Tag Archives: claims

Mark Clattenburg race probe: FA hit back at "cover up" claim

Bernstein hits back at cover-up claims as Clattenburg awaits ruling on race probe

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UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 14 November 2012

FA chairman David Bernstein has branded Peter Herbert’s accusation that his organisation was 'institutionally racist' as 'ill-informed' and 'unhelpful'.

Herbert, the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, had earlier accused football’s governing body of attempting a ‘cover-up’ with Chelsea over the alleged racist abuse from referee Mark Clattenburg.

But Bernstein said in a statement: 'These ill-informed and unhelpful remarks are at odds with the progressive and responsible approach being followed by the game with the support of Government to deal with these serious issues.

Accused: Mark Clattenburg, pictured leaving his house on Wednesday, is the subject of an FA probe

Accused: Mark Clattenburg, pictured leaving his house on Wednesday, is the subject of an FA probe

Loggerheads: David Bernstein (left) has hit back at Peter Herbert's claims of a cover up

Loggerheads: David Bernstein (left) has hit back at Peter Herbert's claims of a cover up

Loggerheads: David Bernstein (left) has hit back at Peter Herbert's claims of a cover up

WHO IS THIS HERBERT

Peter Herbert is a human rights barrister and chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers. He’s also the man who lodged a complaint with the Metropolitan Police over referee Mark Clattenburg’s alleged abuse of John Mikel Obi.

Herbert was the first chair of the Race-Hate Crimes Forum and, with strong links to the US, has advised on introducing an equivalent to the Rooney Rule in Britain.

'The FA will continue working to strengthen processes to eradicate all forms of discrimination in football.'

The FA will on Thursday make their announcement on the action they will take over the initial claims from Chelsea, and Sportsmail understands they are unlikely to charge the referee.

FA officials have spent a significant
sum on legal advice and taken their time in order to come to the right
decision, and it comes after the Metropolitan Police revealed they have
shelved their investigation into the complaint made by the Society of Black Lawyers.

'It sounds remarkably like a
football cover-up,' the society's chairman told BBC Radio 5 live. 'It
sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue
swept under the carpet.'

Chelsea made a formal complaint against Clattenburg on October 29
following their 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United. A day later the FA
opened an investigation into the allegation, part of which was that
Clattenburg used racial language.

Afterwards Chelsea accused
Clattenburg of the racial slur on Mikel – who angrily stormed into his
dressing room and confronted him after the match – and of calling Juan
Mata a ‘Spanish t***’.

The club later dropped the accusation against Mata but pressed ahead and reported the comment about Mikel to the FA.

It is understood Chelsea did not give evidence to the police because
they felt the FA was the appropriate body to deal with the matter.

If, as expected, Clattenburg, 37, is cleared by the FA it will leave the Blues' reputation in tatters after their captain John Terry was banned for four matches and fined 220,000 after being found guilty of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand by an FA independent regulatory commission.

Flashpoint: Mikel and Ramires made allegations about referee Clattenburg

Flashpoint: John Obi Mikel (right) and Ramires made allegations about referee Mark Clattenburg (centre)

On Tuesday, the police investigation was discontinued because 'no
victims have come forward' and 'without a victim and/or any evidence
that any offence has been committed, the matter cannot currently be
investigated'.

The FA confirmed its investigation would proceed, but Herbert is furious
that neither the governing body nor Chelsea have taken the matter to
the police.

'We strongly suspect that the FA and/or Chelsea have failed to provide
this information to the Metropolitan Police in order for them to conduct
a proper investigation,' he said.

'The information we had is that there are “no victims”. Well, if there
are no victims, what on earth has been referred to the FA in the first
place

'What on earth are the FA and Chelsea playing then Are they having some
cosy exchange of statements between themselves and not giving it to the
police

'We're going to ask the borough commander for an explanation. Was there
any co-operation Was any evidence given If none was given by the FA or
Chelsea we want to raise that issue with the Minister of Sport.'

Herbert is particularly critical of the FA's decision not to involve the police once Chelsea made their complaint.

'If the Metropolitan Police are not provided with statements what are they supposed to do' he added.

'If a football club has registered a complaint with the FA, we would
expect the FA to refer this matter to the Metropolitan Police.

Marching orders: Referee Mark Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players on Sunday

Marching orders: Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players in the match, which included a highly controversial decision to show Fernando Torres a second yellow card for diving

Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) while Clattenburg struggled to contain both sides

Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) as Clattenburg struggled to the control the game

'The FA does not have the tools to investigate race-hate crime. We think
that until the FA gets its house in order complaints like this should
be investigated by the police.

'It really does beggar belief that the primary football authorities in
the country do not understand the seriousness of hate crime.'

