Tag Archives: communications

Big freeze hits sport again

Big freeze hits sport again as football fixtures loses more matches and Cheltenham waits on Saturday's show

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

12:25 GMT, 25 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:07 GMT, 26 January 2013

Cheltenham’s big Saturday meeting featuring key Festival trials has passed its Friday inspection but is still subject to a 7am check tomorrow as the track continue to hedge their bets.

No problems are anticipated but the possibility of switching the meeting to Sunday has been retained should unexpected weather hit the track.

A number of football fixtures have also fallen victim to the frozen weather (see below).

Snow joke: The Cheltenham Trials meeting is under threat

Snow joke: The Cheltenham Trials meeting is under threat

Snow joke: The Cheltenham Trials meeting is under threat
Postponed football matches

npower League 1
Tranmere v Swindon

npower League 2
Bradford v Wycombe

Blue Square Bet Premier
Alfreton Town v Tamworth
Hyde v Ebbsfleet United

Kidderminster Harriers v Woking

Scottish Second Division
Albion v Stenhousemuir
Brechin v Queen of South

Scottish Third Division
Annan Athletic v Peterhead
East Stirling v Clyde
Elgin v Queen's Park

The circuit has been cleared of snow but some is expected to hit the course this afternoon being followed by rain.

Cheltenham communications manager Andy Clifton said: 'The course is fit to race and we will be taking the covers off this afternoon, but we have called a precautionary check for 7am.

'The situation is that we are forecast a little bit of snow around teatime today which is then due to be followed by a band of rain.

'Given the more severe weather which is forecast across the country later today, we felt it prudent to call a precautionary inspection just in case our local forecasts are wrong.

'If the forecast is right, which they
have largely been this week, I think we might be able to give the
meeting the go-ahead before 7am tomorrow. If the forecast is right, we
would be extremely confident of racing tomorrow.

Trainers will be required to declare their horses for Saturday and then declare them again for Sunday.

Inspection: Officials will look at the track at 7am on Saturday

Inspection: Officials will look at the track at 7am on Saturday

Clifton added: 'The whole point of us
having that ghost card, even though we are confident of racing, was to
give us the option of Sunday. If there is some unexpected problem
overnight, we have the option to wait until Sunday.'

Cheltenham’s
card features a Gold Cup trial in the Argento Chase and the Victor
Chandler Chase in which unbeaten chaser Sprinter Sacre runs.

Inspection: Officials will look at the track at 7am on Saturday

Hard at work: Groundstaff clear snow off the track on Friday

Hard at work: Groundstaff clear snow off the track on Friday

Hard at work: Groundstaff clear snow off the track on Friday

A few football matches have been postponed because of the freezing conditions.

In League One, the match at Prenton Park between Tranmere Rovers and Swindon Town has been called off, as has the League Two game between Bradford City and Wycombe.

In the Conference, the matches at Alfreton, Hyde and Kidderminster are off, while only one match in Conference North – Worcester City v Histon – has survived.

In the Conference South, the games at Billericay Town, Boreham Wood and Maidenhead United have been postponed.

Five games in Scotland are off as things stand – in the second division at Albion Rovers and Brechin, and in the third division at Annan, East Stirling and Elgin City.

Arsenal and Emirates sign new commercial deal worth 150million

Now will you spend, Arsene Gunners sign new 150m deal with Emirates for shirt and stadium rights

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UPDATED:

13:59 GMT, 23 November 2012

Arsenal's transfer coffers have been boosted by the announcement the club have agreed a new 150 million shirt deal with Emirates.

And the club's chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains the deal with is 'all about football'.

Emirates are to extend their shirt partnership until the end of the 2018/2019 season, while also continuing with naming rights on the Gunners' 60,000-seater stadium at Ashburton Grove until 2028. The 30m-a-year contract represents a significant increase in additional revenue for the Barclays Premier League club, who have not won a trophy since 2005.

Get shirty: Arsenal will keep their shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates until 2019

Get shirty: Arsenal will keep their shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates until 2019

Gazidis insists the funds will be ploughed back into Arsene Wenger's squad.

He said: 'The deal is all about
football. It is all about giving us the resources in what we believe is a
responsible and well managed way, to be able to invest in what we put
onto the pitch for our fans.'

'We have been able to talk to
Emirates about the payment terms and bring some of them forwards, so
that we will have additional money in this financial year which will be
able to invest in the summer.

'Those decisions on investment are
made by our manager, and he has done an outstanding job of managing the
resources of the club over time, and we expect that to continue, but he
will have more resources available.'

Emirates is also an official partner of the FIFA World Cup, and have a wide-ranging sports portfolio.

Head of Emirates' corporate
communications Boutros Boutros feels the new deal with Arsenal can help
them achieve success on the pitch again.

'Arsenal are becoming a truly global club, so for us in itself, this is winning,' he said.

'We would love them to win and we
hope this amount of money we are paying now will help them to invest
more and hopefully with Financial Fair Play as well, we strongly believe
the club is in a strong position now to excel.'

