keep our feet on the ground.
“People saying there is something special happening and things like that are very easy distractions to get caught up in.
We’ll make sure we don’t do that.
“We’re not taking anything for granted, we don’t sit down and pat ourselves on the back and say ‘Look how well we have played the last two games’.
That’s a very dangerous place to get in.
“On Thursday morning we’ll assess the pitch, play accordingly and hope to win this game, because we
obviously want to get home for Christmas having won this series 3-1.
Whatever the pitch is we’ve got to try and win the game, that’s all we ever try and do.”
Should England win the series Swann believes it would in no small part be down to the wave of positivity that
arrived with new captain Alastair Cook, who took up the role two months ago.
“We have really tried to embrace India and embrace the series and believe we can win it and I’m not sure that
has always been the case,” Swann added.
“I have only been on one Test tour here before, but there certainly seemed more belief from the outset on this one.”
Sport- Cricket- All change as India face England on fire in Nagpur
Updated: 12 Dec 2012
India v England: hosts drop Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for fourth Test
India have dropped lynchpin fast bowler Zaheer Khan, batting all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and
Harbhajan Singh for the fourth Test against England in the aftermath of their defeat in
By Telegraph Sport
11:36AM GMT 09 Dec 2012
India's first Eden Gardens defeat since the last millennium was a second in successive Tests at the hands of
resurgent England, and means the hosts can no longer win the four-match series.
Only victory in the final Test, in fact, will rescue a draw and some pride - and India's selectors wasted no time in addressing the issue.
The three big names will be replaced in Nagpur by pace bowler Parvinder Awana, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.
It was no surprise, after England had chased just 40 runs in the second innings this morning to prevail by seven
wickets and take an unassailable 2-1 lead, to hear Mahendra Singh Dhoni call to account by an agitated home press contingent.
While England can quietly add a successful 'reintegration' process in their ranks to their list of positive
developments under Alastair Cook, the Times of India front page this morning proclaimed the "disintegration" of Dhoni's team.
A new captain and six changes were the suggested TOI remedy, in a radical line-up especially notable for the absence of Dhoni himself and veteran master batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
The India selectors unsurprisingly stopped short of that.
Dhoni earlier made it clear he was happy to defer to the wisdom of the Board of Control for Cricket, but that he relishes the opportunity to try to put his team back on track.
"The selectors are here to decide," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"It's always fine to lead a side when they're doing really well, and everyone's performing.
"But that's not the time when you need a leader.
"Leading a side is all about (doing it) when the team is not doing well, trying to gel them together, back the youngsters and the senior guys.
"The easiest thing for me to do right now is to give up the captaincy and be part of the side, because that's just running away from the responsibility.
"I have to get the team together, and be prepared for the next Test match."
Dhoni does not believe either that India are at their lowest ebb in his tenure, citing instead whitewash defeats
away to both Australia and England.
"We were not really able to compete (then).
"We know what our faults are here, and I think we should be able to rectify them."
He believes a lack of collective productivity among India's frontline batsmen in back-to-back defeats in Mumbai
and Kolkata is the main problem.
"I think the batting order will have to take the responsibility.
"We need to score more runs, on a very good wicket to bat on like this.
"Of course, the bowlers will bowl a few good deliveries that you need to keep out.
"But in the top seven, most of us need to score at the same time to give the bowlers a par total to defend.
"Otherwise, it's very difficult and you find yourself under pressure."
Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has also had his critics since taking the same position with India, and
has now overseen six Test defeats out of seven home and away against his old team.
Dhoni, however, insists Fletcher is not to blame.
"The coach has excellent technical knowledge about batting, and guides the players in the right direction," he said.
"Ultimately, once you cross that rope, you are on your own.
"That's where we are lacking as of now.
It's wrong to question the coach, because we have won quite a few series.
"We should not look for excuses. It's up to the 11 players on the field."
India squad for fourth Test in Nagpur (v England, Dec 13-17): MS Dhoni (Captain, wkt), G Gambhir, S Tendulkar, V Kohli, C Pujara, R Jadeja, R Ashwin, P Chawla, I Sharma, P Ojha, A Rahane, A Dinda, M Vijay, P Awana.
India squad for two Twenty20 Internationals (v England, December 20 and 22 in Pune and Mumbai): MS Dhoni (Captain, wkt), G Gambhir, A Rahane, V Kohli, R Sharma, S Raina, Y Singh, M Tiwary, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, P Chawla, A Dinda, B Kumar, L Balaji, P Awana
Sport- Cricket- India on the rack thanks to the real Monty
Updated: 10 Dec 2012
Eden Gardens victory is a fitting reward for tough year,
says captain fantastic Alastair Cook
England skipper hails team after win in third Test
Sunday 09 December 2012
Cricket: Alastair Cook believes England’s historic back-to-back Test wins in India are deserved reward for their year of hard work and willingness to learn.
The seven-wicket victory at Eden Gardens put England 2-1 up with just one match to play and on course for a first series success here in almost 28 years.
The sustained wicket-taking spells of spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann and reverse-swing seamers James Anderson and Steven Finn are a continued demonstration of the skills England’s bowlers have devised and perfected to prosper in Asia.
But Cook’s three successive hundreds, culminating in an English record-breaking 23rd, and significant first-innings runs almost throughout the top six in this third Test are a world away from the hapless performances against Pakistan spin with which England began the year in the United Arab Emirates.
The first step, according to England’s new captain, was to recognise there was an issue — and then start doing something about it.
Amid the euphoria of the latest victory, albeit achieved after a last-minute wobble when England lost their first three wickets for eight in pursuit of just 41, Cook acknowledged they have trodden a difficult path in the past 12 months.
“We’ve had a tough 2012,” he said. “But the way we’ve managed to quickly rectify a few of our problems is a credit to our coaching staff and the leadership of (coach) Andy Flower — and the players as well. The first thing was a realisation of a problem, playing against spin.
“It probably wasn’t as big as everyone made out. But all of us as a batting unit had to have a look at our technique against spin and work out a method which suits each of us individually.
“We worked our socks off trying to improve our technique. Although we didn’t get immediate results — it’s not going to happen overnight — we are now starting to.”
Cook’s first assignment as permanent Test captain, after the surprise retirement of Andrew Strauss last summer, will now result in a drawn series at worst — and England can seal a series win if they avoid defeat in the final Test in Nagpur, which starts on Thursday.
Sport-Cricket-The Panesar Test - England win by 10 Wickets in Mumbai
Sport-Classic November weekend Premier League Fixtures -Selectors -Pick the bones out of these !
Updated: 24 Nov 2012
Saturday November 24 - Day 13
24 Nov, 12:45 Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion Stadium of Light, Sunderland
24 Nov, 15:00 Everton v Norwich City Goodison Park, Liverpool
24 Nov, 15:00 Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers Old Trafford, Manchester
24 Nov, 15:00 Stoke City v Fulham Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent
24 Nov, 15:00 Wigan Athletic v Reading DW Stadium, Wigan
24 Nov, 17:30 Aston Villa v Arsenal Villa Park, Birmingham
Sunday November 25 - Day 13
25 Nov, 13:30 Swansea City v Liverpool The Liberty Stadium, Swansea
25 Nov, 15:00 Southampton v Newcastle United St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
25 Nov, 16:00 Chelsea v Manchester City Stamford Bridge, London
25 Nov, 16:00 Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United White Hart Lane, London
Sport- Boycott on England's bungling selectors - before the Monty Test
Updated: 24 Nov 2012
GEOFF BOYCOTT LEFT IN A SPIN
Geoff Boycott Monty must feel like packing his bags and getting the next flight home Geoff Boycott
18th November 2012
By Gary Fitzgerald
FURIOUS Geoff Boycott hit out at England’s bungling selectors for going in to the first Test with just one spinner.
Ex-Test ace Boycott could not believe the “ridiculous” decision not to team up Monty Panesar with Graeme Swann.
Instead, they chose to rely on “club bowler” Samit Patel as the back-up spinner.
He took just one wicket for 96 runs as England allowed the Indians to take control.
Boycott said: “Monty must feel like packing his bags and getting the next flight home.
“He must feel very dispirited and fed up because if you are a top spinner and cannot get a game in India, there is something wrong.
I don’t see any fun coming to the sub-continent and just practising in the nets and carrying drinks.
“I like Samit Patel because he bowls and bats well.
But he’s more like a club bowler compared to the spinners India have at their disposal.
“You need a spinner who can turn it big time.”
Sport- Indian Test Wickets- Slow Senses Selectors in a Spin, call on the Full Monty
Updated: 24 Nov 2012
India v England,
second Test: Cheteshwar Pujara puts hosts
into ascendancy after Monty Panesar's exploits
Radical -(Where should all the Flowers have gone ? Long time Passing !)
Second Test, day one (close): India (266-6) v England
Monty Panesar took two wickets during the first session of the second Test in Mumbai
By Derek Pringle, Mumbai
5:30PM GMT 23 Nov 2012
England’s bowlers unleashed the full Monty against India on Friday, but it was not enough to still the torrent of runs from Cheteshwar Pujara’s bat.
Alastair Cook’s side may have unearthed a wicket-taker for Indian pitches, after Panesar took four wickets on his return to the side, but India have found a batsman whose appetite for runs surpasses even that of Sachin Tendulkar.
So far, England have met Pujara four times this tour and only once have they dismissed him for less than a hundred, in the warm-up match in Navi Mumbai when he made 87. Since then he yet to be dismissed in this Test series, and has scored 361 runs. Yesterday’s unbeaten 114 was his latest serving of trouble for the visitors.
At 24, Pujara’s timing was impeccable and not just in the way he caressed England’s two main spinners for four through extra cover.
Batting between three and five in Indian domestic cricket these past 15 years has been a pointless occupation with Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman all immoveable objects.
Entire generations of batsmen have come and gone without the slightest chance of breaking into the Test team.
But Pujara has come to prominence at just the right time and played with such élan that Dravid and Laxman have not really been missed following their recent retirements.
Unsurprisingly, there are elements of both those batsmen in him with Dravid’s calm authority making up the lion’s share.
Some of the whipped flicks he played off Stuart Broad yesterday are pure Laxman in their virtuosity, though as a recent piece in one the papers here proclaimed, Pujara is very much his own creation.
In one of his worst days for England, Broad began by trying to bounce him out before moving to a tactic that seemed to revolve round Pujara missing a half-volley. He did not and Broad conceded runs at five an over, a rate his team could ill-afford on what is likely to become a increasingly difficult pitch for batting.
As he did in Ahmedabad, Pujara certainly stood out.
While other more vaunted batsmen lost their minds and their wickets playing across the spin, he worked out his best scoring options early and struck to them.
It helps that he appears to possess the concentration of a chess grandmaster and the speed of a striking cobra when latching onto the short ball, as both were needed to flourish yesterday on a pitch custom made to turn after the first hour.
Indeed, it was one of his whiplash pulls, off James Anderson with the second new ball, that enabled him to bring up his hundred to rapturous applause.
He and Ravichandran Ashwin, with whom he shared a telling partnership for the seventh wicket, were the difference between England assuming control on the opening day and ending it in second place.
Ashwin finished unbeaten on 60 enabling India to reach 266 for six, a score that looked some way off when they were 119 for five on a pitch crumbling by the hour.
After Ahmedabad, M S Dhoni said he wanted the remaining pitches in the series to spin from the outset to minimise the effect of the toss.
Yesterday, he won the toss and got what he wanted if not what he bargained for with the pitch, after seeing his team slump to five down just after lunch with Panesar rampant.
Reading pitches is an inexact science and team director Andy Flower admitted he and England got it wrong after omitting Panesar from the first Test.
There was no such mistake here once the match was to be played on a used pitch and Panesar’s inclusion brought almost instant reward after Anderson had won the early breakthrough by trapping Gautam Gambhir lbw with the second ball of the match.
Panesar replaced Anderson to bowl the seventh over and took his first wicket six overs later, bowling Virender Sehwag off his pads as he tried to play the ball to leg against the spin.
It is Sehwag’s 100th Test and while Panesar’s celebration was jubilant, it was nothing compared to his crazy, careering run across the square when he clean bowled Tendulkar soon after with a ball that will be replayed for decades, such was its perfection of arc, line and turn, as it spun from middle and leg to hit off stump.
Tendulkar made it look dramatic by playing across it and opening up his stumps, but such was its potency that a perfectly straight bat would probably still have edged it rather than kept it out.
Panesar’s next wicket was Virat Kohli and it brought a good diving catch from Nick Compton at extra cover. Offered a wide one to free his arms to Kohli did just that but failed to shift his weight into the shot.
At this point the pattern was broken, both in the wicket-taking and the type of batsman, with the left-handed Yuvraj Singh bowled by Swann for a duck, playing inside the line as the ball turned.
Swann bowled well enough from either end but the right-handers found it easier to counter him, and it was Panesar who struck next when he had Dhoni caught by Swann in the gully, a position Anderson had filled when Pujara offered a sharp chance off Panesar when he was on 60.
It was the only mistake he made as he and Ashwin put a dampener on England’s day, but not Panesar’s joyous return.
Sport- England v Sweden -A Friendly Four ? -A steep learning curve for Roy and his Rovers
Updated: 15 Nov 2012
Watch Zlatan Ibrahimovic's stunning volley for Sweden against England
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has never scored a better goal than this overhead volley against England.
Maybe no one has.
10:14PM GMT 14 Nov 2012
Ibrahimovic, Sweden's captain, has made spectacular volleys his trademark over a stellar career. But this, in Sweden's 4-2 victory, was something else.
After England goalkeeper Joe Hart ran from his line to head the ball clear, there appeared to be little danger for the visitors. But within the blink of an eye, and before Hart could make it back into his penalty area, the ball was in the net.
Incredibly, the audacity was matched by the execution. Ibrahimovich's right boot was at least six feet from the ground when he made contact, after his astonishing leap and scissor kick, which combined the flexibility of Louis Smith and the leg strength of Chris Hoy.
"Sometimes, when he's doing these things, in training or in matches, you don't think it's possible," said Sweden coach Erik Hamren.
"Sometimes, you think you're watching a video game. Because it's not possible to do that - the fourth goal, for example."
Steven Gerrard, England's captain whose 100th cap was overshadowed by Ibrahimovic's four-goal recital, applauded the PSG star.
"His performance was world class and he just scored one of the best goals I seen live. It was his night."
Sport- England v Sweden- Hodgson confident but...
Updated: 14 Nov 2012
Sweden v England preview:
manager Roy Hodgson has confidence in squad despite injuries
England boss unconcerned over absentees for Sweden clash
Tuesday 13 November 2012
Football: England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he is happy with the squad at his disposal for tomorrow night's friendly in Sweden.
The fixture is notable for two reasons as it marks the official opening of the Friends Arena in Stockholm.
In addition, the occasion will provide England captain Steven Gerrard the opportunity to win his 100th international cap.
The Liverpool midfielder was cleared for England duty on Monday night after a precautionary scan on a knee injury suffered against Chelsea on Sunday.
And in the build-up to the contest, Gerrard’s manager spoke of his satisfaction with the current squad at his disposal.
Hodgson said: “I think we’ve got a very interesting squad of players and I am aware that we have a number of injuries.
“But we’ve got more than enough players and the ones that we have here are anxious to play and I am looking forward to seeing them play.
“Yesterday’s training session went as best as it could but most of the players were on a sort of warming-down session after playing on Sunday.”
The veteran coach also spoke of his pleasure at seeing Jack Wilshere return to the England set-up after a long-term injury, though he insisted that the Arsenal youngster would not be put at risk.
“There is no arrangement with Jack and I’m a bit surprised and a bit pleased that we’ve got him,” he added.
“There was never any intention for Jack to start him in the game and play him for 90 minutes.”
Meanwhile Gerrard admitted today that he was “slightly nervous” as he prepares to lead out England in Stockholm.
Upon doing so he will become the sixth Englishman to reach a century of caps, joining Billy Wright, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, record holder Peter Shilton and David Beckham as the nation’s other centurions.
Gerrard said: “I’m excited and slightly nervous, which I haven’t been for a while in an England shirt.
“I can’t wait for the game to start. I’m really happy where I am and look forward to helping the team qualify for the World Cup.”
The England skipper’s Swedish counterpart Zlatan Ibrahimovich paid tribute to the Liverpudlian.
He said: “I think Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player.
“He has been loyal to his club, he has won some big trophies with the club.
“He is a very good person to have as a team-mate in your team.
He always gives 200 per cent, is a good fighter and has good skills and a good touch with the ball also.”
Sport-To Be Hung,Drawn and Quartered Fergie ? or Is Ferdinand surplus to "Stocks" ?
Updated: 21 Oct 2012
Rio Ferdinand in row with Sir Alex Ferguson over anti-racism campaign
Manchester United player declined to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt in a pre-match warm-up
Cass Jones The Observer,
Sunday 21 October 2012
Radical asks - Is it in Ferdinand's contract that he wears a "uniform" other than that of his club ?
Sir Alex Ferguson has warned defender Rio Ferdinand that he will be "dealt with" following his refusal to join his team-mates in wearing an anti-racism T-shirt on Saturday.
The Manchester United manager said he had been left "embarrassed" by the player's actions as he warmed up before his side's match against Stoke at Old Trafford and hinted that Ferdinand could be the subject of internal disciplinary action.
Speaking after Manchester United's 4-2 win, Ferguson said: "I am disappointed.
I said yesterday that the players would be wearing it in support of the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] and that every player should adhere to it.
And he goes and lets us down. We will deal with it, don't worry."
He later added: "I spoke to the press about it. It is embarrassing for me.
He will be dealt with, no doubt about that."
It is believed Ferdinand refused to support the Kick It Out campaign in protest against the punishment handed out by the Football Association to John Terry after he was found guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother, Anton.
The Chelsea defender was issued with a four-match ban and fined £220,000 after the FA ruled that he had used racially offensive words against the QPR player when the two sides met at Loftus Road in October last year.
Ferguson had insisted all his players would wear the T-shirt to show a united front for the anti-racism group's period of action which started on Thursday and runs until 29 October.
His criticism follows his harsh words for Reading striker Jason Roberts, who also refused to wear the T-shirt in protest at what he perceives to be the campaign group's lack of action in combating racism in football.
But others have come out in support of Ferdinand, claiming he has the right to make a personal stand and have questioned Ferguson's highly critical comments of the defender.
Speaking on Radio 5, former Wales international Robbie Savage said: "I respect Jason Roberts for coming out and standing up for what he believes in, same with Rio Ferdinand.
The more you think about it, it is a shocking statement from Sir Alex Ferguson.
He says it has embarrassed him.
It is not about him. Fergie is the greatest manager in history, but for me it is up to Rio if he wears the shirt."
Sport- A defence -Is that what it is Fergie ? What does Rio say ?
Updated: 23 Oct 2012
Rio Ferdinand has he put in a transfer request ?
Or does he intend too ?
Or has Ferguson made up his mind to off load him ?
Which ever way Ferdinand should never have left Leeds United
Maybe he will ask to return as senior player ?
He would be welcomed as long as he passes a fitness test….
Bring Anton and or a few friends with him? They would make a great defence.
And what are Leeds doing in the Championship
For that matter what is Ferguson doing still at Man U ?
Are they frightened the bubble will burst ?
Sure they are !
Sport- England Under 21 Victory - Kick Racism and Serbia Out of Football Now
Updated: 17 Oct 2012
Crowd Racism Mars England U21 Win Over Serbia
Sky News – 7 hours ago
Crowd Racism Mars England U21 Win Over Serbia
England's U21 side were subjected to racist chants and pelted with seats, coins and stones during their European Championship play-off in Serbia.
Captain Jordan Henderson praised his players for their reaction to the alleged racist abuse and called on Uefa to take the appropriate action.
The Football Association reported "a number of incidents of racism" to Uefa after ugly scenes marred a 1-0 win for Stuart Pearce's team in the second leg of their play-off in Krusevac.
Liverpool midfielder Henderson said on www.thefa.com : "There was a lot of racist abuse out there from the stands and a lot going on after the game, which is hard to take for the players."
Defender Danny Rose was sent off after the final whistle after apparently responding angrily to monkey taunts from the crowd.
Scuffles also broke out when supporters invaded the field moments after Connor Wickham's stoppage-time goal secured a 2-0 aggregate success and a place at next year's finals in Israel.
Henderson added: "The players coped with the abuse really well. It's not nice. They kept their heads and were professional.
"I thought our players were brilliant and conducted themselves very well. The players completely condemn what happened.
"There were also stones, coins and seats getting thrown at us. I didn't understand why Danny Rose was sent off at the end - I didn't see he did anything wrong, other than get abused."
A statement from the FA read: "The FA condemns both the scenes of racism and the confrontation at the final whistle during which time our players and staff were under extreme provocation.
"The FA has reported a number of incidents of racism to Uefa following the fixture.
"These were seemingly aimed at a number of black England players by the crowd. The matter is now with Uefa."
England manager Stuart Pearce said Serbia's technical director Savo Milosevic had visited the England dressing room to apologise.
"I never like to see any football matches end like that," Pearce told ESPN.
"I think there were one or two racist incidents that came on from the crowd. It's in (Uefa's) hands now.
"It's very sad, to be fair, but we're united as a team. I'm very proud of the reaction of our players."
Sport- Betting Returns- The Scandal of Horse Race Betting
Updated: 03 Oct 2012
Tawhid @ 7/1
Ikhtisas @ 13/2
Cufflink @ 4/1
Trixie, 4 bets * £0.50 EW
AN EACH WAY TRIXIE is 3 eachway doubles and an each way treble
Because the Bookie only pays 1/5th the odds for a place
the returns are a scandal for the stake and risk taken
Time of bet: 03/10/2012 11:23:08
No. Selections Event Event Date E/W Terms Odds Result
1 Tawhid 1.30 Salisbury
(Win and Each Way)
03/10/2012 3 Places
1/5 Odds 7/1 Placed
2 Ikhtisas 2.00 Salisbury
(Win and Each Way)
03/10/2012 3 Places
1/5 Odds 13/2 Placed
Best Odds applied, price updated to SP.
3 Cufflink 3.00 Salisbury
(Win and Each Way)
03/10/2012 3 Places
1/5 Odds 4/1 Won
Best Odds applied, price updated to SP.
Bet Type No of Bets Unit Stake Stake To Win Returns
0.50 4.00 11.96
England v Ukraine- Ask yourself -was it a black thing - by the Ref Cuneyt and Ukraine players ?
Updated: 12 Sep 2012
Roy Hodgson says England were better against Ukraine than in Euro 2012• '
We asked more questions of them tonight than we did before'
• 'I'm very pleased with the way we stuck at it'
Dominic Fifield at Wembley
The Guardian, Wednesday 12 September 2012
Roy Hodgson admitted he was "relieved" after England salvaged a late draw against Ukraine but praised his players' perseverance and insisted the performance had been better than that which yielded a victory over these opponents at Euro 2012.
The England manager's only real complaints centred upon the display from the referee Cuneyt Cakir, with Hodgson seeking him out at the final whistle to ascertain why Jermain Defoe's first-half goal had been disallowed.
He was also unimpressed with the Turkish official's eagerness to flash yellow cards at his players, with the captain Steven Gerrard dismissed a minute from time having been penalised for fouls on Ruslan Rotan and Denys Garmash.
He will miss the visit of San Marino next month, as will the full-back Glen Johnson after his second booking of the group, with three other England players also cautioned.
"People saw us at the European Championships in Ukraine, when we beat them [in Donetsk], but that was a better performance tonight than that which actually gave us a 1-0 victory over there," said Hodgson.
"You can't allow the result to cloud your judgment of the performance.
We asked more questions of them tonight than we did over there, and had we lost it would have been harsh justice. As it was for them to have lost that game in Ukraine.
"In the end, I suppose you're always relieved when you're losing 1-0 and get a late equaliser. I'm not so certain I'm prepared to accept it wasn't a great performance.
I didn't think we did that badly – we stuck to our task – even if we started very poorly but, once in our stride, we had control of the game.
We went 1-0 down to a wonder strike, but I was pleased with the way we kept probing, playing our football and taking chances. We deserved our equaliser.
I'm very pleased with the way we stuck at it and worked."
Asked if he had been offered any explanation for Defoe's goal being ruled out, the striker having appeared to push Andrii Iarmolenko lightly in the throat only for the Ukrainian to fall clutching his face, Hodgson added: "Not really, no.
It was disallowed for a foul, apparently, but we didn't see it on the bench.
"I thought all the yellow cards were very harsh. I don't think there were a lot of bad fouls – or fouls, full stop – so I'm going to react and say there were far too many cards for the fouls committed, and we got too many.
Steven Gerrard is extremely unlucky to be sent off.
The two fouls he was adjudged to have committed were not worthy of them."
Gerrard said of his dismissal: "It's disappointing for me because it's a red card - my first one in 98 caps. But we play San Marino next.
I'm sure the boys can do the job without me and then I'll be available for Poland. I'm gutted over the red, but happy with my performance."
The Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin departed encouraged by his side's point, describing it as a "very big positive result" and reasserting that his team are ready to challenge England, Poland and Montenegro to force passage out of the group.
"Before the game we'd wanted to win but, in the circumstances and after having a goal disallowed, it showed great character to get a point," said Frank Lampard, whose 26th international goal from the penalty spot secured the late point.
"I don't think you can pin it all on anxiety. It is a long group and this was not an easy game, so it was good to get a point."
Sport- Marseille bound Joey Barton signs up with Le Pen ?
Updated: 03 Sep 2012
Joey Barton: Sweet and tender or nasty traitor?
By Eurosport | World of Sport – 2 hours 13 minutes agoEmail
Marseille fans had a special message for Joey Barton after he signed for the French club on loan from QPR.
Barton was in the stands to watch his new team go top of the table with a 3-1 victory over Rennes, and tweeted the above picture of a banner from the stands.
The banner said 'Welcome Sweet And Tender Hooligan' which is a reference to a song from Barton's favourite band The Smiths.
"I already love the fans of L'OM. The Smiths banner is impressive? Non?" wrote Barton on Twitter after posting the picture.
Barton said he was excited about playing in the French league after his troubled spell at QPR which saw him banned for 12 matches to start the season after his red card and subsequent behaviour in Rangers' final match of last season against Manchester City.
"I've come to Marseille to win trophies," Barton told French sports paper L'Equipe.
"I don't come for holidays or as a tourist. It is a challenge for me not only on a professional level but also personally, discovering a new culture.
"Did I have other contacts? Yes, I talked to Fenerbahce and Valencia. But I didn't hesitate long when Marseille came, it was a good challenge for me."
However, not everybody is happy to see Barton arrive in France.
His former team-mate at Manchester City, Ousmane Dabo, blasted his homeland for being so welcoming to Barton, calling the Liverpudlian 'a nasty traitor.'
Barton was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence in 2007 after assaulting Dabo during training.
"He is nasty, a traitor. Sometimes I get the impression we have rolled out the red carpet for him. I speak to remind people that Barton is a very violent player, far from the image he tries to portray since arriving at Marseille," Dabo told L'Equipe.
"We condemned Jeremy Menez, Samir Nasri and Yann M'Vila for little things and then the French media is very forgiving with someone who has committed horrible things, as recently as May. No one wanted him in England . . . that means there is probably a reason.
"(With our history) There was a trial, he pleaded guilty and accepted a four-month suspended sentence. When he speaks, he denies it, he said I initiated it. All the team members present during the assault testified in my favour.
"He says he is a man, a bad boy, but he is just a coward.
Sport- Champions League draw in full
Updated: 31 Aug 2012
The draw in full:
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris Saint-Germain, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B: ARSENAL, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga
Group D: Real Madrid, MANCHESTER CITY, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund
Group E: CHELSEA, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Nordsjaelland
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H: MANCHESTER UNITED, Braga, Galatasaray, Cluj
Sport- Football : Pay over Pride ?
Updated: 30 Aug 2012
Football: Pay over pride?
by Miles Caston
Thu 30th Aug 2012
London Progressive Journal
Robin Van Persie’s £24 million moveto Manchester United is the latest high-profile transfer in the Barclays Premier League. Van Persie, 29, has signed a four-your deal with United, long-time rivals with his former club, Arsenal.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that with his other attacking players, he’s close to having a:
“forward line like 1999…the best four strikers in Europe” (1).
Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes Van Persie’s prolific goal-scoring form may give United the edge in this season’s title race:
“If he performs like he did last year then him and Rooney will just be an incredible partnership” (2).
Arsenal were reportedly prepared to make Van Persie the club’s highest paid player ever, but didn’t offer him a new contract (3).
The Gunners have endured seven trophyless seasons, whereas United can boast being the most successful team in English football.
The Red Devils are said to have negotiated Van Persie’s salary in the region of £250,000 per week – the same as Wayne Rooney (4).
The transfer tempts the question on many sports fans minds – is contemporary football all about money?
Paul Tomkins’ Pay As You Play points to staunch evidence for this. In 2009/10, not only did the Premier League’s eight most expensive teams finish in the top eight positions, the three cheapest clubs in the division were all relegated (5).
Player-turned-pundit Robbie Savage was quick to defend his cohorts during a BBC Radio 5 Live 606 phone-in show: “It’s not so-and-so’s fault if he’s offered £100,000 a week.
You’d take it if it was offered to you!” (5).
Savage may have a point.
Arguably,the football world holds a microcosmic mentality of the wider western world. In today’s society, we’re all spoon fed adverts and marketing strategies that encourage us to consume.
Money may not be able to buy happiness, but if you buy this right now (insert latest product, accessory, gadget, or garment), you will be transformed into a state of near-nirvana.
Subsequently, if you don’t buy the latest big thing, you’re actually inferior to those who do have it.
Nobody likes feeling left out, so the consumer club keeps growing – as do the big boy football clubs who shell out millions for a squad of superstars.
Football clubs and their supporters from the lower leagues may not: “be banging on about money”, perhaps this is because they’re not affected by the big bucks.
Maybe they would if they could (5).