Clattenburg has not officiated in a match since the incident. But some refereeing experts have suggested he will be handed a last-minute match in the lower leagues this weekend in an under-the-radar bid to assimilate the Durham official back into officiating.

On Tuesday, in an interview with the Evening Standard, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck stood by the club's allegation levelled at Clattenburg.

'We were guided by obligations that are imposed by the Football Association and also as an employer. FA rule E14 basically says a participant shall immediately report to the association any incident or matter which may be considered to be a misconduct.

'Misconduct is a defined term under the FA regulations and includes such racial behaviour. We also had to consider the Equality Act 2010, which imposes an obligation on an employer to take certain actions if an employee is subject to discrimination by third parties.

'Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players, “Look, it's not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider”. If that had leaked out, we would've really been crucified.'

Clattenburg timeline: How football has reacted to the claims of racist abuse

Oct 28: Mark Clattenburg sends off Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, the latter for a disputed dive, as Chelsea go down 3-2 against Manchester United.

Chelsea later confirm they had lodged a formal complaint with the Premier League match delegate regarding 'inappropriate language' made by Clattenburg to two of their players. The complaint is understood to relate to alleged racial comments in incidents involving John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.

Oct 29: Clattenburg is offered the full support of Prospect, the referees' union.

The Football Association starts an investigation relating to Chelsea's allegations. PFA chief Gordon

Taylor urges the FA to deal with the matter quickly.

The Professional Game Match Officials confirms Clattenburg will not be involved in the next round of matches, stating 'the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself'.

The Society of Black Lawyers sends a letter to the Metropolitan Police calling for a legal investigation. The Met confirm they have received a complaint and will 'consider any allegation that is made'.

Oct 30: The Metropolitan Police launch an investigation into the incidents at Stamford Bridge.

Oct 31: Chelsea lodge a formal complaint with the Football Association regarding 'inappropriate language' directed at Mikel by Clattenburg during Sunday's match.

Nov 2: Sir Alex Ferguson enters the debate, saying: 'I refuse to believe' Clattenburg would make racially abusive comments.

Nov 5: The referees group PGMOL says Clattenburg will not referee at the weekend, but that they had been willing to appoint him to a match if he had wanted.

Nov 8: The Football Association carried out a series of interviews with match officials as they continued their investigations.

Nov 12: Clattenburg was absent from the PGMOL list for a third successive week, although he did return to training.

Nov 13: The police investigation into alleged comments made by Clattenburg was dropped due to a lack of evidence, Scotland Yard said.

The best football documentaries

As a new documentary claims to lift the lid on life at Anfield, here are some of the best fly-on-the-wall football films

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UPDATED:

12:42 GMT, 18 September 2012

The new Fox sports documentary ‘Being Liverpool’ gets its first UK airing on Channel Five this Friday, promising an ‘intriguing insight’ into the Anfield dressing room as Brendan Rodgers tries to mould the team in his image.

It is just the latest instalment in a rich tradition of fly-on-the-wall football documentaries going back over 50 years – some brilliant and some utterly bizarre.

Sportmail picks eight of the best from this unique genre.

ADVISORY: SOME OF THESE VIDEO CLIPS INCLUDE BAD LANGUAGE

QPR: The Four-year
Plan (2012)

If it was ever possible to depict the Premier League as
more chaotic and random that it appears on the surface, then The Four-Year Plan
certainly succeeds.

It tracks what happened when Formula One mogul Flavio
Briatore saved Queens Park Rangers from extinction in 2007 – and, perhaps
naively, announced he would deliver the ailing club to the Premier League with
a four-year plan.

Mat Hodgson’s behind-the-scenes film shows managers being
hired and fired in a farcical carousel and all manner of fan mutinies, moving from the ridiculous to the
sublime as Neil Warnock fulfils the prophecy by winning promotion to the top
flight in 2011.

CAUTION: BAD LANGUAGE

Accrington
Stanley: Exactly! (2009)

Narrated by the unmistakable voice of Stuart Hall, this
Granada series shows in gory detail the hand-to-mouth existence of League Two
Accrington Stanley and, in many ways, social life in the North-West.

The episodes examine, by turn, what it's like to be a manager, chairman, player and fan at the bottom of football's pile, with amusing consequences (and mandatory expletives).

CAUTION: BAD LANGUAGE

Big Ron Manager (2006)

Continuing the football swear-athon is this 2006 tale of Barry
Fry and Ron Atkinson’s double act at Peterborough. But despite a cacophony of
f-words from two of the most colourful characters in the game, it’s fledgling
manager Steve Bleasdale who is the star.

Instead of calling upon Big Ron’s experience, Bleasdale
tried to banish him and, inevitably, there are fireworks.

One memorable scene
sees a dressing room punch-up between player Mark Arber and Paul Carden, before
Bleasdale spectacularly resigns after Fry himself delivers the team talk before
a match with Macclesfield.

