Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Jonathan Trott Named ECB Cricketer Of The Year

The ECB today announced that Jonathan Trott and Lydia Greenway have won the ECB Men’s and Women’s Cricketer of the Year awards respectively, whilst batsman Umesh Valjee from West London received the England Disability Cricketer of the Year award.

The winner of the ECB Men’s Cricketer of the Year, Jonathan Trott, was selected by the British cricket media. The award is given to the player that has had the greatest impact on England’s performances, since the start of the 2010 international season until the final match of the World Cup.

In that time Trott has enjoyed a hugely successful year, playing 32 times for his country and scoring 2,246 runs at an average of 68.06. This included seven centuries and a highest score of 226, scored against Bangladesh at Lord’s last summer.

During the Ashes his average of 89 was second only to Alastair Cook, whilst his first over run-out of Simon Katich during the second Test in Adelaide helped set England on the road to Ashes victory.

In winning the award, Trott saw off strong competition from his England colleagues Cook, Andrew Strauss, James Anderson and Graeme Swann.

"I am both extremely humbled and proud to have been named England Cricketer of the Year after what has clearly been the most enjoyable year of my cricketing career so far.

"It is an honour to represent England and it has been a privilege to be involved in such a successful, hard-working team. I wouldn't have won this award with the commitment and support of my team-mates.

"This award really belongs to the entire England squad and management team that have provided such a supportive and professional environment that has allowed me to prosper as a cricketer and a person.

"There is still much hard work to be done and improvement to be made and I look forward to making further contributions to a successful England team for a long as possible."

Prince William Calls For Fifa To Delay Presidential Election

Prince William is the latest figure to call for Fifa to delay the presidential election which is due to take place on Wednesday, the Duke of Cambridge, who is the FA's president, is "fully behind" the move, according to a St. James's Palace spokesperson.

FA chairman David Bernstein has confirmed that its attempt to have Wednesday's election postponed is almost certain to fail.

But a statement on Tuesday evening said that Prince William "is fully supportive of the chairman and the initiatives the FA has recommended.

"He considers the transparency of the international governing body to be integral to the good governance of the game."

Sergio Ramos Calls On Players To Unite

Spanish defender Sergio Ramos has called on Spanish players from both Barcelona and Real Madrid to forget recent rivalries for the good of the national side, After the bitter recent 'El Clasico' clashes between the two club sides.

There has been speculation whether the animosity from previous encounters at club level would disrupt the harmony in the national camp after many heated encounters this season between to two clubs.

He said: "Instead of thinking about fights from these games we should think about what we have achieved together, something we have never achieved before, winning Euro 2008 and the World Cup.

"We have experienced some very important moments together to be able to overcome these types of problems.
"It is clear to us and to them...they were only clashes and rivalry on the field of play.

"We have a good team spirit and we have to forget it all for the good of the national team."

Diego Forlan Commits To Atletico Madrid

Diego Forlan has today insisted that he isn’t about to quit Atletico Madrid over the summer, after news that striker partner Sergio Aguero confirmed he will be leaving Forlan moved quickly to re-assure the fans that he will remain at Atletico.

The 32-year-old hitman scored 28 goals last season before winning the Golden Ball at last year's World Cup.

"I insist that I want to continue with this club although every day I am linked with a new club," he told Uruguayan newspaper El Observador.

The striker had been linked to Dubai based club Al Wasl, but the Uruguyan added; "The day I was in Sweden for a publicity event, some papers said that I had travelled to sign in Dubai.

"My situation is rare because the media says I'm not interested in staying with the club but I've said that those stories are not true.

"At the moment I have not received any offer. I still have two seasons (with Atletico) and I am very content there.

"I will only leave Atletico Madrid if an offer is received which is too tempting for all parties."

Bobby Charlton Pays Tribute To Paul Scholes

Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton joined the list of soccer icons leading tributes to Paul Scholes who announced he was retiring from football today,  the midfielder ended weeks of speculation on whether he would retire or not.

Charlton a former England international admits he is disappointed Scholes has finally hung up his boots, believing it is 'an absolute tragedy' he will no longer be playing for the United.

Bobby Charlton said; "Well I had a hint that it was going to happen and I was hoping that somebody would be brave enough to ask him to stay and hopefully get the right response.

"But he is not that type of person - once he makes up his mind to do something he's very singular minded.”

"And all I can think of is what an absolute tragedy that we have to be without him - he is such a fantastic player, a beautiful player to watch - and we will miss him certainly at Manchester United.

Charlton also added; "But I think more from the game's point of view that he was just priceless - he had vision, he could see instantly where people were and I used to sometimes hear people gasp when he made a pass that was just so pinpoint.

"He's just a fantastic player - a beautiful, beautiful footballer - and at Manchester United we've been very proud that he played for us for most of his career, for all of his career really, so I'm very disappointed in that respect but I love him as a person, he's a great lad, and he will be remembered forever at Manchester United, there's no question about that."

Fabio Capello tried unsuccessfully to lure Scholes out of England retirement for the last World Cup and Charlton was sorry he did not play more for the Three Lions.

He added: "And England - one of the things that maybe could have improved England was if he didn't love his family so much, he wanted to stay with his family rather than keep travelling to England.

Paul Scholes has been taking his coaching badges will join United’s coaching staff at Old Trafford.
"But he's a marvellous player and he's a great person, I love him to bits and we are very proud and we'll look after him for the rest of his career hopefully."

Gerard Houllier To Leave Aston Villa

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier is expected to leave Aston Villa shortly, he took over only in September but has since experienced health problems that saw him hospitalised towards the end of the season with Gary McAllister take over the helm during Houllier’s absence.

BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Murphy said: "The decision will be in the interests of Aston Villa, not Houllier.

"The delay may be over severance pay. Houllier still has two years left on a contract worth more than £2m a year."

Murphy added: "Houllier and his management team have remained bullish about his prospects of returning to work but a final round of medical tests late last week would have taken the decision out of Houllier's hands."

Medical test results have been studied by the club's owner Randy Lerner and medical staff. Houllier missed the final month of last season because of his heart problems.

