Luis Suarez latest Liverpool will NOT appeal ten-match ban for bite

Suarez will NOT appeal 10-match FA ban for biting Ivanovic… and it's his own decision

PUBLISHED:

12:40 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Luis Suarez will not appeal the 10-match ban handed to him by the FA for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez had until midday today to lodge an appeal, with the club reportedly leaving the decision to the Uruguayan himself.

The 26-year-old had already accepted the three-match suspension for violent conduct, but will not contest the additional punishment.

Scroll down for video of Brendan Rodgers Press Conference

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

Appeal: Suarez has decided to fight against the 10-match ban he was handed by the Football Association

A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission upheld The FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will now serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three.

The suspension begins with immediate effect and applies to Liverpool's next ten domestic first-team fixtures.

Closed: Suarez during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on Wednesday

Closed: Suarez during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on Wednesday

Blame game: Graham Poll is relieved referee Kevin Friend (right) was not blamed for missing the incident

Blame game: Graham Poll is relieved referee Kevin Friend (right) was not blamed for missing the incident

Prime Minister David Cameron said today that Suarez's bite on Ivanovic set an 'appalling example' to his seven-year-old son.

Cameron told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that his intervention in the matter was merely that of a concerned father.

'I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game,' he said.

Prime criticism: Even Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here appearing on BBC Breakfast, told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that players behaving like this sets an 'appalling example'

Prime criticism: Even Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that players behaving like this sets an 'appalling example'

'I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country.'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers yesterday accused the FA of double standards and throwing Suarez out with the ‘garbage’.

Rodgers spoke publicly
yesterday for the first time since Suarez was banned for 10 games for
biting Ivanovic.

And he did not hold back,
insisting the punishment was ‘not right’ and ‘too severe’.

Goalkeeper
Pepe Reina went even further, saying it was ‘absurd, out of proportion
and unfair’ and that the authorities had ‘got it in for Luis’.

He needs help: Suarez has launched an impassioned defence of his under-fire striker

He needs help: Suarez has launched an impassioned defence of his under-fire striker

Brendan Rodgers 'shocked' by length of Suarez ban

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Rodgers believes the three-person Independent Regulatory Committee that imposed the ban were prejudiced by the fact the FA had already announced they considered the offence worthy of more than a three-match ban.

Further to that, he claimed the FA’s disciplinary procedures were inconsistent and said he was mystified by the Prime Minister’s decision to enter the debate.

Rodgers said: ‘Luis has not let me down one bit. He is a player who fell well below the standards of this football club but that doesn’t mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened from a lot of people these last few days.

Luis Suarez is seen laughing and joking with his team-mates

Luis Suarez is seen laughing and joking with his team-mates

In the mix: Suarez looked in high spirits during this afternoon's training session on Merseyside

‘I certainly won’t be prepared to do
that. I don’t believe the sanction fits with what he did. There’s no
doubt if you have those high-profile figures making those sorts of
statements, there will be a bias.

‘It’s human nature. If you have people reading and listening to things,
when they sit down to talk about it supposedly for the first time,
people would argue whether they already had a decision in their minds.
That process, for me, would need to change.

‘You have an FA council member, an FA county representative and an
ex-player, so I don’t know how it is independent. That has to be looked
at and this is probably not the first time it’s been said.

All smiles: Luis Suarez trains with Liverpool the day after he was hit with a ten-game ban

All smiles: Luis Suarez trains with Liverpool the day after he was hit with a ten-game ban

‘I felt Luis would maybe get more than three games. But we had hoped
there would be something in there that would allow him a greater
opportunity to rehabilitate. The bigger thing in all of this is to try
to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

Rodgers made a clumsy analogy yesterday in comparing Suarez’s moment of madness to a tennis player smashing his racket.

But he argued that the length of the punishment was unfair in comparison
to two similar cases in 2006; one saw Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe escape
punishment for biting West Ham’s Javier Mascherano, while the other saw
Chester’s Sean Hessey receive five matches for biting Stockport’s Liam
Dickinson.

‘I feel the punishment has been against the man rather than the
incident,’ Rodgers said. ‘That is my underlying feeling. There was
euphoria around the time that it happened. Everyone has their opinion.
That’s fine. But when you come away and assess it in the cold light of
day, it was violent conduct.’

