Tag Archives: culture

Sir Trevor Brooking criticises young English players

Too much, too young: Brooking insists England kids lack hunger, desire and enthusiasm because of big contracts

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

09:45 GMT, 17 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:13 GMT, 17 January 2013

Critical: Brooking

Critical: Brooking

Sir Trevor Brooking has hit out at the money culture that surrounds some of England's top young footballers.

The former England international and current FA director of football argued that the size of the contracts being handed to some teenagers results in a lack of 'hunger, desire and enthusiasm'.

Speaking as the FA launched its 150th anniversary celebrations in London on Wednesday, Brooking used the example of the England Under-17 side which won the European Championships in 2010 to illustrate his point.

'Players get lots of money too young,' he said. 'It’s a big challenge for the clubs to work out how to deal with that.

'If you’re getting paid 20,000 a week at 18 years old it will affect your hunger, desire and enthusiasm.

'We had an Under-17 team that won the European Championship back in 2010 where they beat Spain and France and passed the ball as well as any other young side. We had hoped that one or two of them might come through into the main national side.

'A couple of them have got big contracts and, to be honest, have not kicked on as we were hoping.'

Slow progress: Connor Wickham starred for England Under-17s in 2010 but has scored just twice for Sunderland since an 8m move in July 2011

Slow progress: Connor Wickham starred for England Under-17s in 2010 but has scored just twice for Sunderland since an 8m move in July 2011

The likes of Chelsea's Josh McEachran and Sunderland's Connor Wickham both featured in that side but have failed to hold down regular first-team places at their clubs despite signing long-term deals.

Later, Brooking reiterated his point on talkSPORT, comparing today's climate to the one in which he broke through in back in the late 1960s.

'When I first started you got a basic wage when you broke into the first team, but a lot of the rest of my wages were made up with appearance fees and win bonuses, whereas now they try to lock in massive basics straight away,' he said.

All smiles: Brooking chats with former England boss Fabio Capello on Wednesday

All smiles: Brooking chats with former England boss Fabio Capello on Wednesday

'If you’re getting a basic wage for sitting on the bench or not performing then your club will be thinking, “I’ve signed this guy up for four years and he’s not playing well”. They’re getting too much, too soon.

'It’s one of the biggest problems, especially if you’re a young English player.

'We haven’t got as many of them as we should do and then clubs have to abide by this home-grown player rule within their squads.

'Sometimes an English youngster is included in the squad and you’ll end up paying a bit over the top to get X number of home-grown players whereas, in reality, they’re not worth the money that they’re paid.'

Arsene Wenger says he thinks the English anthem is his favourite

God Save the Queen, says Wenger as he reveals the English anthem is his favourite

PUBLISHED:

13:40 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:05 GMT, 16 January 2013

Arsene Wenger has revealed his love for the English national anthem as he paid tribute to the country where he has managed for the last 16 years.

The 63-year-old Frenchman has helped mould the modern English game since he took over at Arsenal in 1996 and he admitted the country has had an effect on him too.

At the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations today, Wenger said: 'I feel grateful because football was love affair of my life. England created football. I’ll always have massive respect for that.

French export: Arsene Wenger has been taken in by English football culture

French export: Arsene Wenger has been taken in by English football culture

'Without this country, I would not have known football. So the anniversary is a good opportunity to thank England as sometimes the world forgets that.

Since arriving at Arsenal, Wenger has won three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups, including doubles in both the 1997-98 and 2001-02 seasons.

His 'Invicibles' team, which went unbeaten in the 2003-04 campaign, epitomised the football which has led to millions of fans around the globe following the Premier League.

Wenger built a team good enough to go a whole season unbeaten

Invincibles: Wenger built a team good enough to go a whole season unbeaten

'There’s a real passion here for the game but as well, I believe the whole world benefits from this sport,' he said.

'When I travel to World Cups and Euros, I say always, “Let’s be on time, I don’t want to miss the national anthem of England”.