Top-flight football definitely appears to be a rich man’s world –
or according Piers Morgan – full of mercenaries, heartless, selfish little s***s. (6)
Sport- "Spirit in Motion" -The Paralympics - "Alongside" the Olympics
Updated: 30 Aug 2012
The name "Paralympics" comes from the Greek prefix "para-" (in this context, "beside" or "alongside") and "Olympics."
"Parallel Olympics" approximates the intended meaning.
It has nothing to do with "paralysis" or "paraplegia."
Its motto was "Mind, Body, Spirit" from 1994 through 2003, and is now "Spirit in Motion."
Politics-Paralympic Opening Ceremony but no Remploy workers were seen thanks to the Nasty Party
Updated: 30 Aug 2012
GB Begins Hunt For Gold Medals
ParalympicsGB Begins Hunt For Gold Medals
Britain's Paralympians will be hoping for an early gold rush as the Games gets under way in earnest.
Last night saw a stunning opening to the London 2012 games as more than 62,000 fans packed into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to officially open the event.
Now it is the turn of the competitors, with early medal hopes pinned on swimmer-turned cyclist Sarah Storey, shooter Di Coates and Ben Quilter, who will be going for gold in judo.
Paralympics veteran Storey, 34, has already achieved 18 medals - 16 of which were awarded as a swimmer before her switch from the pool to the bike ahead of Beijing 2008.
Storey, who was born with a deformed left hand, will appear at the velodrome in the C5 Individual Pursuit, having won the C4 in Beijing. This is her sixth Games and she is chasing her eighth gold.
Also appearing on the track is six-time Paralympic champion Darren Kenny, who has restricted movement down his right side following a car crash aged 18.
He defends his 1km Time Trial title alongside fellow Brit Rik Waddon.
Coates - who at 58 is taking part in a British record-equalling eighth games - will be gunning for her fourth title in the women's R2 10m Air Rifle standing event.
She is Britain's most experienced competitor and the star, who has spina bifida, is the only person to have competed in front of a British Paralympian crowd before.
The 1984 Paralympics was split between New York and England when wheelchair athletes with spinal injuries competed at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire.
UK Sport have set ParalympicsGB the minimum target of winning 103 medals from at least 12 different sports, with the overall goal of once again finishing second in the medal table.
Britain won 102 medals, including 42 golds, in Beijing four years ago to claim second place for a third consecutive Paralympic Games.
Ben Quilter, who is visually impaired, will be going for gold on the mat, as he takes part in the under 60kg category in judo.
Sport- Betting on the Horses is daylight robbery
Updated: 27 Aug 2012
Consider Yourself @ 10/1
£0.50 EW Single
Do you like a flutter ?
Bet 0.50p to win or place
Thats £1 bet
Get odds of 10/1
And the get £1.50 in return for a place only
15 horses in the race and your comes 2nd or 3rd
If this is not daylight robbery what is ?
Sport- Cricket- Dropping Catches Loses Matches
Updated: 21 Aug 2012
Dropping Catches Loses Matches
Strauss, Cook, Taylor and Broad all let England down.
A team cannot carry that amount of baggage.
Added to this Bresnan should have played.He is a better and more consistent bowler than Finn and Broad
A spirited performance from Bairstow, Prior and Swann, helped England save its blushes,
but catches win matches and dropping catches loses matches.
Where do Englandgo from here? Strauss must take the blame and fall on his sword.
Cook is not Captain material and players must be selected not on past glory but current form.
The problem of who should be captain demonstrates
that there is no one current player ready to give that amount of confidence,
but Prior should be given his chance.
Congratulations to the South African team on their success in the series.
Sport- Cricket- England miss Tim B and Kevin P as England's top three fail to shine
Updated: 18 Aug 2012
England v South Africa:
Jonny Bairstow steadies hosts with unbeaten 72 at Lord's
Day two, Lord's: England 208 for five in reply to South Africa's 309.
Cricket Correspondent, at Lord's
9:00PM BST 17 Aug 2012
Kevin Pietersen’s ‘A’ game was definitely missing when England batted at Lord’s on Friday, but the home side replaced it with three Bs instead - Bairstow, Bell and Bulldog spirit.
Combined, the trio have helped to keep England, who ended the second day on 208 for five, in this Investec Test after South Africa’s bowlers had threatened to overrun them.
The second new ball is due after eight overs this morning and will prove crucial to the outcome of a match England must win to stay top of the rankings.
Jonny Bairstow, with an already crucial contribution, is still there on 72, an innings that truly was a triumph over adversity given his travails against the short ball earlier in the summer.
Matt Prior, the England player most capable of matching Pietersen’s scoring rate, will start with him.
Together, and with those still to come, they must take their team, trailing by 101 runs, into significant lead before close on Saturday to have any chance of victory. If they don’t, they will need the heatwave forecast to open up the cracks on the pitch enough to make batting tricky, though, as they must bat last, that option is filled with danger.
For now, let us rejoice in the fighting spirit of two men at different ends of the experience spectrum in international cricket.
Bairstow, 22, would not have even been here this week but for the Pietersen text crisis. His three Tests against the West Indies earlier in the summer had highlighted shortcomings against the short ball and the selectors would have been reluctant to accelerate his learning curve against South Africa’s mean trio of fast bowlers.
But, with Pietersen rusticated and Ravi Bopara still attending to a personal matter (both are scheduled to play for their counties in the CB40 on Sunday), Bairstow was summoned to face his personal demons and find a solution.
And find one he did, cautiously and with good fortune, at first, but eventually burgeoning to the point where he looked in total control, no small feat for a player in his fourth Test against such an intimidating bowling attack.
A blitz of bouncers would have been South Africa’s plan to him and they did not disappoint. The pitch was true and not especially quick, even if Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn were. After a hectic period of ducking and swaying, he began to swat the odd one for four with enough control to suggest his emotions had not been shredded by the experience. Andy Flower had already seen something special in Bairstow’s character from a handful of one-day knocks and this transferred to the Test stage at a crucial period for England.
Ian Bell offered vital support to his young charge, urging, encouraging and cajoling in equal measure. His languid style helped calm Bairstow, who soon began to match him shot for shot, though one of Bell’s, a cover drive off Steyn on the up for four, remained unsurpassable, even moving the bowler to admiration.
South Africa’s resilience means you can never presume control of the situation and, just when it looked as if Bairstow and Bell had put the day to bed with a staunch England fightback, their 124-run partnership was ended when Vernon Philander forced the latter to slice his drive to Alviro Petersen in the gully. As is Bell’s wont, it was impossible to say why it had happened, only that an unexceptional ball had been met by an indifferent shot.
A very different set of circumstances had surrounded Andrew Strauss’s dismissal on the last ball before lunch. Strauss had begun his innings with fluent aplomb until Morkel began to work him over with judicious use of the bouncer. Struck in the chest once, and forced to take evasive action at other times, the pounding had the desired effect of disturbing his balance, so that when Morkel suddenly pitched one up, bat and pad was not in its usual place to prevent the ball knocking out middle stump.
It was a classic exposition of the fast bowlers’ art if you can so describe something so brutal, and Steyn followed it soon after with his own version. Skiddier and just that little bit quicker than Morkel, he beat Jonathan Trott for pace to have him lbw, a decision that only fell after South Africa reviewed.
Steyn uses guile as much as his pace and he next went to work on Alastair Cook, drying up his runs to the point where the left-hander had scored just a single in 31 balls. With the pressure trap set, he sprung it with a nice juicy wide half-volley that was going even further away as Cook, forgetting his strengths, pushed away from his body to edge to an expectant Jacques Kallis at second slip.
It was wonderful bowling and England looked in jeopardy when Morkel had James Taylor caught at first slip to leave them reeling on 54 for four. At that point the Pietersen supporters began to crow on Twitter, perhaps ignorant that the man who had replaced their precious had just come to the crease.
Fifty overs later there was not a peep out of them, as Bairstow acknowledged the plaudits from the sell-out crowd.
The spectators were also in good voice when England began the day needing to take three wickets, a process Stuart Broad began when he drew Steyn into slashing at an outswinger, the resulting edge ending up in Swann’s hands at second slip.
One irritant to England’s ambitions was replaced by another, though, with Morkel giving life to the cricketing expression ‘give it the long handle’. With Philander reaching a fine 50, another 37 runs were added until Prior ended the partnership with a stunning one-handed diving catch off Steve Finn to dismiss Morkel.
Prior struck again in the next over to stump Philander off Swann for 61, his sixth assist of the innings, an achievement equalled but not bettered by Middlesex’s John Murray, who snaffled six catches here against India in 1967. If Prior can manage the batting equivalent today, an England win may not be as fanciful as it seems
Sport- Lords love a duck ? What no Tim Bresnan
Updated: 16 Aug 2012
England (probable): A J Strauss (capt), A N Cook, I J L Trott, J M Bairstow, I R Bell, J W A Taylor, M J Prior (wkt), S C J Broad, G P Swann, J M Anderson. S T Finn.
South Africa (probable): G C Smith (capt), A N Petersen, H M Amla, J H Kallis, A B de Villiers (wkt), J A Rudolph, J P Duminy, V D Philander, D W Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir.
Pitch report Likely to be a typically true Lord's surface, perhaps with slightly extra spice and carry given the grass that has been left. Outfield will not be as pristine as usual due to scars left by Olympic archery.
Weather Today: Cloudy with sunny intervals. Tomorrow: Dry and cloudy. Saturday: Warm, some sun. Sunday: Sun and showers. Monday: Overcast.
Umpires S Taufel & K Dharmasena.
TV Sky Sports 1, 10.30am-7pm. Highlights: Channel Five, 7-8pm.
Sport- Cricket Crackit and Pietersen
Updated: 15 Aug 2012
Its still Players v Gentlemen in the Long Room.
Who you are not what you can do !
Pietersen is nobody's poodle, but he thrills the crowds who pay the bills.
By dropping him, the ECB is shooting itself in the foot, but the they always have.
I question Strauss's leadership skills by his actions on the field.
Sport- Australia- "Culture before Country" -The AOC a sporting failure
Updated: 15 Aug 2012
How the chosen ones ended Australia's sporting prowess
and revealed its secret past
by John Pilger
Fri 10th Aug 2012
The ferries that ply the river west of Sydney Harbour bear the names of Australia's world champion sportswomen.
They include the Olympic swimming gold-medalists Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould, and runners Betty Cuthbert and Majorie Jackson.
As you board, there is a photograph of the athlete in her prime, and a record of her achievements.
This is vintage Australia.
Often shy and never rich, sporting heroes were nourished by a society that, long before most other countries, won victories for ordinary people: the first 35-hour working week, child benefits, pensions, secret ballots and, with New Zealand, the vote for women.
By the 1960s, Australians had the most equitable spread of personal income in the world.
In modern-day corporate Australia, this is long forgotten.
"We are the chosen ones," sang a choir promoting the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
One of the ferries is named after Evonne Goolagong, the tennis star who won Wimbledon in 1971 and 1980. She is Aboriginal, like Cathy Freeman, who won a gold medal in the 400 metres at Sydney.
For all their talent, both belong to a carefully constructed facade, behind which Australia's secret indigenous history is suppressed and denied.
The late Charlie Perkins, an Aboriginal leader who played first-division football in England, told me, "There's an ambivalence that consumes many of us.
I was so pleased to be back home, seeing that wonderful light, hearing the birds, seeing my mates, but I felt the racism more than ever.
For one thing, no white person ever invited me home for a meal, for anything.
Blacks weren't even allowed in the grandstands, not even in the blacks-only sections."
In the 1960s, Charlie led "freedom rides" into the north-west of New South Wales, where "nigger hunts" were still not uncommon.
Abused and spat at, he stood at the turnstiles of local swimming pools and sports fields and demanded that a race bar be lifted.
"In South Africa, at least you knew where you stood," he said.
"In Australia, you can have a friend and an enemy all in one person, especially if you're like me, of mixed blood.
Someone will call you his mate one minute, then before you know it, you feel an indifference, a coldness you can't explain.
It's what drove my brother to kill himself."
Wally MacArthur was one of the "stolen generation".
The victim of a eugenics-inspired campaign to "breed out the black", Wally was taken from his mother as a small boy and was destined to become a servant in white society. His gift was speed.
Running without shoes, he was the Usain Bolt of his day.
Wally was never selected in a state or national team.
Eddie Gilbert's story is similar.
A dazzling fast bowler, he was given special permission to play outside his Queensland "reserve" and took five wickets for 65 runs against the West Indies.
He later faced Donald Bradman, the world's greatest batsman, and bowled him for a duck.
Thereafter, the secretary of the Queensland Cricket Association wrote to the Protector of Aborigines: "The matter of Eddie Gilbert has been fully discussed by my executive committee and it was decided, with your concurrence, to return Gilbert to the settlement."
The letter noted that his cricketing whites "should be laundered and returned". Eddie was committed to an asylum where he was mistreated, and died.
The great Aboriginal boxer, Ron Richards, died a prisoner on Palm Island off the Queensland coast.
He had won most Australian titles, and when he became British Empire middleweight champion, the Chief Protector stepped in.
"Like many other crossbreeds," he wrote, "he is unstable of character and inclined to be gullible."
On 30 July, in London, the Aboriginal light-heavyweight Damien Hooper stepped into the ring for his Olympic bout wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Aboriginal flag: the same flag now approved to fly on public buildings in Australia.
The Australian Olympic Committee demanded he make a public apology - itself a profanity in keeping with the enduring humiliation of Aboriginal people.
Wearing the shirt was said to have breached the Olympic Charter; Coca Cola would have been acceptable.
The sports writer for the Sydney Morning Herald sneered that it was "a stunt" by an opportunist.
"I'm representing my culture, not only my country," said Hooper. "I'm proud of what I did."
In his 1995 book, Obstacle Race, Professor Colin Tatz, who has charted Australia's genocidal history, says that of the 1,200 Aboriginal sportsmen and women he studied, only six - 0.5% - had access to the same opportunities and sporting facilities as whites.
I asked him what had changed. "A few things are better." he wrote, "The figure now is about one per cent."
On the day Damien Hooper was forced to apologise, Australian swimmer Nick D'Arcy failed to make the final of the 200 metres butterfly.
Few in the crowd were aware that this "chosen one" was a convicted thug who smashed the face of fellow swimmer Simon Cowley in an unprovoked assault in 2008.
Ordered to pay his victim A$180,000 in damages, D'Arcy declared himself bankrupt and paid not a cent, nor showed any remorse.
Yet, the Australian swimming authorities duly lifted his ban and allowed him to compete in London. After all, said a Liberal MP, " Nick has paid a terrible price for his indiscretions".
Josh Booth rowed in Australia's eight that came last in the final. To a Chosen One, last is unacceptable, so Booth went on a rampage in Egham in Surrey, smashing windows.
He later described it as an "emotional outburst".
The Sydney Morning Herald shed a tear for "the pain of a young man who lost in an event that comes along every four years".
Unlike those original Australians forced to defend their basic human rights and apologise for their distinctiveness, both D'Arcy and Booth have enjoyed every advantage and privilege.
Their "indiscretions" and victimhood are accompanied by a sense of entitlement that has shredded the national myth of "fair go", not to mention an Olympic prowess of which we all were once proud.
This article first appeared in the New Statesman.
Sport- Bread and Circuses
Updated: 13 Aug 2012
Olympic Heights and Economic lows
A reality check – possibly ?
Sour grapes? not me !
An Economic soft landing- no chance
Congratulations – are in order
To the participants – a well done
To the staff - redundancy and despair ?
To the sponsors –advertising pays some ?
To the audience- God Save the Queen -29 times + 1= terrible
To the medalists – what next ? emptiness ?
To all- an anti-climax ?
And the morning after feeling
“Greater” Britain – I doubt it very much- London has the venues ?
There were many for whom the Olympics meant very little
Never turned on the “box”
Refused to buy a rag
Spent the days oblivious to the Olympic events.
Had other things to do.
Far to many “Fantastics”with “Incredibles" not far behind- on the BBC
And these came from the experts too
So all in all a transient, if lavish event
£12 (something) billion
I know some local infrastructure improvements, here, that could have made more permanent benefits
There are those who spent a small fortune on visits
Was it worth it ?
For them- certainly.
Then there were the invited – including Despots And Dictators
Honours – probably
Pay Cheques – very large – for the few
Volunteers - very little
A debt owed by so many ?
To so few ?
A sort of holy sports war !
To the God Zeus
Well a God had to come into it somewhere ?
Wars went on
On to Brazil for more “Bread and Circuses”
Another diversion from reality
Sport -Olympic heights- 10 Blue Bottles arrest disabled man sitting on a wall
Updated: 10 Aug 2012
Man arrested at London Olympics for ‘failing to smile’
Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:16AM GMT
The police grabbed me off this seven-foot wall, threw me to the floor and cuffed me.”
Mark Worsfold, a 54-year-old Parkinson’s disease sufferer
A British man suffering from Parkinson’s disease has been detained because he “failed to smile and look like he was enjoying himself” while watching the Olympic cycling road race.
The British police threw the 54-year-old to the floor and handcuffed him just as cyclists passed by, reported The Daily Mail.
“I was sitting minding my own business. Before I knew anything the police grabbed me off this seven-foot wall, threw me to the floor and cuffed me so all I saw of the cycle race was between the feet of people from the pavement”, said Mark Worsfold, a martial arts trainer and former soldier.
“It could have been done better. I was arrested for not smiling. I have Parkinson’s”, he added.
The British police said that he was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence “based on his manner, his state of dress and his proximity to the course” and “a group of protesters”.
However, Worsfold said officers told him that he had been arrested and questioned because he was not smiling.
On 27 July, the British police also arrested 182 activist cyclists as the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony was being held in London.
The British police said Worsfold’s arrest was a result of “the heightened level of security due to the high profile nature of the event and the sheer number of spectators”.
Sport- Olympics - Dictators and Undesirables Party
Updated: 09 Aug 2012
London 2012 Olympics ‘hall of shame’
Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:22PM GMT
Britain’s red carpet is being prepared to welcome an Olympic “hall of shame” of corrupt Games officials and foreign dictators.
Millions of pounds are being spent giving questionable politicians and fraudster delegates from the International Olympic Committee the VIP treatment in London.
They will be housed in luxury hotels and given personal chauffeured cars throughout the capital by Lord Coe’s organising team.
The VIPs will also include the bosses of top-level corporate sponsors whose business practices have infuriated protesters.
Human rights activists are appalled by the imminent arrival of one dictator in particular.
Ilham Aliyev is the president of oil rich Azerbaijan and also heads his country’s National Olympic Committee.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch say he has a “terrible record on freedom of expression”, with six journalists in prison on “spurious charges” and several dozen opposition political activists also behind bars. Earlier this year, respected reporter Idrak Abbasov was beaten unconscious after he filmed forced evictions and house demolitions by the country’s state oil company.
The company’s security officials and police were thought to be behind the assault.
However, it is not just notorious foreign leaders who will take the Games’ best seats: controversial members of the International Olympic Committee will also revel in luxury hospitality.
They include former French sports minister Guy Drut, who was also an Olympic hurdler. In 2005, he was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence for fraudulently accepting a salary for a fictitious job created as part of a wider Paris City Hall scam. A suspension on his IOC membership was lifted when Drut’s friend and then French President Jacques Chirac controversially pardoned him as he left office in 2005. He remains a senior member of the IOC.
Billionaire Lee Kun-Hee, an IOC delegate from South Korea, is also likely to be an Olympic guest.
He remains the chairman of Olympic sponsor Samsung, having resigned from the position in 2008 amid a massive slush funds scandal involving bribes to judges and other public officials.
He was convicted of evading £25million in taxes but was pardoned by the Korean government in 2009 as he helped the country win the right to stage the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Controversial corporate sponsors will also be driven around in top-of-the range BMWs.
They include bosses of General Electric, which has attracted critics in the US for avoiding corporate taxes, and of Dow Chemical which is linked to the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
The British government is also up for questioning from Parliament over why it has handed over the Olympic Games' security to a company accused of human rights abuses in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
The UK-based G4S, which describes itself as the “world’s leading international security solutions group,” was selected as the “official provider of security and cash services for the Olympics.”
Moreover, it has already taken on 10,400 new employees for the 2012 Olympiad.
However, the company’s activities in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem (al-Quds), which the UK considers illegal, have raised questions in Westminster.
The matter of fact is that G4S is a known provider of equipment for several Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank as well as for security systems at the Ofer detention center in Ramallah.
That facility houses a jail and a military court, where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are held and tortured. British Parliament strongly criticized the detention center for human rights abuses in 2010.
G4S also provides equipment to and secures the perimeter of several other Israeli prisons in which prisoners, illegally transferred from Palestinian territories, are held in breach of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
It remains unclear how a company with such a questionable reputation could have been chosen to provide security during the London Olympics.
G4S already runs six private prisons in the UK, where several hundred detainees are hired for full-time work paying under $3 a day.
The privatization of prisons by companies like G4S creates a very dangerous financial incentive to criminalize poor people and "incarcerate them for private profit," according to Gosling.
G4S, the firm at the center of the debacle over security for the London 2012 Olympics, is also helping Israeli regime secure facilities where Palestinian children are imprisoned and severely abused.
Defence for Children-Palestine (DCI-Palestine) has released an urgent appeal to end the practice of holding Palestinian children from the West Bank in solitary confinement in facilities in Israel.
The organization has documented 53 such cases since 2008.
The children have been held in solitary confinement mainly in Al Jalame and Petah Tikva interrogation centers.
The security systems for Al Jalame detention facilities were provided by G4S Israel, according to a March 2011 report on the firm by Who Profits.
G4S Israel is a subsidiary of British-Danish security firm G4S and it is deeply involved in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, as well as in Israeli prisons and detention centers.
Meanwhile, activists have challenged the London games to bar entry to countries that discriminate against their athletes and betray the Olympics' human rights charter.
Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, has written an open letter to Lord Coe demanding the UK to ban countries like Saudi Arabia and India from competing.
"Many nations deny equal opportunities to women and to ethnic, religious and sexual minorities," Tatchell argued.
"They violate the Olympic spirit of equality. This discrimination takes the form of a lack of equal access to sports facilities, competitions and the Olympic selection process."
The letter is written amid numerous complaints that many of the competing countries are tainting the Olympics' commitment to equal rights.
Saudi Arabia is criticised for not allowing women to compete, and India for marginalising Dalits.
The UK government is also giving host to the Bahraini regime, another human rights abuser whose records on rights issues, particularly in the past year are peculiarly dark.
At the same time, it has blacklisted Syria, which is fighting an armed insurgency inside its country, on human rights grounds.
There are other conditions under which the UK government is domestically abusing the rights of its own citizens or foreign workers.
The living conditions for the 2012 Olympic workers have been described as “prison-like slums” since they are overcrowded and unhygienic. 75 Olympic cleaners are expected to share one shower.
Every 25 staff members must share one toilet, and ten people are living in each room.
Many of the workers traveled from abroad in search of work.
It was not until they arrived in London that they were informed there would be no work for the first two weeks, but they were expected to pay a total rent of over £550 a month to sleep in the miserable camps.
Many of London’s 25,000 cab drivers say they hate the Olympic Games Lanes, a network of roads reserved for the exclusive use of Olympic officials and sponsors.
With cabbies forced to ply their trade mostly in the minor roads of London, they believe that their takings will be way down, and that people just won’t take taxis. So they are protesting.
Hundreds of taxi drivers brought the streets around parliament and Big Ben to a standstill this week, hooting their horns and moving at a snail’s pace.
They are threatening to hold more protests before the Games begin on Friday.
About 23,700 security guards had been due to protect venues as part of Britain’s biggest peacetime security operation, with 13,500 military personnel already earmarked to contribute.
But last week, Britain put an extra 3,500 soldiers on standby after the world’s biggest security firm G4S said it might not be able to supply the 10,400 security guards it had promised as part of a $441.93 million deal.
These additional 3,500 troops will take the overall tally at the Games to 17,000, more than the 9,500 currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Yes, security is important, but how will the enormous military presence affect the atmosphere at the Games?
It’s true that Britons, and Londoners in particular, love to complain, but what exactly is the city getting for its $15 billion investment in the Games?
According to Andrew Scott, who is the deputy dean of the London Business School and comes from the area where the Olympic Park is located, Britons should stop trying to kid themselves that they made a shrewd investment.
That’s because the most wildly optimistic estimate suggests that the Olympics will boost Britain’s GDP each year for a decade by no more than one-tenth of 1 percent.
Sport- On Your Marx for the People's Games
Updated: 05 Aug 2012
On Your Marx for the People’s Games
The Olympics are well under way and the failure of the private sector G4S almost forgotten ?
The extravaganza that cost £ billions and which equates to £800,000 for every Olympic entrant will be remembered for the discrimination of the poor and poor countries who can compete in only the events that cost the least.
How many Ethiopians are involved in the horse trials, or working class in sailing, rowing or tennis even?
Never mind that women have struggled to be there at all.
The male chauvinism continues until there are far more mixed events competing on equal terms.
And why should the Para – Olympics be a second class and separate event ?
Eighty one years ago in 1931 the Socialist Workers Sports International organised an alternate Olympics in Red Vienna.
An antidote to the Capitalist’s sport of sponsorship, where 80,000 sports men and women participated and 250,000 watched the final days events.
(This is in comparison to the 124 who competed in Los Angeles at the time.)
So next time the Olympics come round to Britain maybe we should organise the alternative games and ban the drive for profit.
Instead of fake “gold” medals, we should have red ribbons and certificates and the more the merrier with each city hosting its own events and every participant getting a reward and no one considered a failure.
And a cry again for the slogan “Sport for All”
Sport-"Fantastic" wins Gold as the most used word on Olympic BBC TV-"Incredible" comes sixth
Updated: 03 Aug 2012
1. conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination;
odd and remarkable; bizarre; grotesque: fantastic rock formations; fantastic designs.
2. fanciful or capricious, as persons or their ideas or actions:
We never know what that fantastic creature will say next.
3. imaginary or groundless in not being based on reality; foolish or irrational: fantastic fears.
4. extravagantly fanciful; marvelous.
5. incredibly great or extreme; exorbitant: to spend fantastic sums of money.
Sport- Olympic Sex Tests - How many changing rooms are really needed ?
Updated: 26 Jul 2012
Rip up new Olympic sex test rules
23 July 2012
by Katrina Karkazis and Rebecca Jordan-Young
IT IS just days until the start of the Olympics - an exhilarating feast of elite competition watched by the world, a chance for athletes to demonstrate their extraordinary prowess in physical contests.
Imagine if, having proved to be the best, with the eyes of the world on you, the atmosphere sours and you face rumours and allegations of an unfair advantage and the condemnation of your competitors and the watching public.
Imagine that this has nothing to do with cheating or doping, but is simply because of the biology you were born with.
We're talking about sex testing for elite female athletes, a highly charged issue that has been officially resurrected for the first time in more than a decade.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just released new regulations (IOC 2012) for determining whether athletes should be allowed to compete as women, along the lines of those agreed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last year.
Both policies are based on the assertion that testosterone levels of male and female athletes are distinct and that women with testosterone levels typical for males have an "unfair" advantage - assumptions that are scientifically flawed and render the policies and their effects ethically dubious.
Both bodies were forced to confront the problems with sex determination policies in the wake of runner Caster Semenya's case.
Competitors challenged the young South African's sex after she won the 800 metres world title in 2009. Her outstanding victory and powerful physique fuelled a frenzy of speculation.
The IAAF was roundly criticised for its poorly defined approach to sex determination and handling of the case. Semenya was driven into hiding to escape the resulting scrutiny and humiliation.
As a result, the IAAF and IOC faced calls to rethink their approach.
Unfortunately, the resulting policies, in our view, are flawed.
In a shift from earlier routine sex testing for female athletes, which the IAAF and the IOC abandoned in the 1990s, the sports bodies no longer overtly aim to determine whether someone is "really" a woman. Instead, they focus on women with hyperandrogenism - naturally raised testosterone levels.
The new rules effectively say they are too masculine to compete in the female category, based on the idea testosterone is the key reason for men's often superior strength and speed.
But does naturally occurring testosterone really confer athletic advantage in a predictable way, as suggested? There is little evidence and what evidence exists points away from such conclusions.
And even if such an advantage exists, is that really unfair?
Elite athletes are different from most of us in many ways, such as rare genetic mutations that confer enhanced aerobic capacity.
So is the difference in athletic performance between males and females chiefly "due to higher levels of androgenic hormones in males" as the IAAF puts it?
Although it may be surprising, given that this is a popular belief and is stated as fact in both the IAAF and IOC policies, there is no evidence showing that successful athletes have higher testosterone levels than less successful ones.
Clinical studies do confirm that testosterone, among many other factors, helps improve muscle size, strength and endurance (New England Journal of Medicine, vol 335, p 1; European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol 111, p 2249). It may seem logical to infer, then, that having more testosterone gives an athletic advantage.
But responses to it differ dramatically between individuals, and testosterone is just one factor in a complex feedback system.
A striking counter example to the idea that testosterone is the key factor in athleticism is women with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, whose cells are totally unresponsive to testosterone but who are overrepresented among elite athletes (The Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 284, p 1568).
Some women with androgen insensitivity are, under the new rules, exempt from a ban.
And a quarter of elite male athletes might have testosterone levels below the typical male range, with many in the typical female range, according to endocrinologist Peter Sönksen.
Add the fact that most relevant studies have focused on men and that testosterone levels for elite athletes have not been extensively studied and it is clear to us that relying on testosterone levels oversimplifies and misrepresents what contributes to athletic excellence and suggests far more certainty than is justified.
Even if a decisive link had been established, should it be viewed as any different to other biological advantages broadly accepted in some elite athletes?
For example, several runners have mitochondrial conditions that enhance aerobic ability (Mitochondrion, vol 11, p 774). Some basketball players have acromegaly, a hormonal condition that results in enlarged hands and feet.
