Tag Archives: charles

B&Q pull out of deal with Football League over title sponsorship

EXCLUSIVE: Football League's attempt to hammer out a deal with B&Q break down

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

16:25 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:34 GMT, 23 April 2013

The Football League have suffered a huge setback after potential new title sponsors B&Q suddenly pulled out of negotiations.

The DIY chain had been expected to sign a three-year contract worth 21m to replace nPower as the backers of all three Football League divisions from the start of next season.

But talks broke down on Monday with the Football League unaware why B&Q, who had previously shown huge enthusiasm for the sponsorship, had changed their mind at the last minute.

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

The disappointment at the breakdown of the deal is compounded by B&Q, who have stores near numerous Football League clubs, being regarded as such a good fit for a sponsorship that has proved difficult to fill.

But their exit leaves the Football League commercial department having to go back to the companies who had shown interest before attention was turned to finalising the B&Q deal.

One of those companies is restaurant chain Domino's Pizza, who have released a football app and a football sitcom on their Facebook page.

Domino's marketing director Simon Wallis said: 'Football and Pizza are a match made in heaven.'

John Terry snubs David Bernstein as Chelsea hand back the Champions League Trophy to UEFA

Champions of Europe, we know what we were: Chelsea boys feeling blue as they hand back trophy… and axed England captain Terry snubs handshake from FA chief Bernstein

amidst racism allegations made against him after a clash with QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in October 2011.

The 32-year-old defender later retired from international football in September 2012 after being charged by the FA for the incident after he had been found not guilty of racist abuse in court.

Snub: The moment Chelsea captain John Terry (second left) sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (second right) by refusing to shake his hand

Snub: The moment Chelsea captain John Terry (second left) sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (second right) by refusing to shake his hand

Walking away: After Bernstein talks with Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech Terry walks away to avoid having to speak with him

Walking away: After Bernstein talks with Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech Terry walks away to avoid having to speak with him

Snub: Chelsea captain John Terry (right), pictured with UEFA President Michel Platini, sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (below, right) by refusing to shake his hand

Snub: Chelsea captain John Terry (right), pictured with UEFA President Michel Platini, sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (below, right) by refusing to shake his hand

Didn't notice: FA Chairman David Bernstein (right) said he wasn't aware he had been snubbed

Didn't notice: FA Chairman David Bernstein (right) claimed he wasn't aware he had been snubbed

Charles Sale predicted trouble

In his Sports Agenda column, Charles Sale revealed that Terry and Bernstein were set to share the stage together. Click here for the story.

bernstein has been speaking to Terry's Chelsea team-mates Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech, but when it was his turn, Terry took a step away to avoid speaking to the FA chairman.

Asked about the incident, Bernstein told Sky Sports News: I didn't notice anything, my relationships with everyone in here are really fantastic so I didn't notice a thing. I

'think we should talk about more positive things than that sort of nonsense'

When asked about his relationship
with Terry, Bernstein – who leaves his post as FA chairman in July –
added: 'A little distant.'

He seemed cool on making any attempt to kiss and make up with the Chelsea captain.

'I'm not really terribly concerned,' he add. 'I have other things to think about. In my last three months, I have other priorities.'

Terry was joined by team-mates Frank
Lampard, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic as Chelsea handed back
the trophy they famously won last May.

We'll have that back: Eleven months to the day after their famous night in Munich, Chelsea have returned the Champions League trophy to UEFA

We'll have that back: Eleven months to the day after their famous night in Munich, Chelsea have returned the Champions League trophy to UEFA

Terry is also unhappy with Bernstein's role in his court case last year where he was cleared of a racism offence though later banned for four matches by the FA.

Terry, also speaking to Sky Sports News, said: 'No, listen it's a difficult one for me. Obviously, he was the one who spoke about me in the court case and said things I don't want to talk on air. It's probably a subject that we should maybe just avoid.'

Asked if he shook Bernstein's hand during before the ceremony, Terry replied: 'No.'

Say goodbye: Chelsea players Petr Cech, John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic (left to right) with UEFA President Michel Platini (centre)

Say goodbye: Chelsea players Petr Cech, John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic (left to right) with UEFA President Michel Platini (centre)

Perfect Moment: Didier Drogba hits the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League last season

Perfect Moment: Didier Drogba hits the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League last season

It was the moment that all Chelsea fans have been dreading, but 11 months to the day after Didier Drogba's penalty completed the most famous night in their history, Chelsea finally relinquished their hold on the Champions League trophy.