'That’s where you feel the passion of the game. No matter where it is, there are more English people than anybody else. That’s fantastic.'

Wenger and Alex Ferguson have had a love-hate relationship

Best of enemies: Wenger and Alex Ferguson have had a love-hate relationship

Blackburn Rovers could appoint Judan Ali after Henning berg sacking

It's comical Ali! Blackburn linked to former India Under 15s and Dagenham community coach

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 27 December 2012

Blackburn's Indian owners are preparing to appoint English professional football’s first British Asian coach, a 39-year-old former Arsenal trainee who until recently was running a community youth programme in Dagenham.

Judan Ali has also been the subject of ‘below average’ Bollywood movie Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal but his coaching experience hardly qualifies him to step in at Ewood Park in the wake of Henning Berg’s shock dismissal. Ali’s finest achievement to date was leading an Indian Under 15 side to victory in Arsenal’s ‘football festival’ in 2011.

But the Venky’s family see Ali as part of a managerial team alongside head coach Kevin MacDonald, the former Aston Villa coach.

Youth role: Ali meets England boss Roy Hodgson earlier this year

Youth role: Ali meets England boss Roy
Hodgson earlier this year

Ali’s Twitter page has been taken down but on it, he had described himself as ‘an independent football coach leading those who want to further themselves on the world stage and to surpass the elite’.

Berg was sacked on Thursday after just 57 days and a run of one win from 10 games that has left Blackburn 17th in the Championship.

Before his departure he had, however, met Ali, who had spent a week observing the Norwegian former Rovers defender at the club’s Brockhall headquarters.

Blackburn are said to be comfortable seeing how the arrangement with MacDonald and Ali works out, and will not rush into appointing a more high-profile manager. Roberto Di Matteo heads a list of possible targets should Venky’s change their view. Youth development boss Gary Bowyer is set to take charge for Saturday’s trip to Barnsley.

London-born Ali, whose family moved to the UK from India, was on Arsenal’s books as a YTS trainee but blamed the racist culture within English football in the 80s and 90s for his failure to secure a professional contract in this country. He played for Spanish club Murcia before his coaching career.

Struggling: Blackburn are 17th in the Championship despite spending 8m on Jordan Rhodes (right) and paying Premier League wages for the likes of Danny Murphy (left)

Struggling: Blackburn are 17th in the Championship despite spending 8m on Jordan Rhodes (right) and paying Premier League wages for the likes of Danny Murphy (left)

‘My goal is to become the first British Asian Premier League manager,’ he said. ‘I want to take a country to the World Cup and the 2022 tournament in Qatar is my goal.

‘It’s a myth that British Asians cannot play football. I hope I’m showing young Asians in this country that they can make it and that things are changing from the experiences I suffered as a teenager.’

Ali’s appointment will form part of a move by Venky’s to assume closer control of the club. When they became the Premier League’s first Indian owners two years ago, the Rao family talked about tapping into Blackburn’s Asian community and offering a route into English football for young players from their homeland. They have plans to open an academy near the company headquarters in Pune.

Whether Blackburn’s fans will be receptive to the latest move is another matter, however, following Venky’s decision to axe Sam Allardyce in 2010, Steve Kean’s stormy reign and now Berg’s ill-fated stint.

Sacked: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

Sacked: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

The 43-year-old was made aware of his fate before going to Brockhall on Thursday morning to say his farewells. However, the coaching team Berg inherited from Kean – assistant Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeper coach Bobby Mimms – were only informed on arrival for work on Thursday.

From the start, it was clear Berg was not the first choice among candidates including other former Blackburn players Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay. He walked out of the club’s Christmas party last week after being asked to wear a stocking on his head and lost on Boxing Day at Middlesbrough – his fifth defeat in six games.

Berg issued a statement on Thursday: ‘I am bitterly disappointed to have been relieved of my managerial duties at Ewood Park after just 57 days since my appointment.’

