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Eden Hazard ball boy row: police launch probe but video supports claim Chelsea ace kicked the ball

VIDEO: Police launch probe into alleged assault on ball boy… but is this the new camera angle that clears Chelsea's Hazard
Belgian FA hit out at Eden Hazard after incident during Capital One Cup tieHazard clashed with ball boy Charlie Morgan, 17, while trying to reclaim ballFormer Chelsea star Pat Nevin backs Hazard and calls Morgan 'disgraceful'
17-year-old ball boy is heir to 42m Swansea director's fortune Claims ball boys were under orders to help Swansea rubbished by club
FA investigating the incident, but PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor does not believe Hazard should face additional punishment

qualifier for Belgium and was filmed tucking into a burger from a van outside.

Steven Martens, the chief executive of the Belgian FA (KBVB) said: 'It's unfortunate and of course it's not something we are proud of. No football authority or person interested in football likes to see acts of violence or lack of respect and this is what happened.

'It might have happened in the heat of the fire but professionals are expected to be able to control themselves.

'They have to be able to control their emotions and when they don't that's unpleasant in general.

Anger: Swansea's Ashley Williams (centre) is held back as he tries to confront Eden Hazard (off camera)

Anger: Swansea's Ashley Williams (centre) is held back as he tries to confront Eden Hazard (off camera)

Sending off: Chelsea's Eden Hazard (#17) receives a red card from referee Chris Foy for violent conduct

Sending off: Chelsea's Eden Hazard (#17) receives a red card from referee Chris Foy for violent conduct

'Of course as we are the Belgium FA we don't like it to be a Belgium national squad player but I am very much convinced that Eden himself will realise that.

'Eden is more than intelligent enough to understand that this is going to be a lesson learned for him. All of us make mistakes in life.'

Martens, speaking at a meeting of UEFA's 53 member associations in Nyon, said Hazard's frustration was perhaps a reflection of the intense pressure on his shoulders.

Helping hand: Chelsea's Demba Ba (right) checks on the ball boy after he had clashed with Eden Hazard

Helping hand: Chelsea's Demba Ba (right) checks on the ball boy after he had clashed with Eden Hazard

Boast: The 17-year-old earlier wrote on Twitter that he was 'needed for timewasting'

Boast: The 17-year-old earlier wrote on Twitter that he was 'needed for timewasting'

He added: 'It is easy to judge from outside but you also have to see it from the player's side too.

'I have been a professional sports coach for many years and the demands on athletes and players are there day-in, day-out.

'Yes we think these guys are well-paid and have a luxury life but on the other hand there is an expectation on them all the time. 'It's not an excuse but it is something that could help us try to understand.'

While the boss of Belgium's football association was damning of Hazard, the Chelsea forward found a supporter in Pat Nevin.

Injured: The ballboy was named as 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, the son of Swansea director David Morgan

Martin Morgan

Wealthy: Charlie Morgan (left), the ball boy who
was kicked by Eden Hazard during a League Cup game last night, is the
son of multi-millionaire businessman Martin Morgan (right)

Property: The self-made tycoon is the owner of the luxury Morgans hotel in Swansea, pictured

Property: The self-made tycoon is the owner of the luxury Morgans hotel in Swansea, pictured

Boasting: Charlie posted this picture of a broken bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne on his Twitter page

betting slips

Boasting: Charlie posted a picture of a broken
bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne on his Twitter page, as well as one
of torn-up betting slips

The former Chelsea winger claimed he would have done the same as Hazard if he had been involved in the controversial ball-boy incident at Swansea.

When asked how he would have reacted to the situation, Nevin told BBC Radio 5: 'I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent.'

And Nevin also criticised the behaviour of 17-year-old Morgan, branding it 'disgraceful'. He added: 'I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted, and I say “acted”.

'He must have been watching footballers, the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured.