In an official ceremony in London, members of the Blues' heroic squad, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, gave the trophy back to UEFA President Michel Platini ahead of the 2013 final that will be played at Wembley on May 25.

Since that night Chelsea have undergone a tumultuous transformation.

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Drogba, the talismanic striker who scored the equalising goal in the dying minutes of normal time before scoring the winning penalty, left the club along with Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa, who played prominent roles in the final, and Raul Meireles, who was excellent in the semi-final win over Barcelona in the Nou Camp, as Chelsea looked add youth to an ageing squad.

Of course, Chelsea also got rid of their Champions League winning manager, Roberto Di Matteo, just six months after lifting the trophy in Germany.

What should have been a glorious campaign as Champions League holders became a disaster for the club as they crashed out of the group stages, becoming the first holders to ever exit the competition that early.

Gone but not forgotten: Roberto Di Matteo (centre) was sacked from the Chelsea jobs just six months after lifting the trophy

Gone but not forgotten: Roberto Di Matteo (centre) was sacked from the Chelsea jobs just six months after lifting the trophy

Mr Chelsea: John Terry was banned from the final but that didn't stop his exuberant celebrations

Mr Chelsea: John Terry was banned from the final but that didn't stop his exuberant celebrations

The board's decision to replace Di Matteo with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was met with loud opposition from Chelsea fans.

Benitez had appealed to fans to get off his back and support the team, and this seems to have happened in recent weeks, leading to an upturn in league form – Chelsea now sit third in the table with a game in hand over fourth placed Arsenal.

Chelsea travel to Anfield this weekend in what will be an emotional return for the current manager – he spent six years at Liverpool, winning the Champions League trophy in 2005 after one of the best comebacks ever seen against AC Milan in Istanbul.

Preparation: Rafa Benitez (second left) prepares to take a team to former club Liverpool for the first time on Sunday

Preparation: Rafa Benitez (second left) prepares to take a team to former club Liverpool for the first time on Sunday

No bearing: Benitez has said that his ties with Anfield will have no bearing on the match - he will be going for three points

No bearing: Benitez has said that his ties with Anfield will have no bearing on the match – he will be going for three points

But Benitez has insisted that his emotional ties with Liverpool will have no bearing on him going for the three points.

I will try to do the best for my team and that is Chelsea,’ said Benitez. ‘I am a professional and that is what I have to do. I cannot forget the time I spent there and the feeling, the atmosphere, the success, the link with the fans and the city — it is my home — but I will try to win. That is what I have to do.

‘This will be quite emotional but I have to concentrate. It will not be easy when you see so many friends around but I will try to concentrate on the game. The players have to believe I can manage the situation and give them help if they need it. Normally, I am not too emotional but now I’m getting older it happens sometimes.’

PS.

This isn't the first time Terry has been involved in handbags over a handshake, although he's usually on the receiving end of the snub…

Wayne Bridge and John Terry

Anton Ferdinand snubs John Terry

Who could forget Wayne Bridge snubs a handshake from Terry after rumours Terry had had an affair with Bridge's former fiance Vanessa Perroncel (left); and Anton Ferdinand snubs Terry after last year's race storm

Football's other hand-shaking controversies

WAYNE BRIDGE & JOHN TERRY: In January 2010 claims Terry had had an alleged relationship with the former partner of one-time team-mate Wayne Bridge emerged, despite Terry being behind a gagging injunction. He was axed as England captain and Manchester City defender Bridge quit international football saying his position in the team – potentially alongside Terry – was 'untenable and potentially divisive'. The teams met just a few weeks later on February 27 but in the traditional pre-match handshake, Bridge refused Terry's outstretched hand.

QPR & CHELSEA: The teams met at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011, after which Terry was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand. The sides were then drawn to face each other in an FA Cup tie in January 2012 with intense focus on whether the pair would or would not shake hands. The then QPR boss Mark Hughes held a meeting with his players and officials over the handshake. Ultimately, the FA decided to scrap the ritual. The Premier League took the same action in April in the first league game between the two since the original incident after Ferdinand's lawyers advised him not to shake Terry's hand. In September 2012, Ferdinand snubbed both Terry and Ashley Cole, who testified for the former at his trial, as did Park Ji-sung, former team-mate of Rio Ferdinand.

PATRICE EVRA & LUIS SUAREZ: Liverpool striker Suarez was given an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Evra in October 2011. The Reds were vocal in their defence of the Uruguayan, a move that did little to endear either them or the player to the general public. Suarez's first start after the suspension happened to be at Old Trafford but it was he who refused the hand of Evra. The Red Devils captain offered his hand to the Uruguay international but he bypassed the Frenchman. Evra did not accept that and attempted to grab Suarez's arm to complete the formalities, but the striker shrugged him off. Rio Ferdinand, further down the line, then refused to shake Suarez's hand.