Luka Modric Unsure Of Spurs Future

Croatian and Spurs midfielder Luka Modric as admitted that he is not sure if he will still be at White Hart Lane next season, Modric has insisted that he has now caught the bug of Champions League football after the experience from this season.

But Spurs have failed to qualify for the tournament this time and the Croat is unsure of his future.

The midfield ace says he is happy at Spurs and is not thinking of leaving White Hart Lane and he is focusing solely on Croatia's up-coming Euro 2012 qualifier with Georgia on Friday.

But Modric believes a transfer is always possible in football and he admits he would like to play in the UEFA Champions League again.

Luka Modric said; "I'm trying to stay calm as my national team has a really important match coming.
"But of course, if there will be an offer which will be good for Tottenham and for me also, then a transfer is of course possible."

"So I will tell you the same as all ways - my club status is the same as it was before.
"But of course, if there will be an offer which will be good for Tottenham and for me also, then a transfer is of course possible.

"That doesn't mean that I'm bothered with leaving Tottenham - I'm not thinking about that every hour and every minute.

"I'm happy at White Hart Lane - my status is great, the fans like me and I do have everything I need.
"But then again - when you experience playing in Champions League, you want to keep playing in this tournament."

Wayne Rooney Leads Tributes To Paul Scholes

Wayne Rooney as the led the tributes after Paul Scholes announced his retirement from football today, Rooney has described the midfielder as the best player he has ever played with and against.

Scholes 36, decided to pull the curtain down in a glittering career at Old Trafford. The former England international made his debut for United in 1994, making 676 appearances, will now join the coaching staff at United next season.

Rooney has always been a huge admirer of the midfield maestro and suggests the hole left by Scholes retiring will be hard to fill.

The forward said; "He'll be missed greatly. I just heard the news this morning," Rooney.

"We knew he'd make a decision but didn't think it would be this quick. We're all sad to see him stop playing.
"He's been great for United and England and he'll be missed by all of us.

"He hasn't started that many games of late and I'm sure that's come into his head and he's made his decision.
"But he'll be a big miss for us. He's the best I've played with and against.

"He's only small but it's so difficult to get the ball off him. Every United fan will miss him."

Atletico Rules Out Real Swoop For Aguero

Atletico Madrid general manager Miguel Angel Gil Marin has admitted that striker Sergio Aguero will not be heading to Real Madrid, it had been speculated that the Argentine could join rivals Madrid.

But after Angel Gil Marin spoke to with Real’s president Florentino Perez it was agreed that that Aguero would be for sale for anyone apart from Real in hope of maintaining good working relations between to the two clubs which could become hostile should the striker join the Galacticos.

He (Aguero) is not going to go to Real Madrid," Gil Marin said in El Larguero.
"I called (Real president) Florentino (Perez) to ask him if we could maintain this commitment to not being hostile and he agreed.

"Either a club, that is not Real Madrid, comes in and puts €45m on the table or he stays at Atletico Madrid. We don't want to negotiate with anyone."

English trio Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have all been linked with Aguero, but so far Juventus are the only side to officially register their interest.

"Atletico Madrid don't have any offers, only a fax from Juventus saying they want to negotiate," Gil Marin said.

"It is a letter saying they are keen to negotiate, but Atletico don't want to negotiate."
Atletico want an end to the saga within the next fortnight and have set a 15th June deadline to conclude any deal.

"We want a decision before 15th June because it is a decision that has huge implications on our sporting plan," Gil Marin added.

FA Request Fifa Postpone Election

The Football Association have today requested that Fifa postpone Wednesday’s presidential election, FA Chairman David Bernstein also wants Fifa to appoint an independent body to supervise reforms after the revelations and accusations of the last month that have caused a crisis in the world governing body.

Bernstein said in a statement: "On May 19, 2011 the Football Association announced it would be abstaining in the forthcoming election for the Fifa presidency.

"There were two main reasons for this decision. First, a concern, that a series of allegations relating to Fifa Ex Committee Members made it difficult to support either candidate.

"Secondly, a concern about the lack of transparency and accountability within the organisation, contributing to the current unsatisfactory situation.

"Events of the last few days have reinforced our views, and we call on Fifa and ask other national associations to support us with two initiatives.

"First, to postpone the election and give credibility to this process, so any alternative reforming candidate could have the opportunity to stand for president.

"Secondly, to appoint a genuinely independent external party to make recommendations regarding improved governance and compliance procedures and structures throughout the Fifa decision-making processes for consideration by the full membership.

"This has been a very damaging time for the reputation of FIFA and therefore the whole of football.
"To improve confidence in the way the game is governed at the very top, we believe these requests would be a positive step forward and the minimum that should take place."

Paul Scholes Retires

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has today confirmed that he will be retiring from the game with immediate effect; Scholes was part of the squad that lost the Champions League final against Barcelona on Saturday and has now called time on his colourful career.

The 36-year-old helped his club to a record-breaking 19th league title this season, but his last appearance was in the UEFA Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.

Scholes will now remain at Old Trafford as a member of Sir Alex Ferguson's coaching staff from the beginning of next season.

But Ferguson was full of admiration for Scholes, as he told United's official website: "What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven't said before.

The Scot also went on to add; We are going to miss a truly unbelievable player. Paul has always been fully committed to this club and I am delighted he will be joining the coaching staff from next season.

"Paul has always been inspirational to players of all ages and we know that will continue in his new role."

Scholes said: "I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour.

"This was not a decision that I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing.

"To have been part of the team that helped the Club reach that 19th title is a great privilege."

Jack Wilshere Warns Arsenal

England and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere insists it will be a disaster if Arsenal fail to win any trophies next season, the 19-year-old admits the Gunners need to show more grit and determination to challenge for silverware.

The north Londoners have now gone six years without adding a trophy to cabinet at the Emirates after losing the League Cup final to Birmingham, Jack Wilshere insists it will be ‘100 per cent disaster’ should Arsenal fail again next season.

Should Arsenal have another dull season, this could easily spark an exodus of players including manager Arsene Wenger.