Travelling in style: Charlie put up this picture of himself in Virgin Atlantic's upper class

Travelling in style: Charlie put up this picture of himself in Virgin Atlantic's upper class

Destination: The teenager on holiday in Las Vegas, in another picture he posted to Twitter

Destination: The teenager on holiday in Las Vegas, in another picture he posted to Twitter

'He only has one job and his job is to go and give the ball back, and what did he do He keeps the ball.

'I have to say I was absolutely amazed this morning to find he is 17, not 12, not 13. 'He should know what his action should be in that situation. His behaviour was disgraceful.'

The ball boy at the centre of the storm Charlie Morgan is the son of hotel and property tycoon Martin Morgan, said to be the 32nd richest person in Wales.

Morgan is on the the Swansea board of directors – which is how Charlie ended up as a ballboy for the League Cup semi-final against the Londoners.

Pricey: A photo of the Louis Vuitton store in Las Vegas which Charlie put on Twitter

Pricey: A photo of the Louis Vuitton store in Las Vegas which Charlie put on Twitter

Charlie Morgan receipt

Charlie Morgan weather

Shared: The teenager retweeted someone else's
120,000 receipt with the caption, 'This is huge time', and also let his
friends know about the good weather at his holiday destination

Posting on Twitter before the game, the teenager wrote: ‘The king of all ballboys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.'

Charlie's father is the director of 11 hotel and property companies and has featured in recent editions of the Sunday Times Rich List.

Morgan comes in at No 32 in the top 100 list for Wales – ahead of Premier League footballers Michael Owen and Ryan Giggs and 80s rock chick Bonnie Tyler.

Ben Watkins, 18, a former school friend of Charlie's, said: 'He must be the richest ball boy in football.

In pain: Morgan (second right) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Hazard

In pain: Morgan (second right) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Hazard

'He's mad about Swansea City – what he did was a bit foolish especially after be boasted he was going to time waste. I guess he's been a bit spoiled because his dad's got pots of money.'

In posts on Twitter Charlie brags about drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne and going on holiday to Las Vegas and Dubai.

Swansea are highly unlikely to take any action against Morgan for his part in the ugly clash – and the club has rubbished claims that their ball boys were ordered to give them an unfair advantage in the Capital One Cup clash.

Morgan has been widely accused of
deliberately withholding the ball, a stance seemingly supported by his
posts on Twitter earlier in the day.

Chelsea star: Eden Hazard (right) is pictured earlier in the League Cup match with Swansea City's Ben Davies

Eden Hazard award in May 22, 2011 in Paris

Striker: Eden Hazard is pictured earlier in the match (left) and winning an award in Paris in May 2011 (right)

The club refused to comment when asked to explain the decision, but Swansea vice-chairman Leigh Dineen reiterated Michael Laudrup’s assertion that their ball boys were not briefed to favour the home side.

Dineen told the Guardian: ‘There was no agenda, absolutely not. Stoke, a few years ago, would get the ballboy to wipe the ball down for a long throw and that was something the ballboys were obviously told to do. But certainly we don't line up the ballboys and ask them to waste time. Definitely not.’

A club spokesman added that Morgan,
who started his role aged 12 in 2008, ‘has been a ballboy for about six
seasons and there’s never been a complaint before’.

The
FA have also confirmed they will be taking no action against Swansea
over the incident, while South Wales Police are not pursuing the case as
Morgan declined to press charges.

The FA are reviewing footage of the
action, but Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon
Taylor does not believe Hazard should face additional punishment.

Hurt: The ballboy (centre) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Eden Hazard

Hurt: The ballboy (centre) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Eden Hazard

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He said: 'There is obviously a process which the FA have to go through and it is up to them what they decide. 'But I don't think the young lad involved would want to see Hazard punished further.

'The referee made the correct decision on the night and you do not want people to be hung, drawn and quartered for things that happen in the heat of the moment.

'It is disappointing and Hazard has shown remorse and the two clubs handled the matter very well.

'It will be seen as another stick to beat the game with, but the game has always been about passion and emotions running high and it is a shame for this to overshadow the wonderful achievements of Swansea and Bradford – two clubs who have faced extinction – in reaching the final.'