JOHN TERRY & DAVID BERNSTEIN: Terry's simmering resentment showed itself again today as he confirmed he had rejected the FA chairman's attempt to shake hands. Bernstein was the man who stripped Terry of the England captaincy and despite being cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court of making a racist insult, he was charged by the FA and banned for four matches. Bernstein insisted he was unaware of the Chelsea player's snub while admitting his relationship with Terry was 'a little distant'. He told Sky Sports News: 'I didn't notice a thing and I think we should talk about more positive things than that sort of nonsense. I'm not really terribly concerned.'

Greg Dyke announced as new FA Chairman

Former Man United director Dyke voted as new FA chairman, replacing outgoing Bernstein

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

11:30 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 21 March 2013

Former Manchester United director and TV mogul Greg Dyke has been voted through as the next FA chairman, replacing the outgoing incumbent David Bernstein.

Dyke, 65, will replace Bernstein when he leaves the post after two-and-a-half years in July – and takes the helm from Saturday July 13.

Dyke told the FA website: 'Football has always been a big part of my life whether playing 11-a-side on Sunday mornings or six-a-side on Thursday evenings.

Main man: Former United director Dyke will take the helm at the FA

Main man: Former United director Dyke will take the helm at the FA

'I was brought up in a household where my father was much more interested in whether or not you had won at football than whether you had passed your exams. In my case that was just as well.

'I still turn out to play six-a-side some Thursday evenings although at my age I seem to spend more time injured than playing.

'I supported my local team Brentford as a kid where my elder brother was a junior, watched York City while at university and followed Manchester United whenever I could.

'I got involved in how the game was run
when I was first involved in buying sports rights as Chairman of ITV
Sport in the late eighties and later at the BBC.

Game over: Bernstein's (left) tenure at the FA will soon come to an end

Game over: Bernstein's (left) tenure at the FA will soon come to an end

'I learnt a lot in the years when I was on the Board of Manchester United and have seen the other side of the professional game at Brentford.'

The FA said in a statement: 'The Football Association Board has today unanimously approved the nomination for Greg Dyke to be appointed independent FA chairman.

'Dyke, 65, will take over as chairman from David Bernstein when he leaves the post after two-and-a-half years in July – subject to approval by the FA council. The appointment will take effect from Saturday, July 13.

Football man: Dyke's local team while growing up was Brentford

Football man: Dyke's local team while growing up was Brentford – where he became non-executive chairman in 2006

Football man: Dyke's local team while growing up was Brentford

'This follows a recruitment process led
by FA independent director Roger Devlin (chairman of the nominations
committee) with fellow board members Roger Burden and Keith Lamb.

'In a high-profile broadcasting industry career, Dyke has worked as director general of the BBC and managing director of London Weekend Television.

'Dyke has had a long background in football. He was a director of Manchester United in the late nineties and since 2006 he has been non-executive chairman of Brentford Football Club, the team he supported as a boy. He will relinquish this role at the end of the season to take up his new post at the FA.'

Red alert: United director Gill (seen with Dyke) is also on the FA board

Red alert: United director Gill (seen with Dyke) is also on the FA board

Lukas Podolski shares London day-trip with Twitter followers

Learning London with Podolski: Arsenal star shares day trip around capital with fans

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 12 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:25 GMT, 13 February 2013

After joining Arsenal from Cologne last summer, Gunners fans soon took to Lukas Podolski who has quickly adapted to life in the Premier League.

It isn’t just on the pitch where the striker is settling in fast though, the German international has been just as keen to soak up the London atmosphere around him.

Here we go: Lukas Podolski started his London tour by taking 'a real black cab' from the Highbury district

Here we go: Lukas Podolski started his London tour by taking 'a real black cab' from the Highbury district

Stop seven: Lukas Podolski poses outside of Trafalgar Square

Stop nine: Podolski stops outside Buckingham Palace

Short trip: Podolski poses with a lion outside of Trafalgar Square before visiting Buckingham Palace, where after seeing the Royal Standard flag happily tweeted that 'the Queen is home!!!'

With Arsenal not due to play in the Champions League until next week, the 27-year-old used his spare time to go sight-seeing around the capital, including a trip to Trafalgar Square as well as nearby Buckingham Palace.

Podolski shared his day-trip around London with his Twitter followers under the hashtag #learninglondon showing his knowledge of where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married as well as recognising how the Queen was in residence.

