Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Buffon not interested in United move

Buffon wants to stay at Juve
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluca Buffon has played down speculation linking the him to Manchester United, Alex Ferguson admitted this weekend that he expects Edwin van der Sar to retire at the end of the season and the Manchester United manager has been in the market in search of a replacement for the Dutchman.

Buffon who has played his entire career in Italy might be interested in playing in the Premier League, but the Italian has insisted such speculation is nothing more than transfer gossip, with his attention focused solely on Juve's Serie A title this season.

"I have no intention of leaving Juventus," the 32-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I feel good here and I have no contract problems. My wish is to respect my contract and see it through until 2013. Then we will see if there is the option to renew.

"Manchester United? They are a great team I have faced a few times and have a few bitter memories of, nothing else."

Buffon is currently working back to full fitness and hopes to back in the Juve team by the New Year; the Italian has been struggling with a long-standing back injury which flared up at the 2010 World Cup finals.

Michel Platini: Panorama won't effect England's bid

Uefa President Michel Platini has suggested that last night’s ill timed Panorama programme on FIFA corruption won’t have any bearing of England’s bid to host to 2018 World Cup finals when FIFA make their final decision on Thursday.

He said: "I don't think this [programme] will have an effect, no - but I think what may affect the decision is the atmosphere going back a long time and what people have been writing about FIFA in the British press for many years."

Panorama accused three FIFA executive committee members of taking bribes, and accused the FIFA vice-president Jack Warner of attempting to supply ticket touts during the 2010 World Cup. Panorama also accused African confederation president Issa Hayatou, whose voted England 2018 had high hopes of capturing, Brazil's Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay of taking bribes.

Warner has been accused that he "ordered [2010 World Cup] tickets costing 84,240 US dollars from the FIFA ticket office but the deal subsequently fell through".

The BBC has since defended a documentary which was aired last night, alleging three FIFA officials took bribes in the 1990s, but the English FA have criticised the BBC in a statement saying; "We stand by our previous position that the BBC's Panorama did nothing more than rake over a series of historical allegations none of which are relevant to the current bidding process. It should be seen as an embarrassment to the BBC.

"The 2018 team are entirely focused on winning the bid for England."

Monday, 29 November 2010

Calcio Fiorentino - a Bruising, Anarchic and Exhilarating Spectacle of Sport.

Calcio Fiorentino – does that ring any bells in terms sports?  It is almost certainly not one you played at school but it has weathered the centuries well and is still played in its home town of Florence.   It has been played since the sixteenth century.  The game – Calcio for short – must be the original extreme sport.  And boy, oh boy – is it extreme.

It is played by the sort of men who, if you met them in real life are probably real gentlemen.   Yet if you were to come across them on a dark night you would probably be forgiven for hurrying past them or turning tale and running.  These men look mean.   On the Calcio Fiorentino pitch they seem to be participating in a pitched battle, like something out of Highlander, Italian style.

The game is a combination of football and rugby and is very much an archaic predecessor of the two.  Throw in some high powered martial arts and a fearlessness about being hurt that most professional soccer players would be dumbfounded by and you have a bruising, anarchic and exhilarating spectacle of sport.

If you are Italian then you already know where this sport originates but in the English speaking world we know the place as Florence.  The word calcio is the Italian verb to kick – and so the sport could translate as Florence Kick or Florence Kicking.  We like the term FK itself – it is short and sweet and there are two missing syllables in the middle that would otherwise make up a naughty word.  But you do want to exclaim F**K!!! when you see this sport in action.

Funnily enough, kicking is one of the few forms of violence that is not countenanced on the Calcio Fiorentino pictch.   If a boot makes purposeful contact with a head that is considered a definite foul, as is sucker punching.

However, pretty much everything else is fair game.  Head butting – yes, why go ahead, sir!  Punching – as long as it is not of the sucker variety then that too is fine.  Elbowing – of course!  As for choking – go for it.  It seems at first sight that there is very little to avoid the local hospital in Florence being half full every time this game is played.  Yet there are some rules – otherwise this would not count as a sport.

Like most ball sports the object of the exercise is to score more points than the opposition.  This is done by netting the ball in to the goal.  So far, so straightforward.  Yet the goal mouth runs the entire width of the field – a 100m x 50m sand pit.  You can see why there is such a melee with such a wide goal.

The game is played with no breaks, no time out and no substitutions over a period of fifty painful, agonising and emotional minutes.  Eight officials (is a main referee, six linesmen and a field master ) prevent complete anarchy from breaking out, which may seem like quite a number.  When you take in to account that there are twenty seven men on either side in this full throttle, high energy game then that doesn’t seem an inappropriate amount.

As you can imagine the sport, while hugely popular and an immense draw for tourists, is rather too rough and tumble to play all year round without the players suffering too many injuries and concussions.  So, it is restricted to three matches each year in the gorgeous Piazza Santa Croce at the heart of Florence each year.

As many as ten players from each team are simply there for the brawl (which is, after all, part of the game).  In other words they are there not for their skill with a ball but there skill to propel other players skywards, to the earth or in to oblivion.  Their job is to physically stop the other team from getting to their goal.   

The rest are generally football and rugby types whose skill and speed will hopefully help them avoid the clutches of the brawlers. It must be said though, that there is usually plenty of blood spilled in the fifty minute duration of a match and a number of unconscious players.  If you like your sports rough and ready, then this is the one for you.

The three games are played among four teams.  These are the Santa Croce who play in Blue and the Santa Maria Novella who play in red.  They are joined in competition by the Santo Spirito who wear white and the San Giovanni who play in green.

Originally the sport was devised for sons of the nobility but after a hiatus of a few hundred years it was brought back and now anyone can play. Plus there are no hard feelings at the end of the match.