Bite club: Suarez sunk his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield

Bite club: Suarez sunk his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield

JAMIE CARRAGHER'S VERDICT

CLICK HERE: Luis was wrong, but before we hound him out let's remember other Liverpool legends were not exactly saints

Again, of course, there is a flaw in Rodgers’ argument. The FA stated
their case that a three-game ban for Suarez was insufficient on the same
day it was revealed Suarez felt three games was ample.

Both sides
stated their positions and it was then left to the independent committee
to make a decision.

The committee can take into consideration past misdemeanours and the
fact Suarez had been banned for 10 games in his Liverpool career, not to
mention his seven-match suspension at Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven’s
Otman Bakkal, would have counted against him.

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

The FA have also not always been successful in arguing for longer
suspensions. In January, an independent panel decided a three-game ban
for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was sufficient after he tangled with a
Swansea ball boy. On that occasion the FA had called for a longer ban,
too.

Pardew baffled by FA action

Alan Pardew has branded the FA’s disciplinary system flawed and wants the organisation’s decisions to be more consistent.

The Newcastle manager hit out after Wigan’s Callum McManaman escaped a ban for his horror challenge on Toon defender Massadio Hadaira but Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was banned for 10 games after biting Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea.

‘I don’t think that’s reasonable,’ Pardew said. ‘That is a flaw in the system. All Premier League managers are looking for that committee to give us the answers as to why. You’re always going to have grey areas when it comes to discipline and fines but at least have some consistency. It’s consistency of punishments we’re looking for.

‘The FA need to answer why it was 10 games for Suarez. It’s interesting why it was.’

Suarez serves the first game of his ban when Liverpool play at Newcastle on Saturday.

Liverpool have promised to stand by Suarez, regardless of whether he
appeals, but they are aware his ban could be increased at a new hearing.
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann said yesterday Suarez should
‘accept it and get on with it’.

Rodgers, in a club suit at the Melwood training ground rather than his
customary tracksuit, has spoken several times with Suarez and his agent,
Pere Guardiola, in recent days. There will be more discussions and
Suarez will train as normal. But Rodgers admitted the club’s greatest
asset may consider whether he wants to continue playing in England.

‘This is a guy who I see on a daily basis trying very hard,’ said
Rodgers. ‘His passions in life are his family and Liverpool Football
Club. It is part of his make-up, you can’t change that. But he is trying
to adapt the traits he has grown up with to the culture here.

‘Each time he makes a step forward we beat him with a stick and beat him
down. I can understand if he felt like that in a moment of reflection.

‘Am I worried he will knock on my door I am not thinking about that. I
can guide him, like I’ve done this year, and will tell him when he’s
done wrong. We will plan for the future with Luis. There is no other
thought. Luis is very much a player I believe will be here.’

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with
Suarez but Rodgers added: ‘I’ve had a lot of discussions with Pere
Guardiola that have been very strong. They are very happy with what the
club has done, not only to protect the player but to support him.

‘The objective is to make sure it doesn’t happen again and that is at the forefront of our minds.’

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

VIDEO Liverpool's Managing Director on Suarez controversy

Liverpool to stand by Suarez

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Look, ref: Ivanovic shows his arm to referee Kevin Friend following the biting incident at Anfield yesterday

Look, ref: Ivanovic shows his arm to referee Kevin Friend following the biting incident at Anfield yesterday

Luis Suarez appears to bite Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic

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Previous: Suarez bites Otman Bakkal of PSV while playing for Ajax

Previous: Suarez bites Otman Bakkal of PSV while playing for Ajax

Repeat The PSV star was as perplexed as Ivanovic by Suarez's behaviour

Repeat The PSV star was as perplexed as Ivanovic by Suarez's behaviour

It's not the first time Suarez has used his teeth

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OTHER SUAREZ CONTROVERSIES

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is back in the spotlight after appearing to bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm during the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield, going on to score a late equaliser.

Here are some of the previous controversies surrounding the Uruguayan forward.

