Tag Archives: pledges

Gavin Rees vows to knock out Adrien Broner

Underdog Rees pledges to KO 'cocky' Broner in Atlantic City showdown

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

01:07 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

08:18 GMT, 13 February 2013

Gavin Rees has promised to knock 'cocky' Adrien Broner out cold and become a two-weight world champion in Atlantic City on Saturday night.

The Welsh lightweight will be a huge underdog against the 23-year-old hailed as the heir to Floyd Mayweather Jnr's throne.

But Rees, who was clearly riled during Tuesday's press conference, is confident he can put an end to the hype.

Vow: Gavin Rees (right) is determined to knock out Adrien Broner this weekend

Vow: Gavin Rees (right) is determined to knock out Adrien Broner this weekend

The 32-year-old won the WBA light-welterweight belt in 2007 when he stunned Souleymane M'Baye only to lose in his first defence to Andriy Kotelnik the following year.

Rees then dropped down a division, winning the British and European titles before accepting the clash with Broner.

'I'm looking forward to knocking your head off because you're one cocky f***,' he said, addressing his opponent.

'You'll be lower than me when I knock you out cold. You do all the talking but we'll see if you can back it up on Saturday night.'

Broner, who claimed throughout the conference not to know Rees' name, is renowned for his brash attitude and post-fight antics which include having his dad brush his hair.#

And unsurprisingly, he was confident of recording his 22nd knockout from 26 professional contests.

'I respect him as a fighter because only a boxer knows what we go through when we get in that ring,' he said.

'Cocky': Adrien Broner is widely considered to be favourites for the bout

'Cocky': Adrien Broner is widely considered to be favourite for the bout

'At the end of the day, we're going to have fun. I've never seen him fight but he's been world champion so he's not a lookover.

'He's going to sleep. I'm not going to miss the boulder on his shoulders; it's not going to last long.
'I'm not looking past the fight but I wanted to fight Ricky Burns but he put on his track shoes and ran away from me again.

'We're going to take care of business on Saturday night.'

Rees' promoter Eddie Hearn meanwhile admits he was insulted by the odds being offered on his charge winning with one British bookmaker quoting him at 25/1.

'He's been written off and some of the odds that are flying about are quite abusive,' he said. 'He's a former British, European and world champion. He won't be overawed going into the fight.

'It will be the toughest fight of Adrien Broner's career and Gavin deserves a hell of a lot more respect than he's been getting.

'We believe we will cause a massive upset and make a huge statement for British boxing.'

Charles Green pledges to give Ally McCoist 10m to spend from Rangers" flotation on LSE

Green pledges to give McCoist a 10m war chest from Rangers' flotation on LSE

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 20 December 2012

Charles Green pledged 10million from the club’s share issue for Ally McCoist to spend on new recruits — with the promise of more to follow.

The Rangers manager cannot add to his squad in the coming transfer window due to a one-year embargo but can bring in free agents as of September 1 next year.

McCoist this week sought clarity from Green over transfer budgets after the chief executive failed to deliver the five players he had been hoping for before the August deadline.

And Green responded by insisting that 10m will be ring-fenced from the 22.2m raised ahead of the club being floated on the London Stock Exchange, with unspecified further funds on the horizon if season-ticket sales are again healthy.

Cash injection: Charles Green has vowed to boost Rangers' coffers to the tune of 10m

Cash injection: Charles Green has vowed to boost Rangers' coffers to the tune of 10m

Green said: ‘We’ve allocated 10m for Ally to spend on players as soon as he’s able to do that. But we’re not saying it’s 10m and only 10m — if Rangers fans buy season tickets next year, there’s another 20m there.

‘We have a transfer ban for another year but Ally and his team are looking at who is out of contract when we can sign pre-contract agreements in January then, on September 1, we can sign them.’

If Rangers do sign players on pre-contracts next month, no money can change hands until the end of the transfer ban in September, but Green still expects top players to jump at the chance.

‘Why wouldn’t you sit on your hands and wait if you had the chance to play for Rangers’ he asked.