The game originates in the sixteenth century and must have been going some time before the first rule book was published in 1580.  It must itself have been an evolution of the Roman sport of harpastum, which like calcio had a team of 27 on each side.  The impression from contemporary descriptions is of a game fairly similar to rugby.

There is much pomp and ceremony before the game starts, as you can see in the video above, which also includes a lot of action!

World in Sport would like to very much thanks the following Flickr users for giving us kind permission to reproduce their photographs here. Please visit their photostreams and websites by following the links below.

David Beckham hopes to secure World Cup bid

David Beckham hopes he can help in successfully persuading Fifa delegates to vote in favour of England's 2018 World Cup bid. Fifa's executive committee will meet this Thursday in Zurich and decide which country has won the right to stage the tournament. England face competition from Russia, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland, and the decision is expected to be close

David Beckham will head to Zurich later this week, along with Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron in a final effort to secure the tournament for England. The former Three Lions captain is remains confident about England's chances of landing the World Cup and is keen to play his part in the process.

Speaking on England’s chances, he said: "Hopefully I will make a difference. There are many people, like Prince William, who have been involved and working hard for the bid and to get it to this final point.

"We are going to Fifa and a lot of delegates because we need to tell those people about why we feel it is the right thing for us to get the World Cup.

"I feel that at the end of the day it is down to what the bid team have done. England have a history and tradition (in football) and it is about the benefits that can be generated by having the World Cup in England.

"Obviously it is something that people have worked hard for and quite a long time for, and now it is up to the next few days.

"We are confident that we have put in the best bid that we can do."

Beckham expects to take part in promotional events and meet people ahead of the decision, but added: "But it is just the importance of us being there and the team being there.

"It is very important now to just stay positive and just hope for the best because really we have put the best bid in that we can do.

"The point that we have always hammered home is that we have always believed we can put on the best World Cup and that we can work as a team.

"We always believe the best about England and football but we are not over-confident.

"We believe we can host the World Cup best but we just need to let everybody know that we are ready for it. It is important for many generations of people, not just in our country but all over the world."

Luka Modric: Spurs can win the league

Luka Modric believes Spurs can
win the Premier League title
Spurs play-maker Luka Modric has today insisted that Tottenham can win the league title for the first time since 1961, should the team retain there consistent form this season. Spurs have beaten the like of Arsenal and Chelsea and also winning their European encounters with Inter Milan and Werder Bremen this month.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has already insisted that his side can mix up with the best in order to battle it out for top spot and Spurs currently sit fifth in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United.

"Everything is possible!" Modric told Sportske Novosti.

"We have enough potential to be champions of England. But of course it is on us to take what we can take.

"Morale is sky high, we are in heaven in the dressing room - the atmosphere is unbelievable and we really enjoy the football, which can be seen on pitch.

"We can beat everybody in this league but then again we have one problem - we have to play much better against teams which are not at the top of the table.

"That is our problem. We just can't lose points against teams from the second part of the table.

"And whoever wants to be champions has to play as good against the top clubs and all the rest too."

Could Ancelotti be next to leave Chelsea

Carlo Ancelotti's future looks glum
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has laughed off reports that Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola could be in line to replace the Italian at Stamford Bridge; Speculation had been mounting since the weekend that current Blues owner Roman Abramovich wanted the Spaniard to succeed Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge following a low point of Chelsea’s season

Ray Wilkins was axed as Ancelotti's assistant earlier this month and, on Saturday, the club confirmed Frank Arnesen would be leaving his position as sporting director at the end of the season.

Speaking after Sunday's 1-1 dismal draw at Newcastle United, Ancelotti refused to drawn in answering questions over his future.

"I have heard of Pep Guardiola, to be frank," said Ancelotti, whose Premier League champions lost top spot to Manchester United at the weekend.

"But you don't have to ask me - the coach is always the last to know. Don't ask me.

"We are not interested. We focus on our training and our matches."

Ancelotti also laughed off the claims that Chelsea are aiming to appoint Beguiristain as Arnesen's successor in West London.

The Italian joked: "I don't know this name. I think there was a player at Barcelona, but I don't know what job he is doing now."

Martin Johnson remains upbeat

Martin Johnson impressed with England's performance
England boss Martin Johnson is confident his side are making progress despite finishing their autumn campaign with defeat to South Africa. Yet Johnson insists England is no longer a collection of individuals, but a team gelling together and ready to embark on the Six Nations tournament in little more than two months time.

Although losing the final game against the current World Champions, England show displays of grit and determination to overcome Australia and Western Samoa after losing the first game against New Zealand.

"We're far better for getting through a Test series," he said.

"It's a learning experience emotionally, controlling the ups and downs and dealing with the intensity for some of the guys and they have done it very well really.

"We do expect more. We set our standards and we did not meet those clearly.

"But we are playing good teams. You make mistakes and errors and people get injured and you get penalised and you disagree and all these things, but you have to overcome them.

"The team's going in the right direction and we can be a pretty good team but consistency is the key.

"Everyone in the autumn series, with the exception of the All Blacks, has been a bit up and down. Good Test teams go out and are difficult to beat every week."

Johnson is under no illusion that there is room for improvement, but he is happy with how the side has developed during the autumn campaign.

"You always want to improve and move on and we have certainly done it," said Johnson.

"As a group just having the time together and going through ups and downs is huge. I think we've got a team now definitely. Everyone wants to be in it. It's very competitive to get in it.

"The medics have done a great job keeping everyone fit and healthy and the coaches have done a great job as well.

"No-one's going to sit back and think we're anywhere near there. There is a long way to go and a long way we can go.

"Loads of great pluses. Everyone who has played has played well. For those guys in sub-10, sub-20 Test matches everything is new and absorbed."

