Tag Archives: interference

Arsene Wenger tells Stan Kroenke he wants to turn Arsenal round alone

Stay out of it Kroenke! Defiant Wenger wants to get Arsenal's season back on track without interference

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UPDATED:

10:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

A defiant Arsene Wenger today said that he is determined to turn Arsenal's stuttering season around and does not expect any intervention from the club's board, including majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal suffered a crippling defeat at Bradford on Tuesday, when they were beaten on penalties in the Capital One Cup.

Wenger watched his season go from bad to worse at Valley Parade. The Gunners sit in 7th in the Premier League and are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United after just 16 games.

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

With hopes of winning the league all but over, should Arsenal fail to bring home the FA Cup or the Champions League this season, it will be their eighth in succession without a trophy.

But Wenger has pulled Arsenal through
rough patches before, and he is determined to do so without any
intervention from Kroenke and the board.

Wenger said: ‘I am responsible for the football front, I don't expect Stan Kroenke to intervene.

‘The way to support me is to let me
do my work and do my job, I don't expect anything else. I'm very
determined and very hungry – if I wasn't I wouldn't be here.

‘I love the club, I sit here and show
how much I love the club. We have been through difficult periods before
and I know how to turn this around because I have been here 16 years.’

Wenger is looking to pick his players up at Reading on Monday evening after a difficult week, but believes he and his players should be looking forward, not back.

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

'We are top professional people. What
is important is what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday. We
are sorry for that [Bradford] but what is important is the next game.'

'They [Reading] are a team who deserve a lot of
credit because they came up last year, for me surprisingly.

'They make it difficult for every
team in every game, so we expect a battle. Our results are quite
consistent and good away from home.

'We had a good game against West Brom [and] it’s important to confirm that in our next away game.'

The Frenchman believes his players are committed and resilient enough to bounce back from the Bradford loss.

He said: 'This team cares, is serious and wants to do well, I do not question the spirit of the team.
I believe I have a strong team.

'If you look at our season at the moment, we have not produced our performances at home, away our results are in the same bracket as the two top teams.

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

'Where we have lost the points is we made too many draws at home.

'Manchester United are top of the league, six points ahead. They have lost three games, we have lost four. We had more draws, especially at home, that is where we have lost the points.'

The Arsenal manager was also asked whether, after 16 years at the helm, he had been at the club for too long.

He said: 'I can understand people
criticise when the results are not as expected. It looks like has become
the modern way to think.

'You say that 16 years can be a handicap, but it can also be an advantage because you have experience, you love the club.

'If I sit here, it is because I have really shown how much I love his club. We have gone through difficult periods before and you know how to turn it around.'

There has also been speculation that all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry could re-join the club on loan in January, but Wenger refused to comment on the proposed move, and said: 'I cannot tell you anything about it because nothing has happened.'

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Pep Guardiola prepared for challenge at Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City – Neil Ashton

Guardiola will arrive in England ready for business, regardless of whether it is Chelsea, Man City or United who come knocking

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UPDATED:

00:29 GMT, 12 December 2012

The popular theory is that Pep Guardiola couldn't handle working for Roman Abramovich.

Too much interference. Too much pressure. Too many demands.

It's interesting, particularly in light of Guardiola's reaction on March 7 when he was asked about the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas from Chelsea a few days earlier: 'I think he is a fantastic coach but we all know in this business that everything depends on results and not on our own capacity as a coach.

No pressure! Guardiola undertands the demands made of modern managers

No pressure! Guardiola undertands the demands made of modern managers

More from Neil Ashton…

Ash Wednesday: A head-on collision is like running into a 600kg polar bear… so, do you still think it's wrong for Bale to dive for cover
04/12/12

Ash Wednesday: Rafa the gaffer is here to stay… so it's time for Chelsea fans to forget feeble protests and stand by their manager
27/11/12

Ash Wednesday: Faced with Ronaldo and co, now is the time for Hart to remind us why he's No 1
20/11/12

Ash Wednesday: AVB's battle to emerge from Redknapp's shadow at Spurs
13/11/12

ASH WEDNESDAY: Cash a goner if you're a Gooner as Arsenal continue to short-change their fans
06/11/12

Ash Wednesday: Crystal clear why Arsenal have joined hunt for Palace superstar Zaha
30/10/12

Ash Wednesday: A warning to Blackburn's new boss… careful who you trust at the top
23/10/12

Ash Wednesday: Mourinho's pupil Rodgers needs to reel in the soundbites in bid to steady Liverpool
16/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

'Time is not something you get when you come into this job – you know that is not the case.'

It was an unexpected answer, the sort of response that raised eyebrows considering Chelsea's record of firing managers.