February 2007: Suarez made his international debut for Uruguay against Colombia but was sent off in the final minutes after being shown a second yellow card for dissent.

November 2007: Joined Ajax from Uruguayan side Nacional but he was later suspended by the Dutch giants after a half-time dressing-room altercation with team-mate Albert Luque.

July 2010: During the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, Suarez prevented Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the final minute with a deliberate handball on the line and was subsequently sent off. A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.

November 2010: Suarez was handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA and fined by his club for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match.

October 2011: Following his move to Liverpool in January 2011, he was involved in a tackle with Everton's Jack Rodwell and goes down with apparent minimal contact. Rodwell was then sent off.

October 2011: Suarez was alleged to have racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra during a Premier League match. Suarez was later found guilty by an independent regulatory commission and banned for eight matches and fined 40,000.

December 2011: Was seen making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans. At this time he had already been charged by the Football Association over the racism incident, although not yet punished, but was handed a further one-match ban for the gesture.

February 2012: United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, but more controversy blew up as Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand before kick-off.

October 2012: Celebrated a goal against Everton by diving in front of Toffees boss David Moyes who had earlier claimed that 'divers' such as Suarez were putting fans off the English game.

January 2013: Handles the ball prior to scoring Liverpool's winner in the FA Cup third round tie at Mansfield.

April 2013: Bites Branislav Ivanovic on the arm but
escapes punishment on the pitch as the referee fails to see it, and
scores Liverpool's equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time as they
draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Anfield. Fined by club the following day and
charged with violent conduct by the FA. Subsequently handed a 10-match
ban by an independent regulatory commission.

Robin van Persie signs for BT Sport

Van Persie joins BT Sport's dream team! United striker to appear alongside Bale in ambitious broadcaster's ad campaign

By
Brian Lee

PUBLISHED:

10:54 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 26 April 2013

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BT SPORT LOGO

BT Sport's list of big-name signings expanded again today as they added Manchester United striker Robin van Persie to their star-studded line-up.

The broadcaster, who will air 38 Premier League games next season, confirmed the news on Twitter that Van Persie will appear alongside Gareth Bale in ad campaigns for their coverage.

Van Persie leads the Premier League scoring charts this season with 24 goals to his name, one more than Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, and the Dutchman's hat-trick against Aston Villa on Monday night sealed United's 20th top-flight title.

BT have also snapped up Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Scroll down for video

Smashing signing: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will appear on BT Sport's ad campaigns

Smashing signing: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will appear on BT Sport's ad campaigns

Dream team: Van Persie joins Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on BT's list of stars

Dream team: Van Persie joins Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on BT's list of stars

Great news! BT Sport confirmed Van Persie's signing on Twitter

Great news! BT Sport confirmed Van Persie's signing on Twitter

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who signed for the Gunners from Southampton in 2011
and has 10 England caps, will also become a BT Ambassador for the next
three years.

The 19-year-old winger said: 'I am very pleased to be named as a BT
Ambassador and to feature in the adverts and as a guest for BT Sport.

'As a young player, I hope I can bring some real insight into the Premier League, as part of the BT Sport team.'

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: 'We are thrilled that Alex has
agreed to sign up for BT Sport. Alex is emerging as an international
star, having broken into the senior team aged just 18.

'His hard work and dedication to improvement has already taken him to
great heights and serves as an inspiration to young football fans that
if you are good enough, you are old enough.'

Regular guest: Arsenal youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain will be appearing on BT Sport next season

Regular guest: Arsenal youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain will be appearing on BT Sport next season

VIDEO: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins BT Sport

As well as the rights to show 38 live games a season from the Barclays
Premier League, including 18 of the top picks, BT Sport has also secured
the rights to live top-tier matches from Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in
France, Brasileiro in Brazil and Major League Soccer in the USA.

And BT’s acquisition of ESPN’s TV channels business in the UK and
Ireland will bring the rights to show live games for the FA Cup,
Scottish Premier League, Europa League and the German Bundesliga.

BT Sport will also show up to 69 live rugby union games a season from the Aviva Premiership.

In
addition, BT has signed a deal with the Women’s Tennis Association
(WTA) to show up to 800 hours of live tennis, including the TEB BNP
Paribas WTA Championships.

