Tag Archives: discussions

Fabio Borini set for Liverpool as Andy Carroll future is unclear

Carroll blow as Liverpool go for 10m Roma striker Borini

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 9 July 2012

Fabio Borini is set to become Brendan Rodgers' first signing, as the Liverpool manager challenges Andy Carroll to show he can be part of the new Anfield regime.

Having worked with the Italy striker at Chelsea and Swansea, Borini has been on Rodgers' wanted list for some time, and Liverpool have held lengthy discussions with his current club Roma over a deal that could be worth 10million.

Borini was co-owned by Roma and Parma last season, but Roma concluded their own 3.95m deal to take full ownership of his contract last month, which has made Liverpool's negotiations for the 21-year-old go more smoothly.

Wanted: Liverpool are hopeful of sealing a deal for Italy striker Borini (left)

Wanted: Liverpool are hopeful of sealing a deal for Italy striker Borini (left)

It is, however, a surprise that Borini is set to move to Anfield as he said last month that he was 'a Roma player' and 'it's not my business that there is talk about whether I go there (to Liverpool) or stay.'

Rodgers wants to bring in 'three or four' additions, but aims to do that 'without throwing wheelbarrows full of money at it'.

He is also confident of getting improvement out of the Liverpool players he inherited, Carroll included.

Centre of attention: Carroll is yet to return from his holidays

Centre of attention: Carroll is yet to return from his holidays

The England forward has endured a turbulent 18 months since his 35million move to Anfield from Newcastle and it had been assumed that Carroll – who is being linked with a loan switch to AC Milan – will struggle to adapt to the intricate system Rodgers favours.

Though Rodgers has not handed Carroll any assurances about where he will fit into the team, he is prepared to give him the necessary chances.

'Andy is a player I want to assess and speak with,' said Rodgers, who received confirmation yesterday that Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates will represent Uruguay in the Olympics.

Welcome to Anfield: Rodgers was officially unveiled on Monday

Welcome to Anfield: Rodgers was officially unveiled on Monday

Suarez will be given the honour of carrying his country's flag at the opening ceremony.

'Andy Carroll is away on his holidays but we have already had a good chat. There have been many inquiries about our players so I will assess them and hopefully put together a group to help us challenge.

'He's a very, very good player. He's shown that in his short career already. He did fantastic with Newcastle, he's done well at times with England.

'He's made a massive move to a world-renowned football club and there was always going to be a time of adaptation. You sometimes forget how young these people are. They're not machines.'

Your country needs you: Suarez has been called up by Uruguay for the Olympics

Your country needs you: Suarez has been called up by Uruguay for the Olympics

Carroll looked burdened at times last season with the weight of expectation that accompanied his colossal transfer fee, but he finished the campaign in a positive fashion and the goal he scored for England against Sweden at Euro 2012 typified all that is good about him.

'Andy is no different to any player we have here,' said Rodgers, whose squad embark on a tour of North America next week.

'It's a wee bit unfair for him to get labelled any other way. We will just see how the formation of the group shapes up over the next month. Time will tell for him and all the players, but my job is to build a group that can challenge.'

Liverpool have been linked with Zenit St Petersburg's 16m-rated midfielder Igor Denisov, but the 28-year-old is not the type of player Rodgers is looking to sign.

Tottenham in talks with Andre Villas-Boas

Tottenham talk to AVB as Levy widens search for Redknapp replacement

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 18 June 2012

In talks: Villas-Boas as Chelsea manager

In talks: Villas-Boas as Chelsea manager

Tottenham have held a second round of talks with Andre Villas-Boas as the Portuguese emerges as a serious contender to replace Harry Redknapp.

The former Chelsea manager’s representatives were in England on Monday, meeting with Spurs as the White Hart Lane club continue their search for a new boss.

France coach Laurent Blanc is also understood to be high on their list of candidates.