CAUTION: BAD LANGUAGE

Orient: Club for a
Fiver (1995)

A classic nineties documentary shot by film student Jo Trehearne
about her local club, Leyton Orient, which snowballed from a peek behind closed
doors to a warts and all documentary about one of the worst seasons in the
club’s history.

There’s gripping drama on and off the pitch. In the
boardroom, the chairman Tony Wood steps down after his coffee business goes
bust and a takeover by local businessman Phil Wallace rumbles along without
resolution – having a knock-on effect on underpaid players and under-resourced
staff alike.

In the dressing room, the foul-mouthed half-time tirades
of manager John Sitton, as the players lurch from one abject performance to
another, helped define the caricature of the vein-throbbing manager.

One half-time barb, with the team trailing 1-0 to
Blackpool, has passed into immortality on the clip below.

CAUTION: BAD LANGUAGE

England – Do I not
like that (1994)

A documentary that simply wouldn’t happen today. A camera
crew given unlimited access to the England dressing room for an entire World
Cup qualification campaign, especially following a European Championships
debacle, is just unthinkable.

Graham ‘Turnip’ Taylor was already drowning under the
weight of ‘The Impossible Job’ – sometimes literally: ‘I sweat a lot. I’m
waking up with the usual pyjamas wet through’ he confides.

Unfortunately this film does absolutely nothing to
improve the public perception of him as England fail miserably in their bid to
reach the 1994 World Cup.

Taylor is clearly a likeable, committed manager – in one
clip, he turns round to lambast a fan for criticising John Barnes: ‘He’s
another human being, you know’ – but he doesn’t help himself with unwittingly
comic soundbites that later inspired Mike Bassett, including ‘What sort of a
thing is going on here’ and the title, ‘Do I not like that.’

CAUTION: BAD LANGUAGE

Steel City Blues (1984)

A largely forgotten documentary which broadens the focus
beyond football to also examine the effect of the game in the local community.
It presents an interesting argument that Sheffield Wednesday’s fortunes are
linked to those of the city’s steel industry.

It includes footage of the 1935 FA Cup final against West
Bromwich Albion and the poignant line of commentary: ‘Inside three minutes,
Palethorpe scores for the Wednesday and this makes Sheffield almost a nice
place to live in.’

Things have come full circle by the time of this
documentary in the eighties, with one in four out of work and steel mills
closing every month. But what comes across is the unwavering support of
Wednesday’s fans despite the massive social upheaval of the time, helped by
successful times in the First Division.

City! A club in
crisis (1981)

Again, a state of affairs that is inconceivable today,
but this 1981 documentary follows cigar-chomping Malcolm Allison’s attempts to
cling on to his employment at relegation-threatened Manchester City.

He certainly has some unusual methods, including
delivering his pre-match team talk dressed only in a pair of tracksuit bottoms
and dragging the players to an indoor gymnasium to do some running drills at
half-time.

With results getting worse, he is relieved of his duties
and there’s a genuinely touching moment when he says goodbye to the players on
the training ground.

The documentary’s second part follows he side’s
resurrection under John Bond, which sees them reach the FA Cup final.

Meanwhile Back in
Sunderland (1973)

A film make before, during and after the famous 1973 Cup
Final when Sunderland stunned Leeds United 1-0, offering a nostalgic glimpse
not only into life in the North-East at the time, but also the enthusiasm the
FA Cup used to generate.

From fans sporting impossibly big red and white rosettes
and spinning rattles catching the Milk Train to Wembley, to shops closing early
so their staff could rush home to watch on TV.

From the crowd watching outside
Radio Rentals to the mental celebrations after Porterfield’s goal and
Montgomery’s save – this film evokes plenty of memories for those of a certain
age.

Miroslav Klose snubbed Tottenham

Klose in Tottenham snub as Germany ace claims he turned down White Hart Lane switch

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UPDATED:

06:07 GMT, 14 September 2012

Germany striker Miroslav Klose rejected the chance to join Tottenham this summer.

According to the 34-year-old, the north London club made an approach for his services during the transfer window.

No move: Klose claims he rejected the opportunity to join Tottenham

No move: Klose claims he rejected the opportunity to join Tottenham

But Klose, who has scored 64 goals in over a century of appearances for Germany, snubbed a move to Andre Villas-Boas' side.

Klose, who will face Tottenham when he lines up for Lazio in next week's Europa League clash, said: 'Tottenham came looking for me, but I signed for Lazio until 2014 and I intend to respect that contract.'

Tottenham have endured a difficult start
to life under former Chelsea manager Villas-Boas, taking just two
points from a possible nine this term.

Italian job: The Germany striker is in his second season with Lazio

Italian job: The Germany striker is in his second season with Lazio

Meanwhile, their new 12m goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has received the backing of international team-mate Gregory Coupet in his battle for the No 1 jersey with Brad Friedel.