I'm in: Spurs winger Bale has already signed for BT Sport ahead of their Premier League coverage

I'm in: Spurs winger Bale has already signed for BT Sport ahead of their Premier League coverage

And... action: Bale films an advert for BT Sport

And… action: Bale films an advert for BT Sport

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan presented with cake to celebrate 100th goal

Icing on the cake! Nolan celebrates 100th goal with treat baked by kit man's sister

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:10 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Kevin Nolan notched up his 100th career goal last Saturday – and what better way for the West Ham captain to celebrate than tucking into some cake.

The 30-year-old midfielder scored in the hammers' 2-0 victory over Wigan at Upton Park to hit the century mark.

Landmark: Nolan was presented with a cake to celebrate scoring his 100th career goal

Landmark: Nolan was presented with a cake to celebrate scoring his 100th career goal

And yesterday he was presented with a cake baked by the sister of kit man James Saban to mark his achievement.

Nolan's 100th goal came almost 12 and a half years after his first for Bolton Wanderers in a 4-1 win over Crewe Alexandra in December 2000.

Let's celebrate: Nolan hit the century mark with his goal in West Ham's 2-0 win over Wigan last Saturday

Let's celebrate: Nolan hit the century mark with his goal in West Ham's 2-0 win over Wigan last Saturday

Anthony Fry appointed the new chairman of the Premier League

Fry gets top job at Premier League: Dairy Crest boss to replace Richards as chairman

Olympics vice-chairman who is a director at Tottenham.

Champions: Manchester United wrapped up the Premier League title on Monday against Aston Villa

Champions: Manchester United wrapped up the Premier League title on Monday against Aston Villa

Instead, the nominations committee have
chosen in Fry, who is also chairman of Dairy Crest and the Cala Group, a
person who has no formal connection with football.

Buck added: 'There were a number of outstanding candidates, any of whom would have made a fine Premier League chairman, but in Anthony Fry we have appointed an individual with the correct blend of experience, skills, attitude and demeanour to represent the best interests of the Premier League.

Moving on: Sir Dave Richards will step down in June

Moving on: Sir Dave Richards will step down in June

WHO IS HE

Fry is currently Chairman of the Finance Committee of the BBC Trust and has enjoyed a distinguished career. He has specialised in the media industry and has held numerous Chairmanships and Board positions across a range of business, public, charitable and academic bodies.

'Anthony's CV speaks for itself, but
we were particularly impressed by his aptitude for and understanding of
the role, as well as believing his style to be particularly well-suited
to developing effective working relationships with both the member clubs
and the executive of the Premier League.'

Fry himself said: 'The opportunity to
become chairman of the Premier League is one that appealed hugely to me
for obvious reasons.
'I have a deep-seated and long-held passion for sport and believe the
skills and attributes I have developed throughout all aspects of my
career will serve both the Premier League clubs and the executive
extremely well.

'The league is one of the country's
great success stories of recent times having overseen a period of rising
playing standards, substantial investment in infrastructure and
development, significant growth in attendances and viewing figures as
well as the marked commercial success that has benefited the English
game as a whole.'

Premier League team news – April 27-29

All the Premier League team news ahead of the weekend

PUBLISHED:

07:16 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Sportsmail brings you the latest squad news on every Premier League team as it breaks throughout Friday.

Simply click on your team (when it appears in blue) in the fixture list below to find out who is injured and who is back in action…

Premier League team news: Everything you need to know

SATURDAY

Manchester City v West Ham (12.45pm)

Everton v Fulham (3pm)

Southampton v West Brom (3pm)

Stoke City v Norwich City (3pm)

Wigan v Tottenham (3pm)

Newcastle United v Liverpool (5.30pm)

SUNDAY

Reading v QPR (1.30pm)

Chelsea v Swansea (3pm)

Arsenal v Manchester United (4pm)

MONDAY

Aston Villa v Sunderland (8pm)

Lennox Lewis to train with David Price for Tony Thompson rematch

Price calls on heavyweight legend Lewis to join him on road to redemption

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:17 GMT, 26 April 2013

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David Price has teamed up with former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis as he bids to get his career back on track following defeat to Tony Thompson.

