Tag Archives: blatter

Michel Platini: A summer World Cup in Qatar is not possible… it has to be staged during the winter

Platini: A summer World Cup in Qatar is
not possible… it HAS to be staged during
the winter

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

19:03 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 20 March 2013

UEFA president Michel Platini has once again stressed his belief that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar must be held during the winter.

Platini echoed comments made by Britain's FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce yesterday that the searing heat in the Asian country will make playing football unbearable.

'In the summer, at 50 degrees, you can not possibly play football in Qatar,' Platini said in an interview with Germany's leading sports magazine Kicker.

Unconvinced: Michel Platini believes the 2022 World Cup cannot be played during the summer

Unconvinced: Michel Platini believes the 2022 World Cup cannot be played during the summer

This is not the first time the former France midfielder has stated his opposition to holding the Qatar tournament in the summer and he is supportive of a winter break for domestic championships.

Platini also responded to FIFA president Sepp Blatter's comments that the decision to stage Euro 2020 across the continent would rip the 'heart and soul' out of the tournament.

European football's governing body announced in December that it had taken the unprecedented step of hosting the event in several cities throughout Europe.

And Platini defended the decision, saying: 'The name European fits better than ever, as the Euros will be held for the first time in Europe.'

'Heart and soul': FIFA chief Sepp Blatter doesn't agree with Platini's plans for the Euros

'Heart and soul': FIFA chief Sepp Blatter doesn't agree with Platini's plans for the Euros

Sepp Blatter blasts UEFA on Euro 2020 that will lack "heart and soul"

Euro 2020 will lack heart and soul… we may as well not call it the Euros! Blatter blasts Platini over plan to host finals in 13 different countries

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

11:41 GMT, 14 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:52 GMT, 14 March 2013

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has denounced Michel Platini’s plans to stage the 2020 European Championship across the entire continent and called on UEFA to change the name of the tournament.

Euro 2020 will be held in 13 cities across the continent with the semi-finals and final being played in the same stadium, UEFA announced in January.

But Blatter isn’t impressed with the plans and believes one host country is the best way to deliver
the event.

Wrong: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised Michel Platini's plans to use more than one country for the 2020 European Championship

Wrong: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised Michel Platini's plans to use more than one country for the 2020 European Championship

Euro 2020 details so far

12 cities will host three group stage matches and one knockout round

One stadium will host the semi-finals and final

There will only be one venue per country

In the frame to host the final are Wembley, the Olympic Stadium in Istanbul and the Allianz Arena

He told Kicker magazine: ‘A tournament should be played in one country. That is how you create identity and euphoria.

‘They have fragmented the 2020 tournament. So it is not a European Championship any more. It has to have a different name.’

‘I do not know what name. Such a Euro lacks heart and soul.’

UEFA said that 12 cities would be
awarded a package of three group games plus one knockout-stage game,
either from the round-of-16 or quarter-finals.

A
special 13th package would be awarded, consisting of the two
semi-finals and final with UEFA eager to split the costs for the bigger
tournament and celebrate its 60th anniversary across Europe.

The Swiss sports administrator also said
he planned to end his stint at the top of the world soccer’s governing
body in 2015 if FIFA was strong and stable.

Coming home: Wembley is one of the favourites to host the final after the FA said they would bid

Coming home: Wembley is one of the favourites to host the final after the FA said they would bid

First class: The Allianz Arena in Munich hosted the Champions League final last season

First class: The Allianz Arena in Munich hosted the Champions League final last season

Close contest: The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is also thought to be in with a chance

Close contest: The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is also thought to be in with a chance

Blatter, who took over the FIFA presidency in 1998, added: ‘I want to push through the FIFA reforms at our congress in Mauritius in May, then we go to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014 and after that everything is open.

‘When it is secured that FIFA will
continue to be led like that, that it will remain global and the pyramid
will not collapse then I will gladly hand over the sceptre to a new
president.'

UEFA chief Michel Platini is seen as a possible successor to Blatter.

‘I do not know if he wants to,’ said Blatter. ‘He has an idea about the future of FIFA which he has to explain to the continents at some point. But he has not decided yet.’

On the rocks: Blatter and Michel Platini have usually had an amicable relationship

On the rocks: Blatter and Michel Platini have usually had an amicable relationship

Sepp Blatter claims racism won"t be solved by running away like Kevin-Price Boateng and AC Milan

Racism will not be solved by 'running away' like Boateng and Milan, claims Blatter

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

12:23 GMT, 10 January 2013

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UPDATED:

12:35 GMT, 10 January 2013

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged players not to leave the pitch in protest if they are subjected to racist abuse, saying 'running away' is not a long-term solution to stopping discrimination.