Hyperandrogenism is also a naturally occurring condition, no different from other exceptional biological variation in humans. So what makes this difference important?
Well, as Hida Viloria, an intersex representative at the IOC meetings, noted in a letter to The New York Times, when the IOC was asked about the issue it said that these other physical and medical differences do not call the athlete's sex into question.
While the IOC is adamant that these new regulations are not "intended to make any determination of sex", this looks a lot like sex testing.
Sports organisations need to stop policing biologically natural bodies, which can lead to harmful scrutiny of less feminine women, and allow all to compete, regardless of the level of naturally occurring hormones.
In short, these new sex testing policies must be scrapped.
Katrina Karkazis is an anthropologist at Stanford University's Center for Biomedical Ethics.
Rebecca Jordan-Young is a sociomedical scientist at Barnard College, Columbia University. This essay is based on an article written with Silvia Camporesi and Georgiann Davis in The American Journal of Bioethics
Sport- The Diver: Tom Daley workout routine-Tipped for an Olympic medal
Updated: 25 Jul 2012
The diver: Tom Daley
01 March 2012 by Henry Taylor
Tom Daley isn't your average 17-year-old.
For starters, he squats 125kg and does press-ups with the equivalent of a 13-stone man on his back.
Victory in the 10m platform diving event at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships made him the youngest ever British world champion in any sport – and the following year he took home another two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
All this while studying for his A-levels.
In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, MH reveals the new Adidas bodycare ambassador's training and nutrition regime.
7.30am Wake up and shower.
8am Breakfast. Either beans or scrambled eggs on toast, or a bowl of iron-rich cereal such as Bran Flakes.
Training tip A 30g serving of Kellogg's Bran Flakes contains 50% of your GDA of iron, which is vital for optimum athletic performance.
Lack of iron can cause a decrease in your body's stores of haemoglobin and negatively affect the transport of oxygen to your muscles.
9am School for two lessons.
10.15am-12.15am Morning training session.
Warm up with static stretches, before practicing somersaults in a gym for an hour.
Work on take-offs and flips from a standing block, landing on a crash mat.
Also run through flips and somersaults on a trampoline.
Build cores strength through performing bodyweight conditioning exercises, such as planks and static pushes.
Do some dumbbell wrist curls to bulk up your forearms and mediate the strain they are under when hitting the water at speed.
Do some exercises for your shoulders using a Thera-band, such as overhead extensions and lateral raises.
These will strengthen stabiliser muscles in your shoulders, such as your rotator cuffs.
From 11.15, do more static stretches, then spend an hour in the pool practising lower-height board work – 1m, 3m, and 5m dives. Focus on take-offs, entries, and handstands
Training tip A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found men who underwent seven weeks of training using resistance bands increased their squat and bench-press one-rep-maxes by 240% and 200% respectively in comparison to men who underwent the same seven weeks of training using only free weights.
12.30pm Post-training snack. Cereal bar and chocolate milkshake. Sometimes a piece of fruit.
Training tip Researchers at Kean University, USA, found low-fat chocolate milk facilitates post-exercise recovery as effectively as a dedicated carbohydrate-electrolyte drink.
12.45pm Post-training recovery.
Sometimes ice the triceps, or sometimes a massage if there's time before lunch.
1pm Jacket potato and some chicken to replenish protein levels during the recovery period.
2pm Back to school for another couple of lessons.
4.30pm Dinner/pre-training meal. Chicken or lean protein, steamed vegetables (broccoli, green beans) and some complex carbohydrates (sweet potato, brown rice, brown pasta).
5.30pm Afternoon training session. Resistance training in the gym for two hours.
During the heavy phase of the training cycle, use big weights with compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, press-ups, and pull-ups. Perform 4 sets of 5 reps for each exercise to build raw strength.
Gradually increase the weight for each set, building up to a final set of 125kg for squats.
Do loaded press-ups with someone piling weights on your back up to 85kg, and weighted pull-ups with a 20kg plate.
Six weeks before competition, switch to lighter loads and a faster tempo to concentrate on converting strength to explosive power.
Switch from squats to squat jumps and from deadlifts to cleans, for example.
After the workout, do another pool session.
Practice higher 10m dives, specifically the handstand, take-off, and entry parts of the dives. Focus on form.
Training tip Squats don't just build muscle.
A 2012 study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found following 8 weeks of dedicated squat training, nineteen professional rugby players all recorded considerably faster sprint performances over 5m (7.5% faster), 10m (7.5% faster), and 20m (6% faster).
9.15pm Post-training snack. Chocolate milkshake followed by some toast and chocolate spread to replenish carbohydrate stores.
Occasionally a vegetable soup using sweet potato and plenty of green vegetables.
9.30pm Post-training recovery.
Stretches to work off lactic acid build-up.
Massage 2-3 times a week, focusing on triceps. Sometimes ice the triceps, too.
Training tip Recent research in the journal Science Translational Medicine found that massage of muscles that have been damaged through exercise is clinically beneficial in reducing inflammation.
10.30pm Lights out
Sport- "A peacetime event" as 18500 troops are deployed
Updated: 25 Jul 2012
London Olympics gets 1,200 more troops
Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:35PM GMT
Ministers decided that we should deploy the additional 1,200 troops that were put on standby last week.”
British Olympics Minister Jeremy Hunt
The British government has decided to deploy an additional 1,200 military soldiers at the London 2012 Olympic Games amid rising concerns over the security of the Games.
With only three days to go before the Olympic Games begin in London, British ministers have decided to call up 1,200 more military troops, bringing the total military forces deployed to the 2012 Olympics to 18,200.
“Ministers decided that we should deploy the additional 1,200 troops that were put on standby last week.
On the eve of the largest peacetime event ever staged in this country, ministers are clear that we should leave nothing to chance”, said British Olympics Minister Jeremy Hunt.
The move comes shortly after British Home Secretary Theresa May authorized the call-up of 3,500 extra troops because the British private security company G4S announced it could not supply 10,400 forces for Olympics security.
British MPs have already raised concerns over “chaos” during the Olympic Games and said security preparations for the London Olympics have undermined the public’s confidence in organizers.
“The chaos which has emerged over the security contract was predictable and undermines confidence in those responsible for managing the Games”, said Labour MP Margaret Hodge, the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
Sport - Stuart Pearce's London 2012 - 13 players
Updated: 24 Jul 2012
London 2012: Team GB profiles
Stuart Pearce has named 13 Englishmen and five players from Wales in his 18-man Team GB squad for the Olympic Games.
There is no place for David Beckham, but his former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs is joined by fellow Welshman Craig Bellamy and Manchester City defender Micah Richards as the three permitted overage players.
Match of the Day commentator Jonathan Pearce casts his eye over the squad, which begins their campaign for gold against Senegal on 26 July and also face group games against the UAE and Uruguay.
Jonathan Pearce's overall verdict: "Stuart Pearce was criticised for not picking David Beckham but I know people who have seen him recently have said that his legs have gone and I can understand why he has left him out.
"The squad has got huge experience in Giggs and Bellamy, as well as youthful promise in the likes of Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Tom Cleverley.
There are one or two worrying positions, perhaps lacking experience in the centre of defence, and the team will encounter some top-class opposition.
"But if they can get through their group then the draw is very favourable in terms of reaching the semi-final stage."
Age: 19. Born: Bristol, England. Club: Birmingham
Butland is yet to make his first-team debut for Birmingham but is set to start as first-choice for Team GB after making his name during a hugely promising loan spell with League Two side Cheltenham Town. Butland is highly rated and was a late call-up for Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2012, where he gained valuable experience as cover for Joe Hart and Robert Green.
JP's verdict: "He showed his credentials - or at least how highly people rate him - by being brought into the Euro 2012 squad. I'm looking forward to seeing him play on the big stage."
Age: 21. Born: Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham, England. Club: Middlesbrough
Steele rose through the ranks at Middlesbrough and has firmly established himself as the Championship side's number one goalkeeper. The young shotstopper has represented England at all levels up to Under-21.
JP's verdict: "He has been talked about for a few years now and I think that his selection is a sound decision."
Age: 22. Born: London, England. Club: Chelsea
Seen by many as the long-term replacement for Ashley Cole at Chelsea, Bertrand has impressed during loan spells in the Championship with Norwich, Reading and Nottingham Forest. Called into first-team action at Stamford Bridge this year, he was a surprise starter in Munich as Roberto Di Matteo's men won the Champions League. Like Danny Rose, Bertrand can play at full-back or in midfield.
JP's verdict: "Chelsea showed that they are not worried about his ability to play on the big occasion by starting him in the Champions League final. He has got pace and can get up and down the left side. He has got a big future."
Age: 20. Born: London, England. Club: Tottenham
Caulker is expected to challenge for a place in the Spurs side next season after a fine season out on loan at Swansea. Already a regular for the England Under-21s, Caulker could line up alongside James Tomkins at the heart of the defence.
JP's verdict: "He looked raw when he was on loan at Bristol City during the 2010-11 season but he grew as a player under Brendan Rodgers at Swansea. He is deceptively quick and has improved a great deal."
Age: 21. Born: Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. Club: West Brom
Dawson signed for West Brom from Rochdale in 2010, but was immediately sent back on loan to his hometown club. His breakthrough at West Brom came last season and he made 12 appearances for the Premier League side.
JP's verdict: "I wonder if England boss Roy Hodgson had much to say about this selection? He managed him at West Brom and must know about his ability. He is quite a cultured defender and his progression over the last 14 months - from Rochdale to Team GB - has been startling."
Age: 23. Born: Birmingham, England. Club: Manchester City
Richards earned his place as an overage player after being left out of Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2012. Richards - who can play at right-back or centre-half - made 29 Premier League appearances last season as City won the title. A big favourite of GB coach Stuart Pearce - who handed him his City debut in 2005.
JP's verdict: "I am surprised he has been included, given that he rejected the chance to be on standby for England at Euro 2012. However, he is an immensely powerful athlete and was hugely important to City as they won the title last year. He is a player that Pearce can get the best out of."
Age: 21. Born: Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. Club: Tottenham
Another left-sided option for Team GB, Rose can play on the wing or at left-back after playing in both positions for Spurs on a regular basis. Announced himself to the world with a stunning long-range volley against rivals Arsenal in 2010. A regular for Pearce in the England Under-21 camp.
JP's verdict: "He ended last season well. I remember his goal for Spurs against Arsenal on his league debut in April 2010. Any player that can strike a ball like that in such a big game will do for me. He has had injury problems but hopefully a strong Games will help him earn a regular place at Tottenham."
Age: 23. Born: St Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales. Club: Swansea
Taylor was a target for Newcastle last summer and showed why during an excellent first season in the Premier League for Swansea. Dependable at the back and exciting going forward down the left flank.
JP's verdict: "A very under-rated player. As well as at full-back, he can play on the left of midfield and on the left side of central defence. He is important for Wales and deserves his call-up.
Age: 23. Born: Basildon, Essex, England. Club: West Ham
After suffering relegation from the top flight with West Ham 12 months ago, Tomkins came of age in the Championship as a key part of Sam Allardyce's promotion-winning side. Strong in the air and a goal threat at the other end, Tomkins is another who has been a regular under Pearce for the England Under-21s.
JP's verdict: "He made a big impact when he broke into the first team at West Ham but looked tired and struggled towards the end of their 2010-11 relegation season. Some experts wondered whether he would come back but he impressed during their promotion campaign. A very cool defender."
Age: 22. Born: Carmarthen, Wales. Club: Swansea
After forming a dominant partnership with Leon Britton in the Swansea midfield, Allen won rave reviews throughout his first season in the Premier League. A sharp passer, Allen will be fighting with countrymen Aaron Ramsey and Ryan Giggs for a starting berth.
JP's verdict: "I have known for some time that he is a really talented player. He caught the eye when he scored for Swansea against Cardiff in April 2009 as a 19-year-old. I know how much his former Swans boss Brendan Rodgers rates him. He is a great passer of the ball, our little Andres Iniesta."
Age: 22. Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. Club: Manchester United
A starring role in last season's Community Shield win over Manchester City threatened to herald the start of Cleverley's Manchester United career in earnest. However, foot and ankle injuries put the brakes on the midfielder's season, though not before he was called up to the England squad by then manager Fabio Capello. He is yet to win his first cap but a strong showing in the Olympics can only help his cause.
JP's verdict: "He really could be an outstanding player. Cleverley had some terrible injuries last season but showed on loan at Wigan during the 2010-11 season what he can do. He buzzes in midfield, is a good passer of the ball and knows how to keep possession."
Age: 23. Born: Carshalton, Surrey, England. Club: Southampton
A former Chelsea trainee, the midfielder started every game as Southampton secured promotion back to the Premier League last season. Cork has featured at every youth level for England and has been a regular for the Under-21s, although most of his appearances have come from the bench.
JP's verdict: "After a nomadic experience during the early years of his career, he has found a permanent home at Southampton and flourished there last season during their promotion campaign. His dad Alan, a former Crazy Gang striker at Wimbledon, will love the fact that his son will be at the Olympics."
Age: 38. Born: Cardiff, Wales. Club: Manchester United
Giggs has been given the chance to shine on the international stage for the first time. After winning the lot at club level, Giggs can play in the centre or replace the injured Gareth Bale out on the left wing. Could be a calming presence in a young side.
JP's verdict: "Giggs had to be in the squad. When I voted for the person I thought was the best in the 20-year history of the Premier League I had no doubts about going for Giggs. I hope he can roll back the years and star at the Olympics."
Age: 21. Born: Caerphilly, Wales. Club: Arsenal
Another Welshman with a key role in midfield, the captain of the national side is still struggling to recapture his best form at club level after an horrific leg break in 2010. Will be eager to dictate the tempo of play in midfield alongside Giggs, and could always chip in with a goal.
JP's verdict: "He was given a hard time last season by some Arsenal fans who forgot how young he is but he did not hide. He reminds me of Cesc Fabregas in that he always wants the ball and is looking to create. He could well play alongside Allen, meaning the core of Team GB's midfield could be Welsh."
Age: 23. Born: Bath, England. Club: Swansea
Since signing for Chelsea as a 16-year-old in 2005, much has been expected from Sinclair. Able to operate on either side of a front three or in midfield, Sinclair has found a home as well as his best form in Swansea and hit a hat-trick in their play-off win just over 12 months ago. Sinclair added eight more goals in his first season in the Premier League for the Swans.
JP's verdict: "One of the most underrated players during the first half of last season, he is cool under pressure, has got pace and can turn defenders. He had a good season for Swansea in the Premier League and is at last fulfilling his potential."
Age: 32 Born: Cardiff, Wales Club: Liverpool
With more than 120 league goals to his name, Bellamy is the proven goalscorer who can act as a foil to the rest of the young Team GB squad. A fierce competitor, but doubts remain over Bellamy's ability to play several games in a week.
JP's verdict: "Bellamy will flourish in the senior player role. As a daddy of the team I think he will be very good with the younger players. Love him or hate him, he has scored lots of goals and regularly played well for Wales."
Age: 21. Born: Harrow, north-west London, England. Club: Bolton
Something of a surprise inclusion having made just three senior appearances for Bolton. Gained plenty of first-team experience at Watford, scoring 15 goals in the 2010-11 season, and he has been in good form for England's Under-21s with two goals in seven appearances, which may have swayed Stuart Pearce's decision.
JP's verdict: "This must be one of the surprise selections in the squad, just as it was a surprise when Bolton bought him last season. He will score goals in the Championship and Bolton will be hoping he has a good Olympics so that he starts the new campaign on the run."
Age: 22. Born: Birmingham, England. Club: Chelsea
Capable of playing through the middle or wide on the right, Sturridge cemented his place as a first-team regular for Chelsea last year, scoring 13 times. Another who missed out on a spot in the England squad for the Euros, Sturridge has the pace and finishing ability to score goals on the international stage.
JP's verdict: "Sturridge will be a key man in terms of whether Team GB reach the medal positions. They really need him firing but, worryingly, I thought his head went down a few times towards the end of last season when he was played out of position at Chelsea. He needs to rediscover the perkiness he showed when on loan at Bolton because he will have to shoulder a lot of the goalscoring responsibility
Sport- Who will light the Olympic Flame ?
Updated: 24 Jul 2012
Who will light the Olympic flame ?
There is my first five.
Criminals every one, but what a reflection on the state of Rotten Britain ?
Choosing a squeaky clean- has been- athlete will be forgotten 5 minutes after the deed was done.
A joint Geoffrey Boycott and Sir Alex Ferguson effort possibly ?
But I would go for an anonomous streaker preferably a woman in her twenties because that would be enjoyable to at least half the audience .
After all it is about lighting a fire.
Incredibly,in the UK we don’t have a Nelson Mandela or a Hugo Chavez, but in the spirit of the current games,
the huge commercial event, which excludes the common man or woman,
the flame should be lit by the G4S CEO-Nick Buckles
The hope of those to come.
To make a huge profit out of us all.
Sport-London 2012-A Legacy ? -White Elephant ?- A Costly Waste ?- What is in it for the Common Man ?
Updated: 24 Jul 2012
London 2012 infrastructure legacy or a costly waste?
When London won the Olympics, it was booming.
The GFC changed everything.
In 2008, Tessa Jowell, minister for the Olympics, said: “Had we known what we know now,
would we have bid for the Olympics?
Almost certainly not.”
In 2004 the cost of hosting the London Olympics was estimated at £2.75 billion…
23 July 2012, 6.33am AEST
Richard Tomlinson does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation provides independent analysis and commentary from academics and researchers.
We are funded by CSIRO, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT, UTS, UWA, Deakin, Flinders, La Trobe, Murdoch, QUT, Swinburne, UniSA, UTAS and VU.
Founding Partner of The Conversation.
Olympics are sold on the benefits their infrastructure will bring, but sometimes reality doesn’t match the promise.
When London won the Olympics, it was booming.
The GFC changed everything. In 2008, Tessa Jowell, minister for the Olympics, said: “Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics?
Almost certainly not.”
In 2004 the cost of hosting the London Olympics was estimated at £2.75 billion.
The cost of the subsequently downscaled event has reportedly escalated to between £11 billion and £13 billion.
Although the British Government is underwriting investment in Olympic infrastructure, much of the anticipated private sector interest evaporated in the wake of the financial crisis.
Because the Olympics are profitable for the International Olympics Committee and not for the host city and country – a view that is occasionally debated – the rationale for seeking to host the Olympics and for the commitment of public resources generally focuses on the Olympics intangible “legacy”.
Would it have been built anyway?
The legacy of the 2012 Olympics is its contribution to the existing regeneration strategy for the Lower Lea Valley.
The Lower Lea Valley was once a major manufacturing centre and subsequently became a largely abandoned, occasionally toxic, industrial area.
Some of the residential areas have been described as among the UK’s most “deprived”, and new jobs for residents are central to the regeneration strategy.
If you’re going to the Olympics, you’ll probably go to the Stratford City Westfield. EG Focus/Flickr
The Olympics' legacy largely arises from infrastructure investment.
Interpreting the actual economic contribution of Olympics infrastructure requires differentiating between investment programs:
• Projects that would have occurred regardless of the Olympics, such as the publicly-subsidised private consortium and the London and Continental Railways high-speed rail link.
One cost estimate for hosting the Olympics, £24 billion, included transport infrastructure. Including such projects is more a measure of the writer’s antipathy to mega events than a commitment to facts (allowing that in the case of the Olympics facts are in short supply).
• Projects that were brought forward in time for the Olympics, such as Westfield Stratford City – Europe’s largest shopping centre.
It is estimated that up to 70% of persons attending the Games will pass through Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.
The move by Australian company Westfield to expedite the completion of the centre is hence one that is easily explained.
• Infrastructure developments that were postponed, including the Crossrail Project, a major east-west rail link.
The postponement of the east-west rail link points to the phenomenon of displacement.
The Olympics may generate infrastructure investment but it diverts resources from other projects and from other parts of the country.
Displacement is also often the case for tourism during mega events. For example, during the Sydney Olympics tourism in NSW declined.
• Facilities that were necessary for the Olympics, including the Olympic Stadium and Village, Aquatic Centre, Velodrome and the Media Centre.
Does anyone want to move in?
Looking at the Olympics infrastructure legacy raises many questions: who paid for the projects?
Have public projects been (or will they be) sold to the private sector?
Were they sold at a profit or loss?
And will Olympics venues owned by the London Legacy Development Corporation find tenants that will stimulate the local economy?
The largest Olympic project intended for private investment was the Olympics Village.
After the Games it will be renamed the East Village.
The Village is a £1 billion investment that in its downscaled form will provide 1,400 affordable, publicly-subsidised flats and 1,400 private flats.
No one wanted to move in to the Berlin Olympics village. Dana Liparova
Lend Lease, the intended Australian developer, withdrew from the project after the GFC.
In 2011 the project was sold at a £275m loss to Qatari Diar (a property company of the Qatari royal family), UK developer Delancey and Triathlon Homes – a company that will manage affordable housing in the Village.
The government called this “a fantastic deal that will give taxpayers a great return and show how we are securing a legacy from London’s Games”.
The vision for the Media Centre was that its tenants would be, for example, Google or Cisco, and that the centre would contribute to the East London Tech City technology hub.
However, prominent tenants have not been forthcoming and there is the fear that the Media Centre will become a “white elephant”.
The most obvious question regarding the post-Olympics future concerns the Olympic Stadium.
Unlike many other stadiums built for mega events, the Olympic Stadium benefits from a number of potential tenants, including Premier League football team West Ham United.
The success of the stadium is critical to the legacy success of the Olympic Games.
Home to hundreds: the athletes village will become housing. London 2012
Parks for people … or not
The Olympic Park, after the Games, is to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Most of the Olympic venues are located in South Park, which will become an urban park, with playgrounds, “flowering meadows” and walkways.
Across the restored Lea River, the North Park “is more about ecology [and] a wilder landscape”.
The vision is of a
park that will attract local users and visitors.
This is a more hopeful future than other recent Olympic Parks.
For example, visiting the Sydney Olympic Park late on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, I saw no one.
There was nothing to do and fearing that whoever I saw I would not want to see, I left.
Sport - The 2012 Olympics in Pure Economic Terms
Updated: 24 Jul 2012
The Olympics in Pure Economics
The 2012 Olympics is costing approx £12bn and there are 15,000 participants in the Olympics and Para Olympics.
That is £800,000 per participant!
What could we do with that in these times of austerity.
How many Hospitals, Schools, Child Nurseries or
Jobs, leading to Growth & Culture
or the UK Infrastructure ?
All gone up in a flash
Sport- Cricket Crackit- GB ( who else) on England V South Africa
Updated: 19 Jul 2012
England v South Africa:
Graeme Swann's spin can give hosts the edge
My advice to England is they should not get carried away with their one-day demolition of Australia.
Game turner: England's Graeme Swann is expected to have a better series than South Africa's Imran Tahir
By Geoffrey Boycott
8:00AM BST 17 Jul 2012
Don’t get sloppy and think you only have to turn up to win.
If we are over-confident we will lose to South Africa in the three-Test series that begins on Thursday.
We played well and deserved to beat Australia but remember they were playing out of season.
Some of them had not had competitive cricket for a while, and on top of that injuries hurt them.
South Africa are a good, well-balanced side and our biggest rivals now for the No 1 slot.
In seam bowling and batting there is nothing to choose between the sides.
We have to be at our best.
They can beat us.
They have enough talent.
But it is not an easy call picking a winner from a mouth-watering series.
This is the first time for a while in England it has been hard to say who is going to win.
Where we do score a slight advantage over South Africa is in spin bowling and wicketkeeping.
Matt Prior is a key component.
His keeping has been marvellous for the past couple of years but he has to keep up that high standard and bat well.
I don’t want to see him playing a shot a ball, making little cameos before getting himself out. He needs to bat properly and make an impact.
I am sad about the eye injury to Mark Boucher.
It was very unlucky but I felt he was coming to the end of his career and his batting was diminishing.
They have been looking around for sometime to find a successor and it was reported they tried to tap up Craig Kieswetter a while ago.
A key factor will be how the stand-in wicketkeeper, A B de Villiers, holds up to a six-hour day in the field.
He keeps wicket and captains in the 50-over game but that is only 3½ hours and then he gets a few days off.
Where England have a definite edge is in the spin department. Graeme Swann is miles better than Imran Tahir.
They don’t have any wicket-taking spinners and they have drafted in this Pakistani leg-spinner because he has a South African wife.
We can’t complain because we have plenty of South Africans and an Irishman knocking about our team.
The other area we score highly in is the lower-order runs from guys such as Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Swann. England’s batting runs deep whereas South Africa have a longer tail.
These are only small areas but can be crucial in a tight three-match series and we have to make them count.
Ravi Bopara will come into the side as the one change from the West Indies series and the fact he made runs in the one-dayers will be good for his confidence and form.
But quite frankly we don’t have any other batsman queuing up to play anyway.
It is one reason there is a question mark over the batting if we get injuries to the batsmen.
The other man back in the side is Kevin Pietersen.
He scored a brilliant double hundred for Surrey and looks in cracking form.
But it will not always work out that way.
When he doesn’t play for England in one-day cricket and there is only Twenty20 on the county schedule, he won’t get enough batting.
It was a calculated gamble by him to retire from one-day cricket.
But it is not easy to dip in and out.
Every batsman needs runs for his form and confidence.
Our seam bowling is top-class.
We have Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions and they are as good as any other line-up in the world.
But South Africa are good too. Dale Steyn is the No 1 bowler in the world.
He is quicker than Jimmy.
He bowls outswing and seam.
Jimmy is a bit craftier but both are the ‘go-to’ guy when the going gets tough for their team.
If either of these guys gets on a roll he can change a Test match very quickly.
Morne Morkel is a tall guy with a high action who gets awkward bounce.
He has a tendency to bowl a touch too short for English pitches and needs to pitch the ball up another two to three feet and find that awkward, fuller length that made Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath and Vintcent van der Bijl so good and difficult to play in this country.
Vernon Philander is an English-type seamer.
He is not too quick but his biggest asset is hitting the deck on a good length around off stump.
He bowls in that ‘corridor of uncertainty’ for batsmen that made McGrath a great wicket-taking bowler.
It is simple and effective.
As for the batsmen, I think England should target Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla.
Kallis is the key player, important to the balance of the team because he is a world-class batsman, a world-class slip fielder and is still a very decent seam bowler.
England have got to get him out.
Smith as captain is a hard man.
He has been a big scorer up front for this team for many years.
It is crucial we get at him early and make life difficult by not allowing him to score on his favourite leg side. This is his third tour here and we need to have better plans for him.
Amla is a quiet guy but don’t be misled as he has improved tremendously over the past couple of years.
He has been so good and successful with a wide range of shots on the front or back foot.
He plays a bit freely around off stump but it works for him.
He also plays well off his hip and legs
Sport- Der Spiegel brands UK Olympic "one big,soggy mess"
Updated: 19 Jul 2012
Germans laugh at Olympic disaster
as top magazine brands 2012 Games 'one big, soggy mess'
Don't come then !
Need another reason to leave the EU ?
Remind them of the 1936- Jesse Owen -games disaster ? –
That one left them with more than Uber Alles !
• Leading German news magazine pokes fun at London's Olympic planning
• Der Spiegel: 'Visitors will need determination to reach the venues at all'
• Games will be an 'arduous obstacle for everyone', magazine claims
By Allan Hall In Berlin
PUBLISHED: 10:57, 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 14:47, 18 July 2012
They have a reputation for faultless efficiency and planning events with meticulous detail.
So perhaps we should be worried that Germans already believe London 2012 will be an 'Olympic-sized disaster'.
Germany's leading news magazine has launched an attack on Britain’s preparations for the Olympics, poking fun at facilities and warning that the Games are destined to go down in history as a gigantic 'soggy mess'.
Provocative: A German magazine article has poked fun at Britain's preparations for the Games, warning we can expect an 'Olympic-sized disaster'
The article in Der Spiegel trashes numerous aspects about the Games, from the 'clattering' Tube system that will transport most spectators to Olympic venues to pavements that are 'too narrow' and a passport control situation at Heathrow bordering on chaotic.
'London and the Olympic Games are clearly not made for each other,' it said.
The article claims that the Olympics, which will run from July 27 to August 12, will be an 'arduous obstacle course for everyone'.
Venue: An aerial photograph of the Olympic stadium in Stratford, east London. Germans say it will host a 'soggy mess'
'Starting this week, the world’s biggest financial centre will be gripped by a special condition usually only seen in wartime,' it reads.
Controversial: The article appeared in this edition of Der Spiegel, Germany's leading news magazine
'Its 7.8million inhabitants are about to be joined by an average of 1million additional visitors per day.
'The already overloaded public-transportation system will be burdened with an additional 3 million fares per day.
'A total of 109 miles of the city’s streets will be closed off to normal traffic.
'Almost twice as many soldiers as Britain has in Afghanistan, a helicopter carrier and special forces units armed to the teeth will make the city look like it’s under siege.'
The Germans, whose last efforts at hosting the Olympic Games saw Israeli athletes murdered in Munich in a security fiasco in 1972, then criticise an aspect beyond our control - the weather.
It reads: 'And then there’s England’s classic bad weather, which has some wondering whether the Summer Games will turn into a fiasco.
'The weather has been cold, wet and gloomy since the spring, with last month proving to be the wettest June on record.
'The meteorologists’ Olympic forecasts are nothing short of dismal: rain, rain and, yes, more rain.
And it won’t just be falling on the athletes, but also on the most highest-priced seats in the Olympic Stadium.
'Optimistic planners decided not to cover those seats, unlike the rest of them.'
The long and rambling article takes aim at many features of British life, even making fun of child obesity.
'And the children? They haven’t become athletes, either,' it states.
'Under siege': Two soldiers pass the Olympic stadium.
The article comments on the large numbers of Armed Forces personnel on duty at the Games
Lampooned: Germans have made fun of London's 'clattering' Tube system, which will take the majority of visitors to Olympic venues
'On the contrary, the boys and girls of the British Isles are among the fattest in the European Union.
