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Luis Suarez latest Liverpool will NOT appeal ten-match ban for bite

Suarez will NOT appeal 10-match FA ban for biting Ivanovic… and it's his own decision

PUBLISHED:

12:40 GMT, 26 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Luis Suarez will not appeal the 10-match ban handed to him by the FA for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez had until midday today to lodge an appeal, with the club reportedly leaving the decision to the Uruguayan himself.

The 26-year-old had already accepted the three-match suspension for violent conduct, but will not contest the additional punishment.

Scroll down for video of Brendan Rodgers Press Conference

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

Appeal: Suarez has decided to fight against the 10-match ban he was handed by the Football Association

A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission upheld The FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will now serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three.

The suspension begins with immediate effect and applies to Liverpool's next ten domestic first-team fixtures.

Closed: Suarez during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on Wednesday

Closed: Suarez during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on Wednesday

Blame game: Graham Poll is relieved referee Kevin Friend (right) was not blamed for missing the incident

Blame game: Graham Poll is relieved referee Kevin Friend (right) was not blamed for missing the incident

Prime Minister David Cameron said today that Suarez's bite on Ivanovic set an 'appalling example' to his seven-year-old son.

Cameron told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that his intervention in the matter was merely that of a concerned father.

'I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game,' he said.

Prime criticism: Even Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here appearing on BBC Breakfast, told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that players behaving like this sets an 'appalling example'

Prime criticism: Even Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that players behaving like this sets an 'appalling example'

'I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country.'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers yesterday accused the FA of double standards and throwing Suarez out with the ‘garbage’.

Rodgers spoke publicly
yesterday for the first time since Suarez was banned for 10 games for
biting Ivanovic.

And he did not hold back,
insisting the punishment was ‘not right’ and ‘too severe’.

Goalkeeper
Pepe Reina went even further, saying it was ‘absurd, out of proportion
and unfair’ and that the authorities had ‘got it in for Luis’.

He needs help: Suarez has launched an impassioned defence of his under-fire striker

He needs help: Suarez has launched an impassioned defence of his under-fire striker

Brendan Rodgers 'shocked' by length of Suarez ban

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Rodgers believes the three-person Independent Regulatory Committee that imposed the ban were prejudiced by the fact the FA had already announced they considered the offence worthy of more than a three-match ban.

Further to that, he claimed the FA’s disciplinary procedures were inconsistent and said he was mystified by the Prime Minister’s decision to enter the debate.

Rodgers said: ‘Luis has not let me down one bit. He is a player who fell well below the standards of this football club but that doesn’t mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened from a lot of people these last few days.

Luis Suarez is seen laughing and joking with his team-mates

Luis Suarez is seen laughing and joking with his team-mates

In the mix: Suarez looked in high spirits during this afternoon's training session on Merseyside

‘I certainly won’t be prepared to do
that. I don’t believe the sanction fits with what he did. There’s no
doubt if you have those high-profile figures making those sorts of
statements, there will be a bias.

‘It’s human nature. If you have people reading and listening to things,
when they sit down to talk about it supposedly for the first time,
people would argue whether they already had a decision in their minds.
That process, for me, would need to change.

‘You have an FA council member, an FA county representative and an
ex-player, so I don’t know how it is independent. That has to be looked
at and this is probably not the first time it’s been said.

All smiles: Luis Suarez trains with Liverpool the day after he was hit with a ten-game ban

All smiles: Luis Suarez trains with Liverpool the day after he was hit with a ten-game ban

‘I felt Luis would maybe get more than three games. But we had hoped
there would be something in there that would allow him a greater
opportunity to rehabilitate. The bigger thing in all of this is to try
to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

Rodgers made a clumsy analogy yesterday in comparing Suarez’s moment of madness to a tennis player smashing his racket.

But he argued that the length of the punishment was unfair in comparison
to two similar cases in 2006; one saw Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe escape
punishment for biting West Ham’s Javier Mascherano, while the other saw
Chester’s Sean Hessey receive five matches for biting Stockport’s Liam
Dickinson.

‘I feel the punishment has been against the man rather than the
incident,’ Rodgers said. ‘That is my underlying feeling. There was
euphoria around the time that it happened. Everyone has their opinion.
That’s fine. But when you come away and assess it in the cold light of
day, it was violent conduct.’

Bite club: Suarez sunk his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield

Bite club: Suarez sunk his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield

JAMIE CARRAGHER'S VERDICT

CLICK HERE: Luis was wrong, but before we hound him out let's remember other Liverpool legends were not exactly saints

Again, of course, there is a flaw in Rodgers’ argument. The FA stated
their case that a three-game ban for Suarez was insufficient on the same
day it was revealed Suarez felt three games was ample.

Both sides
stated their positions and it was then left to the independent committee
to make a decision.

The committee can take into consideration past misdemeanours and the
fact Suarez had been banned for 10 games in his Liverpool career, not to
mention his seven-match suspension at Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven’s
Otman Bakkal, would have counted against him.

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

tasty: The bizarre clash was missed by referee Kevin Friend, who had to be told the specifics by Ivanovic

The FA have also not always been successful in arguing for longer
suspensions. In January, an independent panel decided a three-game ban
for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was sufficient after he tangled with a
Swansea ball boy. On that occasion the FA had called for a longer ban,
too.

Pardew baffled by FA action

Alan Pardew has branded the FA’s disciplinary system flawed and wants the organisation’s decisions to be more consistent.

