Tag Archives: burden

Wesley Sneijder plays down Liverpool move

Sneijder plays down 9.5m move to Liverpool as Inter Milan midfielder eyes January exit

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UPDATED:

14:31 GMT, 31 December 2012

Unsettled Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has moved to dampen speculation linking him with a January move to Liverpool.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Sunday that the Reds had made a 9.5million offer for the Dutchman.

Sneijder has been left feeling isolated at the San Siro after snubbing a suggested annual pay cut of 1.6million and then being dropped from the first-team.

On the move: Inter Milan's Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder is heading for the exit in the January transfer window

On the move: Inter Milan's Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder is heading for the exit in the January transfer window

But he denied there was any foundation in the story linking him to an Anfield switch when asked about it on Monday, telling a press conference: ‘Again, no truth’.

The 28-year old – who has also attracted interest from Manchester United and Tottenham – reacted furiously to Inter’s proposed salary cut and demanded a move, putting the pressure on the Serie A outfit to sell him for close to the same 15million euro fee they paid Real Madrid in 2009.

Red alert: How Sneijder would look in Liverpool coloursRed alert: How Sneijder would look in Liverpool colours

Red alert: How Sneijder would look in Liverpool colours

‘Clearly it’s best for everyone concerned that in January I am transferred,’ he said defiantly. ‘If that doesn’t happen then I will stay. I have a contract with Inter until 2015.’

Manager Andrea Stramaccioni has since dropped Sneijder from the squad over the bitter dispute.

His wage bill is currently 200,000 per week and Inter will be relieved to offload the financial burden. Liverpool’s coffers, however, are unlikely to be able to stretch to such levels.

Talk of a move to Spurs for the Holland international cooled when his agent told Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblad:

‘There is nothing, absolutely nothing true about that.’

United are also thought to be weighing up a January bid for the former Ajax man.

John Terry race trial: Des Kelly – it shouldn"t have come to this

I swear, it should not have come to this

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 13 July 2012

The wrong person was in the dock this week. Much as I distrust what John Terry said, he should not have been standing there. Anton Ferdinand should not have had his character impugned on the witness stand, either.

The only individual that should have faced a legal inquisition this week was the deluded soul high up in the Crown Prosecution Service who looked at the available ‘evidence’ and somehow decided this exhibition of football’s potty-mouthed, dim-witted idiocy was worth dragging into court.

What a disgraceful farce it was. Scanning through each day’s account from Westminster was a sordid, asterisk-strewn game of sweary hangman. It was an embarrassment for the footballers concerned and, moreover, for the game itself.

Not guilty: John Terry was acquitted of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match

Not guilty: John Terry was acquitted of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match

But it was a truly terrible own goal
for the CPS. How did they believe they would get a conviction from the
flimsy evidence they offered up Why wasn’t this entire matter left for
a Football Association inquiry to deal with

When the Crown decided to step in and
take this case out of FA hands, the perfectly legitimate response was to
assume they had additional evidence that would warrant such a
high-profile, public trial.

Surely they had found something other
than the unpleasant YouTube footage showing Terry mouthing abuse The
theory was the CPS had a previously unseen camera angle, a damning
witness statement or a revelation that would tip the burden of proof in
their favour.

But they had nothing beyond the footage we had all seen — and that nobody had heard, apparently.

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Whether you like Terry or not; whether
or not you believe a word he said; whatever your gut reaction is to the
sight of him shooting off his mouth, that footage in itself was never
going to be legally conclusive.

This much was clear from the off.
Terry’s explanation for the outburst was that he had merely been
repeating Ferdinand’s remarks back to him.

Stories originally claimed that sources close to Terry said he called Ferdinand a ‘blind c***’, not black.

In court, Terry argued the words
‘f****** black c***’ were used in sarcasm or a spirit of irony. The true
irony here, of course, being that the word deemed offensive enough to
warrant a court case was the only one that did not require censorship.

But despite the blizzard of asterisks
in the reports, the entire case hinged on an entirely different piece of
punctuation. It all came down to a question mark. Just one.

Terry was brought to court because,
during an angry exchange with Ferdinand, he said: ‘F*** off, f*** off . .
. f****** black c*** . . . f****** k*******’.

Only in Terry’s version there was one
crucial difference. The Chelsea captain claimed he asked a question,
saying: ‘F*** off, f*** off . . . f****** black c*** F******
k*******’.

While it’s hardly Wildean wit, that
question mark altered everything. It suggested he was answering
Ferdinand out of surprise at being accused of uttering a racist remark.