'London’s poor East End now has an Olympic Park and the largest shopping centre in the EU -- but it’s still poor.'
The article finishes: 'Though London has many natural gifts, they aren’t of the kind that makes it ideal to host such a major event.
'And because Great Britain is both a debt-ridden and democratic country, it wasn’t possible to radically reshape London for the event, as the Chinese did with Beijing in 2008.
'The 2012 London Olympics will probably end up looking like the host city itself: a little chaotic, a little infuriating, never perfect, but with a lot of room for improvisation, charm and talent.
'Those who live there will be delighted, of course, but only once it’s over.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2175277/Germans-laugh-Olympic-disaster-magazine-brands-2012-Games-big-soggy-mess.html#ixzz20z0COWNl
Sport- England v South Africa Test Series 2012 dates and venues
Updated: 18 Jul 2012
England v South Africa Test Series 2012
19 July 2012
England v South Africa - 1st Test - Day 1
London United Kingdom
20 July 2012
England v South Africa - 1st Test - Day 2
London United Kingdom
21 July 2012
England v South Africa - 1st Test - Day 3
London United Kingdom
22 July 2012
England v South Africa - 1st Test - Day 4
London United Kingdom
23 July 2012
England v South Africa - 1st Test - Day 5
London United Kingdom
02 August 2012
England v South Africa - 2nd Test - Day 1
Headingley Cricket Ground
Leeds United Kingdom
03 August 2012
England v South Africa - 2nd Test - Day 2
Headingley Cricket Ground
Leeds United Kingdom
04 August 2012
England v South Africa - 2nd Test - Day 3
Headingley Cricket Ground
Leeds United Kingdom
05 August 2012
England v South Africa - 2nd Test - Day 4
Headingley Cricket Ground
Leeds United Kingdom
06 August 2012
England v South Africa - 2nd Test - Day 5
Headingley Cricket Ground
Leeds United Kingdom
16 August 2012
England v South Africa - 3rd Test - Day 1
London United Kingdom
17 August 2012
England v South Africa - 3rd Test - Day 2
London United Kingdom
18 August 2012
England v South Africa - 3rd Test - Day 3
London United Kingdom
19 August 2012
England v South Africa - 3rd Test - Day 4
London United Kingdom
20 August 2012
England v South Africa - 3rd Test - Day 5
London United Kingdom
Sport- Taking your Brownie to the Olympics ?
Updated: 17 Jul 2012
Olympics organisers refuse to confirm what cameras
people can take to venues
People visiting Wembley Stadium to watch football at the Olympics could be refused entry if they bring the wrong type of camera
James Temperton News Photography 15/07/2012
Locog weren't able to say what cameras people could take to Wembley Stadium
London 2012 organisers have refused to say what cameras will be allowed at Olympic football matches at Wembley Stadium, meaning people could be turned away at ticket barriers.
Computeractive and the British Journal of Photography have found that Wembley stadium will prohibit all kinds of "professional-style cameras" with interchangeable lenses.
Such rules are designed to ban DSLR cameras, but could also include compact cameras with interchangeable lenses. Sony, Samsung, Pentax, Olympus and Panasonic - an official Olympic sponsor - all make compact cameras with lenses that can be removed and changed.
This could mean that spectators with such cameras could be refused entry to Wembley Stadium.
When asked to clarify the rules, a spokesman for Locog was unable to say exactly what cameras were prohibited.
"It is generally felt that it would be impractical to publish a definitive list of cameras and lenses which would or would not meet the requirements," he said.
"Interchangeable lenses are now very commonplace and for this reason the intention is to take a responsible but pragmatic approach."
Locog added that people should have sufficient "knowledge and sense" to work out what would and would not be allowed.
When asked if security officers would be trained to understand the difference between professional and consumer cameras, Locog didn't respond.
All other Olympic venues have very clear rules on what camera equipment will be allowed.
On a list of restricted items, Locog states that any camera with a lens over 30cm in length will not be allowed.
Click here for the full story on the British Journal of Photography.
Sport-Way Out ? A Magical Mystery Tour for Olypmians lost in traffic
Updated: 17 Jul 2012
Bus carrying weary US athletes from Heathrow
takes four hours to reach Olympic Village
as driver gets lost in traffic
The journey took four hours – twice as long as the world record for
the Marathon, a similar distance.
Monday 16 July 2012
A new track record was set
today in London, when a bus carrying weary US athletes from Heathrow airport
to the Olympic Village took four hours – twice as long as the world record for
the Marathon, a similar distance.
Kerron Clement, a Olympic champion hurdler, was on board the Spanish-made bus.
“We’ve been lost on the road for 4hrs,” he tweeted plaintively as the hapless bus driver tried to find his way to Stratford. “Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee …
Not a good first impression London.”
As sportsmen and women took almost as long to make their way across the capital as they had to fly halfway around the world, the host city began shakily in the most punishing 2012 event of all: the Olympic image hurdles.
All eyes had been on Heathrow, which was expecting the busiest day in its history – and the first of three “red days” before and after the Games.
With immigration desks fully staffed, and hundreds of volunteers drafted in, the host airport was calm.
Simon Johansson, who flew into Terminal 5 from Stockholm, said: “I’d been told I’d be waiting for three or four hours. In fact, it was two or three minutes.”
The main baggage drama involved three sails belonging to the Australian sailing team who flew in on Qantas.
The missing equipment was eventually tracked down in a cargo shed, where it had been taken in error because of its size, and re-united with the team.
Most Olympic opprobrium was directed at London’s creaking road network – and the Games Lanes that are exclusively for official vehicles and taxis, with a £130 fine for encroachment.
They have been nicknamed “Zil lanes” after the Soviet practice of reserving road space in Moscow for Communist Party dignitaries in Zil limousines.
The first lane opened – or, depending on the driver’s status – closed – at 5.30am.
For the ordinary motoring mortal, effectively it narrows the motorway from three lanes to two just one junction ahead of the normal bottleneck.
It looks like a bus lane, but on the wrong side of the road, and without the usual accompaniment of cyclists and illegally parked cars.
After some rush-hour hold-ups as drivers grappled with the new concept, by lunchtime traffic was flowing smoothly on the motorway from Heathrow into central London.
But Londoners reacted furiously to the first experience of being excluded from road space. Charlie Mullins, founder of the central London firm Pimlico Plumbers, said “I've already told my guys if it's the difference between a £130 fine or letting up to 3,000 litres of water destroy someone's home, then it's a no-brainer.
Your van becomes a Very Important Plumbing (VIP) vehicle. No question!”
Life is fast in the Zil lane, with drivers of many of the official vehicles seeming to think their status gives them immunity from the 60mph speed limit.
While The Independent’s staff car paralleled the lane at a constant mile a minute, a number of vehicles with blacked-out windows sped past.
Mercedes appears to be the favoured vehicle for racing through the July murk, followed closely by Audi in various metallic finishes.
Taxi drivers are also allowed to use the M4 lane.
But this concession did little to dampen their fury at the way they have been sidelined from the Games.
Michael Epstein from Watford, waiting for passengers at Paddington station, said: “The most frustrating thing is: had they cooperated with the cab trade, we would have worked with them to work out a scheme for every motorist, using our experience.”
Some bus drivers working by LOCOG to ferry competitors around appear well short of qualifying for the “Knowledge” of London that is required of taxi drivers, with an Australian contingent taken on an involuntary sightseeing tour that too three hours.
The organisers shrugged off criticism: "We have successfully completed a large number of bus journeys so far today,” said a spokeswoman for London 2012.
“Whilst there may have been one or two journeys taking longer than planned, the vast majority were completed successfully."
But once the US hurdler, Kerron Clement, reached his destination, he cheered up: “Eating at the Olympic Village. Love the variety of food choices. African, Caribbean, Halal cuisine, India and Asian and of course McDonalds.”
Sport- Whistleblowers Olympic Security Warning
Updated: 13 Jul 2012
Whistleblowers Olympic Security Warning
Sky News •
Whistleblower's Olympic Security Warning
A whistleblower involved in training staff for security firm G4S has told Sky News he believes there is a 50-50 chance someone could carry a bomb into one of the Olympic venues.
He alleges that because of the pressure to recruit staff corners have been cut and some of the staff are not up to the job.
The employee, whose identity Sky News is not revealing, said there is a "no fail" policy for security staff and all recruits passed the course regardless of how competent they were.
Staff - who had received two days of intensive training operating X-ray machines to detect lethal weapons and explosives - failed to spot decommissioned hand-grenades and firearms during a test.
Security officers asked to pat down a volunteer with a deactivated 9mm pistol in his sock failed to find the weapon.
Another guard picked up a fake improvised explosive device put through an X-ray scanner as a test and waved it around, despite being trained never to touch suspect bombs.
A trainee, who failed to keep track of which personal items belonged to whom, enabled a volunteer to put a mock bomb through the X-ray machine then disappear into the crowd.
All these members of staff were later passed as having successfully completed training. They were told to collect their security badge and uniform and were cleared to work in the Olympic park.
The whistleblower who contacted Sky News has extensive military and professional security training and is an expert in weapons and IED detection.
He said: “I can see so many security loopholes for this event.
Security staff are given a very short time to achieve their training and there is a very slack approach.
“During my employment I planted pretend IEDs, decommissioned weapons, knives and other large metallic objects on students and sent them through the metal detectors.
“They’re not being seen by X-ray staff and they’re not being picked up during physical searches, so the training is completely insufficient.
“The people making these mistakes are then given a tick in the box at the end of the day, sent round the corner to collect their uniform and sent home to await an email with their start date.
“Ninety-nine per cent of personnel coming through have no security background; many have language problems so they won’t be able to communicate with ticketholders and many completely lack confidence.
“We found out we’d won the bid for the Olympics in plenty of time. If they had recruited and vetted personnel from day one I don’t think there would be a problem.
G4S said it was committed to ensuring the games were “safe and secure”.
In a statement, the company said: “This is an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment and deployment exercise which is being carried out to a very tight schedule.
“We have made very significant progress - we already have around 4,000 people at work across 100 venues.
"We currently have over 9,000 additional people going through the final stages of the required extensive training, vetting and accreditation process.
“We have encountered some delays in progressing applicants through the final stages but we are working extremely hard to process these as swiftly as possible.
“We understand the Government's decision to bring in additional resources and will work with LOCOG, the military and other agencies to deliver a safe and secure Games."
Sport- FiFA and Blatter drag football through the gutter again
Updated: 13 Jul 2012
FIFA drags football through the gutter again
By Eurosport |
Sepp Blatter is a man with a list of bizarre statements longer than David Icke's, but yesterday his insistence he was "pleased" a Swiss court released a much-awaited document regarding FIFA, bribes and now defunct marketing company ISL was still pretty incredible.
The president of football's global governing body was apparently happy that finally - and only after years and years of pressure from some noble media outlets like the BBC, who have been castigated for pursuing the story - the real extent of the corruption, greed and venal self-interest that has gripped FIFA was laid bare for all to see.
As a snapshot of a much-derided institution it was perhaps more damaging than any of the revelations and controversies that have preceded it. FIFA's tendency to drag football through the gutter is one of Early Doors' most common topics, but even it was shocked at just how much devil was in the detail of the court report published by the prosecutor's office of the Swiss canton of Zug.
Here in a legal document were substantial and damning allegations about how two former senior figures in FIFA - Joao Havelange and Ricardo Teixeira - took as much as 21.9 million Swiss francs (£14.4 million) in bribes from a now defunct marketing company over the course of eight years.
The same marketing company that was awarded the TV rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Huge amounts of money enriched officials who were supposed to be guardians of the game.
Money that could otherwise have been invested into grass-roots projects or assisting vulnerable young players - two key areas of FIFA's remit.
It is easy to become apathetic when it comes to FIFA and corruption scandals, such is the regularity with which they occur, but this must be the worst outrage to hit the beleaguered body.
Commercial bribery was not illegal in Switzerland at the time the alleged payments occurred yet the Swiss prosecutor still felt compelled to pursue the two FIFA figures for breaches of their duty to the organisation.
The matter was settled when the two men agreed to return a portion of the money that had come their way.
But is not just the scale of the alleged bribery that is so damning to FIFA, it is the fact the organisation knew about it.
The document states: "The finding that FIFA had knowledge of the bribery payments to persons within its organs is not questioned.
This is firstly because various members of the executive committee had received money, and furthermore, a [1m Swiss francs] payment made to Joao Havelange was mistakenly directly transferred to a FIFA account."
If it wasn't so serious then this would be seriously funny - it is comic bungling of the highest order. But incredibly, despite having knowledge of all this, FIFA left Havelange untouched and allowed Teixeira to remain a member of the executive committee - voting on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup decisions - until he resigned himself due to ill health in March this year.
Why was no action taken against him or Havelange? Why did FIFA demand that criminal proceedings were ended against the two men when agreeing to pay 2.5million Swiss francs (£1.64m) in compensation?
Given Blatter was a senior figure at FIFA throughout this time - ascending to the presidency to replace his big pal Havelange in 1998 - it is laughable that since last year he has been attempting to lead a campaign against corruption, of which his insistence that he was "pleased" by the letter's release was no doubt a small part.
Perhaps Blatter's pleasure can also be explained by the fact he was not personally named as taking bribes, but the fact the whole scandal played out on his watch, and that FIFA settled the matter without then taking action against Havelange and Teixeira, allowing the latter to remain a hugely influential figure with a leading role in organising the 2014 World Cup in his homeland of Brazil, is no less damning.
This is the point when ED would normally demand that if FIFA was serious about rooting out the corruption that has stripped it of any credibility then Blatter and his fellow cronies in the old regime would do the decent thing and step down.
After all, they are responsible for the culture in which these alleged activities have taken place.
But, sadly, we know that isn't going to happen, don't we?
Like the proverbial cockroach surviving nuclear apocalypse, FIFA's venerable leader survives controversy after controversy.
Idiotic claims about racism or homophobia are brushed aside; an entirely farcical election last year, in which he was the only candidate, is forgotten.
FIFA is an unaccountable organisation. Never has that been clearer than this morning. It secretly settled a bribery prosecution against two of its leading lights and then took no action whatsoever against them.
There is a chance to make a stand here, however woefully late.
Blatter can reveal exactly what he knew about the ISL bribes, and when, while FIFA can announce investigations into the payments highlighted by the document released on Wednesday and promise some real punishments.
However, at present that seems desperately unlikely. With matters as serious as this brushed under the carpet for years, away from public scrutiny, how can we have faith in FIFA as an organisation?
The answer is simple: we can't, not when it is so wrapped up in naked self-interest and Blatter, with his hollow anti-corruption rhetoric, remains in charge.
Sport- Common as Shit ?- I would not let these footballers walk my dog let alone my child.
Updated: 13 Jul 2012
Red faces all round as players' murky world is exposed
in John Terry racism court case
A low point for football on a landmark day
as foul language and embarrassed lip-readers dominate proceedings
Tuesday 10 July 2012
It was the moment when Anton Ferdinand was asked to demonstrate to the court the "shagging gesture" he had directed at John Terry that one assumed was the low-point of the day's proceedings at Westminster magistrates' court.
But then there was also the two lip-reading experts, one of them a profoundly deaf woman, approaching her senior years, who were forced to pick their way through the "industrial language" of two Premier League footballers for the benefit of the court. T
he first of the two, Susan Whitewood, instinctively said "Excuse me" before she first uttered the phrase "black c***".
The case of Regina v John Terry, for a racially aggravated offence contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1996, may be a landmark for English football but listening to it unfold yesterday did the game – as we know it – no favours at all.
The first day of a trial to decide whether Terry called Ferdinand a "black c***" during the Premier League game between Queen's Park Rangers and Chelsea on 23 October last year laid bare what really takes place during an elite-level English football match and much of it was embarrassing.
At first, the counsel for the prosecution, Duncan Penny QC, had to tell Ferdinand not to apologise or hold back when it came to the foul language that is a central part of the case but very soon after that, it was impossible to keep count of the amount of times the words "c***", "shagging" and the phrase "f****** black c***" had been used.
For Ferdinand, there was the blunt admission that he had called Terry "a c***" for "shagging a team-mate's missus", as well as goading him with a "gesture".
He was asked by Penny how many times he had used the insult against Terry.
"I couldn't tell you," Ferdinand replied.
The nature of Ferdinand's evidence was that on a football pitch, any kind of abuse was permissible, albeit with one glaring exception.
"If someone calls you a c*** that's fine but if someone puts your colour into it takes it to another level," Ferdinand told the court. "It's very hurtful."
Ferdinand sipped regularly from a cup of water in front of him and, when under pressure from the defence counsel, Mr George Carter-Stephenson QC, he tended to look over at his family, including his mother Janice, in the public gallery as if seeking help on an answer.
At one point during his evidence, Ferdinand began to twist left and right at the waist as if he was warming up for a match rather than preparing for cross-examination from the defence.
At other times, he struggled to keep his emotions in check such as when he was questioned on the role of his PR adviser Justin Rigby, and who it was who paid for his services.
On that occasion, Ferdinand responded by asking what relevance it had on the case.
At other times, he addressed Mr Carter-Stephenson as "sir".
Asked whether he was wound up during the game between QPR and Chelsea, Ferdinand described himself as a "calm and collected person".
Asked whether what was described as Terry's attempts to win a penalty following the challenge on him by Ferdinand that led to their incident had made him angry, Ferdinand responded: "Yes, because I'm a winner."
The exchanges between the two men that prefaced the key incident also featured Terry waving his hand in front of his face to suggest that Ferdinand had "bad breath".
"He called me a c***, I called him a c*** back and he gave me the gesture that my breath smelled," Ferdinand told the court.
The evidence from Ferdinand portrayed the west London derby at Loftus Road, which ended in a 1-0 victory for the home side against a team reduced to nine men by the end of the game, as a tense occasion.
There was a stand-off in the tunnel after the game, Mr Carter-Stephenson told the court, in which "both captains had to usher their teams back to the dressing room to prevent problems".
Afterwards, Ferdinand was sent a message by Terry via the QPR kitman that the Chelsea captain wanted to meet up and was brought into the away dressing room by Ashley Cole.
Cole had, the court heard, originally told Ferdinand on the pitch at the end of the game that he could "not talk to JT like that".
It was in the meeting in the dressing room that Terry asked Ferdinand whether he was alleging the Chelsea man had racially abused him.
"He said to me 'What happened, geez?'" Ferdinand said. "'Geez' is short for geezer, right?" responded the Crown counsel.
The two players agreed there that there had been no racial abuse and that it was, in Ferdinand's words, "handbags". "Yeah, handbags, banter, nothing serious," Ferdinand said.
Later, once he had seen the clip on YouTube shown to him by his girlfriend, and become aware of the alleged racial element, Ferdinand was asked under cross-examination from Carter-Stephenson why he had not reported it sooner.
"I had training the next day," he said. "But that didn't stop your mouth working did it?" Carter-Stephenson replied.
Later in his cross-examination, Ferdinand's answers suggested that he had always been reluctant to bring the issue to the police.
"It was more about what happens on the pitch and I wanted the FA [Football Association] to deal with it."
Sitting alone behind the glass frontage of the dock, Terry was brought cups of water by a courtroom security guard.
Once Ferdinand was dismissed, there was a detailed examination of the evidence from the two lip-reading experts by both sides and the tension that had accompanied Ferdinand's appearance dissipated.
For the Premier League, however, the evidence of the secret world of its footballers will not be dispelled so quickly
Sport-?- Corruption-"Snouts in the trough" as MP's handed free Olympic tickets by BT-Bloody Terrible
Updated: 13 Jul 2012
Anonymous MPs handed free Olympic 100m tickets
Thursday 12 July 2012
by Tony Patey
Eyebrows were raised as it emerged today that four MPs so far have been handed free corporate tickets allowing them to see the most sought-after Olympic event - the men's 100m final.
The quartet - members of the culture, media and sport select committee - apparently accepted the tickets as part of a formal briefing by BT, one of the sponsors of the Games.
But critics say it could mean a conflict of interest because the committee is a watchdog over telecoms issues, according to the Daily Mail which broke the story. The scenario may also enrage millions who haven't been able to get anywhere near a ticket.
Ministers have been banned from taking up free offers but committee chairman John Whittingdale gave the go-ahead because he reckoned members had been keeping an eye on the Games for five years.
BT confirmed to the Morning Star that the MPs - who were not identified - will be there on the day of the men's 100m final and that the tickets are worth £420. A spokesperson said that the 13-member cross-party committee "has a remit that covers the Olympics."
They added: "So as a major sponsor we feel it is appropriate to brief them on BT's role. The briefing concludes with our hosting them at the stadium.
"Four members of the committee have accepted to date.
"The vast majority of the tickets we have bought are going to our retail customers through our Record Breakers promotion or our employees for reward and recognition."
The firm declined to comment further but other sources claim the guests will not actually be taken to the hospitality centre.
Instead, MPs will be briefed at the BT Tower in central London before heading off for the stadium which is ticket only.
Sport- Olympic Martial Law for Martial Arts and Shooting range ?
Updated: 12 Jul 2012
London 2012: army reinforcements called in for the Olympics
Exclusive: Military to provide up to 3,500 extra troops
amid fears G4S may be unable to supply 10,000 guards it promised to deliver
Nick Hopkins and Owen Gibson
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 July 2012 17.11 BST
An army training exercise in Blackheath: Whitehall's patience with G4S ran out last weekend and it turned to the MoD to fill the gap.
The military has been asked to provide up to 3,500 extra troops to guard the London Olympics, amid concerns that private security firm G4S will be unable to deliver the number of staff it promised.
Ministers have been forced into the last-ditch move only a fortnight before the Games because they are concerned that G4S cannot guarantee it will be able to supply the 13,700 guards it was contracted to deliver.
One Whitehall insider accused the Home Office of "sticking its head in the sand" over the need to deploy extra military personnel.
"This has been an accident waiting to happen. The Home Office has waited to make a decision on this because G4S has been saying it is all in hand. But we've run out of time."
The home secretary, Theresa May, has been pressing G4S to provide assurances over its commitments, but patience in Whitehall ran out last weekend and talks began over whether the Ministry of Defence could fill the gap.
"The army will provide an insurance policy," said a Whitehall source. The armed forces are already providing up to 13,500 personnel for the Games – split between the venues and back-up for police. Under the contingency plans, this could reach 16,500 – 7,000 more than are being deployed in Afghanistan.
The MoD has been seeking guarantees that any soldiers drafted in at the last moment will be properly compensated for cancelled leave.
A defence source said that the army units that may be required had been identified and put at a state of shortened readiness. They will be deployed incrementally, as needed, and logistical and training hubs were already being set up to co-ordinate them.
"This is not about the security of the Olympics being in peril," said the source. "Nobody would let that happen. The military has been asked to help, so of course the military will help. I think the general public will be relieved to see members of the British armed forces at the venues providing security. Quite a lot needs to be done, this is a big issue for us, but we can do it."
The issue of venue security has been the most contentious for organisers and the government in the runup to the Olympics, after the London organising committee (Locog) admitted in December it had wildly underestimated the number of staff required to deliver security at 34 Olympic venues in London and around the country.
The figure required more than doubled from 10,000 to 23,700 and the budget went up from £282m to £553m. All security costs for the Games are met from the £9.3bn government funding package provided from public funds, as opposed to Locog's £2bn operating budget.
The Home Office permanent secretary, Dame Helen Ghosh, has admitted that Locog's original "best estimate" of 10,000 security staff within venues had been a "finger in the air" exercise.
Another source on the London 2012 board has previously described the security operation as a "blind spot" in Locog's planning for the Games.
It will spark fresh questions over the extent to which the Games will appear overly reliant on the armed forces – last week it was confirmed that surface-to-air missiles would be located at six sites around the capital, despite protests from residents and some MPs.
The navy's biggest warship, HMS Ocean, will be stationed in the Thames and four Typhoon fighter jets will be on standby at RAF Northolt in Middlesex. Armed Puma helicopters will also be on standby.
The London 2012 chairman, Lord Coe, has insisted that London will not feel like a "siege city" during the Games and Chris Allison, the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner and national Olympic security co-ordinator, has insisted it will be a "blue Games".
Organisers have insisted that 8.8 million ticketholders will be reassured rather than panicked by the sight of military personnel, citing the example of Wimbledon. But such large numbers of military personnel have never been mobilised in the UK during peacetime.
Organisers believe G4S needs at least 19,000 security guards to fulfil its £284m contract, which requires 10,400 licenced guards and 3,300 students. The extra guards are needed as a buffer when staff fail to turn up or fail security screening. G4S were also due to manage the 7,500 military personnel and 2,500 volunteers. The 3,500 extra troops may not all be required but the government is keen to have them in place in case G4S is unable to deliver.
The government is believed to have agreed to a "just in time" approach to training the guards in a bid to avoid costs spiralling further. In addition to £553m security budget, a further £600m has been set aside for the police operation, although the Home Office has said it should be able to deliver for £475m.
G4S said it had 4,000 staff in venues and more than 20,000 in training. A spokesman for G4S said that issues over "scheduling and deployment" were being dealt with.
"Our programme to train and deploy our security workforce for the 2012 Games is continuing and has stepped up in the past few weeks," said the spokesman. "Issues we have faced over scheduling and deployment are being worked out and we are continuing to work hard to get a robust workforce in place for the start of the Games."
Sport- Olympic Torch idea copied from Nazis
Updated: 11 Jul 2012
Olympic torch was all just nazi propaganda
Tuesday 10 July 2012
It might be of interest to note that the Olympic torch - the modern emblem of the Games - does not derive from, or have a traditional connection to, the ancient Greek Games.
The torch is a complete invention of the nazis.
Leni Riefenstahl (a nazi film-maker) was the first to symbolise the torch in sycophenetic propaganda film designed to boost the image of Hitler and his regime for the 1936 Berlin Games.
But an angry Hitler left the stadium when the black US athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals, debunking the nazi racial theory of Aryan superiority - and undoing the work of Hitler's own faithful film-maker.
Sport- To clean up football first clean up the language with a bar of soap
Updated: 10 Jul 2012
John Terry's remarks were 'very hurtful', Anton Ferdinand tells court
Chelsea captain is accused of making racist comments to QPR footballer during match last year
• Caroline Davies
• guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 July 2012 14.16 BST
John Terry arrives at Westminster magistrates court, where he is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence.
The Queens Park Rangers footballer Anton Ferdinand has told a court he found alleged racist comments made by John Terry "very hurtful" as the trial of the England and Chelsea defender began.
Terry, 31, is accused of calling Ferdinand a "fucking black cunt" during a Premier League match at Loftus Road last October.
He denies the charge, saying the remarks were "sarcastic exclamation" in relation to a perceived "false accusation" made by Ferdinand that he had used the words.
Westminster magistrates court heard that the incident had occurred in the 84th minute of the match, just after Ferdinand and Terry had clashed on the pitch.
Ferdinand said he was not aware of the alleged remarks until after the game, when his then girlfriend showed him YouTube footage on her BlackBerry in the QPR players' lounge.
He said had he known at the time what Terry was alleged to have said, he would have reported it to officials.
"I would have been obviously very hurt," he said, adding that he would not have reacted on the pitch – because "being a professional you can't do that" – but would have dealt with it afterwards.
The court heard of "industrial language" used by players.
Ferdinand told the court being called a "cunt" was fine.
"But when someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level and it's very hurtful."
The chief magistrate Howard Riddle, who is trying the case, heard that Chelsea were down to nine men in the clash when Terry and Ferdinand began trading insults.
As Terry sat in the glass-panelled dock, Ferdinand stood in the witness box opposite. He told the court: "He called me a cunt, and I called him a cunt back.
And he gave me a gesture as if to say my breath smelled.
"I said to him: 'How can you call me a cunt?
You shagged your team-mate's missus, you're a cunt'."
This was a reference to Terry's alleged affair with his then team-mate Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.
As Ferdinand jogged down the pitch, he made a "slow fist pump" gesture with his right hand, indicating sex.
After the match, the Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole told him: "You can't talk to JT like that."
Ferdinand was asked to meet Terry in the away team's dressing room. He said Terry asked him: "Do you think I racially abused you?"
Ferdinand told the court: "I was like: 'No.' I said: 'No, that never came out of my mouth.'" He said Cole then said: "Yeah, didn't you say that to me?" Ferdinand added: "I said: 'I didn't say that at all.'"
Ferdinand said he and Terry had agreed the incident was "just handbags" – or banter.
But at around 7pm, one hour after the game ended, Ferdinand went to the QPR players' lounge.
"My girlfriend at the time said to me, did John Terry racially abuse me. I looked at her like she was crazy and said no."
She then showed him footage sent to her BlackBerry from YouTube, Ferdinand said, and he believed a racist term had been used.
Terry denies a racially aggravated public order offence and claims he was only sarcastically repeating what Ferdinand wrongly thought he had said.
Under cross-examination by George Carter-Stephenson QC, for Terry, Ferdinand denied he had gone into the dressing room because he felt "guilty" about the allegations he had made.
He was accused of missing out key comments in his statement to police because of the "risk of exposing" what he had said to Terry.
The QC asked Ferdinand if he had decided to "up it" and add the racial allegations because he was angry that Terry was not rising to his comments on the pitch. He said he had not.
In a statement made after the incident, Terry said he was offended by the accusation.
"Whilst footballers are used to industrial language, using racist terms is completely unacceptable whatever [the] situation.
"I was completely taken aback by this remark as I have never been accused of something like that and I did not take his remark lightly at all, and took strong offence to his suggestion," he said.
The case continues
Sport- Death, Destruction and Corporate Scam -The London Olympics 2012
Updated: 07 Jul 2012
Death, Destruction and a Corporate Scam: London Olympics 2012
Deccan Herald 29/6/2012
The forthcoming London Olympics are taking place in a country that has allied itself with US military adventures across the world.
From Libya and Sudan through to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and into Pakistan, the US, with Britain often in tow, has stoked up ethnic and political tensions and attacked sovereign nation states under the notion of humanitarian interventionism or the war on terror.