Home of football: The stadium in N5 will remain known as Emirates Stadium

Home of football: The stadium in N5 will remain known as Emirates Stadium

Shopping spree Arsene Wenger

Shopping spree Arsene Wenger

Many of Arsenal's commercial deals
tied with helping the club move from Highbury in 2005 are close to their
renewal date – including the current shirt manufacturer contract with
Nike, which is up in 2014.

Gazidis added: 'Our strategy, which
has been driven and supported by [owner] Stan Kroenke and our board, is
to grow our commercial revenues so we can have more money to invest in
the playing side to drive the club forwards.

'That has been part of a long
journey, the move to the new stadium was the first step in that journey,
the expansion of our commercial deals is the next step.

'This is as dramatic as the move to the new stadium was in driving the club forwards.

'Our revenues will grow to put us in
the top five clubs in the world, and that will give us the platform to
reinvest in the team, and push the team forwards – that is what we all
want, the board, our fans and everyone who loves Arsenal.'

Jen Chang sacked by Liverpool

SACKED: The PR man brought in to boost Liverpool's image pays price for string of threats over spoof Twitter account

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UPDATED:

15:34 GMT, 16 November 2012

Why Chang had to go…

Scroll down to read Charles Sale's verdict on the mess at Liverpool

Liverpool's controversial communications director Jen Chang has left the club following the Twitter storm with spoof blogger 'Duncan Jenkins'.

The club were forced to apologise to Jenkins, real name Sean Cummins, for the 'inappropriate actions' of Chang, after they met in a Manchester restaurant.

Chang was tipped to leave his post earlier this week in Charles Sale's Sports Agenda column.

Axed: Liverpool's communications director Jen Chang has left the club

Axed: Liverpool's communications director Jen Chang has left the club

Meeting: Chang and Cummins pictured on CCTV at the Manchester restaurant

Meeting: Chang and Cummins pictured on CCTV at the Manchester restaurant

A club statement read: 'Jen Chang has left Liverpool Football Club by mutual consent and has returned to the US for family reasons,” said a Liverpool spokesman.

'Jen brought a fresh perspective to the overall communications function through the use of a variety of media channels, including social media and blogs.

'He reviewed and refocused the Liverpool Ladies and created a new impetus in relation to their structure, organisation and future playing strategy.

'We would like to thank Jen for his contribution to Liverpool Football Club during his time here and wish him well in his future career back in the US.

'Jen would like to thank everyone he has worked with during his time at Liverpool for their support and respect and wishes the club every success.'

Chang wrongly believed inside information used by Cummins on Twitter had been fed to him by an Anfield mole.

Enlarge

Exclusive: Sportsmail's Charles Sale revealed Chang's return was in doubt earlier this week

Exclusive: Sportsmail revealed Chang's return was in doubt earlier this week

Cummins pointed out that all his information was lifted from fans' forums.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2225347/Liverpool-apologise-Sean-Cummins-Duncan-Jenkins-threats-Jen-Chang.html#ixzz2COjG1nRd

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The fan then alleged in a blog that Chang made a series of threats to him, which included revoking his shared season ticket.

After accusing Cummins of costing the
club 300,000 extra in the Fabio Borini transfer from Roma this summer
because of 'information' posted on the Jenkins Twitter feed, Cummins pointed out that all his information was lifted from fans' forums.

It is then alleged that Chang demanded he tweet under the fake account to 'confess' there was no mole and the whole account was made up.

After Cummins complained, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre spoke to both men before apologising for Chang’s error.

In his letter to Cummins he wrote: ‘I acknowledge some of the elements you highlight were not appropriate. I would therefore like to apologise to you on behalf of Liverpool FC, for any upset and distress this caused you.’

'Clearly it is not appropriate for me to comment on how the club is managing this internally, and I trust you understand this.'

Chang has been in New York sorting out
the family home after Hurricane Sandy.

Why Chang had to go, by Charles Sale

Charles Sale

Jen Chang’s departure from Liverpool was inevitable ever since the communications director’s highly ill-advised harassment of fan Sean Cummins was made public.

The only surprise is that it has taken so long for his exit to be announced, especially after an investigation into the incident by managing director Ian Ayre led to the club writing a letter of apology to Cummins for the inappropriate actions of the club official.

The club statement today mentions Chang leaving by mutual consent and returning to the United States for family reasons.

But earlier in the week Chang was said to have gone to New York only to sort out the family home after the power loss caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Liverpool, whose PR has been a mess ever since the Luis Suarez racism saga was handled so badly inside Anfield, now cannot afford to appoint another communications chief as patently unsuited for the post as Chang.

And the fact that Chang was yet to relocate his wife and children from America to Merseyside suggests he had his doubts about his long-term future at Anfield as well.

The signs that Chang would never be the right fit for Liverpool were evident before he joined the club.

The ex-journalist’s last article for Sports Illustrated before starting his spin doctor responsibilities at Anfield was a glowing tribute to the way Everton manager David Moyes utilises performance data.

