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Luis Suarez latest Liverpool will NOT appeal ten-match ban for bite

Suarez will NOT appeal 10-match FA ban for biting Ivanovic… and it's his own decision

PUBLISHED:

12:40 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Luis Suarez will not appeal the 10-match ban handed to him by the FA for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez had until midday today to lodge an appeal, with the club reportedly leaving the decision to the Uruguayan himself.

The 26-year-old had already accepted the three-match suspension for violent conduct, but will not contest the additional punishment.

Scroll down for video of Brendan Rodgers Press Conference

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

Appeal: Suarez has decided to fight against the 10-match ban he was handed by the Football Association

A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission upheld The FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will now serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three.

The suspension begins with immediate effect and applies to Liverpool's next ten domestic first-team fixtures.

Closed: Suarez during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on Wednesday

Closed: Suarez during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on Wednesday

Blame game: Graham Poll is relieved referee Kevin Friend (right) was not blamed for missing the incident

Blame game: Graham Poll is relieved referee Kevin Friend (right) was not blamed for missing the incident

Prime Minister David Cameron said today that Suarez's bite on Ivanovic set an 'appalling example' to his seven-year-old son.

Cameron told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that his intervention in the matter was merely that of a concerned father.

'I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game,' he said.

Prime criticism: Even Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here appearing on BBC Breakfast, told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that players behaving like this sets an 'appalling example'

Prime criticism: Even Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that players behaving like this sets an 'appalling example'

'I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country.'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers yesterday accused the FA of double standards and throwing Suarez out with the ‘garbage’.

Rodgers spoke publicly
yesterday for the first time since Suarez was banned for 10 games for
biting Ivanovic.

And he did not hold back,
insisting the punishment was ‘not right’ and ‘too severe’.

Goalkeeper
Pepe Reina went even further, saying it was ‘absurd, out of proportion
and unfair’ and that the authorities had ‘got it in for Luis’.

He needs help: Suarez has launched an impassioned defence of his under-fire striker

He needs help: Suarez has launched an impassioned defence of his under-fire striker

Brendan Rodgers 'shocked' by length of Suarez ban

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Rodgers believes the three-person Independent Regulatory Committee that imposed the ban were prejudiced by the fact the FA had already announced they considered the offence worthy of more than a three-match ban.

Further to that, he claimed the FA’s disciplinary procedures were inconsistent and said he was mystified by the Prime Minister’s decision to enter the debate.

Rodgers said: ‘Luis has not let me down one bit. He is a player who fell well below the standards of this football club but that doesn’t mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened from a lot of people these last few days.

Luis Suarez is seen laughing and joking with his team-mates

Luis Suarez is seen laughing and joking with his team-mates

In the mix: Suarez looked in high spirits during this afternoon's training session on Merseyside

‘I certainly won’t be prepared to do
that. I don’t believe the sanction fits with what he did. There’s no
doubt if you have those high-profile figures making those sorts of
statements, there will be a bias.

‘It’s human nature. If you have people reading and listening to things,
when they sit down to talk about it supposedly for the first time,
people would argue whether they already had a decision in their minds.
That process, for me, would need to change.

‘You have an FA council member, an FA county representative and an
ex-player, so I don’t know how it is independent. That has to be looked
at and this is probably not the first time it’s been said.

All smiles: Luis Suarez trains with Liverpool the day after he was hit with a ten-game ban

All smiles: Luis Suarez trains with Liverpool the day after he was hit with a ten-game ban

‘I felt Luis would maybe get more than three games. But we had hoped
there would be something in there that would allow him a greater
opportunity to rehabilitate. The bigger thing in all of this is to try
to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

Rodgers made a clumsy analogy yesterday in comparing Suarez’s moment of madness to a tennis player smashing his racket.

But he argued that the length of the punishment was unfair in comparison
to two similar cases in 2006; one saw Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe escape
punishment for biting West Ham’s Javier Mascherano, while the other saw
Chester’s Sean Hessey receive five matches for biting Stockport’s Liam
Dickinson.

‘I feel the punishment has been against the man rather than the
incident,’ Rodgers said. ‘That is my underlying feeling. There was
euphoria around the time that it happened. Everyone has their opinion.
That’s fine. But when you come away and assess it in the cold light of
day, it was violent conduct.’