The Newcastle manager hit out after Wigan’s Callum McManaman escaped a ban for his horror challenge on Toon defender Massadio Hadaira but Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was banned for 10 games after biting Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea.

‘I don’t think that’s reasonable,’ Pardew said. ‘That is a flaw in the system. All Premier League managers are looking for that committee to give us the answers as to why. You’re always going to have grey areas when it comes to discipline and fines but at least have some consistency. It’s consistency of punishments we’re looking for.

‘The FA need to answer why it was 10 games for Suarez. It’s interesting why it was.’

Suarez serves the first game of his ban when Liverpool play at Newcastle on Saturday.

Liverpool have promised to stand by Suarez, regardless of whether he
appeals, but they are aware his ban could be increased at a new hearing.
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann said yesterday Suarez should
‘accept it and get on with it’.

Rodgers, in a club suit at the Melwood training ground rather than his
customary tracksuit, has spoken several times with Suarez and his agent,
Pere Guardiola, in recent days. There will be more discussions and
Suarez will train as normal. But Rodgers admitted the club’s greatest
asset may consider whether he wants to continue playing in England.

‘This is a guy who I see on a daily basis trying very hard,’ said
Rodgers. ‘His passions in life are his family and Liverpool Football
Club. It is part of his make-up, you can’t change that. But he is trying
to adapt the traits he has grown up with to the culture here.

‘Each time he makes a step forward we beat him with a stick and beat him
down. I can understand if he felt like that in a moment of reflection.

‘Am I worried he will knock on my door I am not thinking about that. I
can guide him, like I’ve done this year, and will tell him when he’s
done wrong. We will plan for the future with Luis. There is no other
thought. Luis is very much a player I believe will be here.’

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with
Suarez but Rodgers added: ‘I’ve had a lot of discussions with Pere
Guardiola that have been very strong. They are very happy with what the
club has done, not only to protect the player but to support him.

‘The objective is to make sure it doesn’t happen again and that is at the forefront of our minds.’

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

Follows him: Suarez's clash with Patrice Evra in 2011 resulted in an eight-game ban for the Liverpool man

VIDEO Liverpool's Managing Director on Suarez controversy

Liverpool to stand by Suarez

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Look, ref: Ivanovic shows his arm to referee Kevin Friend following the biting incident at Anfield yesterday

Look, ref: Ivanovic shows his arm to referee Kevin Friend following the biting incident at Anfield yesterday

Luis Suarez appears to bite Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic

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Previous: Suarez bites Otman Bakkal of PSV while playing for Ajax

Previous: Suarez bites Otman Bakkal of PSV while playing for Ajax

Repeat The PSV star was as perplexed as Ivanovic by Suarez's behaviour

Repeat The PSV star was as perplexed as Ivanovic by Suarez's behaviour

It's not the first time Suarez has used his teeth

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OTHER SUAREZ CONTROVERSIES

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is back in the spotlight after appearing to bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm during the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield, going on to score a late equaliser.

Here are some of the previous controversies surrounding the Uruguayan forward.

February 2007: Suarez made his international debut for Uruguay against Colombia but was sent off in the final minutes after being shown a second yellow card for dissent.

November 2007: Joined Ajax from Uruguayan side Nacional but he was later suspended by the Dutch giants after a half-time dressing-room altercation with team-mate Albert Luque.

July 2010: During the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, Suarez prevented Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the final minute with a deliberate handball on the line and was subsequently sent off. A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.

November 2010: Suarez was handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA and fined by his club for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match.

October 2011: Following his move to Liverpool in January 2011, he was involved in a tackle with Everton's Jack Rodwell and goes down with apparent minimal contact. Rodwell was then sent off.

October 2011: Suarez was alleged to have racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra during a Premier League match. Suarez was later found guilty by an independent regulatory commission and banned for eight matches and fined 40,000.

December 2011: Was seen making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans. At this time he had already been charged by the Football Association over the racism incident, although not yet punished, but was handed a further one-match ban for the gesture.

February 2012: United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, but more controversy blew up as Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand before kick-off.

October 2012: Celebrated a goal against Everton by diving in front of Toffees boss David Moyes who had earlier claimed that 'divers' such as Suarez were putting fans off the English game.

January 2013: Handles the ball prior to scoring Liverpool's winner in the FA Cup third round tie at Mansfield.

April 2013: Bites Branislav Ivanovic on the arm but
escapes punishment on the pitch as the referee fails to see it, and
scores Liverpool's equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time as they
draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Anfield. Fined by club the following day and
charged with violent conduct by the FA. Subsequently handed a 10-match
ban by an independent regulatory commission.

Former Chelsea defender Paul Elliott ready to lead race fight

Former Chelsea defender Elliott ready to lead race fight

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UPDATED:

22:47 GMT, 20 December 2012

Paul Elliott, an FA ambassador and former Chelsea and Charlton
defender, is in line to head the team that will lead English football's
attempt to stamp out racism.

The formation of the inclusion advisory board that will deliver the
anti-discrimination action plan, revealed by Sportsmail, was the number
one commitment announced by the FA yesterday.

Top man: Highly-respected Paul Elliott

Top man: Highly-respected Paul Elliott

And the highly respected Elliott, one of the few to emerge with credit from England's doomed 2018 World Cup bid, is known to be the preferred choice of Kick it Out leader Lord Ouseley to head this crucial committee which will also work with the FA board on annual progress reports.