Robbie Savage urges fans

Derby County captain Robbie Savage is reaching out to football fans in order help select the Alzheimer's Society as The Football League's official charity for next season.

The Rams star is an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society, which has been short listed by the league, as his father suffers from a form of the illness.

Robbie Savage speaking from his own experience, after his father was dignosed said: "I've faced a lot of challenges on the pitch, but watching my father and my hero diagnosed with dementia has been the biggest challenge of my life. I've never felt so helpless.

"Alzheimer's Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them. That's why I want everyone to vote for the Alzheimer's Society."

Also on the short list are the British Heart Foundation, Breast Cancer Care, Everyman Male Cancer Campaign, Help the Hospice and Samaritans.

The Football League's director of marketing and communications officer, Gavin Megaw said: "We are committed to supporting good causes, especially those demonstrating close community links around the league's 72 clubs.

"We are delighted to be providing fans with the opportunity to have their say in the selection of our official charity partner for 2011-12 and encourage them to cast their vote via our website."

To vote visit www.football-league.co.uk.

Voting is open until midday on December 8.

Roger Federer wins ATP Title

Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer recorded his fifth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title after beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday. The world number two won the first set but then Nadal gathered momentum for the second to level the match. But Federer, 16-time grand slam winner showed his class in the final set, with Nadal surprisingly having no answer for his aggressive play.

Many have questioned whether Federer has lost his touch after losing in the quarter-finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon and with Nadal knocking him off his the top of the rankings earlier in the year. But the Swiss showed he is still a top player and shouldn’t be written off just yet.

"Everything was there," said Federer.

"I think physically I was better than the last two seasons. That obviously makes me be very positive for next year, that I believe I can have another great season in 2011.

"I'm happy I made my ninth final this season. I've won five titles, won a slam. That obviously makes me be very positive for next year.

"I'm just really happy the way I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last.

"Obviously, beating Rafa in the finals makes it extra special because of the year he had.

"I've had a good season. I don't see how someone can say it's been a bad season. I had some tough losses, sure but you're not going to win every tournament you play.

"After having somewhat of a disappointing clay, Halle, Wimbledon stretch, where I wasn't able to win any tournaments, maybe didn't play some of my best tennis, played a bit passive, it was important that I was able to pick up my game."

First Ashes test declared a draw

Alastair Cook scores 235 runs
England duo Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott continued to clock up runs on the final day in Brisbane as the first Ashes Test festered out to a predictable draw.

England reached a milestone of runs as records tumbled at the Gabba when the tourists totalled an impressive 517-1 before declaring their second innings with a lead of 297.

Cook notched up unbeaten on 235 from 428 balls; a new career-best and a record score by any player at the ground, a record previously held by the legendary Sir Donald Bradman.

While Trott chipped in with 135 not out from 266 balls during an unbroken stand of 329 that eclipsed the 307 that was totalled by Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin in Australia's first innings. Cook had hit 26 fours in his marathon knock by the time his skipper, Andrew Strauss, who himself had made 110 on day four, decided enough was enough and put the Australian bowlers out of their misery.

This is only the second time in England's history the top three batsmen have reached three figures in the same innings, the previous instance courtesy of Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe and Wally Hammond in 1924. Australia reached 107 for one when the captains decided to shake hands on a high-scoring draw.

England captain Andrew Strauss praised his side's efforts after they fought back from a poor start to finish the first Test in Brisbane on the front foot. 

"Getting out in the first over in the first Test is a pretty horrendous way to start," he said.

"We felt pretty low then and after day three we felt downbeat as well, we'd done good things and we were behind in the game.

"But we dug pretty deep and we're very happy to be nil-all. Nothing changes and both sides will come out hard in the next Test in Adelaide."

When asked about England's approach to the second innings, Strauss said: "If you just go into your shell and try and survive you play into the opposition's hands.

"If you look for scoring opportunities it creates momentum for you and once we got that momentum it became easier and easier."

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Nike Football: Take It To The Next Level ad

Sometimes the best just have to be seen again and this ad from Nike Football is one of the best that there ever was.  Directed by Guy Ritchie (Madonna's ex-husband) this really pulls out all of the stops and is just brilliant.

This ad has cameo appearances from Arsène Wenger, William Gallas, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Materazzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ronaldinho, Rafael Márquez, Bojan Krkić, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wesley Sneijder.

Wayne Rooney says he was Never Going to Join City? Do you Agree?

Wayne Rooney apology worth £250,00 a week
Wayne Rooney is a player apart.  Apart from the sensitivities of ordinary people who were shocked to see his recent manoeuvrings to gain those extra pound signs flashing in front of his eyes.  Apart from his long suffering wife who no doubt throws her hands in the air in despair on a regular basis.

Apart, too, from the United fans that were camping outside his house issuing threats should he join United’s fierce rivals. At one point a group of 30 people turned up at his house, brandishing a banner that read: "If you join City you're dead."

If City came in with an offer of around £500,000 a week or near that, he would have gone, pure and simple. Rooney has never been one for loyalty. After all, look what he did to Everton, the club that took him in as a young boy and nurtured his talent throughout the youth system.

As soon as United came knocking he was gone.

Manchester United offered Rooney the club’s biggest deal ever in its history to retain his services.  Signing a five-year contract worth a eye-watering £250,000 a week. This was right after the forward spat his dummy out of his pram, demanding a move and citing that United’s ambitions didn’t match his own.

Club Manager Alex Ferguson was interviewed where he looked like a boy who had just lost his puppy, saying Rooney’s change of heart came out of the blue and that he couldn’t understand it.

The power of player pressure from agents is rife in football in order to get the right deal for their clients, so they say. But really it’s a bigger cut that they are after and what a surprise that Paul Stretford is Rooney’s agent.  He is no stranger to controversy when it comes to club/player relations.

