Tag Archives: decency

Chelsea are an utter disgrace after Mark Clattenburg non apology – Des Kelly

I'm sorry, but Chelsea are an utter disgrace



00:30 GMT, 24 November 2012

Chelsea claimed it had all been done in 'good faith'. Amazingly, the Football Association nodded in agreement. Rarely has the English language been mangled quite so abhorrently.

For a start, there was not a word of apology from the club. Not a single, solitary one. As expected, the FA threw out the spurious and damaging accusation of racism that Chelsea levelled against referee Mark Clattenburg.

But even then Chelsea could not summon up the decency or class to utter ‘sorry’ to the man. Good faith obviously has a different meaning in the corridors of Stamford Bridge.

Disgrace: Chelsea have refused to apologise after accusing Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing John Obi Mikel

Disgrace: Chelsea have refused to apologise after accusing Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing John Obi Mikel

More from Des Kelly…

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Des Kelly: The finger of blame will only point at you, Roberto

Des Kelly: Now it is time for football's three monkeys to wise up

Des Kelly: Really, what are these people who support Armstrong on

Des Kelly: Terry affair must not derail battle to defeat racism… so let's stop the schism

Des Kelly: Forget the badge… it might have been you on that tragic day at Hillsborough


What a ghastly week this has been for them. What a horrible stain they have left on the season. Putrid doesn’t quite cover their behaviour. Throw in despicable and it might.

Chelsea have displayed such an arrogant, pig-headed disregard for decency with their allegations against Clattenburg that someone in a position of authority deserves to lose their job.

This is a club that sacks managers and coaches on a whim, even if they collect the European Cup. As far as they are concerned, experienced football men are simply dispensable.

But the relatively anonymous boardroom suits that served up this unpleasant smear to the public are now supposed to be allowed to just walk away from this mess without accepting responsibility I think not.

To implicate a referee in a racism row based on evidence so flimsy it turned out to be non-existent was a truly shocking misjudgment by the decision-makers at the club.

Clattenburg has been hounded for weeks because of their actions. He has been accused, investigated and quizzed. He had his character impugned, he was forced to forgo his job while the storm raged, ordered to bite his lip and hide away from the world as he saw his name repeatedly linked with the horrible slur of being a ‘racist’.

So it must be sickening for Clattenburg to see the FA sugar-coat their dismissal of Chelsea’s laughable case.

‘Good faith’ Not for Clattenburg it wasn’t. Not for referees, who will now tape every conversation they have with players on the pitch, such is their level of distrust.

Bad times: Clattenburg's name was dragged through the mud

Bad times: Clattenburg's name was dragged through the mud

Having done absolutely nothing wrong, having been exonerated, he is also effectively prevented from taking charge of any match at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future. More ‘good faith’, I assume.

Ignore the public-relations froth in the prepared statements. Ignore the legalese. Ignore, too, Chelsea’s post-rationalisation of events and the risible claim they had to go public on the night, long before all the information had been properly gathered and assessed.

Here are the facts…

Chelsea accused Clattenburg of being a racist.They were horribly wrong.No credible evidence was produced.The club have refused to apologise.

Why hasn’t someone at Chelsea resigned this morning At the BBC, bosses were clearing their desks when one politician was falsely accused of a repugnant crime.


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Over at ITV, a presenter was
grovelling and his bosses paying out damages after he waved about a list
of alleged criminals he had lifted from the internet.

is it OK to say a professional match official is a racist — and then
shrug and say ‘Oops’ when the charge is exposed as complete trash No
doubt a lawyer suggested Chelsea should avoid any apology for fear it
might ‘compromise their legal position’. I wonder if it was the same
lawyer who suggested they might have a case in the first place

Amazing, too, that the judgment broke as new manager Rafa Benitez was being wheeled in for his inaugural press conference. A good day to try to bury bad news, perhaps I wouldn’t put it past this lot.

Chelsea are a club run by an easily bored oligarch with no regard for careers or reputations. I often look at Roman Abramovich’s vacant, thousand-yard stare and wonder what he is thinking. Or even, if.

The chances that he might publicly account for his actions at the club are as remote as his home in Siberia.