The deadline day signing has had a slow start to his White Hart Lane career – watching the 1-1 draw with Norwich City from the stands and then reporting for international duty with France.

But France captain Gregory Coupet insists the stopper is primed to take over from Friedel.

One glove: Coupet is confident Lloris will enjoy a successful career at Spurs

One glove: Coupet is confident Lloris will enjoy a successful career at Spurs

'At 41 years old, you can see things clearly: you know that you are not the future of the club,' said Coupet.

'Hugo Lloris appears a bit flat but these statements should not dampen his appetite and he is going to quickly show them that he is the best.'

Gabriel Agbonlahor wants central role at Aston Villa

Agbonlahor demands central role as Villa ace claims rotation messed up his head last term

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UPDATED:

15:59 GMT, 11 September 2012

Gabriel Agbonlahor hopes Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert plays him in his preferred central striking role after the frustration of being used in several different positions last season.

Agbonhalor has recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss the start of the campaign and appeared as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle before the international break.

Agbonlahor came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle

Bench: Agbonlahor came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle

He was used as a wide midfielder and also off the main striker by Alex McLeish during the Scot's ill-fated season in charge at Villa. Agbonlahor said: 'Last season I was being used more left midfield or off the striker and it was a different sort of formation.

'When we beat Chelsea away, I was playing in a front role – but then for the next game, at home to Swansea, I was played right midfield.

'If you don't get a run of games (in the same position) it can sort of mess your head up.

'Hopefully I can get a certain amount of games in my preferred position.'

Agbonalhor concedes he will face a battle for his place, with Darren Bent, Andreas Weimann and newcomers Christian Benteke and Jordan Bowery pushing for places up front.

He said: 'No-one is guaranteed a starting place and they're going to be coming after my place.

'That was the same when I was younger. I was going for other players' places.'

Joey Barton is a nice person, says Marseille team-mate Andre Ayew

Barton is truly a nice person, claims Marseille forward Ayew

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UPDATED:

13:59 GMT, 5 September 2012

Andre Ayew is looking forward to seeing Joey Barton in action after being charmed by the on-loan midfielder.

Barton joined Marseille last Friday on a season-long deal from QPR, after a tumultuous first year at Loftus Road following his move from Newcastle.

French fancy: Barton has joined Marseille on a season-long loan

French fancy: Barton has joined Marseille on a season-long loan

His red card and violent reaction on the final day of last season at Manchester City was the catalyst for a chain of events which saw Barton dropped from Mark Hughes' first-team squad and not given a shirt number for the new campaign.

All smiles: Ayew has been charmed by nee boy Barton

All smiles: Ayew has been charmed by nee boy Barton

Thirty-year-old Barton is now eager to embrace his new challenge at the Stade Velodrome, and in Ghanaian Ayew he has a colleague who has welcomed his arrival.

'He is truly a nice person,' Ayew told Marseille's club website. 'It's maybe the case that, on the pitch, he is different, with another kind of desire, another kind of commitment, another kind of aggression. But away from it he's truly a good person.'

Nottingham Forest face compensation claims after cancelling US tour matches

Forest face claims for compensation after cancelling US tour matches

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UPDATED:

18:10 GMT, 13 July 2012

Nottingham Forest new owners could face compensation claims over the cancellation of their American tour.

Orlando City, coached by former Everton midfielder Adrian Heath, were due to face Forest on July 21 and Charleston Battery on July 28 but following this week’s takeover by the AL-Hasawi family the games were cancelled.

Both clubs are understood to have paid around 70,000 towards accommodating Forest’s travelling party and are now having to offer fans refunds for tickets that have been sold in advance.

Ironically, many of Forest’s players are also out of pocket after they paid close to 1,000 each to upgrade on their scheduled flights to the US.

New owners: Nottingham Forest have been taken over by the AL-Hasawi family

New owners: Nottingham Forest have been taken over by the AL-Hasawi family

Charleston Battery president Andrew Bell said: ‘Obviously we are very disappointed that we will not be able to play Nottingham Forest at the end of the month. We have a long tradition of hosting international teams and it’s a game that our fans always look forward to. I know there will be much disappointment on hearing the news and I’d like to apologise on behalf of the Battery.’

John Pelling, Forest’s finance director said: ‘On behalf of the club, I would like to apologise for the inconvenience this has caused. We really appreciate all of the efforts to organise the trip that, regrettably, we feel unable to complete.

‘With just 15 senior players on the verge of this trip, we would not have been able to do ourselves justice or benefit fully from the trip. Our efforts in the coming days will be concentrated on replacing Steve Cotterill and assembling a squad.’

Fans that purchased tickets to the games are also being offered the opportunity to swap tickets for games later in the season.