Lord Ouseley will be stepping down from the chair of the FA's racial equality advisory group, and the seat on the FA council that goes with the position, in protest at English football's ruling body's 'mealy-mouthed' response to the John Terry and Luis Suarez racism cases. Ouseley sees Elliott, who was on the final shortlist to be one of the independent directors on the FA board, as his obvious replacement on the FA council as head of the inclusion advisory board that will replace the racial equality group.

The FA's multi-point plan, announced yesterday, was revealed by Sportsmail a week ago. The 109 commitments to fight all forms of discrimination are the result of work by all the football bodies since Prime Minister David Cameron's anti-racism football summit last February.

They include cultural lessons for players and managers new to English football, at least 10 per cent of referees and level one coaches to come from ethnic minorities and clubs to face sanctions for failing to deal with racism by players, coaches or their fans.

There are no fixed penalties for racism offences by players mentioned in the proposals but FA chairman David Bernstein said that the issue was 'under active discussion'. A five-game ban has been mooted.

And both player and manager unions have given their support to the idea of mandatory clauses in contracts for players to face action for racist language or behaviour.

Bernstein, who will have this anti-racism action plan as his legacy before his term of office ends next July, said: 'This is a commitment to ensure the game is inclusive and free of discrimination. This continues to be a top priority.'

Bernstein added: 'No player should fear coming out as gay at the risk of suffering discrimination and we continue to strengthen our support programmes to ensure the game is open to all.'

Home Office confirms Football-related arrests down 24 per cent

Football arrests at an all time low as Home Office confirms 24 per cent drop last season

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UPDATED:

15:05 GMT, 15 November 2012

The number of arrests from football matches involving teams from England and Wales has dropped by nearly a quarter, the Home Office has announced.

Arrests at international and domestic games in 2011-12 dropped by 24 per cent to 2,363, 726 fewer than in the previous year.

It means that football-related arrests are 'at an all-time low', policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green said.

Safe: There were record low arrests at football last season (stock image)

Safe: There were record low arrests at football last season (stock image)

There was no police presence at 53 per cent of all matches last season, in which officers did not have to make an arrest at 74 per cent of matches.

An average of less than one – or 0.72 – arrests were made per match, according to the Home Office figures that were gathered for the first time by the Office for National Statistics.

Tough banning orders have been used since 2000 to tackle football violence and disorder, which once scarred the sport and saw hooliganism termed “the English disease”.

Banning orders, which are time-limited, dropped to 2,750 from 3,173. There were 500 new banning orders imposed during last season.

Euro madness: Ugly scenes marred some of the games at Euro 2012

Euro madness: Ugly scenes marred some of the games at Euro 2012

Mr Green said: 'That football-related arrests are at an all-time low is testament to our hugely successful model of football policing.

'Where hooliganism was once described as “the English disease”, we now set an example for others to follow.

'No English supporters have been arrested for football-related offences at the last two major international tournaments, and domestically more than half of all matches had no police presence last season – freeing up officers to be on the beat in their communities.

'Despite this progress, football disorder has not been eradicated and remains a lingering threat. That is why we continue to work closely with European partners for international matches and use tough banning orders against those who step out of line.'

Why can”t the R&A see sense on women members? – Derek Lawrenson

If Augusta can see sense on women members, why can't the R&A

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 12 November 2012


Open season: R&A chief executive Peter Dawson will be under fire

Open season: R&A chief executive Peter Dawson will be under fire

Watching grown men defend the indefensible is never a comfortable experience and so it was with Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National, at the Masters this year.

One minute he was waxing lyrical about all the initiatives the club were doing to grow ‘the great game of golf.’ The next he was being skewered by a very reasonable question: ’If you’re that keen on growing the game, why haven’t you got any women or junior members’

Let’s say this about Mr Payne. Sure, he squirmed and shifted in his seat and tried to save face, like so many of his predecessors. But here’s the difference. He then went away and made sure he was never put in such a position again. A month later, the first two women members were invited to join the club and Billy Payne had put right the obvious hypocrisy.

Now we come to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. They are already bracing themselves for unfavourable headlines next year. A men-only club taking The Open to another men-only establishment in Muirfield At least over the past week they’ve had a warm-up, as one former Minister of Sport in Colin Moynihan and then present incumbent Hugh Robertson laid into them over their anachronistic stance.

Breakthrough: Augusta National, home of the Masters, which was won by Bubba Watson in April, have now admitted women members

Breakthrough: Augusta National, the world-famous home of the Masters, which was won by Bubba Watson in April, have now admitted women members

Peter Dawson, the R&A’s chief executive, believes this subject to be simply a Press obsession, that most golfers couldn’t give two hoots, and he’s at least partly right. Most golfers couldn’t care less.

But it doesn’t make the R&A’s stance right. There’s no hiding from the fact it is embarrassing for the sport to have a governing body who don’t have any women members, and that will not change until the R&A do. It’s all well and good to allow juniors to attend The Open for free but what message are you sending out if you then take the event to clubs that don’t allow juniors to join

And so next summer, like so many before it, we’ll watch grown men defend the indefensible – and pray silently for the day when the R&A finally comes up with its own Billy Payne.

Another side to the glamour game

‘Rory McIlroy leads a galaxy of stars to Hong Kong’ proclaimed the main headline on the European Tour’s website on Monday. He also leads a cavalcade of dead men walking.