But it makes my stomach turn to now read someone at Stamford Bridge claim they had a ‘duty of care’ to Ramires, as if that makes it all ok.

They also had a duty of care to the game, to the reputation of our officials, to the ‘Respect’ tags they dare to wear on their kits. They also had a duty of care to the man they accused of being a racist without any plausible proof.

Overheard: Ramires thought he heard a racial slur

Overheard: Ramires thought he heard a racial slur

This isn’t being wise after the event. This isn’t slating Chelsea for the sake of it, although heaven knows they make it easy. The FA verdict was a foregone conclusion even after the most cursory inspection of the so-called ‘evidence’ — and I have said as much on these pages before.

Chelsea could have looked into the complaint and followed it through without rushing into public with their nasty smear. And considering the astonishing lack of ‘evidence’, it is also a mystery why the FA moved to deliver their verdict as slowly as insurance loss adjusters.

That ‘good faith’ remark smacks of days of draft statements knocking back and forth between expensive lawyers. It reeks of a ‘we-won’t-say-this-if-you-don’t-say-that’ trade-off. The referee was put through the mangle on the word of one player — Ramires, a Portuguese-speaking Brazilian who struggles to communicate in English.

A gaggle of players were closer to the supposed incident and heard nothing, including Ashley Cole and John Mikel Obi.

There was no audio or video evidence, nor confirmation from officials on the touchline. But Chelsea pressed on, having been backed into a corner by their own eagerness to point an accusing finger.

Centre of the storm: Mikel was proven NOT to have been called a monkey

Centre of the storm: Mikel was proven NOT to have been called a monkey

Did you note that Ramires took 15 days to pinpoint the moment he believed he had heard a ‘racist’ remark Until then, he had been unable to remember when this extraordinary insult was actually uttered. Does that sound like a credible witness to you No, nor me. Nor the Metropolitan Police. Nor the FA, for that matter.

Chelsea went to make a point of saying they ‘provided 11 witness statements’. How comprehensive of them.

Unfortunately, that appears to have boiled down to 10 people saying ‘Nope — I didn’t hear any such thing’ and one bloke from Brazil saying he definitely might have heard the word ‘monkey’.

The improbable idiocy of it all didn’t stop someone associated with Chelsea briefing the media within two hours of the final whistle with claims the referee may have made racist remarks. It was running on Sky Sports by 8pm. The club knew what the consequences would be.

So it was galling to read this in Chelsea’s statement: ‘All those directly involved have been subjected to scrutiny over the last weeks. Chelsea FC now hopes that all concerned can continue to carry out their duties without prejudice.’

Back to duty: Clattenburg says he hopes no ref has to go through this in the future

Back to duty: Clattenburg says he hopes no ref has to go through this in the future

Oh, you do, do you Only one man has been accused of ‘prejudice’. Only one man has really been under scrutiny. Only one man has been fighting for his job. But now the tables are turned, just look at Chelsea trying to wriggle away from the mess they created.

There is the one comment amid all of this that truly matters. It is from Clattenburg himself, who is thankfully returning to duty.

‘There are processes that should be adhered to in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair,’ he said.

‘I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation. I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.’

Damn right. I would add my own hope that Clattenburg and the referees’ union succeed in their bid to take Chelsea to the cleaners in court.

Even if they can’t bring themselves to say it, I hope Chelsea are made to feel sorry.

Rafa's luck is pants

Chelsea's future former manager, Rafa Benitez, wears lucky underpants.

Whenever the Spanish boss requires the intervention of fate, he pulls on a red pair of budgie-smugglers adorned with a picture of a Tasmanian devil.

It paid off when he led Valencia to the Spanish title and the UEFA Cup. He wore them for every European game in his first year at Liverpool, too, and picked up the 2005 Champions League trophy.

Lucky pants: Rafael Benitez will neet more than underwear to get the best out of Fernando Torres

Lucky pants: Rafael Benitez will neet more than underwear to get the best out of Fernando Torres

But Benitez might need more than lucky pants at Chelsea after being handed the interim job on one promise; the belief that he can sort out Fernando Torres.

