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Peter Charles and Nick Skelton defeated in FEI World Cup qualifier

Charles and Skelton still riding high despite defeat

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UPDATED:

21:55 GMT, 22 December 2012

British Olympic heroes Peter Charles and Nick Skelton just missed out on the perfect climax to an unforgettable year when they were pipped for glory in the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia.

The Netherlands' Marc Houtzager thwarted home hopes by claiming the 30,000 first prize and gaining some revenge for his Olympic heartache.

Top form: Marc Houtzager rides Sterrehof's Tamino

Top form: Marc Houtzager rides Sterrehof's Tamino

Houtzager was a member of the Dutch team beaten to the Olympic gold after a nerve-shredding jump-off by the British quartet of Charles, Skelton, Ben Maher and Scott Brash at Greenwich Park less than five months ago.

Malin Baryard-Johnsson of Sweden finished second yesterday with Charles, riding a recent addition to his string, Murka's Odie de Frevent, third and Skelton fourth aboard his Olympic mount Big Star.

Charles flew the British flag with one of only three double clear rounds despite his performance coming just three months after he underwent surgery on his groin.

'I have been off for a long time and this was the horse's first proper grand prix,' Charles said.

Best of British: Peter Charles on Odie de Frevent

Best of British: Peter Charles on Odie de Frevent

'The course was plenty big enough today and you certainly needed a very quick horse towards the end of the course.'

Charles, though, admitted that his partnership with Odie de Frevent remains in its infancy.

He added: 'I am still trying out new bits with the horse. I don't know how fully I can go with her, but I think I will run her in the grand prix tomorrow.'

Then, reflecting on an unforgettable season, Charles, who will be 53 on New Year's Day, added: 'This year has been what dreams are made of.

'I didn't think I was going to be fit enough to ride at this show. To do that today was really nice.'

BBC put Daily Service on Radio 4 instead of England cricket win in India

Cricket listeners miss historic series win …again! Daily Service took Radio 4 priority over India triumph after Ashes blackout

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UPDATED:

18:19 GMT, 17 December 2012

TMS's Jonathan Agnew welcomed listeners back at 10am, after the match had finished

TMS's Jonathan Agnew welcomed listeners back at 10am, after the match had finished

Cricket fans once again missed the climax of a historic England series win on the radio today – and this time they were listening to a hymn instead.

Nearly two years ago, some fans missed the moment England clinched their first Ashes series win in Australia for nearly a quarter of a century because Radio 4 Long Wave was broadcasting the shipping forecast.

This time round, as England secured a first series win in India since 1985, the Daily Service was taking place.

Admittedly there was an inevitability about events on Monday, with the fourth Test in Nagpur heading for a draw long before the end of the final day’s play.

Radio bosses will still have been cursing their luck however, with the final ball of the Test bowled at around 9.50am UK time, just as the Daily Service was being broadcast.

It was left to the BBC’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew to welcome listeners back at around 10am, with news that the game had finished, and England had laid another cricketing ghost to rest.

There are other ways of listening to the BBC’s radio coverage of cricket, including the digital station 5 Live Sports Extra and online. Many listeners however will still only have access to the cricket via Radio 4 Long Wave on their analogue sets.

It goes to show once again that in the hallowed world of Radio 4, no sporting event can interfere with the daily schedule.

Matt Prior celebrates the historic win with Sussex teammate Monty Panesar

Matt Prior celebrates the historic win with Sussex teammate Monty Panesar

Rory McIlroy feels cheated over FedEx Cup bonus

Winning $10m is nice… but I deserved double! McIlroy proud of phenomenal year but feels cheated out of huge FedEx bonus

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UPDATED:

12:57 GMT, 20 November 2012

He's already earned more than $10million during his 'phenomenal' season but Rory McIlroy admitted for the first time here in Dubai that he felt cheated he hadn’t doubled his money.

The bone of contention concerns the four tournament FedEx Cup play-offs in America in September, where the 23-year-old won two events and yet somehow still didn’t walk off with the $10m bonus.

‘I did feel a little hard done by to play so well and not win that,’ he said.

Last effort: Rory McIlroy talks on Tuesday ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship

Last effort: Rory McIlroy talks on Tuesday ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship

In the swing: McIlroy in action on the 12th hole during the pro-am on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates

In the swing: McIlroy in action on the 12th hole during the pro-am on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates

You said it: McIlroy is world No 1

You said it: McIlroy is world No 1 by some distance

No such problems at the season-ending
Dubai World Championship, which begins on Thursday. This is supposed to
be the grand climax to the Race to Dubai but McIlroy has been so
dominant he has already wrapped up what used to be known as the European
Tour Order of Merit and claimed the $1m bonus.