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Family man: Guardiola is on a sabbatical in New York with his wife and kids

Family man: Guardiola is on a sabbatical in New York with his wife and kids

He famously lost his first game in
charge, away to Numancia in 2008, and then drew with Racing Santander in
his opening game at the Nou Camp. The pressure was building.

When they finally got their season underway, with a 6-1 victory at Sporting Gijon, the team never looked back.

They won the Champions League in his
first season when they beat Manchester United in Rome and he is now the
most successful manager in Barcelona history.

It is too simplistic to say that he could not fail with a team that boasted Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.

Guardiola still had to motivate them,
to keep them interested after the glory years under Rijkaard. The team
responded and that is good management.

When he left Barcelona at the end of
last season, he gave an interesting insight into the challenges he faced
at the Nou Camp towards the end.

There was huge internal conflict when
he spoke so warmly about his remarkable Barcelona team and, in the next
breath, admitted that changes would need to be made in the next few
years.

Carles Puyol (34) and Xavi Hernandez
(32) remain a class act at Barcelona, but the constant evolution of the
team will demand changes.

When he arrives in England next summer, he will be under enormous pressure to succeed.

It is conceivable that his first game in charge of his new club will be the Community Shield at Wembley in August next year.

Like all great managers he would
expect to get off to a good start and win his first trophy at the very
first attempt. Top four clubs, with the exception of Arsenal, demand
silverware every season.

Shake on it: Pep could renew hostilities with his old foe Mourinho

Shake on it: Pep could renew hostilities with his old foe Mourinho

Shake on it: Pep could renew hostilities with his old foe Mourinho

Chelsea won the FA Cup and European
Cup under Roberto Di Matteo and yet he was fired the night they were
beaten 3-0 in Turin by Juventus in this season's Champions League.

Sir Alex Ferguson is, quite rightly,
ring-fenced after 12 Premier League titles and two European Cups, but he
still places enormous pressure on himself to finish first.

Roberto Mancini, who won Manchester
City's first league title since 1968 last season, is under threat just
months after signing a fat new contract at the Etihad.

They are all emerging as options as the season progresses, but Guardiola is smart to know that the expectations will be huge.

There will be even greater emphasis with the probable return of Jose Mourinho at the end of the season.

As managers of the two biggest teams
in Spain, arguably the world, they frequently collided when Mourinho was
appointed by Real Madrid in 2010.

They clashed ahead of the Champions
League semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu in April 2011 after Mourinho
criticised Guardiola.

The Barca coach reacted by admitting the Special One was 'the f****** boss' in the press conference ahead of their 2-0 win.

They are sure to renew hostilities when the shakedown takes place at the Premier League's top teams in May.

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Leap of faith: Guardiola knows he would have to make winning start in England

Fabio Borini knows he must make his mark at Liverpool after 10m move

Borini knows he must make his mark at Liverpool after 10m move

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UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 6 October 2012

However strained relationships became at Anfield following a botched transfer window, you cannot imagine owner John W Henry ordering manager Brendan Rodgers to leave out 10million signing Fabio Borini against Stoke.

But similar boardroom interference is exactly what happened to Borini at Chelsea, when he had the temerity at 19 years of age to stand up to Roman Abramovich over contract talks.

Having just made his first-team breakthrough under Carlo Ancelotti, who compared Borini to legendary Italian goal sniffer Filippo Inzaghi, the teenager was suddenly axed from the squad.

Time to deliver: Fabio Borini has yet to score for Liverpool in the league

Time to deliver: Fabio Borini has yet to score for Liverpool in the league

‘Ancelotti told me that, above him, they didn’t want me in the first team,’ said Borini, now 21. ‘They said I had to play in the reserves because I hadn’t signed a new contract. It was a hard period for me and it wasn’t even the manager’s choice.’

Borini — nicknamed ‘The Pirate’ because of his trademark goal celebration — worked with Rodgers at Chelsea and Swansea before playing for Roma last season but has struggled to make an impact at Anfield so far. His debut was particularly painful when he ran into West Brom’s Liam Ridgwell, literally.

Heavy price tag: Borini was bought for 10m

Heavy price tag: Borini was bought for 10m

‘I was left on the floor with some broken teeth and he was standing over me shouting,’ said Borini. Things are unlikely to be any more comfortable against the giants of Stoke.

Borini hopes Rodgers will eventually play him as a centre-forward rather than wide on the left, where he has been used so far.

‘I’ve always played in the middle. I find things come more naturally to me there,’ said Borini. ‘If the ball drops in the box, I can sense how it will bounce, what a defender will do. I can read it early, it is a kind of instinct. When you play wide, you end up far away from the goal.