No disrespect to the leading players like Rory at either the Hong Kong Open or the South African Open being played at the same time on another continent this week, but these final full-field events of the regular season are all about the men at the other end of the table.

Men like the English trio, Tommy Fleetwood, Jamie Elson and Richard Bland, all within agonising touching distance of the top 115 who keep their cards for next year but in need of a good last week to seal the deal.

Last year in Hong Kong I sat in a courtesy car with two of the fallen, Nick Dougherty and Oliver Wilson, and the devastation they were feeling at missing out was plain.

No-one would seek to minimise the pressure that McIlroy so adeptly copes with as the world’s No 1. But that is surely a nice kind of pressure. Down among those worried about keeping their jobs, the pressure exerted by a game that is supposed to be all about relaxation must be hell.

Quote of the Week

’When Luke Donald won both money lists last year we thought “how good was that” Now Rory has done it and won a second major as well at the age of 23. The sky really is the limit.’

Eight-time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie eloquently sums the feelings of a sport regarding the extraordinary Rory McIlroy.

Remarkable talent: Life just gets better and better for Rory McIlroy

Remarkable talent: Life just gets better and better for Rory McIlroy

Challenge Tour goes East

The Middle East has become such a vital part of the regular European Tour over the past two decades it is surprising that no event is staged in the region on the Challenge Tour.

That will all change next year when the Sultanate of Oman joins the party, with the National Bank of Oman Classic becoming the penultimate event, complete with a very respectable 200,000 prize fund.

One nice thing about the tournament is that there will be a reciprocal arrangement with five other Challenge Tour events during the season whereby promising Arab National players, both amateur and professional, will have the opportunity to gain some invaluable experience.

Beljan's Miracle moment

They say the traditional closing event on the US Tour might not take place next year, which would be a great shame. ‘Where Dreams Come True,’ declares the slogan outside the gates at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and so it has proved these past two years at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

Last year, Luke Donald complemented the fireworks seen at the Disney theme parks with some of his own, as he won the final event when nothing else would do if he were to clinch the US Tour money list.

Fairytale: Charlie Beljan won the Children's Miracle Network Classic

Fairytale: Charlie Beljan won the Children's Miracle Network Classic

This time it was 28-year-old American Charlie Beljan making the headlines. On Friday, he was rushed to hospital after suffering a panic attack on the course that left him fearing he might die. Two days later he was in heaven all right, as he claimed his maiden victory to end all thoughts of anxiety for at least the next two years.

‘You never know what’s going to happen in this game or this game of life,’ he said. ‘You just keep plugging away.’

Keep plugging way like this, Charlie, and you might even become that rarest of creatures. A famous Beljan.

PM David Cameron says football has failed to deal with racism

Prime Minister calls for football to get tough on racism after recent failures

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UPDATED:

12:49 GMT, 2 November 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron says the football authorities have failed to put the necessary structures in place to tackle racism in the game.

Senior Government sources say that the Prime Minister will demand the FA and other authorities put in place tougher measures in place to deal better with the sort of incidents which have damaged the football’s reputation over the last 12 months.

Sports minister, Hugh Robertson, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We expect the football authorities to come forward with a clear plan of action in the coming weeks on what more can be done to tackle racism in the game. Events over the last year have shown the need for action.'

Time to get tough: Prime Minister David Cameron wants football's authorities to act better on racism issues

Time to get tough: Prime Minister David Cameron wants football's authorities to act better on racism issues

Cameron lead a an anti-discrimination summit for leading football figures, including the FA chairman, David Bernstein, in February when he staked his personal reputation on the matter following the two high profile incidents involving involving Chelsea’s John Terry and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.

Cameron ordered an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which announced its conclusions on the FA’s interim response last month.

Bad for the game: High profile racism cases such as the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand one have been bad for football's reputation

Bad for the game: High profile racism cases such as the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand one have been bad for football's reputation

The committee’s chairman, John Whittingdale MP, said then: ‘More needs to be done to increase the diversity of the pool of candidates for coaches and referees, to embed the values of equality and diversity at all levels of the game.

'While the general level of progress in combating racism and racist abuse in the UK is positive and should be applauded, there is much more that can and must be done, and we believe it is for the FA to take the lead and set the example for everyone, from football authorities at all levels to the grassroots groups, to follow.'

The FA has given a first response to the parliamentary inquiry but at the highest level of government there is an expectation for robust measures when they report back with final proposals in December.

French TV host under fire after "Fukushima effect" joke about Japan goalkeeper

French TV host under fire after making 'Fukushima effect' joke about Japan goalkeeper

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UPDATED:

12:28 GMT, 16 October 2012

Japan has reacted angrily to a French television host who showed a composite picture of national team goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with four arms and made a joke about the 'Fukushima effect'.

Praising Kawashima's performance in Japan's 1-0 win over France in a friendly on Friday, Laurent Ruquier's ill-advised jibe prompted laughter and applause in the studio.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura called Ruquier's remark, a reference to last year's nuclear crisis in Fukushima, 'inappropriate'.

'Inappropriate': The image of Japan stopper Eiji Kawashima on French TV

'Inappropriate': The image of Japan stopper Eiji Kawashima on French TV

He added that the Japanese Embassy in France had sent a letter of protest to the television station France 2.

The letter said the remark 'hurts the feelings of people affected by the disaster and hinders efforts for reconstruction,' Fujimura added.