Without that bit of punctuation, Terry
is found guilty, loses whatever he has of his reputation and is branded
a racist. With it, his defence lawyers could trumpet his reputation was
intact. As alibis go it seems feeble. But, vitally, the court could not
prove otherwise.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle said:
‘Weighing all the evidence together, I think it is highly unlikely that
Mr Ferdinand accused Mr Terry on the pitch of calling him a black c***.
However, I accept that it is possible that Mr Terry believed at the
time, and believes now, that such an accusation was made.

‘It is a crucial fact that nobody has given evidence they heard what Mr Terry said or more importantly how he said it.’

So the CPS failed the big question — and countless other questions along the way.

Melee: The scene outside City of Westminster Magistrates' Court was a frantic one as the world's media waited

Melee: The scene outside City of Westminster Magistrates' Court was a frantic one as the world's media waited

For instance, if Ferdinand did not
hear the original racist remark allegedly levelled at him, how could
Terry have repeated it back to him

And how did the word ‘blind’ become ‘black’ in Terry’s alibi

Such lapses made the bigger question even more unpalatable. How much did that circus cost

A top Queen’s Counsel doesn’t raise a
quizzical eyebrow in court for less than 5,000 a day, not once the
whiff of a celebrity case catches the air. Throw in the instructing
solicitors, the hours of preparatory work, the CPS costs, police time,
the investigation that led to charges being made, court overheads, the
ushers, clerks and additional security required and what do we think the
tab is

A quarter of a million quid More And for what Terry can afford his chunk. But you paid the Crown’s slice of the bill.

Racism is never acceptable on a
football field, or in life, but this could have been handled by an FA
hearing in the same way Liverpool’s Luis Suarez’s case was. Sporting
bodies already have codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures. The
courts should allow them to be the first point of call.

For starters, an FA inquiry can rule on the balance of probability and dole out appropriate punishment.

Clash: Terry and Ferdinand had an ugly coming together at Loftus Road in October

Clash: Terry and Ferdinand had an ugly coming together at Loftus Road in October

A court requires a more stringent
burden of proof. So there is still a chance any FA inquiry might even
find Terry guilty, although it is unlikely.

And surely a magistrates’ court has
better uses than settling a row between two men busy accusing one
another of having bad breath or sleeping with a team-mate’s wife, with
an allegation of a racial slur chucked in

This was simply humiliating for all
concerned. Ferdinand was branded ‘too unsophisticated’ by his own legal
team to have initiated the row. While Terry seemed just as
intellectually challenged when he was asked to confirm he had been sent
off four times in his career.

‘Can you say, please, four times’ asked his QC George Carter-Stephenson.

‘Please, please, please, please,’ Terry responded, to sniggering from the court.

If British justice is about which
overpaid, under-educated footballer called the other nasty names first;
if British justice is about Ashley Cole flying in to provide a
‘character reference’ without the entire courtroom dissolving into fits
of laughter . . .

If British justice is about all of
this, then, ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have arrived in Hell and
our collective handcart has just burst into flames. What’s more, it’s
gone up with our money in it, too.

Sir Steve is my pick for Olympic ignition

My candidate to light the Olympic flame It’s simple. I’d ask a parade of British Olympian medal-winners to pass the torch along the prestigious line, made up of the likes of Denise Lewis, Mary Peters, Duncan Goodhew, Daley Thompson, Allan Wells, Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Matthew Pinsent and others, to showcase our Olympic heritage to the world.

He's got the spark: Sir Steve Redgrave, a five-time Olympic champion, gets my vote to light the flame

He's got the spark: Sir Steve Redgrave, a five-time Olympic champion, gets my vote to light the flame

Then, regardless of the fact he
finished narrowly outside a podium place at the 1952 Games, I’d have Sir
Roger Bannister in penultimate place. The first man to break the
four-minute mile deserves his bow.

And, in this masterplan, Sir Roger
would then pass the torch to Sir Steven Redgrave for our great Olympian
to have the honour of opening the 2012 London Games.

No kowtowing to empty cult of celebrity there. No ‘we are the world’ stuff, with foreign stars in the mix.

Sir Steven is Great, he is British,
and he is the pre-eminent Olympian of this nation’s times. There is no
better candidate. In fact, it is the easiest decision of the entire
Games — and I expect to see that confirmed on July 27th.

King Khan holds court of troublesome two

Amir Khan is a champion. He studies his craft, he conducts himself admirably in public and with the media, he is a man who does his sport proud.

That is why I will be watching him fight for the WBA and WBC light-welterweight belts against Danny Garcia in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Farce, not fight: David Haye and Dereck Chisora are doing damage to British boxing, not boosting it

Farce, not fight: David Haye and Dereck Chisora are doing damage to British boxing, not boosting it

There is a dog fight between David Haye and Dereck Chisora earlier in London. The job description says I might have to pay attention, but I’ll probably just listen on the radio.