‘Inzaghi was probably not the best technical player but always ran like crazy and was clever in scoring goals. I don’t mind the comparison because he won everything in his career.’

Borini has also been working hard in the gym to improve his strength. ‘Physically, it is harder in England. In Italy, we’d stand for an hour in training doing tactical work. You can’t do that here — the weather is too cold!’

Things should heat up on Sunday, though, if the young Italian breaks his Premier League duck.

NFL and Referees Association reach agreement to end dispute over pension pay

NFL and Referees Association reach agreement to end dispute over pension pay

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UPDATED:

12:15 GMT, 27 September 2012

The NFL and NFL Referees Association have reached an agreement which means temporary officials will no longer take charge of matches.

The dispute over a collective bargaining agreement, largely due to a disagreement over pension payments, had seen replacements drafted in from lower division college, high school and semi-professional football.

But their performances have led to a raft of controversial calls and criticism over the opening three weeks of the new season.

Problem solved: The Referees Association and the NFL have reached an agreement

Problem solved: The Referees Association and the NFL have reached an agreement

A new eight-year deal has now been agreed and although it still needs ratifying by the officials – that is expected over the weekend – the regular referees are due to return, starting with tonight's clash between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told www.nfl.com: 'The long-term future of our game requires that we seek improvement in every area, including officiating.

'This agreement supports long-term reforms that will make officiating better. The teams, players and fans want and deserve both consistency and quality in officiating.

Future's bright: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the agreement supports the long-term goals of the game

Future's bright: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the agreement supports the long-term goals of the game

Future's bright: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the agreement supports the long-term goals of the game

'We look forward to having the finest officials in sports back on the field, and I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion. Now it's time to put the focus back on the teams and players where it belongs.'

The discontent with the temporary officials came to a head on Monday when a controversial call settled the meeting between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers.

The Seahawks won 14-12 after a Packers defender and Seahawks receiver fought for the ball on a final 'Hail Mary' pass play.

Officials missed an offensive pass interference call and then decided there had been simultaneous catch by the two players. Under NFL rules, that gave Seattle the touchdown and the win.

No longer required: Replacement officials were standing in for the referees

No longer required: Replacement officials were standing in for the referees

Kumar Sangakkara makes Wisden history

Sangakkara makes history as Sri Lankan is nominated for two Wisden awards

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UPDATED:

08:47 GMT, 11 April 2012

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has become the first man to be named simultaneously as Wisden's leading cricketer in the world and one of its five cricketers of the year.

The elegant left-hander compiled 2,267 international runs in the three formats last year – no other player broke 2,000 – with five centuries and 13 fifties, and uniquely reached four figures in both Tests and one-day internationals for the third time.

A century in probably his last Test on English soil at Hampshire helped ensure he was named as one of the cricketers of the year, the award conferred by the publication's editor – a mantle taken on this year by Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth – on the individuals who have most shaped the English cricketing summer, and which a player can win only once.

Making history: Sangakkara (left)

Making history: Sangakkara (left)

'I had always wanted a Test hundred at Lord's but, if that was not to be, then anywhere in England,' Sangakkara tells David Hopps in the Almanack, published on Thursday.

'The Rose Bowl felt as if it might be my last opportunity.'

Sangakkara also won praise for his delivery of the MCC's Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, reproduced in part in Wisden, in which he confronted the level of government interference in his country's cricket.

'Writing that speech became a deeply personal experience,' he adds.

'I knew there were ways it could be misinterpreted, but it was a story I felt I needed to tell.'

Elegant: Sangakkara on his way to a century at the Rose Bowl last summer

Elegant: Sangakkara on his way to a century at the Rose Bowl last summer

Joining the 34-year-old as cricketers of the year are fellow veterans Glen
Chapple, Lancashire's title-winning captain and talisman, and
Worcestershire seamer Alan Richardson, the leading wicket-taker in
Division One of last season's LV= County Championship with 73.

England pair Alastair Cook, with 927 Test runs at an average of 84 in addition to his return to the one-day international side as captain, and Tim Bresnan – who took 21 Test wickets at 19, scored 189 runs at 63 and finished the summer with a 100 per ceny winning record from 10 Tests – complete the quintet.

Richardson said: 'To be recognised along world-class cricketers such as Alastair Cook, Tim Bresnan, Glen Chapple and Kumar Sangakkara is a real honour.'

Elsewhere in the Almanack, Booth uses his first editor's notes to address a wide spread of topics, most notably the global shifting of focus towards Twenty20 cricket and the role of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the governance of the world game.