The nuclear disaster was triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in March last year.

Winners: Japan beat France 1-0 on Friday night

Winners: Japan beat France 1-0 on Friday night

More than 15,000 people died and almost 3,000 are still unaccounted for.

Japan's education minister Makiko Tanaka, whose portfolio also includes sports, was far from amused. “

'If it's true (he said it) it is behaviour which lacks sensitivity,' she said.

'Many people were hurt in the nuclear crisis. I don't know how people can make fun of it.'

Former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson barred by New Zealand after charity snub

Former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson barred by New Zealand after charity snub

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UPDATED:

05:50 GMT, 3 October 2012

Barred: Mike Tyson

Barred: Mike Tyson

Former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson has had his visa to visit New Zealand cancelled.

And a speaking tour for the former
heavyweight boxing champion was threatening to fall apart altogether as
Australian immigration authorities said they've yet to decide whether to
allow him into the country.

Tickets for appearances in New
Zealand and five major Australian cities in November are still being
promoted by a Sydney agency.

Tyson's 1992 rape conviction would
normally prevent his entry in New Zealand and could be grounds for
denial in Australia as well. He had been granted an exemption for New
Zealand before that visa was cancelled, days after the prime minister
spoke out against the visit.

Tyson was to speak at a November
event in Auckland, the 'Day of the Champions' which is being promoted by
Sydney agency Markson Sparks!

New Zealand's Associate Immigration
Minister Kate Wilkinson said she'd initially granted entry because a
children's health charity would get some of the proceeds from Tyson's
speech. She said in a statement her decision was 'a finely balanced
call' but that the charity that would have benefited, the Life Education
Trust, withdrew its support on Tuesday.

'Given that the trust is no longer supporting the event, on balance, I have made the decision to cancel his visa,' Wilkinson wrote in her statement.

The charity's chief executive, John O'Connell, however, said the charity had long ago decided not to accept any money from the event due to its concerns over Tyson's character, but that a volunteer trustee had mistakenly sent a letter to immigration authorities supporting Tyson's plans.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship said: 'I can tell you that a decision is still pending' on Tyson's application for an Australian visa.

Big hit: Former heavyweight champion Tyson

Big hit: Former heavyweight champion Tyson

Tyson's criminal history could prevent him from obtaining an Australian visa. Would-be visitors normally must pass a character test. Those with a 'substantial criminal record' – which by the immigration department's definition includes people who, like Tyson, have been sentenced to more than a year in prison – would fail the test. But the department can still use its discretion to grant a visa.

Colorful promoter Max Markson said he'd been 'hoping it might be a smoother run with Mike Tyson' but that he remained confident Australia would grant Tyson a visa and that New Zealand would reverse its decision when he found another suitable charity.

'He'll only be in the country for 20 hours, I don't think he's a danger to anybody, and thousands of people want to see him,' Markson said of Tyson's planned New Zealand leg.

Markson said he's continuing to sell tickets to the planned speeches in both countries and that buyers will get a full refund if the shows are cancelled. He said he had immigration lawyers in Australia, New Zealand and the United States working on the case.

Speaking to the APNZ news agency this week from Las Vegas before his New Zealand visa was cancelled, Tyson said his tattoo was inspired by those worn by New Zealand's indigenous Maori.

In pre-European times, many Maori wore elaborate facial tattoos as a sign of their status in their tribe. Some Maori who identify strongly with their traditional culture get similar tattoos.

Tyson told the agency that, aside from their tattoos, he knew little about the Maori people 'so I'm looking forward to come down there and see them.'

Prime Minister John Key spoke against the planned visit this week, questioning the decision by immigration authorities and saying he personally disapproved of the visit given Tyson's conviction for such a serious crime.

Before his visa was cancelled, Tyson said: 'Fortunately, I am coming to New Zealand and there's nothing they can do about it and I'm so sorry, I'm sorry they feel disappointed and I'm just living my life.'

Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for the 1991 rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room. He served three years before being released on parole.

Charles Sale: Alex Salmond leaps at his Ryder Cup chance to drum up support ahead of Scottish independence vote

Salmond leaps at Ryder Cup chance to drum up support ahead of Scottish independence vote

|

UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 26 September 2012

After the summer's gold medal rush in which politicians shamelessly made the most of any Olympic Games-related PR opportunity, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is taking full advantage of the Ryder Cup.

The next competition will be staged in Gleneagles in September 2014, just before the referendum for Scottish independence – giving Scottish National Party leader Salmond the perfect sporting platform ahead of the vote.

And Salmond, who has arrived in Chicago, is even making a speech during the official seven-minute handover from Medinah to Gleneagles in the closing ceremony on Sunday.

Platform: Alex Salmond (left) will address the crowd at Medinah over the weekend

Platform: Alex Salmond (left) will address the crowd at Medinah over the weekend

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Whether he uses this role at a sporting occasion for his own political purposes remains to be seen.

The Scottish Government are putting 20million-plus into the Gleaneagles Ryder Cup and the Scottish agencies involved in the staging are spending lavishly on promotional entertainment in Chicago this week – although beverage giants Diageo, who own Gleneagles, are funding the considerable drinks bill.

Shona Robison, the Scottish Minister for Sport, the Ryder Cup and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is also banging the SNP drum for Gleneagles in America.

But she wouldn't be drawn on whether her Whitehall counterpart Hugh Robertson and his Government colleagues went over the top with their publicity drive during the Olympics.