Mainly because I’d hate to think
these two oafs will profit directly from me for rolling around like
drunks in a car park on that infamous night in Munich.

FIFA are scum on the run

FIFA are a scumbag organisation that should have been torn to shreds decades ago. This week, the shameful shower supposedly in charge of world football admitted they had been riddled with corruption for years.

Eyes off the ball: Yet more allegations were thrown at FIFA this week, but it seems little will be done

Eyes off the ball: Yet more allegations were thrown at FIFA this week, but it seems little will be done

After years of obfuscation and
denial, their own report confirmed that ex-FIFA president Joao
Havelange, his former son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, who was the head of
Brazilian football, and others took 80million in bribes.

What’s more, current FIFA president
Sepp Blatter knew about Havelange’s kickbacks and did nothing – other
than cover up the scandal. Yet the phony Blatter is still in the job.
And the saddest aspect of all is that none of us is remotely surprised.

Out of range

Glasgow Rangers will start the season in Scotland’s Division Three. It is the right decision — any sanction more lenient would have effectively condoned the financial skulduggery that propped up the Ibrox empire for years.

However, with no Old Firm fixtures
for at least three seasons and a TV deal that is sure to collapse, a
number of SPL clubs will be unable to cover their costs and may go to
the wall.

Morally, the chairmen had no choice; I commend their bravery. But it still feels like a circular firing squad.

Crushed: Rangers will have to restart life in Scotland's lowest professional division

Crushed: Rangers will have to restart life in Scotland's lowest professional division

Happy Hammers

Good ol' West Ham. It’s the time of year when the east Londoners come out with their wish-list and then leak it to the media just as the season-ticket sales need a boost.

This week’s transfer mirage was Andy Carroll, with reports in many newspapers suggesting the Hammers would like to sign the England centre forward or take him on loan.

If they were genuinely trying to sign Carroll, they would probably keep it quiet, for fear of being gazumped.

And I’m sure they would like to sign Carroll. I would like to spend the night playing strip Scrabble with Kelly Brook, but it’s not likely to happen either.

Rangers in crisis: SPL chairmen in a dilemma

We can't win! SPL supremos torn apart over Ibrox sanctions

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 6 May 2012

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson admitted that he is struggling under the enormous burden of acting in judgment on crisis-club Rangers.

As a member of the six-man SPL board, Thompson is charged with balancing sporting integrity against the possible financial meltdown of denying a reborn Rangers a place in the top tier.

Sportsmail revealed on Saturday that some board members are anxious to share responsibility for the decision by inviting all top-flight member clubs to have their say.

Dilemma: Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson faces a tough task

Dilemma: Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson faces a tough task

Representatives of the SPL clubs meet at Hampden this morning for a delayed vote on possible sanctions for newcos.

Any decision they make, however, will only apply from next season with the SPL board left to rule on the problems surrounding the Ibrox club.

Prospective Rangers owner Bill Miller hopes to create an ‘incubator’ newco before Friday in order to avoid proposals for a 15-point penalty for the next two years and a 75 per cent cut to the club’s commercial revenue for the next three.

With fans on all sides threatening boycotts whatever happens, however, Thompson believes the chairmen are in an invidious position.

United fear that Rangers being cast out of the SPL could cost them 600,000 a year, prompting the chairman to say: ‘This season we got 1.4m from the SPL. If we only get 200,000 to 300,000, then how do we fill the 1m

‘But fans are talking about boycotts. It’s a lose-lose situation.

What next Rangers struggled to a goalless draw against Motherwell

What next Rangers struggled to a goalless draw against Motherwell

‘The pressure being put on four or five individuals is enormous and having the burden spread would be ideal so that we all make such a huge decision together.

‘But the articles are what they are, unless we are told tomorrow that we can somehow make it all 12 clubs, or 11, I suppose.

‘I love my club. I’ll always do what’s best for my club, but I’ve also got an SPL board hat to wear.’

United manager Peter Houston has hinted at how United will vote by saying he wants Rangers in the SPL to avoid a catastrophic cut to his budget.

Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has also said that commercial considerations must override sporting integrity.

With feelings running high among supporters, however, Thompson added: ‘Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I am finding it very stressful — as are most of the board.

Behind you: Rangers fans show their support for manager Ally McCoist

Behind you: Rangers fans show their support for manager Ally McCoist

‘We are in a very, very difficult situation and at a crossroads for Scottish football. I understand how all the fans feel and I have great sympathy.

‘But I have a legal responsibility to run Dundee United and a legal responsibility as a director of the SPL.

‘We’ve got to think about our own clubs and about the whole of Scottish football. It is impossible.’

