Tag Archives: leadership

Roger Draper to leave role as LTA chief in September

LTA chief Draper to stand down in September after seven years at the helm

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

15:50 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 13 March 2013

Roger Draper will depart the Lawn Tennis Association in September a wealthy man, leaving the leadership role of a sport that is still massively short of realising its potential at elite level or in terms of growing grass-roots participation.

The key to his departure, officially dressed up as a resignation, goes back several months with two significant factors: the arrival of a new independent Chairman at the LTA and the revelation for the first time of Draper’s extraordinary 640,000 salary and bonus package, that caused consternation both in tennis and British sport in general.

At the beginning of January David Gregson, a highly successful businessman whose public roles also include being a Director of the Olympic Legacy Board, was brought in from the outside to provide a sharper edge to the organisation’s governance.

On his way: Roger Draper will leave his role with the LTA in Septermber

On his way: Roger Draper will leave his role with the LTA in Septermber

He made it his first priority to
assess the position of Draper, who since his arrival in 2006 has been a
polarising figure in the British game and overseen a huge turnover in
staff but not a reduction in numbers, with a staggering 315 now
employed.

His many critics – and even a few
supporters – were stunned when December’s accounts showed that he was
paid a basic salary of 400,000, plus a pension contribution of 40,000
and, most controversially of all, a bonus of just over 200,000.

It was subsequently explained by LTA
President Peter Bretherton that this was for meeting certain targets.
Yet participation in recent years has flatlined overall and the rankings
of professional players have also been broadly been stagnant, bar the
exceptions of Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Heather Watson, none of whom
could be termed products of a repeatedly failed centralised system.

Active: Draper playing with Lord Rothermere at the LTA Tennis Centre

Active: Draper playing with Lord Rothermere at the LTA Tennis Centre

The reason for Draper’s remuneration
becoming public was a technical change to the corporate status of the
organisation which meant, for the first time, that the pay of the
highest earning director needed to be published.

The wheels of change in British
tennis usually turn painfully slowly but Gregson, who made his fortune
in the private equity business, has moved uncommonly fast in bringing
about the change of leadership, which will happen in September.

I understand there was a gathering of the LTA’s main board directors last week at which his future was discussed and he will be paid up until the expiry of his contract,
which was at the end of this year. It is also believed there was concern
from Wimbledon, which pumps its annual profits that exceed 30 million
into the British game, about what was happening at an organisation whose
annual salary costs under Draper have shot to more than 15 million.

Success: Andy Murray became a grand slam winner during Draper's time

Success: Andy Murray became a grand slam winner during Draper's time

Draper can take some credit for the
LTA’s commercial and sponsorship operation being considerably enhanced
over his tenure, and for bringing more of a certain energy to the place.
There have been some encouraging junior results but these have yet to
come close to any broader upswing in the performances at elite level.
Britain’s men’s number two, James Ward is ranked 209. The policy of
employing high profile and expensive foreign coaches brought no results
has been completely reversed.

Grass roots participation has been
level at best despite the huge funding from Wimbledon and government,
and the corrosive sense of ‘them and us’ between people in and outside
the LTA system is probably worse than ever.

But make no mistake, while there will
be many applicants for the Chief Executive’s position at a rich and
high-profile organisation, in a sport with so much potential for growth,
it is a very difficult job. The issues facing British tennis are deep
rooted, and the faint hearted should not apply.

Progress The British women's game, led by Laura Robson, has also improved

Progress The British women's game, led by Laura Robson, has also improved

Randy Lerner to hand Paul Lambert January cash boost in bid to revive Aston Villa

Lerner set to hand Lambert January cash boost in bid to revive free-falling Villa

|

UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 31 December 2012

Under pressure: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert

Under pressure: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner will provide further financial backing to manager Paul Lambert during the January transfer window to help stave off the threat of relegation.

Lerner splashed out almost 23million to help Lambert rebuild the squad during last summer, with the accent on bringing in up and coming young talent.

There had been encouraging signs up to a fortnight ago with Villa reaching the Capital One Cup semi-finals via a 4-1 success at Norwich and then winning 3-1 over Liverpool at Anfield.

That victory was achieved with a side having an average age of less than 24 and was the youngest ever fielded in the Premier League.

But Villa's lack of experience, due in part to a lengthy and growing injury list, has been highlighted over the festive period with 15 goals conceded without reply in three games.