‘In Europe, clubs are in meltdown and can’t pay players’ wages.

‘We know that (former Rangers keeper) Allan McGregor was having difficulty getting paid (at Besiktas), although I understand that has now been resolved.

‘But other players have gone into Europe on a gravy train and soon found out there’s no gravy.

‘So there’s a chance for them to sit on their hands or to leave their contracts and sign a contract for Rangers — who can pay salaries when we are allowed to do so. That is quite attractive.’

Ahead of the stock exchange flotation yesterday, Green had vowed that Rangers ‘will rise again’.

And the chief executive, who cannot cash in his shares for two years, believes success on and off the park over that period will result in Rangers amassing financial muscle that will ‘scare’ opponents.

Money to spend: Ally McCoist will have the chance to strengthen his squad

Money to spend: Ally McCoist will have the chance to strengthen his squad

‘We’ve sold 37,500 season tickets this season and we didn’t put them on sale until August.

‘Remember, no one was going to buy a ticket off me in July, because I was “a snake-oil salesman”.

‘With added goodwill, I’d assume if we’ve won the Third Division we’ll see no less season tickets next year.

‘We reduced the price to 315 this year but, if they went to 400 next year, then that’s another 18m in the bank.

‘That must be the scary thing about Rangers, looking from the outside.

‘In the past we might have needed 100m to get a squad together, but those days are long gone.

‘Last year, Theo Walcott would have cost up to 50m but now he may end up leaving Arsenal on a free.

‘That’s happening everywhere and we have to be aware of the options available to our Theo Walcotts, like Barrie McKay and Fraser Aird.

‘Football is changing. We don’t need to be paying 12m for Tore Andre Flo. When was that ever good business

‘What we have done is set a structure in place where Rangers are no longer a boom-or-bust club. This is the springboard for the rebirth of Rangers.’

Rangers shares sold for 70p and were worth 76p by close of trade, with Green hailing a successful flotation.

‘It’s an enviable position,’ he said, ‘and if Rangers was in any other league in the world, this club would be worth 400m, bigger than Aston Villa, Tottenham, Everton and others.’

London 2012 Olympics chiefs told athletes to cash in

Olympic chiefs told athletes to cash in on glory and charge 10,000 for appearances

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 3 November 2012

Champion shooter Peter Wilson has revealed how Britain’s gold medallists at London 2012 were advised by their Olympic bosses to cash in on their fame by charging up to 10,000 a time for personal appearances.

Wilson, 26, took the gold for Britain in the double trap shooting and was the self-confessed ‘party animal’ of Team GB.

Now, three months on from topping the podium in a sport widely regarded as one of the ‘fringe’ events of the Olympics, Wilson says the response to his success has been ‘insane’.

Champion: Great Britain's Peter Wilson with his gold medal

Champion: Great Britain's Peter Wilson with his gold medal

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‘I’d never earned anything from shooting beyond around 9,000 a year from UK Sport in Lottery grants. Double trap is not exactly high profile, so I’ve never had a deal with Nike or anything like that or had commercial contracts.

‘But Team GB athletes were advised in the run-up to the Games that if we won medals we shouldn’t sell ourselves short afterwards, that we must make the most of the opportunity. There was a letter from the British Olympic Association saying that you could ask for something like 10,000 per event if you won gold and different amounts for silver and bronze.

‘I thought at the time “My God, you can’t charge that”. Except that you can and I’ve got an agent now who handles it all.’

Prior to the Games, Wilson, who still lives at his family’s Dorset farm, survived on his Lottery money plus expenses for travelling to competitions.

The BOA letter which urged medallists to make the most of their fame was, in fact, an annexe document to the Team GB athletes’ agreement. It advised on what winners might earn from involvement in a BOA appearance scheme in association with their commercial partners.

Wilson added: ‘I’m not saying I’m getting 10,000 every time I do anything now. I’ve done lots of charity things and I’d never ask for a penny for them. But the opportunities have been amazing. Winning gold at a home Games is a once in a lifetime thing and I’m going to make the most of it.’