Kenny Dalglish returns from America following meeting with Liverpool owners

Outcome unclear as Dalglish returns from America following meeting with Liverpool owners

PUBLISHED:

17:43 GMT, 15 May 2012

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UPDATED:

17:44 GMT, 15 May 2012

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has returned from his trip to the United States to meet the club's owners but what the outcome of their discussions will be still remains unclear.

It is understood the Scot flew back to Britain after meeting principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner amid a growing crescendo of rumours about his future.

Speculation reached fever pitch on internet and social networking sites around late morning with unsubstantiated claims ranging from him being sacked to resigning.

Meeting: Kenny Dalglish has returned from America following talks with Liverpool's owners

Meeting: Kenny Dalglish has returned from America following talks with Liverpool's owners

With no statement forthcoming from either Fenway Sports Group or the club the rumour mill ran wild, although it gradually subsided the longer time went by with no announcement.

Without a public show of support from FSG Dalglish's position will remain a subject for debate even though just over a month ago Werner stated they had 'great confidence in Kenny and he enjoys our full support'.

Since then results have not improved as Liverpool won just two league matches out of five and lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea.

But there has perhaps been too much being read into his trip to America, fed no doubt by FSG's restructuring at the club has already led to the departure of director of football Damien Comolli, head of sports science Peter Brukner and head of communications Ian Cotton in the last month.

Inconsistent season: Will Liverpool owner John W Henry extend Dalglish's reign

Inconsistent season: Will Liverpool owner John W Henry extend Dalglish's reign

Dalglish, along with coach Steve Clarke, flew out after Sunday's defeat to Swansea to present their view of what has been a disappointing season.

It was always designed to be part of the review process, which Dalglish had admitted some weeks before required him to provide a detailed report of his assessment of the last 10 months and his thoughts on plans going forward.

After a 14th loss of the league campaign Liverpool's eighth-place finish was their worst for 18 years and a points tally of 52 their lowest since 1953/54.

It will have left Dalglish and Clarke to answer some testing questions from Henry and Werner about what progress was being made with their investment, having spent over 200million to buy the club in October 2010 and then heavily backed their manager in subsequent transfer windows.

After their meeting on Monday Dalglish made plans to return home, which partly explains why he was not pictured alongside Clarke, Henry and Werner at a baseball match between the Boston Red Sox – FSG's other marquee investment – and the Seattle Mariners last night.

The Reds boss still has two years to run on the contract he was given by FSG just over 12 months ago and only last week he spoke about planning for the new season in August.

Rangers in crisis: Bill Miller favourite after Bill Ng withdraws

Fresh twist in Rangers saga as Miller becomes favourite after Ng withdraws

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UPDATED:

14:07 GMT, 20 April 2012

Showing his hand: Bill Miller

Showing his hand: Bill Miller

Bill Miller has unveiled plans for an 11.2million bid for Rangers which would create what he described as an 'incubator' company, on the day Bill Ng withdrew from the bidding process.

In a statement, US-based Miller revealed he would suspend his offer until Monday to allow other bidders to 'put up or shut up'.

Ng meanwhile, said he has become 'increasingly uncomfortable and frustrated with the process of dealing with club administrators'.

After deciding a straight CVA would be too risky and prolonged, Miller claims he has found a new solution.

The American businessman said: 'In order to preserve the club's history, records, championships and assets, I will put the heart of the club into an 'incubator' company while Duff and Phelps works to make the sick patient healthy through a CVA process that effectively works to radiate the toxicity of past administrations' sins out of the patient while the healthy heart is preserved and moves forward.'

Miller revealed he was setting the record straight after seeing 'inaccuracies' about his bid reported or intimated by others.

He said: 'Most importantly, I am doing this now so that Rangers fans and supporters can judge my bid and plans for the club on their actual merits – rather than rumours and innuendo.'

He said: 'Despite constant rumours and suggestions by others, I have proposed a purchase of the club through a CVA from the beginning. I have no plans for liquidation of the club.'

But he added: 'All of the groundswell created in the attempt to indicate that a CVA is a simple solution to save the club and its history is simply a naive understanding of how this CVA process would work and the risks associated.'

Miller revealed he had refused to speak to Craig Whyte or Ticketus, who gave the club 30.5million in funds during the majority shareholder's tenure in return for future season ticket sales.

'It is difficult for me to see how any parties who were present when this awful situation was created can be a legitimate part of the solution,' said Miller, who owns a Tennessee-based towing and vehicle recovery firm.

Out of the running: Bill Ng has withdrawn his offer to buy Rangers

Out of the running: Bill Ng has withdrawn his offer to buy Rangers

He believes Ticketus, who are owed 26.7million, would block any CVA, resulting in lengthy legal proceedings.