‘I
guess it is a bit of an anti-climax in one way but the way I look at it
is that I want to finish the season on a high and pick up two trophies
on Sunday,’ he said.

Who would bet against him after a year that has seen him win his second major, the USPGA Championship, by a record margin, plus three other titles and finish top dog on both sides of the Atlantic

‘I feel very proud and honoured to have had such a phenomenal year,’ he said. ‘Any year where you win a major is going to be a great one but to win the money list titles and join such great names on the trophies really is the icing on the cake. Now I have one tournament left and I want to finish the season strong. This is definitely a great way to end what has been a great season.’

Ever the perfectionist, McIlroy revealed that he is already looking at ways to improve for next year. One key area will be cutting down on the 26 tournaments he has played this season so that he doesn’t go into some events feeling mentally jaded. A perfect example came last week in Hong Kong, where a clearly exhausted McIlroy missed the halfway cut.

‘I feel like scheduling is going to be a big thing for me going forward,’ he said. ‘I need to feel fresh and ready every time I tee it up.

'I think if I do feel that way every tournament that I enter, I have a better chance to win. What takes it out of you is being in contention a lot, that feeling of pressure and adrenaline on Sundays and trying to get yourself back up the following week. That takes more out of you than finishing 30th or so every week.’

The race is already run: McIlroy has claimed both the European and US money list titles this year

The race is already run: McIlroy has claimed both the European and US money list titles this year

Honour: McIlroy is presented with his 2013 European Tour members' clip by chief executive George O'Grady in celebration of his victory in the 2012 Race To Dubai

Honour: McIlroy is presented with his 2013 European Tour members' clip
by chief executive George O'Grady

There might be no Race to Dubai title on the line but this should still prove a fitting finale to a wonderful season. Fifty-seven of the top 60 in Europe who are eligible have shown up – the absentees are the injured Thomas Bjorn and Retief Goosen, while Ross Fisher is at Q-school for the US Tour – including all 12 members of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup side.

Nike will have to pay up to extend Manchester United deal

Nike will have to dig deep to extend Man United sponsorship deal

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UPDATED:

19:00 GMT, 14 November 2012

Nike face having to shell out huge sums of cash if they want to maintain their association with Manchester United.

The American sportswear giants are due to sit down with Red Devils officials in February at the start of an exclusive six-month negotiating period with United over their 303million kit supply deal.

And whilst United officials were giving little away today during a conference call to provide information on their first quarter results, it seems obvious Nike will have to come up with an enormous sum to satisfy the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

Swoosh: Manchester United's current kits are made by Nike

Swoosh: Manchester United's current kits are made by Nike

In July, United announced a staggering 357million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.

That figure prompted United to buy-out the present deal with DHL for United’s training kit, which will now come to an end at the climax of this season.

'We feel we know, with some clarity, the value of our rights, and we are bullish about the abundance of opportunities available to accelerate the growth of this business,' said Woodward.

'The planning on DHL started post-GM deal. We are always monitoring the value of our rights. We can improve the amount, duration and rights-package about that deal.

'Our six-month negotiating window with them (Nike) starts in February. We look forward to sitting down with them then.'

Privately, United officials do not see the way the Nike deal is structured fits with the more commercially aggressive Glazer regime.

When the present deal was negotiated in 2002, United were a publicly floated company and preferred to take as much risk as possible away from any sponsorship tie-up.

Therefore, a profit-share arrangement was put in place which ensured United received only a proportion of the cash generated from worldwide shirt sales in exchange for a guaranteed sum.

The Glazer family have not gone down the same route. They have even stopped the policy of contracting out pre-season tour arrangements, believing they can negotiate better deals themselves.

Costly: If Nike want to extend the deal they will have to cough up

Costly: If Nike want to extend the deal they will have to cough up

As a battle is presently taking place
between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for two proposed matches in
Australia during 2013, the value of such an attitude is obvious.

It has also been noted Nike now pay the
French Football Federation almost 40million-a-year, without a
profit-share arrangement, for a seven-year period which began at the
start of last season.

Sponsorship certainly appears to be a lucrative revenue stream for United given they posted a 32% increase to 27.8million for the three months to September 30, 2013.