It follows the actions of AC Milan player Kevin-Price Boateng, who led his teammates off the field after being abused during a friendly with Italian lower league club Pro Patria last week.

Boateng was highly praised for his protest, including by Blatter, but the football chief warned that a repeat in the future would not make the problem go away.

Not a solution: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Kevin-Prince Boateng's protest (below) was not the right way to stamp racism out of the game

Not a solution: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Kevin-Prince Boateng's protest (below) was not the right way to stamp racism out of the game

Protest: Kevin-Prince Boateng leads his AC Milan teammates from the field after being subjected to racist abuse

'If you remember the Boateng problem and him running away, I made a comment on that and I still have the same feeling – it was good what he has done in order to give this impact by saying: “Listen – look at what has happened,” Blatter told Sky Sports News.

'But it can't be the solution because you can never solve any problem in your life – in your private life, in your public life, wherever – by running away.

'This is now to day “Listen, if you don't take care of our sport, we will do it.” It was a warning, but it can't be the solution.'

Protest: Boateng wears an

Protest: Boateng wears an “AC Milan against racism” t-shirt before the Serie A match with Siena last weekend

Blatter went on to make some vague promises about calling a meeting to discuss the problem of racism in the game.

He said: 'What we shall do now – and I am thinking about this – we shall make a kind of summit or discussion with all the actors concerning discrimination and racism.

'There must be a lot of solidarity and understanding that we have to eradicate it. But it can only be done if all the actors are participating, and actors are also the spectators.'

The full interview with Sepp Blatter will be shown on Sky Sports News HD Special Report at 7.30pm on Monday

Mohamed Bin Hamann resigns as FIFA issue life ban

Bin Hamann resigns from all positions in football as FIFA issue new life ban to disgraced former Blatter rival

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 17 December 2012

FIFA has imposed another life ban on former presidential challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam, who has resigned from all his positions in football.

The world governing body said the 63-year-old Qatari had been banned for life by FIFA's new adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee.

The ban is not in connection with allegations of bribery while campaigning against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency but for 'conflicts of interest' while president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Banned for life: Bin Hammam was the president of the Asian federation

Banned for life: Bin Hammam was the president of the Asian federation

FIFA said in a statement: 'Mr Mohamed Bin Hammam, FIFA executive committee member and AFC president, has resigned from all his positions in football with immediate effect and will never be active in organised football again.

'This results from a resignation letter of Mr Bin Hammam addressed to FIFA and AFC dated December 15, 2012.

'In view of the fact that under the new FIFA code of ethics, the FIFA ethics committee remains competent to render a decision even if a person resigns, the adjudicatory chamber decided to ban Mohamed Bin Hammam from all football-related activity for life.

Rival: Blatter (centre) was present at the Club World Cup final on Sunday

Rival: Blatter (centre) was present at the Club World Cup final on Sunday

'This life ban is based on the final report of Michael J Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee.

'That report showed repeated violations of Article 19 (conflict of interest) of the FIFA code of ethics, edition 2012, of Mohamed Bin Hammam during his terms as AFC president and as member of the FIFA executive committee in the years 2008 to 2011, which justified a lifelong ban from all football-related activity.'

West Brom target NextGen creator – Charles Sale

NextGen creator linked with Albion as West Brom seek to replace Ashworth

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UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 3 December 2012

Premier League high-flyers West Bromwich Albion are looking at League One club Brentford for their next technical director to replace the FA-bound Dan Ashworth.

Albion want to give the post to highly rated Mark Warburton, who become sporting director at Brentford in 2011. He is understood to be making his mind up about the offer this week.

Warburton, a former City trader and academy manager at Watford, is best known for being the co-founder of the NextGen series, a burgeoning European tournament for Under 19s heralded as the Champions League for youngsters.

Target: Brentford's Mark Warburton is wanted by West Brom

Target: Brentford's Mark Warburton is wanted by West Brom

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And it will be Warburton’s vision for young players that will have attracted Albion, who have lost Roy Hodgson and Ashworth to the FA in the last year.

Albion chiefs have indicated that they would want their appointment to spend some time working alongside Ashworth before he is released from a contract that runs until next July.