The 50million striker is not the man Benitez remembers at Anfield. He has lost the explosive pace that was his greatest weapon.

Maybe Benitez can restore some of the old magic. But the overriding suspicion is Torres is beyond saving at the very highest level. I’d never dare suggest he might even be a bit pants these days — because he’s not that lucky.

Tony looks a Twit

Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes should sack himself. From Twitter.

The knee-jerk social media forum has been nothing but a curse for Fernandes. His wish to communicate with fans is admirable, but he has to be smart enough to know when to leave the iPhone alone, rather than make himself a hostage to fortune.

On Friday, QPR dispensed with Mark Hughes just seven days after Fernandes declared: ‘It won’t be happening — for the millionth time, ha ha.’

Axed: Mark Hughes was sacked despite Tony Fernandes claiming he wouldn't be

Axed: Mark Hughes was sacked despite Tony Fernandes claiming he wouldn't be

We laughed, too. Not with Fernandes, but at his naivety. Now it looks as if Fernandes was forced to wield the axe only after a rift with other key directors. His Twitter feed definitely supports that view.

On October 27, he insisted: ‘We have one of the best managers in the Premier League. We’re in this for the long term.’

I suppose that three-and-a-half weeks is regarded as ‘long term’ in football these days.

Twickenham man feeling off-colour as panto season comes early for England

Twickenham man feeling off-colour as panto season comes early for England



23:22 GMT, 17 November 2012

The last Australian drive yielded possession, the ball was lashed high into the West Stand, and the yellow shirts fell upon each other in boisterous celebration. A few yards away, heads were dropping, shoulders slumping and chins sinking into shirts of 'regal purple'. And as this tableau took shape, the sound of jeers came cutting through the November mist.

Twickenham Man was not happy. Defeat was one thing; defeat was no stranger, he could cope with that. But losing to Australia, particularly to an Australian side who had been beaten out of sight in Paris last weekend; that was hard to take. And losing haplessly and carelessly; that was even harder. Above all, losing in those colours.

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

'Regal purple' is a fashion disaster. Coupled with gold lettering on front and back, it reduced fierce and massive forwards to the stature of pantomime dames. Twickenham Man hated it.

We shall not reproduce the various overheard descriptions, since they offend against taste and decency. Suffice to say they were emphatically expressed. 'D'you know, I wouldn't want our men to win in that bloody gear,' fumed an outraged patron. It was not true, of course, but several heads nodded their agreement. Somehow, this absurd piece of product placement added substantially to the air of discontent. England had been poor, their decision-making awry, their thinking sluggish, their handling erratic, their finishing inadequate.

This was the autumn international they seemed most likely to win, certainly their supporters had carried an air of blissful confidence as they swarmed down Rugby Road. England had done little to modify those expectations. Chris Ashton had given a number of chirpily optimistic interviews, expressing the solid hope that his barren run was about to end. In the event, he pushed his number of try-less matches into double figures.

The assistant coach, Graham Rowntree, was even more confident: 'These (Southern Hemisphere) teams could come over to Europe and lose every other game, but if they beat England at Twickenham they will think it's been a successful trip for them,' he declared.

Toby Flood

Toby Flood

We must doubt that, say, New Zealand would fly home in glory if their only touring success had been gained in south-west London. No, it was the kind of nonsense which can communicate itself to players, especially players who are ill-equipped to indulge in such delusions. For the truth was that England needed no distractions to their attempts to deal with a spirited Australian side.

Of all the teams in world sport, Australia are possibly the last to be under-rated. Missing several important players and coming into the game in depressing form, they possess an inborn cussedness, a determination to be better than the sum of their parts.

That spirit remained unshaken through a first half in which they were unfortunate to fall behind to a dubious late try by Manu Tuilagi. For they knew that they had performed with authority, that their options had been sounder, their execution more intelligent. Their competitive instincts told them that the tide would turn towards them. It was merely a mattter of time. At such moments, you can almost hear Twickenham worrying. Sweet Chariot is sung with a nervous edge, like a prayer offered up in a doubtful cause. Drink is taken thoughtfully, ruminatively, as if the worst is imminently expected.