Wilson says life has been a ‘blur’ since his triumph in August at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, a non-stop series of charity functions, award shows, corporate gigs and TV appearances, including Alan Titchmarch’s show, A Question of Sport and a secret project to be screened over Christmas.

He will also be at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show next month, along with his father, Charles, who had a moment of fame himself when, during live TV coverage of his son’s victory, he shouted: ‘Peter, remember me I’m your dad.’

Wilson was invited to the film premiere of The Sweeney but skipped that to go to another function with Prince Harry (‘A really lovely bloke and a really level-headed chap,’ according to Wilson).

Perks: Wilson meets Prime Minister David Cameron after his success

Perks: Wilson meets Prime Minister David Cameron after his success

He has also met musician Myleene Klass (‘That was cool’) and actor Christopher Biggins (‘Brilliant guy, so interesting’) among umpteen other celebrities.

But another appointment in the near future will definitely be for free when Wilson attends the opening of an exhibition by his artist girlfriend of three years, Michelle McCullagh.

He will soon be visiting Dubai to see his coach and mentor, the millionaire Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum, who won the double trap Olympic gold in 2004 and paired up with Wilson ‘over a coffee and a handshake’ at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Maktoum, who coaches Wilson for free, is recovering from heart surgery. ‘He’s just had a pacemaker fitted in America,’ said Wilson. ‘During the Olympics, I joked that I almost killed him off with the tension!’

Wilson does not hesitate for a second when asked to recall his most satisfying moment since winning gold.

‘You’re going to say, “Shut up Wilson, that’s too corny” but this is true,’ he said. ‘It was visiting the children’s ward at Dorchester Hospital not long after I won. There were all these kids with serious illnesses, and it was a privilege to be there. And I just thought “I am so bloody lucky”. And I’ve thought that every day since.’

Marathon man Mo

Mo Farah is the ‘dream participant’ the organisers of the London Marathon want as their marquee name for the men’s race in 2014 — with an appearance fee of around 250,000 likely to be part of any deal.

Marathon man Mo Farah could be tempted by the London race

Marathon man Mo Farah could be tempted by the London race

Farah, 29, won double Olympic gold at London 2012 in the 10,000m and 5,000m and his coach, Alberto Salazar, says he could run the 10km and marathon double at the Rio Games. A debut marathon in London in 17 months’ time is possible — if the price is right.

Kauto spared racing’s grisly secret

Kauto Star’s retirement may have been greeted by a flood of tributes to the horse that won the Gold Cup twice and the King George VI Chase five times but animal rights groups claim most racehorses meet a far more grisly end than the privileged dotage that awaits the 12-year-old gelding.

Many racehorses are killed in Britain then sold for human consumption abroad, in Belgium and Italy particularly.

Kauto Star’s retirement followed Classic winner Frankel being sent to stud with the expectation that he would earn 100 million in fees.

But official figures compiled by the British Horseracing Authority show that 1,127 thoroughbreds left racing and were slaughtered in abattoirs last year.

Over and out: Kauto Star has been retired from racing

Over and out: Kauto Star has been retired from racing

Dene Stansall, a spokesman for Animal Aid, said: ‘The shame of the industry is that nobody much cares about the fate of the bread and butter animals. Thousands are going to abattoirs and being turned into meat and we know that other animals are being shot in their stables and the meat given to the local hunt for their hounds.’

Grace Muir, whose Heros charity found homes for 84 of the estimated 7,500 horses that left Britain’s racing industry last year, claims many horses are killed each year when they stop being economically viable. Muir said: ‘It’s not something they [horse racing’s authorities] want to voice but I’m sure it happens.’

SPOTY plans a secret

Clare Balding, Gary Lineker and Sue Barker, the big-hitting BBC trio who will present the Sports Personality of the Year show, took a nocturnal helicopter flight over London last week to film footage for the programme, to be screened on December 16.