Liverpool apologise to Sean Cummins over Duncan Jenkins threats by Jen Chang

Red-faced Liverpool forced to say sorry over Chang's threats against man behind infamous fake Twitter account

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UPDATED:

17:39 GMT, 30 October 2012

Liverpool have been forced into issuing a humbling apology to fan Sean Cummins, the creator of spoof journalist 'Duncan Jenkins' after he was threatened by communications director Jen Chang.

Chang met with Cummins after believing he was tweeting inside information leaked to him through a mole at the club.

But managing director Ian Ayre has now apologised for the distress caused but did not disclose whether Chang will be punished by the club.

Threats: Liverpool's director of communications Jen Chang (right)

Threats: Liverpool's director of communications Jen Chang (right)

SPORTSMAIL SAYS…

Martin Samuel: Chang should know using the supporters as muscle is a dangerous abuse of power

Ironically, Chang was brought to the club to improve its image after they were widely criticised for the handling of the Luis Suarez race row last season.

Ayre, who met Cummins for a second time on Tuesday, writes in the letter published by Sporting Intelligence: 'Based on everything I have heard and seen, including information provided by the parties involved in the matter, I acknowledge some of the elements you highlight were not appropriate.

'I would therefore like to apologise to you on behalf of Liverpool FC, for any upset and distress this caused you.

Take a seat: Jen Chang met 'Duncan Jenkins' in Manchester after believing there was a mole in Anfield

Take a seat: Jen Chang met 'Duncan Jenkins' in Manchester after believing there was a mole in Anfield

'Clearly it is not appropriate for me to comment on how the club is managing this internally, and I trust you understand this.'

Cummins, describing himself as a 'perspiring football journo', pretended to have inside knowledge about transfers at Anfield.

Chang set up a meeting with Cummins at
the Evuna restaurant in Manchester in August – but Cummins alleges this
was the start of the meltdown in the relations between the pair.

Apology: Ian Ayre

duncan jenkins twitter profile image

Apology: Ian Ayre has admitted Chang was in the wrong when he met spoof journalist 'Duncan Jenkins' (right)

The blogger claimed Chang demanded to know who his alleged mole was but Cummins pointed out that all his information was lifted from fans’ forums.

After accusing Cummins of costing the club 300,000 extra in the Fabio Borini transfer from Roma this summer because of ‘information’ posted on the Jenkins Twitter feed, it is then alleged that Chang demanded he tweet under the fake account to ‘confess’ there was no mole and the whole account was made up.

Chang described the allegations about threats made at the meeting as ‘fictitious nonsense’.

London 2012 Olympics cycling: Britain will keep gold despite Philip Hindes crash admission

IOC confirm Britain will keep cycling gold despite Hindes deliberate crash admission

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UPDATED:

10:58 GMT, 3 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
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The International Olympic Committee
have said Britain's gold medal in men's team sprint will stand despite
Philip Hindes admitting he deliberately crashed.

Hindes,
Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny beat France in the final in a world
record of 42.6sec, but the 19-year-old said afterwards he had
crashed on purpose during the heats allowing the race to be restarted.

Scroll down for video

Fall guy: Hindes sprawls on the track

Fall guy: Philip Hindes sprawls on the track

IOC communications director Mark Adams said there was no reason to question the result.

Asked if the IOC would be looking at
the result, Adams said: ‘At present there are no plans to do so. Our
view is that people were not deprived of a contest.

‘I have spoken to the UCI and they
obviously aware of the situation. At at this stage they don't see any
reason to question the result and neither do we.’

A spokesperson for cycling's world governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said: 'We do not have any reason to question the result of the race.'

France, who finished second to Britain in the three-man, three-lap team sprint, hoped the incident might result in a rule change in future, but any discussion over rule changes would have to wait until the end of the Olympic period.

This would also cover the women's team sprint, which saw Britain's Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish relegated for a takeover infringement and ruled out of the gold medal ride-off, before China's Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang were relegated in the final, despite being the quickest team, for a similar offence – failing to change over within the required period of track, which is marked by a thin strip of white tape.

Moment of controversy: Philip Hindes veers off the track as he leads off Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy

Moment of controversy: Hindes veers off the track

China had to settle for silver as Germany's Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte, who had advanced third fastest behind China and Britain, were awarded gold.

France coach Florian Rousseau said cycling's international governing body must now re-examine its regulations to prevent future controversy blighting the sport.

WHAT THE RULES SAY

The regulations of cycling's international governing body (UCI) refer to a team being given a restart 'in the event of a mishap'.

The word 'mishap' is not specifically defined but it is generally accepted that this refers to some sort of mechanical failure, not a fresh attempt if the team has simply made a poor start to their race.

The actions of Philip Hindes, however, means the rules may need looking at and the French Cycling Federation were quick to suggest as much in the immediate aftermath of last night's controversy.

THE RULE IN FULL FROM UCI – Cycling Regulations Team Sprint section 3.2.154 Qualifying rounds: In the event of a mishap, the team must restart at the end of the qualifying rounds.

Any team which may have been hindered by a mishap to its opponents may, by decision of the commissaires' panel, be granted a restart at the end of the qualifying rounds. In the qualifying rounds a team may only be permitted two starts.