Coincidentally, Kean has only just agreed a 1.2million settlement.

Oscar determined to win Club World Cup with Chelsea

Oscar determined to make Chelsea champions of the world after European failure

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 9 December 2012

Seven years ago, Oscar was captivated by the television footage beamed around the globe as his boyhood heroes at Sao Paulo conquered the world at the expense of Liverpool and Rafa Benitez.

Five years later he was there, learning that FIFA’s Club World Cup is not only Europe and South America as Internacional were beaten in the semi-finals by TP Mazembe from Congo.

Today, the Brazilian playmaker is in Japan with Chelsea as they attempt to become world champions, just days after crashing out of the Champions League.

History: Oscar (second left) watched Sao Paulo beat Rafael Benitez's Liverpool side in the Club World Cup

History: Oscar (second left) watched Sao Paulo beat Rafael Benitez's Liverpool side in the Club World Cup

English teams do not have a great
record in these intercontinental challenges but the Blues, with their
strong Brazilian influence, are here to win.

‘In Brazil, this has always been seen as the opportunity for our clubs to play one of the big European teams,’ said Oscar.

‘It’s the chance to test themselves
against a big team from Europe and to go and show their football to the
world. For years, it was the only way they could face a stronger team, a
different team from a different culture.

‘The South American teams have always
taken this competition seriously but I think all the big clubs will go
to Japan this year and give everything.

‘For Chelsea, we are representing
Europe and we are going there with a determination to do it well. We are
going to try to win this competition this year.’

Manchester United are the only English
team to hold the world title, even in the era when the South American
champions played the European Cup winners in the Intercontinental Cup.

Europe, however, has emerged
triumphant from the last five and Chelsea’s interim manager Benitez won
the tournament two years ago in his final act as manager of Inter Milan.
It was the same year as Oscar’s personal disappointment.

He was 19 and had recently completed a
disputed transfer to Internacional from Sao Paulo. He was excited to be
involved but the South American champions lost 2-0 to the Africans in
their opening game.

Back again: Oscar has played in this competition before and this time he is determined to win

Back again: Oscar has played in this competition before and this time he is determined to win

FIFA Club World Cup Finals

2005: Sao Paulo (Brz) 1 Liverpool 0
2006: Intern’cal (Brz) 1 Barcelona 0
2007: AC Milan 4 Boca Juniors (Arg) 2
2008: Man Utd 1 LDU Quito (Ecu) 0
2009: Barcelona 2 Estudiantes (Arg) 1
2010: Inter Milan 3 Mazembe (Cgo) 0
2011: Barcelona 4 Santos (Brz) 0

‘We were all expecting to get to the
final and it was such a big surprise when we lost,’ said Oscar, in an
interview with Japanese magazine World Soccer Digest.

‘I’m pleased to have this second opportunity. I’m not sure why but Brazil and Japan seem to have this special connection.’

Sao Paulo has one of the world’s largest Japanese communities outside Japan and Oscar’s wife Ludmila’s grandfather is Japanese.

Warm welcome: Rafael Benitez strides through the airport ahead of the Chelsea pack

Warm welcome: Rafael Benitez strides through the airport ahead of the Chelsea pack

Arrivals: Oscar holds his valuables at the airport

Arrivals: Oscar holds his valuables at the airport

Corinthians, unbeaten winners of the
Copa Libertadores, the South American version of the Champions League,
are also from the city of Sao Paulo and expected to bring great support
to Japan.

The Brazilians and Chelsea are
expected to contest Sunday’s final but the English side must first beat
Monterrey of Mexico in the semi-final and Corinthians must overcome
Al-Ahly of Egypt.

‘As a boy, I always supported Sao
Paulo and I still do,’ said Oscar. ‘My heroes were Rogerio Ceni, a
goalkeeper famous for scoring goals from free-kicks, and Kaka.