Villa's Christmas collapse

Chelsea 8 Aston Villa 0 (Sun 23 Dec)

Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4 (Wed 26 Dec)

Aston Villa 0 Wigan 3 (Sat 29 Dec)

Lerner and Lambert held talks about the approach to be taken next month before and after Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by Wigan left Villa only a point above the Barclays Premier League bottom three.

Lambert also has the option of trying to offload some of the players who had only played a bit-part role even before becoming injured to bolster funds.

The likes of record signing Darren Bent, Charles N'Zogbia, Shay Given, and Stephen Ireland have made only a handful of starts this season.

Villa have also missed the leadership qualities of skipper Stiliyan Petrov who continues to battle against acute leukaemia.

Ouch: Stephen Ireland and Chris Herd reflect on the 3-0 defeat against Wigan

Ouch: Stephen Ireland and Chris Herd reflect on the 3-0 defeat against Wigan

Lambert retains the backing of the Villa fans and the boos after the latest setback against the Latics were more in frustration at a poor performance rather than being aimed directly at the Scot.

There is also no suggestion that his own position is under review with Lerner recognising the long term nature of the rebuilding job needed at Villa.

Bradley Wiggins wants to defend next Tour de France despite Chris Froome being Team Sky"s lead man

Wiggins wants to defend Tour de France title despite Team Sky claiming Froome would be lead man

|

UPDATED:

11:29 GMT, 13 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins has revealed he wants to retain his Tour de France title next year – despite Team Sky suggesting Chris Froome will lead the British team in 2013.

The 2012 winner said Team Sky will have to ‘service both mouths’ and could even have two leaders.

Team Sky director Dave Brailsford said last month that Froome would focus on the Tour de France with Wiggins focussing on the Tour of Italy, although the plan had not been ‘completely signed off’.

Taking the lead again: Bradley Wiggins said he wants to win the Tour de France

Taking the lead again: Bradley Wiggins said he wants to win the Tour de France

Froome, 27, rode in support of
Wiggins as the 32-year-old became Britain’s first winner of Tour de
France, but it had been expected the roles would be reversed next year.

Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I
don’t know what the situation is in terms of leadership. As it stands
I’m probably going to try and win a second Tour de France.

‘Maybe we’ll have two leaders, which
is more unlikely I guess. How that will work with the team I don’t know.
That’s more Dave Brailsford’s problem to worry about that, really.

Second fiddle Chris Froome had been touted as the lead man for Team Sky

Second fiddle Chris Froome had been touted as the lead man for Team Sky

Olympic stars: Wiggins (centre) and Froome both enjoyed a fantastic London Games

Olympic stars: Wiggins (centre) and Froome both enjoyed a fantastic London Games

‘It’s just how we service both
mouths. That’s more the problem for Dave to figure out. My goal is to
win the Tour next year, whether that’s realised or not I don’t know.’

Wiggins, however, said he would
accept the team’s decision if the team decide Froome has a better chance
at glory. The 100th edition of the Tour de France, which will take place
from June 29 to July 21 next year, is likely to favour climbers such as
Froome, who impressed in the mountainous stages this year.

Wiggins, speaking from a training
camp in Mallorca today, continued: ‘Whatever the team strategy is, we’ll
support that, because you don’t take the start line (if that’s not the
case).

‘There’ll be someone else that’s
willing to fulfil that job, so you do what is asked of you on the day
really, whatever that decision is.’

Duo: Wiggins with his team-mate Froome

Duo: Wiggins with his team-mate Froome

Reflecting on a remarkable year,
Wiggins said it would be difficult to top riding into Hampton Court last
summer to win his seventh Olympic medal with gold in the men’s time
trial.

The cyclist, the favourite to win the
BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday night, said: ‘That
was the highlight of my career and I don’t think it will get any better
than that. I can probably achieve other things but most of us, as
British Olympians, will never experience anything like that again. It
was a phenomenal day.

‘We reset the goals, try and do other
things, maybe try and win a second Tour de France, but you’re never
going to replicate those circumstances in your home Olympics.

‘It will probably never be topped,
but I accept that and I’m happy with that really, because you can’t have
too many occasions like that in your career.’

James Anderson praises Alastair Cook"s leadership skills

Anderson praises captain Cook for leading by example with the bat to put England on brink of series win

|

UPDATED:

11:21 GMT, 9 December 2012

Relaxing after the win: Jimmy Anderson raises a glass after the win

Relaxing after the win: Jimmy Anderson raises a glass after the win

England paceman James Anderson praised the leadership skills of captain Alastair Cook after leading the side to a seven-wicket win over India in the third Test in Kolkata.