Bite club: Suarez sunk his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield

Bite club: Suarez sunk his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield

JAMIE CARRAGHER'S VERDICT

CLICK HERE: Luis was wrong, but before we hound him out let's remember other Liverpool legends were not exactly saints

Again, of course, there is a flaw in Rodgers’ argument. The FA stated
their case that a three-game ban for Suarez was insufficient on the same
day it was revealed Suarez felt three games was ample.

Both sides
stated their positions and it was then left to the independent committee
to make a decision.

The committee can take into consideration past misdemeanours and the
fact Suarez had been banned for 10 games in his Liverpool career, not to
mention his seven-match suspension at Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven’s
Otman Bakkal, would have counted against him.

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

The FA have also not always been successful in arguing for longer
suspensions. In January, an independent panel decided a three-game ban
for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was sufficient after he tangled with a
Swansea ball boy. On that occasion the FA had called for a longer ban,
too.

Pardew baffled by FA action

Alan Pardew has branded the FA’s disciplinary system flawed and wants the organisation’s decisions to be more consistent.

The Newcastle manager hit out after Wigan’s Callum McManaman escaped a ban for his horror challenge on Toon defender Massadio Hadaira but Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was banned for 10 games after biting Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea.

‘I don’t think that’s reasonable,’ Pardew said. ‘That is a flaw in the system. All Premier League managers are looking for that committee to give us the answers as to why. You’re always going to have grey areas when it comes to discipline and fines but at least have some consistency. It’s consistency of punishments we’re looking for.

‘The FA need to answer why it was 10 games for Suarez. It’s interesting why it was.’

Suarez serves the first game of his ban when Liverpool play at Newcastle on Saturday.

Liverpool have promised to stand by Suarez, regardless of whether he
appeals, but they are aware his ban could be increased at a new hearing.
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann said yesterday Suarez should
‘accept it and get on with it’.

Rodgers, in a club suit at the Melwood training ground rather than his
customary tracksuit, has spoken several times with Suarez and his agent,
Pere Guardiola, in recent days. There will be more discussions and
Suarez will train as normal. But Rodgers admitted the club’s greatest
asset may consider whether he wants to continue playing in England.

‘This is a guy who I see on a daily basis trying very hard,’ said
Rodgers. ‘His passions in life are his family and Liverpool Football
Club. It is part of his make-up, you can’t change that. But he is trying
to adapt the traits he has grown up with to the culture here.

‘Each time he makes a step forward we beat him with a stick and beat him
down. I can understand if he felt like that in a moment of reflection.

‘Am I worried he will knock on my door I am not thinking about that. I
can guide him, like I’ve done this year, and will tell him when he’s
done wrong. We will plan for the future with Luis. There is no other
thought. Luis is very much a player I believe will be here.’

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with
Suarez but Rodgers added: ‘I’ve had a lot of discussions with Pere
Guardiola that have been very strong. They are very happy with what the
club has done, not only to protect the player but to support him.

‘The objective is to make sure it doesn’t happen again and that is at the forefront of our minds.’

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

VIDEO Liverpool's Managing Director on Suarez controversy

Liverpool to stand by Suarez

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Look, ref: Ivanovic shows his arm to referee Kevin Friend following the biting incident at Anfield yesterday

Look, ref: Ivanovic shows his arm to referee Kevin Friend following the biting incident at Anfield yesterday

Luis Suarez appears to bite Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic

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Previous: Suarez bites Otman Bakkal of PSV while playing for Ajax

Previous: Suarez bites Otman Bakkal of PSV while playing for Ajax

Repeat The PSV star was as perplexed as Ivanovic by Suarez's behaviour

Repeat The PSV star was as perplexed as Ivanovic by Suarez's behaviour

It's not the first time Suarez has used his teeth

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OTHER SUAREZ CONTROVERSIES

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is back in the spotlight after appearing to bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm during the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield, going on to score a late equaliser.

Here are some of the previous controversies surrounding the Uruguayan forward.

February 2007: Suarez made his international debut for Uruguay against Colombia but was sent off in the final minutes after being shown a second yellow card for dissent.