"It will be a 100 per cent disaster if we don't win a trophy next season," said Wilshere.

"We know that. The fans feel it. We feel it. We just need to win a trophy.

"Arsenal are a big club and we need to be winning trophies. We need to win them to keep our big players.

"We must be more aware and have a bit more aggression. We've got some players that can do that but we have to go as a team."

The Arsenal man suggests Arsenal need to follow example of Manchester United with questioning decisions made by referees.

"It's no use just Robin van Persie going because it looks like it's just him having a go at the ref. If we all get round him...

"You just see the other teams do it and you think 'we need to do it as well'. Man United are the best at it. They get round the referee.

"We have to be more of a team and be more aggressive and show more authority."

Monday, 30 May 2011

Mohamed Bin Hammam Questions Chuck Blazer's Timing

Warner and Bin Hammam Accused of Bribery
Mohamed Bin Hammam has attacked Chuck Blazer timing of bringing the bribery matter to light, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, was suspended along with Fifa vice-president Jack Warner in the wake of bribery accusations.

Bin Hammam had withdrawn from the election process after Chuck Blazer launched an investigation into the bribery allegations.

"The allegations refer to the extraordinary meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago of 10 May 2011. According to his own statement, Mr Blazer was notified about the alleged offers on the same day.

"However only a few days before the presidential election, he submitted his written report.

"That timing reveals the real purpose of the allegations, namely to influence the upcoming presidential election by discrediting Mr Bin Hammam and Mr Warner, the first being a candidate and the second being an influential person who has not yet taken a position as to which candidate he would support.

"This is a blunt abuse of the institution of the Fifa Ethics Committee."

Nani Urges Berbatov To Stay At United

Manchester United winger Nani has pleaded with team-mate Dimitar Berbatov to stay at Old Trafford, the striker was dropped from Alex Ferguson’s squad who were defeated against Barcelona in the Champions League final at Wembley last Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson selected Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez in his starting XI, with Michael Owen on the bench, leaving Berbatov conspicuous by his absence among the non-playing members of the squad

It is thought that the striker is weighing up his options and feels disappointed about being left out the squad; the Portuguese international has urged Berbatov not to turn his back on United.

He said: "I don't know what he has in mind but everyone knows he's a fantastic player.

"He has scored a lot of goals for us, finished as the top scorer in the league, and I would like him to play for Manchester United again next season."

Jerome Valcke Clairfies Email Situation

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke had today tried to attempt to clarify what he suggested when he admitted that 2022 World Cup was 'bought' referred to Qatar using their 'financial strength' to lobby for votes.

The email that was sent to Jack Warner about was made public by the suspended Fifa vice-president in a blistering attack by the Trinidadian on the world governing body on Sunday.

"For MBH, I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Blatter]. Or he thought you can buy Fifa as they bought the WC."

In a statement released on Monday, Valcke stated: "Mr Warner has published an email which I sent to him. I'd like to clarify that I may use in an email - a 'lighter' way of expression by nature - a much less formal tone than in any form of correspondence.

"Having said that, when I refer to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in that email, what I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support.

"They were a candidate with a very important budget and have used it to heavily promote their bid all around the world in a very efficient manner.

"I have at no time made, or was intending to make, any reference to any purchase of votes or similar unethical behaviour.

"I would also like to clarify that there is, as I said yesterday, no investigation open at Fifa regarding the 2022 Fifa World Cup host election."

Skrtel Insists Liverpool Will Challenge For Trophies Next Season

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is confident that Liverpool will be ready to challenge for trophies next season, the Reds have endured a difficult year after new owners were brought in and after Roy Hodgson was sacked, Kenny Dalglish was installed as his replacement at the turn of the New Year.

Once Kenny Dalglish became manager things started to turn around for Liverpool, putting on a run of consecutive win pushing them further up the table and with the additions of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez  things appeared to be on the up at Anfield.

Yet back-to-back losses to round off the campaign saw Liverpool miss out on the chance to play European football next season.

Yet the summer looks likely to transfer action at Anfield, and Skrtel the defender believes the club will still be in contention next season regardless of who arrives despite still smarting over missing out on a Europa League spot.

"I would love to say I am satisfied but I am not," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"Our goal was simple and everyone knew it - Europa League. We didn't make it this time so I can only say that we will do our best next time.

"I have quite mixed feelings about this season. The beginning of the season was not good but this changed with the arrival of Kenny Dalglish.

"This was a turning point for our season and we really improved under his guidance. This gives me a lot of hope ahead of the new season."

McDermott Confident Royals Will Return Despite Defeat

Reading manager Brian McDermott has suggested that his team will be back, after suffering the heart-break of losing the Championship Play-Off final to Swansea City 4-2 this afternoon.

McDermott is confident that this defeat will make the team stronger in order to spur them on for promotion next season, manager McDermott was naturally devastated by the result, but believes his side can come back bigger and better next season.

"We'll be stronger for this. That's the most important thing," said McDermott.

"It hurts, but you have to sometimes live with the pain and then move on.

"It's very tough. It's very painful. But what we can do now is just look ahead and build for next season again.

"I'm just really disappointed for our fans and I wish we could've got the right result for them."

England Beat Sri Lanka by an Innings and 14 Runs

Andrew Strauss lead the plaudits as England won the 1st test against Sri Lanka today, especially to the bowling attack with saw the visitors bowled out for 82 inside 25 overs.

Graeme Swann claimed 4-16 while Chris Tremlett picked up 4-40 as Sri Lanka were taken out piece by piece.

It was thought that the game was heading for a draw after rain hit most of the first few days, but the England bowlers stood up and took the game to Sri Lanka defeating the tourists by an innings and 14 runs.

"I don't think any of us thought it was hugely possible to get this result, but we knew we could have 50 overs to apply some pressure," said Strauss.

"There was some outstanding bowling from Chris Tremlett with the new ball, Stuart Broad as well, with Graeme Swann backing them up.

"We were on the receiving end of a similar result in Adelaide four years ago, and you can never relax in this game.

"We got some early wickets and then we went on."