Cook's 190 in the first innings helped set the tourists on their way at Eden Gardens before the bowlers took over to dismiss India for 247 on their second turn at the crease.

That left England with a victory target of 41 runs and, despite a last-minute wobble, Ian Bell and Nick Compton settled nerves to move the team 2-1 ahead in the series with one match to play.

It followed an impressive performance in the second Test in Mumbai last week, and Anderson admits they could not have done it without captain Cook.

'The first Test we saw how it was going to be tough for us,' he told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek.

'We bounced back last week but to come here and put in an equally good performance was something special.

'Cook has been brilliant. The amount of runs he's got in the last three games have been incredible and he's crucial to the team. His first-innings score was a huge factor in us winning the game.

In form: Anderson had a good Test with the ball

In form: Anderson had a good Test with the ball

'He's the sort of guy who likes to lead from the front, lead by example, and he just wants to go out there and show what he can do and hopes everyone follows him. And we're certainly doing that.'

Anderson finished with six wickets in the match, but thinks spinners Graeme Swann (three wickets) and Monty Panesar (five) also deserve credit for the part they played.
'(Swann and Panesar) have been fantastic in the last two games,” said Anderson.

'Monty especially, having not played much international cricket over the last 12 months.
'He's settled back in brilliantly and got us crucial wickets at crucial times, and he's done that throughout the game.

In it together: Anderson says Cook has been a good leader on the tour

In it together: Anderson says Cook has been a good leader on the tour

'With Swanny, we know what we're going to get with him. As in this game, getting the crucial wicket of (Virender) Sehwag which started off that run for us in that session yesterday.'

Anderson is already turning his attention to the fourth Test in Nagpur next week, where England have the chance to secure a 3-1 series win.

But the paceman sounded a note of caution, saying: “We've got a lot of improving to do.

'We're really pleased with the last two wins, but going into the fourth Test we want to win the series outright and put in a really good performance to finish with.

'We really want to focus on the last game and if we can win that and win the series outright we can celebrate after that.'

Martin O"Neill lines up 5m bid to bring Michael Dawson to Sunderland

O'Neill lines up 5m January swoop for Dawson to shore up Sunderland defence

|

UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 9 December 2012

Martin O'Neill is preparing a 5m January pursuit of Tottenham defender Michael Dawson as part of a spending spree to revive Sunderland's flagging season.

The Black Cats boss will be given significant funds by club owner Ellis Short in a bid to correct a poor start to the season.

And 29-year-old Dawson is top of the list, according to the Sunday People.

On the move Sunderland are reportedly lining up a 5m January move for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson

On the move Sunderland are reportedly lining up a 5m January move for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson

Sunderland find themselves in the relegation zone, with just two wins and 13 points to their name so far.

Their defensive record hasn't been too catastrophic – with 21 goals conceded – but O'Neill believes Dawson's leadership qualities could add extra steel to the side.

When Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas arrived in the summer, he was willing to offload Dawson and a 5.5m fee was agreed with Queens Park Rangers before the player turned it down.

Reinforcements: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill wants to firm up a defence which has conceded 21 goals in 15 games this season, leaving the club 18th in the table

Reinforcements: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill wants to firm up a defence which has conceded 21 goals in 15 games this season, leaving the club 18th in the table

However, Dawson, who has four England caps, has worked hard to win back his starting place in the last few weeks – making a January move less likely.

Sunderland may face competition from QPR, with Harry Redknapp reportedly keen on signing a player with whom he enjoyed a good relationship at Spurs.

Dawson has been at White Hart Lane since January 2005, when he joined for 8m from Nottingham Forest.

England Tom Wood issues rallying call ahead of South Africa Test

Wood calls for England's pack to have 'no fear' ahead of Boks battle

|

UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 20 November 2012

Tom Wood delivered a stirring call to arms for England’s embattled pack, with a statement of intent about the ‘dog’ work and ‘no fear’ mentality, the aggression and ferocity, which will be needed to trump the mighty Springbok forwards on Saturday.

The Northampton flanker is poised for a recall to the starting XV when Stuart Lancaster names his line-up for the third of four QBE Internationals this autumn, after making a positive impact off the bench in last weekend’s defeat against Australia.