November 2007: Joined Ajax from Uruguayan side Nacional but he was later suspended by the Dutch giants after a half-time dressing-room altercation with team-mate Albert Luque.

July 2010: During the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, Suarez prevented Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the final minute with a deliberate handball on the line and was subsequently sent off. A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.

November 2010: Suarez was handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA and fined by his club for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match.

October 2011: Following his move to Liverpool in January 2011, he was involved in a tackle with Everton's Jack Rodwell and goes down with apparent minimal contact. Rodwell was then sent off.

October 2011: Suarez was alleged to have racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra during a Premier League match. Suarez was later found guilty by an independent regulatory commission and banned for eight matches and fined 40,000.

December 2011: Was seen making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans. At this time he had already been charged by the Football Association over the racism incident, although not yet punished, but was handed a further one-match ban for the gesture.

February 2012: United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, but more controversy blew up as Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand before kick-off.

October 2012: Celebrated a goal against Everton by diving in front of Toffees boss David Moyes who had earlier claimed that 'divers' such as Suarez were putting fans off the English game.

January 2013: Handles the ball prior to scoring Liverpool's winner in the FA Cup third round tie at Mansfield.

April 2013: Bites Branislav Ivanovic on the arm but
escapes punishment on the pitch as the referee fails to see it, and
scores Liverpool's equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time as they
draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Anfield. Fined by club the following day and
charged with violent conduct by the FA. Subsequently handed a 10-match
ban by an independent regulatory commission.

Basle 1 Chelsea 2: David Luiz strikes winner after shocking penalty decision

Basle 1 Chelsea 2: Luiz strikes with last kick of the game after Swiss side level with questionable penalty… but the Brazilian shouldn't have been on the pitch

PUBLISHED:

20:58 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 25 April 2013

David Luiz scored a free-kick at the death to earn a crucial Europa League away win against Basle in the first-leg semi-final.

Moments earlier he had committed a late, high lunge, which should have seen him red carded.

It followed a shocking decision by referee Pavel Kralovec, when he adjudged Cesar Azpilicueta to have committed a foul in the area when it was clear he had not.

Fabian Schar struck from the spot to cancel out Victor Moses' first half header and seemingly earn Basle a draw.

Last gasp: David Luiz struck with what proved to be the final kick of the game

Last gasp: David Luiz struck with what proved to be the final kick of the game

Pure delight: Luiz celebrates wildly after scoring with a low free-kick

Pure delight: Luiz celebrates wildly after scoring with a low free-kick

Tucked away: Fabian Schar converted after a penalty was awarded for very little at all

Tucked away: Fabian Schar converted after a penalty was awarded for very little at all

Match facts

Basle: Sommer, Philipp Degen, Schar, Dragovic, Park, Fabian Frei, Salah, El-Nenny, Die, Stocker, Streller.

Subs: Vailati, David Degen, Diaz, Cabral, Sauro, Steinhofer, Zoua.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Luiz, Hazard, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Torres.

Subs: Turnbull, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Cahill, Benayoun, Bertrand.

Ref: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)

More to follow.

Away goal: Victor Moses' (right) header opened the scoring for Chelsea

Away goal: Victor Moses' (right) header opened the scoring for Chelsea

Topsy-turvy: The Nigerian winger celebrated in style

Topsy-turvy: The Nigerian winger celebrated in style

Topsy-turvy: The Nigerian winger celebrated in style with some of his trademark acrobatics

Aiming high: Rafa Benitez wants to take Chelsea to Europa League glory this season

Aiming high: Rafa Benitez wants to take Chelsea to Europa League glory this season

Magic man: Until he was substituted, Eden Hazard was the star of the show

Magic man: Until he was substituted, Eden Hazard was the star of the show

Frustration: Marco Streller reacts after missing a good opportunity as Chelsea sat back

Frustration: Marco Streller reacts after missing a good opportunity as Chelsea sat back

Millwall violence at Wembley: three arrested in dawn raids

Millwall fans arrested in dawn raids after violence at Wembley FA Cup semi-final

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

06:36 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 23 April 2013

Police have arrested three men in dawn raids in connection with violence at an FA Cup semi-final between Millwall and Wigan.

The men, aged 21, 22 and 27, were arrested at addresses in London by officers from Operation Arrowtip, which targets football-related crime, Scotland Yard said.