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Jack Warner Responds To Fifa

Jack Warner has hit out at Fifa and has mentioned allegations concerning Sepp Blatter, just like what everyone thought that Fifa was corrupt, the story of how the world football governing body is run seems to be unfolding day by day.

Warner claimed Blatter made gifts of computers to officials plus an unauthorised 1million US dollar gift to his confederation CONCACAF.

Jack Warner along with Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned by Fifa's ethics committee on Sunday pending the full inquiry into allegations they paid officials 40,000 dollars each in bribes which was brought to light by Chuck Blazier, both Warner and Bin Hammam have denied making any payments.

Warner said in a statement: "I denied the allegations that I made statements at the CFU [Caribbean Football Union] meeting about gifts being given by Mr Bin Hammam.

"I also indicated that at the Miami CONCACAF Congress on May 3 Mr Blatter made a gift of one million USD to CONCACAF to spend as it deems fit.

"This annoyed [UEFA] President Michel Platini who was present and he approached Secretary General Jerome Valcke complaining that Mr Blatter had no permission from the Finance Committee to make this gift to which Jerome replied that he will find the money for Mr Blatter.

"I also indicated at the CFU meeting held in Trinidad on May 10 which was requested by Mr Bin Hammam, FIFA through Mr Blatter organised gifts of laptops and projectors to all members of the Caribbean and no objections have been made today of this to date."

Mohamed Bin Hammam Reacts To Allegations

Fifa Senior Official Mohamed Bin Hammam has today reacted to news that he has been suspended along with Jack Warner until a full Fifa investigation has been conducted around bribery allegations both members are accused of.

Up until last week Mohamed Bin Hammam was running for presidential election in hope of succeeding current president Sepp Blatter, then Mohamed Bin Hammam stepped out of the race after these allegations were brought up by another senior official, USA’s Chuck Blazer.

He said in a statement late on Sunday: "I've been referred to the ethics committee based on evidence which was strong enough in views of the Fifa general secretary for such procedure.

"However the ethics committee in this meeting today did not find this evidence sufficient enough to convict me.

"Subsequently I should have been given the benefit of the doubt, but instead I've been banned from all football activities.

"I've been given the impression that the ethics committee is absolutely an independent committee. But in the press conference we have seen today the general secretary made clear that he is the one who has the influence in this committee.

"I'm very disappointed about the way the status of the proceeding has been presented at the media conference.

"I'm expecting this will continue. This is not how I understand fair play. I'm reserving all my rights."

Chuck Blazer Speaks Out On Fifa

FIFA Executive Committee Member Chuck Blazer has commented that he had no choice but to speak up after being presented with evidence of bribes, these involved Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner,.

ChucklBlazer spoke out and launched an investigation which resulted in two of football's most powerful figures being suspended pending a full inquiry on Sunday.

Blazer said: "I sat next to Mr Bin Hammam for 15 years in FIFA and have been general secretary of the [CONCACAF] confederation with Jack for 21 years so of course it was difficult. But what is more difficult is to ignore the fact that attempts were made to suborn members - it really wasn't a choice.

"I said to Jack, 'What are you doing? In 21 years we have never bought a vote, we have had elections and been in office all that time and never bought a vote'.

"I said, 'Now you have allowed this to happen here it completely changes the entire dynamic of the confederation'. Once you have done that you have let the genie of the bottle and for any issue that comes up, people will say, 'Okay, how much are you putting on the table?"'

Blazer now hopes that after this investigation Fifa will bring better practices and regulations into play.
He added: "I hope we have set a good example, we have expressed the fact that we don't tolerate the type of behaviour that was manifested by senior members.

"That's a message to all members that if you do something wrong it's going to be reported. That's how it will affect compliance. It is a chance for us to make a seminal difference to the way we operate.

"This is the implementation of a system that we put in just a few years ago.

"I'm just the official who fulfilled his obligation that when provided with the information about breaches of evidence by his members gathered together the facts and presented it to FIFA as required under the code of ethics."

Florent Malouda Keen On Hiddink Return

Chelsea forward Florent Malouda has insisted that former boss Guus Hiddink would be the ideal manager to replace Carlo Ancelotti, the Italian was sacked after the last game in which Chelsea failed to win any silverware this season.

Hiddink enjoyed a successful spell at Stamford Bridge for four months during 2009 and helped Chelsea win the FA Cup.

Hiddink has been installed as the bookies favourite to takeover at Chelsea and he would have all the players backing.

"I have a lot of respect for him," Malouda said.

"When he came we were in a difficult situation in terms of results.

"He brought back confidence I think. He improved our game and led us in the Champions League and FA Cup.

"He put the club back on the right way. It was short term. It was really quick, but it was really intense.

"You have to take your time to make the right choices and that is what the Board is doing.

"I think we have a strong squad and when you want to add ingredient to the squad to have to take your time."

Jonathan Trott Rescues England

Jonathan Trott came to England’s rescue today in the first test after hitting his second double century in Tests for England when England reached 491-5 against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

Sri Lanka initially scored 400 in the first innings and after rain had interrupted play on both days, England replied in fine fashion with Trott resuming on 125 after the morning session was effected by the rain. Trott put on 160 with county team-mate Ian Bell, who was left on 98 not out at the close of the play.

Alastair Cook was out early on only adding four runs to his overnight 129 while Kevin Pietersen made only three runs when he was caught lbw by the TV umpire following a referral.

Fifa Suspends Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner

Fifa have today suspended both executive committee members Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner after a meeting of its ethics committee on Sunday.

It has also been confirmed that Sepp Blatter will not face an enquiry, CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester have also been suspended.

Football's governing body will now open a full investigation into allegations that financial incentives were offered to members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Petrus Damaseb, deputy chairman of the ethics committee, said of Bin Hammam and Warner: "We are satisfied that there is a case to be answered."

However, Fifa insists that they are innocent until proven guilty.

Pep Commits To Barcelona

Pep Guardiola has insisted that he intends to honour his contract at Barcelona, after watching his side take Manchester United apart in yesterday's 3-1 victory in the Champions League final.

The Spaniard feels that his side are untouchable after watching his young side show the world how the game should be played.