Villas-Boas’s agent held informal discussions with chairman Daniel Levy towards the end of last week to alert Spurs to the 34-year-old’s interest in taking over, and Monday’s development underlines Villas-Boas as a leading contender to take the vacant role.

However, Sportsmail understands Levy remains determined not to rush the appointment of Spurs’ next manager.

Despite discussing the possibility of appointing Villas-Boas twice in under a week, the north London club remain open-minded in their search for a new leader.

Former Bordeaux coach Blanc remains fully committed to Les Bleus’ Euro 2012 campaign but it has not gone unnoticed by Spurs that his contract with the French Football Federation expires at the end of the tournament, meaning the club would not be required to spend millions on a compensation package.

The ex-Manchester United defender is the preferred candidate of a number of Spurs officials but it remains to be seen whether he is prepared to leave his current job.

In contention: Laurent Blanc is also being considered by the Spurs hierarchy

In contention: Laurent Blanc is also being considered by the Spurs hierarchy

It is believed Blanc is aware of Tottenham’s interest but would prefer to focus on France’s attempts to win Euro 2012. Nevertheless, Spurs will look to speak to Blanc’s representatives to gauge whether the Frenchman would be prepared to move to London.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is also a candidate, but Everton boss David Moyes’ chances have dwindled in the last few days.

Whoever takes over at White Hart Lane will have to include the highly rated Tim Sherwood within his set-up. The former Tottenham midfielder was used as a first-team coach under Redknapp’s regime but the 43-year-old can expect a promotion now.

Sherwood was retained by the club despite last week’s axing of Redknapp, Joe Jordan, Kevin Bond and Clive Allen, pointing to the fact Tottenham are keen he is to be utilised by the new regime.

However, the backroom cull is not completely over, with Levy planning an overview of the training set-up as the club prepare to move into their new Enfield HQ.

Marko Marin wants Roberto Di Matteo to stay at Chelsea

Give Blues job to Di Matteo! New signing Marin in plea to Abramovich

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UPDATED:

12:38 GMT, 21 May 2012

Chelsea new boy Marko Marin has urged the club’s hierarchy to offer Roberto di Matteo a new deal.

Di Matteo became the first manager in Chelsea’s history to lift the Champions League trophy after their dramatic penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday night.

It marked Di Matteo’s second managerial success in a fortnight following the Blues triumph over Liverpool in the FA Cup.

First: Di Matteo is the only Chelsea manager to have won the Champions League

First: Di Matteo is the only Chelsea manager to have won the Champions League

And Marin, who has signed a five-year deal with the newly-crowned Champions League winners, believes Di Matteo should be given the Chelsea job on a permanent basis.

‘I hope the coach will stay because he is a great coach,’ said the 23-year-old German playmaker.

‘I have met him a couple of times and we held positive discussions.’

Saying goodbye: Marko Marin waves farewell to Werder Bremen fans

Saying goodbye: Marko Marin waves farewell to Werder Bremen fans

Marin, who turned down an offer from Tottenham to join the Blues in a 7million deal, is also hopeful Didier Drogba will remain with the club.

The Ivorian is out of contract with Chelsea and is expected to join Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on a 250,000-a-week contract.

But Marin said: ‘It would be great if he stayed because he is a world-class player.

‘He’s a big part of the team and he has done a lot for Chelsea.’

Sport England cut tennis funding by over 500k due to poor participation figures

Sport England cut tennis funding by over 500k due to poor participation figures

PUBLISHED:

12:51 GMT, 3 April 2012

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 3 April 2012

Sport England have cut their funding of tennis by 530,000 due to disappointing participation figures.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have paid the price for an almost 25 per cent drop in the number of adults playing the sport since 2008.

The British Judo Association (BJA) have also had their funding cut, by 353,000, and both sports have been given new participation targets.

Poor figures: The LTA have had their funding cut by Sport England

Poor figures: The LTA have had their funding cut by Sport England

Sport England's Active People survey showed that the average number of adults playing tennis at least once a week declined from 487,500 in 2007-08 to 375,800 at the latest update.