So far 23 people have been arrested in relation to violence at the semi-final at London's Wembley Stadium on April 13, during which Millwall fans attacked police and fought among themselves inside and outside the ground.

Scroll down for video

Something to hide Police make an arrest during an early morning raid after violence at Wembley

Something to hide Police make an arrest during an early morning raid after violence at Wembley

Flashpoint: Police clash with fans during the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley

Flashpoint: Police clash with fans during the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley

A further 17 pictures have been released of people at the match who police want to speak to.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Barnes said: 'Large-scale violence and disorder at football matches is completely unacceptable. People attending matches expect to be able to do so in a safe and friendly environment.

'We have had an excellent response from the public, who have identified people in nine of the 10 images already released. Some have since handed themselves in to police, and to date, we have arrested 23 people. Three have been charged.

Dawn raids produce more arrests over FA Cup semi-final violence

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Wanted: These are the 17 football fans suspected of being involved in disorder at the FA Cup semi-final

Wanted: These are the 17 football fans suspected of being involved in disorder at the FA Cup semi-final

Wanted: These are the 17 football fans suspected of being involved in disorder at the FA Cup semi-final

Hunt: Police are still searching for more people in connection with the violence during the FA Cup semi-final

Hunt: Police are still searching for more people in connection with the violence during the FA Cup semi-final

Hunt: Police are still searching for more people in connection with the violence during the FA Cup semi final

'The investigation team is working through many more calls and CCTV to identify all those involved in the disorder. We expect to make further arrests.

'Our message is clear. Violence at football is unacceptable. If you were involved in the violence come forward and speak with us. We will pursue all those responsible.'

Anyone with information about the violence or who recognises the people in the pictures is urged to call police on 020 8246 0076 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Mario Gotze signs for Bayern Munich, blow Arsenal Manchester City

Pep talk! City and Arsenal miss out on Gotze as Bayern close in on 32m deal

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

05:53 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:09 GMT, 23 April 2013

Arsenal and Manchester City look to have missed on Borussia Dortmund star Mario Gotze after reports in Germany claimed he has agreed to join Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old has emerged as one of the most coveted talents in Europe but it is the Bavarian giants who look to have won the race after triggering the forward's €37million (32m) release clause.

The Germany international has, according to Bild, already signed a long-term deal with $7m a year (6m).

All smiles: Mario Gotze (right) is reportedly set to join Bayern Munich in the summer

All smiles: Mario Gotze (right) is reportedly set to join Bayern Munich in the summer

Gotze, who could face his new employees in the Champions League final at Wembley on May 25, has scored 14 goals for his club this season and has won 22 caps for Germany.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had been prepared to finally splash the cash this summer and meet the Gotze's clause but he will now have to look elsewhere.

The youngster had looked set to remain at the Westfalenstadion
for another year having apparently set his sights on a move to Barcelona.

Main man: Gotze (left) has been tracked by the biggest clubs in Europe including Manchester City

Main man: Gotze (left) has been tracked by the biggest clubs in Europe including Manchester City

‘I am very happy at Dortmund and
satisfied with the way we are progressing as a team,’ he said earlier this month. ‘Any
thoughts about playing for another team are very much for the future,
but Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United could be interesting.

'But I'm not thinking of that at the moment.

'I'm happy in Dortmund and very happy how things are going. Therefore, it is still a bit away'

Jack Wilshere set to miss England games against Republic of Ireland and Brazil

Wilshere blow for England as Arsenal star faces end-of-season op

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

07:29 GMT, 21 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 21 April 2013

Roy Hodgson is set to be dealt an injury blow with the news that Jack Wilshere could miss both of England's internationals this summer.

The Arsenal star, who came of the bench for the remaining 19 minutes of his side's 1-0 win at Fulham yesterday, is poised to undergo surgery at the end of the season.

Doubt: Jack Wilshere is expected to be unavailable for England's games against Republic of Ireland and Brazil

Doubt: Jack Wilshere is expected to be unavailable for England's games against Republic of Ireland and Brazil

BABY LOVE

Wilshere is set to become a dad for the second time later this year. The Arsenal midfielder's partner, Lauren Neal, is expecting in October.