Girl power

Gabby Logan will give girl power within BBC Sport another boost when she replaces John Inverdale as presenter of the BBC’s athletics coverage next year. Logan hosted a couple of Diamond League meetings for the BBC last summer and she impressed enough to be given the position full-time. Ambitious Logan’s bargaining position within the Corporation was helped by her having turned down an approach by BT Sport to anchor their Premiership rugby programmes.

In the running: Jason Leonard

In the running: Jason Leonard

RFU battle

It wouldn’t be Twickenham without an internal battle looming even in the euphoric aftermath of England’s trouncing of New Zealand.

The RFU’s nominations panel have recommended old-school board member John Spencer to be the next vice-president. He would then progress to take over the presidency for the flagship 2015-16 season that includes the next World Cup in England.

However, there is plenty of RFU council support for Jason Leonard, England’s most-capped international, to be appointed for such a showcase year. Leonard has indicated he will stand for election.

Boris on his own

London’s grandstanding mayor, Boris Johnson, was the only dignitary involved in the Rugby World Cup draw yesterday not to take advantage of the huge autocue screen at the Tate Modern venue. Johnson would not have taken much notice of any official International Rugby Board text in any case as he kept referring to the 2015 RWC being in London, rather than England.

New Stratford fears

The bungling over the Olympic Stadium legacy looks likely to cost the troubled venue the chance to be named as one of the 12 stadiums for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

England and Wales were drawn in the same group and Stratford would be an ideal neutral venue for the group game between them. Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium and Wembley would also all be keen to host the match.

The London Legacy Development Corporation are expected to announce West Ham as their preferred bidders on Wednesday. But England Rugby 2015 and the International Rugby Board have serious reservations about the stadium being included in the final World Cup list in March because of myriad issues surrounding the development of the 500million track-and-field arena as a venue for other sports.

No go: The Olympic Stadium is unlikely to be used for the World Cup

No go: The Olympic Stadium is unlikely to be used for the World Cup

The IRB delayed the long-list announcement by a few months in the hope that the Olympic Stadium would be ready in time for the rugby showcase. Wembley has already hosted an England rugby international against Wales, albeit at the old stadium in 1999.

Football in the shade

England’s rugby union and rugby league sides have so far made more use of the FA’s 100m National Football Centre at St George’s Park than the team for which it was intended. Stuart Lancaster’s union squad, who spent a week in Burton before the autumn internationals, are back for another stay during the Six Nations. Roy Hodgson’s footballers have had just two days there since the centre opened and will have a similarly brief visit before February’s friendly international against Brazil.

UEFA president Michel Platini considering goal-line technology

Platini in video technology U-turn as UEFA chief admits he's considering replays to rule on offside decisions

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UPDATED:

16:03 GMT, 28 November 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini has admitted he is considering the use of video replays to help referees rule on offside decisions for the first time.

It marks a dramatic turnaround from the head of European football, who has long been opposed to the use of goal-line technology and video in football to help referees make correct decisions, arguing they are unnecessary and slow the game down.

In fact, it was believed that even if English clubs had goal-line technology in place, he would insist that any clubs playing in the Champions League and Europa League turn OFF the hi-tech systems for those games.

Centre of attention: Platini is considering the use of video replays

Centre of attention: Platini is considering the use of video replays

Asked if he had changed his mind on the use of video by French newspaper Ouest France, Platini said: 'There is a complicated thing for which we might, and I say might, need video, it's offside. Because it is very difficult for the referees to rule on that.'

Since the European Championships in the summer, FIFA have jumped ahead of UEFA in their openness to using technology.

For FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the final straw came in Donetsk this summer, when it was not spotted by the officials that a shot from Ukraine forward Marko Devic had crossed the line before it was hooked away by John Terry.

Replays have established Devic had been offside earlier in the move, and that had not been spotted either. Yet at the time Platini uses that incident to underline why he does not want technology in the game.

Speaking in June Platini said: 'The goal between England and Ukraine: it was a goal. It was a mistake from the referee. But there was an offside before then.

'If the officials had given offside there wouldn't have been a goal. So why don't we have technology for offside decisions as well Where does it stop' 'It's not goal-line technology in itself,' said Platini.

'I am against technology coming into force to actually make decisions.

'It invades every single area. If tomorrow someone handballs it on the line and the referee doesn't see it, what then

'We can't just have goal-line technology. We also need sensors to see if someone has handballed it.