Little wonder then that, with one eye on the Olympics, the Director General of Britain’s MI5 secret services agency Jonathan Evans in a recent speech declared that there is no shortage of individuals wanting to mount terrorist attacks in the UK.
As part of an Anglo-US establishment that is responsible for so much of the mayhem in the world, Britain’s MI5 chief could do well to ponder on Noam Chomsky’s comments when asked about the best way to prevent terrorism: “Stop committing it.”
In the absence of any will whatsoever by the west to stop committing it, Jonathan Evans went out of his way to reassure the public that MI5 is involved in a courageous, nation-saving battle against terrorist attacks on Britain.
The ‘Olympics are safe’ was the message, but we cannot for a second ever let our guard down.
It was a message designed for a public that is constantly distracted and misled over what is really happening.
It was a message designed for a population to line up and admire with awe the likes of Evans, Cameron and Obama, officials and leaders who are saving the ‘international community’ (the west and its allies – formerly known as the ‘free world’) from destruction by the barbarians.
The national anthem ‘God save the Queen’ will ring out in respect to the monarch when Britain wins its first gold medal at the Olympics.
More apt for those who swallow the lies might be to kneel in deference and face spymaster headquarters on the banks of the Thames and sing ‘God save MI5’.
All of the security being put in place is not only to prevent retribution by certain groups for British military ventures abroad. It is also there to protect certain criminal corporate sponsors from protesters.
Take Dow Chemical, for instance. Dow (and Monsanto Corporation) was responsible for the production of Agent Orange, which was used to maim people in Vietnam and defoliate its countryside during the war in the 1960s and 70s.
According to Nguen Van Rinh, president of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, the US dropped about 80 million litres of chemicals on Vietnam, some 61 per cent of which was Agent Orange.
Hoang Tuan Anh, Vietnam’s minister of culture, sports and tourism, sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee asking the agency to sever ties with the company because he claimed that Dow Chemical had expressed their indifference and refused compensation for victims of the Agent Orange produced by the company, as well as their responsibility to clean up contaminated areas.
About 4.8 million Vietnamese were affected by Agent Orange, and up to half a million children were born with birth defects due to the chemical.
And then there is Bhopal.
While Union Carbide caused the Bhopal gas leak, Dow acquired the company.
Dow is sponsoring a seven million pound decorative wrap that will sheathe London’s Olympic Stadium.
The company faces a 1.1 billion pound compensation lawsuit by the Indian Supreme Court over the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, which is estimated to have killed 7,000 to 10,000 people immediately and another 15,000 in the past 20 years.
Union Carbide agreed to a compensation settlement of 302 million pounds with thousands of victims in 1989, but Dow Chemical legal responsibilities are far from over.
The Bhopal site remains to be cleaned and children born to survivors of the catastrophe (and those survivors) have severe health problems, including cancer.
Little wonder then that in the run-up to the Olympics, Amnesty International has set up an email campaign to call on the games organisers to review their unethical sponsorship policy and boycott Dow.
London Mining Network, UK Tar Sands Network and Bhopal Medical Appeal say that the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has refused to meet with them and discuss the controversies of sponsorship deals not only concerning Dow, but also those concerning BP for its involvement in environmentally destructive oil extraction from tar sands and Rio Tinto’s terrible record on workers’ rights and the environment.
Colin Toogood from Bhopal Medical Appeal says that LOCOG and its chairman Sebastian Coe have been ignoring the Bhopal Medical Appeal’s request for a meeting since last August when Dow’s sponsorship of the stadium wrap was announced.
He goes on to say that Coe knows that Dow are shielding Union Carbide from criminal charges and there is simply no way LOGOC can have a public conversation about this matter and maintain a position in support of the Dow Chemical sponsorship deal.
Meredith Alexander, the ex-Olympics ‘ethics tsar’ who resigned over controversies surrounding Olympic sponsorship says that it is so disappointing that Coe is ignoring people’s concerns about unethical Olympic sponsors.
The British government has spent over one billion pounds on policing and venue security for the games, with some 24,000 private security guards, 12,500 police officers and 13,500 military personnel expected to be on duty.
That represents 10 per cent of the Olympics total budget.
Given the track record of the British state and some of the sponsors, a hefty security bill for the British taxpayer comes as little surprise.
It’s a massive price to pay for an Olympics that is after all a high profile taxpayer funded corporate advertising scam.
Sport- Van Persie to join the Arsenal exodus ?
Updated: 05 Jul 2012
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie confirms
he won't sign a new contract with Arsène Wenger's side
Manchester City are ready to bid £20 million for Robin van Persie after the Arsenal captain issued an extraordinary statement in which he outlined his desire to leave and openly questioned the club’s direction under Arsène Wenger.
Summer wonder: Robin van Persie is also a target for Juventus
9:15PM BST 04 Jul 2012
Arsenal reacted on Wednesday night by saying that they were “confident” that Van Persie would see out a contract which does not expire until next summer but, privately, are furious that their star player should go public with such a provocative statement.
They were given no prior warning that Van Persie was planning to speak out, with Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis especially seething over the conduct of Kees Vos, the Dutchman’s agent.
Arsenal are well aware that Vos was a guest at the Etihad last season of Brian Marwood, the Manchester City director of football administration, and they believe that Van Persie is being badly advised.
Telegraph Sport revealed in May that Van Persie was not willing to extend his contract and, late on Wednesday afternoon, he confirmed on his website that he would definitely not sign a new deal.
He then went on to say that, during a meeting with Wenger and Gazidis, it had “become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward”.
Van Persie’s statement is being interpreted as a blatant attempt to force a move this summer and, while Arsenal have received no bids or inquiries, the clear suspicion is that he is now actively trying to generate an auction among Europe’s leading clubs.
The desire of Manchester City and Juventus to sign Van Persie is no secret but, according to sources, Manchester United are also now interested. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea will also consider their position.
City want to find buyers for some of their existing strikers, including Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz, before finalising a deal for Van Persie. As with Samir Nasri last summer, United’s problem would be to match both the wages and transfer fee that City can offer.
They have also not paid a transfer fee for a player over the age of 28 since Dimitar Berbatov four years ago.
Wenger now faces the nightmare of a repeat of last summer’s saga when his captain, then Cesc Fàbregas, was also desperate to leave.
Fàbregas was eventually granted his move to Barcelona and Wenger must now weigh up the advantages of a quick sale and no prolonged uncertainty or acrimony against the damage to his team from losing Van Persie.
Only this week, he referred to Arsenal’s dependency on Van Persie and said that he wanted to keep the Dutchman at “all costs”.
One advantage this summer is that Wenger has already recruited two potential replacements in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
Both, however, are unproven in the Premier League and are likely to need a season to fully adapt.
Wenger’s initial reaction on Wednesday night was that the club should hold Van Persie to his contract unless there is an extraordinary offer.
He also sanctioned a statement from Arsenal that suggested they would still try to persuade him to stay for another season.
“We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract,” said the club statement.
“Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the club.”
The situation will come to a head in 10 days’ time, if not sooner, with Van Persie expected back for pre-season training on July 16 and then due to travel with Arsenal to Malaysia for the start of their summer tour on July 21.
Van Persie, though, said that the decision not to extend his contract was based on sporting and not financial considerations.
“As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss [Wenger] and Mr Gazidis after the season,” said Van Persie.
“This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
“I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.
“Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow.”
Arsenal on Wednesday night denied, however, that Gazidis was on a two-week holiday
Sport - Olympic Shame- Remploy torch bearer faces dole queue
Updated: 04 Jul 2012
Olympic shame: torch bearer faces dole queue
as Tories race to close Remploy
by Tim Lezard - 3rd July 2012, 7.16 BST
An Essex man with a learning disability – due to carry the Olympic torch on Friday – faces the dole queue, as the coalition gears up to close 54 Remploy factories.
Thirty four-year-old Tony Collins, who works at the Remploy factory in Barking, will be running with the torch along the A129 High Street, Rayleigh, Essex, from Ridgeway to Orchard Avenue.
His run is expected to start at 10.41am Friday, 6 July and he will be wearing number 45.
Tony and more than 1,500 disabled colleagues face a grim future on the dole when the 36 Remploy factories close in the near future. The remaining 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off next year.
Tony, who lives in Rainham, has been employed recycling computers for resale at the Barking site for 13 years, getting up at 5.00am to get to work – and has never been late for work during that entire period.
Unite’s national officer for the not-for-profit sector, Sally Kosky said: “Tony’s case is one just example of a hardworking Remploy worker who faces a life on the dole because of the cruel policies of Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith.”
Tony’s mother, Kathy Collins said: “Tony is desperate to work – he does not want to live on benefits. His work involves cleaning data off computers which are then recycled for sale.
“Remploy provides an environment that Tony and hundreds of others can thrive, make a useful contribution to society, and have financial independence and self-respect.
“If the Barking factory is closed, the chances of Tony getting another job are extremely slim, even if the economy were booming, which it is not. We are asking for Iain Duncan Smith to rethink his misguided policies and keep the Remploy factories open.”
Tony was an international middle distance runner for the England and GB learning disabled squads and represented his country across the globe.
Unite points out that closing the Remploy factories does not make economic sense and cites the recent upbeat assessment of Remploy’s future prospects from Alan Hill, Managing Director, Remploy Enterprise Businesses who wrote that: “We have grown our sales by 12.2%, a fantastic achievement.”
Sport on Sunday ?
Updated: 02 Jul 2012
It rained goals for Spain as the Italian Gods left the field
England went two up against Australia in the 50 over ODI
At Wimbledon the balls fell silent
Several UK athletes failed to make the Olympic grade
Sport- Keeping the Flags Flying
Updated: 30 Jun 2012
Saturday, 30 June 2012
Keeping the Flags Flying
With England out of Euro 2012 on penalties the flag-waving build up to the London Olympics begins in earnest.
MARK PERRYMAN explores the changing shape of sports nationalism, and internationalism.
David Hemery burning his way round the track to victory in the 400m hurdles, Mexico 1968.
Mary Peters defying gravity as she hauls her frame over the high jump bar to lift pentathlon Gold in Munich, 1972.
David Wilkie winning in the pool, Montreal 1976. Coe and Ovett enjoying 1500m and 800m glory, Moscow 1980. Decathlete Daley Thompson acting the golden cheeky chappy, Los Angeles 1984.
Great Britain beating Germany in the men’s hockey final, Seoul 1988.
Christie and Gunnell triumphant on the track at Barcelona 1992.
Steve Redgrave promising he’d never be seen near a boat again after winning his fourth straight Gold with Matthew Pinsent at Atlanta 1996, before doing precisely that to win his fifth and final Gold, once more with Pinsent, at Sydney 2000.
Kelly Holmes grabbing an eye-popping 800m and 1500m golden double against all the odds in 2004. Hoy, Pendleton, Adlington and Ohuruogu leading Team GB’s Gold medal charge to fourth in the Beijing 2008 Medals Table.
From a late sixties childhood to becoming a twenty-first century fiftysomething I can measure out my life in the glow of the quadrennial summer Olympics.
Each and every Games is remembered warmly for the achievements of other nations, as well as my own: 1968 for Bob Beamon’s long jump leap beyond the limits of human capacity.
1972, for the impish Olga Korbut tilting her head at the close of her floor routine in the gymnastics hall.
1972, 1976 and 1980 for Cuban Teofilo Stevenson’s supreme feat of winning three consecutive Golds in the Olympic boxing ring.
(Teofilo was an amateur heavyweight boxer who never turned professional despite the millions of dollars offered to him by US promoters).
And so it goes on.
Having just returned from Euro 2012 I can report that this co-mingling of nationalism and internationalism in sport was to be found aplenty in Poland and the Ukraine.
The simplistic assumption of some leftists that nationalism and internationalism are polar opposites and can never coincide has been undermined by every World Cup and European Championship that I’ve been lucky enough to follow England at since ‘Euro 96.
Some of the nastiest versions of nationalism have regulalry shared space with popular and inspiring internationalism. The single European currency?
For the duration of the Euros, it’s been football ,not a bank note ,that has united Europe, and separated it too, at least for the ninety minutes a games lasts, plus extra time and penalties.
One of the most interesting aspects of England fans’ presence at this year’s European Championship has been the vigorous refutation of the ugly stereotyping of the Ukraine as a racist, violent and inhospitable place.
Few would deny that hooliganism exists there, or that it often has far right connections.
But to smear an entire nation in a sensationalist manner, as the now notorious BBC Panorama programme which alleged that for fans travelling to Euro 2012 the Ukraine and Poland would be some kind of racist hell-hole combined with hooliganism running riot, was both crude and entirely lacking in context.
For example at England's game in the Ukraine in 2009, plus European club games in Ukraine played by Arsenal, Spurs, Man City, Everton and Fulham there had been no such incidents of racism or hooliganism.
None of this was mentioned.
Sol Campbell. who warned fans not to travel to the Euros in a prominent piece for the Daily Mirror found himself to be the fall guy for the fans and the butt of one of the most loudly sung chants at many games.
'Eff Off Sl Campbell, We Do What We Want.'
This is not the sort of internationalism the organised left is accustomed to.
But England fans, both black and white, who themselves have regularly suffered misrepresentation in the media because of the hostile actions of a minority, were clear in their rejection of the same demonization of others
For every tournament since 1996, with the exception of 2008, the England football team have qualified for either the European Championship or World Cup.
The Ashes were won by England in 2005, 2009 and 2011. And the Rugby World Cup was won by England in 2003.
Over this period there is surely little doubt that Eric Hobsbawm’s observation that ‘the imagined community of millions seems more real as a team of eleven named people’ (read 15 in the case of rugby) has become especially pertinent for an England enduring the challenges to national identity thrown up by the devolution settlement introduced by New Labour in 1997.
Now we have the new dynamic of Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, seeking to lead his country out of the Union within the next two years.
Like it or not, 2012 will be the year of the Union Jack, stylishly redesigned for the Team GB kit by Stella McCartney.
Whether this will prove a temporary respite from the seemingly irreversible drift to separation, or a more profound revival of Britishness, remains to be seen.
Mark Perryman is the author of the newly available Why The Olympics Aren’t Good For Us, And How They Can Be available exclusively at www.orbooks.com.
Sport- The Murray Millions -It's not just tennis
Updated: 29 Jun 2012
It’s not just tennis: How Andy Murray made £24m
As Andy Murray continues his latest battle for Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon, we look at how Britain’s best tennis player has made his money.
By Emma Lunn | Yahoo! Finance UK – Tue, Jun 26, 2012 13:58 BST
Andy Murray is worth £24million according to the The Sunday Times Rich List 2012, making him the 42nd richest sportsman in the UK.
But while prize money accounts for around half of his wealth, it’s far from the only source of income the world number four has at his disposal.
How he made it
Murray's total tournament winnings since his professional debut in 2003 add up to £12.6million, with the paydays getting ever-bigger the better he has done.
His last two semi-final appearances at Wimbledon made him £525,000 and if he triumphs this year he’ll be adding a cool £1.15million to his coffers.
Murray’s come a long way from humble beginnings in Dunblane, Scotland.
He started playing tennis at the age of five, soon beating his older brother Jamie who went on to make his name as a doubles specialist.
The brothers’ mother Judy is also heavily involved in tennis and captains Great Britain’s Fed Cup team (the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup).
Murray moved to Barcelona in 2002 at age 15 to train at the Sánchez-Casal Academy.
The following year he started to play on the Challenger and Futures circuits and won the Junior US Open in 2004.
In 2005 he started playing ATP tournaments and caught the nation’s eye at Wimbledon when he progressed to the third round and lost in five sets to David Nalbandian.
The big money started rolling in in 2007 when he signed a sponsorship deal with Highland Spring worth £1million.
At the time it was reportedly the biggest shirt-sponsorship deal in tennis. The sponsorship came to an end last year.
He officially became one of the 10 best payers in the world in 2008 and reached the US Open final the same year, losing to Roger Federer.
By the end of the year he was ranked number four in the world. In 2009 Murray won the title at Queen's and went on to make the semi-final at Wimbledon but lost to Andy Roddick.
The same year saw him ditch Fred Perry sportswear and sign a five-year deal with Adidas worth more than £10million to wear the company’s clothes and shoes.
That sponsorship deal was the first secured by Murray since signing with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment management agency, which also manages David Beckham.
However, the Adidas deal still allows Murray to display other sponsors on his sleeves.
One of these sponsors is Royal Bank of Scotland – the bank has sponsored Murray since 2009 when it signed a deal worth £2million a year. The endorsement was renegotiated last year and, although undisclosed, is thought to be worth considerably more now.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Luxury Swiss watch brand Rado has signed Murray to a personal endorsement agreement.
Details of the deal have been kept secret but the Scot will initially endorse Rado's D-Star 200 collection throughout the 2012 spring/summer season.
He’s also got a longstanding racquet sponsorship with Head, which sponsors around 30% of the top 100 tennis players as well as up and coming players via its Team Head program.
Murray still has to claim a Grand Slam title, after already playing in three finals.
However, he already has 22 career titles to his name and in 2009 was briefly ranked number two in the world.
Should Murray become the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s title since Fred Perry in 1936, his earnings potential will go stratospheric.
Trouble away from the top
But while the tennis players at the top of the game can top-up prize winnings with sponsorship, appearance money, racquet and kit endorsements, it’s a different story further down the ranks.
Roger Federer was the fifth-highest-paid athlete on the planet last year, making £34million according to Forbes, but the 100th best player in the world last year was Italy’s Simone Bolelli, who made about £190,000 from prize-money in 2011.
This might sound like a decent salary, but when you factor in travel costs and paying support staff such as a coach, physio and fitness trainer, about half the money is spent already.
And that’s before tax.
Players ranked between 25 and 100 often receive minor sponsorship deals, but below that the off-court earnings decrease significantly, as does the amount of prize money up for grabs at tournaments.
Pros typically start their careers competing in Futures and then Challengers tournaments before progressing on to the main ATP circuit.
The total prize money up for grabs at a Futures tournament is either £6,300 ($10,000) or £9,500 ($15,000).
Meanwhile Challenger events have a prize pot of between £22,000 and £96,000.
ATP tournaments pay more but you’ll need an ATP ranking – earned in Futures and Challenger events as well as on the ATP circuit – to take part. ATP World Tour 250 events have an average prize pot of about £320,000 and the ATP World Tour 500 about £1million.
Masters events, the highest level of competition under the ATP, offer a total prize pool of between £1.9million and £3.2million.
And that’s the total prize money available to everyone at the event.
By way of contrast, Wimbledon will pay out £16.1million this year, with £2.3million going to two champions alone.
Even getting into a Grand Slam can make a huge difference to a lower-ranked player’s earnings.
The pay cheque for first-round losers at Wimbledon has gone up from £11,500 last year to £14,500 this year, an increase of 26%.
Players that reach the last 16 of the competition will see 5% more prize money than last year.
A good showing at one of these events can double a player’s income at a single stroke (quite literally in some cases).
British number four, Josh Goodall, talked about the struggles following his first round defeat at Wimbledon this year.
"These are matches you need to win," he said following his loss to Grega Zemlja.
"If you need to make a good living out of this sport, the matches today are the ones that are going to make a difference.
"I'm not financially in the best state.
Obviously playing Wimbledon helps a lot, but I've got rent to pay and stuff like that. I can't really afford things.
"I'm number four in Great Britain and I'm making a living, don't get me wrong.
But if I want to put a deposit down on a house, which I'm looking to do, the problem lies at the moment that I'm having to win to do it.
"Those are pressures that not everyone is under, and it's quite difficult."
To make a good living playing tennis you need to be in roughly the top 50.
Those ranked between 50 and 150 can make a decent living if they manage to keep control of their costs which include travel, accommodation, coaching and physiotherapy.
Below that it’s a struggle unless you have the backing of an organisation such as the LTA.
Compare that to what the 150th best footballer in the world makes (and there are 500 players registered in the Premier League alone) and you can see that while the rewards are rich for the very best, tennis is far from the best sport to choose if money rather than glory is your aim.
Sport- Breaking Germany - And Italy and Spain do need the money more !
Updated: 29 Jun 2012
Germany “Bosched”- And Italy and Spain do need the money more !
Italy deserved to win.
Greater skill with the ball, faster off the ball and Balotelli ?
He’s worth a goal start.
Will it rain on Spain ?
Or roam on Italy
If Balotelli turns up I book Italy to win.
And for England
Its no disgrace to be beaten by the team that goes on to win the Cup
Sport- Did the Olympic Committee know these would be the Militarized Games ?
Updated: 28 Jun 2012
UK should avoid militarizing Olympics
Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:48PM GMT
As the London 2012 Olympics Games’ torch approach the capital of the United Kingdom, there is a military shadow lurking in the background that runs counter to the spirit of both the ancient and modern games.
The London Olympics are no ordinary games.
Not since World War II have Britain and the United States teamed up for such a massive security operation on British soil.
Londoners, spectators, tourists and athletes know that surface-to-air missile batteries will be nearby on the rooftops of people’s homes, with armed jets and helicopters in the skies.
The Olympics weren’t supposed to be like this.
They began in ancient Greece to give the people a break from war, the Stop the War Coalition reported.
Tradition has it that in 776 BC King Iphitos of Elis was told by the Oracle at Delphi to restore the Olympic Games every 4 years so as to break the cycle of civil war between the Greek city states.
Furthermore a Truce from fighting was declared from 7 days before the games until 7 days after to allow athletes, artists and spectators to travel in safety.
When the modern Olympic Games were established in 1894 the principles of Olympism were incorporated into a Charter, including respect for ethical principles and promotion of a peaceful society.
Yet even recently, in 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which committed member states to promote an Olympic Truce at the 1994 winter games.
In fact this led to a brief truce in war-torn Sarajevo so that athletes could safely visit the Winter Olympics in Norway.
In 2000 the International Olympic Committee established the International Olympic Truce Foundation with the goal of reviving the ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce.
That year the UN General Assembly’s Millennium Declaration urged member states “to observe the Olympic Truce, individually and collectively, now and in the future, and to support the International Olympic Committee in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic Ideal.”
And last October Lord Coe tabled a motion signed by all 193 UN member states that called on nations to promote peace, development and reconciliation in trouble-torn regions.
This truce is being flouted by the government when they link the military with the Games.
A genuine truce would give forces personnel a break, a time to enjoy the games themselves.
Efforts should be made to extend the truce to the battlefields of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and Israel-Palestine. Instead the threat and reminder of war are being brought to our doorsteps.
If the government does not know the way to peace, there are lots of people who do.
There is a protest against the missiles on June 30th in East London.
And over recent months a campaign for ‘100 Days of Peace’ from 8th June - 28th October has been promoted in many London schools and churches.
It has been taken up by the London Citizens organisation in its CitySafe campaign.
The government can give people the ‘ultimate reassurance’ of safety during the Olympics and Paralympics that Philip Hammond, the defense secretary, espouses: they should ditch the plan to locate missiles in London, then really fade into the background and actively promote the Olympic Truce.
Sport- Hodgson after Euro 2012 - His Honeymoon is over
Updated: 27 Jun 2012
Euro 2012: Roy Hodgson flies home promising new England revolution for friendly clash with Italy
Roy Hodgson flew home from Krakow on Monday, promising a “revolution” for England’s next game, the August friendly against Italy in Berne.
England’s young boys like Jack Wilshere, Kyle Walker and Tom Cleverley will feature.
England's national football team coach Roy Hodgson Photo: AFP/GETTY
By Henry Winter, Chief Football Correspondent
11:00PM BST 25 Jun 2012
As he prepares for 2014 World Cup qualifying, Hodgson will not be clearing out the old guard, simply mixing in some of the few prospects emerging in the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard retains his place and the armband. John Terry and Ashley Cole remain first choices for Hodgson, who also lamented the absence of Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard at Euro 2012.
Yet opportunity knocks in Berne. “With regards to the August 15 friendly, you will definitely see some revolution there,’’ said Hodgson, pausing en route to the airport.
“That game is the ideal opportunity for me to look at some players who weren’t with us here and can add to the quality of our team.
The first thing I have to do is really evaluate some of these other players who haven’t been here.
Many are the younger ones we probably would have taken for the experience had they been fit.”
As well as Wilshere, Walker and Cleverley, other contenders include Daniel Sturridge, Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley. Euro 2012 squad members like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can also expect greater prominence.
The problem Hodgson faces is that some youngsters — like Josh McEachran — are simply not acquiring sufficient game-time in a Premier League brim full of foreign talent.
After the dress rehearsal in Berne, being staged there because Wembley is being used for these Olympic Games, Hodgson focuses on the road to Brazil, starting with an away game in Moldova on Sept 7 and then Ukraine at home four days later.
“After that we go on to the September qualifiers and we will have to mix the two together: what I’ve seen and what I know of the players who were here and what I’ve seen from Premiership football of the other players,’’ said Hodgson.
He expects Terry and Cole to be available for national service. “Well I’d be very disappointed if they weren’t. They’ve given me every reason to believe they’re very anxious to continue. They were two of the real success
stories of the tournament.
“John Terry has been excellent throughout, as has Ashley.
Personally I’ve not even thought of asking the question — will you continue?
Because they would have to knock me over with a feather if they came to me and said ‘I’m not’.’’
The indications are that both would continue.
Terry’s displays highlighted his enduring value and his willingness to keep a low profile off the pitch, being a good team member rather than a brooding ex-captain, has been much commented on.
If Cole is rested for Berne, the presentation of his 100th cap should arrive against Ukraine at Wembley (assuming he plays in Moldova four days earlier).
Hodgson chases a fusion of qualities, helping strengthen England for the future.
“We’ve got to retain two elements this tournament has given us.
We’ve got to retain our defensive discipline, organisation and teamwork and retain the desire to be part of an England team, to really go the extra mile, to be able to wear the shirt.
“The next question is then can we improve the quality within our team and that’s something we’ll have to work at and I’ll look at very carefully. I’m rather hoping a few players will knock so hard on my door they prove to be the right ones.”
Hodgson was asked how he would have judged England’s tournament exertions had he been in his old role as a distinguished member of the Uefa’s technical studies group. His verdict was typically honest.
“I would have flagged up that the team is very hard working, very disciplined, that they defended well. I would have flagged up that we were a bit wasteful in our counter-attacking positions.
We gave the ball away far too often in areas where we didn’t expect to.”
Like midfield. England were embarrassed in the central third because Andrea Pirlo was so good and because the season’s stresses on assorted sinews finally caught up with Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker.
Hodgson revealed some damning details, namely that England’s ageing engine-room ran out of steam after four games in 13 days.
“From midway through the second half we lost one of our most inventive players in the midfield in Steven with cramp. Parker was also struggling with the Achilles.
"We had used up to two of our substitutes (with Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott coming on for Danny Welbeck and James Milner) so we were struggling to know how to get round that situation.”
Parker was replaced by Jordan Henderson but Gerrard struggled on. “We were forced to keep Steven on,’’ continued Hodgson.
“We haven’t made excuses at this tournament but there were quite a few players left at home who were very good technical footballers who may actually have helped us out had they been here.
"If Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard had been available [against Italy], it might have given me more of a chance to help out some of the others.
“There are players like Wilshere in central midfield who might have improved the technical level of our performance.”
So England were limping through extra-time, drained by the debilitating demands of the season, clinging on for penalties, a tactic akin to lemmings booking a coach party to Beachy Head.
“Given the sort of problems we were trying to deal with, we did pretty well to get it to penalties,’’ continued Hodgson.
“Then you hope your luck is going to hold. You hope that, as one or two people said to me as the shoot-out was about to start, this was going to be ‘our time’.
Once again it wasn’t and we lost this one too."
Sport- One in but more out for Arsenal
Updated: 27 Jun 2012
Arsenal complete signing of Olivier Giroud from Montpellier
• France striker joins after agreeing long-term contract
'I was attracted by the philosophy at Arsenal'
• Guardian staff
• guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 June 2012 10.19 BST
Olivier Giroud has agreed a long-term contract at the Emirates. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal have confirmed the signing of the France international striker Olivier Giroud from Montpellier on a long-term contract.
The 25-year-old netted 21 goals in 36 league appearances as Montpellier won their first Ligue 1 title last season, and will now aim to make an impact as the Gunners look to deliver a first trophy since 2005 and progress again in Europe.
Giroud, whose deal with Arsenal will officially commence on July 1, passed a medical on Monday evening and said on the club's official website: "I have always admired Arsenal with its great history and reputation, and I now hope to achieve great things here.
I am very proud to be a Gunner and I will give my best for all the Arsenal fans.
"It is a huge satisfaction to join this great club and it has been a dream since I was young to play in the Premier League.
I was attracted by the philosophy of football and Arsene Wenger's 'touch' at this club.
I am delighted to be here at Arsenal and to be part of one of the great teams in English football."
Wenger added: "We are delighted to have secured the signing of Olivier Giroud.
He has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work ethic.
We are excited about Olivier joining us and he will add an additional dimension to our attacking options next season.
"He has proved that he is capable of performing at the top level with club and country, and we saw what a big influence he was in Montpellier's championship-winning side last season.
We all look forward to Olivier joining us and seeing him play in an Arsenal shirt."
Arsenal could also now resurrect interest in Yann M'Vila after Champions League finalists Bayern Munich cooled their interest in the Rennes midfielder.
The Gunners look set to to offload some of their fringe players, such as Morocco international Marouane Chamakh, Mexico forward Carlos Vela, Brazilian midfielder Denilson and Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner - who spent last season on loan at Sunderland and is now attracting "global interest", according to his representative.
Fulham, meanwhile, are reported to be ready to step up their interest in a £5million move for Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey following the departure of their captain Danny Murphy to Blackburn
Sport-Too much pressure to love the Olympics-too little taken to unite nations
Updated: 26 Jun 2012
There's too much pressure to love the Olympics
Lara Hatfield and Laura Lonsdale
The 2012 Olympic slogan is “Inspire a generation”.