It was suggested that Pep could leave the Catalans this summer after Johan Cryuff hinted that Guardiola had been worn down by the psychological strain of managing the Catalan giants, but last night Guardiola said;

"I have one year of the contract, yes."

The Barcelona boss believed his side had put in one of their best performances to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.

"It is one of the best performances because sometimes you make for performances in important games but not important games like this one," he said.

Guardiola also added; "So we are so happy to win, of course, but we are so, so happy to show to the world our way to play, to keep the ball, to try to attack in front of absolutely one of the best teams of the world," he said.

Mohamed bin Hammam Withdraws From Fifa Election Campaign

Mohamed bin Hammam has pulled himself out of the running for the presidential election for Fifa, in order to clear his name amid speculation with alleged bribery within football’s world governing body. 

Both Bin Hammam and Jack Warner face allegations of bribery. While Blatter is accused of knowing about the bribery.

The president of the Asian Football Confederation, Bin Hammam, and his rival in the election, current Fifa president Sepp Blatter, are both under investigation.

He said: "I pray that my withdrawal will not be tied to the investigation held by the Fifa Ethics Committee as I will appear before the Ethics Committee to clear my name from the baseless allegations that have been made against me.

"I promise those who stood by me that I will walk with my head held high and will continue to fight for the good of the game.

"I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to all Member Associations and individuals who supported me. I hope that they will not receive my decision with disappointment and frustration.
"I have a special thank you to my friend and colleague Jack Warner for his unlimited support. I am sorry to see that he has to suffer because of me, but I am promising him that I will be with him all the way through thick and thin.
"I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to restore Fifa's reputation to what it should be - a protector of the game that has credibility through honesty, transparency and accountability."

Bin Hammam added: "I made the decision to run for the Fifa presidency because I was and remain committed to change within Fifa.

"I set out my goals and ambitions clearly - to further the cause of democracy within Fifa - through a commitment to transparency and accountability; through a commitment to expand the number of officials and nations involved in decision-making processes.

"In addition to this, I wanted to spark a debate about change in Fifa. For the good of football, I wanted the future to be bright for our world's governing body and for it to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in today.

"However, recent events have left me hurt and disappointed - on a professional and personal level."

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Fifa Subject To Corruption Claims

Sepp Blatter will be investigated
David Cameron has backed calls for Fifa to suspend its presidential election next week after the two rival candidates were accused of breaching rules.

Current president Sepp Blatter and his challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam are due before the world governing body's ethics committee on Sunday to answer the charges.

Bin Hammam is accused of bribing Fifa officials in the Caribbean to win votes while Blatter is accused of failing to probe bribery allegations.

Fifa vice-president Jack Warner is also facing bribery claims. All three deny any wrongdoing and have issued statements protesting their innocence.

Sebastian Vettel Claims Pole Position

World champion Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth pole position in six races in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Red Bull driver lapped the 3.340km Monte-Carlo street circuit in a time of one minute 13.556 seconds to go 0.441secs quicker than McLaren's Jenson Button.

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber lines up third ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher fifth.

Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa starts sixth ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado will start ninth, however the final driver to make it through to the top-10 shoot-out, Sauber's Sergio Perez, is a doubt for Sunday's race after suffering a heavy crash in the final session.

Hiddink & Neymar on Chelsea’s Radar

Chelsea are closing on a Brazilian striker Neymar. Last season the Blues had a £19 million pound offer rejected by Neymar’s club Santos.

Chelsea have renewed their interest with a £23 million offer.

Owner Roman Abramovich has made it his top priority to secure Neymar's services and will speak with the player directly in an attempt to convince the 19-year-old to come to London this summer.

A source close to Chelsea said, “Roman is ready to get personally involved to clinch the signing of Neymar.

“He’s aiming to talk with him next month to prove how much he is wanted.”

The signing of Neymar could spell the end of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka’s Chelsea career, with Chelsea splashing out £50 million in January to land Torres it is thought that either Drogba or Anelka will leave Stamford Bridge.

Also last night former manager Guus Hiddink insisted that he will listen to any serious offer from Chelsea, the Dutchman has confirmed that he remained in contact with Abramovich since his spell in 2009.

Hiddink said, "there is a lot of speculation about Chelsea. But if there was a concrete offer, I would think about it".

The Dutchman is currently manager of Turkey’s national side and insists he is committed to his job there, but admits if his side fails to beat Belgium in the Euro 2012 qualifier next week it could be the end.

He added; "if we lose I can imagine they’d say it would be better for me to quit”.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

AC Milan Rule Out Fabregas Move

AC Milan has insisted that they are unlikely to make a offer for Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas this summer as the Italian claim feel the Spaniard will be to expensive, after the departure of Andrea Pirlo to Juventus and doubt surrounding Gennaro Gattuso’s future it is thought that the Rossoneri will be searching for midfield replacments this summer.

"From here until 31st August, Milan will buy a player that will be a left midfielder," Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"(Napoli  winger Marek) Hamsik and Fabregas can play in that role.

"We have never asked for Hamsik although we don't rule him out and as for Fabregas, he is too expensive."

Wesley Sneijder To Remain At Inter Milan

Wesley Sneijder has confirmed that he will be staying with Inter Milan next season, the Dutch playmaker was subject to speculation that he will leave the Serie A giants this summer.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is a keen admirer of Sneijder along with Tottenham’s Luka Modric and it is thought that Fergie views the 26-year-old as an ideal replacement for Paul Scholes who is currently pondering retiring from football.

"Next season? I'll be here," he told the Corriere dello Sport.

Sneijder is hoping to return to full fitness this weekend hoping to feature for Inter’s in final of the Coppa Italia,  against Palermo.

"I've been training with the squad without any problems," he continued.

"I'll certainly be there against Palermo.

"I want to play and win the Coppa Italia so that we can end the season in a good manner."

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Vitali: Adamek Is Stronger Than Haye

Vitali Klitschko insists that Tomaz Adamek is stronger than David Haye, speaking at a press conference to promote his fight against Polish heavyweight fighter which is taking place September 10th at the Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw, Poland.