It's Strictly Ryder Cup

There may be no celebrities in the European team room this week compared to Justin Timberlake, Michael Jordan and Co being in and out of the US locker room.

But European captain Jose Maria Olazabal organised a Strictly Come Dancing style contest for his team – bringing in professional dancers and a judging panel.

Justin Rose and former gymnast wife Kate, in vice-captain Miguel Angel Jimenez's group, were the victors.

Martin Kaymer was the worst dancer according to Lee Westwood, who won teenage dancing competitions for his cha-chacha.

Ian Poulter's breakdancing also failed to impress in a ballroom context.

Worst of the lot: Lee Westwood said Martin Kaymer (above) was the worst dancer

Worst of the lot: Lee Westwood said Martin Kaymer (above) was the worst dancer

Balding out, Inverdale in

Clare Balding, omnipresent broadcaster who can do no wrong after the Olympics and Paralympics, was due to host Five Live's coverage of the Ryder Cup from Chicago.

But Clare now has more important things to do, such as a publicity tour for her new book.

Instead, John Inverdale is leading the radio presentation, which will not please regular anchor Mark Pougatch.

He has been left on the sidelines, as at Celtic Manor.

Is it really on away turf

The European team exodus to America sees nine of the Ryder Cup side having, or about to have, their main residence there – mainly in Florida.

Surprisingly, Rory McIlroy is selling up in Northern Ireland and Lee Westwood is doing the same in Worksop, where both estates have bespoke golf holes for practice.

Off I go: Rory McIlroy is selling his house in Northern Ireland

Off I go: Rory McIlroy is selling his house in Northern Ireland

These multi-millionaires could well afford to have mansions on both sides of the pond but are choosing not to for financial reasons.

McIlroy said: 'I don't spend enough time at home to warrant the running costs of a home like that and the practice facility.'

Westwood said: 'The main problem with living in Worksop is that the only time I'm there is in the winter when I can't carry on with my job.'

Cowan still close to Lee

The merry-go-round life of a golf coach is such that Pete Cowan, who Lee Westwood ditched last month, was on the Medinah practice range just a few yards away from him.

Cowan was there working with Graeme McDowell.

Westwood said: 'Pete and I get on really well. We had a beer the other night.'

Cowan, however hurt he might be over the sacking, said: 'I've only got good things to say about Lee.'

Wait continues for Cup pairings

The flagship announcement of the Ryder Cup opening ceremony is always the captain's pairings for the opening foursomes.

But the US PGA will not give the media advanced briefing because Sky Sports broke the strict embargo at Valhalla in 2008, causing meltdown for organisers.

Nevin Spence dies: Ulster centre tragedy trying to save father in slurry pit accident

Ulster star Spence dies while trying to save father in horrific slurry pit accident

|

UPDATED:

09:14 GMT, 16 September 2012

Ulster centre Nevin Spence was killed alongside his brother and their father in a farming tragedy on Saturday which also injured their sister in Northern Ireland.

The 22-year-old rose to prominence playing for Ulster Rugby and was a rising star in Ireland's international rugby scene but died after falling into a slurry tank.

Emergency crews went to the family farm in Drumlough Road outside Hillsborough, Co Down, shortly after 6pm on Saturday following reports that four people had fallen into the slurry pit.

Shock: Professional rugby player Nevin Spence died along with his father and brother after falling into a slurry pit on the family farm

Shock: Professional rugby player Nevin Spence died along with his father and brother after falling into a slurry pit on the family farm

Terrible episode: Nevin died alongside his father Noel and brother Graham in the shocking accident on the farm

Terrible episode: Nevin died alongside his father Noel and brother Graham in the shocking accident on the farm

Following a lengthy rescue operation it was confirmed that three men had died and a woman was taken to hospital for treatment for the inhalation of fumes.

Nevin Spence was a member of the Ulster Rugby squad that reached the European Heineken cup final last season, and he was predicted to have a glittering international career ahead of him.

Rugby players and fans paid tribute to the young player on social media as news emerged of his involvement in the tragedy.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said on Twitter: 'Deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy in Hillsborough this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with family at this time of devastation.'

Promising: Nevin Spence had a bright future ahead of him as a professional rugby player

Promising: Nevin Spence had a bright future ahead of him as a professional rugby player

Tributes appeared on Twitter feeds representing both the British and Irish Lions and the RaboDirect Pro12, the league in which Ulster play.

The Lions post read: 'All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his father and brother. Reportedly died in accident.'

The post on the Pro12 account read: 'Shocked. We just read about Nevin Spence. RIP. There are no words.'
Spence's erstwhile Ulster team-mate, fly-half Ian Humphreys, wrote: 'Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family… RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten…'

Former Ireland and Munster hooker Jerry Flannery added: 'Terrible news on Nevin Spence, his Brother and their Dad. Offering up prayers for their family and friends, unbelievably sad.'

Former Wales winger Shane Williams was also among those to pay their respects on the social media site, writing: 'My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nevin Spence. A tragic loss. A class act on the field also. RIP.'

Lives have been lost in the past in accidents at other farm slurry tanks, but the scale of the latest tragedy caused widespread shock.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it responded to a 999 call at about 6.15pm following reports that at least three people had fallen into a slurry tank.