The United chairman said he had received emails and letters from angry supporters warning him they will stay away if a newco Rangers are voted back in.

‘We’ve got to think about the fans: without fans, you don’t have a club,’ he continued.

‘I am still mulling over everything. But you have all the contracts; we don’t know where Sky and ESPN sit in all this.’

Mario Balotelli relief at admitting link to Wayne Rooney"s alleged prostitute

'Troubled' Balotelli relieved after admitting fling with prostitute linked to Rooney

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UPDATED:

10:40 GMT, 5 April 2012

Mario Balotelli says a weight has been lifted from his shoulders following revelations that he had a fling with a prostitute linked to Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester City striker, who has clashed with manager Roberto Mancini recently, admitted that his knowledge of the story had been a heavy burden.

And the 21-year-old is determined to fire City to the title and earn a place in Italy’s side for Euro 2012.

It's good to talk: Mario Balotelli is relieved to have lifted the burden off his shoulders having been troubled by the story

It's good to talk: Mario Balotelli is relieved to have lifted the burden off his shoulders having been troubled by the story

Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola,
pre-empted embarrassing headlines by revealing details of a ‘brief
involvement’ with Jennifer Thompson, who claimed in 2010 that Rooney had
paid her 1,200-a-night for sex while his wife Coleen was five months
pregnant.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello
Sport, he added: ‘I know I must still learn to keep my private life
separate from my profession. It’s not easy, but I have taken this step
to free me from the weight of this story.

‘Recently, I admit, I have been
troubled – because of this story, but not only. My natural parents in
some interviews have been disrespectful to my family.

‘Now that this weight has been lifted,
I am certain that I will find the positive energy to make the best run
for the title with Manchester City, and prepare in the best way for the
European Championship.’

Limelight: Jennifer Thompson achieved notoriety when she was linked to Wayne Rooney

Limelight: Jennifer Thompson achieved notoriety when she was linked to Wayne Rooney

Limelight: Jenny Thompson achieved notoriety when linked to Wayne Rooney

‘Now that this weight has been lifted, I am certain that I will find the positive energy to make the best run for the title with Manchester City, and prepare in the best way for the European Championship.’

The Italian newspaper says that Balotelli told his girlfriend Raffaella Fico and his adopted parents about the imminent story when they came to visit him in Manchester at the weekend.

It has been claimed that Balotelli had a liaison with Thompson in February, two days before scoring against Blackburn and revealing a T-shirt that said ‘Raffaella, I love you’, in Italian.

Soon after he was photographed outside a strip club in Liverpool, but insisted he had done nothing improper and was forgiven by his girlfriend.

Controversy: Balotelli was involved in a spat with team-mates on the pitch last time out

Controversy: Balotelli was involved in a spat with team-mates on the pitch last time out

Fico, a 24-year-old model and reality TV
star, has since spoken about marriage and the couple posed for their
first photo shoot together for an Italian magazine that hit newsstands
last Saturday.

She said in an accompanying interview: ‘Mario is the man that I love. We are busy and very young. But if he asked me to get married, I would accept. I, like him, dream of a family.’

Balotelli’s erratic behaviour has been apparent in recent days. He argued with Mancini in training last week, soon after bizarrely gatecrashing a press conference in Milan to present Andrea Stramaccioni as Inter’s new manager.

But Mancini claims Balotelli's behaviour on and off the pitch is blown out of all proportion.

Gesture: The fling allegedly happened two days before Balotelli revealed this tribute to his girlfriend, Rafaella Fico, pictured above on Wednesday

Gesture: The fling allegedly happened two days before Balotelli revealed this tribute to his girlfriend, Rafaella Fico, pictured above on Wednesday

Gesture: The fling allegedly happened two days before Balotelli revealed this tribute to his girlfriend

He said: 'There are some people who think bad things against other people, like Mario. Every time Mario does something, (it) is like a war.

'There are other people on and off the pitch that do worse than Mario and no-one says anything because maybe they play for an important team or are not like Mario.'

Yet Mancini would much prefer it if the 21-year-old could play and then find a way to keep his private life out the news.

When asked if he tires of asking questions about his fellow Italian, Mancini, speaking at a press conference this morning, said: 'I would like Mario to play, score and finish the other situation.

'It is not maybe your [the media's] fault – it is his fault because if he wants he can play and stay at home. Like this, no people can ask about the other situation.

'I think many people have different behaviour with Mario.'

Balotelli has been linked with a return to Inter or a move to his boyhood idols AC Milan in recent weeks.

He joined City for 24million in August 2010 and has scored 27 goals in 58 appearance, although his off-the-field antics have often overshadowed his talent.