‘Corinthians and Sao Paulo are great
rivals and the two biggest clubs in Sao Paulo state. Corinthians have
been doing so well in the last few years. Last season they won the
Libertadores without losing a game.

‘They are a very strong team and their
biggest characteristic is that they play as a team. It is about the
group, not about individuals or big stars, although they have good
players like Paulinho, who I know well from the national team. I expect
him to be one of the stars of the competition.’

Chelsea halted their form-slide with
wins against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland and, although seen by many as
an unwanted distraction from the Barclays Premier League and the fight
to return to the Champions League, their first involvement in the FIFA
Club World Cup might reinvigorate the squad and help restore
confidence.

‘Every title is important for
Chelsea,’ said Oscar.

‘If we win it, it is going to give us so much more
confidence and strength for the rest of the season.’

Greetings: Chelsea players would have felt right at home with the warm welcome afforded to them in Japan

Greetings: Chelsea players would have felt right at home with the warm welcome afforded to them in Japan

WATCHING BRIEF

Champions of Europe Chelsea enter the the Club World Cup on Thursday (10.30am UK time) in the semi-finals. They face Mexican side CF Monterrey in Yokohama’s International Stadium, venue for the 2002 World Cup final.

TV: LIVE on the BBC HD channel, highlights on BBC2 from 1.30pm.

Sportsmail will also be showing a highlights package.

Joey Barton should be football"s gay hero – Martin Samuel

Gay hero Surely there's only one man to herald football's watershed moment… step forward Joey Barton

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 5 December 2012

Could just one footballer please come out and be gay, so everybody can be really cool about it and the sport can get on with its life Just one, it’s not much to ask surely

Football is beginning to sound a little desperate with its pleading. Rugby, cricket, they’ve all had their gay watershed moment.

Man of the moment: Joey Barton

Sensitive soul: Joey Barton in his Marseille tracksuit

Man of the moment: Joey Barton is a sensitive soul who adds a French twist to his English words

And until football does, too, it will
continue to be presumed that the sport has not evolved enough to handle
male homosexuality.

(Hope Powell, the manager of England’s women, has been openly gay for years, without comment, yet that does not seem to count.)

The gay pressure group, Stonewall, has called again for football to tackle its ‘culture of fear’, while Anders Lindegaard, the Manchester United goalkeeper, has said that football needs a ‘gay hero’.

So here’s a thought. Joey Barton continues his quest for intellectual and social respectability. Why not come out as gay

Outspoken: Barton has often found himself at the centre of attention

Outspoken: Barton has often found himself at the centre of attention

Instant credibility, instant respect, untouchable by the Football Association or future employers. His past misdeeds mentally reprocessed and explained.

‘Well, of course he put his cigar out in that bloke’s face, Gary. He was a tortured soul, forced to live a lie.’

And imagine the new material. A never-ending treasure trove for Barton’s Twitter feed: Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Lady Bunny.

And, let’s face it, with that new accent, he’s probably halfway there.

Watch Barton's hilarious French accent below… and read Martin Samuel's column here

Play Video

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How Tom Youngs "transformed" from a centre into an England hooker

How Leicester's Youngs 'transformed' from a struggling centre into an England hooker

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 7 November 2012

Tom Youngs had just finished displaying his fighting qualities – quite literally – when Heyneke Meyer, now coach of the Springboks, made the radical suggestion which would change his career.

The 25-year-old will be included in the England team to face Fiji in the opening QBE International at Twickenham on Saturday.

His name will appear at hooker, but three years ago he was a centre trying to break into the Leicester first team.

Fledgling: Tom Youngs has transformed from a struggling centre to an England hooker

Fledgling: Tom Youngs has transformed from a struggling centre to an England hooker

Meyer had taken charge of the Tigers and the sight of Youngs trading blows with an opposition prop convinced the South African that his future lay in the front row, not in midfield.