Including the General Motors contract, United did 10 sponsorship deals during that time, confirming an increase in workforce from 670 to 735 was almost exclusively connected to the marketing sector.

They now have mobile phone partnerships in 44 countries, with Woodward claiming the three-year deal with Japanese soft drinks manufacturer Kagome came as a direct result of opening an office in Hong Kong.

He added that the USA was the 'next natural place' for the club to open a regional centre given as many supporters watch United live there as do so in the United Kingdom.

Lucrative: From 2014 United will be sponsored by General Motors

Lucrative: From 2014 United will be sponsored by General Motors

It was also confirmed United received 2.5million as a result of being an Olympic Games football venue, plus 1.3million in compensation for players appearing at Euro 2012.

In addition, United used proceeds of IPO to reduce total debt by 17% to 359.7million.

This is unlikely to appease the vast numbers of anti-Glazer United supporters though.

An ‘exceptional item’ of 3.1million related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO, part of what is estimated to be an overall spend of 550million in interest and fees since the Glazer takeover in 2005.

Staggering Chevrolet deal boosts United profits but debt remains an eye-watering 360m

United debt remains eye-watering 360m but Chevrolet deal boosts profits

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 14 November 2012

Manchester United’s gross debt was reduced to 359.7million after the club’s owners ‘retired’ a further 62.6million-worth of bonds during the first financial quarter.

A 32.4 per cent increase in sponsorship revenues, underpinned by that massive shirt deal with Chevrolet, contributed to commercial revenues rising by 24 per cent to 43million over the quarter and an overall profit of 20.5million.

United estimate overall income will reach 350million and 360million over the entire financial year to June 30, 2013.

Reason to be cheerful Manchester United have reduced their debt

Reason to be cheerful Manchester United have reduced their debt

The results are bound to receive a negative reaction from some fans groups, particularly as reports in the United States overnight indicated the club had to be forced to disclose greater information than they initially wanted when they launched their IPO in the summer. But commercially, at least, the results underline how successful United have been.

In the last quarter alone, United entered into 10 sponsorship arrangements, including that incredible 357million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.

That eye-boggling sum persuaded United to buy-out the present deal with DHL for United’s training kit, which will now come to an end at the climax of this season.

'Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media & mobile, retail merchandising & sponsorship,; said United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Under pressure: Some United fans remain opposed to the Glazer family

Under pressure: Some United fans remain opposed to the Glazer family

'The team has also made a strong start to the 12/13 season – currently 1st place in the Premier League and 1st place (and undefeated) in our Champions League Group.'

United confirmed the 'exceptional item' of 3.1million related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO.

This sum will be seized on by critics of the Glazer family, who continue to point to the massive sums incurred by the club as a direct result of their controversial leveraged takeover in 2005.

Yet United now appear set on a campaign to maximise commercial revenues.

They have opened an office in Hong Kong and confirmed staff costs had risen to 40.3 million 'primarily due to growth in commercial headcount'.

Reverse: United bought out the deal with DHL to sponsor the training kit

Reverse: United bought out the deal with DHL to sponsor the training kit

United also confirmed they received 1.3million due to their players being selected for Euro 2012.

United's broadcast revenues have dipped substantially by 37.4 per cent, although most of this is being put down to the fact the Red Devils played only one home Champions League game during the period concerned compared to two 12 months ago.

And, as United have already qualified for the knock-out stages of the competition compared to their catastrophic group stage exit last term, further rises in revenue will be anticipated.

It also seems United pocketed around 2million as a result of Old Trafford being an Olympic venue given a 13.3 per cent rise in matchday revenue to 19.6million.

England lose third Test to South Africa

England no longer top of the world after South Africa survive thrilling Lord's fightback to claim victory

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UPDATED:

16:05 GMT, 20 August 2012

England have lost their world No 1 status after South Africa won the third Test by 51 runs for a 2-0 series triumph.

Andrew Strauss's side went into the final day with eight wickets remaining and needing 330 runs for victory.

But despite Matt Prior (73) and Graeme Swann (41) setting up a thrilling finish – after half centuries from Jonathan Trott and Jonny Bairstow – the hosts came up short.

Full report to follow….