Rousseau accepted the final outcome but said Hindes' ploy was a poor example of Olympic spirit.
He said: 'There was no cheating. The
British team was much stronger than the French team and I congratulate
them on their success.

'However, I do think the rules need
to be more precise so we don't find ourselves in an identical situation
at another Olympic Games.

'The fact that he (Hindes) did it on
purpose is not very good for the image of cycling. We must reflect on
how we can adapt the rules so that does not happen again in future.'

Rousseau said he would be speaking to
the ICU to discuss the matter and suggested there was a 'strong chance'
the regulations could be modified in the wake of Thursday night's
furore.

Hindes picked himself up off the
track after a poor start in qualifying, and the 19-year-old German-born
rider, who joined British Cycling's academy in October 2010, said his
crash was a deliberate ploy.

He said: 'We were saying if we have a
bad start we need to crash to get a restart. I just crashed, I did it
on purpose to get a restart, just to have the fastest ride. I did it. So
it was all planned'

British Cycling later suggested Hindes' comments were 'lost in
translation' from a man who began learning English only after moving to
Manchester to train at the velodrome, while the International Cycling
Union confirmed the result was not in question.

There was no rule to govern the incident and no appeal is possible, with France accepting the final outcome. However, France later said they were aware the crash was deliberate and called for a change in the rules, saying they were bitter about losing the final.

Controversy: Hindes on the floor after his fall

Controversy: Hindes on the floor after his fall

Hindes of Great Britain (R) suffers a mechanical

FRENCH BITTER OVER SCANDAL

France's track team chief Isabelle Gautheron said: 'It's pretty obvious from the pictures that Hindes crashed to get the restart. There is nothing in the rules to sanction such an action. But now he's come out and said it, I hope the authorities consider making a change to the rules. We're still bitter to have lost the final.'

In the post-race press conference,
Hindes went back on his earlier claim, saying: 'No. I just went out the
gate and just lost control, just fell down. My back wheel slipped and
totally lost control and then I couldn't handle the bike any more.'

Hoy had earlier acted emotionally after winning his fifth gold,
emulating the haul of Sir Steve Redgrave. With tears filling his eyes,
fighting to keep his emotions in check on the podium after leading the
British team to victory on the first night of action in the Velodrome.

Hoy said: 'I always felt my win in Athens was the most memorable when I
became Olympic champion. That was my lifetime's ambition and to achieve
that I never thought I would top that feeling. That was until tonight
when I crossed the line and heard the roar from the crowd. I didn't need
to look at the scoreboard, I knew we'd won the race. 'It was such a
physically demanding day in terms of having three rides so close to each
other, I had to put every ounce of effort into that last ride.

'It's the most memorable gold medal of my career and it's just fantastic to be able to give a little back to the crowd who have been so significant in the British performances so far.

On the podium: Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy

On the podium: Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy

'You get goose bumps when you cross
the line or when you step into the Velodrome and feel the anticipation
and the atmosphere. It's like nothing else and it's such a privilege.
It's not easy to put into words how happy I am right now. I've been to
four Olympic Games now and I think it's been the greatest Games so far,
although I'm a little bit biased.

'It's so much more pleasing when you can come together and all get it
right in a team event, even more so than an individual event, but I've
never suffered like I did on that third lap. That was horrible. Jason
was phenomenal on the second lap and I barely hanged on to him.

'I was just trying not to cry like a big baby on the podium. It's a
very emotional feeling on any Olympic podium but in front of your home
crowd it's hard to put into words how much it means.'

Hoy refused to accept he is the equal of Redgrave, insisting the
rower's feat of winning golds at five successive Games will never be
matched.

Sealed with a kiss: Hoy and his wife Sarra

Sealed with a kiss: Hoy and his wife Sarra

He added: 'To be mentioned in the same sentence as Sir Steve Redgrave, you've got to pinch yourself because I watched him win all his five gold medals and I used to do a bit of rowing at school as well so I have an interest in that sport.

'It's an honour to be mentioned alongside him but what he's achieved will never be bettered in terms of five consecutive Games. You can't put into words the respect he has from all athletes.

'It's very kind that people are still talking about me and him in the same sentence.'

Hoy's elation was in stark contrasts to the despair of Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish, who qualified for the women's team sprint final but were disqualified because Pendleton had gone ahead of her team-mate too early.

A distraught Varnish left the Velodrome within seconds of the decision being confirmed. Her Olympics are over, while Pendleton does at least have two more events in which to ride, beginning today in the keirin.

Pendleton said: 'It's a split-second mistake. I take responsibility entirely for the error and I'm devastated for Jess. We've practised the changeover a thousand times and I haven't got any explanation for why it happened. We're talking about hundredths of a second. The one thing I can take from it is I was going faster in those rides than I have ever gone.'