They were pleased to cheer the parade of Olympians at half-time. Now that was a genuine success. Marvellous summer; all those medals. And Australia were rubbish. If memory serves. Not so yesterday.

Triumphant: Australia's Nathan Sharpe lifts the Cook Cup

Triumphant: Australia's Nathan Sharpe lifts the Cook Cup

The penalties which Berrick Barnes struck early in the half gave his team first equality, then the lead. And they seemed to point to an unmistakeable conclusion. For a kind of panic had crept into the English game. The extravagant manner in which they declined kickable penalties had the air of bluster. Later, the coach Stuart Lancaster would argue, quite reasonably, that he had given his players responsibility and that he would not criticise them for exercising it. Yet the decisions were flawed, and they helped to ensure the outcome.

For the Aussies came home; strongly and, although by just six points, quite comfortably. England were left with the prospect of first South Africa, then New Zealand; just the kind of opponents you need when your own confidence is low, your selection problematical and your methods uncertain.

Twickenham Man glared at the glittering scoreboard, then consoled himself with the announcement that there would be post-match karoake in the Scrum Bar. But the resentment still niggled away. A poor performance, a disappointing day. And those bloody awful colours!

Liverpool and Manchester United fans break fragile peace

Such a fragile peace: A day for decency but still the morons have their moment



22:17 GMT, 23 September 2012

The fragile truce never felt like it would last. And when the decent fans had gone, and all that was left on three sides of Anfield were the discarded bits of paper used for a mosaic to honour 96 people who went to a football match and never had a chance to go home, the morons had their moment.

Both sides were to blame. Until then, Manchester United’s travelling supporters had stopped short of any direct references to Hillsborough — just about.

But when one idiotic Liverpool fan, frustrated at his team’s defeat and provoked by their taunts, responded by spreading his arms into the wings of a plane in the time-honoured way of mocking the Munich air crash, the gloves were off.

Truth and justice: Tributes are paid to the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough

Truth and justice: Tributes are paid to the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough

Truth and justice: Tributes are paid to the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough

‘Murderers!’ and ‘Justice for Heysel’ they chanted, in reference to that other awful tragedy to befall Liverpool Football Club. Several stewards and a policeman hustled him down the steps and out of view. Two more home fans among the few still scattered around the main stand followed suit and spread their arms wide.

‘It’s never you’re fault,’ sang the visitors. ‘Always the victims, it’s never you’re fault.’

It was the song heard at Old Trafford a week earlier, one that had raised even greater concerns that Liverpool v Manchester United was absolutely the worst fixture for the first game at Anfield since an independent panel had exposed the full horror of Hillsborough.

Those who believed the poison and hatred that festers between the hardcore elements of these two great clubs could be put on hold — even for a day — with some balloons, a bunch of roses and a letter from Sir Alex Ferguson, were kidding themselves.

Overall it passed off without major incident. For that we should be both relieved and thankful. But those people who praised supporters for their behaviour were obviously not sat near the Anfield Road End on Sunday afternoon.

Gesture: Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard release balloons at Anfield on Sunday

Gesture: Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard release balloons at Anfield on Sunday

Gesture: Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard release balloons at Anfield on Sunday

The ill feeling was evident beforehand despite the signs that read ‘Welcome Man United Fans’ above the turnstiles providing entry to the away end of the ground.

The letter from Ferguson calling for good behaviour and handed to each away fan as they entered the stadium served as the only indication that this game was different to any other between these two clubs down the years.

When the teams came out there was a chorus of ‘One Bobby Charlton’ for the United legend and Munich survivor who presented former Liverpool striker Ian Rush with a bouquet of red roses, and sporadic applause when captains Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs released 96 balloons into the grey sky.

But throughout a rousing chorus of You’ll Never Walk Alone, while the words ‘Justice’ and ‘The Truth’ appeared in a mosaic across the Centenary Stand and the Kop, the United fans defiantly sang their own songs.

Well behaved: The fans of both sides were largely respectful throughout

Well behaved: The fans of both sides were largely respectful throughout

The sound was drowned out but, sadly, when the end of Liverpool’s anthem was greeted with warm applause around the rest of the stadium the away end launched into a rendition of ‘You Scouse b******s’ accompanied by more than a few obscene hand gestures.