Sport England's chief executive Jennie Price said: 'The decisions announced today follow lengthy discussions with each of the governing bodies.

'No decision to reduce funding is taken lightly, but Sport England has been clear that failure to achieve the agreed growth in a sport would lead to a governing body's overall funding levels being reviewed.'

The LTA's funding award for 2009 to 2013 now stands at 24.5million – they were also hit in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Roger Draper, the LTA's chief executive said: 'We recognise that the Active People Survey results are disappointing and accept this reduction in funding.

'We continue to work closely with Sport England in order to grow tennis. Like other sports we face a huge challenge to increase the numbers playing tennis regularly in challenging economic times but participation is our top priority.'

In relation to judo, participation numbers have been flat over the past two years both in terms of the number of people doing the sport at least once a week and once a month.

Warren Gatland offered British and Irish Lions job

Gatland offered Lions job after securing second Six Nations Grand Slam with Wales

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UPDATED:

15:49 GMT, 26 March 2012

Wales coach Warren Gatland has received an offer to lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia next year.

It is understood that Gatland was interviewed for the role of head coach, along with Ireland's Declan Kidney and Scotland's Andy Robinson, in London last week.

The 48-year-old New Zealander is the outstanding candidate for the role after guiding Wales to a second RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam in his four-year tenure and has previous Lions experience having been part of the backroom staff for the 2009 tour to South Africa.

Wanted man: Warren Gatland's success with Wales has attracted the Lions

Wanted man: Warren Gatland's success with Wales has attracted the Lions

The Lions plan to unveil their choice for head coach at the end of April or the start of May, and it is understood that initial talks have been held between Gatland, the Lions and the Welsh Rugby Union regarding the terms of his release from Wales duty for the tour.

One of the key areas of discussion will be whether Gatland takes charge of Wales for their autumn international schedule later this year.

The Lions would ideally like their head coach to be available for a 12-month period prior to the trip Down Under.

Gatland is set to head to Australia when Wales tour there in June, which could prove valuable in terms of preparation for taking the cream of British and Irish rugby back there next year, and the WRU are understood to be keen for him to also be in charge come November, before stepping aside for the 2013 RBS 6 Nations.

Grand Slam: Wales cleaned up at this year's Six Nations

Grand Slam: Wales cleaned up at this year's Six Nations

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis told The Guardian: 'We have had informal discussions with the British and Irish Lions over the last few months and we have talked to Warren about this for the best part of a year.

'Warren does not have a clause in his contract which contains provision for him to coach the Lions, but we are hugely supportive of him and them.

'What I will say is that there is no question that Warren will not be leading Wales on our very important tour to Australia and I, personally, would like him to be involved in our autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia in Cardiff.'

Should he land the Lions job, Gatland may choose to include Wales assistants Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley, and England forwards coach Graham Rowntree, who all went to South Africa in 2009, in his coaching team.

Gatland would also become just the second overseas coach to take charge of the world's most famous touring side.

His fellow New Zealander and then Wales coach Graham Henry led the 2001 tour to Australia, where the Lions lost the series 2-1 despite an emphatic first Test win in Brisbane.

Wales happy for Warren Gatland to take British and Irish Lions role

Wales happy for Gatland to take Lions role… as long as he remains loyal to Dragons

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UPDATED:

08:07 GMT, 26 March 2012

The Welsh Rugby Union have endorsed coach Warren Gatland's Lions credentials, but are keen to ensure his work with them remains the top priority.

The New Zealander is the overwhelming favourite to lead the Lions to Australia next summer, especially after winning his second Grand Slam earlier this month.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis admitted today that informal talks have been held, but has outlined his desire to ensure Gatland does not abandon his Wales duties by way of preparation for 2013 should he be given the nod.