The length of time it has taken for him to say sorry has not helped, with Ferguson publicly stating on 22 October that an apology was forthcoming. A statement was issued on Thursday, with Rooney saying, "I feel like I have apologised to the fans, but everyone keeps saying that I haven't and, if that is the case, then I apologise for my side of things.

"I have made my point clear since I signed my contract that I am committed to this club for the long term and I want to be successful with this club. I spoke with the manager and [the chief executive] David Gill and they reassured me the club was moving forward and, from that point, it took only two or three hours to negotiate my contract and sign it."

How much that contract ties Rooney in to United is anyone’s guess.  It would be no surprise if Shrek’s younger, sulkier brother was to up sticks and leave the minute it didn’t suit him.

What remains a fact though is that Rooney has badly misjudged several things.  First, he misjudged the nation – England is no longer in the mood to celebrate the huge salaries of footballers and his shenanigans just looked like money grabbing to the majority.

Secondly, he misjudged the mood of his fans.  Having seen their once hero in a new light, it will take a long time for them to forgive and forget his antics.  Rooney may just find that dropping loyalties can work both ways.

Strauss & Cook Reduce England’s Deficit

Strauss and Cook set the pace
England Captain Andrew Strauss and opening partner Alastair Cook helped steer England towards a draw.  Both players hit centuries with Strauss notching up (110) and Cook (132 not out). A half-century from Jonathan Trott once Strauss was dismissed by Marcus North helped put England on course to escape the Gabba with an unexpected draw against Australia.

The tourists had reached 309-1, giving them a lead of 88, in their second innings when bad light ended play. Both Strauss and Cook almost cleared the deficit after Australia totalled an impressive 481 in the 1st innings.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Andrew Strauss said: "It was obviously important the two of us stood up and batted for the majority of the day. That gives us the psychological advantage going into tomorrow.

"Last night was pretty tricky so coming out this morning the ball was a bit older. It's always important you don't go too much into your shell."

Strauss was determined to bounce back after getting out to just the third ball on the opening day of the series on Thursday.

He said: "It was probably one of the worst feelings I have had in cricket following all the build-up to the game."

Cook has been clocking up the runs; he hit 132 to a half-century in the first innings, He Said: "It was very satisfying. I said at the start of the tour I had a point to prove. In my last two series against Australia I hadn't done that well.

"Over the last 12 months I've had a bit of a tinker with my technique and tried to improve it. The results today, I'm very happy with."

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Carl Froch dominates Arthur Abraham

Carl Froch wins WBC title
Carl Froch has won the vacant World Boxing Council Super-Middle Championship after beating Arthur Abraham on points tonight in Finland.  He becomes the first boxer to win the title for the second time. The Cobra dominated the fight right from the bell.  He had a definite game plan, which he stuck to and executed very well. Froch used his superior size and showed the heart of a lion to take the fight over and keep the control from the opening round to the end

Abraham looked down and out towards the end of the fight and the Armenian-German national looked withdrawn and disinterested.  He was effectively broken in round ten as the Nottingham man demonstrated excellent punching ability. Towards the end in the last round Froch got caught by some hard punches but he managed to weather to storm to take the decision on points.

Carl Froch moves on in the Super Six and is a definite favourite against any of the other 168 pounders in the tournament.

Froch speaking after the fight, he told BBC Five Live: "It's not sunk in. I think when I look at it later it will sink in.

"I've come straight out of the ring and I'm thinking to myself, 'I've got this belt, it's shiny, it's catching my eye', but it's still not in there.

"I am so, so proud of myself. I've done this for my son Rocco - he is five months old and he is going to look back on this fight with me.

"It's unbelievable: I've got this title back and I've got my son at home waiting for me and I'm elated."

Froch also admitted that he has to mature as a fighter to succeed at the top level. He explained: "I wanted to move in behind the jab, have a go and put some combos together and get the fight going.

"The old me would have done that. I may have got him out of there but I may have got chinned myself so why take that gamble?

"I listen to Richie Woodhall in the gym, I obviously listen first to (trainer) Rob McCracken and it's all about boxing and moving.

"This isn't fighting, this is boxing. Tonight I showed my amateur pedigree, I showed why I was the first guy to win a medal at the world championships.

"It was my boxing ability, it was my brain. I don't even feel like I've been in a fight and I've picked up the WBC world champion (belt) which is rightfully mine and wrongfully taken off me in the last fight.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

England bowled out for 260

Ian Bell scored 76
England were bowled out for 260 on the first innings of the first Ashes test at Gabba, Ian Bell admitted England's performance was below par. Andrew Strauss opted to bat first after winning the toss and England loss their captain on the third ball. Things went from bad to worst as Peter Siddle claimed a hat-trick on his way to a six-wicket haul as England were skittled for 260. 

Ian Bell reached 76 and Alaistar Cook notching up 67 was the only highlight of the innings for England.

"It was certainly under par," he told Sky Sports News. "But we have to give credit to Siddle. He bowled a brilliant spell.

On winning the toss:

"It was the right decision to bat but it did a bit today."

Bell came into the Test on the back of some impressive performances in the warm-up matches - including his 192 against Australia A in Hobart - and he paid tribute to England batting coach Graham Gooch for helping him improve his batting.

"It was nice to get runs on day one of an Ashes series and hopefully we come back tomorrow and have a good day," he said.

"The experience I have gained over the last couple of years I have put into my game recently and hopefully I can carry on this form for a while now.

"Graham Gooch has really helped my cricket. He has put some things into my game and hopefully I can carry on like this with my form now."

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

EDF ENERGY and EDF launches "Energy TaskForce", a serious game for young engineers who are passionate about energy!