Coach Alan Curtis also insisted the ball boys were not told to waste time.

He said: 'We never gave them any
instructions whatsoever to slow the game down. It’s never ever been the
case at all. It was a really unfortunate situation.

'I’ve got to be honest though, if I had been the player, I would have tried to get the ball back as quickly as possible.

'Unfortunately it’s been blown up to
be a major incident. It was quickly defused straight after the game.
They met up after the game and shook hands, both apologised and, as far
as we’re concerned, that is the end of it.

'It’s a shame that it’s overshadowed everything.'

Meanwhile, Fulham boss Martin Jol has accused Morgan of 'playing rugby' against Chelsea and said he could understand Hazard kicking out at the teenager.

Jol said: 'Our ball boys are between 10 and 12 years of age. I saw he (Morgan) was probably over-age, probably 21. A big boy, you know Six foot, maybe

'I felt for Hazard, but you can't kick people. He (the ball boy) was playing rugby with him, so I can understand he wanted to get the ball.

'We always tell coaches to tell the ball boys to give the ball back as soon as possible. To do it quick; and not to irritate people.

'Of course you could say Eden should have controlled himself, but it was bizarre. The ball boy shouldn't lie on the ball and play rugby with it.

'He (Hazard) should have controlled himself, but I can see why he did it. I'm not allowed to say I would have done the same so, of course, I would not have done that.'

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Glenn McGrath inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

Legendary Australian fast bowler McGrath to be inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 31 December 2012

Former Australia paceman Glenn McGrath will become the latest inductee into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame during the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney.

McGrath, who holds the record for most Test wickets by a fast bowler with 563 at an average of 21.64, will be inducted during the lunch interval on the opening day at the SCG on Friday.

Legend: McGrath was a thorn in England's side throughout the 90s and 00s

Legend: McGrath was a thorn in England's side throughout the 90s and 00s

The 42-year-old, who retired in 2007, will become the 68th male member of the Hall of Fame and join West Indian Brian Lara and Englishwoman Enid Bakewell as the 2012/13 inductees.

'I am honoured that the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame voting academy, which includes all the current living Hall of Famers, have nominated and voted me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,' McGrath said.

'I am very much looking forward to celebrating the occasion on 4 January with not only my friends and family, but all those at the SCG which is of course is like a second home to me.'

Paceman: McGrath has taken more wickets than any other quick bowler

Paceman: McGrath has taken more wickets than any other quick bowler

McGrath, a key member in Australia's domination of world cricket in the 1990s and 2000s, made 124 Test and 250 ODI appearances, claiming a combined total of 944 wickets in a career spanning 14 years.

He still holds the record for the most wickets in ICC World Cup competitions with 71.

His seven for 15 against Namibia at the 2003 World Cup remains the best bowling effort in the event's history.

A fourth and final inductee for 2012-13 will be announced next July.

Lewis Holtby wanted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham

Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs line up to sign wantaway Schalke midfielder Holtby

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 30 December 2012

Wanted man: Holtby has signalled his intention to leave Schalke

Wanted man: Holtby has signalled his intention to leave Schalke

Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby will talk with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham in January to discuss a possible move in the summer.

The Germany Under 21 captain has refused his club's offer of a new deal and his immediate ambition is to move to the Premier League.

All three English clubs are fighting for the midfielder and will be queuing up to open talks in the new year, according to the Mirror.

The 22-year old already has British
connections; his father is English and Holtby was eligible to play for
England before he declared for his country of birth, Germany.

Schalke has been a key scouting
territory for Arsenal this season and Holtby featured in their group
stage clashes in the Champions League.

The Bundeliga outfit were hoping he would follow another Arsenal target, Holland striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, in committing his future to the club, but board member Horst Heldt was forced to concede defeat.

Gunner get ya: Arsenal are in the hunt for Holtby's signature

Gunner get ya: Arsenal are in the hunt for Holtby's signature

'We had hoped Lewis saw his future at Schalke beyond the end of this season,' said Heldt. 'But he has made a personal decision that we respect.