Thumbs up: Lukas Podolski stops outside St Pauls

Stop five: Podolski tweets #weddingcakechurch

Thumbs up: Podolski gives his approval after visiting St Paul's Cathedral (left)

The German’s interest in learning about London comes just months after a video was released showing the striker taking rhyming slang lessons off former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour in a bid to help him to adapt to life in north London.

It seems to have worked so far as Podolski has been a regular feature at the Emirates Stadium, scoring 12 goals in 31 games.

Lukas Podolski's tour was the latest in a series of Learning London features the German international has filmed with Arsenal Media, available to watch on player.arsenal.com from the weekend.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea fight over Premier League debt limit – Charles Sale

Big Four scrap over Premier League debt limit

|

UPDATED:

23:42 GMT, 19 December 2012

English football’s Big Four are split over the amount of debt clubs can pile up on the playing side, which is the central Premier League issue over financial fair play.

Arsenal and Manchester United, whom a number of PL teams believe are acting wholly out of self-interest, want the debt losses limited to 39million over three seasons — effectively ruling out another oligarch taking over a club and spending freely to challenge the established order.

However, Manchester City and Chelsea, who have benefited from lavish financial backing by their owners, do not want such restraints put on clubs, who will be debating FFP again in February.

Disagreement: David Gill (right) is representing Manchester United at the discussions and both his side and Arsenal disagree with Chelsea and Man City

Disagreement: David Gill (right) is representing Manchester United at the discussions and both his side and Arsenal disagree with Chelsea and Man City

More from Charles Sale…

Charles Sale: Strauss touted for ECB's top job after Test series victory
18/12/12

Charles Sale: Top flight divided on financial fair play ahead of summit
17/12/12

Charles Sale: Fight against the Hammers' Olympic stadium occupation will continue, says Hearn
15/12/12

Charles Sale: Net gain for Draper as LTA chief pockets 640k… four times more than the Prime Minister
13/12/12

Charles Sale: Arsenal follow United's lead by claiming packed stadium despite rows of empty seats at Emirates
12/12/12

Charles Sale: Leeds anxious as buyers GFH Capital fail to pay on time
12/12/12

Charles Sale: Portsmouth's court date with destiny could end in extinction
07/12/12

Charles Sale: Diamond League can add some sparkle to Stratford before the bulldozers move in
06/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

And Chelsea, who are broadly in favour of FFP regulations, nevertheless joined City, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Aston Villa and Swansea in opposing either one or both cash restraint proposals at this week’s club summit.

A new development at the PL meeting is Manchester United being represented by chief executive David Gill and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, the commercial overlord who reports straight to the Glazer family and now has just as much power as Gill at Old Trafford.

Lowe back in business

Former Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe has been tempted back into football by the potential of the Brazilian soccer schools set up by Simon Clifford, who briefly worked as a Saints coach.

Lowe, whose Saints academy alumni include Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, has taken a controlling investment in Clifford’s struggling business that includes Northern Premier League club Garforth Town.

Lowe, who was set to take charge at Nottingham Forest and bring in Glenn Hoddle as manager before the death of owner Nigel Doughty last year, has always had great faith in the coaching vision of Clifford, once dismissed as a ‘ball juggler’ by Harry Redknapp.

Carra on BT wishlist

Jamie Carragher, whose Liverpool contract expires at the end of the season, is understood to be a target for BT Sport, who want a Premier League pundit with dressing-room knowledge.

Former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has been in for talks with BT, despite Match of the Day 2 host Colin Murray having to apologise after the Swede told viewers in September that his former team-mate Lauren would ‘kick the s***’ out of anyone who fouled him.

Meanwhile, BT have given the production contract for their 38 Premier League games to Sunset + Vine, for whom the deal is considerable compensation after losing out to IMG Media for the Channel 4 racing contract.

Wanted man: Jamie Carragher could provide BT with dressing room knowledge

Wanted man: Jamie Carragher could provide BT with dressing room knowledge

FA still waiting for Rio base

The Rio Games takes place two years after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but the British Olympic Association are ahead of the FA in securing a training base.

The FA are still waiting for the allocation of paired training grounds and hotels. But the Minas Tennis Club, a multi-sports facility in Belo Horizonte – a 45 minute flight from Rio – announced on their website last night they will be signing a Memoradum of Understanding with the BOA today to be the Team GB preparation camp. Australia and Sweden had also been in talks with the venue.

Draper peer pressure

The growing furore over Lawn Tennis Association chief Roger Draper’s astonishing 640,000-a-year earnings will intensify with him being paid more than any other British sports governing body chief, including FA general secretary Alex Horne.