'We need cameras to see if it should be a goal or not.' During the summer it seemed there was even the possibility that Platini might look to prevent technology being used in UEFA's flagship tournaments even if FIFA decide to pursue the venture.

'We are going to see if this is suggested and proposed to all federations,' he said. 'The national federations will have then have the chance to decide whether they want goal-line technology.

'Mr Blatter knows what I think of this and I know his thoughts on the issue.'

Sepp Blatter hands FA 314,000 cheque for St George"s Park

Friends again After World Cup 2018 snub, Blatter hands FA 314k cheque for St George's Park

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UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 21 November 2012

The relationships between FIFA and the FA, which reached an all-time low after the 2018 World Cup vote debacle, have now improved to the extent that Zurich have awarded 314,000 Goal project funding to St George's Park.

The money will be spent on further developing the state-of-the-art sports science and medical facilities at the National Football Centre outside Burton, which was visited by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Blatter, who was greeted at the entrance by FA chairman David Bernstein with a warm embrace, said: 'FIFA is committed to the development of football across the world and the Goal projects are crucial in achieving this mission.

Take Blatt: FIFA have handed a cheque to the FA for St George's Park

Take Blatt: FIFA have handed a cheque to the FA for St George's Park

'Protecting the health of the players is one of our key objectives and I am therefore very pleased that this project will be dedicated to a sports science and medical centre at such an emblematic location as St George’s Park.'

Bernstein, who made his solo stance against Blatter's unopposed re-election at the FIFA Congress in 2011 following the World Cup vote fall-out, said: 'This is fantastic news and reflects FIFA’s commitments to raising standards within the game around the world and to our improving relationships with FIFA.

'I'd like to thank our colleagues at FIFA for their support of St George's Park as well as those who continue to work so hard on the project here in England.'

The rebuilt partnership between Zurich and Wembley was further strengthened through a Memorandum of Understanding signed jointly by Blatter and Bernstein.

Great expectations: The new facility at Burton is the future English football

Great expectations: The new facility at Burton is the future English football

This will see the FA share their expertise in various football disciplines, including sports medicine, stadium safety, and women’s football with developing nations.

And SGP will play host to nine football coaches from around the world next month as part of the strategy to re-engage with federations. This initiative will be paid through the FA's new international bursary scheme.

The Goal programme is FIFA's financial assistance programme which was launched in 1999.

Sweden v England: Roy Hodgson greeted by friendly faces – Michael Walker

Friendly faces greet Hodgson 'homecoming' as 'big-draw' England prepare for Sweden

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UPDATED:

23:28 GMT, 13 November 2012

In the sports section of Sweden's Expressen newspaper on Tuesday, Watford were tipped to beat Wolves at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Expressen also reckon Blackpool will win at Bristol City and, more boldly, Chelsea will leave West Bromwich with three points.

As for Sverige-England tonight, that's marked down for a draw.

Honour: England have been invited by Sweden to open their newly-built Friends Arena

Honour: England have been invited by Sweden to open their newly-built Friends Arena

Honour: England have been invited by Sweden to open their newly-built Friends Arena

The league tables of all four English divisions were printed. It was a reminder of the pull English football has in Scandinavia and, in part, is an explanation why, when Sweden planned to open their 240million Friends Arena – Friends being a charity of Swedbank – they chose to invite England.

The 'motherland of football', as Sepp Blatter calls England, may not be conscious of it on a daily basis, but England are still a big draw on the world stage.

Sweden's previous national stadium in Stockholm, Rasunda, has been closed by Brazil. Sweden share a bond with Brazil since the 1958 World Cup final held here. It is a compliment to England that they have been asked to open this stadium.

All smiles: Hodgson spoke of the great honour of his England side being invited to play in Sweden

All smiles: Hodgson spoke of the great honour of his England side being invited to play in Sweden

It was England, in 1937, who opened the Rasunda. So it is an occasion in Stockholm and, while the customary grumbles about international friendlies have been heard, this is also Roy Hodgson's last match of his first half-year in charge and his last for three months.

Hodgson marched into the ground last night and spoke of the 'great honour' of the invitation. Lennart Johansson, the 83-year-old former head of UEFA, had come to sit in the front row to see the England manager. There was a rousing 'Hello, Len!' from Hodgson.

After the press conference Steven Gerrard pointedly made his way to shake Johansson's hand.