Sources claim the trip was part of plans to feature the presenters in a parody of of Danny Boyle’s ‘James Bond meets the Queen’ sequence from the Olympics opening ceremony. The Beeb are tight-lipped, saying they want ‘to save surprises for the big night’.

England win Carl Jenkinson battle as Arsenal ace pledges allegiance to Three Lions

England win Jenkinson battle as Arsenal ace pledges allegiance with snub to Finland

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UPDATED:

06:44 GMT, 16 October 2012

The Football Association will apply
to FIFA for clearance to pick Carl Jenkinson in the England squad for
next month's friendly with Sweden.

Jenkinson trained with the Three Lions on Sunday prior to their departure for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier with Poland.

Impressive: Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson (right)

Impressive: Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson (right)

And the Finnish Football Association want to hold discussions with the 20-year-old as they look to keep him from England's clutches.

Jenkinson has represented the Finns at Under-19 and U21 level, however, the former Charlton man has also represented England at U17 level.

However, having represented Finland at Under-21 level, there is some red tape that needs sorting before Jenkinson can commit his future to England.

That is what he wants to do though, and boss Roy Hodgson is keen to see the process completed quickly.

'He made it very clear he wanted to play for England,' said Hodgson.

'We are now making overtures to FIFA to try and make certain we can have him as an England player.'

The 20-year-old will still have the option of playing for either nation until he plays a competitive match.

But Hodgson insists he would not select anyone just to stop him from appearing for someone else.

'I don't want to trick him into playing for England for a few minutes just to 'block' him,' said Hodgson.

'But he had to make a decision because we're very interested in him even if the competition is tougher to get him into the England team rather than the Finland team.'

When he is eventually introduced, Jenkinson will be part of an England squad that is slowly changing shape under Hodgson's guidance.
Of their 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup, only nine are in the present group.

Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to name but three will be live candidates for future squads once they are clear from injury.

It is a far healthier situation than anyone could have imagined following that depressing last-16 hammering by Germany in Bloemfontein, when the future looked so bleak.

And one of the 'new boys' is Jenkinson's Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who after being a surprise choice for Euro 2012, is now in the England squad on merit.

'Alex is a player with enormous potential and ability,' said Hodgson.

'He came in as the joker in the pack and he's certainly cemented his position.

'Like a lot of our young players, he has to fight so hard to get into his club team but we're more than happy with him.

'He has to take every chance he gets with England because, internationally, there aren't that many games in a year.'

Nick Harris: Grounds for complaint in World Cup venue "cock-up"

Grounds for complaint in World Cup venue 'cock-up'

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 13 October 2012

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 13 October 2012

Multi-party dispute over where matches
will be played during the 2015 rugby union World Cup (RWC) has become
'an administrative cock-up that will drag on for years' and will 'cause
inevitable disruption to the English football calendar', sources claim.

The RWC organisers, when bidding, had no set plans, let alone agreements, over which venues to use.

Hosting skills: Chris Ashton and England will be hoping home advantage pays off in 2015

Hosting skills: Chris Ashton and England
will be hoping home advantage pays off in 2015

Even now there is merely a 'long list'
of 17 possible venues, announced last Monday, comprising 12 football
club grounds and five other stadiums.

The football arenas belong to Aston
Villa, Brighton, Bristol City, Coventry, Derby, Leeds, Leicester,
Manchester United, MK Dons, Newcastle, Southampton and Sunderland. If
picked, those clubs should earn six-figure sums per game. At least seven
will be used.

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The 'major headache' is that the RWC
need clubs to sign binding contracts in the next few months to make
their grounds available on specific dates between September 18 and the
end of October 2015, when the seven-week, 48-match event will be staged.

But as the Premier League (PL) and
Football League (FL) will not even know which divisions all those clubs
will be playing in before May 2015, guarantees on fixtures are
impossible to give.

Another complication is that PL and FL
rules say football should always have primacy at grounds; and with Sky
and BT paying 3bn for live Premier League rights for three years from
next season, they will not want the RWC effectively calling the shots on
scheduling.

Some major clubs – Arsenal among them – considered and rejected the idea of putting themselves forward to stage games because it would have been 'incredibly complex from an operation point of view' to host rugby in a busy period.