'We are sure he will give everything between now and the end of the season.'

Stephane Mbia blasted Jose Bosingwa over refusal to be a sub

'If the manager tells me to sit on the bench I will do it': Mbia blasts Bosingwa sub snub

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 27 December 2012

QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia says he would never refuse to sit on the bench like his team-mate Jose Bosingwa did two weeks ago against Fulham.

But Mbia is hopeful that Bosingwa can resolve his dispute with manager Harry Redknapp as he believes the Portuguese right-back can aid QPR's bid to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Bosingwa was absent from QPR's squad for the second successive game yesterday as he continues to pay the price for refusing to sit on the bench in the Londoners' derby against Fulham on December 15.

Mbia (left) said he would never refuse to be a substitute if asked to by his manager

Stephane Mbia (left) said he would never refuse to be a substitute if asked to

Redknapp fined Bosingwa two weeks' wages (130,000) before launching an angry tirade against the defender and some of his team-mates when the news of the fine emerged.

Despite some criticism from fans for his performances, Mbia thinks Bosingwa is a vital member of the R's squad, but he admits he would never have acted in the way that the Champions League winning full-back did a fortnight ago.

Jose Bosingwa (right) refused to be a substitute two weeks ago against Fulham and was fined two weeks' wages, 130,000

Jose Bosingwa (right) refused to be a substitute two weeks ago against Fulham and was fined two weeks' wages, 130,000

'If the manager tells me to sit on the bench I will do it,' Mbia said following QPR's 2-1 defeat at West Brom yesterday.

'It's up to the manager to make the decisions.

Snub: QPR boss Harry Rednknapp (right) left Bosingwa out of the squad against West Brom on Boxing Day

Snub: QPR boss Harry Rednknapp (right) left Bosingwa out of the squad against West Brom on Boxing Day

'If he wants you to sit on the bench you sit on the bench.

'It's a very difficult and complicated situation. Hopefully at the end of the day the club and player can sort it out as Jose is a very good player.'

Redknapp, a man with over 20 years' experience in management, clearly hoped that publicly berating some of the expensive imports brought in under Mark Hughes would spark them in to life.

To a certain extent the move worked. Despite losing the game yesterday – thanks largely to two very questionable decisions from referee Chris Foy – the likes of Mbia and Samba Diakite put on a much-improved display, although it is clear Redknapp needs to address his lack of firepower in the January transfer window.

Although QPR remain six points from safety, Redknapp has brought in six of the club's 10 points since he replaced Mark Hughes last month and Mbia remains convinced the former Tottenham manager will lead his new team out of the relegation zone.

'I believe in him. I believe he is the man to get us out of trouble,' Mbia said.

'It's up to the players to give 100 per cent, but the manager will give a lot to us.

'He will enable the players to give the best of themselves.

'He has helped me a lot already. He has try to make me a more intelligent player. He wants me to be more careful on the pitch so I don't pick up needless yellow and red cards.

'I definitely think we can stay up.

'The gaffer gives us so much confidence, he uses so many different words, I know we can do it.'

The right man for the job: Mbia believes that Redknapp is the right man to keep the Hoops in the division

The right man for the job: Mbia believes that Redknapp is the right man to keep the Hoops in the division

West Brom, on the other hand, could find themselves third in the table on Saturday afternoon if results go their way and they pull off a shock win at Manchester United.

Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku has played a big part in the Baggies' success this season, scoring six goals so far.

With Daniel Sturridge reported to be on his way to Liverpool next month, it has been claimed that Chelsea will recall the Belgian from his loan spell.

Impressive: West Brom could find themselves third in the table if results go their way on New Years Day

Impressive: West Brom could find themselves third in the table if results go their way on New Year's Day

Lukaku, who would have netted yesterday had it not been for two great saves from Robert Green, wants to stay and Albion defender Jonas Olsson hopes he remains at the Hawthorns too.

Olsson said: 'He has done very well for us. The reason I think we are where we are is because of the competition for places and with him, with Peter (Odemwingie), Marc-Antoine Fortune and Shane Long, I think there is a lot of competition there for places so I would very much like to keep him here.