Well, we are the generation Lord Coe has in mind, but are we inspired?
With the Games drawing close, anticipation has been building, as has the doubt over whether or not London will live up to the world's expectations.
Many are dubious about how inspirational Mayor Boris Johnson will be on top of a London bus, with artists performing off the back of trucks.
It sounds more like a village fete, especially in comparison with the stunning Beijing ceremonies.
It has been difficult to maintain a positive outlook in the face of complaints about unfair ticket distribution and the potential transport problems as tourists flock to the capital.
There is a great divide in opinion between those who have tickets and those who do not.
But, even for those of us who are lucky enough to have tickets to this momentous occasion through the ballot, the anticipation is underwhelming.
There is little connection with our athletes and the event itself.
For some there is a desire to get away during the Games, but for others this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, for which they are willing to brave the crowded streets and the nightmare Tube journeys.
Perhaps, when the time comes and we can see Sir Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington, Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis, the Olympics will awaken a sense of patriotism among the British public.
Chances are though, many will be quite sick of it all by the time it comes around.
Half the adverts we see on television at the moment, three months out, have some link to competition or athleticism.
Many schools are running Olympic-themed sports events and there are several new schemes to get "young" people into sports. This is good in principle, but there's just too much pressure to love the Olympics. Another constant reminder is the dire logo which now appears on pretty much everything.
It has failed to impress the majority of the public.
That, along with the lifeless mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, pictured, could have had a more British theme – or just a better design. It feels as if the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is organising the event to please tourists, not thinking about how locals will feel.
Were the Olympics branded to British people like the Royal Wedding was, then the Games would have found a much more positive response.
Watching the Olympics on TV is not the same as seeing it live, but at least when they are overseas you do not have the sense of disappointment at not getting a ticket, or taking part.
For those without tickets, there are not many ways to share in the experience.
Would not the Olympics work much better if it was more truly a national event?
People are coming to London to see the Olympics, yet surely they want to see a little of the rest of the country, too?
A better slogan would have been "Uniting nations"– and they could have started with the British nation.
That might have been a first step towards inspiring our generation.
The writers are Year 9
Sport- An Olympic damp squib ? - And they call it sport
Updated: 26 Jun 2012
Olympics suppliers losing out
Published : 12 Jun 2012 11:38 am by Jane Gray
Will the Olympic legacy turn out to be as much of a damp squib as the British summer?
Limitations on marketing rights for suppliers to the Olympics are stifling the economic benefit the Games should be bringing to the UK, says Jane Gray.
From The Independent to the regional business publication in-Cumbria the story of angry UK businesses being gagged and prevented from capitalising on their status as suppliers to the London 2012 Olympics has finally bubbled to the surface.
No marketing clauses are designed to protect the investments of multi-million pound headline sponsors for the Olympics, but they are having the additional effect of limiting the economic benefit to Britain of hosting the games.
Speaking to TM, a spokesperson from one Olympics supplier which has been frustrated in its attempts to talk about the way it is supporting the iconic event said: “We have tried a number of times to get Locog’s approval for the simplest publications and promotions of the support we are giving to the Olympics and it has been turned down every time.”
Amazingly this has included work done to train apprentices at the Olympic site, thereby missing a prime opportunity to show young people how a career in manufacturing can lead to involvement with high profile, glamorous and exciting projects. “It is extremely frustrating and limits the value of getting involved for us,” concluded the spokesperson.
Another supplier, potentially part of the much lauded sustainable supply chain for London’s Olympic Games, told TM that attempts to get around the marketing protocols “get political” due to Locog’s fears of upsetting sponsors. Although this supplier has offices in the energy centre at the Olympic Park and can host customer days there, it also has to ask journalists not to write about the company’s involvement with the Olympic Games.
According to The Independent, around 75,000 UK firms have had to sign up to the no marketing clause and it has certainly affected TM’s ability to celebrate the contribution being made by hundreds of UK manufacturers to this once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity for the UK.
Given the dire economic straights the UK, and all of Europe, is suffering under surely these rules should be revisited to allow more firms to market their involvement and maximise on the potential economic benefit the games should bring.
Essential to the UK’s winning bid for London 2012 was its promise to create a lasting legacy for the Games – how is this reflected in the decision to gag suppliers?
Sport- London hotel slash prices for flat Olympics- Who wrote this article ?
Updated: 26 Jun 2012
London hotels cut prices!
June 26th, 2012 admin
All thought that the Olympic Games, the British tourism industry is the most benefit.
Imagine a sporting event has caught the attention of the world, how many enthusiastic sports from around the world, sought after master or even just like people along for the ride of London.
But in an interview with the spokesman of the British Tourist Board (Visit Britain) Shique informed that even with all over London to watch the Queen ascended the throne 60 weeks of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the factors, this British industry as a whole gains, may not be have any particular breakthrough development up and go flat.
. LOCOG has also come forward to confirm the news about London hotels are still thousands of availability to be worked out.
According to British media reports, the London hotel average room rate fell from the night ￡ 216 to ￡ 160. To view the individual hotel price, for example, is located in Canary Wharf, away from the Olympic venues, about three miles of four-star Britannia International Hotel (Brtiannia International), the original offer double room is ￡ 359 per night, it is now ￡ 259 some other parts of 3-star hotel prices from double room per night ￡ 150 down to 120 pounds. While some “Gaojiefang prices fall more violent, the same in one of the Canary Wharf, Radisson Hotel (Radisson), on signs hung 727 days ~ 812 between offer, the lowest standard room per night 594 pounds, these two days this number into 306.
“The most recent period, the cancellation is very serious.
Would have to stay at our hotel guests during the Olympics, there are several group does not come.” Was at the event, hotel rooms in London’s West End, head of a face sorry, “Olympic combination of some travel agencies tourism projects offer is too expensive, and scare the guests.”
Action for the “second best” in the Hotel industry, the industry believes that in order to attract and satisfy more want to spend a night or two tourists from all over Britain in London, they hope the last few weeks of availability phenomenon will disappear.
According to the forecast, two weeks during the Olympic Games, there will be nearly a million ordinary people to London to participate in and feel the Olympic, of which nearly 300,000 people from overseas, nearly 60 million people from all over Britain. Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to Britain, disclosed, is expected there may be 200,000 Chinese during the Olympic Games and the former British. Purchasing power of super-and even the world’s best tourists, of course, the British tourism industry, “the new darling.”
“Unfortunately, because of Olympic tickets for illegal sales as well as some other political and diplomatic reasons, Chinese tour groups canceled a trip to the Olympic Games, and the visa policy of the United Kingdom the private sector in China is tight, with the Olympics approaching, the refusal is on the rise in the number of a business tourism, specializes in Chinese tourists travel agency manager of anonymity look very easy, she seemed to have seen the “wishful thinking” To come to nothing.
Alas, things in the world sometimes is this: one hundred thousand turn back, it turned out.
Sport - Euro 2012-England 2 Italy 4- I blame Hodgson !
Updated: 25 Jun 2012
England 2 Italy 4
When it came to penalties the wrong players were chosen and England failed by scoring 2 out of 5.
The Ashleys? Young should have been substituted after 60 minutes and Cole is a full back.
So I do blame Hodgson.
Penalties should have been taken by Forwards
Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott should have been given the chance of glory . Fresher legs too.
Especially Walcott without whom we would not have been in the quarterfinals.
So Hodgson, own up.
When the going got tough, you failed.
Too much was placed on the unfit Rooney, Defoe was ignored, Young the Happy Wanderer.
So it was a lack of imagination.
Sticking with what had failed before.
Back to the drawing board.
My Man of the Match ?
Sport- Finger out Gerrard-And no Sunday Lunch first especially for Wayne !
Updated: 23 Jun 2012
Gerrard can lead us to final four – Johnson
Euro 2012 preview — England v Italy
Friday 22 June 2012
FOOTBALL: England defender Glen Johnson believes that captain Steven Gerrard can play a major role in inspiring England to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2012 on Sunday.
Johnson, 27, hailed his England and Liverpool teammate, and believes that Gerrard has stepped up his game to an even higher level for the tournament.
The full-back has identified midfielder Gerrard as England’s standout player in the competition so far and is backing his skipper to lead the team past the challenge of four-time world champions Italy.
“Steven has been a fantastic player for many, many years,” Johnson said at England’s training base in Krakow today.
“But, with the armband, I think he feels he needs to step up just that tiny bit more, and I think he’s done it more than anyone so far.”
England will run out in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday aiming to reach the semi-finals of a major competition for the first time in 16 years and Johnson feels that Euro 2012 is opening up.
“Any team in the tournament has got a chance of winning it,” he added.
“The first objective was to get out of the group. We did that very well by winning the group, so now it’s a one-off game and, in a one-off game, you can beat anyone.”
Johnson’s confidence was echoed by midfielder Scott Parker, who has urged England to “do a Chelsea” at the tournament.
The Tottenham player said: “I think we have a real togetherness and commitment in the squad and, ultimately, that can get you a long way.
“We’ve seen that last season with Chelsea and other teams.
“Fundamentally, they are the main key ingredients of why we can go and progress further. It’s going to be a very tough game against an Italian side that are very well prepared and organised, with individual qualities.
“If we carry on doing what we are doing, we can maybe upset them.”
English hopes have been boosted by the return to the squad of Jermaine Defoe, while key Azzurri defender Giorgio Chiellini misses out after suffering a thigh injury in Italy’s 2-0 win over Ireland.
And Parker admitted the squad were eyeing a win on Sunday after already exceeding expectations in topping Group D.
“We want to go further than the quarter-finals,” the midfielder added.
“We have the belief in the squad to go and get a victory at the weekend and progress.”
However Roy Hodgson’s men can ill afford to take anything for granted against an Italy side that, excluding penalty shoot-outs, has lost just two knock-out matches in the last 24 years at international tournaments.
Sport- The Boot on the other Foot ? -Will Greece give Germany a good thrashing ?
Updated: 22 Jun 2012
Greece eye upset as emotions run high
Friday 22 June 2012
FOOTBALL: Greece will be targeting the shock of Euro 2012 tonight when they take on Germany in the quarter-finals.
The Greeks have never beaten Germany in eight attempts, but may have inspiration in the stands in the form of German Chancellor Angela Merkel - a deeply unpopular figure in Greece due to her instrumental role in demanding structural reforms and spending cuts in the cash-strapped southern European nation.
Costas Katsouranis, who plays in midfield for the underdog, believes his side can bring hope to his homeland by achieving what would be one of the biggest upsets in recent international history.
"We are playing for our shirt, our flag and for the people back home," he said, while his team-mate Dimitris Salpigidis was even more optimistic over his team's chances.
"I don't think anyone on the team believes this will be our last game at this tournament," Salpigidis said. "People have so many problems in their everyday lives. We're really hoping that we can put a smile on their face."
Yet, while Merkel may be a pariah to the Greek fans, she is seen as a positive symbol by the Germany players, according to midfielder Sami Khedira. "She seems to bring us luck," he said.
Greece skipper Giorgios Karagounis misses Friday's match as he is suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against Russia in the last match of Group A.
He is likely to be replaced by AEK Athens midfielder Grigoris Makos or PAOK's Giorgos Fotakis.
Germany right-back Jerome Boateng could return after missing his side's win over Denmark through suspension.
Sport- The Olympic Cloud Cuckoo Land ?
Updated: 19 Jun 2012
'Real' version of Olympic Farm could be worth £2.5m
A LIFE size version of the Olympic Farm could be worth up to £2.5m, a team of property consultants have estimated.
Following the announcement of the rural themed Olympic ceremony which will transform the Olympic stadium into an idyllic British countryside David Pardoe, director at the Chesterton Humberts rural division in Salisbury, has investigated how the project could be valued if it were to exist.
He said: “Whilst acreage and productivity may be the usual factors that one might consider in valuing a farm, location and local climate are also important.
“Stratford might not have (as yet) the rural cachet of some other areas in the South of England, but it is near Central London and so might be attractive to the ‘Lifestyle buyers’ – especially the more athletic ones.
“Also, whilst Stratford is not currently known for its agricultural output, the farm will apparently have its own weather system, able to produce rain ‘on tap’ - or not – so it might be a very good place to grow fruit or vegetables.”
Mr Pardoe said as its actual size, the farm’s agricultural value could be worth as much as 25,000, whereas if scaled up to ‘real life size’ it might sell for up to £2.5 in some parts of the country.
He added: “Either way, I note that the Opening Ceremony is going to cost £27m.
“All in all, the Olympic Farm should be a very attractive and valuable property - so long as the buyer does not mind being overlooked!”
Sport-England Unexpected ?
Updated: 16 Jun 2012
England the Unexpected ?
Tired, The Same and Suspect
Rest and Rotate
Use Leighton Baines
Rooney – He’s not been in great form for Man U but he may be champing at the bit to play – so let him start.
They got lucky against Sweden but Ukraine will be a different more composed team and they have one huge advantage. They are playing at home. It’s worth at least one goal.
England will have to answer that
At least the Pundits have stopped predicting matches even after the game has started.
Having got their fingers burned
Sport-How Broad is this Package.? As BT phone a friend and buy £3bn of TV Premier Footie
Updated: 14 Jun 2012
Premier League lands £3bn TV rights bonanza from Sky and BT
New entrant BT to launch sports channel, as Premier League hails 71% income boost from live TV rights auction
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 June 2012 19.30 BST
Manchester City finishing top of the league made for an exciting climax that helped fuel bidding war.
The landscape of British broadcasting has shifted dramatically after BT bought a large slice of televised football rights, boosting the Premier League's next TV deal to a record £3bn over three years, a 71% increase.
This equates to at least £14m more per year for each football club, with the bottom team in the league from 2013-14 onwards likely to receive more than the £60.6m Manchester City earned this year for ending the season as champions.
Each individual televised match will now cost the broadcasters £6.6m, up from £4.7m under the previous deal.
BSkyB, which has built its business over 20 years on the back of live top flight football, retained most of the rights, securing 116 matches per season from 2013-14 in exchange for £2.3bn over three years.
But BT sprung a huge surprise by winning the rights to 38 games, including almost half the "first pick" games on offer, in exchange for £738m over three years. Richard Scudamore, Premier League chief executive, said BT's securing 18 of the 38 coveted "first pick" matches would be a "game changer".
"[BT chief executive] Ian Livingstone and his colleagues have hugely ambitious plans.
They have not invested in all this fibre [optic cable] for nothing, they want to establish a direct relationship with consumers," he said.
BT – the latest challenger to Sky after Setanta and ESPN – is expected to launch a new sports channel, available on a variety of platforms.
But BT will use the rights to push its high speed broadband service. Its matches will be shown at Saturday lunchtime and on midweek evenings.
Against a grim economic backdrop elsewhere, Scudamore admitted he was "surprised" by the huge hike in income, which he said would allow clubs to continue to compete with their European rivals.
The huge increase in income is good news for club owners, players, their agents and luxury car dealerships and, on the evidence of previous deals, is likely to lead to another sharp rise in transfer fees.
But despite the unprecedented riches that have flowed into the coffers of top flight clubs during the Premier League era, clubs made losses of £361m last year despite record income of £2.3bn.
Scudamore pleaded with clubs not to simply use the new deal to rack up losses and fuel wage inflation.
While he said he wanted clubs to still invest in the best talent, he also made a plea to invest in infrastructure and youth development.
"We are entering a new era with financial fair play [the new Europe-wide regulations of club spending], I'm hoping it will get invested in things other than playing talent.
It should also be able to achieve sustainability," he said.
The effect on fans is more uncertain. BT and Sky may have to charge more to cover their huge investment. When asked whether clubs would use the windfall to subsidise ticket prices, Scudamore would say only that it "gives them more choices".
Tony Ball, the former BSkyB chief executive who helped fuel the company's growth in the mid-1990s, is a non-executive director on the BT board and is likely to have advised it on its bidding strategy.
ESPN, the US giant that entered the market when Setanta went bust trying to compete with Sky, has now been frozen out.
Scudamore said the deal would give more certainty to his member clubs.
"It allows people to plan and gives us a degree of financial security. I don't underestimate that.
The idea you can plan with some certainty your revenues for next four years is a big thing."
He said that he hoped that clubs would use the windfall to plan prudently for the future and reduce their losses, reducing their reliance on benefactors.
But history would suggest the majority will flow directly into the pockets of players.
"Priority number one is retain and attract top talent but there ought to be a way of doing that while achieving sustainability. Some of it ought to be used to reduce losses."
He added that the windfall would help clubs comply with new European regulations forcing them to break even.
The first TV deal of the Premier League era was worth £304m over five years.
Under the new deal, clubs will be guaranteed £3bn from live rights, plus £180m from the BBC for Match of the Day.
Once internet rights and overseas sales, which brought in £1.4bn under the current deals, are taken into account, the total is likely to easily top £5bn over three years.
Scudamore refused to elaborate on other bidders but ESPN, the US sports giant that entered the market when Setanta went bust, and al-Jazeera are among those believed to have ratcheted up the price for Sky and BT.
Scudamore said the breakneck climax to the season, with the league title and relegation issues going to the wire, had helped fuel the appetite for the Premier League "product".
"I've been five times round this block and each time people say the bubble has burst.
As long as we invest in the top talent, as long as we invest in compelling competitive football, as long as we have teams in the bottom three beating teams in the top three, we have a compellingly competitive competition."
Sport- 'Arry loses his Spurs
Updated: 14 Jun 2012
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to leave club
after talks with chairman Daniel Levy break down
Harry Redknapp was negotiating his exit from Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night after accepting that his four years at the club are drawing to an abrupt close.
End of the line: Hary Redknapp's time as Tottenham manager has come to an end
10:34PM BST 13 Jun 2012
The 65 year-old met Spurs chairman Daniel Levy yesterday after talks over a new contract broke down.
Last night, sources suggested the talks, which followed an initial meeting two weeks ago and another discussion earlier this week, had “not gone well” and that it was extremely likely the manager would leave White Hart Lane
It is understood that Redknapp, who does not want to resign formally, is prepared to leave Spurs if agreement over the final year of his £3 million-a-season contract can be reached.
The talks, which also involved Redknapp’s recently employed agent Paul Stretford and Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers Association, were continuing last night.
Spurs are likely to turn to David Moyes should Redknapp go.
Everton are braced for an approach but the Premier League club remain confident that their manager will resist an offer.
However, Moyes also has only one year left on his contract, which is also thought to be worth around £3m a year.
He might be interested in a move to Spurs given their greater resources and financial muscle.
Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martínez would be another candidate for Spurs – and might interest Everton should Moyes leave – along with former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, who would be interested in joining the north London club.
Given Levy’s reputation for tough negotiating, the prospect of a deal not being reached and Redknapp attempting to carry on was still an outside possibility last night.
The pair have made an unlikely partnership at Spurs since Redknapp succeeded Juande Ramos in October 2008 following six defeats in eight games, the club’s worst-ever start to a Premier League season.
Redknapp has admitted to tension although he has also praised Levy and the club, not least for the unstinting support they showed him during the trial in which he was acquitted of alleged tax evasion.
Redknapp has revitalised the team and brought them success as well as the kind of entertaining football that Spurs fans demand.
However, despite finishing fourth in the Premier League this season, they failed to qualify for the Champions League because Chelsea won the competition.
Spurs had been preparing for Redknapp to take over as England manager after Fabio Capello quit in February but that job went to Roy Hodgson.
Redknapp admitted that he would have liked the post, which led to discussions over a new long-term deal being put on hold.
The prospect of a rolling 12-month contract emerged instead.
Only last week, Redknapp confirmed that he would have taken the England job.
That led to accusations – which he strongly refuted – that he lost focus with Spurs. In the end, the Football Association did not approach him.
Spurs’ collapse in form, in which they won only four of their final 13 league matches, worsened the increasing tension.
Levy has always wanted eventually to reinstate a system involving a tracksuit manager or head coach working with a director of football.
He might turn to that if Redknapp goes.
It is believed that Levy would have been keen to employ Brendan Rodgers had Redknapp taken the England job, but he has now moved from Swansea City to Liverpool.
Redknapp has long been linked with coaching roles in the Middle East, with claims yesterday that the Dubai-based club Al Ahli were keen to employ him on a lucrative two-year deal.
On Tuesday night, Redknapp reacted angrily to claims that he was about to quit Spurs.
It would still be a shock should he go, despite the persisting suggestions that he is on the brink of departure and that discussions to that effect have taken place.
“I haven’t resigned and I have no idea why it’s being suggested I have,” he said.
“This is an outrage, an absolute liberty for people to be putting around this kind of rumour.
It is not true.
There is not a chance I will resign.
Why should I?
I have a year left on my contract.”
Spurs are in a state of flux, with bids to sign Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen and Marseille striker Loïc Rémy offset by Luka Modric strongly considering a transfer request.
Jermain Defoe has also questioned whether he has a future at the club.
Vedran Corluka, who is also likely to leave Spurs, having spent last season on loan to Bayer Leverkusen, said that he felt his fellow Croatian Modric would move.
“Not getting into the Champions’ League will cost Spurs next season,” he said.
Sport- Breaking News- England 1 v France 1 Report
Updated: 11 Jun 2012
Breaking news -- England 1 V France 1 report
Pundits 0 England 1 – The Radical got it right !
England were unbeaten when the pundits said we were the underdogs
However there are some issues.
The referee – another brown enveloped Italian ?
Or was he just biased AND incompetent ?
How come Cabaya wasn’t booked several times ?
And Ribery too. He looks evil, cunning and full of it .
Hodgson – Why bring Walcott on at 87 mins ? It’s insulting
Sure take off Milner and Welbeck and bring on Carroll and Walcott with Oxlade on the opposite wing at 65-70 mins.
After all the forwards failed to score.
The Radical says when England lacked punch France took advantage.
England needed to be sharper. They were solid but after a season on premier football some looked tired.
Hence the need to change any player looking exhausted.
Oxlade – Good choice Hodgson. Don’t weaken.
Here follows a report on the Referee.
If Sir Alex says he’s suspect – he’s suspect !
Euro 2012: Italian Nicola Rizzoli to referee England versus France
• Rizzoli, 40, has been Serie A referee since 2002
• Official criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2010
• Staff and agencies
• guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 June 2012 11.51 BST
Nicola Rizzoli will referee England's Euro 2012 opener against France.
The Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli will take charge of England's Group D Euro 2012 opening match against France.
Rizzoli, 40, has been a Serie A referee since 2002, and ran the Europa League final between Atlético Madrid and Fulham in Hamburg in 2010.
Also that year Sir Alex Ferguson suggested Rizzoli had succumbed to player pressure during Manchester United's Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, after the official sent off Rafael.
"They got him sent off," Ferguson said. "Typical Germans.
That sending off changed the game.
I thought they were typical professionals in the way they saw the opportunity and forced the referee.
"He [Rafael] was having a marvellous game and it's a tragedy for him but the ref wasn't going to do anything until they forced him to get a card out.
But we've seen that before from teams like that."
Sport- Kick Platini and Racism out of Football
Updated: 11 Jun 2012
Uefa president Michel Platini has failed to grasp the problem of racism
There has been a red warning hanging over this European Championship, with both visual and audible racism becoming a real problem. For me, Uefa has not handled things as well as it should.
Disapppointing: Michael Platini, centre, at the opening game of Euro 2012, has failed to take a strong stance on racism
By Niall Quinn
8:00AM BST 10 Jun 2012
I was particularly disappointed with the suggestion from Michel Platini, the man in charge of Uefa, earlier this week that players would be punished if they walked off the pitch in protest at any racial abuse at the European Championship.
I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.
That is wrong, I expected better from him and the organisation he is in charge of. He had a chance to take the lead against racism, to set the tone and to give a clear warning to the people of the host nations. He failed to do that.
He is clearly an ex-player who has forgotten what it is like to be a player in that sort of situation. The spectre of racism at this tournament should have been eradicated from the top. That means from Uefa down.
It should have taken the lead and made it clear to the people of Poland and Ukraine that it is unacceptable. Instead, Platini has decided to threaten the players with all sorts of things.
Instead of issuing a clear, strongly worded statement condemning racist abuse and warning of the damage it would do to the tournament, Platini has decided to talk about players being booked and punished for leaving the pitch if they take a stand. That’s not dealing with the situation, that’s trying to deny it exists.
Players should be backed if they want to make a stand, not told they will be shown a yellow card and fined.
We’ve already had Sepp Blatter, the head of Fifa, the game’s governing body, coming out with stuff on racism last season that was cringe worthy to witness.
He was talking about players shaking hands with someone at the end of the game, even if they have been racially abused, which was completely out of touch with reality.
This is Uefa and particularly Michel Platini’s opportunity to impose a far better authority on this issue. Platini is Blatter’s natural successor, but he has disappointed me so far.
I think there has been at least some recognition from Uefa now that there was racist abuse at the Holland training session. That is a step in the right direction, but they have to show they will come down hard on any repeat.
This is a serious situation and I hope Platini realises that and will do the right thing now. It’s such a shame because there are good people out there who just want to enjoy the football. There were 30,000 people at that training session and that is phenomenal. In all the tournaments I’ve been to, I’ve never seen anything like that.
Unfortunately it is the minority who are grabbing all the headlines.
Platini needs to compliment those fans who have shown such passion for the tournament, while also coming down hard on the idiots who are in danger of ruining it for the rest.
The vast majority of people in Poland and Ukraine are warm and welcoming, but as the tournament has approached, interest has grown and the media frenzy has started. The problem of racism has been highlighted, but Uefa has been touchy about this subject for some time now.
When the possibility of racism was first flagged up in the build-up, we didn’t know whether it was just being over-hyped. We wondered whether it really existed. We hoped it didn’t.
This is a tournament that has a real sparkle to it and excitement, but that has taken a real thud in light of recent stories coming out of the country concerning racism. What has happened in Krakow, with the Dutch team being abused, has put a dent in the tournament and Uefa must realise that.
I just hope what the Dutch team heard, what the players were put through when they were training and the anger and resentment it has caused, is an isolated incident. I really do hope that it proves to be a one off. At the moment the tournament has this hanging over it and it is a big worry.
Ireland have been given a warm reception and the local population have really got behind them, but then you have the news coming out of Krakow and it sours things.
On a more positive note, around 20,000 people from Ireland have made the trip to Poland and the team’s qualification for the tournament has given the whole country cause for optimism.
It’s sad because when you look at the way the Ireland team have been greeted, with so many people turning up in Irish colours and shirts, you get a taste of what the European Championship should be about. It should be uplifting and positive
Sport- Cricket- WIndies Best Record yet, as England struggle
Updated: 11 Jun 2012
Brilliant Best on top of world but England must do better
England 221-5 West Indies 426:
No 11 enters record books with scintillating knock as Strauss & Co struggle in the gloom
Stephen Brenkley Edgbaston
Monday 11 June 2012
In 135 years of Test cricket nobody batting at number 11 has made a century.
They still haven't.
But Tino Best, hitherto mildly celebrated for being the object of a classic sledge, came desperately, joyously, heart-breakingly close in two breathtaking hours of the Third Test yesterday.
With the match seemingly going nowhere, Best, a fast bowler by trade who has not played for West Indies in a Test match for three years, illuminated the fourth day by scoring 95 from 112 balls.
He deserved a hundred, he had earned one with a bravura display of counter-attacking which was huge fun and utterly nerveless – until, that is, the last moments. Best and Denesh Ramdin put on 143 runs, the third highest for the 10th wicket in Tests and the highest in England, and took their team's total to 426 – that after being put in.
It was joined in the afternoon by another landmark for the crassest piece of umpiring in this country and possibly in the world in the last 135 years.
With England in a dominant mode by then as Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen fashioned a recovery on a perfectly amenable day with the floodlights on, the umpires halted play because of bad light. True, the sun was not cracking the flags but it was England in June and looking it.
Had there been any sort of crowd, it might have turned nasty. As it was, a few boos sufficed until the teams returned, after the loss of an hour, with no discernible improvement. Indeed, it might have been darker than 15 minutes earlier.
England lost two late wickets after shedding three early ones. Pietersen was out pushing an off-break to slip and Jonny Bairstow failed yet again, playing across the line. At 221 for 5, England are still short of the follow-on mark by 55 runs. They do not look anywhere near their peak at present.
The umpires overlooked the most important Law of Cricket, number 43 (common sense), and were left looking foolish. This match had already lost two days to rain when it really was impossible to play. Such nonsense could not expunge the delightful memory of Best.
There might have been a minuscule audience to watch – confirming that you should never take your eyes off Test cricket – but the innings was ringing round the world, courtesy of modern communications methods, by the time Best entered the nineties. No No 11 before had been in such territory.
He betrayed his anxiety by dashing down the pitch for a single against Graham Onions. Sent back by his partner, Ramdin, who had already made a hundred and rather spoiled the moment, Best slumped to his knees as if to cajole himself of what was at stake.
Then he swished at his next ball, only to find that it was on him much slower than expected. Instead of being drilled forwards it went backwards and Andrew Strauss, England's captain, who must have been wondering what on earth he could do to bring an end to the tourists' innings, ran from slip to pouch the catch.
"Mind the windows, Tino," Andrew Flintoff said to Best on his last innings in England eight years ago when the batsman was essaying some booming but ill-advised drives. Thus encouraged, he charged down the pitch, missed the ball and was stumped by a country mile.
He did not miss many balls yesterday and from the moment he propelled his ninth for four with a lofted off drive and held the shot for all to admire he was irrepressible.
What made this interlude such a pleasure – apart from the statistical feast – was that Best so clearly enjoyed it. He chortled his way through the morning, which is not something that could be said of England's bowlers. When they took West Indies' ninth wicket with the third ball of the day it was pretty obvious that they would be batting within half an hour at the outside.
Best batted on and on. There was the odd agricultural heave but his cover drives, properly designed and executed, will leave the lasting impression. The highest score by a No 11 before this was Zaheer Khan's 75 for India against Bangladesh in 2004, the highest in England, John Snow's 59 not out, against West Indies in 1966. No No 11 had scored so much as a fifty against England for more than a century.