There were also concerns that the pitch could be adversely affected. This did not dissuade the dozen applicants on the list.

'Inevitably, the tournament will go ahead with club grounds as venues,' a source said.

'That will happen because the clubs want it, and the leagues will help it happen for that reason. But will that mean disruption to football fixtures that season Yes.'

A joint PL and FL statement says 'positive' discussions have taken place about the RWC, and 'while we are not in a position to make guarantees at this time', they will work towards 'a satisfactory outcome'.

The RWC organisers have taken flak for long-listing so many non-rugby grounds and omitting Leicester's Welford Road.

But they argue they need big football grounds to cope with demand – and allow more tickets, and cheaper tickets, for fans.

Revealed: Olympic-sized burger binge is the guilty secret from London 2012

New figures obtained by Inside Sport reveal that every competitor and coach at London 2012 ate, on average, more than six McDonald's meals each at one on-site branch alone during the Games.

Some 10,000 athletes and about 5,000 coaches had access to this branch, in the athletes' village, where the fast food was dished out free by the Games sponsor – and 100,000 meals were served to them, or 6.7 each over the 17-day festival of sport.

Fast food: Athletes gobbled hamburgers

Fast food: Athletes gobbled hamburgers

Given that a significant number of competitors spent no time or limited time in the village (because they were in football squads in other cities, or in Weymouth, or non-village accommodation) the average consumption per head who did eat there was even bigger.

McDonald's has faced long-standing and well-documented criticism for promoting what many see as 'junk' food.

That so many athletes consumed it so regularly at the world's biggest sports event is hardly the best legacy message for the Games.

The biggest single day at the branch in question was 13,000 meals on August 5, or the day after 'Super Saturday'.

But the firm has declined to confirm the 100,000 Games total, with a spokeswoman claiming that is 'commercially sensitive' information.

ESPN in turmoil over rights war

The future of the ESPN sports channel in the UK is uncertain now that BT Vision has snatched the rights to live Premier League football and Premiership rugby from next year – and it is understood that further rights are expected to switch from one broadcaster to the other in the near future.

BT has made no secret of wanting a 'portfolio' of rights, especially football, and it is expected it will add several leagues from Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1, Holland's Eredevisie and perhaps matches from as far away as Russia.

ESPN currently shows most of these and how viable its UK sports channel remains as a business, with little premium content, remains to be seen.

An ESPN spokesman says: 'We are actively pursuing a range of potential options for our business but we do not discuss private business strategy publicly. We continue to remain focused on our business and the wide range of content and coverage we deliver to fans.'

Fernando Torres form not a worry – Roberto Di Matteo

Don't worry! Di Matteo not afraid about Torres form… but pledges Sturridge more minutes

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UPDATED:

22:34 GMT, 16 September 2012

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo insisted he had no fear whatsoever of Fernando Torres suffering another nightmare run at the Blues after the striker went missing in their goalless draw at QPR.

But the Blues boss also promised Daniel Sturridge more opportunities up front after Torres' understudy came off the bench and almost helped snatch victory in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash.

Torres declared just over two weeks ago that he had finally exorcised his demons at Stamford Bridge following an impressive start to the season.

Frustrated: Fernando Torres had a poor game against QPR

Frustrated: Fernando Torres had a poor game against QPR

He has since produced two miserable performances, something which it would be unfair to read to much into under normal circumstances.

But by storming down the tunnel upon being substituted for Sturridge after a display of ever-diminishing returns, Torres himself suggested he could easily regress to the dark place he found himself in for 18 months following his 50million move from Liverpool.

Di Matteo dimissed this out of hand, saying: 'No, no, absolutely not. We can't put too much pressure on one player.

'We are a team and everybody has responsibility. We're looking for other players to score goals as well.'

Di Matteo repeatedly refused to be drawn on QPR boss Mark Hughes' claim that Ryan Nelsen 'dominated' Torres, whose display of petulance at least showed he cares.