Labour peer Baroness Billingham, chair of the All Party Tennis Group who described the payment package as ‘unthinkable’, wants Draper to explain why he deserves the money, especially with Sport England having just withheld three years of funding from an underperforming LTA.

The showdown will likely come at Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson’s next scheduled meeting with the LTA, who made no comment.

Big bucks: Roger Draper picks up a hefty salary from the LTA

Big bucks: Roger Draper picks up a hefty salary from the LTA

Wall set to sign

Ambitious Jonathan Wall, temporary controller of BBC Radio 5 Live after the departure of Adrian van Klaveren, is expected to be appointed on a permanent basis.

Van Klaveren has been sidelined after his botched temporary executive role in the Newsnight report that made false allegations about Lord McAlpine. Van Klaveren wrote in an email to staff that he found it ‘especially hard to take’ being moved on for events that were nothing to do with his leadership of 5 Live Sport.

Premier League chairman divided over financial fair play regulations – Charles Sale

Charles Sale: Top flight divided on financial fair play ahead of summit

|

UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 17 December 2012

There is considerable lobbying going on between the 20 Premier League clubs ahead of Tuesday’s chairmen’s summit over financial fair play (FFP), an issue that has split the elite division.

The PL executive, who need agreement from 14 clubs for rule changes, have put forward two proposals: a long-term broad acceptance of UEFA’s FFP break-even policy, and a shorter-term salary cap that will see clubs allowed only to increase wages by a gross 4million a year.

Supporters of the short-term plan are led by Sunderland’s Ellis Short — the first of the American owners to become so engaged in club business — and West Ham’s David Gold, who want a resolution passed before the January transfer window.

At speed: West Ham chief David Gold wants the situation resolved swiftly

At speed: West Ham chief David Gold wants the situation resolved swiftly

More from Charles Sale…

Charles Sale: Fight against the Hammers' Olympic stadium occupation will continue, says Hearn
15/12/12

Charles Sale: Net gain for Draper as LTA chief pockets 640k… four times more than the Prime Minister
13/12/12

Charles Sale: Arsenal follow United's lead by claiming packed stadium despite rows of empty seats at Emirates
12/12/12

Charles Sale: Leeds anxious as buyers GFH Capital fail to pay on time
12/12/12

Charles Sale: Portsmouth's court date with destiny could end in extinction
07/12/12

Charles Sale: Diamond League can add some sparkle to Stratford before the bulldozers move in
06/12/12

Charles Sale: Hearn is ready to throw in the towel over West Ham's Olympic Stadium move
05/12/12

Charles Sale: Channel 4 races to unload World Athletics Championships on the BBC
30/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Manchester United’s David Gill, Tottenham’s Daniel Levy and Arsenal’s Ivan Gazidis head those in favour of the long-term solution along UEFA lines.

Meanwhile, the four clubs most opposed to any FFP restrictions — Manchester City, West Bromwich, Fulham and Aston Villa — are under pressure to change their view that no interference works best.

Finance snub for live football

The BBC are understood to have spent well over 1m on their Sports Personality of the Year night at London’s ExCeL. Yet despite their lack of live football, the Beeb felt it too expensive to send a commentator to Japan for the Club World Cup final the same day.

Guy Mowbray, who was at the Stoke-Everton game the day before, did the commentary of Chelsea’s defeat by Corinthians in Yokohama from the television, which does not say much for the Beeb’s commitment to the national sport.

The BBC say they gained the rights for the tournament at short notice and sending a commentary team was not deemed worth it, especially with the focus on SPOTY.

Becks will wait until new year

David Beckham — whose appearance at Sports Personality to announce that Lord Coe had won the lifetime achievement award was a surprise even to the recipient — is not expected to make a decision on his playing future until after Christmas. But wherever he plays, his family will be based in London.

Meanwhile, British cycling overlord David Brailsford, tipped for a knighthood in the New Year honours, is expected to join Beckham, Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton in Simon Fuller’s XIX sports management stable with Sir Clive Woodward when the tie-up between XIX and Brailsford and Woodward’s agent Tim Buttimore is finalised.

Waiting: David Beckham will wait until next year before deciding his future

Waiting: David Beckham will wait until next year before deciding his future

The big freeze

Sport England froze 10.3million on Monday, three years’ worth of Lawn Tennis Association grass-roots funding, with chief executive Jennie Price saying damningly: ‘Tennis has not performed well in terms of participation. Their plan simply wasn’t strong enough to justify the four-year investment.’