It said it immediately sent three rapid response paramedics, four accident and emergency vehicles and an ambulance service doctor to the scene.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also attended and rescued four people from the slurry pit.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: 'Three were unconscious and NIAS paramedics commenced resuscitation efforts immediately assisted by other ambulance personnel.

Tragedy: Large numbers of emergency service vehicles attended the farm

Tragedy: Large numbers of emergency service vehicles attended the farm

'One of the four showed initial signs of responding to the efforts of the crews and was transported immediately to the nearby Lagan Valley Hospital, where unfortunately he died a short time later.

'Despite the best efforts of all involved the other two men died at the scene.

'A female was treated at the scene and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she is recovering from the effects of fume inhalation.'

The ambulance service said it extended its sympathies to those involved.

The Ulster Farmers' Union said the tragedy had shocked the entire farming community.

Rory McIlroy paid tribute to rugby player Nevin Spence

Mark Allen paid tribute to rugby player Nevin Spence

Stunned: Golfer Rory McIlroy (left) and snooker player Mark Allen (right) led tributes to Nevin Spence

UFU president Harry Sinclair said: 'On behalf of all our members, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family involved.

'This news has shocked the farming community. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the three men who have so tragically lost their lives.

'We understand that a fourth member of the family has been hospitalised and we pray that they will make a full recovery.'

Tributes also came from notable Northern Irish sportsmen Rory McIlroy and Mark Allen.

McIlroy, golf's world number one, wrote on his Twitter account: “Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth.'

Snooker star Allen added: 'What a loss for the family and for ulster and Irish rugby!! In shock here!!'

NEVIN SPENCE FACTFILE

1990: Born April 26 in Annahilt, Northern Ireland.

2009: June 5 – Scores a try on his Ireland Under-20 debut against Argentina.

2010: April 13 – Makes his professional debut for Ulster as a last-minute substitute against the Ospreys in what was then the Magners League.

December 18 – Scores his first try for the province to secure a Heineken Cup win over Bath.

2011: January 28 – Appears for the Irish Wolfhounds against Scotland A, his first of three appearances for the Ireland second-string side.

May 6 – Scores two tries in a 20-13 win over Newport Gwent Dragons to finish with five for the season.

May 29 – Features as a late replacement for the Ireland senior squad against the Barbarians at Kingsholm, having previously trained with the RBS 6 Nations squad.

September 15 – Killed along with his father and brother in an accident in a slurry tank on their family farm in Hillsborough, County Down.

It might have been you on that day at Hillsborough – Des Kelly

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

By
Des Kelly

PUBLISHED:

21:57 GMT, 14 September 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 14 September 2012

It has taken 23 years to blow apart the most cynical, sickeningly orchestrated cover-up by this country's Establishment since the Second World War.

It has taken 23 years to demonstrate once and for all that 96 people did not die behind metal fences at a football match because they behaved like animals, or wild thugs, or drunken hooligans.

It has taken 23 years to confirm Hillsborough was a grand conspiracy involving incompetent police chiefs, rank and file officers, sections of a compliant media, politicians, members of the Civil Service and, quite possibly, even a former Prime Minister.

Respect: Liverpool players and fans observe a minutes silence on the 23rd anniversary of Hillsborough

Respect: Liverpool players and fans observe a minutes silence on the 23rd anniversary of Hillsborough

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It has taken 23 years for the people of Liverpool to hear confirmation of what they saw with their own eyes. That 164 officers' statements were tampered with. That the dead, including children, were tested for alcohol. That criminal-record checks were carried out on the deceased in the hope of finding incriminating 'evidence' to support a series of calculated smears.

It has taken 23 years to hear the Government admit 41 of the 96 people killed that day could have been saved if the police and emergency services had not made a series of incredible blunders.

That loss of life was abominable, but then to try to disguise the causes, maliciously discredit the grieving families, trash a city, a people and an entire country of football supporters in the process is inhuman beyond belief. It makes you despair for the realities of democracy and governance in this land.

Remember amid all the apologies and official crocodile tears that 'The Truth' sat in a locked filing cabinet for 23 years, hidden from view. Remember, too, that none of this would have come to light, even now, were it not for the determination, righteous anger and resolute desire for justice from the families of victims and Hillsborough campaigners.

Now, we look back and wonder how it was ever allowed We marvel at how far the game has come. But in eight days there is an opportunity to take another step forward.

In eight days, there is a chance to salvage a sliver of humanity from the wreckage of that day when Liverpool face Manchester United at Anfield.

Next Sunday a global audience of half a billion people, from Sydney to Sao Paulo, from Seattle to Shanghai, will tune in for the most highly-charged club game of the season. Typically, the match also happens to be a TV sound engineer’s nightmare as the crowd exchanges their horrible insults.

A United contingent chant about the Hillsborough Disaster. A section of Liverpool supporters have their own vile ditty, mocking the Munich Air Crash.

It’s a depressing cycle of hatred and nothing more than a public celebration of death. One side justifies their evil chorus by pointing at the other, saying: 'they do it, so we do it back'. The same warped logic is in play with the bile aimed at Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez by the opposing camps.

But the English game has an opportunity to display some inherent decency here, it has a chance to make another tiny, but significant change.

Tragedy: The fate which befell the Liverpool fans could have easily been another English team

Tragedy: The fate which befell the Liverpool fans could have easily been another English team

Tragedy: The fate which befell the Liverpool fans could have easily been another English team

As Sir Matt Busby’s family, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Brendan Rodgers, Robbie Fowler, and countless other figures from Old Trafford and Anfield have said, 'it's time to stop the abuse'.