At the third time of asking, the Chelsea boss replied: 'I think it's a team sport. I wouldn't individually go player by player.

'I thought, as a team, we played well, our centre-forward worked very hard, he had a chance in the first half to score as well, a half-decent chance in the second half.'

It was Torres' lack of effort as the game progressed that was truly worrying and Di Matteo finally took decisive action nine minutes from time.

Contrast: Daniel Sturridge worked hard when coming on as a sub

Contrast: Daniel Sturridge worked hard when coming on as a sub

The difference in his two strikers' workrates was staggering and begged the question what might have happened had Sturridge come on sooner.

It also begged the question about whether the England forward deserved a recall ahead of Torres, who has started every match this season.

'We've only played four in the league now,' said Di Matteo, whose attention now shifts to Wednesday's Champions League clash with Juventus.

'We're going to have seven games – including this – in 21 days. So there is time for everybody to play.'

Allow it: Roberto Di Matteo will give Sturridge more match time

Allow it: Roberto Di Matteo will give Sturridge more match time

He added of Sturridge: 'He can maybe play more minutes, for sure.

'As long as he keeps training well and, when he has the opportunities, shows his qualities, that's the way forward, and he will get chances to play as well.'

Di Matteo promised that meant more opportunities 'in the middle' for the England forward, who has become increasingly frustrated with being played out wide and reportedly came close to being allowed to leave on loan before the transfer window closed.

PFA pledge help for gay footballers – Nick Harris

Players union pledges help for gay footballers

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UPDATED:

21:44 GMT, 15 September 2012

Clarke Carlisle, the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, has told Inside Sport that the first English footballer to reveal that he is gay can expect to receive a commercial windfall from doing so.

But Carlisle, aware of the lingering homophobia within sections of the game, warns that the PFA could not guarantee that it would be a trouble-free time for the player.

No professional in the English game has come out since Justin Fashanu, who committed suicide in 1998.

Support: Clarke Carlisle said players will be backed

Support: Clarke Carlisle said players will be backed

Carlisle says the PFA have given advice to eight gay players and have assured them of PFA support if they decide to make their sexuality public.

'We feel the industry has changed and that society has changed and is less homophobic, and they will get all the support they need from the PFA,' said Carlisle.

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'But we cannot guarantee to them there won't be a negative reaction if they come out. Something we cannot deny is that the first player to do it will attract mass media intrusion and I think that's what is intimidating – that everything in your life, your family, your relationships, will be under scrutiny.

'Actually, there might well be substantial benefits and commercial opportunities for the first person to do it. That's just a reality, too. But any player considering coming out would need to weigh all this up, particularly the immediate intrusion into their lives.'

Carlisle believes a player might take the step 'reasonably soon', but will not put a time frame on it.

'Even if we as a sport want to be inclusive and against homophobia, which we do, we are in a quandary,' he said.

'We cannot and never will “out” a player, we can only try to create an atmosphere in which they can come out.

'The only point of reference for any of the players who are considering this is Justin Fashanu – and his story is a tragedy.'

Andy, but not Murray

Andy Murray may have won the US Open but an invitation to join the prestigious All England Club at Wimbledon is likely to come sooner to American Andy Roddick than to Britain's No 1.

Next Andy Roddick could be invited to be part of the All England Club

Next Andy Roddick could be invited to be part of the All England Club

The word in tennis is that Roddick, 30, and just retired, may now be invited to become a member of the elite club, which is normally open only to Wimbledon champions and hand-picked invitees.

Roddick, popular with the SW19 crowds, was a runner-up to Roger Federer three times and may now join other multiple runners-up Ken Rosewall and Ivan Lendl (now Murray's coach) as All England members.

Fury as drug cover-up boss is given new job in rugby

A rugby chief executive who was banned from his sport for two years for his pivotal role in a drugs coverup has provoked outrage by being allowed to return to work nine months before his ban has ended.

James Rule was CEO of Hull rugby league club when a group of his players took a banned performance enhancing substance, MHA, which was an ingredient in supplements that had not been properly checked.