'This would place additional penalties on Rangers as long as they remain in administration,' he said.

'Obviously, the longer the process dragged on without a resolution, the less viable the club would become. If this process continued on for a long period without resolution, the inevitable result would be real liquidation.'

Miller then explained his 'incubation' approach that he claims will save Rangers, protect its history and give it a fresh start.

He added: 'Once the CVA process has been completed and the patient is on the mend, the administrators will return Rangers Football Club plc to me for a nominal sum.

'The healthy heart and the healthy patient (The Rangers Football Club plc) will then be reunited through merger.'

Ng earlier expressed frustration with Duff and Phelps as he withdrew, although he said he could relaunch his bid if no other deal was struck.

A statement said: 'Recent developments
in the bidding process, with unwarranted and unexplained delays, have
prompted our withdrawal from the bidding process.

'After lengthy negotiations with a
number of key stakeholders, we have serious concerns over the
deliverability of the shares on offer to gain control of the club.'

The chairman of Singapore top-flight
club Hougang United had previously expressed frustration with Ticketus,
who he claimed increased their demands from 10million to 17.5million
but he expressed most disappointment with Duff and Phelps, accusing them
of “moving the goalposts”.

As well as the Ticketus liability and
SPL proposals, areas of uncertainty around Rangers include the rights of
majority shareholder Craig Whyte, an outcome on the tribunal over their
potential 75million tax bill.

Delay: The administrators have been criticised for taking too long

Delay: The administrators have been criticised for taking too long

Ng said there was 'no guarantee' his group would acquire Whyte`s 85 per cent shareholding if they agreed a price.

The Blue Knights` position is unclear with former Rangers director Paul Murray, who is spearheading their campaign, saying they were reconsidering their position on Wednesday after stepping back from the process on Monday to allow Ng to complete a deal.

The administrators told Kennedy they could not accept his revised verbal offer, which he claimed to have doubled to a 'double digit million pound bid'.

McCoist expressed hope of a quick resolution.

e said: “It's only my opinion but I don't think we can wait until anything like the end of May,” said McCoist, who has spoken to Miller at length twice but never talked to Ng.

'It's not up to me to have a preferred bidder. I have to remain completely and utterly open-minded about it.

'The only thing that I wish for is somebody who has the club's best interests at heart to take it over.

'I would have no problem with anybody that I've spoken to taking it over because I do believe they have the club's best interests at heart.

'My main concern is that we get a positive result. That's all that matters.'

BILL MILLER'S STATEMENT IN FULL

I am making my proposal to takeover Rangers Football Club open, transparent and available to all those interested in Rangers future.

Given all of the noise in the media from various sides of the transaction and given the numerous inaccuracies in much of what has been reported or intimated by others, I have decided the time has come to set the record straight and to issue a challenge to any would-be suitors of the club.

Most importantly, I am doing this now so that Rangers fans and supporters can judge my bid and plans for the club on their actual merits – rather than rumours and innuendo.

There is no time left for empty promises and grand-standing.

The time has come for all interested parties to either put up or shut up.

Everyone involved has had their '15 minutes of fame'.

Let's save Rangers. There is no time left.

Facts about my bid:

Of the three qualified bidders, I am the only bidder who refused to entertain offers from Ticketus or engage in discussions with Craig Whyte.

It is difficult for me to see how any parties who were present when this awful situation was created can be a legitimate part of the solution.

I believe firmly that when you mortgage the future by the use of debts and financing instruments like has been done in the recent past, you endanger the very survival of the club.

All of the ground swell created in the attempt to indicate that a CVA is a simple solution to save the club and its history is simply a naove understanding of how this CVA process would work and the risks associated.”

Despite constant rumours and suggestions by others, I have proposed a purchase of the club through a CVA from the beginning.

I have no plans for liquidation of the club. After careful evaluation of a Rangers CVA process, it has become apparent that there are substantial roadblocks and risks associated with such an approach.

Of the qualified creditor claims, which is currently under 100M, the Ticketus claim of 27M (in excess of 25% of the total) would put Ticketus in a position to be able to block any CVA agreement with which they did not agree.

There is no way that Ticketus would agree to accept a “pence on the pound” settlement as has been suggested by others.

In addition, it is apparent that there will be several lawsuits that will emerge in relation to a potential CVA exit among the various creditors and claimants (you pick them), which will need to be settled by the courts.

Consequently, the CVA will be prolonged – meaning the process would go on well into next season and possibly beyond. This would place additional penalties on Rangers as long as they remain in administration.

Obviously, the longer the process dragged on without a resolution, the less viable the club would become. If this process continued on for a long period without resolution, the inevitable result would be real liquidation.”

Over several weeks of discussions, my advisory team and I have created a solution that saves Rangers, protects its history and gives it a fresh start – rescued from the ruin created by others.