Yet the LTA have awarded a 640,000 package to chief executive Roger Draper for 2012, including a 201,000 bonus. An LTA spokesperson said: ‘This is not an appropriate comparison.’

Channel 4’s Rio rights

Sports Personality elevated the Paralympics to unprecedented heights. But that will not be enough for the BBC to reclaim TV rights for Rio 2016.

The International Paralympic Committee have opted to stay with Channel 4, with an announcement due soon. US network NBC, whose coverage of London’s Paralympics was minimal, are showing more interest for Brazil.

Turn over: Paralympians like David Weir will be on Channel 4 in Rio

Turn over: Paralympians like David Weir will be on Channel 4 in Rio

One love for Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins, Sports Personality winner in a stellar year with the charisma to join the band on stage at the SPOTY after-party, could have his pick of sponsors. But he prefers to have only his beloved Fred Perry Mod clothing deal, with all other endorsements worked through his Team Sky contract.

Youngsters living the high life

The FA spent 100m on their acclaimed national centre at St George’s Park that includes two hotels. But bizarrely, no dormitory accommodation, more suited to the junior sides, was factored into the planning, meaning youngsters must be given the run of the plush hotel rooms. The short-term plan when junior tournaments are taking place at SGP is to use dormitories at nearby public school Repton.

Arsenal follow United"s lead by claiming packed stadium despite rows of empty seats at Emirates – Charles Sale

Arsenal follow United's lead by claiming packed stadium despite rows of empty seats at Emirates

|

UPDATED:

08:44 GMT, 13 December 2012

Arsenal have followed Manchester
United in giving out highly misleading attendance figures that show
their stadiums to be at capacity when in fact there were thousands of
empty seats.

United announced a 71,000 near full
house for their Champions League game against CFR Cluj when the Old
Trafford crowd looked to be 20,000.

And the Emirates Stadium attendance
for last Saturday’s match against West Brom was said to be 60,000 when
it was obviously down by more than 10,000.

Sparse support: The Emirates was far from full as Arsenal beat West Brom

Sparse support: The Emirates was far from full as Arsenal beat West Brom

Both clubs defend their policy by
saying the figures are based on tickets sold — with United’s Champions
League group games included in the season ticket price. A Premier League
spokesman said: ‘Our attendances are up this season. This is not an
issue for us.’

The apathy among Gunners fans,
heightened by the Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford, was demonstrated
by the paltry turn-out for the Arsenal Supporters Trust Christmas drinks
with the club at the Emirates.

Fewer than 100 attended the function —
half the number expected — even when they had the opportunity to vent
their anger at chief executive Ivan Gazidis and commercial director Tom
‘brand defined by more than winning’ Fox.

Gazidis, who spent two hours talking
to the hardcore fans, apologised for the Bradford result, saying it
wasn’t good enough and that he was there to listen.

More from Charles Sale…

Charles Sale: Leeds anxious as buyers GFH Capital fail to pay on time
12/12/12

Charles Sale: Portsmouth's court date with destiny could end in extinction
07/12/12

Charles Sale: Diamond League can add some sparkle to Stratford before the bulldozers move in
06/12/12

Charles Sale: Hearn is ready to throw in the towel over West Ham's Olympic Stadium move
05/12/12

Charles Sale: Channel 4 races to unload World Athletics Championships on the BBC
30/11/12

Charles Sale: Rivals Warren and Hearn take fight over Bellew to the High Court
29/11/12

Charles Sale: Iconic Ibrox to become Sports Direct Arena Newcastle owner Ashley wants second major stadium controversially renamed
28/11/12

Charles Sale: Pearce blamed for losing flying Chelsea winger Moses to Nigeria
27/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

C4's half-time treat

Channel 4 are bowing to football’s dominance of the sporting landscape by scheduling all their big Saturday races at 3.50pm when their monopoly terrestrial contract starts next year.

The hope is that the half-time break in the day’s football fixtures will become associated with a racing attraction.

The most surprising part of Channel 4’s press launch of their vision for racing was that Carl Hicks, IMG’s executive producer of the coverage, did his presentation wearing sunglasses on his head in a dimly-lit Mayfair restaurant.

C4 will broadcast racing on 88 days next year, but star presenter Clare Balding is only contracted to do 40 of them. She will do an extra 20 days of filming for features around the showcase occasions.

Under contract: But Clare Balding will only host 40 races

Under contract: But Clare Balding will only host 40 races

The first company to show an interest in sponsoring the Grand National — outside bookmakers, who will be a last resort — is understood to be out-of-town fashion chain Matalan. But they might not be considered blue chip enough for the Jockey Club, who control Aintree.