Rule was instrumental in the lies told to try to get lenient treatment for one of his players, former Great Britain international Martin Gleeson, after he failed a drugs test.

He was banned for two years for his role in the plot and Gleeson, who admitted his part and helped the authorities catch others involved, got a reduced ban of 18 months.

Last week Rule was appointed chief executive at Widnes and claimed that as he would not be working directly with the players he was not in breach of his ban.

Controversy: Many say James Rule should not be involved at any level

Controversy: Many say James Rule should not be involved at any level

But insiders at UK AntiDoping, the agency leading the fight against drugs in British sport, are embarrassed that Rule can go back to work, believing it makes a mockery of his ban, which UKAD had hailed as a landmark because it punished a corrupt administrator, not an athlete.

UKAD chief Andy Parkinson said: 'UK AntiDoping will continue to ensure [the terms of Rule's ban] are complied with.'

Gleeson, whose own ban still has eight weeks to run, told me: 'I find it very odd that James Rule can go back to work running a club when I'm not allowed near the sport I love. 'I cannot even get a trial or play training games until my ban is up. It's not a level playing field.'

The substance in the Hull case, MHA, has just been banned from all supplements by the government's drugs agency because it has been deemed a risk to public safety.

Football drugs shame

Four footballers in the English game have failed drugs tests and served secret bans since January 2010, Inside Sport can reveal.

No details of the cases have yet been made public because of an administrative blunder between UKAD and the Football Association.

UKAD stopped publishing anonymous details of failed tests in early 2010 but the FA say they were unaware of this, so did not make the information public themselves. Three of the players failed tests after smoking cannabis, while the fourth was found to have taken cocaine.

Failed tests: Three footballers tested positive for cannabis

Failed tests: Three footballers tested positive for cannabis

Three of the players were trainees and the fourth a professional first-teamer. All four served bans.

Further details, including the identity of their clubs, remain confidential and the FA are expected to make a brief statement about the cases on Sunday.

All the players were caught as part of 'recreational' screening by the FA.

They are not obliged to test for 'social' drugs but do so to help keep the game clean. And four cases in 30 months actually represents a steep decline in positive findings, suggesting FA anti-drugs initiatives may be working.

EURO 2012: Roy Hodgson tells England players to cancel sponsor appearances

Not on my watch! Hodgson tells England stars to scrap sponsor appearances

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UPDATED:

09:17 GMT, 5 June 2012

England manager Roy Hodgson ordered five of his Euro 2012 squad to cancel sponsor appearances on Monday as he looks to keep his players fresh ahead of their trip to Poland this week.

James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Joleon Lescott, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all scheduled to make an appearance in Shoreditch, east London, on behalf of Nike.

Clampdown: Hodgson (left) asked five of his squad to cancel sponsor appearances

Clampdown: Hodgson (left) asked five of his squad to cancel sponsor appearances

But Hodgson told the quintet after Saturday's 1-0 win over Belgium at Wembley that they should tell their boot sponsors they would not make the event.

The former West Brom boss was eager that his 23-man squad have sufficient time for rest and recuperation before reconvening at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire on Tuesday lunchtime.

Hodgson was concerned that the players' time off after the win over Norway the week before was used to fulfil sponsor pledges rather than to rest, and he was keen to see that the same did not happen again.

Busy schedule: England fly out to Krakow this week

Busy schedule: England fly out to Krakow this week

There was also concern within the FA that Henderson would be pressured into discussing the issue of his selection ahead of the likes of Michael Carrick.

Hodgson's squad will attend an event laid on by the mayor of Krakow upon arrival in the Polish city on Thursday, before several players, FA staff and officials visit the Auschwitz and Birkenau sites.

EURO 2012: Wayne Rooney pledges to be ready for Ukraine clash after ban

I'll be ready! Rooney pledges to be fit for vital Ukraine clash after ban is served

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UPDATED:

16:01 GMT, 30 May 2012

Wayne Rooney has vowed to be fit and ready for England's third and final group game against Ukraine at the European Championships.