Super six: Graeme Swann hits out as the third Test reaches a thrilling climax

Super six: Graeme Swann hits out as the third Test reaches a thrilling climax

Safe hands: Graeme Smith (centre) celebrates after taking the catch to dismiss Ian Bell

Safe hands: Graeme Smith (centre) celebrates after taking the catch to dismiss Ian Bell

What a catch: Jaques Kallis dives for the ball to get Jonathan Trott out for 63

What a catch: Jaques Kallis dives for the ball to get Jonathan Trott out for 63

Point made: Vernon Philander celebrates after dismissing Ian Bell at Lord's

Point made: Vernon Philander celebrates after dismissing Ian Bell at Lord's

Out: Jonny Bairstow falls victim to Imran Tahir after managing a half century

Out: Jonny Bairstow falls victim to Imran Tahir after managing a half century

Matt finish: Prior tries to steer England closer to their target

Matt finish: Prior tries to steer England closer to their target

Packing a punch: Imran Tahir celebrates taking the wicket of Jonny Bairstow

Packing a punch: Imran Tahir celebrates taking the wicket of Jonny Bairstow

Take that: Graeme Swann helped himself to a couple of sixes as England battled

Take that: Graeme Swann helped himself to a couple of sixes as England battled

Warrington 50 Bradford 22: Mick Potter considers exit

Warrington 50 Bradford 22: Do or die for Bulls as Potter feels pinch

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UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 29 July 2012

Mick Potter admitted he will be forced to walk away from Bradford if a rescue deal is not concluded early this week.

Potter has been working on a voluntary basis for Bradford’s last three games, but conceded that he can no longer afford to work for nothing after this nine-try defeat.

Potter said: 'It's nearly that time. We’re coming to the point where everyone needs to make a call.

Blown away: Warrington thrashed crisis club Bradford

Blown away: Warrington thrashed crisis club Bradford

'I think it's coming to a climax as far as the people who are talking to the RFL and the administrators, so it’s coming to a head all round.

'A decision will be made formally as to what’s happening, and then I can go from there. It won’t be too far in the distant future.'

Two different parties are believed to be interested in buying the crisis-hit club, but the RFL have already rejected an offer from the ‘ABC Consortium’ after declaring conditions attached to the deal as ‘unacceptable’.

Potter said: ‘I know they’ve been speaking over the weekend and I imagine it’s a priority for the RFL and for Bradford. I’m an optimistic person and I’m hopeful, but I honestly don’t know what’s going on.

‘I’ve had two brief conversations with both (consortia). I’m hopeful, but we’ll wait and see. It’s not right for me to talk about those conversations, but touch wood something positive will happen for Bradford.’

There was little that was positive about this performance from the Bulls, who trailed 32-0 before half time after Warrington made a sensational start.

The emotion that has carried Bradford in recent weeks appeared to run dry during a four-try, nine-minute spell inside the first quarter that killed off any hopes of a shock away win.

With Brett Hodgson rested, Stefan Ratchford took his chance at full back with a superb four-try haul. Wolves’ assistant coach Richard Marshall said: ‘Stefan’s found his feet there. He contributed really well, and not just with his tries.’

Former Australia winger Joel Monaghan got Warrington off to a flyer when he touched down from Rhys Evans’ pass inside the first minute.

Further scores from Richie Myler, Chris Riley and Simon Grix complemented Ratchford’s first two tries as the hosts built a 32-6 half-time lead.

Bradford rallied through Danny Addy (two), Elliott Whitehead and Karl Pryce, but David Solomona kept the Wolves ticking over before Ratchford claimed his third and fourth.

Premier League sell TV rights for 3 billion to BT and Sky

BT barge in on Sky's deal as Premier League TV rights sell for 3BILLION

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UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 13 June 2012

The Premier League have sold the domestic broadcast rights for 2013-16 for 3.018billion to BSkyB and BT.

Sky have bought five of the seven available packages for the seasons 2013/14 to 2015/16, totalling 116 matches per year while BT have 38.

BT have acquired the rights for 32 matches in the first season of the deal but their package includes 18 of the 38 first-choice picks, which means some of the biggest games will theirs.

It is currently unknown how BT will go about screening their games, but it is possible they could set up their own TV channel as well as providing online coverage.

Winners: BT have managed to secure some massive matches

Winners: BT have managed to secure some massive matches

The Premier League have secured a remarkable 1.254billion increase on the current deal, which is shared between Sky and ESPN.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore revealed the thrilling climax to the recent season, when Manchester City won the title in injury time on the last day, contributed to the increase.

'We have just come off the back of a fantastic season and it has been good for us,' Scudamore said.

'We went to the market at the right time. It was a very competitive process which if you are selling is a very good thing.'