He's done it again: The crowd go wild as Hoy wins his fifth gold

He's done it again: The crowd go wild as Hoy wins his fifth gold

Record breaker: An exhausted Hoy celebrates with coach Shane Sutton at the side of the Velodrome track after his triumph in the Men's Team Sprint Track final

Record breaker: An exhausted Hoy celebrates with coach Shane Sutton at the side of the Velodrome track after his triumph in the Men's Team Sprint Track final

VIDEO: Philip Hindes amazed by his gold medal insists he crashed…

DM.has('rcpv1768858190001','BCVideo');

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley Twitter troll arrested

Daley Twitter troll arrested after global campaign in the wake of Olympic agony

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UPDATED:

07:34 GMT, 31 July 2012

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A 17-year-old has been arrested in Weymouth after malicious tweets were sent to Olympic diver Tom Daley on Monday.

Dorset Police said the teenager was held at a guesthouse hours after 18-year-old Daley received the messages on social networking site Twitter.

A police spokeswoman said: 'A 17-year-old man was arrested by Dorset Police officers in the early hours this morning at a guesthouse in the Weymouth area on suspicion of malicious communications. He is currently helping police with their inquiries.'

Daley and his Team GB diving partner
Pete Waterfield missed out on a medal when they finished fourth in the
men's synchronised 10m platform diving event at the Olympics.

Shortly afterwards, Daley retweeted a
message from user Rileyy69 which said: 'You let your dad down i hope you
know that.' Daley responded by tweeting: 'After giving it my all… you
get idiots sending me this…'

Annoyed: Tom Daley hit out at the Twitter troll

Annoyed: Tom Daley hit out at the Twitter troll

The Olympian's father Rob died last year from brain cancer.

Speaking before the Olympics, Daley revealed that his father 'gave me all the inspiration that I've needed'.

The teenager, from Plymouth in Devon, told the BBC: 'Winning a medal would make all the struggles that I've had worthwhile. It's been my dream since a very young age to compete at an Olympics.

'I'm doing it for myself and my dad. It was both our dreams from a very young age. I always wanted to do it and Dad was so supportive of everything. It would make it extra special to do it for him.'

When news of the insensitive tweet spread, Rileyy69 attempted to apologise.

Edged out: Daley and partner Peter Waterfield finished in fourth

Edged out: Daley and partner Peter Waterfield finished in fourth

He tweeted: '@TomDaley1994 I'm sorry
mate i just wanted you to win cause its the olympics I'm just annoyed we
didn't win I'm sorry tom accept my apology.'

He later added: 'please i don't want
to be hated I'm just sorry you didn't win i was rooting for you pal to
do britain all proud just so upset.'

Deputy Mayor of the Olympic Village
Duncan Goodhew, a gold and bronze medallist in swimming at the Moscow
Olympics in 1980, described the behaviour of the Twitter troll as
'appalling'.

'It is appalling that people behave
that way. Becky Adlington, in fact, suffered probably far worse abuse,
as well, if you remember the kerfuffle some years ago,' he told ITV's
Daybreak.

'I suppose that social media in one
sense is fantastic, but turned the wrong way round it is very, very
personal and it destroys people's lives. So I think people should be
much more careful about what they say.'

Sorry: Waterfield (right) apologised to Daley after a bad dive

Sorry: Waterfield (right) apologised to Daley after a bad dive

Too much: The pair made it too hard for themselves on the last dive

Too much: The pair made it too hard for themselves on the last dive


Disappointment: The duo leave the pool afterwards

Disappointment: The duo leave the pool afterwards

How Twitter has conquered sport

Sir Alex thinks it's a waste of time but Rio disagrees… how Twitter conquered sport

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 1 July 2012

We have tweeted our way through a World Cup and Euro 2012 and, in 25 days’ time, we will experience the inaugural ‘Twitter Olympics’.

At a time when some athletes operate on a financial plane so alien to most, their stream of 140-character messages make them seem more accessible than ever.

Like it or not, Twitter has taken a powerful hold on sport: it’s the way many of us watch, listen, cover, read about and debate it. Sir Alex Ferguson may consider it a ‘waste of time’, but its influence has become impossible to ignore.

Main men: Lewis Hamilton and Rio Ferdinand are both avid tweeters

Main men: Lewis Hamilton and Rio Ferdinand are both avid tweeters

Fernando Torres’ goal for Chelsea at the Nou Camp last season prompted a record 13,684 tweets per second as millions of people all over the world discussed Barcelona’s exit from the Champions League. Manchester City connected fans using the hashtag ‘#together’ as they won the Premier League title.

It feels very different to having a chat with your mates in the pub but the network is just another platform for people with similar interests. National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern calls Twitter the ‘digital water cooler’ but its novelty is that you will probably never meet most of the people with whom you are exchanging views. Some would argue this is a little bit sad — a social network that requires no social skills — but others revel in Twitter’s power to connect.

This is why England players were not banned from tweeting during Euro 2012 and the British Olympic Association have told athletes to let their ‘personality shine through’ in a set of social media guidelines for the Games. The BOA have also advised that ‘correct spelling and grammar where possible’ may not be the worst idea.

Stuart Mawhinney, senior communications manager at the FA, said: ‘Other nations were saying no social networking (during the Euros) but we wanted our players to be open, positive and engage. It might only take 10 minutes but it can touch millions of people.’