Ramdin was quite content to play the junior role, though he was no less enterprising. His innings was compact and well-ordered and it was a pity that he chose to mark it by unfurling from his pocket a scrawled note addressed to one of the greatest batsmen who ever played, Sir Vivian Richards.
In his role as pundit, Richards had made mild criticism of Ramdin for his occasionally shoddy wicketkeeping in the last Test in Nottingham (it was) and for failing to reach 50 in 14 innings (also true). Instead of basking in adulation, Ramdin effectively told Richards to shut up. As many before him found out, it was never wise to sledge Viv.
England's part in all this was confused. They looked short of vigour and ideas, some of their field placings were awry and they were out of sorts. When they started to leave the field for lunch, with the West Indies nine down, they overlooked the change in regulation which entails an extra half-hour in such positions. It looked unprepared.
This has been a tougher series for England than the bare results might indicate and this session was a particularly poor advertisement for their rotation policy. They did not bowl badly, indeed Onions mostly bowled well, but the fact is that Jimmy Anderson, especially, and Stuart Broad were missed.
It was inevitable that there would be early wickets. So there were as Alastair Cook was lbw, Jonathan Trott played on and Strauss was brilliantly caught at slip. Pietersen and Bell swiftly established their authority and dealt with the new mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, in such dismissive fashion as to leave observers wondering what all the fuss was about. Welcome to Test cricket.
Timeline: How Day Four unfolded
11.00am Wicket. West Indies 283-9, Rampaul 2
England strike early on; Finn bowls on a good length and Rampaul nibbles the ball behind for wicketkeeper Prior to complete a comfortable catch.
11.50am Half-century. West Indies 342-9, Best 50
Quite an achievement. Best, exuding dexterity and defiance, scores a single to bring up a half-century, the first No 11 to post a Test fifty against England since 1906.
12.39pm Century. West Indies 393-9, Ramdin 100
Ton up and time for a rebuttal; Ramdin, whom Sir Viv Richards criticised, pulls out a piece of paper in full view of the media centre, which reads: "YEA VIV TALK NAH"
12.48pm Record. West Indies 407-9
Best continues to impress. His four over gully moves his score on to 76, before he hits a huge six back over Bresnan's head. He's eventually out for 95 as the visitors finish on 426.
2.20pm Wicket. England 13-1, Cook 4
A mini-collapse ensues. Rampaul dismisses Cook leg-before after a review is called in vain. Trott plays on before skipper Strauss is caught by Bravo. England are 49-3.
5.26pm Half-centuries. England 151-3, KP 55, Bell 50
The hosts recover valiantly. Bell glances to long leg to bring up his fifty before Pietersen follows suit by hitting Best through midwicket. The pair's partnership reaches 100.
6.34pm Wicket. England 186-4, Pietersen 78
Following a second bad light delay, KP's fine knock ends as Sammy catches him at slip, before Bairstow's bowled cheaply by Best just after 7pm.
Edgbaston (Third/Fourth day of five): England are trailing West Indies by 212 runs with 6 first-innings wickets in hand
England won toss
WEST INDIES — First Innings
A B Barath lbw b Onions 41
106 balls 1 sixes 4 fours
K O A Powell c Swann b Bresnan 24
43 balls 0 sixes 2 fours
A B Fudadin c Bell b Bresnan 28
110 balls 0 sixes 4 fours
D M Bravo c & b Finn 6
16 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
M N Samuels lbw b Bresnan 76
114 balls 1 sixes 10 fours
N Deonarine c Strauss b Onions 7
29 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
†D Ramdin not out 107
183 balls 0 sixes 9 fours
*D J G Sammy c Strauss b Finn 16
35 balls 0 sixes 2 fours
S P Narine b Onions 11
17 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
R Rampaul c Prior b Finn 2
12 balls 0 sixes 0 fours
T L Best c Strauss b Onions 95
112 balls 1 sixes 14 fours
Extras (b4 lb8 w1) 13
Total (129.3 overs) 426
Fall: 1-49, 2-90, 3-99, 4-128, 5-152, 6-208, 7-241, 8-267, 9-283.
Bowler Spells: G Onions: 24-7-56-3 (4-0-6-0; 4-1-11-0; 5-2-9-1; 5-2-6-1; 3-1-15-0; 3-1-9-1), TT Bresnan: 26-8-74-3 (4-1-8-0; 2-1-6-1; 3-1-12-0; 7-1-18-1; 2-2-0-0; 2-0-2-1; 6-2-28-0), ST Finn: 22-6-65-2 (1wd) (8-2-24-0; 6-4-8-1; 2-0-15-0; 6-0-18-1), GP Swann: 21-5-61-0 (4-1-13-0; 13-4-37-0; 4-0-11-0), IJL Trott: 5-1-16-0 (5-1-16-0)
ENGLAND — First Innings
*A J Strauss c Bravo b Best 17
45 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
A N Cook lbw b Rampaul 4
8 balls 0 sixes 0 fours
I J L Trott b Sammy 17
23 balls 0 sixes 3 fours
K P Pietersen c Sammy b Samuels 78
81 balls 1 sixes 11 fours
I R Bell not out 71
129 balls 0 sixes 10 fours
J M Bairstow not out 18
34 balls 0 sixes 3 fours
Extras (b1 lb6 nb2) 9
Total (for 4, 53 overs) 214
Fall: 1-13, 2-40, 3-49, 4-186.
To Bat: †M J Prior, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, S T Finn, G Onions.
Bowling: T L Best 12-2-39-1, R Rampaul 14-1-55-1, D J G Sammy 7-1-18-1, S P Narine 13-1-68-0, M N Samuels 7-0-27-1.
Umpires: HDPK Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) & AL Hill (New Zealand)
3rd Umpire: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Match Referee: RS Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Test Progress: Day Three: West Indies 50 in 17.6 overs, Lunch: 85-1 in 29 overs (Barath 40, Fudadin 15), 100 in 39.2 overs, 150 in 61.4 overs, Samuels 50 off 76 balls (6 fours, 1 six), Tea: 164-5 in 65 overs (Samuels 50, Ramdin 1), 200 in 76.2 overs, 250 in 89.5 overs, 250 in 89.5 overs, Ramdin 50 off 97 balls (6 fours), Close: 280-8 in 98 overs (Ramdin 60, Rampaul 2).
Sport- Euro 2012- Pundits 0 - England 1
Updated: 11 Jun 2012
Sport – Euro 2012
What rubbish the TV pundits utter. And we are invited to believe them.
Paid handsomely to predict the result and damn the underdog
Time and again they fail to take into account that a game is made up of two halves, played by two teams.
Pundits 0 – Greece 1 – They all got that one wrong, having predicted a Poland win.
Then there was Netherlands v Denmark – The pundits dismissed Denmark in favour of the classy experienced Dutch players
Pundits 0 – Denmark 1
Spain the World Cup champions were predicted to humble Italy but they got that one wrong too, thanks partly to Torres.
Pundits 0 – Italy 1
And now to the France v England game. We now hear that England have already booked their tickets home, that Mr Hodgson is there to make up the numbers and without Ferdinand – Rio- we are toast. Being the underdog may in fact help England and make the pundits eat their own words.
I am predicting – Pundits 0 –England 1
Euro 2012 Fixtures
8 Jun, 17:00 A
Poland 1 - 1 Greece
Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw
8 Jun, 19:45 A
Russia 4 - 1 Czech Republic
Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw
9 Jun, 17:00 B
Netherlands 0 - 1 Denmark
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
9 Jun, 19:45 B
Germany 1 - 0 Portugal
Arena Lviv, Lviv
10 Jun, 17:00 C
Spain 1 - 1 Italy
Arena Gdansk, Gdansk
10 Jun, 19:45 C
Republic of Ireland 1 - 3 Croatia
Stadion Miejski, Poznan
11 Jun, 17:00 D
France v England
Donbass Arena, Donetsk
11 Jun, 19:45 D
Ukraine v Sweden
12 Jun, 17:00 A
Greece v Czech Republic
Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw
12 Jun, 19:45 A
Poland v Russia
Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw
13 Jun, 17:00 B
Denmark v Portugal
Arena Lviv, Lviv
13 Jun, 19:45 B
Netherlands v Germany
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
14 Jun, 17:00 C
Italy v Croatia
Stadion Miejski, Poznan
14 Jun, 19:45 C
Spain v Republic of Ireland
Arena Gdansk, Gdansk
15 Jun, 17:00 D
Ukraine v France
Donbass Arena, Donetsk
15 Jun, 19:45 D
Sweden v England
16 Jun, 19:45 A
Czech Republic v Poland
Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw
16 Jun, 19:45 A
Greece v Russia
Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw
17 Jun, 19:45 B
Denmark v Germany
Arena Lviv, Lviv
17 Jun, 19:45 B
Portugal v Netherlands
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
18 Jun, 19:45 C
Italy v Republic of Ireland
Stadion Miejski, Poznan
18 Jun, 19:45 C
Croatia v Spain
Arena Gdansk, Gdansk
19 Jun, 19:45 D
England v Ukraine
Donbass Arena, Donetsk
19 Jun, 19:45 D
Sweden v France
Sport - Euro 2012- England expects- better
Updated: 08 Jun 2012
England bullish as Euro 2012 arrives
Thursday 07 June 2012
FOOTBALL: England goalkeeper Joe Hart insists that he and the players have "high expectations" for themselves at Euro 2012, which begins in Poland on Friday.
An injury crisis and a backlash against new manager Roy Hodgson's selection decisions, something that can be traced back to the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand affair, has led to many believing that England could suffer an early exit at the tournament.
However Hart, who spoke to the media yesterday at the first England press conference since the team arrived at their Krakow base, said the players are confident of emerging from a first round group comprising co-hosts Ukraine, Sweden and France, who England face in their opener on Monday night.
He said: "We don't want to come here thinking: 'People won't mind if we lose.'
"We have high expectations. Otherwise, there is no point in being here. We have come to win."
Hart also backed his defence to cope without Rio Ferdinand, who was controversially overlooked from the 23-man squad, as well as Gary Cahill, who suffered a fractured jaw in last Saturday's friendly win over Belgium.
The keeper hinted that Joleon Lescott might get the nod alongside Terry against France, and he batted away concerns that the latter might struggle to adapt to playing on the right of the partnership.
"I'm sure he's played on that right-hand side before and done brilliantly," Hart said.
"It's got to the stage where he's able to pick and choose where he wants to play, so Joleon will fit in nicely on the left-hand side with JT."
The issue of racism has blighted the tournament even before it has begun, with Uefa chief Michel Platini insisting on Wednesday that any players who walk off the field in protest at racial abuse from the stands will be booked by the referee.
Hart said that his England team-mates intend to leave any decision down to the match-day officials.
"We can't take the rules into our own hands," he said. "And, if the referee feels right for us to walk off, then we'll follow him."
He added: "Our advice is just to get on with it and see how the referee and Uefa deal with it.
"Hopefully, the referee or Uefa will take it into their own hands - if that problem does occur.
"Fingers crossed, we won't have to deal with anything like that."
The tournament begins this evening, with co-hosts Poland kicking off proceedings against Group A rivals Greece at the National Stadium in Warsaw. A 20-minute opening ceremony will precede the match.
At 7.45pm, Russia and Czech Republic, who are both also in Group A, face off at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw in south-western Poland.
Sport -Cahill is loss to England but Fergie may need to consider Ferdy for his Man U position
Updated: 04 Jun 2012
England reeling after Cahill loss
Sunday 03 June 2012
England's injury jinx struck again on Sunday when it was confirmed that Gary Cahill would miss Euro 2012 after suffering a double fracture of his jaw.
Chelsea centre-back Cahill collided with keeper Joe Hart in Saturday's 1-0 friendly win over Belgium at Wembley and the severity of his injury was discovered following scans.
Liverpool's Martin Kelly has been drafted in as his replacement - a decision which prompted an angry response from Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who tweeted: "What reasons?????!!!"
Ferdinand was controversially omitted from Hodgson's initial squad for the tournament, which gets under way in Poland and Ukraine this Friday, over fears concerning the deterioration of his relationship with John Terry, who stands accused of racially abusing his younger brother Anton Ferdinand.
Terry was given the all-clear on Sunday after having a scan on a troublesome hamstring, but given the recent loss of veterans Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard and now Cahill, the wisdom of Hodgson's decision to again overlook the experience of Ferdinand is bound to be questioned.
It now seems unlikely that Ferdinand will play for England again, at least not while Terry is still in the squad.
Joleon Lescott is the favourite to partner Terry at the heart of the defence against France next Monday.
Phil Jagielka will also be on standby, while Phil Jones of Manchester United is another possibility.
Sport- England v West Indies- Giving the Rest a chance
Updated: 30 May 2012
England ponder personnel changes
England are considering resting the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the third Test against the West Indies after wrapping up the series with a nine-wicket win at Trent Bridge.
Following victory at Lord's in the opening match, Andrew Strauss' side hold an unassailable 2-0 going into the concluding fixture at Edgbaston on June 7.
England would not ordinarily consider withdrawing key men at such an early stage of the summer, but with a packed schedule ahead of them, Strauss said: "We'll definitely think about changes."
A limited-overs series against the Windies is next, followed by a one-day series against Australia and a full tour by South Africa.
After that comes the defence of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and four Tests in India.
After top-scoring with 45 in his side's successful chase of 108 on day four in Nottingham, the England captain added:
"We've always viewed resting and rotating as something you have to do on a case-by-case basis so we'll speak to the seamers, see how they're feeling and see how we're looking for the rest of the summer.
"You always have to look quite a long way ahead when it comes to potentially resting someone.
It's always a balance to strike because primarily you want to win every Test you play: that's the starting point.
"We'll have a conversation about it in the coming days."
In Steven Finn and Graham Onions, England have two high-class performers ready to step in at a moment's notice and England would appreciate to see the pair in Test action again.
But Strauss made sure to stop short of confirming England would make changes.
"It's a difficult situation and I certainly wouldn't want to nail my colours to the mast one way or the other," he said.
"At this stage we have to sit down, think it through rationally and decide what the best course of action is, both for the Test match and for the long-term prospects of the team over the summer."
Sport- Racists threat in Ukraine to England team should be enough to cancel participation
Updated: 25 May 2012
Lescott empathy for Walcott family
Thu, 24 May 16:29:16 2012
Joleon Lescott has admitted he feels sympathy for Theo Walcott because the Arsenal winger's family do not feel they can travel to Ukraine this summer due to the threat of racism.
Walcott's family are the first to confirm they will not be making the trip to Euro 2012 as a direct result of the potential for encountering racism during their travels.
Lescott said: "It is a shame they have to make that decision for nothing to do with football.
Theo is a vital member of the squad.
He is likely to play a lot of games and have a big role in the team.
It is a shame his family won't be able to go and support him."
Lescott's family will not be there either, although the Manchester City defender insists that choice has nothing to do with racism.
He added: "My family won't be going either. Not for any particular reason, they just won't be going."
Lescott wonders whether the sport can ever be totally rid of racism.
"It is shame we are talking about it but I think we always will be," he said. "You can't get rid of it from people's minds. It is a touchy subject for some people to talk about. But if you address it pretty early I don't think it will be a problem. On the whole, our country deals with it pretty well. It is not as bad in England as it is in other countries."
The defender insists he has no problem being part of the same squad as John Terry, even though the Chelsea skipper has a court case hanging over him once Euro 2012 is over as a result of remarks he is alleged to have made to QPR's Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road in October.
"There are no problems," said Lescott. "We have been in squads before. We were all together for the Spain and Sweden games in November when we had two good results and performances.
"It has proved there is no animosity in the squad. There are no grudges held towards anyone."
Sport- PFA acts to ban professional football racists
Updated: 25 May 2012
PFA to make racist abuse a sacking offence for professional footballers
• Racist abuse set to be deemed as gross misconduct
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24 May 2012 16.31 BST
• Premier League and Football League backing expected
Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, is sending a 'powerful message' over racism. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian
Racist abuse will become a sackable offence for professional footballers next season, as part of significant changes being made to every Premier League and Football League player's contract.
Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, is behind the proposal that he hopes will send out a powerful message on the back of a season when racism on the pitch made an unwelcome return to English football.
Taylor told the Guardian that he believes the change in the standard players' contract will highlight how seriously the PFA views racism, and remove any ambiguity about the possible consequences for anyone found guilty of the offence. Racist abuse will now be deemed as gross misconduct and, although the decision of whether to terminate a contract will ultimately rest with the player's employers, Taylor pointed out that any club failing to act "could be held responsible for condoning [racism]".
The PFA will present the proposal to the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee, which includes the Premier League and the Football League, and Taylor is confident that it will be approved. "We're just about to bring it to the PFNCC, the body by which we bring the issues to the Premier League and Football League, and I don't see a problem with that being introduced," he said.
"It just highlights the point in the standard players' contract. It would say that racist abuse, if found guilty, will be classed as gross misconduct and a reason to terminate a contract. I feel it's important to highlight it, bearing in mind what has happened, and not mess about with it and not afford for anybody to be ambiguous about what the consequences are.
"I'm not saying it's ambiguous [now]. But just to really put it in there means there is no misunderstanding on how serious we take it. If any player is found guilty of racist abuse, the club and the player need to be aware that could be a solid reason for terminating the contract."
Racist abuse on the pitch has become an emotive issue on the back of two high-profile incidents last season. Liverpool's Luis Suárez was given an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra at Anfield in October while the Chelsea captain, John Terry, will appear at Westminster magistrates' court on 9 July after he was charged with a "racially aggravated public order offence" following an altercation with Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road, also in October. Terry denies the charge.
Although the PFA has worked hard to campaign against racism in football, Taylor acknowledges that this season has, in some respects, been a "reality check". He remains concerned that black players will "think twice" about lodging an official complaint because of "such intimidation with social networks" and because "there is so much abuse flying about", and for that reason feels it is vital the "football world" supports those who come forward. Taylor also revealed that he has been on the receiving end of "terrible abuse" for speaking out against racism.
As well as the change to players' contracts that will carry the threat of more severe punishments, Taylor accepts that there is a need to "re-address the education process, rather than just think about sanctions".
He explained that the PFA, working in tandem with the League Managers Association, are planning to bring in a new education programme that would lead to managers, all British and overseas players, and even directors and owners receiving training and advice in relation to racism and discrimination in football.
"Rather than just concentrate on the young apprentices as part of their curriculum, we want to introduce it to all senior players, and also that when players come in from abroad, to try and have an educational process for them and the owners of the club and management," said Taylor. "It will be part of the duty of [player liaison officers] introducing any player coming in from abroad to go through a list of things, particularly in the player's contract, where you see about racist abuse, code of conduct and what is expected in this country on racism and equality issues."
Sport- Olympic State of Emergency or State of Britain?
Updated: 23 May 2012
UK deploys thousands of police officers, soldiers for London Olympics
Tue May 22, 2012 5:48PM GMT
We have command team in place, we have up to 9,500 officers on duty (in London) on peak days, unlike last summer when we didn't.”
Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Chris Allison
Around 12,500 British police officers and 10,500 army personnel will be deployed to protect the 2012 London Olympics from any potential threat.
The British police have announced they would deploy 12,500 officers on streets during the London Olympics. The officers will be from 52 forces across Britain, with 9,500 being deployed in London.
Furthermore, 10,500 army personnel will be deployed during the Olympic Games. Typhoon aircraft, helicopters, HMS Ocean, and Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) systems will also come to the army personnel’s help during the events.
The Metropolitan Police have said the measures taken are an indication that the British police have learnt lessons from the violent unrest last year.
“We are in a different place to where I think we were last summer, a number of sentences have been given by the courts which I think will act as a clear deterrent to people, communities themselves have come out and said, `This is not acceptable,"' said Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Chris Allison.
“We have command team in place, we have up to 9,500 officers on duty (in London) on peak days, unlike last summer when we didn't,” Allison added.
Some ‘security’ measures taken by the British government have been severely criticized, especially the deployment of missiles on private premises
Sport- News from London via Havana - "Heathrow to become gridlocked during Olympics"
Updated: 22 May 2012
NEWS FROM LONDON
British parliamentarians have recently warned that London’s Heathrow Airport, the largest in the United Kingdom, may not be able to cope with the massive arrival of athletes and tourists for the Olympics.
John Whittingdale, of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee wrote a letter to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, warning that the airport could become gridlocked, with planes forced to circle and tourists made to queue at passport control for several hours.
He expressed concern that planes could be left on runways or blocking gates, not allowed to unload, if capacity is exceeded inside the terminal.
It has also been announced that seven of the main companies providing water to the population in the country’s southern and eastern regions will levy fines equivalent to 1,600 dollars on anyone using a hose to water a garden or wash a car in the street, given the severe drought which is affecting the area.
Some 20 million people will have to abide by new regulations, while exemptions are being made for the watering of lawns and fields used in sporting events, including the Olympic Games.
Sport- Cubans on track for London Olympics
Updated: 22 May 2012
Cubans on track
OPPORTUNITIES remain for Olympic hopefuls to qualify for the London 2012 Summer Games, scheduled to begin July 27.
The Cuban athletics team, which will send the largest group to the event - with 18 members already qualified – is hoping to add another 12 when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) finalizes its list of participants in July, according to the point minimum established. The Athletics Association is the last group expected to complete this process.
In addition to track and field athletes, the Cuban delegation will include several boxers, as well as those competing in canoeing, cycling, diving, weight lifting, wrestling (including Catherine Videaux in the women’s division), swimming, table tennis, tae kwon do, target shooting and rowing.
Over the next few months, the number of Cuban athletes participating should increase since, in addition to the aforementioned disciplines, the judo team is in a position to add 10 or 11 competitors in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
Likewise, athletes hoping to compete in the triathlon, the modern pentathlon and badminton are awaiting decisions by their respective international federations, according to the Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation’s High Performance Department.
As of early May, 91 Cubans had qualified for the Summer Olympic Games.
Their average age is less than 23, as was the case in Beijing ’08 and at the Guadalajara Pan Americans in 2011.
Thirty percent of the athletes are expected to be women, continuing the trend seen in Cuban delegations since 1992.
Sport- Pieterson "looks unconvincing" as England beat the WIndies
Updated: 22 May 2012
England ease past doughty West Indies after a couple of early scares
• West Indies 243 and 345; England 398 and 193-5
• England won by five wickets
Ian Bell hits a boundary en route to 63 not out and England's five-wicket win over West Indies.
England won the first Test by five wickets, as comfortable a margin as it appeared was destined until Kemar Roach cut them down to size on the Sunday evening with a compelling burst of pace.
Briefly then, as England stuttered in pursuit of 191, it was as if the old days had returned to both sides.
Roach and then the debutant Shannon Gabriel made further inroads early on , fanning the embers of hope as Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, each capable of taking the game away in their own different ways, were sent packing for an unlucky 13 apiece.
For West Indies, that was as good as it got.
The new ball that had lent optimism lost its potency and the clouds lifted so that for a while the sun even emerged. And there was also Alastair Cook, as mentally strong as any batsman in world cricket, and Ian Bell, starting to regain the touch that made him so successful last year.
Together the pair put on 132, taking the score from 57 for four to 189.
Cook's contribution was 79 before frustratingly, in trying to cut away the winning runs, he chopped Darren Sammy straight to gully.
To Bell went the winning boundary, clipped through midwicket off Marlon Samuels, who mysteriously had bowled from the Nursery end since the lunch interval (injury to Fidel Edwards or Gabriel perhaps), taking him to 63 and greeted by the batsman as if at a stroke he had won the Ashes and the World Cup.
The truth is that West Indies needed longer bowling at England on the Sunday evening when emotions were running hot and adrenaline was coursing through the veins of Roach and Fidel Edwards, stimulated by their team's batting resistance when capitulation might have been the norm in the not so distant past.
They were allowed only four overs on the fourth day, and circumstances and conditions all too often change overnight. morning brought a sparse crowd and a lifting of the gloomy shroud that had blighted a game played for a decent proportion with the floodlights on.
There was still the imperative to win, of course, and England would have the recent memory of their abject failure to chase 145 in Abu Dhabi earlier in the year.
There was real urgency in the team huddle before play began. But in reality, West Indies' moment had been lost.
Despite this, first Roach and then Gabriel raised the stakes. Trott, in the eyes of most, was incredibly fortunate to have survived a first-ball lbw appeal off Roach on the Sunday evening and on the resumption he survived another, from Fidel Edwards this time.
Roach, from the Pavilion end once more, did for him brilliantly, however, moving one up the slope and finding the edge with Sammy taking the catch, a real stinger, superbly to his left.
For the half hour he was at the crease Pietersen looked unconvincing, beaten several times and pulling Gabriel's bouncer to the boundary well enough but from too wide of off-stump for comfort.
Trying to repeat the shot off the next ball, more legside this time, he became cramped and got a faint inside edge to the keeper. At 57 for four, the game was still alive.
Cook, though, was batting superbly, measured in his approach, without flamboyance. Like Shivnarine Chanderpaul, he understands how to construct an innings.
After 28 deliveries he had only a single to his name but he was performing the primary function of an opener: by the time he was out he had faced only a further 99, hitting 10 boundaries with his usual array of cuts and drives, and a thumping pull when Gabriel tested him out.
In Bell we saw a calmness that once might not have been there, and he rarely looked troubled.
Gradually the England batsmen are emerging from the winter darkness.
Now the teams move on to Nottingham for the second Test, which starts on Friday.
Without in the least bit being patronising, West Indies have delivered a feisty performance that bodes well. More obviously talented sides from the region have shown considerably less application and spirit than Sammy's men, and credit to them for that. As they showed against Australia recently, West Indies are competing in matches where once they might have folded.
England's had been a good rather than overwhelming match, underpinned by Andrew Strauss's century and the bowling of Stuart Broad. Jimmy Anderson will consider himself extremely unlucky and it cannot be long until he gains his reward.
The only question for Trent Bridge will surround the talismanic Tim Bresnan, who has now won all of his 12 Test matches.
In no way did he bowl as poorly as his figures might suggest, and he was the correct choice in anticipation of this Lord's pitch. Trent Bridge tends to be quicker, though, and although it swings there more than any other ground, it may be time to unharness Steven Finn.
Sport - More Olympic Hype-But a different "Games" are possible
Updated: 21 May 2012
Friday, 18 May 2012
Who gets to see the Torch? Who gets to see the Games?
As the Olympic Torch relay starts its route around Britain author of a forthcoming book on the Olympics Mark Perryman questions the claim of a Games for all
Beginning its long route around Britain the Torch Relay is one of the few examples of decentralisation and free-to-watch events that could have transformed the 2012 Olympics into a Games for all.
There is little doubt that the sight of the Olympic torch as it passes through a village, town or city up and down the byways, with photo-opps at famous landmarks will ignite popular interest and huge media coverage.
But the scale of that enthusiasm reveals the lack of ambition behind the 2012 model for the Olympics.
In my new book Why the Olympics Aren’t Good For Us, And How They Can Be, I propose Five New Rings for the Olympic symbol.
The first, and most important, of these is decentralisation.
As a mega-event football’s World Cup has its problems too with new stadia sometimes built with no obvious future likelihood to be full again once the tournament is over.
But the singular advantage for the hosts of a World Cup over the Olympics is it is spread all over the country, and sometimes more than one.
In this way the global spectacular becomes not only a national event but a local event too.
The Olympics is an entirely different model, apart from the yachting and the football tournament every single event is London-based, most of Britain will have no contact with the Games except a fleeting glimpse of the Torch relay as it pases through.
Decentralisation could have changed all this, and saved enormous amounts on new builds too.
Glasgow and Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester, the North-East, Yorkshire and the Midlands all posses world-class stadia and arenas with huge capacities and multi-use possibilities.
North Wales, the Lake District and parts of Scotland have the natural landscape perfect for events including the canoe slalom and mountain biking.
Badminton is one of the finest three-day event venues in the world, its not in London so its not being used for 2012.
Avoiding those costly new builds by using existing facilities would not only magnify the Olympics’ local appeal but vastly increase capacities too.
With imaginative reconfiguring Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium could have hosted the showjumping, Manchester’s Old Trafford and Eastlands stadiums plus the MEN Arena the boxing, between Glasgow and Edinburgh share the Hockey tournament , the Midlands Stadiums host the Beach volleyball, the North-East already hosts the Great North Run, why not stage the Olympic Marathon there, give Yorkshire the Football tournament and so on.
Decentralisation enables this spread of venues with far bigger capacity than many hosting the events in London. And with Scotland, Wales, regions and cities hosting entire parts of the Olympic programme an effective campaign combining civic pride and participation in the adopted sport could have been mounted.
Decentralisation could also afford an extension of the Olympic programme to include events that are both nation-wide and free to watch.
Why not an Olympic Tour of Britain multistage cycling race, and a Round Britain sailing race.
The potential for crowds lining the streets and the quaysides to watch , for free, as the Olympics comes to their town or port would have been huge.
The book that I have written is neither anti-Olympics nor it it against sport, I am a fan of both.
But I am opposed to what the Olympics have become, the false promises made on their behalf and the chronic lack of ambition in the way they have been organised.
My argument is that a different Olympics isn’t only possible, but better.
If our only experience of the Games in this much hyped once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host them is watching them on the TV, well they ,might as well be anywhere else but here, and a lot less costly too.
Mark Perryman’s Why the Olympics Aren’t Good For Us, And How They Can Be is available at a pre-publication 15% discount from www.orbooks.com
Sport- For Chelsea the Cup runneth over- but Terry will be left stirring a Cup of Tealeaves
Updated: 19 May 2012
Chelsea eye history on hostile territory
Blues set for Champions League final
Friday 18 May 2012
Football: The stakes couldn’t be higher on Saturday night as Chelsea aim to become the first London club to win the European Cup.
Roberto di Matteo’s side will make history if they can defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, the result of which has huge ramifications for the west London club.
Not only would victory be a historic moment for the Blues, it would also impact heavily on the future of caretaker manager di Matteo, as well as ensure they play in European club football’s elite competition next season.