Meanwhile, new QPR manager Harry Redknapp, whose team are chasing their first Premier League win of the season against Fulham on Saturday, will also be hoping for a lot better luck when his horse Hot Whiskey runs the next day in a novice hurdle race at Hereford.

Becks is Euro-bound

Another pointer that David Beckham will base his family in London even if he plays in France next year is that wife Victoria has now been spotted visiting two different west London schools in the last two weeks.

Loaded up on boxing

Lads magazine Loaded have given boxing another TV outlet on their new channel. Promoter Frank Maloney’s fighters will be appearing on albeit low-budget TV boxing shows. However, Maloney’s marquee fighter — heavyweight David Price — will continue to appear on the subscription channel BoxNation.

No sale: Mike Ashley

No sale: Mike Ashley

Ashley's court battle

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has been prevented from selling Queensberry sports clothing in his Sports Direct empire after a High Court battle this week. Queensberry’s major shareholders, boxing promoter Frank Warren and Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl, won an injunction and costs against Ashley, pending a full trial.

Murray and Hoy missing

Even the razzmattaz draw of the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year is not enough to attract all 12 short-listed candidates to London’s ExCeL Arena on Sunday for the live event. As well as Andy Murray staying at his training camp in Miami, Sir Chris Hoy is not returning from his 2013 preparation camp in Perth.

Chelsea star Eden Hazard caught up in anti-Israel riddle – Charles Sale

Chelsea forward Hazard the victim of anti-Israel riddle

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 10 December 2012

Chelsea, whose season has been overshadowed by the John Terry and Mark Clattenburg racism issues, have been caught up in another sensitive controversy involving Eden Hazard's political views.

The Belgium forward was alleged to have put his signature to a statement signed by 62 footballers protesting against Israel hosting the European Under 21 Championship next year.

The pro-Palestine petition claims Israel staging the tournament following their military offensive in Gaza will be 'seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values'.

Accusation: Hazard was alleged to have put his name to a statement signed by 62 footballers

Accusation: Hazard was alleged to have put his name to a statement signed by 62 footballers

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Hazard's believed involvement in the protest led to 81 of Chelsea's Jewish supporters, including a number of high-profile lawyers, putting their names on an email to the club's chief executive Ron Gourlay outlining their concern.

The letter, copied to FA chairman David Bernstein, said it was inappropriate for Hazard to use his platform as a Chelsea footballer to air such sensitive political opinions and that he should apologise for the offence caused to some of the club's supporters.

However, it emerged yesterday that Hazard had not contributed to the petition. His agent John Bico said: 'Eden never speaks about his political opinions and he certainly never signed anything.'

Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba had earlier strongly denied endorsing UEFA stripping Israel of the tournament.

Drogba had been one of the marquee players listed along with Hazard as having done so on the website of former Tottenham striker Frederic Kanoute.

Strange choice of words

Considering the FA have always been so concerned about leaks coming out of Wembley, the wording of the advertisement for the new independent chairman to replace David Bernstein is surprising.

It states that the appointee is expected to be an ambassador for the FA and football, ensuring the organisation promotes exemplary corporate governance and 'transparency'.

Crerand set for 5 Live stay

BBC 5 Live intend to keep using football pundit Paddy Crerand, a former Manchester United player and enthusiastic flag-waver for the club, as an occasional contributor despite his astonishing rant on the breakfast show yesterday.

Anger: Former United star Crerand lost his temper on BBC 5 Live

Anger: Former United star Crerand lost his temper on BBC 5 Live

Crerand lost his temper at being asked about players celebrating in front of opposition fans. BBC 5 Live say they have no issue with the way the emotional Crerand expressed his views.

Henderson all smiles

Top racehorse trainer Nicky Henderson was in celebratory mode even before Sprinter Sacre's hugely impressive victory in Sandown's Tingle Creek Chase.

Henderson poured himself a large glass of red wine in the royal box at Sandown even as the six-year-old cantered to the start of the two-mile chase.

Celebration: Henderson poured himself a large glass of red in the royal box

Celebration: Henderson poured himself a large glass of red in the royal box

There was relief at the Jockey Club, meanwhile, after two races over the modified Grand National fences at Aintree saw no casualties.

The racecourse owners are looking for a 2million-a-year sponsor of the National to replace John Smith's, with the last resort being a bookmaker partner. Any deaths over the Liverpool jumps at the weekend would have made that very difficult to attain.

Usmanov foiled again

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, ridiculously, may not be able to gain a seat on the board despite his 29.9 per cent holding.