I believe, and we have compelling professional advice to support my view, that my offer, as structured, can enable this to happen without any question of Rangers seeking or being given any special treatment.”

My proposal on the table now is to pay 11.2M for the club which includes the 500,000 deposit required by Duff & Phelps.

In order to preserve the club's history, records, championships and assets, I will put the “heart” of the club into an “incubator” company while Duff & Phelps works to make the “sick patient” healthy through a CVA process that effectively works to “radiate” the toxicity of past administrations' sins out of the patient while the “healthy heart” is preserved and moves forward. Once the CVA process has been completed and the patient is on the mend, the administrators will return Rangers Football Club plc to me for a nominal sum.

The healthy heart and the healthy patient (The Rangers Football Club plc) will then be reunited through merger.

In this scenario, the club can continue with all of its business assets, including its history, protected from the present illness.

Thus a new corporate entity will own the club's assets during the incubation period including all of its history.

Any suggestion that Rangers history is lost by such a process is preposterous.

Using such logic, Rangers would not actually have a 140-year history as its current corporate structure was only created in 1899. To suggest that Rangers thus have only a 113-year-old history is absurd.”

As a final step in the process, I have held a series of talks over the past week with officials from the SPL and SFA in an effort to ensure Rangers play in the 2012/13 season without further points deductions, fines or other punitive sanctions, relating to either the terms of my purchase or the actions of the prior administrations, beyond those levied during the 2011/12 season.

My offer is contingent upon the regulatory bodies agreeing that the club will begin play in the 2012/13 season in the SPL and that they will do so without any loss of points and with all historic titles intact.

I will not acquire the club unless I receive written assurances from both regulatory bodies to this effect.

It is my strong view that Rangers and their fans should not continue to be punished in the future for the past failures of others.

Rangers need a fresh start and I will always stand up for the club.

The plan:

I have retained the services of certain sports business and UK football experts from Scotland, England and America to assist with the turnaround of this distressed and loss-making business.

I realize Rangers have been losing money on a monthly basis and can easily find itself right back in administration in short order if significant changes are not made to the business and if the new owner does not have the financial wherewithal to accomplish the turnaround while the club haemorrhages cash.

We will focus on a disciplined business approach that uses strict adherence to budgets and metrics to ensure the club does not attempt to live beyond its means so that it can be in compliance with UEFA's new requirements of financial fair play.

I am acutely aware that the club will require working capital and this will be assessed in more detail in coming weeks as the due diligence period progresses.

We will focus Rangers aggressively on growing current revenue streams and developing new ones. I believe that such a program is necessary to ensure Rangers have the kind of player wage bill that is necessary to field a highly competitive team, while not operating at a loss.

As I have already discussed directly with him, Ally McCoist will be retained as the First Team Manager and will be responsible for the success of Rangers on the pitch.

The challenge to others:

Since other bidders and/or would-be bidders have consistently made claims in the press for weeks and months about how they have all the solutions and answers for saving Rangers, I have decided to offer a challenge.

I have worked quietly over the past several weeks to put together a plan that saves Rangers from liquidation and allows the club to be made healthy again.

I have attempted to do this without fanfare or without drawing personal attention to myself as I don't need or desire to see my name in the headlines.

However, it appears there are others who suggest that I have some motive other than to acquire and protect the history of this great club and put in on a strong footing for the future. They maintain they have better plans to save Rangers.

So, in an effort to give Rangers and its fans, supporters, players and staff an opportunity to see for themselves, I have shared the details of my plans.

Although it was my intention to wire the required deposit tomorrow to secure preferred bidder status, I have notified Duff & Phelps that my offer is to be suspended until Monday to give anyone else interested in acquiring Rangers time to complete their bid and put down the 500,000 deposit.

I would not want anyone to have the impression that my offer is not the best one for the club.

So I now put it to the other suitors who claim to want what is best for Rangers. If you sincerely want to save Rangers, the time has come for you to put up or shut up.

I will agree to “stand down” until Monday, April 23rd to allow any and all “saviours” to step up and claim the club by paying the required deposit and entering into an agreement to purchase.

The time for talk is over. The club is in serious jeopardy of dying. “Real” liquidation is looming.

If no one else steps up by Monday, then I will assume everyone is done talking and I am the only one serious about saving Rangers.

In the meantime, I will continue talks with the SPL/SFA in an effort to get a quick and satisfactory resolution so I can then move forward to become the preferred bidder as outlined.

I ask Rangers fans, supporters, staff, players and Ally McCoist, after reviewing my plan for the club, to make their opinions known by Monday to the press and to the SFA and SPL officials. Time is running out to save Rangers.