This is my life: Lance Armstrong (left) reveals all about his lunch

This is my life: Lance Armstrong (left) reveals all about his lunch

When the first tweet was posted in March 2006, little did we think that, six years later, we would have a former England captain giving us his instant reaction to ITV’s This Morning. But Rio Ferdinand did just that a few weeks ago.

The Manchester United defender, 33, is as likely to share his love of crunchy apples or EastEnders as his thoughts on the FA’s new blueprint for coaching with his near three million followers. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong once tweeted about having lentil soup and salad Nicoise for his evening meal.

‘Why should we care’ is the obvious response. It plays to these high-profile athletes’ egos but their willingness to share the mundane, everyday details of their lives seems to narrow the gap between them and us. They are normal, after all. You might have been on the sofa watching the Eurovision Song Contest but so was Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Lewis Wiltshire, Twitter’s head of sport for the UK, said: ‘Never before have fans had such direct access to their sporting heroes. Athletes answer questions, respond to “good luck” wishes, talk to fellow players and share behind-the-scenes perspectives. Twitter helps fans get to know athletes.’

Nothing to say David Beckham has yet to take to the world of Twitter

Nothing to say David Beckham has yet to take to the world of Twitter

Some, however, would prefer to keep their sporting heroes on their pedestals. Jack Wilshere had a whinge about the cost of nappies, milk and food for his son, Archie, and was immediately harangued for being ‘out of touch’. The Arsenal midfielder has since closed his account and called in police after accusations he had taken cocaine.

‘It’s a nightmare,’ said one communications expert. ‘Your clients need to have a presence on social media but you have to be very careful. Do we really want to spoil the illusion by telling people this famous sports star is popping out for a pint of milk You need to strike a balance.’

The most notable Twitter absentee is David Beckham. He has a Facebook page, which has attracted 19.4million ‘likes’, but leaves his wife, Victoria, to engage with her 3.9million Twitter followers.

Beckham has thought about joining, but lacks the time and inclination to commit to it properly. His four children and age — Victoria tweeted a picture of his cake for his 37th birthday in May — also mean he is less likely to join than, for example, Lewis Hamilton or Andy Murray, who are not fathers of four and have grown up with social media.

Yet Hamilton and Murray have ensured rocky relationships with Twitter. It can be time-consuming and distracting. Both have also encountered abuse, ranging from people accusing Murray of not ‘being British’ to sick messages about the tragedy in Dunblane, from where he hails. Murray was eight when Thomas Hamilton burst into his primary school and killed 16 children and a teacher.

Dark side: Andy Murray has suffered abuse over the Dunblane shootings

Dark side: Andy Murray has suffered abuse over the Dunblane shootings

The Scot told ShortList magazine: ‘There’s a lot of negativity and people can say anything. But if they saw you the next day they wouldn’t walk up and say what they said online. I don’t understand people going on there just to slam others.’

This slamming, though, is impossible to ignore if you look at your ‘mentions’ to respond to fans’ questions. Stan Collymore regularly flags up racist abuse he receives, Everton midfielder Darron Gibson closed his account after two hours and Sportsmail’s David Lloyd had a prolonged sabbatical after getting fed up with all the expletives.

After England’s Euro 2012 exit, the FA criticised the ‘appalling and unacceptable’ abuse directed at Ashley Young and Ashley Cole. Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington spoke of her anger and frustration at internet trolls making hurtful comments about her appearance. You can understand Beckham thinking: ‘Why should I bother’

One source said: ‘They will get heightened praise and there’s a heightened level of vitriol, neither of which are healthy. Twitter needs to do more to moderate abuse and find a way to block users permanently.’

Yet athletes continue to set up accounts. So is it just another tool to line their pockets It is not uncommon to see a wily PR girl’s enthusiastic endorsement on a client’s Twitter page. Liverpool’s feed featured birthday wishes for captain Steven Gerrard in French and Thai ‘to communicate with #LFC fans across the world’. Andrew Flintoff often uses Twitter to promote his latest TV venture.

Free speech: Mark Cavendish (right) will not be told what to tweet about

Free speech: Mark Cavendish (right) will not be told what to tweet about

Phil Hall, chairman of PR agency PHA Media, said: ‘I think Twitter has huge commercial benefit. Look at the following some of the guys have: there’s a great opportunity for products and sponsors.’

But it’s a fine line. Plug too many products and you lose what is behind Twitter’s success: the feeling that two people, probably strangers, are speaking directly to each other. This is why 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Mark Cavendish has vowed never to ‘commercialise’ his site.

‘I won’t ever let anyone tell me what to write,’ said Cavendish. ‘Everything is just me. The accessibility appealed to me. Cycling is a sport where you can touch the athletes. You’re not in an arena watching these gladiators. I got benefit from it because, with the trappings and success when you’re young, you can get a bad reputation. But Twitter takes out any middle ground. You can say what you want, when you want.’

This, however, can get you into trouble. Sponsorship deals have been lost and hundreds of thousands of pounds paid in fines as athletes have tweeted ill-advised messages in the heat of the moment. American National Football League players are banned from using social media from 90 minutes before a game until post-match interviews are complete. The instant, unfiltered nature of Twitter is an integral part of its success but could also be its downfall.