Vitali who has never been a fan of David Haye and he added; “Who is better – Tomas Adamek or David Haye?

“I’m more than sure that David Haye is world champion by talking. Adamek was many times world champion by boxing. Right now I’m sorry for that.

“He wants to fight in the heavyweight. He wants to fight for a title in the heavyweight division. Okay, my personal opinion by talking, Tomasz will lose. By fighting, Tomasz is much more stronger.”

Rafa Benitez Eyeing Premier League Return

Rafa Benitez has once against expressed his desire to return to management in the Premier League, the Spaniard says he is 'ready and waiting'.

Former Valencia and Liverpool boss is keen on a return to  after enduring a tough spell while in charge of Inter Milan which ended in December.

Benitez enjoyed success at Liverpool winning the Champions League twice, but after a tense relationship which reached breaking point with former owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, Rafa was sacked.

"Now we have to think about the future. I am ready, waiting. It is not easy because you don't have many too teams available now, but there is still time," said Benitez

"You are looking for a club with an idea about the future, an idea about how to create something, but at the same time to keep winning.

"Because I came from Spain I have a different vision. I know how you can do things in Spain, Italy or here. After six years at Liverpool I am really pleased to stay in England.

"I know how to manage, I know about business plans, I know how to buy and sell players. In Spain and Italy, they take care of them. Here you have more experience.

"I know what it means after five years in charge of the Academy and you can see now how the young players of Liverpool have progressed.

"I have enough experience and I am still quite young for a manager."

Paul Lambert Signs New Deal At Norwich

Norwich City manager Paul Lambert has today penned a new deal at Carrow Road along with his backroom staff of assistant Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa.

Lambert helped guide the Canaries to his second promotion following successful season in getting his side into the Premier League this term.

Speaking of his delight at signing a new deal, he said; "It's terrific for myself and Ian and Gary. We came here together and we've never indicated we wanted to leave at all. I've loved my two years at the club".

"I'm delighted everything has been sorted for the three of us and now we are working on bringing players into the club. We have to try and give the current group a hand, as I have always said.

The Scot joined Norwich in 2009 and under his management Norwich have gained promotion from League One and the Championship in successive seasons.

"We want to try and make this club the best it can possibly be. We'll try and do everything we can to get a foothold in the Premier League and to enjoy it.

"The fanbase here is tremendous and if you have got them behind you, then you have a chance."

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ryan Giggs named as footballer at centre of injunction

After 64 caps for his national team, Wales, and many goals Ryan Giggs has managed a miss. Former Miss Wales Imogen Thomas to be exact. 

Yet from the picture above, perhaps the writing has been on the wall for a while. News broke today that Giggsy had been named as the footballer at the centre of a court gagging order over a relationship with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas.

The Man United star's identity was revealed in parliament by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who has been campaigning on the issue.Relentlessly.

It appears that footballer’s clean family image has been damaged following the MP’s announcement. Extensively.

Perhaps his identity could have been guessed.  W(h)ales have been getting in to a lot of trouble lately after all.

John Hemming said it was not practical to imprison the 75,000 Twitter followers who have already named the player.

Mr Hemming used parliamentary privilege to identify the star at the centre of the injunction after the High Court refused to lift a ban on naming the sportsman.

He was immediately rebuked by the Commons Speaker John Bercow, who said: "Occasions such as this are occasions for raising the issues of principle involved, not seeking to flout for whatever purpose.

"If the honourable gentleman wants to finish his question in an orderly way, he can do so."

Friday, 20 May 2011

Paul Scholes To Delay Retirement

Manchester United manager has suggested that Paul Scholes will put his retirement on hold for another season; Alex Ferguson has been in talks with the midfielder in an attempt to delay his decision.

United chief executive David Gill hinted last week that Scholes could hang up his boots after this season, the midfielder has scored 150 goals in 674 appearances while spending his entire career at Old Trafford.

Alex Ferguson said; "I don't think this will be his last game,"

A deal has yet to be agreed, but Ferguson is confident Scholes will still be at United next season.

"We have discussed it and I have encouraged him to stay on for another year.

"We'll talk at the end of the season."

Carlos Tevez: I Want To Quit City

Manchester City has been rocked by the news that Carlos Tevez wants to quit the Eastlands sparking worldwide transfer frenzy for the Argentine, this comes only days after manager Roberto Mancini insisted that his skipper will stay.

The 27-year-old's tender relationship with the manager has led to speculation that he could leave at the end of the season and speaking on Argentina’s Radio del Plata, the hitman said; "I want to leave Manchester City,"

"I've been treated very well here and I'm grateful," he added. "I also gave my everything for the club to receive the results it has had. But I need a change of scene."

Carlos Tevez initially handed in a transfer request towards the end of last year but was persuaded to stay, but it now seems that striker as clearly made up his mind.

"Football has changed a lot for me and I don't know if I will even make it to the next World Cup. And that has nothing to do with whether I'm selected or not," he explained, adding that an unlikely move back to his homeland would be his preferred option.

"To go back to Boca Juniors would be beautiful but it is very difficult.

"But if we're speaking seriously, financial issues would make my return difficult."

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Braehmer Pulls Out Of Cleverly Fight

Nathan Cleverly hits out
Nathan Cleverly has accused Juergen Braehmer of ducking him after the fighter pulled out of their bout which was scheduled for this Saturday’s WBO championship on Sky Box Office which was on the same bill as James De Gale vs. George Groves.

The German fighter pulled out after an eye injury the fighter apparently received in training ten days ago and hasn’t had enough time to fully recover. Cleverly has since suggested that Braehmer never wanted to face the him and the Welshman will now face a random ranked fighter which has yet to be confirmed.

Nathan Cleverly added, "I am absolutely devastated. This is the fight that I really wanted; I've been gunning for Juergen Braehmer  for over a year now.

"It's very unprofessional that he hasn't turned up, he hasn't arrived, he's ducked out for the fight as far as I am concerned."

"He's got the world title, he was the champion, I badly wanted to get this guy into the ring and win the title in style.

"It's very unprofessional that he hasn't turned up, he hasn't arrived, and he’s ducked out for the fight as far as I am concerned.