It’s important to remember that United are no different to any other club in having an unruly element, particularly away from home, and that close scrutiny of any set of fans is unlikely to show them or their club in a good light. They have had to endure horrible taunts about Munich in the past, and you can only admire the way Ferguson and his club as a whole conducted themselves in the build-up to this game. But this was more than a mindless minority.

There is a line between the usual football banter, like the predictable barracking of Luis Suarez and the abuse showered upon Gerrard when he came over to take an early corner, and the kind of sick taunts we feared might be heard on Sunday. At times the United fans were dangerously close to it.

Respect: Sir Bobby Charlton brings out flowers in honour of the Hillsborough tragedy

Respect: Sir Bobby Charlton brings out flowers in honour of the Hillsborough tragedy

When a public announcement urged supporters who stood throughout to sit down, they responded by singing ‘if it wasn’t for the Scousers we could stand’. It was because of Hillsborough that all-seater stadiums were introduced.

‘We’ll sing what we want,’ was another worrying chant that did not bode well following the pre-match calls for sensitivity, before they goaded their rivals with ‘Where’s your famous Munich song’
Thank goodness we didn’t hear it on Sunday.

But as United fans poured out of Anfield, separated from their rivals by snarling police dogs and ranks of mounted officers, you had to wonder just how far football has moved on since Hillsborough.

I relish Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry, but we must be civilised: Gary Neville

I relish our rivalry, but it's never an excuse to go beyond bounds of decency



21:15 GMT, 22 September 2012

When I grew up watching Manchester
United in the Eighties, sitting with my dad in the ‘K-stand’, where
some of the most passionate fans would be, there were times when we left
the ground and it was a battle zone outside.

I vividly remember my dad having to
shield me past fighting fans to get me away safely. But once we were in
the car, it was never mentioned: it was all about the game. That was how
football was and we accepted it. It existed in a ghetto, where
behaviour that would seem totally out of place in normal society was

It felt as though anything went, not
just in terms of hooliganism but also in insults and chanting. That was
the culture I grew up in as a supporter. And as a player it was the
same. It was as though we lived in a vacuum, where you could trade vile
insults with other players and receive any amount of abuse on any topic
from the terraces.

In the early Nineties, as football
became more popular with the advent of the Premier League, some elements
of crowd behaviour became unacceptable. It is only 25 years ago that
bananas were still being thrown on the pitch at black players but racist
chanting slowly became a thing of the past.

Passion: Howard Webb separates Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher in 2010

Passion: Howard Webb separates Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher in 2010

Hooliganism, too, was reduced with
better policing and running battles outside grounds became a rarity. And
in recent months, even the insults that players exchange have come
under scrutiny, with the John Terry and Luis Suarez cases.

But the authorities went only part of
the way and in the grounds there were instances where football
continued to act as though it was divorced from social norms. Scream and
shout violently in Manchester city centre on a Saturday night and
you’ll likely be arrested: do it in a football ground and you’ll
probably be ignored. Football can still have the feel of going to a
gladiatorial contest from 2,000 years ago, where civilised behaviour
goes out the window. And let’s not forget this has always been part of
its appeal.

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This week, though, it seems we have
reached a turning point. The publication of the Hillsborough
Independent Panel’s findings, regarding the cover-up after the death of
those 96 Liverpool fans, brought such shock to the whole country that
the game and fans have had to reflect on what has been tolerated in the
past. In particular, it has thrown the spotlight on the fixture
between Liverpool and Manchester United and how both clubs respond to
their respective tragedies of Hillsborough and Munich, where 23 people
died as a result of the 1958 air crash, including eight United players
and three club officials.

Over the years, I could hardly be
said to have been a peacemaker when it came to the rivalry between
United and Liverpool. My story is well known, how I grew up a Manchester
United fan resenting the fact that Liverpool were winning all their
league titles.

The dreadful feeling I had as I watched Liverpool winning all those titles is a strong childhood memory. I couldn’t bear to hear You’ll Never Walk Alone when I played against them. Liverpool have always been United’s greatest rivals and it has always been the game I wanted to win more than any other. So I don’t mean to get on my moral high horse now.