Wilshere has only recently returned to first-team action after a six-week injury lay-off.

And according to the Sunday Mirror, the 21-year-old may now require surgery to replace a pin inserted into his ankle during an operation in 2011.

That would leave Roy Hodgson without Wilshere for the friendlies against Republic of Ireland on May 29 and June 2.

Foul: Steve Sidwell was dismissed for this dangerous tackle on Mikel Arteta

Foul: Steve Sidwell was dismissed for this dangerous tackle on Mikel Arteta

Foul: Steve Sidwell was dismissed for this dangerous tackle on Mikel Arteta

Arsene Wenger meanwhile has blasted Steve Sidwell for the reckless tackle which earned him a red card in Arsenal's vital win over Fulham.

Sidwell will miss Fulham's last four games of the season after he saw red for the second time in two appearances.

The former Arsenal midfielder, who was given a straight red for a dangerous tackle on QPR defender Armand Traore three weeks ago, caught Mikel Arteta on his standing foot with a two-footed lunge just 12 minutes in to this afternoon's London derby at Craven Cottage.

Wenger also ended the game with 10 men after Olivier Giroud caught Stanislav Manolev with a last-minute lunge.

The Gunners boss had no qualms with Giroud's sending off, and that of Sidwell, which he thinks could have caused serious injury to Arteta had it happened a millisecond earlier.

'I think the referee could only give a red card (to Sidwell),' the Arsenal manager said.

'We will see (if Arteta is OK). He played the second-half. I don't know how much damage is done. It is a kick, a bad kick.

'I don't know if he has twisted his ankle or not. In these kind of things it is a question of a fraction of a second.

'If you are fully on your foot at the moment you get it you break your leg. If you ease a bit off maybe that is why he got away with it.'

Brighton 6 Blackpool 1 – match report: Ashley Barnes scores twice on return

Brighton 6 Blackpool 1: Barnes bags brace as high-flying Seagulls dominate

PUBLISHED:

16:46 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 20 April 2013

Ashley Barnes scored twice on his return from a seven-match suspension as Brighton thumped Blackpool to extended their unbeaten run to seven matches.

Will Buckley put his side ahead in the ninth minute before Matt Upson scored his first goal in a Brighton shirt from six yards out 14 minutes later.

Andrea Orlandi made it 3-0 in the 45th minute before David Lopez scored straight after the half-time break. Dean Hammond's own goal made it 4-1 before Barnes added two late goals on his return.

Back with a bang: Ashley Barnes scored twice on his return from suspension in Brighton's 6-1 win

Back with a bang: Ashley Barnes scored twice on his return from suspension in Brighton's 6-1 win

MATCH FACTS

Brighton: Kuszczak (Ankergren 64), Calderon, Greer, Upson, Bridge (Saltor 66), Bridcutt, Hammond, Lopez, Barnes, Orlandi, Buckley (LuaLua 72).

Subs Not Used: El-Abd, Crofts, Vicente, Ulloa.

Booked: Greer.

Goals: Buckley 9, Upson 23, Orlandi 45, Lopez 46, Barnes 76, 90.

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Baptiste, Basham (Taylor-Fletcher 46), Broadfoot, Sylvestre, Ferguson, MacKenzie, Phillips (Eccleston 89), Ince, Delfouneso, Taylor-Fletcher (Derbyshire 71).

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Eardley, Cathcart, Martinez.

Booked: Ince.

Goals: Hammond 53 og.

Att: 28,499

Ref: Tony Bates (Staffordshire).

Latest Championship table and results

The hosts were boosted by the return
of striker Barnes who came back from a seven-match ban he picked up for
appearing to trip referee Nigel Miller in his side's 1-0 defeat to
Bolton in March.

Winger Buckley came in following his
recovery from a hamstring injury, with Leonardo Ulloa and Andrew Crofts
making way for the duo. Blackpool boss Paul Ince made no changes to the
side who played out a goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday in
mid-week.

The Seagulls were quickest out of the
blocks with Buckley causing Blackpool's defenders all sorts of problems
in the early stages. The former Rochdale man tried his luck from range
in the opening minute but his effort was gobbled up by Tangerines
stopper Matt Gilks.