Price, 29, was stunned by the veteran American in Liverpool in February, suffering his first professional defeat by way of a second-round knockout.

And he has sought the advice of Lewis who rebuilt his own career following defeats to first Oliver McCall and then Hasim Rahman.

Blow: David Price lost to Tony Thompson in February but has the chance for revenge in July

Blow: David Price lost to Tony Thompson in February but has the chance for revenge in July

Price starts out on the road to redemption in Canada next week when he will train under the watchful eye of Lewis ahead of his rematch with Thompson at the Liverpool Echo Arena on July 6.

'This is a fantastic opportunity to be able to work with one of the
greatest heavyweights of all time and I'm sure his knowledge will prove
to be invaluable,' Price said.

Comeback: Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman but avenged both losses

Comeback: Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman but avenged both losses

Lennox Lewis (R) is counted out after being knocked out by little-known challenger Hasim Rahman

Lewis has been retired for almost 10 years, bowing out on a high with victory over Vitali Klitschko.

He avenged both defeats on his record and was also successful against the likes of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

'David is a dedicated fighter,; he said. 'He takes his training seriously and is single minded in wanting to avenge that defeat and as a fighter I understand that and want to help him towards his goal.'

Lennox Lewis

Lennox Lewis

Main man: Lewis was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, winning 41 of his 44 contests

Arsene Wenger tells Arsenal fans to respect Robin van Persie

Show some respect! Wenger tells Arsenal not to boo Van Persie on Emirates return

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

08:43 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:05 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Arsene Wenger has demanded Arsenal supporters respect Robin van Persie when the former captain returns to the Emirates.

Wenger sold Van Persie to United for 24mllion last summer and the Dutchman went on to win the Premier League title at Old Trafford.

And ahead of his first return to the North London club, Wenger has pleaded with the Emirates fans to be respectful.

Show some respect: Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal fans not to boo Van Persie

Show some respect: Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal fans not to boo Van Persie

He said: 'I can only reiterate I want the
player to be respected. I've said that for every player who has left,
even players who have left in more controversy than RVP.

'RVP has a massive talent an is a
world class player. Fantastic technique and has plenty of experience.
He's played in a World Cup final.

'You don't focus on what we've lost.
We just want to get round it. We always miss a big player. It took us a
while to get round it, but we've scored a similar number if goals this
season.

'It's always difficult to lose big players

Wenger confirmed that the Arsenal players will give the United players a guard of honour ahead of kick off and says he hopes it will spur his side on to challenge for the title next season.

He added: 'They have been remarkable, especially at home. They've won it in a convincing way.

'What we know is that we will need a great performance to beat Manchester United. That's what we will focus on.

'I have a respectful relationship with Sir Alex. We spoke personally about RVP, that's the only way the deal could be done.

I'm French, but I want the English tradition to be respected. I hope we can have a guard of honour next year.

'We can only focus in out own performance. We are on a good run'

As for the remainder of Arsenal's season, Wenger says the Gunners must focus on making the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

He added: 'We can only focus in out own performance. We are on a good run.

'I'm confident we will make top four. But we need total focus and willingness to do that. We have no room to drop points.'

On the subject of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's 10-game ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, Wenger believes the Uruguayan's previous indiscretions worked against him.

He added: 'What has gone against Suarez is his history. That's the only explanation I can find for the severity of the punishment.'

Sam Allardyce reveals how he once missed out on Robert Lewandowski

Big Sam: How I missed out on Champions League hotshot Lewandowski

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

08:25 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed how he missed out on signing Robert Lewandowski – during his time in charge at Blackburn.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was set to hold talks with Rovers in 2010 as he looked for a move from Polish club Lech Poznan.

But the cash-strapped Blackburn board struggled to find the money and the Iceland volcanic ash cloud put the final nail in the coffin when Lewandowski's flight to England was cancelled.

Dortmund stepped in to secure a deal for a fee reported to be around 4.5million euros and the rest is now history.

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

Allardyce told Sky Sports: 'It's true. He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

'My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

'I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him.

'I think his agent said he couldn't come over because of the ash cloud, yes. He's probably worth 40 million euros now.'