'Heyneke was the one who suggested the change,' said Tom, whose brother, scrum-half Ben, will be among the England replacements on Saturday.

'I captained the second team against Saracens and got in a massive brawl. He came up to me and said, “I think you've got what it takes to play in the front row. I want to make you a hooker”.

'He told me to have a think about it, but I had already made my decision and I told him that I wouldn't mind giving it a go.'

And so began what Youngs refers to as the 'transformation'.

He went on a crash course of heavy weight training in the gym, while hurriedly learning about throwing in at lineouts and the murky world of the scrum.

'It was a culture shock,' he said, at the launch of O2 Inside Line, the behind-the-scenes show from inside the England camp.

Competition: David Paice (left) is keeping a close eye on fellow hooker Youngs (right) in training on Wednesday

Competition: David Paice (left) is keeping a close eye on fellow hooker Youngs (right) in training on Wednesday

Join me: Tom's brother, Ben, had already broken into the England setup

Join me: Tom's brother, Ben, had already broken into the England setup

'I remember my first scrum – it was in a second-team game against Gloucester at Welford Road. I ran on and Coley (Dan Cole) was there to talk me through it.

'I just fired in and pushed as hard as I could. Then I gradually learned the technical bits after that.'

Youngs needed somewhere away from the Premiership to hone his new craft and bang on cue, Nottingham called the Tigers to ask if they could borrow a hooker.

Richard Cockerill sent him off as a raw apprentice and he returned as a promising front-row forward.

But it was a painful education.

'My first 80 minutes at hooker was for Nottingham, against Leicester,' said Youngs.

'Their front row was Castro (Martin Castrogiovanni), Mefin Davies and Marcos Ayerza.

'The Leicester conditioner said to me after the game that I looked like I fatigued really badly and was not running nicely. I said, “I can hardly hold my neck up, that's why!”.

'I took painkillers for the rest of the week. I was in agony! But slowly I got used to it.'

Historic: Tom (left) and Ben (right) will be only the third brothers to play for England together since the war

Historic: Tom (left) and Ben (right) will be only the third brothers to play for England together since the war

During that period, when he was finding his feet in a new position in the Championship, Ben had surged into the England team.

'I was immensely proud when Ben started playing for England,' he said. 'I would come down on a Saturday to see him play at Twickenham, then play for Nottingham on the Sunday.

'Now my family are really excited at the prospect of us playing together at Twickenham.

'We played together in the back garden, with all my cousins and they are over the moon for me.'

One of the reasons Tom has made it this far is that he has learned – with help from RFU psychologist Matt Thombs – how to cope with the inevitability of making mistakes.

'I was a bit like a headless chicken,' he said. 'If I threw a “not straight” I would run into a ruck from the side and give away a penalty.

'I didn't know how to control those emotions, but Matt has helped.

'Everyone misses a lineout, everyone misses a kick. It just happens.'

What doesn't just happen is a transformation from centre to hooker, a remarkable triumph of dedication.

The reward comes at Twickenham on Saturday.

PM David Cameron says football has failed to deal with racism

Prime Minister calls for football to get tough on racism after recent failures

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UPDATED:

12:49 GMT, 2 November 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron says the football authorities have failed to put the necessary structures in place to tackle racism in the game.

Senior Government sources say that the Prime Minister will demand the FA and other authorities put in place tougher measures in place to deal better with the sort of incidents which have damaged the football’s reputation over the last 12 months.

Sports minister, Hugh Robertson, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We expect the football authorities to come forward with a clear plan of action in the coming weeks on what more can be done to tackle racism in the game. Events over the last year have shown the need for action.'

Time to get tough: Prime Minister David Cameron wants football's authorities to act better on racism issues

Time to get tough: Prime Minister David Cameron wants football's authorities to act better on racism issues

Cameron lead a an anti-discrimination summit for leading football figures, including the FA chairman, David Bernstein, in February when he staked his personal reputation on the matter following the two high profile incidents involving involving Chelsea’s John Terry and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.