"He doesn't want to fight me, he's been ducking me and the proof is there now that he doesn't want the fight."

Kaka Plays Down Prem Link

Brazilian playmaker Kaka has played down reports linking him to a Premier League move this summer and insists he is happy at Real Madrid, the Chelsea target was thought to been keen with linking up with the current Chelsea and former AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Kaka added, "I have a good relationship with Carlo but the truth is that I want to stay in Madrid, I want to play in Madrid and I want to live in Madrid."

Kaka has not firing on all cylinders after a difficult season at Real Madrid follow lengthy lay-off due to knee injuries and the midfielder is keen to prove his worth at the Bernabéu.

Speculation had been mounting after Kaka’s mother posted a tweet suggesting that she is moving to London this summer.

"I want to stay at Real Madrid and I want to play for Real Madrid," said Kaka.

"My mother is coming to live in London next year. She is a preacher and she is coming to talk about God.

"I want to stay at Real Madrid and I want to play for Real Madrid."

“But I have a challenge with Real Madrid. I don't want to think now about playing in the Premier League or going back to Italy.

"I want to get back in good shape and play for Real Madrid next season."

Monday, 16 May 2011

Floyd Patterson - The Gentleman of Boxing

Floyd Patterson: (January 4, 1935 – May 11, 2006) 55 wins, 40 KO’s, 8 losses

Born in Wasco, North Carolina, on January 4th, 1935, Patterson was a light heavyweight-cruiserweight who competed with the Heavyweight division winning the Championship of the World on two occasions.

The former Olympic middleweight king who won his crown at the Helsinki Games in 1952 became the youngest professional ever to gain the top rung of the ladder. He is a fast moving, clever heavyweight with a snappy punch, though his blows lack the steam of those Louis, Marciano and Dempsey could deliver.

Patterson had his ups and downs in his career, In the Eastern Golden Gloves tourney he won a decision over Mike Zecca of the U.S Marines in the elimination. The next night he lay flat on his back after being put to sleep in the quarter-finals by Charley Williams of Buffalo.

He made his professional start after returning from his successful trip to Helsinki. His most important bouts prior to winning from Archie Moore, were those with Joey Maxim, in which the latter won an unpopular decision, the lone loss suffered by Patterson; his knockouts of Jimmy Slade and Wille Troy; and his twelve rounds victory over Jackson.

Floyd Patterson, who on August 30 1956, at 21 years, 10 months and 26 days became the youngest world heavyweight title champion, successor to the throne left vacant by Marciano by knocking out Archie Moore.

In the fight with Moore, the panther-like son of a Brooklyn sanitation truck driver disposed of his opponent in 2:27 of the fifth round before a roaring gathering in the Chicago Stadium.

Patterson was piling up a load of the official score cards against a wildly-missing Moore when he crashed home a terrific left hook to the jaw. The blow had a delayed action effect on the old warrior. He started to step forward then he spun and fell on his face. Moore barely beat the count of referee Frank Sikora.

As Moore wobbled, Patterson finished him off with another powerful left, sinking him to his haunches. Moore started to pull himself up, and just as he was getting to this feet, Sikora had completed the count.

The attendance was 14,000, with gross receipts of only $228,145-far from the figures Joe Louis' bouts registered.

In that contest, Patterson accomplished what had been expected. The 14,458 persons who paid $156,936 to see the affair witnessed a bout in which the defending title holder was never in danger. Referee Ruby Goldstein halted it one minute and fifty-two seconds of the tenth round after a smashing left and right to the jaw had placed Jackson at the mercy of his opponent. Many protested the referee’s action, but he was justified.

Jackson was dropped in the first round as the bell sounded; went down for a count of two in the second, though the knockdown timer continued to toll of six; and was floored again in the ninth for a count of four,

It was the first independently promoted heavyweight championship bout in many years, with Emil Lence, a New York dress manufacturer, instead of the International Boxing Club, in charge. Jackson received $62.929, 81 for the lacing he took, and the champion, after agreeing to cut $50,000 off his guarantee to save Lence from losing heavily on the promotion, got $123, 859, 62.

Jackson started off well, but as the fight progressed he couldn’t defend himself. He absorbed terrific body clouts and man to the jaw. Though floored three times, he continued to display raw courage in his attempt to go the route.

Three days following that fight, Patterson went into training again, this time to face the world amateur champion, Peter Rademacher, Olympic title holder in the latter’s debut as a professional, an unheard of procedure. Boxing commissions throughout the world appealed to both Governor Rosselini of Washington and his commission to prevent the staging of the bout, but the appeal was vetoed.

The fight took place on August 22, 1957 at Seattle and the amateur title holder was knocked out, Tommy Loughran, the referee, counted of the doleful decimal.

The time was two minute and fifty-seven second of the sixth round, Rademacher had been sent to the canvas seven times.

The Olympic champion surprised by not only remaining in action so long following the pre-fight predications that he would be lucky to last two rounds, but winning the opening round and decking Patterson for a count of four in the second frame. Thereafter, however, he was never in the running.

Rademacher was down for nine in the third round, four times for nine in the fifth and once prior to the final count in the sixth round. Four time referee Loughran faltered at the count of nine when he could have counted Peter out.

The history-making fight, the first time an amateur fought a professional heavyweight champion for the crown, brought out a gathering 16,961 persons for a record Northwest gate of $243,030 and a net of £209,556. Youth Unlimited which back Rademacher, lost close to $120,000 on the promotion.

Peter received nothing for his services while Patterson, guaranteed by his backer $250,000 and received that amount.

Floyd Patterson made his second title defence in Los Angeles on August 18, 1958, against Roy Harris of Cut and Shoot, Texas. After being decked in the second round, he battered the Texan into submission. Referee Mushy Callaghan halted the bout when Harris’ trainer, Bill Gore, told him that Roy could not come out for the twelfth.

Attendance was 21,680 and the gate amounted to $234,183. Another 196,762 fans paid $763,437 to see the bout on closed-circuit TV. Harris, though game, was outclassed.