Nominated: Glen Chapple (right)

Nominated: Glen Chapple (right)

Describing T20 as 'a Pandora's Box masquerading as a panacea', Booth adds: 'Outside England, the Test match increasingly resembles the quiet zone of world cricket's gravy train: respected in theory, ignored in practice.

'The real damage is being done by the prevalence of the two-match series. For any series not involving Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, three Tests must be the minimum.'

On the BCCI's power, Booth – the youngest Wisden editor in 72 years – writes: 'India have ended up with a special gift: the clout to shape an entire sport. But too often their game appears driven by the self-interest of the few.

'Other countries run the game along self-serving lines too … but none wields the BCCI's power, nor shares their responsibility.'

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2012: 149th Edition, published April 12, 2012 by John Wisden & Co.

London 2012 Olympics: Green tea can mask drug cheats

Doping chiefs plan Olympic test changes after revelation green tea can mask cheats

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UPDATED:

11:39 GMT, 5 April 2012

Olympic doping officials have raised concerns that drug cheats could be using green tea to hide testosterone from standard tests used to spot it.

A recent study has revealed the anomoly which could lead to a change in the tests ahead of this summer's Games.

The study was a test in a lab dish so scientists aren't sure if the effects will be the same in people. But some experts say the results are intriguing enough that Olympic testing could be updated to include that possibility.

Testing times: The new facility in Harlow, Essex is where the athletes samples will be tested

Testing times: The new facility in Harlow, Essex is where the athletes samples will be tested

'It's interesting that something as common as tea could have a significant influence on the steroid profile,' said Olivier Rabin, scientific director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA.

He said other foods and beverages, such as alcohol, are also known to muddle test results.

'We may need to adjust our steroid (test) to allow us to exclude whether a test is modified by food or training or disease, before we can say that it's doping,' Rabin said.

He said they might have to raise their normal threshold for what is a considered a legal amount of testosterone to allow for any such interference.

In the study, researchers added green and white tea extracts – or catechins – to testosterone and tested whether the enzyme that usually detects testosterone in the body could still identify it.

Tea seemed to reduce the testosterone concentration by up to 30 percent and appeared to work best when testosterone was only slightly higher than normal. Similar results have been found in rodent studies, Rabin said.

Revelation: Studies have shown that green tea can mask testosterone concentration

Revelation: Studies have shown that green tea can mask testosterone concentration

Experts say athletes taking testosterone for doping purposes typically have 200 to 300 percent more in their bodies than normal.

WADA has tight controls on other commonly consumed substances like caffeine.

It bans diuretics that could mask drug use and warns athletes about taking nutritional supplements, which could be spiked with banned drugs.

The researchers said it was too early to tell what the effect of green tea might be in humans, but said other beverages or foods likely produced similar effects.

'There's no reason to think we just happened to pick the only food in the world that does this,' said Declan Naughton of Kingston University, who published the green tea research with colleagues in the journal, Steroids.

Naughton said the green tea contains catechins, also found in white tea, which seem to stop an enzyme involved in detecting testosterone. /04/05/article-2125502-127A6AE6000005DC-233_468x312.jpg” width=”468″ height=”312″ alt=”Drink it up: The news could herald a change in sampling systems” class=”blkBorder” />

Drink it up: The news could herald a change in sampling systems

Yesalis said many scientists were aware of foods that could skew drug tests but would not talk publicly about them. 'There's no sense helping out the doping athletes by telling them what to eat,' he said.

Yesalis was unconvinced that new tests could solve the problem. 'There's too much scientific uncertainty that can cloud the results,' he said.

WADA's Rabin said all atypical results from doping tests involved an expert analysis, not just a lab result.

'There's a human interpretation of the data,' he said, explaining that officials regularly accounted for potentially troublesome results by considering things like intense exercise, jetlag and diet.

Rabin also said it might be possible to test for testosterone in blood rather than the standard urine test. Some experts said the limited effects of foods like green tea on masking illegal drug use would be too small to help doping athletes.

'You would probably need to drink the tea continuously to get any sustained but minor effect,' said Andrew Kicman, head of research and development at the Drug Control Centre at King's College London, which is providing the anti-doping laboratory for the upcoming Olympics.

'It would be a very foolish athlete who's thinking of doping with testosterone and thinks he could drink white or green tea to beat a drug test,' he said. 'And I personally wouldn't want to drink nine cups of tea on the day of a race.'

Mustafa Ameen defends ringside presence in statement

'Mystery man' statement slims chances of Khan-Peterson re-match

The mystery man in the hat explained himself on Wednesday and in so doing made it easier to understand Amir Khan's last minute decision to pull out of his appeal to the IBF for an immediate world championship re-match with Lamont Peterson.