Wanted man: Gatland's success with Wales has attracted British and Irish Lions

Wanted man: Gatland's success with Wales has attracted British and Irish Lions

'We have had informal discussions with the British and Irish Lions over the last few months and we have talked to Warren about this for the best part of a year,' Lewis told the Guardian.

'Warren does not have a clause in his contract which contains provision for him to coach the Lions, but we are hugely supportive of him and them.

'What I will say is that there is no question that Warren will not be leading Wales on our very important tour to Australia and I, personally, would like him to be involved in our autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia in Cardiff.'

Grand Slam: Wales cleaned up at this year's championship

Grand Slam: Wales cleaned up at this year's championship

Dave Whelan backs Roberto Martinez despite criticism

You've got my support! Whelan backs Martinez… just days after Wigan boss blast

Dave Whelan has given Roberto Martinez his full support after he held a positive meeting with Wigan’s manager 48 hours after he publicly questioned his methods.

Wigan’s owner was incensed by his side’s performance after Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat against Swansea – he described on an interview with Five Live it as 'the worst he had seen in years' – and demanded an explanation from the under-fire Martinez as to why key players were kept on the bench.

However, following lengthy discussions between the pair, Whelan accepted the Spaniard’s explanation as to why Wigan faltered so badly against Swansea and maintained there is no doubts about Martinez’s position.

Disappointment: Wigan slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Swansea's last weekend

Disappointment: Wigan slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Swansea's last weekend

Whelan says he did not know that eight Wigan players had been away on international duty and turned his ire on FIFA for the ‘meaningless friendlies’ that were staged last week.

‘We have had a very good meeting,’ said Whelan. ‘He told me that eight players had been away on international duty and that two of them never arrived back until after 7pm on Friday night. I was not aware that we had eight players away.

‘I fully accept what he said and I back him fully. I thought it was diabolical that FIFA should schedule those friendlies when they served no purpose.

No rift: Dave Whelan insists Martinez has his full support

No rift: Dave Whelan insists Martinez has his full support

'We should be standing up to FIFA. If someone has to fly for 10 hours then play a gamer the following day, of course it will have an effect.

'Roberto was tearing his hair out, as we had played so well for the three weeks before that.

'He was really upset with the performance but Swansea didn’t have any players away. I fully support Roberto.'

Brazil nowhere near ready to host 2012 World Cup, warn FIFA

Brazil so far behind schedule for 2014 World Cup they need a kick up the a***, warn FIFA

Serious concerns about Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup have been expressed by FIFA, raising the prospect of transport and accommodation chaos for fans.

FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke admitted England fans could face major problems if the team qualifies, and said 'not a lot is moving' in Brazil and that organisers need a 'kick up the a***'.

Valcke, in England for the International FA Board, said: 'I don't understand why things are not moving. The stadiums are not any more on schedule and why are a lot of things late

Renovation: The work continues at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro

Renovation: The work continues at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro

'In 2014 we will have a World Cup. The concern is nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people because the world wants to go to Brazil.

'I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil. You expect more support – there are these endless discussions about the World Cup bill. We should have received these documents signed by 2007 and we are in 2012.

'You have to push yourself, kick your a*** and just deliver this World Cup and that is what we will do.'

Valcke said there was 'no plan B' for an alternative host and that the tournament would go ahead but warned the fans could suffer.

He added: 'You don't have enough hotels everywhere. You have more than enough in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but if you think about Manaus you need more.

'Let's say in Salvador you have England versus Holland and you have 12 per cent of the stadium English fans and 12 per cent Holland – that's 24 per cent of 60,000 fans.

Samba stars: Brazil heroes Ronaldo (left) and Bebeto (right) at the Maracana

Samba stars: Brazil heroes Ronaldo (left) and Bebeto (right) at the Maracana

'The city is nice, but the way to go to the stadium and all the organisation of transportation has to be improved.'