“Energy TaskForce” is a serious game that will be played out over a 3-week period this coming January. If you’re an engineer, a student or a young graduate, and you think you know the various disciplines in the energy sector, you can already register in teams of 4 at http://energytaskforce.edf.com and visit the game’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/edf.energytaskforce.

Discover the trailer for this interactive adventure game that gets right to the heart of the economic and industrial issues facing EDF and the energy sector. Devising and producing tomorrow’s energy, and consuming it more efficiently – these are the Group’s aims, and your objectives within the game! Teams will get the chance to compare their skills and explore and solve puzzles, and each week they will tackle challenges designed to reflect the industrial issues tackled by EDF and the studies of the players.

The game will provide them with the opportunity to develop their analytical capabilities, to apply their theoretical knowledge and to get to know the EDF Group better.

The operation will be carried out on a grand scale across 6 European countries (France, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy and Belgium), the aim being to attract a wide range of skilled individuals with a game that is co-branded with the Group’s European subsidiaries: EDF Energy in the UK, Edison in Italy and EnBW in Germany.

The game will be played from 31 January to 19 February 2011. It’s well worth a shot: the winning team will enjoy a trip to Laos, including a visit to one of the largest dams in the world (Nam Theun).
So now’s the time to spread the word amongst your young engineer friends!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Write Sports Articles!

World in Sport is a new website written by fans for fans. We are looking for writers for the site.

Why write for us?

We are a new website, so you can be in there at the beginning! We intend to make a real go of this, so instead of joining late you can get to this match on time!

You may want to write about sports online with a view of building up a portfolio of work with which to impress people.

You could be starting out in sports journalism and looking for a niche. You may want to do this for the Résumé, to help university applications or just for the sheer hell of it.  Whatever your reason, we welcome your contributions.

Whatever the reason, please contact us.

We are looking for some keen writers to write about any aspect of sport they want to- matches, teams, and personalities - anything at all really as long as it is on sport! You may just want to do a weekly review of your own team’s matches – great!  You may want to profile a sportsman or woman.  Anything goes here as long as it is original writing.

You will get full credit and after you have written a few articles we would hope to give you full posting rights so you can put your news and views online yourself.  Plus we will tag your name in to all your posts so you will be quickly able to show anyone all the articles you have written for the site in one long stream.

You do not need to be the new Shakespeare - we will edit your stories to iron out any errors. We are simply looking for people with a passion for the game and an urge to write about it.

Let us know if you are interested - and let's get writing!

Contact Sam or Robert to get yourself started.

Image Credit Flickr User vramak

Press Pause - Exhilarating Short Film about the Riders of Reunion

Are you ready to hold your breath?  Don’t be fooled by the start with Just a Gigolo playing as the surfers relax – this is just a short preamble to what is to come!  This awesome and exhilarating short movie was filmed from January to July 2010 in Reunion Island.

This place, remarkable for its surfing, is a French island with a  population of just under a million people and is located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and about 200 kilometres (120 miles) south west of Mauritius. 

A number of surf locations were used, including St Pierre, La Tortue, Roches and Les Brisants.

The film, breathtakingly shot by Ian Mourier features a number of world class surfers.  Here you can see  the likes of Maxime Huscenot, Christophe Allary, Charly Chapelet, Laury Grenier, Olivier Marimoutou, Hugo Dubosc and Adrien Rapp among others.

This is more than a tribute to the riders who were filmed here.  It is hoped that this film, which was created for the Zot movie festival which is dedicated to extreme sports, will attract more and more surfers to Reunion Island.  Looking from this footage that job has been well done.

It may not be as easy to get to as Hawaii but it looks worth every cent of the air fare.

Carlo Ancelotti Confirms his Position

Carlo wants to stay.
Carlo Ancelotti has denied reports he wants to quit Stamford Bridge.

The Italian has come under pressure recently following Chelsea’s third Premier League defeat - this time at the hands of Birmingham at the weekend, making it three losses from four games.

Chelsea’s owners recently sacked Carlo’s assistant and right hand man, Ray Wilkins. Ancelotti received a called from the League Managers Association after it had been reported that the Chelsea manager had become disillusioned at losing Wilkins as his assistant, suggesting that the Italian would leave his post.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Uefa Champions League meeting with MSK Zilina, Ancelotti said: "I don't know if it's enough to clarify my position today to close these rumours and speculation.

"These rumours are totally untrue. I don't know why they came out. I didn't speak with the LMA. They called me last night when I was at home; quiet, to find out what was happening.  I have my contract until 2012, here, in this club. I've said a lot of times that I'd like to stay here.

"I love not just this club, but these players. I have a lot of confidence in these players, in this squad, so there's no reason to change my ideas. I don't know if this is enough to speak about all this.

"I think that when the team don't reach the right results, obviously the coach is under pressure. Obviously I am under pressure because I'd like Chelsea to win every game, but just this.
"I am focused on my job and to give my team, my club ... to make us play better than we are at this moment. Just this."

England Confirm Warm-up Games

Rugby World Cup 2011
England will play warm-up games against Wales and Ireland in the run up to the Rugby World Cup 2011, which is being held in New Zealand. 

England will face Wales at home and away on successive weekends before facing Ireland in Dublin.

England boss Martin Johnson  said: "These three games are an important element in our build-up to Rugby World Cup  2011.

"We're looking forward to playing both Wales home and away and Ireland as part of our preparation, and they should be excellent contests."

England will face Warren Gatland’s Wales at Twickenham on August 6th and then seven days later at the Millennium Stadium.  England will then play Ireland on August 27th at the Aviva Stadium before departing for New Zealand the following week.

Evra & Rooney Bury the Hatchet

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has insisted that he and Wayne Rooney have buried the hatchet.