Cameron ordered an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which announced its conclusions on the FA’s interim response last month.

Bad for the game: High profile racism cases such as the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand one have been bad for football's reputation

Bad for the game: High profile racism cases such as the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand one have been bad for football's reputation

The committee’s chairman, John Whittingdale MP, said then: ‘More needs to be done to increase the diversity of the pool of candidates for coaches and referees, to embed the values of equality and diversity at all levels of the game.

'While the general level of progress in combating racism and racist abuse in the UK is positive and should be applauded, there is much more that can and must be done, and we believe it is for the FA to take the lead and set the example for everyone, from football authorities at all levels to the grassroots groups, to follow.'

The FA has given a first response to the parliamentary inquiry but at the highest level of government there is an expectation for robust measures when they report back with final proposals in December.

Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles by UCI at last

Saddled with shame: Cycling's snivelling chief still in denial over culture of cheating that has infested his sport

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 22 October 2012

Cycling's world governing body are willing to accept that Lance Armstrong is a doping cheat. Hallelujah.

The UCI made it sound as radical a discovery as finding human life on Pluto rather than a belated admission from an organisation who — and we are being generous here — were complacent as the greatest fraud in sporting history unfolded before them.

Pat McQuaid, the snivelling, self-preserving president, said: ‘The UCI will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling and the UCI will strip him of his seven Tours de France titles. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten.’

Shamed: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his titles after the UCI endorsed the USADA sanctions

Shamed: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his titles after the UCI endorsed the USADA sanctions

In fact, he was stripped of those
titles, ranging from 1999 to 2005, by the US Anti-Doping Agency in
August. The UCI were merely ratifying USADA’s legitimate act.

McQuaid spoke in Geneva as though he
was shocked by USADA’s findings. Shocked He could only be shocked if he
was blind, wilfully perhaps, to accusations that have been prevalent
for a decade. During McQuaid’s seven-year presidency, former US Postal
rider Frankie Andreu told the New York Times that doping was taking
place during Armstrong’s first Tour de France victory in 1999.

Self-preserving: President Pat McQuaid spoke as if he was shocked

Self-preserving: President Pat McQuaid spoke as if he was shocked

Then Armstrong’s former team-mate
Floyd Landis sent McQuaid, among others, emails detailing the drug
culture two years ago. But 63-year-old Irishman McQuaid tore into the
whistle-blowers and brushed their accusations under the Axminster.

Even as late as last month, McQuaid’s
fire was turned on USADA for their handling of the investigation into
Armstrong. The UCI barely twitched an eyebrow at the accusations.

‘We thought USADA were better
prepared,’ sniffed McQuaid, chiding them for taking so long to compile
their dossier. In the end the report amounted to 200 pages with 800
pages of appendices. It was a thorough job that soon made McQuaid look
ridiculous.

Banned: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour titles by the USADA, but claims he was the victim of a 'witch hunt'

Banned: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour titles by the USADA, but claims he was the victim of a 'witch hunt'

It also left him with no choice other than to display faux outrage on Monday.

He talked of the UCI ‘always having a
commitment to fight doping’, adding with a flourish: ‘If I have to
apologise now on behalf of the UCI what I will say is that I am sorry we
couldn’t catch every damn one of them red-handed and throw them out of
the sport.’

If he really possessed principle, he
would have resigned for having cried calumny against the accusers when
he should have launched an investigation.

Britain’s David Millar, a
self-confessed doper turned World Anti-Doping Agency activist, said:
‘The UCI always denied there was a problem and even now they are denying
they had knowledge of it, and that’s the next big step.’

McQuaid, a former teacher and road
cyclist, is the first paid UCI president. He took the job in 2005 at the
behest of Hein Verbruggen, his predecessor who is now honorary
president. The two men are said to be joined at the hip.