Having been unavailable for the national team’s first eight Tests of 2012 due to a lingering, alarming foot injury, Wood is fired up for a long-awaited return to the first-choice team, in a fixture which suits his abrasive qualities.

Set to start: Tom Wood is in line to start for England against South Africa

Set to start: Tom Wood is in line to start for England against South Africa

Before getting to grips with South Africa at Twickenham, the 26-year-old made his presence felt by demanding England fight fire with fire up front when they take on the Boks. Lancaster’s pack were surprisingly outgunned by the Wallabies last Saturday and Wood’s recall is designed to give them a harder edge.

On Tuesday, he set his stall out to do just that. His powerful words served to illustrate why Lancaster identified him as captain-in-waiting before the foot failed him, and why the head coach may harness his leadership qualities in the future.

Asked if England’s pack need to show a nastier streak, he insisted that they possessed plenty of ‘dog’ (aggressive/fighting qualities), but added: ‘I think it is something we will try to address, not that we have been soft in recent weeks, but with the physical challenge that is coming our way at the weekend, there has got to be an element of that.

‘That is definitely something I would look to bring to the team if I was selected — an enthusiasm and a level of aggression that raises the intensity. It varies in terms of what each ref will let you get away with and how the game unfolds, but getting on the edge of that line is part of any back-row’s role and something I would look to focus on.’

Forward thinker: Wood takes on Australia

Forward thinker: Wood takes on Australia

England are bracing themselves for a traditional Springbok onslaught, with heavy ball-carriers blasting forward to create route-one momentum, as they did so effectively against Lancaster’s side in Johannesburg back in June. Wood wasn’t involved that day, but he is well aware what is coming and what the home team have to do to combat it.

‘It’s going to be a tough physical challenge but we’re ready for it, so if we don’t meet it head-on, I will be surprised and disappointed,’ he said. ‘We are capable of fronting-up physically. There are areas of the game where you can’t avoid that physical confrontation — the breakdown, the scrum.

‘The challenge for us is largely psychological. They’re the type of players that, as opposed to running at space, pick out somebody to run at. James Haskell, who has experienced Super 15 rugby, says playing South African sides is like a man-test. They look for your biggest guy and get theirs to run at him as hard as they can to see who comes out on top. There will be an element of that at the weekend. It’s us against them.

Putting the practice in: Wood during training at Pennyhill Park

Putting the practice in: Wood during training at Pennyhill Park

High jump: Wood catches the ball during line-out practice

High jump: Wood catches the ball during line-out practice

‘If you show any fear and back off to any extent you’ve got a long day at the office. But if you can match it head-on — if somebody comes charging in, teeth gritted, full of rage, and gets his legs lassooed on the gain line and spills the ball or gets turned over, then that turns to frustration and has a big negative effect on them.

‘The early exchanges will be really important psychologically. It’s about showing everybody — yourselves more than anyone — that you’re capable of dealing with it.’

As he spoke, Wood could scarcely contain his enthusiasm for the confrontations that await on Saturday. There was a constant smile, a glint in the eye, as he set his sights on the Springboks.

‘That’s the type of game I love playing,’ he said. ‘I’m very combative and I like to get stuck in. This challenge South Africa present is exactly the type I enjoy.’

England’s management want to harness the angst in the ranks on the back of their 20-14 loss to Australia, much as the Wallabies rallied from a humbling setback in Paris to win at Twickenham. But amid all the talk of a backlash, Andy Farrell insisted it had to be a smart response too, not just all fire and brimstone.

Having declared that the hosts have to ‘man-up’ to cope with the Bok threat, he added: ‘What I was impressed with about Australia last week was that all the chat was about the backlash but they were very composed, even though the pressure was on them. They were clinical and executed very well.

‘That is the key. You can go, “Backlash, backlash, backlash”, but what does it mean You have got to be accurate. We have to keep our composure. We can’t just be a raging bull in a china shop. You hope for a lot of emotion but if you run around enraged for 20 minutes you will be knackered. You have to use it in the right way.’

Everton captain Phil Neville faces two months out after knee op

Toffees skipper Neville faces two months out after knee op

|

UPDATED:

18:06 GMT, 17 November 2012

Everton face being without captain Phil Neville for up to two months after the midfielder underwent a knee operation.

Manager David Moyes confirmed in a press conference after his team's Barclays Premier League at Reading that former England international Neville had surgery yesterday.