Mustafa Ameen, whose presence at ringside in Washington had been cited in TV highlights by team Khan as potential interference with the scorecards, had prepared a detailed statement for Wednesday’s hearing.

Mystery man: Mustafa Ameen (left) in the ring after the fight

Mystery man: Mustafa Ameen (left) in the ring after the fight

Since Ameen is one of their own officials, it would have been almost impossible for the IBF to overturn the split decision which cost Britain’s Khan his unified light-welterweight titles, however controversial the circumstances.

Ameen not only justified his attendance at the fight but was ready to reinforce with TV evidence his claim that he had no contact with the three judges, who were on different sides of the ring.

Khan will be suspicious of Ameen’s insistence that he merely helped an unwell WBA supervisor, Michael Welsh, tally the submitted round-by-round scores correctly, especially since that organisation have ordered a re-match.

Khan-spiracy: Amir Khan's camp had demanded an immediate re-match

Khan-spiracy: Amir Khan's camp had demanded an immediate re-match

However, it would have been difficult to prove any wrong-doing in the wake of this comprehensive rebuttal issued by Ameen through his lawyer, the renowned New York boxing attorney Michael Marley…

OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF ‘MYSTERY MAN’ MUSTAFA AMEEN (Released through his attorney, Michael Marley)

I voluntarily came forward to testify in the IBF hearing on the Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson title bout which was supposed to be conducted Wednesday in Newark.

After arriving in New Jersey, I was disappointed to hear that Khan promoter Golden Boy had withdrawn its demand for such a hearing as to the controversial Dec. 9 title bout in Washington, DC.

You may recall that I was subjected to completely false allegations and innuendo as to my conduct at this event.

I was ready to put the facts into the record, under oath at the hearing, but now I won’t have that chance.

Briefly, here are the facts as to my involvement in this matter:

1 I never did anything illegal or even unprofessional while I was seated in the officials section at ringside.

2 I was properly admitted and credentialed for the event by the promoter after a request from the IBF. I have long been associated with the IBF in terms of assisting boxers who need a hand up and not a hand out. My efforts on behalf of such boxers with the IBF have always been done voluntarily and I have never received a single dollar for this work. In fact, I pay all my own expenses as to air travel and anything else in this activity. I do it because I love boxing and boxers.

3 I never tampered with, changed or altered any official scorecard before, during or after the Khan-Peterson title bout.

4 The WBA supervisor, Philadelphia CPA Michael Welsh, was seated next to me in the officials or technical zone and he told me he was feeling quite ill at ringside. He thanked me for handing scorecards over to him and helping him add them up. I merely double checked his addition at his request. I did this at his request but, again, I never altered or changed any marking made by any judge as to any single round or rounds or to any judge’s total scoring.

5 I never communicated during the bout with any of the three judges, all of whom were seated on a completely different side of the ring than the side Mr. Welsh and I were on. I did not use hand signals, smoke signals, notes or any gestures to communicate with any judge.

6 As an IBF offical, duly credentialed and admitted, I was in the ring when it was announced that Lamont Peterson had won. I was happy for Peterson and his manager Barry Hunter. I would have been in the ring and just as happy had Mr. Khan been named the winner. It was an excellent bout, highly competitive and good for the sport I love.

7 Allegations made by Freddie Roach, Khan’s trainer, about me being 'kicked out' of USA Olympic boxing training centers are completely false. I represent USA 2012 London Olympics heavyweight hopeful Michael Hunter (no kin to Barry Hunter) and Roach has seen me with Michael many times at various training facilities. I have never 'buzzed' any other boxer, amateur or professional. I feel that Mr. Roach has slandered me and I fully expect an apology from him for those false allegations.

8 I have been around boxing since the halcyon days of my friend, Muhammad Ali. I am quite friendly with respected people such as Manny Steward and the Klitschko Brothers. Michael Hunter and I have been involved in training camps with the Klitschkos and great trainer Steward. Another of my longtime friends in boxing is the highly respected Larry Hazzard, the former New Jersey boxing commission leader.

9 I will continue to work diligently, honestly and in a way that brings credit to boxing as I have always done.

I am no 'Mystery Man.' And I did nothing wrong.

Second chance: The WBA title could soon be vacant

Second chance: The WBA title could soon be vacant

With Ameen pulling that rabbit his hat and Peterson appealing against the WBA ruling, the prospect of Khan securing the re-match are receding again.

Even if the WBA stand by that decision Peterson is expected to surrender that title and defend the IBF belt against another opponent, possibly in a unification bout with WBC champion Tim Bradley.

That would leave Khan to fight for the vacant WBA title.