'He is enjoying himself at training and in games at West Brom so when you do that you play good football.'

Form: Part of their surge up the table is thanks to the form of loanee Romelu Lukaku (right) form Chelsea, who has six goals

Form: Part of their surge up the table is thanks to the form of loanee Romelu Lukaku (right) form Chelsea, who has six goals

Come back safely! Glover"s wish as partner Stanning heads out to Afghanistan

Come back safely! Glover's wish as partner Stanning heads out to Afghanistan

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UPDATED:

00:46 GMT, 23 December 2012

The tears flowed when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won Team GB's first gold medal of the London Olympics.

But it will be emotional for another reason when our first champion women's rowing partnership is forced apart by a different British calling.

Duty calls: Helen Glover resumes training - without friend Heather Stanning

Duty calls: Helen Glover resumes training – without friend Heather Stanning

For Glover is certain her tears will flow again when 27-year-old Stanning sets off for what is intended to be a year's break from the rowing lake to head for Afghanistan and do her duty at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province while serving as a captain in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery.

Not only will Glover, 26, be fretting over the welfare of the woman who has become her close friend these past two years, she will also be concerned for the future of the partnership that was to win the London 2012 women's pairs gold.

'Heather is like a sister to me and I'll be worrying until the day she returns,' said Glover in a break during gruelling solo sessions at British rowing HQ at the Pinsent-Redgrave Lake.

Don't mess with her: Captain Heather Stanning off to Afghanistan

Don't mess with her: Captain Heather Stanning off to Afghanistan

'I've never had a family member going away as part of the armed forces on what is potentially a dangerous mission, but this feels like it.

'I'll miss her. I'm very proud of her and I'll probably cry the last time I see her, which will be very soon. I'm sure she'll be fine, of course, but I'll still worry about her and be relieved when she's back home safe.

'I also know that while we're apart for a year, our rivals will be training as pairs. Heather and I want to defend our title at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, but with her unable to practise with me until effectively 2014, we've handed the others a year's head start.'

Striking gold made both women switch plans dramatically.

Golden girls: Glover (left) and Heather Stanning pose with their gold medals

Golden girls: Glover (left) and Heather Stanning pose with their gold medals

Originally, Stanning envisaged London as both the beginning and end of her Olympic career, then it would be back to full-time Army commitments.

Glover, who had started to row only in 2008 after she joined the 'Sporting Giants' programme, could not see beyond 2012.

But after they were paired in 2010, their sights shifted after winning two silver medals in back-to-back world championships.

'Months before the Games, Heather and I talked about her returning to the Army and serving in Afghanistan because we didn't want it to become an issue in the final lead-up,' added Glover.

'She had no intention of carrying on in the sport, but as we got better and started winning medals – and then realising we stood a good chance of winning in London – she told me she was having too much fun to stop.

'I hadn't looked beyond August 1 and the Olympic final, but I realised afterwards that we were still a relatively new pair who could improve and I wanted to defend my title in Rio. So it's decided, assuming our coaches select us as a pair in 2016.'

Which makes 2013 a difficult prospect for Glover, both from a personal and professional viewpoint as she resumes her gruelling training schedule.

Double trouble: Glover (right) and Stanning on their way to victory

Double trouble: Glover (right) and Stanning on their way to victory

She added: 'Unusually for a pair, Heather and I are very close friends who have never fallen out. From a professional point of view I haven't needed to say anything to her about what being away means in terms of our partnership.

'I know she's been questioning herself about it enough. But I know how strong a person she is and how much she believes in what she's doing.

'It's not a decision she's taken lightly. Heather is confident she can spend a year with the Army, train on a rowing machine in Camp Bastion and then resume our partnership a year behind our rivals.

'That's how much she believes in what she is doing and in us as a pair.'

In the meantime, Glover has no idea how her year will pan out, with whom and in what.