Abuse: Rebecca Adlington

Abuse: Rebecca Adlington

One FA employee described Twitter as ‘a growing headache’. The organisation are responsible for educating the players in the national sides, particularly the youth teams, and for disciplining those who step out of line. The FA also have their own feed, which has 190,000 followers.

Mawhinney said: ‘There are a growing number of young players who are joining without really understanding its reach. Some have had to learn the hard way but there’s now a sense among players Twitter is something you need to be aware of in the same way as giving a press conference.’

Yet football managers, mindful of the risk of players revealing injuries or discussing team selection or transfers, remain resistant to its charms. ‘Twitter is dangerous,’ said Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew.

Few managers have accounts. They do not have the time, while the potential to misinterpret a view written in 140 characters is huge. There is also a generational gap — in terms of technology and the usefulness of social media — between player and coach. One footballer mentioned the freedom Twitter gives: it feels like the one area the boss cannot control.

Perhaps the test of Twitter’s power in sport will be shown if prolific contributors like Ferdinand step into management themselves. Will they still be as keen to engage Or will we have become saturated with these details of daily life, longing for the days when sportsmen and women smiled for the cameras and concentrated on what they do best: winning matches and medals #weshallsee

Top sports stars on Twitter

FIVE GREAT TWITTER STORMS

CARLTON COLE

In March 2010 the West Ham striker joked that the England v Ghana friendly at Wembley was a trap set up by the Government to catch illegal immigrants. When his tweets received a furious backlash he wondered why people were being so sensitive — but later deleted them and was handed a 20,000 fine by the FA.

DARREN BENT

WHEN the striker’s move from Tottenham to Sunderland was stalling he took it upon himself to speed things along by posting a rant aimed at Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. He wrote: ‘Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go Stoke NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland YES. So stop ******* around Levy.’ He later apologised but got the move he wanted.

RORY McILROY

The golfer defended caddie JP Fitzgerald after he was criticised by commentator Jay Townsend, who had mocked McIlroy’s course management since taking on the bagman in 2008. McIlroy tweeted: ‘Shut up. You’re a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!’

Outspoken: Rory McIlroy hit out at commentator Jay Townsend

Outspoken: Rory McIlroy hit out at commentator Jay Townsend

KEVIN PIETERSEN

NOT one for holding his tongue, the England batsman has put out his fair share of Twitter rants. In 2010 he reacted to being dropped from the one-day squad by branding the decision a ‘**** up’. And this May the 32-year-old laid into Sky Sports pundit Nick Knight, who had questioned why KP was in the one-day side.

He wrote: ‘Can somebody please tell me how Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Tests Ridiculous.’ The ECB fined him around 5,000 and said the comments were ‘not helpful’. Sky had just paid the ECB 260million for a four-year TV deal.

STEPHANIE RICE

The Australia swimmer paid the price for posting a homophobic slur after Australia’s rugby union team beat South Africa in September 2010. The triple Olympic gold medallist lost her lucrative sponsorship deal with Jaguar — including a car worth 59,255 — and after severe criticism issued a tearful apology in a press conference.

Jessica Ennis has an apology from race organisers for hurdles shambles

Sorry! Embarrassed race organisers apologise to Ennis for hurdles fiasco

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UPDATED:

15:25 GMT, 21 May 2012

Organisers of the Manchester event in which Jessica Ennis was robbed of a personal best in the 100 metres hurdles by the failure of bungling race officials to put up the correct number of barriers have admitted their embarrassment at the blunder and taken responsibility for it.

Ennis branded the mistake which saw nine hurdles instead of 10 set up for the race at the Powerade Great CityGames on Sunday as a 'massive, massive mess-up'.

The 26-year-old took victory on the raised track on Deansgate in the city centre, but her stunning time of 12.75 seconds was not valid.

Can't catch me: Jessica Ennis (centre) beats Dawn Harper (right) in Manchester

Can't catch me: Jessica Ennis (centre) beats Dawn Harper (right) in Manchester

The heptathlete did not realise at the time there was anything wrong with the race and had done several rounds of interviews before the error was confirmed, with Ennis' fellow multi-eventer Kelly Sotherton one of the first to point it out on Twitter.

Organisers Nova International initially appeared to point the finger at UK Athletics, claiming “human error” from officials from the governing body was to blame, but it is understood UKA did not select the officials for the event.

But Nova today took full responsibility for the mistake.

David Hart, Nova communications director, told Radio Five Live: 'We're embarrassed and disappointed of course.

'We had an incredible day in Manchester yesterday. We had 40,000 people taking part in the Great Manchester Run in the morning and we had a CityGames where we managed to lay 220 metres of perfectly flat track out on Deansgate and then didn't put the last hurdle out for a race, so it's not our proudest moment.

'We've had quite a few post mortems already and I don't think they're finished yet.

'Clearly as organisers of major sporting events it's an unacceptable error and we are disappointed and sorry.

'Nova as organisers take full responsibility for the mistake and I think it's pretty safe to say that mistake won't happen again.'