However, the thought that I or any United fan could take pleasure in the young men and women of Liverpool being crushed to death, or that any Liverpool fan could sing about those young players dying in a plane crash, is something I can’t get my head round.

I relish this rivalry more than anyone but I’m also a sane human being with feelings and a family. As a husband and a father, that level of hatred is beyond my comprehension.

When I read the Hillsborough findings about police editing their evidence and about their attempts to smear the dead, I was disgusted. That’s an issue that goes beyond football. And I don’t really believe those fans who sing those songs truly want their rivals to die and would celebrate that. There may be a very twisted few who feel that way but I think most of those fans think it is just a way of baiting their rivals to get a reaction.

Remember: Tributes are left on the memorial at Hillsborough before Sheffield Wednesday's match with Bolton

Remember: Tributes are left on the memorial at Hillsborough before Sheffield Wednesday's match with Bolton

But, as Sir Alex Ferguson wrote so eloquently this week: ‘What happened to them [the Hillsborough victims] should wake the conscience of everyone connected with the game. Our great club stands with our great neighbours, Liverpool, today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice.’

No one will put it better than that. I know there are United fans who are unhappy that there is so much talk about their chanting because they have had to put up with decades of songs about the Munich disaster. And nothing hurts a United fan more than being called a ‘Munich’. But it’s time to let go. It can’t be a case of always having the last punch. This is the moment to recognise the boundaries of rivalry.

Liverpool and Manchester are two great northern cities, born out of the Industrial Revolution. The two clubs have strong working-class roots and have been an inspiration to their fans more than 100 years and especially in times of economic hardships, which both communities have experienced. The cities and the football clubs have so much in common, as do the fans.

This should be an enjoyable rivalry. I don’t want to lose the excitement or the hostility. This fixture should be about Steven Gerrard clattering into Paul Scholes, just as in the past it was about Bryan Robson smashing into Graeme Souness, or Norman Whiteside going in hard on Alan Hansen.

Respect: Everton paid tribute to the 96 at Goodison Park on Monday

Respect: Everton paid tribute to the 96 at Goodison Park on Monday

It should be about wild celebrations and fans being up for every corner and every hard challenge and about goading each other with the number of titles you’ve won or the number of European Cups.

I don’t want this to become like an exhibition match. But don’t allow that to be an excuse for behaviour that crosses acceptable lines. Know the boundaries of support.

I don’t believe we will see a repeat of those chants. The majority of United fans will be motivated to represent their club well. And Liverpool fans are too raw with grief to resurrect Munich chants.

But the challenge isn’t for now, when everyone will be on their best behaviour. It’s how football reacts over the next few years. Let’s use this as a springboard to take away vile chanting of all kinds — the songs about a great football man like Arsene Wenger, or fine players such as Sol Campbell or John Terry — that can be as offensive as chanting about tragedies.

We have to make sure our rivalries are within the bounds of civilised behaviour. Football’s challenge is to emerge completely from the ghetto, to consign that era to the past without losing the passion and intensity of the English game. We’ve done it before, with hooliganism and racist chanting. There’s no reason why we can’t do this now.

David Haye can"t say sorry but Dereck Chisora does

A sorry state: Police still hunting Haye and he can't even bring himself to offer apology

Dereck Chisora at least had the decency to say sorry. There was no such apology from David Haye.

As boxing reeled from the ugly punch-up between the pair, Haye blamed his fellow British heavyweight for the brawl which saw him punch his rival with a bottle in his hand and brandish a television camera tripod above his head.

German police are still investigating the violence, which occurred after Chisora’s defeat by Vitali Klitschko on Saturday, and want to question Haye who returned home to Bexleyheath, south-east London, on Monday night. The 31-year-old said in a statement that Chisora ‘caused a serious disturbance to occur’.