Manchester United battling Benfica for Dede of Vasco da Gama

EXCLUSIVE: United find new Rio… in Rio! Fergie battling Benfica for 15m Dede


The boy from Brazil: Defender Dede

The boy from Brazil: Defender Dede

Sir Alex Ferguson is on the trail of one of South America's top prospects after receiving glowing form reports on emerging Brazil defender Dede.

Vasco da Gama's 23-year-old prospect hails from the same area of Rio de Janeiro as Manchester United twins Fabio and Rafael and has already been tipped by a rival club's manager to be the cornerstone of Brazil's back line at the next World Cup.

It is understood Ferguson has closely followed his progress in recent weeks and asked former United centre-back and current Brazil talent-spotter Jaap Stam to run the rule over him.

While the United manager considers a bid, he is aware of strong interest from Benfica, who are renowned for identifying South American talent at an early stage and have made Dede their top summer target.

Vasco's perilous financial position leaves them vulnerable to offers, and United will be confident of outbidding Benfica, on personal terms as well as an asking price, for a player valued at around 15million.

Non-payment of wages has led to recent threats of a player strike at Vasco, with one of their squad, Bernardo, taking them to a small claims court over lost earnings.

Sources in Rio describe Dede as Brazil's biggest star after Neymar, and he further enhanced his reputation in last month's Taca Guanabara semi-final against Flamengo, when a man-marking job on Vagner Love was seen as crucial to his side's 2-1 win.

Man-marking: Dede was hailed for keeping striker Vagner Love (left) quiet

Man-marking: Dede was hailed for keeping striker Vagner Love (left) quiet

Fluminense coach Abel Braga looked on, after already booking a place in the final, and was in no doubt the 6ft 3in stopper, who can play centre-half or sweeper, had been the difference between the sides.

'Dede is absurdly talented and will certainly be one of Brazil's centre-backs at the 2014 World Cup,' he said. 'I cannot believe a player comes up against Vagner Love in six or seven one-on-ones and wins the ball every time.

'That is what Dede did. He made 16 tackles overall and not one was a foul. His form at the moment is exceptional.'

Dede made the breakthrough at international level earlier this season and underlined his standing as Brazil's best defender by subduing the threat of Ronaldinho, as well as Love, against Flamengo.

United believe his aerial strength, and tackling ability, would enable him to settle quickly into a defence that needs reinforcing after recent fitness problems for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Tiger Woods considered quitting golf and joining Navy SEALS

Tiger wanted to be a SEAL! Woods thought about quitting golf for military, claims Haney

Tiger Woods was considering abandoning golf and joining the Navy SEALS, former coach Hank Haney has claimed.

The 36-year-old has won 14 majors, four short of Jack Nicklaus' record, but Haney insists Woods would have turned his back on the sport to join the military.

Haney even claims Woods had told him the Navy SEALs would 'make a special age exception' for him given their upper age limit is 28.

On the course: Tiger Woods at PGA National on Wednesday ahead of the Honda Classic

On the course: Tiger Woods at PGA National on Wednesday ahead of the Honda Classic

Writing in his book, 'The Big Miss',
excerpts from which appear in the April edition of Golf Digest, Haney
said: 'Wow! Here is Tiger Woods, the greatest athlete on the planet,
maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime,
basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.'

Woods' father Earl had been in the Army Special Forces and served in Vietnam.

Military man: Former world No 1 Woods in 2004 arriving at a golf clinic in Fort Bragg on a humvee

Military man: Former world No 1 Woods in 2004 arriving at a golf clinic in Fort Bragg on a humvee

In 2004, Woods took part in four
days of special-operations training in Fort Bragg which included
hand-to-hand combat exercises, four-mile runs wearing combat boots,
parachute jumps and drills in a wind tunnel.

His attendance at these camps
increased and shortly before the 2006 US Open Haney revealed he had sent
Woods an email saying: 'You need to get that whole SEALs thing out of
your system and stick to playing Navy SEAL on the video games.

One of the greats: Woods

Tiger's former coach: Hank Haney

Career change: Woods was ready to leave golf for the Navy SEALS, according to former coach Haney (right)

'You have history to make in golf and
people to influence and help. Focus on your destiny and that isn't
flushing bad guys out of buildings in Iraq.

'Just play those games some more. That Navy SEAL stuff is serious business. They use real bullets.'

In action: Tiger Woods hits from the sand during a pro-am before the Honda Classic on Wednesday

In action: Tiger Woods hits from the sand during a pro-am before the Honda Classic on Wednesday

However, Woods attended such camps more frequently, although Haney claimed the extent of his visits were hushed up in the belief there would be a media frenzy.

Haney added: 'When I later learned the full truth about the dangerous exercises that Tiger engaged in with the SEALs, it caused me to question whether the greatest golfer the game has ever seen severely hampered his chance at surpassing one of the most revered marks in all of sports – Jack Nicklaus' record – because of his fascination with the military.'