Foiled: Ennis celebrates her victory but her PB was removed

Foiled: Ennis celebrates her victory but her PB was removed

Ennis, gearing up for her first heptathlon of the Olympic year in Gotzis this weekend, was less than impressed when told the news after the race, saying she felt 'let down', 'annoyed' and 'disappointed'.

It was a contrast to her emotions immediately after the win when she was understandably elated to have beaten two of the best hurdlers in the world, Olympic champion Dawn Harper and world silver medallist Danielle Carruthers.

But her coach Toni Minichiello claimed she was was keen to move on from the incident.

'It's a mistake, nobody's aiming to make mistakes,' he said. 'It's unfortunate but you move on.

'It wasn't a national record, it wasn't even a meeting record. It would have been a personal best for Jess, but it's water under the bridge.'

Hart added: 'We are disappointed and we are very apologetic to the four athletes concerned.

'We are pleased that Jess has accepted our apology.'

Somebody had spotted a tweet from former British number one and Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton, put out within three minutes of seeing the race on television.

Nice to see you, Jessica: Ennis greets the crowd after her victory

Nice to see you, Jessica: Ennis greets the crowd after her victory

'That 100m hurdles was great but I’m sure that there was only nine hurdles, not 10. Please somebody verify,' she tweeted.

Insults were quickly tweeted to Sotherton suggesting she was whinging as she has failed so far to achieve an Olympic qualifying performance in heptathlon.

'People probably feel I am being a cow bag but I feel for the girls in that race,' she tweeted back.

The truth was admitted within 30 minutes, but not before Ennis had given effusive TV, radio and press interviews about her time.

Her consolation was to have taken the scalps of two of the world’s best specialist sprint hurdlers, Olympic champion Dawn Harper and world silver medallist Danielle Carruthers.‘I was obviously coming through at the end, and, stick another hurdle on there, it would have been the same outcome. Next weekend I’ll have to walk down the track and check,' she added.

Ironically, Sotherton had her own nightmare in the build-up to the last Olympics when UKA officials at Crystal Palace put the third hurdles in the wrong place and she had to pull up.

I'll get you next time: Dwain Chambers and Wallace Spearmon after their race

I'll get you next time: Dwain Chambers and Wallace Spearmon after their race

Dwain Chambers received a warm welcome from the packed streets for his first paid race in Britain since 2006 and led after 100 metres in 10.26sec, an improvement on his opening race a week earlier.

But over the full distance of 150 metres he was runner-up to American Wallace Spearmon.

Oscar Pistorius visits Manchester Children"s Hospital

Oscar's winning over the kids… Pistorius visits children in Manchester hospital

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UPDATED:

06:50 GMT, 21 May 2012

With just 100 days to go to London's paralympic games, Oscar Pistorius is a busy man. But the Blade Runner still found time to spend his Sunday morning visiting sick youngsters at the Manchester Children's Hospital.

The 25-year-old 400m runner, who competes at the BT Paralympic World Cup on Tuesday, took his famous artificial running legs into the wards to allow the youngsters a glimpse of what can be possible through adversity.

Pistorius said: 'I spent quite a bit of time in hospital when I was young, I broke so many bones, and it can be quite scary being there for a long time.

'Even this morning, one of the kids saw me and my white shirt and started crying because he thought I was there to give him an injection.

'A lot of them don't know who I am, but whether you are a world-class sprinter, a businessman or someone from down the road, they just like the fact that somebody has taken the time to come and visit them other than their parents. It is nice to do.'

Special visit: Oscar Pistorius at Manchester Children's Hospital on Sunday

Special visit: Oscar Pistorius at Manchester Children's Hospital on Sunday

Oscar Pistorius visits Manchester Children's Hospital

Special guest: Oscar Pistorius at the Manchester Children's Hospital

BT Paralympic World Cup

Oscar Pistorius is a BT Ambassador. BT is the official communications services partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Oscar will be competing at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester on May 22, broadcast on Channel 4. Tickets on sale at: www.btparalympicworldcup.com

Liverpool communications director Ian Cotton axed

Another one bites the dust at Liverpool as communications director is axed

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UPDATED:

07:39 GMT, 11 May 2012

Liverpool's American owners have continued their shake-up of the club's staff by parting company with director of communications Ian Cotton.

The announcement of Cotton's departure follows the axing of director of football Damien Comolli last month as the club look to rebuild after a poor first full season under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group.

Shake-up: Ian Cotton is the latest to leave Liverpool

Shake-up: Ian Cotton is the latest to leave Liverpool

Axed: Comolli left the club last month

Axed: Comolli left the club last month

Managing director Ian Ayre told the club's website: 'We would like to thank Ian for the important contribution he has made to the club during his long career here.

'He has played a key role as a member of the executive team in managing our relationships with key external stakeholders in the media and in the community. We wish Ian every success in his future career.'

Cotton, who officially leaves on May 13 after Sunday's final game of the season at Swansea, said: 'It has been a privilege to be at Liverpool FC for the last 16 years.

'I would like to thank everyone I have worked with for all their support during that time and wish this great Club all the best for the future.'

Liverpool are struggling down in eighth place in the Premier League table and their season has not pleased owner John W Henry, despite them lifting the Carling Cup back in February.