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Allardyce is now left to rue the missed opportunity to sign the Pole who scored four goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I think about it every time I see him play.

'He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.

'The level he is playing at now is unbelievable, not just his scoring ability but his ability to retain possession.

'There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well but we had the edge over everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.

'He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn't happen.'

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

No Tiger Woods but alligators disrupt Zurich Classic

VIDEO: No Tiger but the alligators on the fairways are a hazard for Rose and Bubba

PUBLISHED:

00:48 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 26 April 2013

Ricky Barnes made the early running with an eight-under-par 64 in New Orleans despite the local alligators briefly holding up play in the opening round.

Boo Weekley came close, carding three birdies on his last five holes to open with a bogey-free 65. He was matched late in the afternoon by Lucas Glover, who had six birdies on the front nine (his second nine) en route to a 65 of his own. D.A. Points and rookie Morgan Hoffmann were another shot back after matching 66s.

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What a hazard: An alligator as it crosses the course during the first round

What a hazard: An alligator on the course during the first round at the Zurich classic

What a hazard: An alligator as it crosses the course during the first round

No fear: An alligator crosses through a sand trap on the 14th hole as golfers and caddies walk by

Sand trap: An alligator crosses the 14th hole as golfers and caddies walk by

Zurich Classic

Uninvited guest: The alligator crosses the 14th fairway during the first round of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic golf tournament

Capturing the moment: A caddie takes a photo as an alligator rests while crossing the 14th fairway

Capturing the moment: A caddie takes a photo as an alligator rests while crossing the 14th fairway

Minding his own business: A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap

Minding his own business: A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap

VIDEO: Alligator crosses fairway at the Zurich Classic

Gator on the green! Three-legged alligator gatecrashes PGA Tour…

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Another 10 golfers checked in at 5
under including Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler and 2006 Players champion
Stephen Ames, who needs a win this week to qualify for the 2013 event at
TPC Sawgrass.

A total of 84 players completed the
first round in red numbers. Not among them was 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang, whose three birdies were offset by three bogeys in an opening-round 72.

Guan Tianlang, 14, hits out of the tree line on the first hole

Bright start: Guan Tianlang, 14, carded an opening-round 72

Bubba Watson surveys the course with his caddie Ted Scott

Focused: Bubba Watson surveys the course with his caddie Ted Scott

 Justin Rose of England hits his tee shot on the 8th hole

Colourful: Justin Rose of England hits his tee shot on the 8th hole

Rio Ferdinand voted in to PFA team of the year

Rio makes players' team of the year… so will Roy pick him for England now

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

18:12 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:00 GMT, 26 April 2013

Roy Hodgson will come under renewed pressure to pick Rio Ferdinand for glamour games against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil after his fellow professionals voted him into the PFA team of the year.

Ferdinand, 34, will be named in the side, announced on Sunday, for a fifth time.

England’s manager is determined to pick a strong squad for the friendly against the Republic at Wembley on May 29 and the trip to Rio on June 2.

Selected: Rio Ferdinand is in the PFA players team of the year

Selected: Rio Ferdinand is in the PFA players team of the year

Ferdinand made 21 starts as Manchester United charged towards their 13th Barclays Premier League title.

Hodgson’s assistant, Ray Lewington is being sent to Arsenal on Sunday to watch Ferdinand in action.

Hodgson is already without England captain Steven Gerrard, who needs surgery on his injured shoulder at the end of the season.

Pressure: Roy Hodgson (right) faces a tough decision about whether to call up Rio

Pressure: Roy Hodgson (right) faces a tough decision about whether to call up Rio

Ferdinand pulled out of England’s World Cup qualifiers last month. He said his treatment schedule for his back meant he could not join the squad.

Ferdinand then caused outrage among England fans when he travelled to Doha to be an analyst for Al Jazeera for the 8-0 victory over San Marino.

Incredibly, Hodgson left the door open for Ferdinand to play for England again.

Fancy seeing you here: Rio Ferdinand bumped into former TOWIE star Mark Wright in Alderley Edge

Fancy seeing you here: Rio Ferdinand bumped into former TOWIE star Mark Wright in Alderley Edge

Rio and Wright