It is notable that the last
undoubtedly clean Tour victory until recent years, that of Greg LeMond
in 1990, came one year before Verbruggen took charge of the UCI. All
Armstrong’s wins came under his stewardship.

Not so magnificent seven: Armstrong's wins have been erased from the Tour de France record books

Not so magnificent seven: Armstrong's wins have been erased from the Tour de France record books

Support: Cyclists gathered to listen to Armstrong's address at the start of the annual Team Livestrong Challenge in Austin on Sunday

Support: Cyclists gathered to listen to Armstrong's address at the start of the annual Team Livestrong Challenge in Austin on Sunday

Oakley cut ties with Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has lost the support of another major sponsor after Oakley severed their ties with the disgraced cyclist.

The brand confirmed in a statement they were ending their relationship with the Texan in the wake of the announcement in Geneva.

Oakley have followed in the footsteps of Nike, Trek and Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, who have all withdrawn their support for Armstrong.

An Oakley statement read: 'Based on UCI's decision today and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its long-standing relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately.

'When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility. We are deeply saddened by the outcome, but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest.

'We believe the LIVESTRONG Foundation has been a positive force in the lives of many affected by cancer and, at this time, Oakley will continue to support its noble goals.'

Armstrong has stepped down from his position as chairman of his cancer charity.

But McQuaid blithely insisted the UCI
had no case to answer over alleged payments made to them by Armstrong
and associated companies, adding that a defamation action against
journalist Paul Kimmage, who made claims of hush-money changing hands,
would go ahead as planned.

Verbruggen is an honorary member of
the IOC, McQuaid is on the IOC’s evaluation committee for the 2020 Games
and cycling is an important Olympic sport. Yet the IOC have yet to
comment meaningfully on the Armstrong affair.

They say they will await the UCI’s
management committee meeting on Friday, when the issue of whether to
redistribute the Tour titles and the prize money will be resolved. Fine,
but the IOC should then act decisively.

Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, is a
man of integrity. But he is also a friend of Verbruggen, a personal
association that should not be allowed to interfere with what is right.

They would do well to heed the words
of the one hero of this tawdry episode, USADA chief executive Travis
Tygart, who said: ‘For cycling to move forward and for the world to
know what went on in cycling, it is essential that an independent and
meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established.

‘There are many more details of doping
that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors
and the ‘omerta’ (within the peloton) has not yet been fully broken.
Sanctioning Lance Armstrong and the riders who came forward truthfully
should not be seen as penance for an era of pervasive doping. There must
be more action to combat the system that took over the sport.’

Away from Geneva, Armstrong lost
another sponsor, Oakley, who followed the lead set by Nike, Trek and
Budweiser brewers, Anheuser-Busch. In Armstrong’s home state of Texas,
insurance company SCA Promotions have demanded the return of a bonus
worth up to 5million paid after he won his sixth Tour in 2004.

And yet on his Twitter account, how was Armstrong styling himself on Monday night As the seven-time Tour winner, of course.

Ex-doper: David Millar (right) says there needs to be change

Ex-doper: David Millar (right) says there needs to be change

The Saturday Debate: What can football learn from other sports

The Saturday Debate: What can football learn from other sports

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 5 October 2012

Johnny Marray Wimbledon doubles champion

Tennis employs the latest technology through the use of Hawk-Eye, whereas in football they haven't yet established the use of goal-line technology.

In both sports the difference between winning and losing can rest on one call or decision, which can often be almost impossible for the officials to make with 100 per cent certainty.

There's nothing more frustrating for players and fans than to be on the receiving end of an avoidable wrong decision, so I think that if the technology is there then use it, like tennis does.

Opinions: Johnny Marray gave SPortsmail his ideas on goal-line technology in football

Opinions: Johnny Marray gave SPortsmail his ideas on goal-line technology in football

Robbie Hunter-Paul Ex-Bradford Bulls Rugby League captain

Rugby league is a high-stakes professional sport with matches of extreme intensity at club and Test level week on week, but there are very few instances of officials being abused.