The French defender spoke out after Rooney announced he wanted to quit Old Trafford before doing a u-turn, signing  a new deal. Rooney has since been working hard training in America to help regain full fitness and the striker returned at the weekend to make an appearance as a second half substitute.

Evra was happy to see Rooney back in the team. He said, "It was very good to see him back,"

"We are all going to help him get back to his best and scoring goals for United again". Evra confirmed. “With Wayne we don't talk about the past, we just think about the future.

"And the future is where he will once again become one of the best players in the world. What I said was that the most important thing was the team, not Patrice Evra or Wayne Rooney.

"I never said the players were against him. When someone says they don't trust in the future of United it caused us pain - but it is behind us now."

Thanks to Valerie Evertt for the hatchett picture

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Pacquiao Training Footage Exclusive

On November 4, 2009, this film was made to witness the private press-only Pacquiao training session at the WildCard Boxing Club in Los Angeles.  This was prior to the Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight.

Manny Pacquiao, is a Filipino professional boxer who has also entered the world of politics and is revered by his many fans. He is an the first (and therefore only) boxer in history to win ten world titles in eight different weight divisions.

At the same time he is  also the first boxer in history to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes. He was declared Fighter of the Decade for the 2000's by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is also a three-time BWAA and The Ring Fighter of the Year" in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Here is the exclusive footage from that legendary day.

Emotions in Gymnastics

This remarkable video shows the build up to a gymnastics competition through a series of pictures which shows the emotions of the gymnasts as they compete.  The pictures are beautifully shot and show the build up to the competition.

The shots at the beginning show the lights one by one coming on in the gymnasium, lighting up the apparatus that will be used in the competetion.  Them rather than show the gymnastics themselves it shows the looks of the gymnasts as they are competing, awaiting their scores or at the point of receiving them.

As such the whole gamut of human emotion is shown here, from the victorious to the bewildered and nervous.  As such it is a great representation of a still undervalued sport which requires total dedication from its pursuants.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Liverpool confirm Gerrard's injury

Gerrard out for four weeks
Liverpool have been dealt with a injury blow that will rule Steven Gerrard out for up to four weeks, the midfielder suffered a hamstring injury last night while playing for England in the 2-1 defeat against France at Wembley. The skipper will have a scan later today, but after an initial assessment by Liverpool's medical team at Melwood training ground. It is thought that their captain will be sidelined for a month.

England and Liverpool had an agreement that Gerrard should only play for an hour, but after Barry was forced to come off and the England manager said he no choice but keep Gerrard on due to lack of senior players on the pitch and with Gerrard playing on longer than expected, he was forced to withdraw when he pulled his hamstring.

Dr Peter Brukner speaking on Liverpool TV said, "Steven injured his hamstring last night. He's just been in for an early assessment here and it certainly looks like a significant hamstring injury.

"He's just heading off for a scan as we speak and we should have the results of that tonight.

"He's going to be out for a little while, I'm afraid. I'd imagine it could be three to four weeks.
Fans were disappointed to see Gerrard play 85 minutes of the friendly match after an agreement with the FA was broke, but Dr Brukner remains philosophical about the situation.

"If you put your hand up to play for your country, you've got to accept how long they want you to play for," he said.

"There were obviously circumstances last night which came together to result in Steven playing for a bit longer than we'd hoped, which is disappointing but there's nothing we can do about that now.

"We'll move on and work as hard as we can to get him back playing for Liverpool as soon as possible."

Earlier in the day head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess posted a tweet slamming England's behaviour as 'disgraceful'

He also went on to add, "Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to Steven Gerrard's injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history.
"Completely amateurish and now we pay for their incompetence. Absolutely disgraceful."

When speaking on the agreement with the FA & Liverpool, England manager Fabio Capello added, "We spoke with Steve and he said he would play one hour, but after Barry's injury we had some problems,"

"That was the reason he stayed on the pitch. If it's possible, the players will play the time we agreed with the club. admitted Capello.

"But Barry was really injured so we needed someone senior on the pitch because it was a really young team. He said he was good.

"They [Liverpool] asked that he can play one hour if it's possible. They can't decide how long a player plays with the national team.

"If it's possible, he'd have played an hour. I understand why they're upset and I'm also upset.

"The problem is that, when you play this game on Wednesday after a lot of Premier League, Europa League or Champions League games, it's possible there might be an injury for a player. The Premier League, every time, is a tough league for the players."

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

England Lose Against France

Benzema scored the first goal
England have lost against France 2-1 in a friendly match that was played at Wembley tonight. The Three Lions failed to get off to the best of starts with France dominating most of the possession in the first half. They knocked the ball around with typicla French panache in comparison to their English opponants.

In terms of performance, it has to be admitted that England were woeful.  Unable to retain possession and make any meaningful passes, they gave the ball away on numerous occasions.

England went behind early when Karim Benzema played a nice one-two with Sami Nasri around the seemingly hapless Rio Ferdinand. Benzema lashed in a low left footed shot in the area which went underneath England goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Fabio Capello gave his first international caps to Andy Carroll, Kieron Gibbs and Jordan Henderson. Two of them will probably find cause to regret this. Andy Carroll gave a good performance, winning all the balls in the air that came his way, and holding up the play and bringing in midfield players.

The other pair had an undistinguished time representing their country.

England were unable to create any clear cut chances in first half and were relying on Carroll winning battles in the air, hoofing long balls up field for the Newcastle man to challenge.

In the second half Capello made three changes, taking off Kieron Gibbs, Rio Ferdinand and Theo Walcott for Stephen Warnock, Micah Richards and Ashley Young.  Thein hope was that this would create more chances for England, but this tactic failed miserably as England fell further behind.

Bacra Sagna was allowed space and time to cross on the right hand side for Mathieu Valbuena to volley home making the score 2-0. Moments later Andy Carroll was substituted for Jay Bothroyd who was making his Three Lions debut.