Oarsome: Helen Glover and rowing partner Capt Heather Stanning, sporting her gold medal, after their success at London 2012

Oarsome: Helen Glover and rowing partner Capt Heather Stanning, sporting her gold medal, after their success at London 2012

'It's up to [women's chief coach] Paul Thompson to decide what to do with me. I'll have the challenge of a new partner in the pairs and aiming for the 2013 world championships in South Korea. Or I might even be in a different boat.

'It will keep me fresh, but I definitely want to get back with Heather after that, whatever happens.

'When Heather and I were teamed up in 2010, we just clicked. We produced times much faster than we should have and it was all on raw speed, not technique. That's what was so exciting. We knew that with technique we could become so much better.

'To be the first British female rowers ever to win an Olympic gold, the first by Team GB in 2012, was a huge bonus. Whatever else happens in the future, that can never be taken away from us.'

Real Sociedad players wear fans" names on their shirts instead of a sponsor

Real Sociedad players keep fans close to their hearts… by wearing their names instead of a shirt sponsor

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UPDATED:

05:58 GMT, 21 December 2012

Real Sociedad have delighted some of their supporters by wearing their names on their shirts in place of a sponsor.

Each player wore the name of a randomly selected club member out of a pool of 25,000 as they took to the field against Sevilla.

They pleased the supporters further still with a 2-1 home win in the La Liga clash at the Anoeta stadium, with former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela opening the scoring.

Thanks for the support: Real Sociedad players wear fans' names on their shirts

Thanks for the support: Real Sociedad players wear fans' names on their shirts

Club president Jokin Aperribay said: 'The fans are the soul, the nourishment and the reason for Real Sociedad. For this reason, we’re uniting the names of our members with the shirts.'

Aperribay added: 'It’s for the history, because the fans are the of the club and this is a tribute to those that have supported us for many years.

'When we went down to the Segunda, we
overcame that difficulty because we retained 20,000 members. For the
present, because the fans show enthusiasm, which the team receives and
returns to them.

'We want to achieve bigger
objectives, but we can’t do that without the fans. For the future,
because that will be determined by the fans.

'It is very important that fans feel
they are necessary for the club to function. For that reason, we decided
to unite two of the most important things at Real Sociedad – The fans
and the shirt.'

Helping hand Sociedad ended up beating Sevilla 2-1

Helping hand Sociedad ended up beating Sevilla 2-1

Carlos Vela (left) gets stuck in

Alberto de la Bella (left) duels for the ball

Midfielder Xabi Prieto, who has been a
member at the club since 1992, said: 'We’re fortunate that we can play
every week. Against Sevilla, we’ll have our members playing with us.'

Sociedad have named the fan-appreciation initiative 'we carry you on our shirts'.

Previously they thanked their fans for their support by naming 22 of them in a television advert.

Last
season in La Liga nearly half of sides did not have a shirt sponsor
leading to creativite options coming to the fore as they looked to make
money.

Valencia used their
Twitter address instead, while Sevilla charged supporters around 25 to have
their faces used to create the numbers on the back of shirts.

Getting shirty: Sevilla asked fans to pay to have their faces put onto the players' strips

Getting shirty: Sevilla asked fans to pay to have their faces put onto the players' strips

Charles Sale: MCC chief "insults" election hopefuls

MCC chief 'insults' election hopefuls

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 20 December 2012

The MCC are embroiled in yet another
internal row after chairman Oliver Stocken astonished members of
cricket’s most famous private club with his comments about the main
committee election.

Stocken, who has been accused by
legal grandee Lord Grabiner of running MCC like a ‘personal fiefdom’,
damned the six candidates in the ballot, saying he wouldn’t recommend
any of them because they did not have the qualities of those retiring
from the MCC committee.

A general view of Lords

Stocken’s letter to members said: ‘It has been decided not to recommend any nominees but instead to refer to the skills and attributes possessed by the four elected members who are due to retire. It is highly unlikely the qualities of the new members will match those retiring.’

The six nominees include Hampshire president and former county captain Nick Pocock and City high-flyer Vicky Griffiths, who has been nominated by Andy Flower and Mike Gatting.