'Hello, Len': Hodgson greets the former head of UEFA Lennart Johansson, who came to see the England boss

'Hello, Len': Hodgson greets the former head of UEFA Lennart Johansson, who came to see the England boss

Hodgson talked of the 'very interesting squad' he has brought with him, adding all were 'very keen and anxious to play in this game'.

He was clearly enthused about being here. Others are less so. The fixture might have created more of a tingle at home, of course, had the two countries not met in Kiev in June.

But that was the last instalment of a relationship that dates back to 1923 and tonight matters to Sweden. That in itself should make this more competitive than some friendlies.

Former Villain: Sweden No 2 Marcus Allback

Former Villain: Sweden No 2 Marcus
Allback

Sweden have the recent memory of their dramatic 4-4 draw in Germany – from 4-0 down. But they would like to beat England.

Because of that, Hodgson said it will be more of a test for the mix of young and old he has brought here.

Another factor that might make this differ from many friendlies is Hodgson. His manner last night was of a man coming home. Hodgson is well liked and respected here, a country he arrived in as a coach in 1976.

As Sweden manager Erik Hamren said: 'He has a good reputation here. I really like him as a coach and a person. He has been really good for Swedish football and is a big name in Sweden, acclaimed by all our coaches. There's big respect for him.'

That feeling is part of a connection that goes back to the beginning. Dig into so many European countries' football history and invariably there is a tale of an English pioneer, frequently coupled with railwaymen.

It was the same here, though the pioneer came later. George Raynor was never properly recognised or utilised in England, but he managed Sweden to the 1948 Olympic title, in London, as well as to the 1958 World Cup when they lost the final to a 17-year-old Pele.

It was a long time before England would allow a foreign manager but when it happened, in 2001, he came from Sweden: Sven Goran Eriksson.

The invention of the Premier League and the Bosman ruling have also meant a flow of Swedes to England. Marcus Allback, Hamren's assistant, played for Aston Villa.

Rather more memorably, so too did Olof Mellberg. There was Freddie Ljungberg at Arsenal, Anders Limpar before him and fleetingly Henrik Larsson at Manchester United post-Celtic.

With so much fuss over Wilfried Zaha's call-up and with Crystal Palace being Hodgson's first club as an aspiring player, there is also Tomas Brolin's short spell at Selhurst Park to remember.

Maybe after tonight, Wilf can expand on that.

Alan Shearer to Ipswich would be a big risk – John Edwards

Chasing Shearer a big risk by Ipswich's mystery man Evans

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 26 October 2012

Whatever convinced Marcus Evans he should venture into football and buy control of his local club Ipswich Town, it was not publicity. In 2006, Money Week reported there were no publicly available photographs of him, and clicking on to the internet confirms as much.

Enter Evans’ name on search engine Google, and, bizarrely an image of FIFA president Sepp Blatter appears alongside his personal details. He is painfully shy of promoting himself, but promotion for his beloved Ipswich, in every sense of the word, is clearly a different matter.

When Paul Jewell paid the price for Ipswich occupying bottom place in the Championship earlier this week, the quest for a replacement threw up a list of predictable candidates and one that may have been less easy to forecast.

Gone: Jewell paid the price for Ipswich's slow start to the season

Gone: Jewell paid the price for Ipswich's slow start to the season

Alongside the likes of Mick McCarthy and Alan Curbishley, Alan Shearer found himself jostling for position at the club that launched his mentor Sir Bobby Robson towards worldwide managerial renown.

It is even being reported he has already been interviewed, in a development that is reflected in betting trends on who might succeed Jewell. The bookmakers are all over sport these days, laying odds on every eventuality, and football management is no exception.

To borrow a phrase from their original sporting pursuit, though, wouldn’t Evans be better embracing the horses for courses philosophy, rather than considering a punt on a big-name personality with precious little managerial experience

History suggests he might, and so does logic, a fundamental tool of the business world that is so rarely applied when high-flying entrepreneurs turn their attention to football.

There may be a superficial appeal to having one of the game’s greats at the helm, but prowess as a player is no guarantee of effectiveness as a manager. The past is littered with examples, from Graeme Souness and Terry Butcher, in their early days, to Chris Waddle and David Platt.

Rock bottom: Ipswich are propping up the Championship table

Rock bottom: Ipswich are propping up the Championship table

When Souness found the going hard, in his first English managerial post at Liverpool, the case for the defence was always based on the premise that he was a winner. As a player, perhaps. Undoubtedly, in fact, given his haul of winner’s medals and thoroughly-merited reputation as one of the game’s most fearsome midfield enforcers.