England had more chances in the second half but they failed to capitalize on these opportunities.

Steven Gerrard burst through in the the French area a couple of times, only to see his efforts whisk wide of the goal.

A dangerous move - it was one of those runs from Gerrard that forced the Liverpool player to withdraw due to a hamstring problem.

Peter Crouch was then brought on for the injured Gerrard and made an instant impact getting on the end of a back post cross to volley home, making the score 2-1.  Despite this, England were unable to find an equaliser towards the end of game.

A time to gather thought for the squad, perhaps.

Carlos Moya announces retirement

Carlos Moya
Former world tennis number one Carlos Moya has announced at a news conference in Madrid that he will retire from the game due to a long standing foot injury which he has failed to recover from and the 34-year-old Spaniard, whose career highlight was his 1998 French Open success, will play in one more event in Seville next month before quitting the game.

Carlos Moya is only one of four players to have won over 500 matches at ATP level.

He announced: "I wanted to say goodbye at one of the big tournaments, the grand slams, but that dream wasn't to be.

"I am still young for life but for sport I am already knocking on a bit. Thanks to everyone for all these years. We'll see each other soon, I don't know where but I hope it's soon."

Moya last played on the ATP Tour at the Madrid Masters in May, which he lost to German Benjamin Becker in the first round. He ends his career with an ATP World Tour and grand slam record of 575 wins and 319 defeats.

"Thanks to everyone for all these years," he said. "We'll see each other soon, I don't know where but I hope it's soon."

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Love Is Lost In The City Of Sheffield

By Matt Scott 
‘You can’t dine out on one result for the rest of your life – it’ll always be remembered but you’re only as good as your last game.’ Games of this magnitude are so eagerly anticipated that the build up can begin months in advance.

Derby days are, more often not, the biggest day in the supporters calendar. The press coverage, online and on the local news channels, given to them is second to none. Pubs are flooded with talk of anything and everything to do with the Derby. Even managers and players get in on the hype, releasing statements to provoke a reaction.

Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday fans are being forced to endure their first ‘Derbyless’ season in three years, after the final day of last season saw Wednesday relegated to League One. The last time this occurred was when Sheffield United managed to reach the dizzy heights of the Premier League in the 2006/07 season, however they failed in their fight against instant relegation. The last 10 Steel City derbies, dating back to the 2002/03 season, are on a level pegging. Both sides have 4 wins and 2 draws to their name. Even more coincidently, they both have a league double over each other, United in 2005/06 and, more recently, Wednesday in 2008/09.

This season, the glaring omission of the derby game on both clubs fixture list will frustrate the players and fans alike. Kelly Spencer, avid Sheffield Wednesday fan and PR officer believes, ‘The derby means everything – for some, the only result that matters during the season.’ Mark Woollas, passionate Sheffield United fan and media department employee, simply describes the city turning into, ‘A sea of red and white and blue and white, filled with fierce rivalry.’

Mark thinks the blow for United has been softened slightly because, ‘Blades fans still have derby clashes against Leeds, Barnsley, Doncaster and Hull to look forward to this season.’ On the other hand, Kelly feels that, ‘the pre-match excitement and banter with pals who support Wednesday’, will be sorely missed.

Thankfully, from the supporter’s point of view, all hope of a meeting between the sides is not lost. The FA Cup is now in full swing and there is a chance the two clubs could yet come face to face this season. Mark simply stated that, ‘If the Owls get to the third round then it could be a possibility.’ Kelly’s responded by saying, ‘You just never know but I get a feeling that it would be the game of the season if it happened. Obviously drawing one of the big Premier League clubs away, getting a draw and bringing them back to Hillsborough would be incredible, certainly from a financial point of view.’

Mark, reiterating part of Kelly’s statement, said, ‘There will be sections of supporters from both clubs wanting to play each other, whilst others will no doubt be hoping for a Manchester United or Arsenal away.’ Kelly, personally, is keeping her fingers crossed for an FA cup meeting between the sides, ‘I think Wednesday would have a great chance of beating United home or away’. She goes on to echo the old derby cliché, ‘the form book goes out the window’, when she said, ‘Regardless of their current form, players tend to get that extra 20% for the derby games and the FA Cup would be no exception.’

The derby could make a return to the fixture list next season if United fail to win promotion to the Premier League and Wednesday manage to gain promotion from League One, returning to the Championship

Currently, Sheffield United sit a disappointing 19th in the Coca Cola Championship. Many had tipped the Bramall Lane outfit for promotion this season but, with newly appointed manager Gary Speed still finding his feet, it’s been a slow start to the season for Blades fans. Mark, however, still ‘harbours realistic hopes of pushing for a top six spot in the Championship.’ Whereas, Kelly ‘can’t see SUFC being promoted this season.’

After being relegated last season, Sheffield Wednesday, led by Alan Irvine, are expected to bounce back and win promotion with some ease. At present they are 9th in the Coca Cola League One table, only two points adrift of the play-off places. Kelly believes, ‘we can do it; we really need to start performing at home. You have to win your home games at the very least to expect to be in and around the play off places at the end of the season. ‘ Mark, doubtfully , said, ‘‘Wednesday have plenty of competition to overcome to win promotion from League One.’

Derbies are an essential part of the footballing world. They are a natural born rivalry and on some levels they contribute to the communities and bring people together. The rivalries, some more bitter than others, can date back hundreds of years. Mark insists that the bright lights of derbies that take place in the Premier League are nothing compared to the Steel City derby, ‘it’s the biggest derby of the lot, without a doubt.’ Meanwhile, Kelly is adamant that, ‘derbies can’t be compared. Supporters will obviously think their derby is the most important. There’s definitely a special buzz in the grounds, whether it be Hillborough or Bramall Lane at derby time – I think each atmosphere is unique.’