Brawl: David Haye (left) launches a right hook at Dereck Chisora

Brawl: David Haye (left) launches a right hook at Dereck Chisora

Squaring up: Haye and Chisora came to blows in Munich


Click here to read David Haye's full statement

Click here to read Dereck Chisora's full statement

The British Boxing Board of Control have announced a disciplinary hearing for next month. Chisora faces a ban from the sport on March 14, but they cannot punish Haye as he no longer holds a licence. Haye, 31, tried to calm the furore over the bust-up, although he showed little remorse for his role in the clash, instead blaming Chisora for sparking the row.

‘Chisora climbed down from the top table, removed his robe and then walked towards me, entourage in tow, in an aggressive manner,’ Haye said in his statement. ‘I held my ground, but unfortunately he caused a serious disturbance to occur, something which threatened to damage the reputation of the sport we both love. I have been thinking about what happened ever since, as well as replaying the incident many times via YouTube.

Back in town: David Haye returns

Back in town: David Haye returns

‘I am bitterly disappointed to have been a part of what transpired on Saturday evening. I realise I am no angel and don’t mind a bit of professional trash talk to help raise boxing’s profile.

‘But during my 21 years in the sport I have never been involved in or even witnessed such a serious fracas.’

Haye went on to confirm that he left Munich on Sunday morning, catching the 6.10am flight to Manchester. He added: ‘If requested, I shall happily assist the boxing authorities with any investigation they wish to launch and, ultimately, hope that all lessons learned from this incident will be implemented.

‘I also hope Dereck Chisora is able to learn from his mistakes this past weekend, right the wrongs and then go on to fulfil his potential in the boxing ring.’ Chisora has already been questioned by German police for his role in the brawl, but has since arrived back in England.

And the 28-year-old Zimbabwean-born boxer — who threatened to ‘shoot’ Haye — took a more remorseful stance than his countryman for his part in the fiasco. ‘I feel I must wholeheartedly apologise for my part in the regrettable scenes both before and after what was to be the biggest night of my career,’ Chisora’s statement read. ‘Whilst my behaviour was inexcusable, there were many things that went on behind the scenes that ultimately caused my frustrations to boil over.

‘Despite all of this, the bottom line is, I have let down my family, my team and worst of all, the sport I love.’

Relaxing: Haye (third from left) eats pizza with friends after returning to the UK

Relaxing: Haye (third from left) eats pizza with friends after returning to the UK

Return: Chisora arrived in London after being questioned by German police

Return: Chisora arrived in London after being questioned by German police

Comment: Kenny Dalglish is reduced to a scowling, sneering bar-room bully

Comment: Dalglish is reduced to a scowling, sneering bar-room bully

Week upon week, the humiliation of
Liverpool FC increases. And
Saturday's events at Old Trafford
may trigger a significant reaction
from the club owners in Boston.

Once again, the usual suspects
were responsible for lowering the
tone, spirits and reputation of one of
our greatest clubs. Luis Suarez, a
dim and truculent provocateur,
lived down to expectations.

Low point: Luis Suarez snubs Patrice Evra

Low point: Luis Suarez snubs Patrice Evra

Luis Suarez of Liverpool refuses to shake the hand of Patrice Evra

Cool down: Referee Phil Dowd intervenes in his attempt to calm a furious Evra

Flash point: Evra grabs his arm (left) but ref Phil Dowd intervenes

After being scrupulously tried and duly convicted of racial abuse by an FA regulatory commission, there were those who believed he might reveal a touch of contrition on his first start following his return.

It was a foolishly optimistic view, one which he confounded within moments of his appearance on the pitch. The refusal to shake hands with Patrice Evra was more than a slap in the face for ordinary decency, it was a shabby affirmation that no lessons have been learned, no minds changed, no attitudes reconsidered after the events which provoked his downfall.

Even by the standards of the modern game, in which certain players believe themselves far beyond the reach of those rules which govern the rest of us, this was staggering arrogance. Indeed, at a time when football finds itself struggling with racial problems which it thought it had overcome, it might have been something worse than arrogance.

Final whistle: Evra celebrates the win as Suarez walks off

Final whistle: Evra celebrates the win as Suarez walks off

Undoubtedly, he has been
encouraged in his idiocy by attitudes
struck by manager Kenny Dalglish.
Throughout this depressing saga,
Dalglish has promoted a sense of
paranoia, a feeling that the club
have been hard done-by, ill-used,
savagely put-upon. He has conjured
the notion of a vast conspiracy
directed at Liverpool, without ever
explaining the logic or the motives
behind such a movement.