The Manchester United striker is suspended for England's first two group matches after kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic in England's final qualifier against Montenegro.

Ready: Wayne Rooney (centre) has pledged to be ready when he has served his ban

Ready: Wayne Rooney (centre) has pledged to be ready when he has served his ban

Despite missing the games against France and Sweden, Rooney is keen to impress Roy Hodgson and earn a start in the game against Ukraine.

England's talisman admits it will be frustrating to look on from the stands, but recognises he only has himself to blame for his actions.

He said: 'I feel good and I've got a few weeks before I can play. I will be ready if needed.

'It's important I do my training right. I've had a long time to think about missing these games and obviously it's disappointing.

'But it's something I've dealt with really.

Unwinding: Rooney relaxed with a spot of golf on Wednesday

Unwinding: Rooney relaxed with a spot of golf on Wednesday

'With missing the first two games, you never know with the new manager if he's got you in his plans or wants to have (the same) players involved in all the games. But I will get myself ready and as fit as I can be.

'It's a tough group with some good teams. We have to make sure we're focused on each game and take it from there'

Asked about Hodgson's contribution so far, Rooney told Sky Sports: 'He's determined to get the message across to us on the training pitch and is very much a part of every training session.

Pick me! Rooney is hoping Roy Hodgson (right) will choose him to lead the line against Ukraine

Pick me! Rooney is hoping Roy Hodgson (right) will choose him to lead the line against Ukraine

'It's great to have him on the pitch, pointing out things maybe we need to know as a squad.'

And on the team's Krakow base, he added: “In South Africa (at the World Cup two years ago) we were really isolated from the town centre.

'Here we can go out of the hotel if we want and relax a bit – but that doesn't mean we are not aware of our roles.

'The important thing is to get ready for those games.'

Leighton Baines "flattered" by Manchester United link

Baines pledges loyalty to Everton despite 'flattering' United interest

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UPDATED:

08:50 GMT, 30 May 2012

Everton defender Leighton Baines insists his focus is on Euro 2012 rather than his own future.

Baines has been linked with a summer move to Manchester United after another fine season for the Toffees.

Their time has come: Both Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines missed out on the World Cup two years ago

Their time has come: Both Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines missed out on the World Cup two years ago

But he is channeling all his energies into helping England do well in Poland and the Ukraine.

Baines said: 'The United link is flattering. There is no harm in people talking about it because it is a great club.

'But I'm at a great club as well, a club that I love.

'The focus now is all on the tournament. There's not much time to let other things seep in.

'It's about getting your head on this job for the next six weeks and trying to do the best you can.'

New man, new chance: Baines got the good news of his inclusion in the squad from Roy Hodgson

New man, new chance: Baines got the good news of his inclusion in the squad from Roy Hodgson

Baines added: 'Would it be hard to turn United down I'm not letting
my focus shift to that while I am in camp. I'm focused on what I'm
doing at the moment.

'Would it be hard to leave Everton Yes, obviously. You know what it
means. I've been there for five years myself but also know first-hand
what it means to a lot of people so, yes it would be.'

Baines admits to feeling frustration at Everton's inability to show
their post Christmas form during the first half of a season despite
finishing seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

He said: 'There is more frustration than satisfaction because we tend to do this every year.

'If we could start the league at Christmas, we'd probably be in the Champions League every year.

Taking his chance: Baines will provide cover for Ashley Cole

Taking his chance: Baines will provide cover for Ashley Cole

'I might have a word with someone and see if we can sort that out.
That's probably the case if you looked at it over the last three or four
years.

'I would like to think that in at least two or three of those seasons we would have been in there (the Champions League).

'It's strange. I've been there five years and we've done it every year (started slowly). I don't know what it is.

'We've mixed things up a little bit pre-season and tried different things this year. We'll probably do it against next year.

'I feel just even if we just had a decent start we'd be in a good
position but generally our starts have been pretty poor and give us a
mountain to climb.

'Generally we've managed to climb it but we've given ourselves a tough task.'