Referees can penalise a team for back-chat, or march them back 10 metres if a penalty has already been awarded.

That control can influence the outcome of games, so participants won't risk speaking out of turn.

Football has dabbled with the 10-yard sanction but it has to re-address this issue, as the lack of respect for officials is a scar on the sport.

Chris Foy Rugby Correspondent

Sin bins would be a strong tool.

Certain things have to be removed from football culture so if it improves the quality, never let tradition get in the way of innovation.

It's a joke that football doesn't use video technology. I'd also use two referees like they do in Australian rugby league.

It's harder to argue when two officials make a decision.

Finally, mike up the referees on TV. Highlighting the language they're subjected to would start a much bigger public movement for change.

Chloe's view: Chloe Rogers (left) believes football should consider having rolling substitutions

Chloe's view: Chloe Rogers (left) believes football should consider having rolling substitutions

Chloe Rogers GB hockey bronze medallist

In hockey we have rolling substitutions, which means we don't stop the clock for subs to come on.

That way there's no time-wasting. We make up to 60 substitutions in a game.

Also, our clock ticks down, not up. Once you hit zero, the game's over. The umpire can stop time for injuries but it's clear to everyone when it's stopped.

Laura Williamson Athletics Correspondent

Performance-related pay. Athletes know if they do not meet their targets their funding will be slashed.

It can be brutal but it works. This is also the case in lower league football, where players earn their living on short-term contracts, but is it always the case in the higher echelons

Do players still feel personally accountable for their performances With lucrative five-year contracts to fall back on, I'm not sure they always do.

Joey Barton enjoying life in Marseille

Barton enjoying life in Marseille as he prepares to feature in his second European game

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UPDATED:

12:28 GMT, 2 October 2012

Joey Barton believes he is ready to make his mark at Marseille after settling into French life.

The controversial midfielder joined Olympique Marseille on loan from QPR after being handed a 12-match domestic ban following his sending off on the last day of the 2011/12 season.

Suspension has prevented him from making his league bow, but he made his debut against Fenerbahce in the Europa League and is ready to line-up in another European clash against Limassol on Thursday.

Up for a scrap: Joey Barton in action for Marseille against Alex de Souza of Fenerbahce in the Europa League

Up for a scrap: Joey Barton in action for Marseille against Alex de Souza of Fenerbahce in the Europa League

Barton has thanked the club for easing his transition into new surroundings and is now hoping to help pay them back on the pitch.

'I thought that integration would be more difficult in French football, the French culture and way of life, but it was facilitated by the club,' he told Marseille's official website.

'The staff and players have been incredibly welcoming. It's like a family. Everyone helps everyone, people talk, say hello, are kind and friendly.

Frustrating: Barton's first game for Marseille ended in a 2-2 draw with Fenerbahce

Frustrating: Barton's first game for Marseille ended in a 2-2 draw with Fenerbahce

'Many clubs are not like that. Where I come from, there are many clubs where the players and the staff are separated from the rest.

'The club has helped me tremendously and this has made my life easier.

'The team has already won six league matches, so it will not be easy for me (to make the starting XI).

'There are some very good players here, but when you want to be a big club you must have a team of 15, 16 or 17 players. All players cannot play every week and I hope to bring something different to the team and become an important member.'

Barton admits his disciplinary problems in England will not go away immediately, but has appealed for his new club's fans to judge him only on his efforts for Marseille.

'It is difficult because my bad reputation, I find it a bit unfair,' he added.

'But it's hard to say that when you look at some of the incidents in which I've been involved.

'However, I hope that people in France, and here in Marseille, judge me on what I do here and not in relation to what they read.

'The English media love to make headlines and dramatise because, as English football is the number one sport there, it is is also one that generates the most media coverage on television and in the press.

'They are stories like Hollywood, far from the truth.'