At its most crass, it was the T-shirt
worn to support Suarez, a gesture
so tasteless that a football manager
of even modest intelligence might
have rejected it out of hand.
Dalglish wore his daft little shirt
as if it were a badge of martyrdom,
utterly unaware of the ridiculous
figure he was cutting.

Most distressing was his welcome
back to Suarez, with the stubborn
insistence that, of course, he should
never have been away. A chance to
lay the issue quietly to rest was
thereby rejected, the affair was
given fresh legs. His post-match
interview with Sky TV yesterday
showed the man at his worst. In the
face of reasonable, courteous and
relevant questions about the handshaking
incident, he behaved like a
bar-room bully: 'You're bang out of
order … bit of banter … I never saw

In refusing to disown, or even
criticise, his player's conduct, he
allowed Sir Alex Ferguson to make
his contemptuous condemnation of
the miserable Suarez: 'A disgrace to
Liverpool Football Club,' he called
him and, of course, he is.

Standing firm: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish

Standing firm: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish

The rest of the nation has regarded
events at Liverpool with a mixture
of disdain and disappointment. This
is the club of Shankly and Paisley,
of St John and Keegan, of fine men
and great players. It is also the club
of Kenny Dalglish, a glorious
player who once represented
everything that was fine about
his club and his adopted city.

No longer. The man is reduced
to a scowling, sneering
presence. Every time he opens
his mouth, he seems to grow a
little smaller.

The men in Boston have
been remarkably patient with
his handling of a protracted
crisis. But patience has its
limits, and one senses that
they may be reaching them.

Harry Redknapp trial: Defence goes on attack

Harry defence on the attack as Spurs boss' tax trial draws to a close

The tax evasion case against Harry Redknapp was ridiculed as ‘absurd’ on Monday, with the Tottenham manager’s defence QC claiming it was based on evidence obtained in a ‘repugnant’ manner.

The court listened to the closing arguments from the QCs representing Redknapp and Milan Mandaric, and the evidence that forms the basis of the Crown’s case came under serious attack — in particular the taped News of the World interview with Redknapp passed on to the police before a story had appeared.

John Kelsey-Fry QC highlighted the sums of money involved and said: ‘There is an inherent absurdity that shrieks out at you.’

Close of play: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp leaves court on Monday

Close of play: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp leaves court on Monday

He made the point that Redknapp has risked his reputation for the sake of a 39,000 tax saving, while Mandaric — a businessman worth hundreds of millions — would have saved 15,473 by making an ‘off-record payment’ into Redknapp’s account in Monaco.

Mr Kelsey-Fry also focused on former News of the World football reporter Rob Beasley. To the jury he said: ‘He rings, takes tapes and tapes without warning; plays on being a mate — “I’m your mate”. He employs kidology, journalism licence as he calls it, in the hope of getting Redknapp to say something different to what he would tell the police. All for a good story. All’s fair in love and war and the News of the World.

‘It is primarily despicable because the pursuit of the front page overrides any respect or decency for the persons involved and the proper process of the police investigation.

Final stages: Milan Mandaric arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Monday

Final stages: Milan Mandaric arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Monday

‘You may find the Beasley evidence repugnant. It is repugnant to all
basic instincts of fairness in the criminal justice process. It is
engineered to put a man in a position where he may choose not to say
what he means.’

Mr Kelsey-Fry added: ‘What the prosecution has suggested to you just
doesn’t make sense. Indeed, you may think it offends common sense.’

Earlier Lord Macdonald QC, defending Mandaric, said: ‘We suggest the
Crown’s characterisation is paper thin and really desperate stuff.’

Redknapp missed Tottenham’s Premier League match at Liverpool on Monday
night after a technical fault grounded his plane at City Airport.

He and Mandaric, who deny the charges, will be in court on Tuesday morning to hear
Judge Anthony Leonard sum up before the jury consider their verdict.