Brighton defender Gordon Greer picked
up a booking in the seventh minute when he felled Nathan Delfouneso to
halt the visitors' counter-attack. Gus Poyet's men continued to dominate
and it came as no surprise when they broke deadlock in the ninth
minute.

Brighton poured forward in numbers
and Barnes played the ball forward to Buckley, who cut inside before
curling the ball high into the corner of the net from 20 yards out,
leaving Gilks stranded.

Further misery was piled onto
Blackpool in the 23rd minute when Orlandi's fantastic cross was headed
back across goal by Inigo Calderon and Upson bundled the ball home from
close range to make it 2-0.

Join the party: Matthew Upson was among the scorers for Brighton in their massive victory

Join the party: Matthew Upson was among the scorers for Brighton in their massive victory

Join the party: Matthew Upson was among the scorers for Brighton in their massive victory

CHAMPIONSHIP – AS IT STANDS

Championship

Brighton continued to attack, with
Barnes having three good opportunities to extend his side's lead in the
space of six first-half minutes. Albion made it 3-0 on the brink of
half-time when Orlandi played a wonderful one-two with Lopez before
finding the bottom corner of Gilks' net with a neat finish with the
outside of his foot.

Brighton began the second half as
they ended the first and Lopez made it four within two minutes of the
re-start. Barnes flicked the ball on to Lopez on the edge of the box and
his deflected effort went into the roof of the net.

Tom Ince had a couple of
opportunities to get on the scoresheet in the early stages of the second
half but it was Matt Phillips who set up his side's goal. The former
Wycombe winger launched the ball into the area in the 53rd minute and
his cross was turned into his own net by Hammond.

Kuszczak was replaced by Casper
Ankergren in the 64th minute after the Polish goalkeeper clashed heads
with Blackpool substitute Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Brighton made two further
substitutions with Kazenga LuaLua and Bruno Saltor replacing Buckley and
Wayne Bridge respectively. LuaLua made an instant impact four minutes
after coming on when he crossed for Barnes to tap in from close range to
make it 5-1.

Barnes made it six in the 90th minute when he stroked the ball home from Orlandi's cross.

Well beaten: Blackpool's Kirk Broadfoot and Matt Phillips look glum during their thrashing

Well beaten: Blackpool's Kirk Broadfoot and Matt Phillips look glum during their thrashing

Joleon Lescott wants Manchester City to treat him with respect

Sign me up, or let me leave, says Lescott as City defender urges club to show him respect

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

07:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 20 April 2013

Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect when it comes to deciding his future.

The England defender is close to entering the last year of his contract with the FA Cup finalists and has yet to fix up a new deal.

He has told the Daily Telegraph that he wants to stay, but claims he is not naive enough to think that is assured.

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

And, with the World Cup on the horizon, the former Everton man wants a first-team place to show national boss Roy Hodgson that he is up to the job.

He said: 'If someone said when I signed here “you're going to win the Premier League, get to two FA Cup finals and represent your country in the Euros” I'd have snapped their hand off.

'So now to go into the final year of my contract uncertain about my future is quite strange. I'd love to stay. My wife's pregnant, we've just moved house, the kids are happy at school. But I'm not naive. When you've achieved all that and you're going into the last year of your contract your future might be elsewhere.

'I can't afford to go into a World Cup year being uncertain of whether I'm going to play [regularly] here.

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

'I feel I've done enough for the club to demand a bit of respect in terms of they come and tell me what they want, whether it's a new deal, which I would be delighted to sign, or [to go] elsewhere.

'I'm very respectful of the club with what they've done for me, how they were persistent when Everton were digging their heels in to keep me. I owe a lot to the club. I also feel I've done enough to demand a bit of respect to not see speculation about my future.'

Paul Lambert has challenged Christian Benteke to stay at Aston Villa

Lambert challenges Benteke to stay at Villa and prove he's not a one-season wonder

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

17:15 GMT, 19 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:44 GMT, 19 April 2013

Paul Lambert registered little surprise at Christian Benteke’s nomination for the PFA young player of the year yesterday but asked Aston Villa’s top scorer to guard against becoming a one-season wonder.

Benteke, 22, has scored 19 goals so far, including 15 in the Premier League, and been the major reason why Lambert’s side has managed to claw themselves clear of trouble in the Premier League.