FIFA had initially planned to base teams in just one part of the country to minimise travel but tournaments organisers insisted that their matches had to be spread across Brazil, and Valcke said that made for extra demands.

He said: 'We made the decision to move the teams and it means we were criticised if you follow this team you will have to fly 8,000 km.

'We did it at the request of Brazil to make sure there was not part of Brazil with England and the rest of Brazil without England if England qualify.

'Having supported the decision we have to ensure that the fans and the media – not the teams because they have their own planes – will be able to follow the team.'

Valcke suggested the priority in Brazil was to win the tournament rather than organising a good World Cup.

A lot to do: The scene in Brazil's most famous stadium on Friday, March 2

A lot to do: The scene in Brazil's most famous stadium on Friday, March 2

Meanwhile, Valcke hit back at the European Clubs' Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for boycotting talks with FIFA – and claimed the row is over World Cup cash and not the international calendar.

Valcke said the confederations had already reached a broad consensus over nine 'double-headers' of international games over two years.

He said: 'We have finalised a kind of gentlemen's agreement with the six confederations. Suddenly there is the statement from Rummenigge talking about the international calendar. It's wrong. The issue we have is not about that.

'The issue is about the compensation and what the clubs want to receive from the World Cup.

'We have a valid agreement with the ECA, FIFA and UEFA covering until 2014. Now the ECA say they want more money for 2014 and we say “no, we have a current agreement”.

'It's true that the clubs are releasing the players for the World Cup but we have agreed to give them US $70million for 2014. We gave $40million for 2010.

'It seems that is not enough. On top of that we pay $30million a year for insurance [for players on international duty]. We can discuss for 2018 and 2022 but for 2014 we have an agreement.'

Rangers avoid redundancies… for now

Rangers avoid redundancies… for now, but players face axe or pay cuts

Rangers players will decide whether to accept swingeing pay cuts of 75 per cent in order to stave off the threat of redundancies.

That is one of three options put to them by administrators fighting to keep the troubled club alive.

Duff & Phelps remain locked in a legal battle to recoup 4million of the club's missing cash from Craig Whyte's lawyers.

Should that quest fail, the remaining options available to players and staff will be discussed again on Friday.

Waiting game: Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Waiting game: Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Sportsmail learned on Thursday night
that two senior players at risk of redundancy, thought to be Lee
McCulloch and Sasa Papac, are even offering to play for nothing until
the end of the season.

The chances of players accepting a
75-per-cent pay cut, however, was described by Ibrox insiders as 'highly
unlikely'. In that case, two further options remain after a meeting
between Ally McCoist, the first-team squad and PFA Scotland
representatives.

The first would see six players being
axed, with those who remain taking a 50-per-cent wage cut.
Alternatively, the final nuclear option is 11 players being released and
a less drastic wage cut for the remaining players.

With American internationals Maurice
Edu and Carlos Bocanegra en route back to Glasgow, no decision was
reached and players were weighing up their options overnight.

McCoist held further talks with
administrators on Thursday morning and has been briefed on the extent of
the cuts. He and his management team of Kenny McDowall and Ian Durrant
are also believed to be willing to take a cut to preserve jobs.

'I can confirm that PFA Scotland had formal discussions today,' said players' union chief executive Fraser Wishart. 'Along with
our lawyer, Margaret Gribbon, I met players and the manager to discuss
those possibilities. 'These discussions will continue into Friday and
PFA Scotland aims to come up with proposals that will satisfy all
parties.

'Further than that, I cannot comment, as these discussions must remain confidential.'

Centre of the storm: Rangers owner Craig Whyte

Centre of the storm: Rangers owner Craig Whyte

The delay to the announcement
regarding the job losses, which would end a fortnight of uncertainty,
came amidst legal efforts to force Whyte's law firm, Collyer Bristow, to
hand back the 4m left over from the controversial Ticketus deal.

The cash remains in a client account
of the firm, with partner Gary Withey – the current Rangers company
secretary – refusing to hand the cash over.