WHO GOT WHAT

Sky have 116 matches per year and 20 of the 38 first choice picks in 2013-14.

BT have 38 per year, but 32 in the first season of the deal. They have 18 first choice picks in 2013-14.

In a statement on the Premier League website, Scudamore, said: 'The Barclays Premier League continues to provide excellent football and enthralling drama as we saw last season. The value this drives for our rights holders is evident and we are extremely pleased that this has been realised for our UK live rights.

'As ever, the security provided by broadcast revenues will enable our clubs to continue to invest in all aspects of their football activities and plan sustainably for the foreseeable future. This deal allows them to keep delivering what fans want; top quality football in some of world’s best club stadia and an increasing focus on and commitment to areas such as Youth Development.

'The continuing support of BSkyB for Premier League football is significant beyond the revenues delivered; the longevity and quality of their commitment has done much for the English game as a whole. We are very happy to see this relationship maintained for another three seasons.

Excitement: The drama of last season influenced the huge price

Excitement: The drama of last season influenced the huge price

'We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner. They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infra-structure development. They are clearly investing in quality content to use on their platforms and when combined with the reach and pull of Premier League football they will deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition.

'These are exciting times for both the football and media worlds and we should all be proud of the value both industries contribute to the UK culturally and economically.

'I would also like to place on record the Premier League's thanks to the numerous other highly credible bidders that showed such interest in the live UK rights.'

More to follow.

Petr Cech signs new four-year deal at Chelsea

Champions League hero Cech rewarded with new four-year deal at Chelsea

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UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 28 May 2012

Chelsea's Champions League hero Petr Cech has signed a new four-year contract.

The Czech keeper, who joined the club in 2004, has already played more games for Chelsea than any overseas player – 369 appearances which has seen him win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two Carling Cups plus the Champions League after a penalty shoot-out.

Cech said: 'I am really happy to be part of this great club for another four years.

Influence: Petr Cech helped Chelsea win the Champions League this month

Influence: Petr Cech helped Chelsea win the Champions League this month

Hands on the big one: Cech finally managed to get his hands on the Champions League trophy

Hands on the big one: Cech finally managed to get his hands on the Champions League trophy

'I hope the next four years will be as successful as the last eight years I have been at the club.'

Cech, 30, made a series of crucial saves in Chelsea's victorious FA Cup and Champions League campaigns last season.

He saved Arjen Robben's penalty in extra time in the European competition final against Bayern Munich and two more in the shoot-out.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “Chelsea fully appreciates the highly significant contribution Petr has made to the most successful period in the club's history, and it is very important to our aim of continuing this level of achievement that he has committed himself to the club until 2016.

'It is clear to anyone who watched the climax to the season just completed that Petr continues to perform as well as any goalkeeper in the world.'

Over the course of his Chelsea career Cech has kept 178 clean sheets, an astonishing 48 per cent games he has played in.

Jermain Defoe: Tottenham must regroup for Champions League push

Dust yourselves down and regroup for final Champions League push, Defoe tells Spurs

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UPDATED:

13:42 GMT, 10 April 2012

Jermain Defoe has told his Tottenham team-mates to forget about the slump against Norwich and regroup before their Champions League dream slips away.

Spurs are now under huge pressure to hang onto a spot in the top four despite looking odds-on for much of the season to claim a place in Europe's top tier next term.

Easter Monday's 2-1 home defeat to Norwich left Harry Redknapp's side two points behind Arsenal in third and scrapping with Newcastle and Chelsea to finish in fourth place.

Hanging on: Spurs are clinging to fourth spot after losing at home on Monday

Hanging on: Spurs are clinging to fourth spot after losing at home on Monday

An FA Cup semi-final against the Blues looms next for Spurs on Saturday before the Premier League reaches its climax. And Defoe urged his pals at White Hart Lane to rekindle their early-season form before it's too late.

Defoe told the club's official website: 'In the second half the game got stretched, the game got open and they created a lot of chances, it was a frustrating day.

Consolation: Jermain Defoe (left) hit the target in the defeat to Norwich

Consolation: Jermain Defoe (left) hit the target in the defeat to Norwich

'In games like this it's important to get the second goal and Gareth hit the crossbar and we had one or two chances in the box, but it just didn't fall for us.

'I think it's important to regroup now and everyone has to stick together. We've had a fantastic season and we just need to think about how we've played before to win games.

'We've got to keep working hard, there are so many important games to play. We just need to try and get as many points as we can.

'We've just got to keep it going and try and forget about this result.'