Robert Pires joins Aston Villa

Robert Pires joins Aston Villa
Aston Villa have today announced that Robert Pires will be joining the club this week, the former Arsenal man is a free agent and will join up with fellow Frenchman and Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier. The club have been in talks this week and it's has now been confirmed that the former French star will be joining.

The 37-year-old won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the 2002 Footballer of the Year prize during his six-year stint with the Gunners. Villa's assistant boss Gary McAllister is looking forward to  the Frenchman joining up at Villa and he told the club's website,  "Robert has been training at Arsenal.

"I know the boss and Arsene Wenger are very friendly and I believe he's going to join us in the next two or three days.

"It's perfect. I am sure he will arrive at the training ground in good condition.

"He's a player everyone can look up to because of what he has achieved."

Adam Johnson not happy at City

Johnson may quit Eastlands
Manchester City's Adam Johnson has confirmed that he may quit the Eastlands club in order to get first-team football, while Johnson has been performing well for England, he has struggled to maintain a starting place in City's first team. Downing spent his early days as understudy to Stewart Downing at Middlesbrough before joining City, the midfielder is eager to play first-team football and would consider a move away should an offer come in the youngster.

"Every footballer has to think about it when the time comes. It is still early but I definitely would consider it," said Johnson when asked whether he would quit City.

Johnson wasn't happy with being on the bench for the recent Manchester derby, saying: "It is disappointing when you are not playing from the start in games like that.

"I was itching to get on. I was dying to play from the start not just come on.

"The manager has to make decisions but I was gutted to be left out.

"With the players we have it will be a rotation but I am full of confidence and I just want to be playing.

"I have got to train and get on with it, nothing is going to change. I have to keep the right frame of mind and get in the team because I want to play for the national team as well.

"I like attacking, scoring goals and creating goals and pleasing the fans. When I play I just want to excite fans and give them something to watch."

Shane Warne backs Nathan Hauritz

Shane Warne on Nathan Hauritz
Legendary spin bowler Shane Warne has said that he expects Nathan Hauritz to be the number one spinner for Australia in the Ashes, although there is stiff competition from Xavier Doherty who has been selected in the squad alongside Steve Smith. The pair will come up against each other in the Sheffield Shield clash between New South Wales and Tasmania in a battle of the spinners.

Warne revealed that he spoke to Hauritz on the Boxing Day Test last year about keeping positive and he feels the Australian will be key providing he doesn't suffer a dip in form, but in case he doesn't perform well, he has Doherty and Smith breathing down his neck for a place in the squad to face England.

Warne added, "I think Nathan Hauritz is our number one spinner, he has a very good record in Australia and I'm sure he'll get first chance,"

"I had a chat with him just before the Boxing Day Test last year and talked about being positive.

"I said 'mate, you're bowling well, get some right fields, work with Ricky (Ponting) to get the right fields and bowl to get someone out. Ask yourself how am I getting them out and if you ask how am I getting them out that naturally gives you a positive mindset'. And if he does that he'll be fine.

"If he (Hauritz) doesn't do well, a bloke like Doherty is pushing and Steven Smith is pushing, so there are options and that's a good sign for Australian cricket.

"But I think Nathan Hauritz will get first chance, and he deserves it.

"He looks good (Doherty), I've worked with him a bit, not in a while, but whenever I worked with him he looks very good.

"He's definitely not a big spinner of the ball and that's something he's trying to work on, to spin it more, and this summer he looks like he's spinning it more, and that's great. I'm sure he'd do a very good job if picked."

While praising the Austrialian spinners, Warne has insisted that England have the best spinner and most improved cricketer  in Graeme Swann,

He added, "Graeme Swann is the number one spinner in the world and the most improved cricketer in the world, so everyone is expecting him to do really well,"

"Expectation is on him for the first time which is different, and he's coming in as leading wicket taker for England. He said.

"So it's a different feeling for him but I think he'll do really well and I'm impressed with what he did this summer in England while I was commentating over there. He was fantastic."

John Terry reveals injury woe

Terry struggling with nerve pain
Chelsea captain John Terry has revealed the he has been struggling with a nerve pain in his leg which kept him out of Chelsea's 3-0 defeat to Sunderland at the weekend, the defender has also been withdrawn from the England squad when they face France in a friendly match tomorrow night and is expected to miss Chelsea's game against Birmingham at the weekend.

The 29 year old is due to see a couple of specialists in hope of finding a cue to his long-standing injury, insisting that the injury has worsened in recent weeks and that the time has come to have a rest.

"It started towards the end of last season, but with Chelsea being in the mix until the day of the FA Cup final, I didn't have the chance to rest or pull out of games. Then I went straight to the World Cup with England.

"I had three weeks' rest after that and thought I would come back without it, but since then it has got worse and worse.

"It has been manageable up until the last two weeks, but when we played Fulham I stretched to win the ball against Clint Dempsey and it got a lot worse.

"It is at a point where I can't carry on with it. I used to be able to make it through games because the adrenaline gets going and you blank the pain out, but now there really is no decision to make.

"After games I am in agony and not sleeping at all. I used to play with pain at seven out of 10. Now it's 10 out of 10. I need to take a few weeks rest, see a couple of specialists and solve the problem."

Terry received epidural treatment last week, but the injury failed to improve and the defender is not sure when he will return to action, he added, "The epidural could have helped with the pain for between six weeks and two years. They said it works on 75 per cent of cases, but unfortunately I am in the other 25 per cent.

"Basically, I am trying whatever is suggested. I'm at my wits' end.

"I know I won't play on Saturday against Birmingham City, but beyond that there are no clues. It could be weeks, it could be months."
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