Many of the United fans forget it could easily have been supporters of their club at Hillsborough that day. Had United beaten Nottingham Forest in the quarter-final, they would have faced Liverpool in Sheffield. They might have been in the Leppings Lane stand. They might have arrived early with their children. They might have paid for their good timekeeping by watching the breath crushed out of them.

That’s how easy it is to empathise with others who have suffered loss. Look past the badge on the shirt. Imagine it could have been your family, your friends, your club colours there that day, then try to laugh at your 'harmless song'.

Follow Des on Twitter

For further musings click here: @DesKellyDM

In April, I was ashamed to be proved right on this page when I said Chelsea fans were preparing to boo the minute’s silence held in memory of the Hillsborough dead at the FA Cup semi-final.

Others bristled at recent comparisons between football's enduring hostility and the Olympic crowds. Apparently, football fans hurl abuse because they 'care more', as if that was ever an excuse. Are we to accept people chanting about Heysel, the Bradford fire, the Holocaust, or paedophilia, because they ‘care’

In eight days, football has a moment to recover its decent heart; to prove more has changed in 23 years than the introduction of seats, prawn sandwiches in the executive lounge and an absence of cages. It can show attitudes have changed, too.

Of course, nobody was ever killed by a vile word or a disgusting song. On a sunny day in Sheffield they were killed by bad policing and by metal fences. But it won’t kill anybody to show respect for the dead this weekend, either. Or in eight days. Or 23 years after that, too.

Let football do the talking: Rooney was the hero for United when the two teams met last February

Let football do the talking: Rooney was the hero for United when the two teams met last February

A new job for Tyson

Mike Tyson has conquered most things in a turbulent life, with the exception of the letter 'S'.

Now the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, convicted rapist, ear–biter, tattooist’s doodle pad and surprisingly misunderstood human being says he wants to 'sing and dance in musicals'.

Iron Mike certainly has a thespian streak. He played an amusing cameo role in the movie The Hangover. He has also tackled comedy sketches, such as a spoof of the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech on Jimmy Kimmel Live in the USA.

Tyson played the role of George W Bush’s vocal coach, reciting lines from Hamlet, rolling a Bush lookalike along the floor and performing voice exercises mocking his trademark lisp.

'Eloquenth!' he yells, before telling the bumbling former President he is 'the wortht thtudent in the hithtory of speeching!'

Tyson seems to have come through his destructive, sometimes despicable past, and now he can take a joke — or even be the joke.

The boxer might actually thrive on stage. If Frank Bruno can tread the boards then a pantomime season beckons at the very least. Imagine the fear on hearing Tyson is ‘behind you’ Just so long as his theatrical pretensions don’t extend to Mary Poppins, because A Spoonful of Sugar would be excruciating.

And as for Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious…

Singing and dancing: Tyson's career could be heading in a new direction

Singing and dancing: Tyson's career could be heading in a new direction

Sterling's no senior

Ever wondered why there are constant club versus country conflicts

Having fast-tracked 17-year-old Raheem Sterling into the Liverpool side, manager Brendan Rodgers urged caution on hearing the lad might be called up for the England Under 21 squad.

'I spoke to Trevor Brooking at the FA. In many ways it is right for him to go with the Under 19s,' he said. 'The reality is this is a kid who has made great strides over the last few weeks. Let's stay calm,' said the Anfield boss. Quite.

The FA and manager Roy Hodgson responded to Rodgers’ entirely sensible plea by leaving Sterling out of the Under 21s. And sticking him in the senior squad instead.

The Paralympics cash was money well spent

Apparently it’s bogus to mention that the four years of funding given
to the Team GB Paralympians is equivalent to Wayne Rooney’s salary over
the same period.

Frankly, I’m not massively animated by the scale of Rooney’s wages. He
can play the market for whatever it offers and be judged accordingly.

The point of the contrast was to highlight the Paralympic cheque wasn’t
such an outrageous amount when you consider the wider benefits of
funding the Games.

But one counter-argument offered up was that, unlike the Paralympians,
Rooney is taxed at 50 per cent — so the country is actually millions up
on the deal.

If anyone out there actually believes Rooney is paying the full 50 per
cent tax on his wages and doesn’t have a team of clever accountants
working on ways to reduce or limit his liability, then I’m the Governor
of the Bank of England.

Gold standard: The Paralympics were an enormous success - but Rooney is unlikely to have copped the bill

Gold standard: The Paralympics were an enormous success – but Rooney is unlikely to have copped the bill

Owen's biggest gamble

Never mind Stoke City, Michael Owen took the biggest gamble of his
career when he decided to appear on ITV’s All Star Mr and Mrs.

Only a brave man (brave, in this case, being a euphemism for dumb) would
slap his nuptials on the table for TV. And following cringeworthy
revelations that he had never made a cup of tea or coffee in his life,
or ironed a shirt, he was asked who looked better for their age: was it
him or his delightful wife, Louise

Owen promptly voted for himself, missing the easiest open goal he’s ever had.

Hair raising Rooney

IN a supremely dull autobiography, Wayne Rooney describes what it is
like to be on the end of one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary 'hairdryer' tirades. He says: 'It feels like I’ve put my head in front
of a BaByliss Turbo Power 2200. It’s horrible.'

Does anyone else think Rooney has recently got himself a new hairdryer, for some reason