His physical presence has also allowed others to flourish. But Villa’s boss remained phlegmatic at the announcement, instead urging Benteke to carry on his good work.

Plea: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Belgian striker Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park and prove he is no one-season wonder.

Plea: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Belgian striker Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park and prove he is no one-season wonder.

'I’m not bothered if he’s nominated or not, as long as he’s performing for this club,' said Lambert, 'we’ll have to wait and see whether he wins it.

'However, I don’t think it’ll affect him one bit. If he remains the way he is at this minute, he’ll do very well for himself.

Preparation: Benteke and Villa travel to Manchester United this weekend

Preparation: Benteke and Villa travel to Manchester United this weekend

'And I don’t want to pile too much pressure upon him. He’s only a young guy learning his trade. He’s made mistakes like everyone else but his performances have been very good.

'He’s got to sustain a level where he is doing it, week in, week out.

'No doubt we’ll look at his contract at the end of the season. I just don’t want him to be one-season wonder.'

Little interest: Lambert is not bothered whether Benteke wins the PFA Young Player of the Year or not - knowing how valuable he has been for his side this season

Little interest: Lambert is not bothered whether Benteke wins the PFA Young Player of the Year or not – knowing how valuable he has been for his side this season

The spotlight will be on Manchester United’s David De Gea after Andy Carroll’s challenge on the keeper at Upton Park last week.

Lambert said that while Benteke was aggressive, there is no malicious intent.

Michael Carrick

Robin van Persie

Tough test: Villa travel to Old Trafford to face Player of the Year nominees Michael Carrick and Robin Van Persie

'I think a lot has been made of that situation,' added the Scot, 'we don’t really have a physical side, it has only been Christian, he’s a big lad but not an aggressive guy who does not want to hurt anyone.

'I don’t think anyone goes out to hurt anyone. The British game is an up and out them type of football. But Christian is not that way inclined.'

Wrong end: Fabian Delph's (right) own goal gave Aston Villa a point against an 'underrated' Fulham side

Wrong end: Fabian Delph's (right) own goal gave Aston Villa a point against an 'underrated' Fulham side

Threatened: Villa now sit just three points above the relegation zone and Wigan have a game in hand

Threatened: Villa now sit just three points above the relegation zone and Wigan have a game in hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Sale predicted trouble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since that night Chelsea have undergone a tumultuous transformation.

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PS.

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

Wayne Bridge and John Terry

Anton Ferdinand snubs John Terry

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

Football's other hand-shaking controversies

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

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

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

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

Sergio Aguero apologises for stamp on David Luiz

Aguero apologises to Luiz for two-footed stamp in FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

21:35 GMT, 16 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:27 GMT, 17 April 2013

Sergio Aguero has apologised to David Luiz for his two-footed stamp on the Brazilian defender during Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea.

The Argentine escaped a three-match ban after Chris Foy missed the horror tackle and the FA ruled the incident could not be re-refereed.

Influential: Sergio Aguero played a key role in Manchester City reaching thee FA Cup final

Influential: Sergio Aguero played a key role in Manchester City reaching thee FA Cup final

Luiz had called on Aguero to say
sorry and the striker tweeted: ‘I’ve contacted @DavidLuiz_4 and
apologised for what happened during the match. It was an impulse
reaction that shouldn’t have happened.’

The victim responded: ‘Thank you
@aguerosergiokun for a demonstration of character. We get to know great
man and athletes this way.’

Luiz suffered no serious harm in the
challenge and played on until the end of the match – but in the
aftermath did call on his fellow South American to apologise.

Over the top: But Aguero has apologised to David Luiz

Over the top: But Aguero has apologised to David Luiz

The defender said: 'Aguero is a great player but he needs to be honest with himself and say, “I don't like to do bad tackles”.

'Kids see the game and they want to
see the good things and not the bad – I would apologise. Football is
beautiful, but sometimes in games people have five seconds like that – I
forgive him because I have a good heart. I don't like to beat people.

'Sometimes in a game people have five
seconds when they are angry and do things they don't like to do. I
think it was that. I never saw Aguero do a bad tackle on other players.'

City won 2-1 after goals from Samir Nasri and Aguero when only Demba Ba could score for Chelsea.