As Liverpool were finally forced to concede, though, after sacking him in January, 1994, following an ignominious FA Cup defeat by Bristol City, that has no bearing on whether the same applied as a manager.

Butcher was just as forceful a character and equally revered as a player, yet his first stint in management, at Coventry, lasted barely 14 months.

In the running: Shearer

In the running: Shearer

They may be in the doldrums now, but, when former England centre-half Butcher was appointed, Coventry had won the FA Cup three years earlier and finished seventh in the old First Division the previous season.

He was seen as the driving force to take them on to even greater heights, and he has subsequently earned plaudits in humbler surroundings in Scotland. His first managerial experience left its scars, however, and only reinforced the view that giants of the pitch do not always assume the same proportions in a dug-out.

Burnley were similarly seduced by
thoughts of Waddle’s genius with the ball at his feet and assumed he
could weave the same magic with a clipboard in his hand. It lasted one
season. Nottingham Forest were left with plummeting finances and
fortunes after allowing Platt to spend millions in an ill-fated two-year
reign at the City Ground.

Still clubs flirt with the idea of
A-list players moving seamlessly into management. Evans is following
just such a path now, it would seem, by toying with the idea of
appointing Shearer, even though it may fly in the face of reason, in
some quarters.

Playing legend though he was, his managerial CV contains just one entry, a brief spell at Newcastle, where he won just one game out of eight and failed to save them from relegation. Contrast that with McCarthy’s record of steering Sunderland and Wolves to promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Dour, blunt-talking McCarthy is not big box office, though, and that may prove decisive in the final analysis. Evans evidently wants to raise the profile of his club, which is fine – and long as it doesn’t lower their League status in the process.

Andre Villas-Boas: Spirit at Tottenham outshines Chelsea

Spirit at Tottenham outshines Chelsea, says former Blues boss Villas-Boas

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UPDATED:

20:00 GMT, 27 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Andre Villas-Boas has taken a veiled swipe at his former Chelsea players as he insisted the team spirit at his new club Tottenham is incomparable.

The Portuguese head coach cut a relaxed figure on Friday night here in Baltimore, ahead of Tottenham's friendly against Liverpool here, significantly more at ease than during his final days at Stamford Bridge.

Villas-Boas' spell in charge at Chelsea was peppered with clashes with senior players and claims that he had lost the dressing room, so it was significant to hear his pointed views when he was asked about how he had been received by Tottenham's players.

More than a feeling: AVB is feeling the love at Tottenham

More than a feeling: AVB is feeling the love at Tottenham

'It is a question you need to ask the players,' said Villas-Boas, who added there was 'nothing new' to say about Luka Modric's position. 'But from my perspective I have been adapting to them. They are enjoying what they are doing.

'You will get a more specific answer from the players, of course. I think the warmth of the group is excellent to see. It is two different groups reacting differently. We have seen the spirit of this group and it is different from what I had last year.'

After playing Liverpool here, Tottenham head up to New York where they will face the New York Red Bulls and Villas-Boas is hoping that Rafael van der Vaart, who hobbled off with a groin problem in the 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy.

Gareth Bale scored Tottenham's goal in LA but his presence in that match, 24 hours before Team GB began their Olympic campaign, caused a furore, prompting FIFA president Sepp Blatter to wade into the row.

Bale out: There has been much debate over the Spurs winger's inclusion

Bale out: There has been much debate over the Spurs winger's inclusion

That, though, clearly irked Villas-Boas and he expressed his frustration that Blatter felt compelled to comment on Bale's situation, given how disappointed the Welshman felt after injury forced him to withdraw from Stuart Pearce's squad.

'I haven’t been in England to the heat of the response from the fans,’ said Bale. 'I can understand their frustration for missing a player of Gareth’s dimensions involved with Team GB. But everything was done as it should be.

'It was approved by the FA doctors regarding his injury, so for me it is the end of story. I can’t make a comment because he is the FIFA president. But he has decided to speak, maybe not knowing the full extent of the situation. They are unfortunate comments.

'Gareth made his feelings aware (about playing for Team GB) and how disappointed he was when not being called up. For sure he is feeling frustrated that he cannot play.'

New faces: Jan Vertonghen is bedding into the squad on tour in America

New faces: Jan Vertonghen is bedding into the squad on tour in America