Defeat, on the other hand, could have dire implications. Di Matteo, not a certainty to have his stay as manager prolonged even if Chelsea win, would likely be shown the door by chairman Roman Abramovich, while Chelsea would struggle to attract world-class signings next season if they do not have the carrot of Champions League football to dangle under the noses of potential targets.
Fans of Tottenham will not be supporting their London neighbours as they will lose the spot in the Champions League they earned by finishing fourth if Chelsea, who could only finish sixth, win in the Allianz Arena.
Chelsea have featured in the Champions League for nine straight seasons. Failure to continue that run would stunt their income next season, as well as leave the club further away than ever of fufilling Abramovich’s dream to deliver the trophy he covets most.
“It’s a huge game. Everyone knows how big it is,” Chelsea defender Gary Cahill said. “But for us, if we get caught up in that and start thinking from stuff apart from the game, it will be a distraction.”
Both clubs must shuffle their packs tonight, with seven players in all suspended from the final after picking up cautions in the last four.
The Blues are missing Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles, as well as John Terry, who was sent off against Barcelona. Bayern Munich are without Luiz Gustavo, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.
Chelsea arrived in Munich today and di Matteo immediately had to field questions over his future amid reports that Abramovich is keen to acquire the services of Pep Guardiola following his resignation at Barcelona, while Fabio Capello has also reportedly been in talks with Chelsea officials.
“I’m very relaxed about it,” Di Matteo said of the media speculation. “I have a big drive and a big motivation to do something extraordinary for this club. After that, what happens happens for a reason.”
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who was famously fired by Real Madrid in 1998 days after leading the Spanish giant to their first European title in 32 years, is under no such pressure.
The 67-year-old German is aming to become the fourth coach to lead two different clubs to win the European Cup in a match that has been dubbed the “Day of Destiny” by television marketers.
For once — and certainly for di Matteo and Chelsea — the hyperbole is justified.
Sport- West Indies Test at Lords includes England debut for Jonny Bairstow
Updated: 17 May 2012
Dawning of a new era as England pick Jonny Bairstow
Yorkshire batsman gets nod ahead of Taylor to make debut in the first Test against West Indies
Monday 14 May 2012
There was the sense yesterday of a new era dawning in English cricket. Jonny Bairstow, the 22-year-old Yorkshire batsman, was chosen to play in his first Test in the opening match of the series against West Indies, which begins at Lord's on Thursday.
He was narrowly preferred by the selectors to James Taylor, of Nottinghamshire, who is 102 days younger.
It was Taylor who mustered a hundred for England Lions against the tourists in their final practice match which ended here yesterday, but Bairstow's half-century and his two previous Championship centuries for his county this season persuaded the panel that his time was at hand.
Both players were no doubt part of the initial discussions about the team but their relevance increased as soon as Ravi Bopara suffered a leg injury while playing for Essex at Chelmsford on Friday.
Bopara was in the original squad of 13 before he suffered the grade-two tear to his right quadriceps, as he was for the first Test last year when a Lions hundred for Eoin Morgan prompted a change of course.
The poor chap must feel that the world is unfair and he might also agonise that the chance of resuming his Test career has gone forever.
Still only 27, his best years should be ahead of him but a new brigade of cricketers is turning the selectors' heads in a different direction.
Bopara, desperate to add to his 12 caps, needs to go away and put himself back in the frame according to Geoff Miller, the national selector.
Taylor, too, must score runs for Notts regularly if he is to entice continuing attention.
Before his captain's hundred for the Lions the feeling was that he had slipped down the list of candidates.
The England batting order is a static entity – four of its members have 328 caps between them – but when Taylor and Bairstow were assembling a partnership of 106 against West Indies on Friday the sentiment was universally shared that here was the future and that both could have durable Test careers.
Miller said: "We had a long discussion.
It was a close call. This does not close the door on James Taylor by any means. I've had a chat with him, told him the decision and the reasons why.
"Jonny's got the nod. He obviously played well against an international attack, but he's been doing well for Yorkshire for two years. But the point is now there are quite a few players knocking on the door"
Bairstow will become the 13th player whose father also appeared in Tests for England.
His late father, David, won four caps.
Bairstow Jnr was not required to bat a second time yesterday as the Lions cantered home by 10 wickets with Joe Root, another Yorkshireman, scoring 115 not out, which contained 16 fours in its 143 balls.
As if defeat were not bad enough, West Indies had problems with their bowling attack.
Kemar Roach, having twisted an ankle, was hit on a hand, and Ravi Rampaul bowled only four overs.
England's squad is predictable, containing five seam bowlers, of whom three will almost certainly play.
Miller suggested that Andy Flower, the coach, and Andrew Strauss, the captain, had the option to leave out a batsman, but in the conditions likely to prevail the usual balance of six batsmen, a wicketkeeper batsman, three seamers and a spinner will compose the team.
One of Steve Finn, Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions will accompany Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.
If Onions is the form man, Bresnan is a winner (11 wins from Test appearances) and he played in England's last Test.
England squad: first test
Players' Age and number of Tests
AJ Strauss (capt)35 94
AN Cook 2777
IJL Trott 31 28
KP Pietersen 31 83
IR Bell 30 74
JM Bairstow 22 n/a
MJ Prior (wkt) 30 52
TT Bresnan 27 11
SCJ Broad 25 45
JM Anderson 29 68
ST Finn 23 13
GP Swann 33 41
G Onions 29 8
First test 17-21 May, Lord's
TV Sky Sports 1, from 10am
Highlights Channel 5, 7pm
Sport- Man City plus 1 weekend
Updated: 15 May 2012
MAN City Plus 1 weekend
Barton facing a hefty FA ban
Barton can leave QPR
McLeish loses his job
Kean – Expletives
Dalglish – On the red carpet
Tevez – RIP poster
Van Persie – options
Chelsea v Bayern Munich– Sat 19th -Champions or Seconds out
Sport- REVENGE by Liverpool
Updated: 09 May 2012
Premier League - Liverpool thrash calamitous Chelsea
Tue, 08 May 21:55:00 2012
Just three days after their FA Cup final defeat to the Blues, Kenny Dalglish’s side responded with a stunning early showing as a Michael Essien own-goal was followed by clinical finishes from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger.
Chelsea captain John Terry endured a nightmare evening with a spate of mistakes, while fellow defender Branislav Ivanovic could have been sent off for an elbow on Andy Carroll with Stewart Downing missing the resulting penalty.
Ramires grabbed a goal back for the visitors just after half-time, but a horrendous attempted clearance from goalkeeper Ross Turnbull left Jonjo Shelvey to net a fourth and cap a fine win for the Reds as Chelsea saw their hopes of grabbing fourth spot extinguished.
Former Kop idol Fernando Torres returned to Anfield for the first time since his £50 million departure in January last year as one of eight changes for Chelsea with this month's Champions League final against Bayern Munich Roberto Di Matteo’s primary focus.
Liverpool, meanwhile, made four changes from their FA final side, with captain Steven Gerrard absent from the squad, but Wembley goalscorer Carroll returning to the line-up brimming with confidence.
It started to go wrong for Terry as early as the eighth minute as Luis Suarez hurtled forward and beat him with alarming ease, only to lack conviction and drag a tame shot wide of the far post in hasty fashion.
It was not one of Ivanovic’s best games in a Chelsea shirt, but it could have been significantly better had he not been denied by the woodwork in the 17th minute: the defender leapt high to head powerfully against the near post from Florent Malouda’s corner.
Two minutes later, Chelsea’s frustration was compounded as Suarez scampered down the right and cut back from the byline, beating Ryan Bertrand and Terry with consummate ease, before his low cross was inadvertently turned into the net by Essien from a yard out.
Henderson made it two in the 25th minute as Terry crucially slipped to allow a seemingly innocuous ball to run through to midfielder, who was afforded a simple run at goal, and he produced a composed finish to beat Turnbull.
Just four minutes later, it got even worse for the visitors as a deep corner found Carroll at the back post, who had evaded Terry yet again, the forward able to head into the path of Agger who in turn nodded past Turnbull.
It was a truly dismal performance from the out-of-sorts Chelsea skipper.
Downing was denied by the crossbar as he unleashed a dipping volley from 25 yards which beat Turnbull comprehensively, before he saw his penalty kick rebound off the post after Ivanovic had crudely elbowed Carroll inside the box as the Liverpool forward attempted to meet a loose ball. It was the fifth spot kick to have gone begging out of six for the Reds in the league this season.
Chelsea knew that a significant improvement was required after the restart, and a goal arrived just five minutes into the second half.
Malouda whipped over a devilish free kick from the right, and Ramires got a faint touch on the ball with Pepe Reina unable to prevent it from squirming beyond him and into the net in what was a soft goal to concede.
But Liverpool swiftly restored their three-goal cushion as a horrendous scuffed clearance landed straight at the feet of Shelvey, who volleyed an emphatic finish into an empty net, his first top-flight goal.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku should have reduced the deficit once more late on as he stole in to head on target from close range after meeting a fine cross from Malouda, but Reina made a stunning reflex save to his right to deny the forward.
The second half petered out rather tamely in what was a poor finale, with the Liverpool fans left to celebrate a victory which lifts them above Fulham into eighth on goal difference, while Chelsea fail to close the gap on Tottenham and Newcastle and have to settle for a sixth-placed finish
Sport- The London 2012- Olympic Branding Games - A Commercial Bonanza
Updated: 23 Apr 2012
The Olympic branding game
John Hilary looks at the corporate commercial bonanza
provided by sponsorship opportunities for London 2012
The London 2012 Olympics are upon us. Already our media and public spaces are filling up with images of Olympian and Paralympian athletes striving to attain sporting greatness.
The London organising committee (LOCOG) has publicly embraced the Olympic principles of social responsibility and fair play, promising us an ethical Games whose ‘lasting legacy’ will be lived out for years to come.
In reality, any public benefit from the Olympics will come in a distant second to private profit.
Today’s Games have degenerated into a multi-billion dollar scramble by multinational corporations to associate their brands with the Olympic spirit, and companies are prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege.
No other sporting event offers such a positive image of capitalist enterprise in the service of a higher cause.
Exclusive monopoly rights are an essential part of the sponsorship deals signed with Olympic partners. Visa will be the only credit card accepted at any Olympic venue, just as it was for those trying to buy tickets for the Games last year.
McDonald’s will be the only branded food that can be sold at the events and Coca-Cola the only drinks provider. Logos and adverts for competing brands will be covered up to avoid ‘contamination’ during the Games.
This privatisation of the spoils goes hand in hand with the exclusion of local communities.
Businesses face prosecution if they use Olympics branding in their own commercial activities, and residents of the Lower Lea Valley will enjoy few real benefits from the legacy of the Games.
This mirrors the experience of other sporting events around the world. Local South African traders were barred from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, just as the favelas of Rio de Janeiro are already being cleared in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
For multinational sportswear companies, the Olympics represent an unparallelled marketing opportunity before a global TV audience of four billion spectators.
Adidas has spent around £100 million to be the official sportswear partner of the London Olympics and sponsor of Team GB, in an attempt to overtake Nike as the number one sportswear brand in the UK.
For its part, Nike is sponsoring the US national team and top athletes Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and Mark Cavendish, while Puma’s logo is emblazoned across the chest of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt.
Yet these same companies are failing to play fair with the people who make their goods.
According to War on Want’s new research, several factories producing sportswear for Adidas, Nike and Puma in Bangladesh do not even pay their workers the legal minimum wage, let alone a living wage that would allow them to meet their basic needs.
These findings echo the PlayFair campaign’s revelation that the official Wenlock and Mandeville toy mascots currently on sale in shops around Britain have been made in China using sweated labour.
Embarrassingly for LOCOG, the PlayFair research uncovered breaches of every single one of the nine agreed standards for London 2012 merchandise.
The records of many of the other multinational corporations involved in the London Olympics have caused similar outrage (see next pages).
No companies should be allowed to wrap themselves in the Olympic flag when they have been guilty of human rights violations or environmental damage in their operations.
London 2012 is our opportunity to expose the commercialisation of the Olympics and reclaim the Games from monopoly capitalism. Now that would be a legacy worth celebrating.
The new War on Want report Race to the Bottom: Olympic sportswear companies’ exploitation of Bangladeshi workers is available at www.waronwant.org/olympics
Sport-Time to say Goodbye or Sucking up to Bernie ? The Man who likes to fire on all cylinders ?
Updated: 21 Apr 2012
Labour Party controversy
In 1997 Ecclestone was involved in a political controversy over the British Labour Party's policy on tobacco sponsorship.
Labour had pledged to ban tobacco advertising in its manifesto ahead of its 1997 General Election victory, supporting a proposed European Union Directive banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship.
At this time all leading Formula One Teams carried significant branding from tobacco brands such as Rothmans, Benson and Hedges, West, Marlboro and Mild Seven.
The Labour Party's stance on banning tobacco advertising was reinforced following the election by forceful statements from the Health Secretary Frank Dobson and Minister for Public Health Tessa Jowell.
Ecclestone appealed 'over Jowell's head' to Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff, who arranged a meeting with Blair.
Ecclestone and Mosley, both Labour Party donors, met Blair on 16 October 1997, where Mosley argued:
"Motor racing was a world class industry which put Britain at the hi-tech edge.
Deprived of tobacco money, Formula One would move abroad at the loss of 50,000 jobs, 150,000 part-time jobs and £900 million of exports."
On 4 November the "fiercely anti-tobacco Jowell" argued in Brussels for an exemption for Formula One.
Media attention initially focused on Labour bending its principles for a "glamour sport" and on the "false trail" of Jowell's husband's links to Benetton.
On 6 November correspondents from three newspapers inquired whether Labour had received any donations from Ecclestone; he had donated £1 million in January 1997.
On 11 November Labour promised to return the money on the advice of Sir Patrick Neill.
On 17 November Blair apologised for his government's mishandling of the affair and stated "the decision to exempt Formula One from tobacco sponsorship was taken two weeks later.
It was in response to fears that Britain might lose the industry overseas to Asian countries who were bidding for it."
In 2008, the year after Blair stepped down as Prime Minister, internal Downing Street memos revealed that in fact the decision had been made at the time of the meeting, and not two weeks later as Blair stated in Parliament.
Women as "domestic appliances"
In 2005, when speaking about Indycar racer Danica Patrick, he remarked "You know I've got one of those wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances."
Ecclestone later called Patrick to apologise, but repeated his comments, before apologizing a second time.
Earlier, in February 2000, he said that women would never excel in Formula One, stating "she would have to be a woman who was blowing away the boys. ... What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish."
In a Times interview published on 4 July 2009, Ecclestone said "terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people able to get things done."
According to Ecclestone: "If you have a look at a democracy it hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries — including this one".
He also said that his friend of 40 years Max Mosley, the son of British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, "would do a super job" as Prime Minister and added "I don’t think his background would be a problem."
Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle, said: “Mr Ecclestone is either an idiot or morally repulsive.
Either he has no idea how stupid and offensive his views are or he does and deserves to be held in contempt by all decent people.” In a subsequent interview with The Jewish Chronicle, Ecclestone said that his comments were taken the wrong way, but apologised, saying, "I'm just sorry that I was an idiot.
I sincerely, genuinely apologise." However, when Ecclestone was later told by Associated Press that the World Jewish Congress had called for his resignation, he said "it's a pity they didn't sort the banks out," referring to the financial crisis of 2007–2010, and claimed "They have a lot of influence everywhere.
Sport- Protest at Two Mining Giants causing Massive Air Pollution linked to the Olympics
Updated: 20 Apr 2012
Protesters target Olympic medal firm's AGM
Thursday 19 April 2012
Two multinational mining giants came under fire on Thursday from protesters angry over links with the Olympics, harsh labour policies and potential environmental disasters.
A group of environmental, human rights and labour demonstrators targeted the annual general meeting of Rio Tinto in central London.
Some were wearing "gas masks" and token Olympic medals to highlight massive amounts of air pollution being caused by the firm's Bingham Canyon mine in Utah where most of the medals are coming from.
Utah Moms for Clean Air carried and burst black balloons symbolising deaths they claim were attributable to the company's contribution to air pollution in the Salt Lake City area.
A protest was also led by Workers Uniting, United Steel Workers, Britain's Unite and the International Transport Federation supporting 780 workers at the Alma aluminum smelter in Quebec who have been subject to a four-month lockout in a dispute over Rio Tinto's plans to replace retiring employees with contract workers.
The Free West Papua Campaign was flying West Papuan flags - the raising of which leads to long prison sentences in Indonesian-occupied West Papua - to protest against Rio Tinto's involvement in the Grasberg copper-gold mine which has a long history of violation of land rights and sacred sites.
It has been an embarrassing week for Rio Tinto after the Greenwash Gold 2012 campaign nominated the company as one of the three "worst" corporate sponsors of the Olympics.
Rio Tinto is providing 99 per cent of the metal for the London Olympic medals and Unite is calling for the International Olympic Committee to drop the company.
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: "Its actions go completely against the Olympic values of 'friendship, solidarity and fair play'."
On the other side of London, Anglo American was holding its annual general meeting.
It and Rio Tinto had been targeted by people of Bristol Bay, Alaska, in a full-page ad in the Financial Times, backed by an array of conservation groups saying they didn't want the two companies mining in the area.
Athletic Wigan Whip an Antique Arsenal- Time to Replace Wenger with the younger Martinez
Updated: 17 Apr 2012
Jordi Gómez strike sinks Arsenal and steers Wigan away from danger
David Hytner at Emirates Stadium
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 April 2012 22.30 BST
Franco Di Santo gets the better of Johan Djourou, left, and Yossi Benayoun to score Wigan's second goal against Arsenal.
The equation had seemed simple enough for Arsenal.
Take a home victory from a team towards the foot of the table and stride decisively towards an automatic Champions League berth.
Yet nothing has been entirely simple for them. Indeed, the unpredictability of matches in England this season has reached glorious new heights.
Here was another helter-skelter example and the latest twist in Arsenal's impossible-to-script campaign.
Wigan Athletic not only stormed into an early two-goal lead but they held their hosts at arm's length with remarkable comfort in the second half, when they even looked the likelier scorers.
In Victor Moses they had the game's outstanding performer and the winger's only blot was his inability to finish when clean through in the 60th minute.
Hard on the heels of their victories over Liverpool and Manchester United this was a stunning coup for Wigan.
It is now four wins in five for Roberto Martínez's team and the one that got away was the defeat at Chelsea, when they were wronged by the officials.
In this form and with these levels of confidence it is outlandish to imagine them in next season's Championship. Martínez brimmed with pride and satisfaction.
Wigan had previously tasted only defeat at Arsenal.
The emotions, though, were rather different inside his opposite number.
Arsène Wenger bubbled with anger throughout the game at the time-wasting tactics of the Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, which began when he dragged his heels over a goal-kick in the third minute.
When Al-Habsi was finally booked in injury-time, for pushing the gamesmanship too far, Wenger raged at the fourth official, Kevin Friend.
The unpalatable truth, though, was that Arsenal could have played for another 45 minutes and not threatened.
The second half for them did not feel so much like a bad day at the office as one for the P45s.
There was rancour at full-time, when Wenger stalked off down the tunnel. Gary Caldwell, the Wigan captain, went to shake Robin van Persie's hand only to be rebuffed.
There was a brief kerfuffle and players from both sides had to step in. It looked like something and nothing. Arsenal had to be more concerned at their failure to open up an eight-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur in fourth.
Their addiction to taking matters to the wire continues. Does anybody want to make sure of third?
The defeat was costly yet the stakes were arguably higher for Wigan: the retention of Premier League status means everything to them, in sporting and financial terms.
Martínez's men had arrived in their finest form of the season yet the start that they made was simply staggering.
The tiny enclave of travelling supporters were buzzing with delight from Franco Di Santo's opening goal, converted after a well-constructed and incisive counter-attack, when Moses flummoxed Bacary Sagna and crossed low from the left.
James McArthur attacked the ball and, when it broke, Jordi Gómez beat Wojciech Szczesny at the second attempt.
Wenger was unhappy that his team had only 10 men on the field at the time, Mikel Arteta having limped off with a worrying-looking ankle injury and, because there was no stoppage in play, the Frenchman was unable to get Aaron Ramsey on.
Martínez's formation, with its unorthodox lack of symmetry, was designed to provide defensive strength and pace on the break, and he could revel in Di Santo's goal, which stemmed from an Arsenal corner.
James McCarthy, Moses and Gómez were instrumental in the move and Di Santo fashioned the finish, getting the ball over the advancing Szczesny and running on to volley home.
Arsenal's response to this double hit was initially ferocious. Yossi Benayoun had forced Al-Habsi to tip over a smart header in the fifth minute and he made him save again, acrobatically, with another header.
There was an inevitability about Arsenal reducing the deficit and Thomas Vermaelen seemed to dispatch Tomas Rosicky's whipped cross with a snarl. Van Persie stung Al-Habsi's palms from distance; Johan Djourou volleyed inches wide and Rosicky scooped over.
Yet Arsenal were slipshod and nervous in defence and after the interval they ran out of steam and ideas.
Al-Habsi was not required to make a save and Martínez said the second half was as well as Wigan had played all season. The reward was wonderfully sweet
Sport- Football teams queueing to sign Atkinson the goal scoring referee
Updated: 17 Apr 2012
Redknapp blasts referee Atkinson for awarding Chelsea goal that never was
PUBLISHED: 22:02, 15 April 2012 | UPDATED: 22:02, 15 April 2012
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp hit out at referee Martin Atkinson after he gave a controversial goal that should never have stood in this evening's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea.
Chelsea were edging the contest at Wembley 1-0 thanks to Didier Drogba's first-half opener when Atkinson awarded the Blues a second through Juan Mata in the 48th minute.
The Spaniard shot goalward through a crowded penalty box, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto cleared the ball with his feet while on the turf before the ball crossed the line.
Shocker: The ball clearly does not cross the line from Juan Mata's shot
Despite having a clear sight of the goal, Atkinson almost instantly blew his whistle to award the west London club the goal, a move which infuriated Tottenham's players.
The ghost goal caused Redknapp to throw his players forward and, although they pulled one back, their over-exertion cost them and Chelsea went on the rampage to claim a 5-1 win.
'The second goal was a disaster,' said a disconsolate Redknapp.
'It was nowhere near a goal. It was a huge mistake.
'We looked too open after that and they picked us off. It was key.
'He's (Atkinson) made a big mistake. I don't see how he can give the goal. It's nowhere near over the line.
'There were bodies on the line and the ball couldn't possibly get over the line.
'He must have (guessed). He can't have been sure.'
Tottenham's players were incensed at the decision and surrounded the referee and assistant Mick McDonough after the 'goal', but it was already too late. It had been given.
Come on ref! Tottenham players argue with Martin Atkinson over the goal
Redknapp revealed Atkinson had approached him afterward to apologise.
Redknapp added: ;I spoke to him. He says he feels worse than I do. I said: "I don't think so".
'He knows he's made a mistake and he says he'll have a bad week as well.'
FIFA met last Friday to discuss the introduction of goal-line technology and tests will continue this month before a decision is taken in Kiev in July whether to implement technology, which is already used in a host of other sports.
For Redknapp, its introduction cannot come quick enough.
'Goal-line technology has to come into the game. You can't keep having situations like that,' he said.
Redknapp's team lacked the fluency and ruthlessness of six-time FA Cup champions Chelsea, but there was no doubt that the second goal made their challenge much harder.
With Spurs well out of the reckoning for the Barclays Premier League, the FA Cup was the only chance Redknapp had of winning silverware before a possible departure for the England job this summer.
Luck: Mata wheels away to celebrate after his 'goal' was awarded
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo understood his opposite number's frustration, but denied the decision altered the course of the game.
The Italian said: 'Apparently it didn't cross the line. I can understand the frustration, but I don't know how much it would have mattered because today we scored five, not two.
'We believe there was a penalty in our favour in the home game in the league (against Spurs), on Ramires and we didn't get it.
'Sometimes you get a decision. Other times you don't.'
Sport- 2012 Grand National Selections by The Radical
Updated: 14 Apr 2012
Grand National Selections
According to Pete
By the Radical
Sport- The Grand National - Aintree
Updated: 14 Apr 2012
Saturday April 14 2012
John Smith's Grand National Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£975000.00 added, 7yo plus, 4m 4f, Class 2
Winner £547268 2nd £205822 3rd £102862 4th £51382 5th £25838 6th £12870 7th £6630 8th £3510 9th £1950 10th £975
Good-Good to Soft in places; National: Good-Good to Soft in places.
Betting Forecast: 7/1 Synchronised, 10/1 Junior, 10/1 West End Rocker, 10/1 Giles Cross, 12/1 BallaBriggs, 12/1 Chicago Grey, 12/1 On His Own, 12/1 Cappa Bleu, 14/1 Seabass, 14/1 Killyglen, 16/1 Shakalakaboomboom, 16/1 Treacle, 16/1 Sunnyhillboy, 16/1 Becauseicouldntsee, 20/1 According To Pete, 20/1 Organisedconfusion, 25/1 Neptune Collonges, 25/1 Calgary Bay, 25/1 Planet of Sound, 25/1 Always Right, 25/1 The Midnight Club, 33/1 Weird Al, 33/1 Alfa Beat, 33/1 Black Apalachi, 33/1 Rare Bob, 33/1 Mon Mome, 33/1 Quiscover Fontaine, 33/1 State of Play, 50/1 Deep Purple, 50/1 Tatenen, 50/1 Arbor Supreme, 50/1 Midnight Haze, 50/1 Vic Venturi, 50/1 Viking Blond, 50/1 Hello Bud, 66/1 Tharawaat, 66/1 Swing Bill, 66/1 Postmaster, 66/1 In Compliance, 100/1 Neptune Equester
Verdict The great Golden Miller, in 1934, was the last chaser to win both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season so the omens aren't good for Synchronised, though modifications to the Aintree fences have seen the better horses towards the top of the handicap start to dominate recently.
The J P McManus-owned Don't Push It won the National under 11st5lb for the Jonjo O'Neill/A P McCoy partnership two years ago so connections know what it takes to win the big race and Synchronised has more class than the 2010 hero.
With plenty in his favour, the nine-year-old must go well granted luck in-running though the same owner and trainer also have another viable candidate in Sunnyhillboy.
He's likely to be around three times the odds of his stable companion and showed himself to be back to his best when easily beating Becauseicouldntsee in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at Cheltenham and he's better off at the weights with Organisedconfusion than when finishing third to Nina Carberry's mount in last season's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Junior's Doncaster second has been franked and he's been laid out for this, as has West End Rocker who was brought down on the first circuit in the National last year but made a successful return to the track in December and will enjoy the ground.
The Irish challenge can never be discounted but stamina could be a problem for Katie Walsh's partner Seabass, who has been deserted by Ruby Walsh in favour of Willie Mullins' On His Own, a winner at Gowran in January and lightly-raced this term.
But we prefer KILLYGLEN, who was travelling as well as anything last year when falling four out.
He races off a 5lb lower mark this time around and Stuart Crawford has been very bullish about his chances all season.
A recent victory at Down Royal shows he is in good heart and he gets the nod as last year's winner Ballabriggs has 10lbs more to carry this time and may struggle to confirm running with third Cappa Bleu, while recent rain has turned the ground against Chicago Grey.
Giles Cross has to be worth a second look, however, as he was clear of the remainder when second in the Welsh National in December and stayed on dourly to get the better of Neptune Collonges in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February off today's mark.
Calgary Bay, Shakalakaboomboom and According To Pete have all been in great form lately but the marathon distance will test the stamina of all three to the limit while it looks like 2009 winner Mon Mome is a light of former days.
Sport- The Merseyside Clash at Wembley today
Updated: 14 Apr 2012
FA Cup semi-final can unite Merseyside, says Kenny Dalglish
Friday 13 April 2012
Football: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes it is fitting fans from both Merseyside clubs will come together in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
The two sides have not faced each other at Wembley since the 1989 final, which took place less than two months after the tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 people on April 15.
Players of both teams will wear black armbands, floral tributes will be laid by Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville and there will be a period of silence prior to kick-off to commemorate the occasion.
Dalglish believes it is almost symbolic the two clubs should meet again so respects can be paid.
“It’s coincidental that it’s Liverpool and Everton at Wembley again because that was the final that year (1989),” said the Reds boss.
“It’s going to be very emotive for everybody. The Evertonians were affected by Hillsborough as well as the Liverpool fans, with family members who never came home.
“It will be poignant and I’m sure both sets of fans will grace the minute’s silence with the dignity they’ve shown since 1989.”
Sport- George - Bradford Bulls New Mascot ?
Updated: 12 Apr 2012
Monday, 9 April 2012
Galloway celebrates Bradford Bulls victory
George Galloway, newly elected MP for Bradford West, celebrated the Bradford Bulls victory over local rivals Leeds Rhinos with Bulls chairman Peter Hood at Odsal on Good Friday.
This was the first ever rugby game George Galloway had watched.
"It was exciting, fast and very physical," said Galloway afterwards. "The Bulls were handicapped by having no less than 14 players injured out of a squad of 30.
They barely had enough players to field a full side with substitutes.
And yet they held the Rhinos to just a four point lead at half time.
Then in the second half and with a player in the sin bin, the Bulls took the lead through Jamie Langley, the only survivor of the great side that took the World Club Challenmge in 2006.
And then doubled their lead.
A fantastic result not only with all the injuriesd but with a financial crissi hanging over the club."
George Galloway met Peter Hood earlier to give his pledge to the Bulls fighting fund and to discuss what he could do to help the Bulls in their hour of need.
"This club is a central part of Bradford's history and traditions," said Galloway.
"On Good Friday it had a capacity crowd of almost 21,000. I feel it can get into the play offs and has a chance of taking the championship. I certainly hope so.
I want to encourage everyone in Bradford, whether they are rugby league fans or not, to come to the aid of the club by pledging as much as they can afford to help the club out."
Galloway intends to raise the problems facing the Bulls and other r