But he has just been re-elected as president of the International Fencing Federation for another four years. Billionaire Usmanov's fencing objectives for his second term include 'provision of financial support to current sportspeople', which is exactly what a lot of Arsenal fans would like him to have the opportunity to do at the Emirates Stadium.

Talks in place over FFP

An extra Premier League chairmen's meeting has been arranged for next Tuesday in the hope of agreeing a strategy regarding financial fair-play regulations before the January transfer window.

However, such is the gulf between Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Sunderland – who are strongly in favour of FFP – and Manchester City, West Brom, Fulham and Aston Villa, who are just as adamantly opposed, that gaining the required support of 14 clubs before Christmas is unlikely.

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.

Charles Sale: Wimbledon set to avoid any MK Dons exposure in FA Cup clash

Wimbledon set to avoid any MK Dons exposure in FA Cup clash

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 23 November 2012

AFC Wimbledon fans plan to demonstrate their utter contempt for franchise club MK Dons by wearing contamination suits at the FA Cup second-round tie next weekend.

Some Wimbledon supporters making the trip to Milton Keynes intend to don the head-to-toe white protective clothing as the best way of showing that they want nothing to do with the relocated club, formed eight years ago after leaving south-west London in such acrimony.

And with the first match between the two teams being shown live on ITV, this highly original initiative is going to receive plenty of publicity – even if the fans behind the visors do not want to be exposed to any of the stadiummk atmosphere.

Not welcome: AFC Wimbledon are ready to show MK Dons (above) their disapproval next weekend

Not welcome: AFC Wimbledon are ready to show MK Dons (above) their disapproval next weekend

Wimbledon directors have already decided to sit with their travelling fans rather than in the home side's directors' box and visiting supporters also intend to bring their own food to ensure they don't spend any more money than necessary at the ground.

Recruitment firms on the hunt for top dogs

Rival sports business headhunters Nolan Partners and Odgers have been appointed to find the next chairman of the FA and Premier League respectively.

And both companies will be conducting their search at the same time among roughly the same limited talent pool, causing unnecessary confusion that could so easily have been avoided.

Dial up the Archbishop

England's cricketers might need more than prayers to win in India.

But at least there's now a direct line to the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby through his 79-year-old stepfather Charles Williams, a Labour peer and former Essex cricketer who was also Don Bradman's biographer.

Who you gonna call The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Who you gonna call The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Rafa's self promotion

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez's sickly self-promotion on his website includes an opinion section with quotes from players and coaches singing the Spaniard's praises.

Among them is Fernando Torres, who says: 'He is a coach who is very meticulous and who can identify small but very important details that no-one else sees to enable you to score.

'I worked with him a lot individually and I think we saw the benefit of this on the pitch.'

Who you gonna call The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Testimonials: Rafa Benitez (right) quotes Fernando Torres (left) on his website

Shirt rivalry hots up

The commercial rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal is going to intensify after Arsenal's signing of a 150million five-year shirt sponsorship extension with Emirates – revealed by Sports Agenda on Friday – which Arsenal are calling football's second biggest ever shirt sponsorship deal after United's Chevrolet agreement

Both Premier League giants are now in negotiations with Nike for long-term renewals of their kit-supply deals.

There's the possibility of a multi-year 1billion Nike deal at Old Trafford. And Arsenal, confident of reaching United's 100m-a-year commercial turnover, will want their next shirt manufacturers agreement to be in the same ballpark as United's.

Our strategy: Ivan Gazidis (centre right) says Arsenal's sponsorship deals won't clutter their shirts

Our strategy: Ivan Gazidis (centre right) says Arsenal's sponsorship deals won't clutter their shirts

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But Arsenal might have to look further afield than Nike – such as a mooted tie-up with adidas – to achieve it.

Arsenal are copying United's blueprint of having an army of sales personnel chasing deals around the globe but Gunners CEO Ivan Gazidis pointedly calls it 'our strategy' and said Arsenal wouldn't 'clutter' their shirt and training kit with different branding, as United have done by having a separate practicewear sponsorship with DHL.

Meanwhile, it doesn't say much for the value of stadium naming rights that Arsenal's 30m-a-year shirt deal with Emirates includes less than 3m of it funding the airline's name on the ground.

Emirates could stop FIFA sponsorship

Emirates' extended partnership with Arsenal might lead to the Arab airline not renewing their top-tier FIFA sponsorship after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Emirates communications chief Boutros Boutros, who has been one of the more outspoken voices from sponsors about FIFA corruption issues, said the airline would closely consider their options after Brazil.

Boutros is also looking forthe world governing body to back up their talk of change with action.