Collyer Bristow argue the money
belongs to Whyte's parent company Wavetower – now called the Rangers FC
Group Ltd – rather than Rangers FC.

However, Duff & Phelps argue that
the tickets sold to Ticketus for 24.4m were never the property of
Wavetower to sell. A spokesperson for the administrators' legal
representatives said that clarification on the issue is expected.

If the cash is recovered, it is
hoped that at least some of the planned cuts to staff will be averted.
Sportsmail can also reveal that Duff & Phelps have been forced to
turn down an offer by the Save Rangers supporters campaign to fill the
financial void for the remainder of the season.

Rangers supporters have come forward
to pledge substantial sums believed to be just short of 5m. However,
Andy Kerr of the Rangers Supporters Assembly admits that the process of
donating the cash directly to the club is fraught with difficulties.

'We have discussed the possibility based on enquiries coming in from people asking how they can help,' he said.

'People were coming forward so they
could help to avoid major cuts. But we had two major concerns which have
subsequently been discussed with the administrators.

'The first was the actual mechanics
of administering a scheme like that and sticking to financial rules. We
are not set up to do that and would need to put something in place.

'The second, and more important,
reason was how much say supporters would have over the use of the money.
The administrators would advise against it for the time being on the
basis that there would be legal issues and it's difficult to account for
money paid out at the other end.

'Realistically, I think we all know the club has to make cuts and we will find that out soon enough.'

The elusive figure of Whyte also paid
a visit to the London office of Duff & Phelps, expressing 'enormous
sympathy' for those set to lose their jobs.

'Clearly I have enormous sympathy for
anyone about to lose their job, but what I would say is that Rangers
were a company in enormous financial distress long before I came along,'
he insisted.

'This is part of solving the problem
to make Rangers a strong business and come out of administration, which
we are all working very hard to do.'

Pressed on the whereabouts of missing
funds, Whyte said: 'Every penny is in the club and accounted for. I'm
off to speak to the administrators now and they will report in due
course.'

Harry Redknapp won"t leave Spurs without a fight

Spurs chairman Levy won't let the FA take Redknapp without a fight

Tottenham will play financial hardball with the Football Association over any attempts to lure Harry Redknapp away as the next England manager.

The path for Redknapp to become the next national team boss was cleared when he was acquitted on two counts of tax evasion.

But Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will not let the manager who has taken the club to third in the Barclays Premier League to walk away without a fight. Levy will insist on substantial compensation from the FA.

In demand: Harry Redknapp is the odds-on favourite for the England job

In demand: Harry Redknapp is the odds-on favourite for the England job

Sportsmail understands that club
officials have held private discussions about the prospect of Redknapp
replacing Fabio Capello, who quit as England manager on Wednesday.

However, there is no sense of resignation at Spurs that Redknapp will leave. There remains a hope that another crack at Champions League football next season could be enough to persuade Redknapp to stay — and even sign a new contract.

The 64-year-old has made it clear in the past that he would find it hugely difficult to snub any approach from the FA.

While Levy wants Redknapp to stay, he realises managing England might be too big an opportunity for the manager to turn down and, crucially, is sympathetic to his manager’s feelings.

Fight: Daniel Levy will not let Redknapp leave Spurs easily

Fight: Daniel Levy will not let Redknapp leave Spurs easily

While privately Levy knows he faces an
uphill struggle to prevent Redknapp leaving, publicly he knows he must
be seen to do everything in his power to keep the ex-West Ham boss,
given his huge popularity among the club’s fans.

Redknapp still has 15 months to run on his contract, an obstacle Wembley chiefs will have to overcome if they are to land the bookies’ hot favourite for the post.

Redknapp is understood to earn around 4million per year and Levy is ready to demand the FA stump up an amount in excess of that sum when talks begin. Spurs paid Portsmouth 5m in compensation to hire Redknapp in 2008.