The news is a blow to a team already without Neville's fellow midfielder Darron Gibson, who missed a 10th successive match with a thigh problem as Everton lost 2-1 at previously winless Reading.

Sicknote: Everton skipper Phil Neville faces two months out

Sicknote: Everton skipper Phil Neville faces two months out

Moyes admitted that Neville's influence was missed as Reading fought back to win their first league game of the season.

'He (Neville) had an operation on his knee yesterday that could keep him out for six to eight weeks,' he said.

'His leadership was missed but we were missing quite a lot of senior players today and you could see that by our bench. Thomas Hitzlsperger did OK, not too bad.'

Everton are likely to be without 35-year-old Neville for a number of key matches in the coming weeks as they prepare to face Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham before Christmas.

Chris Ashton try v Australia – VIDEO: Is this England"s greatest score?

VIDEO: England's greatest ever try Relive Ashton's stunning score against Australia

|

UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 16 November 2012

Chris Ashton's unforgettable try against Australia at Twickenham in November 2010 seemed to herald a new era for the Red Rose.

One in which length-of-the-pitch breakaway scores created by young and fearless tyros would be added to the traditional strengths of forward sweat and grunt under the inspirational leadership of the greatest figure in English rugby, Martin Johnson.

England put Australia to the sword that day and went on to win the Six Nations the next spring, but sadly Ashton's try proved to be something of a false dawn as the Johnson era drowned in drink and dwarf-throwing at last year's World Cup.

And he's off: Chris Ashton (centre) breaks away from the Australia defence at Twickenham in 2010

And he's off: Chris Ashton (centre) breaks away from the Australia defence at Twickenham in 2010

... the winger's pace takes him clear of the Drew Mitchell's despairing dive...

… the winger's pace takes him clear of the Drew Mitchell's despairing dive…

... before finishing off with his famous 'Ash Splash' celebration under the posts

… before finishing off with his famous 'Ash Splash' celebration under the posts

Still, England's reinvention was fun while it lasted.

Ashton's try was voted as the International Rugby Players' Association try of the year for 2010, beating every All Blacks score over those 12 months, and was hailed as England's greatest ever at HQ.

The move began on England's own line, with Toby Flood, Tom Palmer and Mike Tindall combining to stop Wallaby scrum-half Will Genia and secure a vital turnover.

Ben Youngs dug the ball out and, in his own in-goal area, dummied a clearance kick to take Quade Cooper out of the equation before scampering from behind England's line and passing to Courtney Lawes.

The dextrous Northampton lock drew in two Australian defenders before slipping the pass to Ashton, who caught the ball one-handed, tucked it under his right arm and raced out of England's 22.

Ashton still had Drew Mitchell to beat and he cut infield on half way, leaving the Australian wing in his wake to finish a famous try under the posts.

Two years later, we're still clinging to the hope that England can one day free their talented back line and rival the Wallabies, New Zealand and France for attacking verve.

And Ashton just so happens to be making his comeback to the England team in the latest QBE autumn international this Saturday against… you guessed it, Australia.

It's time to dream again.

VIDEO: Ashton's incredible try v Australia at Twickenham in 2010

Where does Ashton's effort rate in your 'greatest tries' list Tell us your favourites by leaving a comment below. And here's a couple of our most memorable scores to get you started…

Prince Alexander Obolensky v New Zealand, 1936

Jason Robinson v Australia, 2003 World Cup final

Jen Chang return to Liverpool in doubt after Twitter prankster Duncan Jenkins storm

No way back Liverpool chief Chang return in doubt following Twitter storm

|

UPDATED:

01:15 GMT, 15 November 2012

Liverpool’s
beleaguered communications chief Jen Chang is still on leave in New
York sorting out the family home after Hurricane Sandy. And there is
doubt as to when Chang, who has yet to relocate his wife and children to
Liverpool, will return to Merseyside — if ever.

The
club apologised for Chang’s ‘inappropriate actions’ following alleged
harassment of fan Sean Cummins. Chang wrongly believed inside
information used by Cummins on Twitter under the alias Dunkan Jenkins
had been fed to him by an Anfield mole.

In
light of that, it was unfortunate that the club’s managing director Ian
Ayre was a late withdrawal through illness from Aspire4Sport. The
conference in Doha this week is discussing social media strategy.