On the rainy evening of June 26, 1959, 18,215 fans at the Yankee Stadium in New York watched 196-pound, 4-1 underdog Ingemar Johansson of Gothenburg, Sweden, win a knockout victory over 182-pound Floyd Patterson. Referee Ruby Goldstein halted the bout in 2:03 of the third round.

After two rounds of minor action, Johansson let loose a stunning right, his much vaunted “Hammer of Thor,” which sent Patterson reeling and flat on his back.

Six more times Patterson went down. When he staggered up after the seventh knockdown, Goldstein stopped the fight. By scoring seven knockdowns in one round. Johansson had equalled the heavyweight-title-fight record set by Jack Dempsey against Luis Firpo in 1923.

In terms of the live gate, the fight was a financial failure for promoter William Rosensohn, but it grossed more than $1 million in closed-circuit telecasts. This was the dawning of an age when money was to be made, not from the live audience, but from TV.

When Floyd Patterson fought Ingamar Johansson for the second time at New York’s Polo Ground on June 22, 1960, Johansson faced a different fighter. A man who was looking, not for revenge, but rather for personal redemption from the humiliation he had suffered in losing his title.

A bigger, stronger, and restyled Patterson knocked out Johansson in 1:51 of in the fifth round. From the beginning, Patterson weighing 190 pounds was the aggressor, keeping the 194-pound defending champion off balance with left jab and two-handed flurries. By the fourth round Johansson was standing off balance, with his feet wide apart, but he kept boxing himself out of trouble.

Forty-nine seconds into the fifth round Patterson landed a blazing left hook to the jaw that sent Johansson down for a count of nine, on his feet again, Johansson tried to keep going. But a barrage of lefts and right and a final left hook caught Johansson’s chin and knocked him out cold.

A crowd of 31,892, who paid $824,814 and a closed-circuit TV audience of 500,000 who paid $2 million, were witnesses while Patterson reclaiming the heavyweight crown. Patterson accomplished what other heavyweight champions had attempted and failed to do.

The Ring Boxing Encyclopaedia lists unsuccessful attempts by James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, James J. Jeffries, Jack Dempsey, Max Schmeling, Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ingemar Johansson and Sonny Liston.

A third Patterson-Johansson bout took place in Miami Beach on March 13, 1961. Patterson and Johansson were the heaviest in their careers at 194¾ pound and 206½ pound respectively.

Patterson retained his title by knocking out Johansson in 2:25 of the sixth round with a sharp left, then an overhand chopping right that struck Johansson high on the side of his head. Johansson started to get to his feet, and then pitched forward. He got up a split second after referee Bill Regan reached the count of ten. Replays confirmed the referee’s decision.

The fight was clumsily sporadic. What the crowd 13,984 spectators saw the bloody pounding of two fights out to annihilate each other, the scorecards of referee Bill Regan and judges Carl Gardner and Gus Jacobson all showed Patterson ahead in four of the five rounds before the knockout.

Johansson’s boxing career wasn’t quite over; he won back the European heavyweight title on June 17, 1962 by knocking out Dick Richardson. Then he retired in mid-1963 to devote his full time to business.

Patterson’s last successful defence of his crown was against the strong, game, but woeful inexperienced Tom McNeeley, December 4, 1961 at Toronto. A crowd of 7,813 watched McNeeley hit the canvas ten times. A left to the jaw ended the fiasco in round four.

After two years of waiting in the number-one contenders spot, Sonny Liston got his chance against Patterson September 25, 1962, in Chicago. At 212 pound Liston outweighed Patterson by 25 pounds and outreached him thirteen inches.

Sonny was in control from the beginning, pounding both hands to Patterson’s body and jabbing accurately. The end came when the second of two powerful lefts decked Patterson in 2:06 of the first round. The 18,894 fans were stunned at the speed with which the bout ended.

Liston had the honour of landing the third-fastest knocking in heavyweight history. The fastest was 1:28 credited to Tommy Burns in his match with Bill Squires, while Joe Louis scored the second fastest when he dispatched Max Schmeling in 2:04 in their return bout.

Patterson was given a rematch on July 22, 1963, at Convention Hall in Las Vegas, with the odds 5-1 against him. Patterson attempted to become the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times. Again Liston outweighed his opponent 215½ to 194½ and again Patterson could do little to retaliate for the torrent of powerful blows Liston delivered.

Counted out in 2:10 of the first round by referee Harry Krause, Patterson had landed only one substantial punch, a hard right to the jaw following his own first knockdown. Patterson was decked once more before the knockout, preceded by a flurry of right and lefts to his head. Liston’s left hook and crushing rights and lefts to his head.

Listons’s left hook and crushing right to the ribs set Patterson up for a right and left that crumbled the ex-champ.

Following those defeats, Floyd Patterson went through a period of depression. However, when he eventually recovered and he began winning fights again with victories over Eddie Machen and George Chuvalo.

Patterson became the number one challenger for the title then held by Muhammad Ali. On November 22, 1965, in yet another attempt to become the first fighter to win the world's heavyweight title three times, but Patterson lost when Ali knocked Patterson out at the end of the 12th round in a bout in which Ali dominated.

Ali called Floyd Patterson an "Uncle Tom" for refusing to call him Muhammad Ali. Floyd Patterson continued to call him Cassius Clay and for his outspokenness against Black Muslims Ali mocked, humiliated and punished Patterson throughout the fight.

Despite this loss, Patterson was still a legitimate contender.

In 1966 he travelled to England and knocked out British boxer Henry Cooper in just four rounds at Wembley Stadium. In comparison, Ali never scored a knockdown against Cooper in their two bouts.

Patterson lost a controversial 12-round decision to Jerry Quarry in 1967.

In a third and final attempt at winning the title a third time, Patterson lost a 15-round when the referee awarded the decision to Jimmy Ellis in Sweden despite breaking Ellis' nose and scoring a disputed knockdown.

Patterson continued on defeating Oscar Bonavena in a close fight over ten rounds in early 1972. But final defeat by Muhammad Ali in a rematch for the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title on September 20, 1972, convinced Patterson to retire at the age of 37.

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