Senior MCC member Laurence Dillamore described Stocken’s comments as ‘the most insulting and condescending communication from the club in all the 40 years I have been a member’. He added: ‘It is breathtaking contempt and directly questions the competence of the proposers and seconders.’

An MCC spokesperson said the chairman’s letter was for guidance and had not meant to be a slight on anyone.

Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco

Former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy (right), tipped to be FA chairman before David Bernstein was appointed, is again being linked with the role.

Leading businessman Leahy, long-time Everton supporter, England 2018 bid adviser and knowledgeable about the FA through Tesco's sponsorship, ticks most boxes.

But there is doubt whether Leahy could commit at least two days a week to the FA having taken up a number of advisory roles since leaving Tesco.

Others in the frame are Football League chairman Greg Clarke, St George's Park chairman David Sheepshanks and independent FA director Heather Rabbatts. Dame Sue Campbell, who is stepping down from the chairmanship of UK Sport, should certainly be on the FA headhunters' list.

It's Roger and out…

The Lawn Tennis Association remuneration committee, which awarded chief executive Roger Draper his 640,000-a-year package, have Draper as one of two executive staff invitees who attend meetings. And you wouldn’t have put it past the hapless LTA for Draper to be present when his salary was discussed. However, it was confirmed yesterday that Draper left the room before his 201,000 bonus was awarded. Cathie Sabin, the LTA deputy president, would not discuss Draper’s money yesterday but said: ‘The board is backing Roger.’

Moz Dee, talkSPORT's programme director who has done a lot to raise the profile of the station, is leaving to set up Contented Digital Media, supplying original material to broadcasters. Dee, who will want to earn more than he did at talkSPORT, is unlikely to have made such a move without deals – most probably with BT Sport – already in place.

British Olympic Association pleasure at securing Minas Tennis Club in Belo Horizonte for their Team GB preparation camp for the 2016 Rio Games will be enhanced by the knowledge Australia were also chasing the venue.

Hard-hitting BBC political editor Nick Robinson, who hosted Manchester United’s UNESCO dinner, hardly put the players through the wringer. United fan Robinson asked Nemanja Vidic what it was like to be back from injury, Rio Ferdinand what it was like to have Vidic back and Wayne Rooney what it was like playing alongside Robin van Persie. The only remotely edgy question was put to Rooney, with Robinson asking for advice on his hairline.

Real Sociedad wear players names instead of shirt sponsor

Real Sociedad players keep fans close to their hearts… by wearing their names instead of a shirt sponsor

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UPDATED:

00:22 GMT, 21 December 2012

Real Sociedad have delighted some of their supporters by wearing their names on their shirts in place of a sponsor.

Each player wore the name of a randomly selected club member out of a pool of 25,000 as they took to the field against Sevilla.

They pleased the supporters further still with a 2-1 home win in the La Liga clash at the Anoeta stadium, with former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela opening the scoring.

Thanks for the support: Real Sociedad players wear fans' names on their shirts

Thanks for the support: Real Sociedad players wear fans' names on their shirts

Club president Jokin Aperribay said: 'The fans are the soul, the nourishment and the reason for Real Sociedad. For this reason, we’re uniting the names of our members with the shirts.'

Aperribay added: 'It’s for the history, because the fans are the of the club and this is a tribute to those that have supported us for many years.

'When we went down to the Segunda, we
overcame that difficulty because we retained 20,000 members. For the
present, because the fans show enthusiasm, which the team receives and
returns to them.

'We want to achieve bigger
objectives, but we can’t do that without the fans. For the future,
because that will be determined by the fans.

'It is very important that fans feel
they are necessary for the club to function. For that reason, we decided
to unite two of the most important things at Real Sociedad – The fans
and the shirt.'

Helping hand Sociedad ended up beating Sevilla 2-1

Helping hand Sociedad ended up beating Sevilla 2-1

Carlos Vela (left) gets stuck in

Alberto de la Bella (left) duels for the ball

Midfielder Xabi Prieto, who has been a
member at the club since 1992, said: 'We’re fortunate that we can play
every week. Against Sevilla, we’ll have our members playing with us.'