May not resurface: Jen Chang is still on leave in New York

May not resurface: Jen Chang is still on leave in New York

Mourinho, Ferguson and Wenger brought to book

A trio of football’s best-known managers – Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger – are due to contribute chapters to a special business book on leadership.

The big three are being interviewed for a publication coming out next summer as part of the League Managers Association push to develop new programmes for their members.

The project, being sponsored by Barclays and Deloitte, will allow each of the household names to lay down their views on best management and leadership practices. It will be the first time Arsenal boss Wenger has gone public in book form on the art of being a manager.

Contributing: Arsene Wenger will talk about leadership in his own chapter in the book

Contributing: Arsene Wenger will talk about leadership in his own chapter in the book

More from Charles Sale…

Charles Sale: Soccer Saturday tour scrapped… but no-one will say why
13/11/12

Sports Agenda Extra: We needed troops to step in yet G4S could WIN gong for 2012 Olympics work
05/11/12

Charles Sale: Silent Stan finally makes it back into the Arsenal stands
24/10/12

Charles Sale: Man United line up whopping 1bn Nike extension to boost the coffers
23/10/12

Charles Sale: Premier League loses its fizz for sponsor Lucozade
22/10/12

Charles Sale: Rooney's second book flop leaves publishes unsure over future titles
21/10/12

Charles Sale: No purple patch for quirky Mancini as Manchester City boss ditches unlucky colour
19/10/12

Charles Sale: Why the blazers ousted FA chairman Bernstein
18/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The structure of the publication is still being worked out, with David Moyes, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas also due to contribute. But only the holy trinity of Fergie, Arsene and Jose are guaranteed a chapter of their own.

Bothered about Brazil

England manager Roy Hodgson and Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce are yet to resolve whether the prestige friendly against Brazil in Rio on June 2 takes priority over preparations for the Under 21 European Championship in Israel.

International starlets Raheem Sterling, Jack Butland, Wilfried Zaha, Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all broken into the senior squad but Pearce will want them with him. Complicated commercial negotiations mean England might play just one game against Brazil on their summer tour rather than the two initially proposed.

Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie a ticket

Veteran coach Tord Grip, former England football assistant to his Swedish compatriot Sven Goran Eriksson, took his friend, the Abba songwriter Benny Andersson, to the England match on Wednesday night. But Eriksson, who is out of work after finishing a well-paid consultancy role in Thailand, preferred to stay at home in Sunne, Varmland, rather than travel to Stockholm for the football.

Watching on: Tord Grip came to see England v Sweden

Watching on: Tord Grip came to see England v Sweden

Private highlights

The chances of there being terrestrial rugby highlights of the Lions tour next summer are looking slim. Live rights holders Sky Sports are understood to be insisting there is a 36-hour delay before any other broadcast because of the unsociable kick-off times in Australia for a UK audience.

Politics in sport

Political issues between Abu Dhabi and Qatar have delayed the outcome of the Premier League Middle East rights tender. Abu Dhabi TV paid a 300 per cent increase to win the current contract, but such a big upside is not expected again despite competition with the equally wealthy Al Jazeera.

Enough sponsors

League Managers Association chief Richard Bevan was part of the FA delegation in Sweden looking at opportunities for the union’s commercial partners to be involved on England trips.

If that happens the FA will have to hire another plane to accommodate them with the LMA having more than 50 sponsors in their business club. The latest are Mercedes, who are replacing car suppliers Jaguar.

Don't thank us

Tottenham caterers Lindley have donated the use of their eight-guest hospitality box — plus food and beverages — for one match at White Hart Lane as an auction item for Gillingham chairman Paul Scally’s heart charity. Strangely, Tottenham wanted it made clear by Gillingham that the offer was from the box-holders rather than the club.

Deacon Manu will captain Fiji against England

Fiji name Manu as captain for England clash at Twickenham

|

UPDATED:

18:47 GMT, 6 November 2012

Scarlets prop Deacon Manu has been confirmed as captain of Fiji for Saturday's QBE international against England at Twickenham.

The 33-year-old, who has 12 caps to his name, led Fiji on their 2010 tour of Europe and in last year's Rugby World Cup.

Skipper: Manu (left) will lead Fiji out against England on Saturday

Skipper: Manu (left) will lead Fiji out against England on Saturday

'Manu has led the team before and has shown good leadership skills,' said Fiji coach Inkike Male.

'With his experience and the respect the boys have in him, I am confident that he has the qualities in him to not only lead the front row, but the whole team.'