Sociedad have named the fan-appreciation initiative 'we carry you on our shirts'.

Previously they thanked their fans for their support by naming 22 of them in a television advert.

Last
season in La Liga nearly half of sides did not have a shirt sponsor
leading to creativite options coming to the fore as they looked to make
money.

Valencia used their
Twitter address instead, while Sevilla charged supporters around 25 to have
their faces used to create the numbers on the back of shirts.

Getting shirty: Sevilla asked fans to pay to have their faces put onto the players' strips

Getting shirty: Sevilla asked fans to pay to have their faces put onto the players' strips

Mario Balotelli tribunal appearance in doubt as Manchester City striker misses training

EXCLUSIVE: Balotelli tribunal appearance in doubt as City star misses training through illness

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UPDATED:

16:59 GMT, 18 December 2012

Mario Balotelli missed training due to sickness today, casting doubt over his appearance at tomorrow’s Premier League tribunal.

The Manchester City striker is due to face his employers in London tomorrow to contest a two-week fine imposed by the club as a punishment for poor on-field discipline last season.

But it is understood that the 22-year-old did not train with Roberto Mancini’s squad at Carrington this morning after arriving with an unknown virus.

Absent from training: Mario Balotelli missed Manchester City training today through an unspecified illness, putting his appearance at a tribunal against the club tomorrow in doubt

Absent from training: Mario Balotelli missed Manchester City training today through an unspecified illness, putting his appearance at a tribunal against the club tomorrow in doubt

Club doctors told Balotelli to go home immediately and he will be assessed again before a decision is made about his appearance tomorrow.

The hearing will go ahead without Balotelli if he is not well enough to attend but – given how hard he has fought this issue so far – it is unlikely he would wish that to happen.

As revealed in Sportsmail this morning, Balotelli, or those speaking on his behalf, will claim at the tribunal that City have acted outside rules agreed by the Premier League and its member clubs by trying to fine him 340,000.

In the dock: Balotelli is in trouble over his poor discipline this year

In the dock: Balotelli is in trouble over his poor discipline this year

Rocky relations: Roberto Mancini left Balotelli out of the squad that travelled to Newcastle on Saturday and made him train instead

Rocky relations: Roberto Mancini left Balotelli out of the squad that travelled to Newcastle on Saturday and made him train instead

Meanwhile his absence from training today – and possibly again tomorrow – will not please coach Mancini who left the striker out of his squad for the game at Newcastle at the weekend after deciding he wasn’t fit enough.

Balotelli’s chances of featuring against Reading on Saturday now seem very slim indeed.

Scott Parker scores for Tottenham reserves

Great Scott! Tottenham's Parker makes goalscoring return in U21 match against Villa

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 18 December 2012

Scott Parker continued his steady return to football by netting for Tottenham's Under 21s this evening.

The England international, who is being gradually eased back into football after an achilles injury, scored on the stroke of half-time as part of the Tottenham Under 21 outfit who travelled to Aston Villa this evening.

Parker, who scored Spurs' second goal in a convincing 3-0 win, made a cameo appearance on Sunday for Tottenham's senior squad when they beat Swansea 1-0 at White Hart Lane.

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

The 32-year-old had not played for Tottenham all season before Sunday's victory, and was only handed a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele late in the match.

The former Charlton, Chelsea and West Ham midfielder was given a start this evening for Tottenham's Under 21s.

Having recently returned to football after picking up the injury with Roy Hodgson's England team at Euro 2012, Parker wasted little time back on the pitch tonight by coolly slotting home after 45 minutes.

When fully fit, Parker still faces a tough task of forcing his way back into the Tottenham first team.

Dembele has looked like an incredible signing since his arrival from Fulham this summer, and Sandro has proved to be an integral member of Villas-Boas' squad with some stellar performances this term.

Meanwhile,Tottenham left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto could also be fit to play against Stoke at home on Saturday after being out for three months with a knee injury.

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea