Tag Archives: private

Ferran Soriano, Manchester City chief executive, accused of "fraudulent administration" at former club Barcelona

City chief Soriano accused of 'fraudulent administration' at former club Barcelona

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

21:58 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 6 April 2013

Trouble: City chief Ferran Soriano

Trouble: City chief Ferran Soriano

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano may have to answer claims he authorised his former club, Barcelona, to spy on employees’ emails, after Catalonia’s senior prosecutor upheld a complaint by the Catalan club.

Barcelona have accused Soriano and his then fellow director, Joan Oliver, of ‘fraudulent administration and the disclosure of secrets’ and this complaint has now been upheld, meaning the City executive could be called to give evidence at the end of next month.

The case brought by Barcelona centres on accusations that Soriano authorised a cyber intelligence company, Cybex Experience, to embed a device in the server of the club’s internal computer, enabling all internal emails containing certain keywords to be monitored.

Derby: Roberto Mancini's side face Manchester United on Monday

Derby: Roberto Mancini's side face Manchester United on Monday

Barcelona also employed the services of the private investigation firm Metodo 3, who are alleged to have monitored other club directors and even first-team players.

The current Barcelona board’s motivation for the complaint appears to be to ensure the previous regime pays back about three million euros spent between 2004-09 on these services.

But their offensive action has also been seen as a tactic in an ongoing cold war between Manchester City and Barcelona because president Sandro Rosell believes a pledge not to target players from the Spanish side has been broken.

City face their rivals United in the Manchester derby on Monday with their hopes of retaining the Premier League all but gone.

Roberto Mancini's side are 15 points behind United with eight games remaining.

Lance Armstrong "did not come clean in the manner I had expected", reveals Oprah Winfrey

Armstrong 'did not come clean in the manner I had expected', reveals Oprah

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

13:42 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:43 GMT, 15 January 2013

Lance Armstrong admitted admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in a TV interview to
be shown on Thursday.

The disgraced cyclist is said to have
confessed in an interview with American TV chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah tweeted: ‘I would say (Lance Armstrong) did not come clean in the manner I had expected. It was surprising to me.’

Banned: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong conducted his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles with Oprah Winfrey

Banned: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong conducted his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles with Oprah Winfrey

The revelation came after Armstrong visited the staff of his charity the Livestrong Foundation at the Texas offices to apologise for putting their work at risk.

Several employees cried when he told them: ‘I’m sorry.’

'He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done the important work of the foundation for many years,' Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane was quoted as saying by Reuters.

'It was a very sincere and heartfelt expression of regret over any stress that they've suffered over the course of the last few years as a result of the media attention,' she added.

He promised he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation – before meeting his legal team to prepare for the Oprah interview.

Armstrong reportedly spoke to a room
full of about 100 staff members for about 20 minutes, expressing regret
for everything the controversy has put them through.

He told them how much the foundation
means to him and that he considers the people who work there to be like
members of his family. None of the people in the room challenged
Armstrong over his long denials of doping.

Banned: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong conducted his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles with Oprah Winfrey

After the interview, Winfrey tweeted: 'Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!'

Winfrey
and her crew planned on filming Monday's session at Armstrong's home.
As a result, local and international news crews were camped near the
cyclist's Spanish-style villa before dawn.

Armstrong
still managed to slip away for a run despite the crowds outside his
home. He returned by cutting through a neighbour's yard and hopping a
fence.

Meanwhile, the government of South Australia state said it will seek damages or compensation from Lance Armstrong after his reported confession to Winfrey that he doped during his career.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said the state would seek the repayment of several million dollars in appearance fees paid to Armstrong for competing in the Tour Down Under cycle race in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Weatherill said reports Armstrong admitted doping during a recorded interview with Winfrey changed the government's view on its entitlement to compensation.

He said Armstrong 'has deceived the cycling community around the world' by repeatedly denying he used performance-enhancing drugs during a career in which he won the Tour de France seven times.

'We'd be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us,' Weatherill said.

Shamed: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven tour titles

Shamed: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven tour titles

Weatherill refused to say how much the
South Australian state government paid to Armstrong to secure his
participation in the ProTour race for three-straight years.

Armstrong chose the Australian cycle tour, the first event of the annual ProTour, to make his return to professional cycling in 2009 after a two-year retirement. He also made the six-stage road race his last professional race before his final retirement in 2011.

The South Australian government paid appearance fees to Armstrong to build the profile of the race and promote tourism. That effort was hugely successful and in each of the years Armstrong competed, hundreds of thousands watched the race live and millions more saw it on television.

Armstrong has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and for a decade he strenuously denied doping and resorted to lawsuits to protect his reputation.

The publication of a damning 1,000-page report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which placed Armstrong at the center of what it called one of the most sophisticated doping operations in sports, has led to counter-suits against the rider.

Those who had been successfully sued by Armstrong, including Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, are now seeking repayment of the damages they were forced to pay. Others are seeking repayment of sponsorships and prize money paid during Armstrong's career as the world's most famous professional cyclist.

Sepp Blatter claims racism won"t be solved by running away like Kevin-Price Boateng and AC Milan

Racism will not be solved by 'running away' like Boateng and Milan, claims Blatter

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

12:23 GMT, 10 January 2013

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UPDATED:

12:35 GMT, 10 January 2013

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged players not to leave the pitch in protest if they are subjected to racist abuse, saying 'running away' is not a long-term solution to stopping discrimination.

It follows the actions of AC Milan player Kevin-Price Boateng, who led his teammates off the field after being abused during a friendly with Italian lower league club Pro Patria last week.

Boateng was highly praised for his protest, including by Blatter, but the football chief warned that a repeat in the future would not make the problem go away.

Not a solution: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Kevin-Prince Boateng's protest (below) was not the right way to stamp racism out of the game

Not a solution: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Kevin-Prince Boateng's protest (below) was not the right way to stamp racism out of the game

Protest: Kevin-Prince Boateng leads his AC Milan teammates from the field after being subjected to racist abuse

'If you remember the Boateng problem and him running away, I made a comment on that and I still have the same feeling – it was good what he has done in order to give this impact by saying: “Listen – look at what has happened,” Blatter told Sky Sports News.

'But it can't be the solution because you can never solve any problem in your life – in your private life, in your public life, wherever – by running away.

'This is now to day “Listen, if you don't take care of our sport, we will do it.” It was a warning, but it can't be the solution.'

Protest: Boateng wears an

Protest: Boateng wears an “AC Milan against racism” t-shirt before the Serie A match with Siena last weekend

Blatter went on to make some vague promises about calling a meeting to discuss the problem of racism in the game.

He said: 'What we shall do now – and I am thinking about this – we shall make a kind of summit or discussion with all the actors concerning discrimination and racism.

'There must be a lot of solidarity and understanding that we have to eradicate it. But it can only be done if all the actors are participating, and actors are also the spectators.'

The full interview with Sepp Blatter will be shown on Sky Sports News HD Special Report at 7.30pm on Monday

Leeds United takeover – fans happy with GFH Capital

Happy Leeds fans hail new era as GFH finally complete Elland Road takeover

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UPDATED:

22:16 GMT, 21 December 2012

The chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Trust claims the club are ready for the start of a new era after GFH Capital completed their takeover.

GFH, a private equity firm based in Dubai, finally bought Leeds from Ken Bates on Friday and are ready to invest in Neil Warnock’s team to mount a promotion challenge this season.

All smiles: (left to right) David Haigh, Shaun Harvey and Salem Patel

All smiles: (left to right) David Haigh, Shaun Harvey and Salem Patel

Lifelong Leeds fan David Haigh and Salem Patel opened talks last May with Bates, who will remain as chairman until the end of the season.

They finalised the takeover after completing the Football League’s owners and directors test on Monday.

Gary Cooper, who formed LUST in 2010, said: ‘We were told to live the dream in the mid-1990s and that nearly sent the club out of existence.

‘What we need now is a board with sensible plans and commitment to making Leeds United great again.

All white on the night: Leeds celebrate taking the lead against Chelsea

All white on the night: Leeds celebrate taking the lead against Chelsea

‘We hope GFH are able to do that and everything they have said points to them being able to do so.

‘The board needs to reconnect with the people of Leeds and its supporters and they will come back in their thousands.

‘Attendances have dipped in recent years, but we saw against Chelsea on Wednesday we still have a huge fanbase.’

Charles Sale: MCC chief "insults" election hopefuls

MCC chief 'insults' election hopefuls

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 20 December 2012

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

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

A general view of Lords

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

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

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

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

Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco

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

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

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

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

It's Roger and out…

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

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

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

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

Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall fly in for Manchester derby

Manchester derby is no Mission Impossible for Cruise as star actor flies in for big match

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UPDATED:

13:44 GMT, 9 December 2012

When Tom Cruise was talked into watching today's Manchester derby by his great friend David Beckham – it looked like a Mission Impossible to get there in time.

With a full diary of filming for his new movie 'All You Need Is Kill' down in Hertfordshire and a series of London red carpet premieres to grace, Cruise needed to pull out all the stops to get to the stellar Premier League game.

So he chartered a private helicopter to transport him and veteran actor Robert Duvall 200 miles up to Manchester for the big game between City and United.

Star attraction: Tom Cruise waves to fans as he arrives at the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between City and United

Star attraction: Tom Cruise waves to fans as he arrives at the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between City and United

Stellar fans: Tom Cruise (centre) and Robert Duvall (left) chat to City officials before the kick-off

Stellar fans: Tom Cruise (centre) and Robert Duvall (left) chat to City officials before the kick-off

Cool guy: Cruiser defied Manchester wet climate with a pair of super-cool shades

Cool guy: Cruiser defied Manchester wet climate with a pair of super-cool shades

And Cruise made a characteristically Hollywood entrance at the Etihad, sweeping through the star-struck crowds sporting a pair of shades.

This despite Manchester being well known as the wettest place in Britain.

He was apparently persuaded to watch the big match by his friend and former Manchester United favourite Beckham.

On camera: Cruise spoke to Sky Sports before kick-off, saying he had watched football since the 1980s

On camera: Cruise spoke to Sky Sports before kick-off, saying he had watched football since the 1980s

Football fan: Cruise was persuaded to attend the derby by friend and former LA Galaxy player David Beckham

Football fan: Cruise was persuaded to attend the derby by friend and former LA Galaxy player David Beckham

Cruise, 50, was apparently buzzing at the prospect of watching the clash of the Premier League's top two, which could go a long way to deciding the destination of the title.

He also talked 81-year-old Duvall into joining him and the pair were interviewed live on Sky Sports before kick-off.

Cruise said he had been in love with the game since watching it in the 80s, while Duvall claimed he always watched the World Cup.

Veteran: Duvall (left) said he always watched the World Cup and his favourite all-time player was Pele

Veteran: Duvall (left) said he always watched the World Cup and his favourite all-time player was Pele

'This is the first game that I've seen in England,' he said on Sky Sports One.

'I've been following it since the eighties so I'm just excited that I'm able to be here.'

He revealed the former England captain had sent him a message ahead of the game.

'He wishes he was here. I got an email from him, he's jealous that I'm here,' Cruise added.

Apocalypse Now actor Robert Duvall was also at the game, but appeared to be a little rusty on the rules.

He said: 'Will there be a shootout today No. If it's a tie No.'

As for a prediction for the match, Duvall said it was too close to call – 'You could flip a coin,' he said.

Cruise has already visited one British sporting venue during his filming – albeit fleetingly.

He landed on the outfield at The Oval in a helicopter to film a scene last Friday.

Chopper stops play: Cruise filmed some scenes from his new movie at The Oval last Friday

Chopper stops play: Cruise filmed some scenes from his new movie at The Oval last Friday

UEFA will launch youth competition to rival NextGen series

UEFA will launch youth competition to rival NextGen series

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UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 7 December 2012

UEFA are to launch a new under-19 club competition which will be in direct competition with the English-founded NextGen series.

The new UEFA youth competition will be open to the 32 clubs who qualify for the Champions League group stage.

That will clash with the NextGen series, co-founded by Mark Warburton, the former City trader now sporting director at Brentford, and already involving top clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Barcelona and Inter Milan.

New competition: UEFA will launch a rival to the English-founded NextGen series

New competition: UEFA will launch a rival to the English-founded NextGen series

NextGen

UEFA president Michel Platini said: 'There is a private company organising a tournament with the agreement of certain people who thought UEFA would agree.

'We realised it is a private company organising that and the executive committee requested it should be up to us to organise that and we are doing that with the European Clubs' Association.

'We have created a carbon copy of the Champions League and we will have this test for two years.

'We have now created a competitive opportunity for youth players to be involved in international matches at club level. It allows us to provide a development opportunity and great experience not only for the players, but also for referees, who will be appointed on an international basis.'

Liam Ridgewell pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Ridgewell's bum note: West Brom star apologises after being pictured wiping his backside with pile of 20 notes

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UPDATED:

10:09 GMT, 2 December 2012

West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell has apologised after an embarrassing picture emerged of him wiping his backside with a wad of 20 notes.

The former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender claims the picture was taken to wind up a friend after he won a bet and he never intended on it becoming public.

Ridgewell told The Sun: 'The photo was taken in the privacy of my home around eight months ago as a joke to wind up a mate, who I had just won a personal bet with.

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

'I only intended him to see the photo but now it’s public, I can understand how it will be viewed. I am sorry for any offence it causes.'

The picture showed the 28-year-old squatting over a toilet with nearly 1000 worth of 20 notes scattered over the floor.

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

The West Brom player earns around
20,000-a-week and the picture is sure to anger fans – especially as
that is the average annual salary in the West Midlands – one of the most
deprived areas in the country.

The picture was sent to the newspaper by a fan who asked not to be named, he said: 'The people of West Bromwich earn a fraction of what this idiot earns yet he makes a mockery of his good fortune like this. It makes me sick.

'We’ve always thought footballers were arrogant, overpaid buffoons and this just proves it.’

The club distanced themselves from the issue saying it was a private matter.

They told The Sun: ‘This is a private issue for Liam that has become public.

'It does not put the club in a good light and we will deal with the matter internally.

'Since Liam joined us 11 months ago, his conduct on club duty has been exemplary.'

Luis Suarez – can he win Player of the Year? Martin Samuel column

Suarez is poetry in motion… but can he really be Player of the Year

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UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 21 November 2012

And the days are not full enough And the nights are not full enough And life slips by like a field mouse. Not shaking the grass. Ezra Pound wrote that. Remarkable, isn't it

'Pound is more responsible for the 20th century revolution in poetry than any other individual,' said TS Eliot, and he would know. So here's one of his lesser known works.

'You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. And the big Jew has rotted every nation he has wormed into.' Pound said that in a pro-fascist radio broadcast in March 1942. He said plenty of other stuff, too, and was arrested for treason after the war.

Saint and sinner: Luis Suarez has been accused of diving during his time at Liverpool

Saint and sinner: Luis Suarez has been accused of diving during his time at Liverpool

Later, Pound renounced his anti-Semitism in public, but recollections of the private individual tell a different story. He would refer to people he disliked as Jews, and refuse to talk to psychiatrists with Jewish names.

He really wasn't a nice guy. Doesn't make Eliot wrong, though. Doesn't make the depth of emotional meaning conveyed in the sparse four lines of And the days are not full enough – that's the whole poem up there, by the way – any less astonishing. Same with Philip Larkin.

'I can hear fat Caribbean germs pattering after me in the Underground,' he wrote, disgusted, to Kingsley Amis on a visit to London. Then again, Larkin was disgusted by a lot of things; by himself, often enough. For Larkin in excelsis, however, read An Arundel Tomb. 'What will survive of us is love.'

We could go on. Through Chuck Berry to Miles Davis or Michael Jackson. We separate the man from his art. But not in football. In football, we want it all. Beauty and the blameless life. We can accept that poets, artists, musicians or writers can be despicable creatures redeemed by their work, but from our footballers we demand the exalted physicality of an athlete and the immaculate morality of an angel.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Light and shade: The Uruguayan striker is a match-winner for Liverpool but has also been accused of stamping on an opponent (above right)

More from Martin Samuel …

Juventus 3 Chelsea 0: On the way out… humiliated holders facing new Champions League low as Di Matteo heads for the exit
20/11/12

Martin Samuel: Pietersen's 'reintegration' is complete… but now England need to see the destructive, swashbuckling KP of old
13/11/12

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1: Suarez rescues point for Reds after goalscorer Terry is crocked on return
11/11/12

Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2: Moses works a miracle as Di Matteo's luck holds
07/11/12

Manchester City 2 Ajax 2: It's all gone De Jong as Euro exit looms for Mancini misfits
06/11/12

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3: Crazy red card for Torres and Hernandez offside goal hand United victory at Stamford Bridge
28/10/12

Martin Samuel: Amid his Twitter row, Liverpool's Chang should know using the supporters as muscle is a dangerous abuse of power
23/10/12

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Chelsea 1: Bad case of the Blues as holders feel pain in Ukraine
23/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

So could Luis Suarez be the Footballer of the Year this season Of course not. Should Luis Suarez be the Footballer of the Year this season Well, who else have you got

This is a crude calculation as it presumes no other player could have scored Suarez's goals, but the difference he has made to Liverpool this season equates to seven league points and, potentially, a place in the Europa League.

Goals from Suarez have changed Liverpool's dividend on seven occasions. He has been the difference between victory and a draw with Norwich City and a draw and a defeat against Manchester City, Sunderland, Everton, Newcastle United and Chelsea.

Without his goal at Anfield, the Europa League qualifier with Hearts would have gone into extra time. And in this season's Premier League, seven points is currently separating Liverpool and a place in the bottom three.

True, if Suarez had not been in the team, somebody else would have been and that somebody might have scored, too. So this isn't exact science.

Nobody can accurately evaluate Suarez's worth to Liverpool this season but, ball-park, seven points sounds about right. Maybe more. Is there any footballer in the country more influential

Last week, Jamie Carragher compared Suarez to Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. Indeed, he placed him higher, because Suarez is not playing in a great team. But Footballer of the Year No chance.

This is bogeyman Suarez, remember, verbal debaser of Patrice Evra, alleged diver, alleged stamper, the man English football loves to hate and boo, even during the feelgood Olympic Games this summer when just completing the course got a standing ovation.

How can he sway a vote of journalists, some of whom believe their award winner must stand out as a role model, as much as a footballer How could he earn the votes of players, some of whom are black, ethically-minded or represent Manchester United Could you vote for him No. Could I It would be very, very hard.

On target: Suarez has scored more goals than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this term

On target: Suarez has scored more goals than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this term

A vote for Suarez would appear to send out the message that racism doesn't matter. Yet I'd have no hesitation in referring to Larkin as our greatest modern poet; no agonising over love for the music of the wife-beating Ike Turner either.

Maybe by the end of the season the Suarez dilemma will no longer exist. Different players go through purple patches at various times – Juan Mata was brilliant for Chelsea as Roberto Di Matteo's side topped the table early on – but few have been as consistent as Suarez, with no sign of relenting.

Left to fend for himself by an almost wantonly negligent series of executive choices in the transfer market, he has prevented Liverpool entering freefall. And he is not even a conventional striker.

If Liverpool had acted with coherence this summer, Suarez would be playing beside a prolific goalscorer, setting up as many as he scores, the burden on his shoulders relieved. For Uruguay, he most regularly played alongside Diego Forlan or Sebastian Abreu. These days Edinson Cavani is his regular foil. The idea of him leading a line unaccompanied would baffle his national coach, Oscar Tabarez.

Imagine: If Suarez was Footballer of the Year, they'd be uproar arguments and probably resignations

Imagine: If Suarez was Footballer of the Year, they'd be uproar, arguments and probably resignations

What he is doing at Liverpool is far removed from his comfort zone. And yet he is this season's peak performer: top scorer in the Premier League with two more goals than Robin van Persie and top scorer of any Premier League player in all club competitions, again two more than Van Persie.

The difference is, Van Persie has Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez to take a load off, Suarez is in virtual isolation.

Carragher also placed Suarez alongside Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres among recent goalscorers at Liverpool, but in essence he is more like Steven Gerrard or Carragher himself, in his ability to influence matches sometimes with sheer will.

Yet, imagine if he was the Footballer of the Year. There would be uproar, protests, arguments, quite probably resignations. A breakaway black union without doubt, if he won the PFA vote, a very awkward few weeks for representatives of the media if he topped any poll of journalists.

Mock: Suarez celebrated in front of Moyes after the Everton boss accused him of simulation

Mock: Suarez celebrated in front of Moyes after the Everton boss accused him of simulation

An unrepentant horror as an example to the next generation, it would be fiendishly hard to justify his glorification, almost inexcusable. Yet is he the best player in the league This minute, by a mile.

Those crowned Footballer of the Year tend to be winners. It seemed incongruous two years ago when Scott Parker collected the prize in a season that ended in relegation for his club, West Ham United.

The case for Suarez would be different. It would be based on his contribution to a former member of the elite, Liverpool, and how far a great club might have tumbled without him.

There was certainly a similar case for Chris Waddle at Tottenham Hotspur one season, when the club could easily have slipped into the bottom three without his frequent interventions. Yet Suarez won't win and can't win, we know that.

He has been associated with too much of football's dark side – racism, simulation – to rise above the negativity. He refused to shake hands with Evra, at first, even though the wronged man made the first move, he openly mocked David Moyes when the Everton manager dared to suggest he went to ground too easily. And yet despite the opprobrium, Suarez stays strong.

If no-one likes him, see if he cares. Perhaps this is why, as well as being this season's best footballer he is also one that troubles the soul.

Suarez does not do sorry, he does not do contrition and, in this, demands to be considered only for his art. Will he care if recognition is not his at the end of the season Probably not. As Pound said on his release from a lengthy stint of hard labour: 'I've had it worse.'

Arrests: Crowd trouble in Germany is at a 12-year high

Arrests: Crowd trouble in Germany is at a 12-year high

Don't mention the arrests…

And more news just in from Germany, where tickets are cheap, stadiums are full, standing is tolerated and crowd trouble is at a 12-year high.

According to figures released to Reuters in Berlin, the 2011-12 season had the highest number of criminal proceedings this century, a sharp rise in the amount of injured fans from the previous season and a 20 per cent increase in police work hours.

'Criminal proceedings are up 70 per cent, work hours up 40 per cent and injuries up 120 per cent from the 12-year average,' said a police spokesman.

A total of 8,143 criminal cases against individuals were launched compared with 5,818 the previous year, while the number of injuries rose from 843 to 1,142.

Meanwhile, according to the Home Office, English football arrests are at an all-time low since records began in 1985, and there was a 32 per cent decline in Premier League arrests from the 2010-11 season. But keep this quiet. It doesn't fit the self-flagellating narrative.

And while we're at it… Unbuyable Try to lure him back, Sir Alex!

He is back, at a football ground near you, tonight. And while Cristiano Ronaldo can be guaranteed a hostile reception when he steps out for Real Madrid against Manchester City, there will not be a true football fan in the stadium who does not feel a frisson of excitement at the anticipation of seeing him play live again.

Because we miss him, of course we do. Even the blue lot, deep down. Manchester United miss him, English football misses him. We haven't had one quite as good since. Not a player whose talent is so immense he actually found a new way of kicking a football.

Welcome (back) to Manchester: Ronaldo touched down in England on Tuesday night ahead of Real's clash with City

Welcome (back) to Manchester: Ronaldo touched down in England ahead of Real's clash with City

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Hydrodynamics Laboratory in Paris will test their theory about the way Ronaldo strikes his knuckleball at a scientific gathering in San Diego this week. They have been dropping steel beads into a tank of water and studying the trajectory. Nobody does that for Ashley Young.

So, when Sir Alex Ferguson says that he remains on good terms with Ronaldo but the player is 'unbuyable', the heart sinks. Try, Sir Alex. Have a go, for all of us. It doesn't matter if it makes life really hard for your rivals. We won't moan, even if you win the league by 25 points. Just get our guy back. Please.

Relationship: Ferguson has claimed the former Manchester Untied star is 'unbuyable'

Relationship: Ferguson has claimed the former Manchester Untied star is 'unbuyable'

Madrid is the love of Ronaldo's life, but he hasn't always felt loved back. Good. Use that. Tell him he's wasted there. Tell him the Spanish crowds have never taken to him as they have Lionel Messi. Massage his ego, play on his insecurities. Wasn't there a time when Madrid made him sad Didn't he refuse to celebrate his goals at the start of the season, because he felt unappreciated That never happened at Old Trafford, did it Hell, it's worth a try.

Unbuyable is such a miserable term. Unbuyable says he is Madrid's, for ever. Unbuyable means nights like this are one of the few chances you will get to see one of the world's greatest players at the height of his powers. If you can go, don't miss it. He's the one you'll tell the grandkids about.

Sacking Hughes might not add up

The problem for Tony Fernandes at Queens Park Rangers, and for all owners, is that the only way to build a club is to place faith in a coach and his vision. Invariably, this means an equal investment in players, staff and the remodelling of academies and training facilities.

In terms of results, there is no indication this season that Rangers are going to turn around under Mark Hughes, so continued support now is merely a leap of faith.

In training: Hughes puts his squad through their paces on Tuesday as his future hangs in the balance

In training: Hughes puts his squad through their paces on Tuesday as his future hangs in the balance

Yet the alternative, to remove Hughes and his entourage and start again, is fraught with expense and difficulty with no certainty of alleviating the crisis, either. West Ham United stuck with Avram Grant and went down, West Bromwich Albion sacked Roberto Di Matteo and stayed up.

Wigan Athletic kept Roberto Martinez and stayed up, Wolverhampton Wanderers dismissed Mick McCarthy and went down. The only concrete guarantee is that the cost of replacing the manager, his backroom boys and overhauling the squad twice in one season is horrific. This alone may be what buys Hughes the time to turn Rangers around.

Luis Suarez can"t win Footballer of The Year Award – Martin Samuel

Suarez is poetry in motion… but can he really be Player of the Year

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UPDATED:

01:47 GMT, 21 November 2012

And the days are not full enough And the nights are not full enough And life slips by like a field mouse. Not shaking the grass. Ezra Pound wrote that. Remarkable, isn't it

'Pound is more responsible for the 20th century revolution in poetry than any other individual,' said TS Eliot, and he would know. So here's one of his lesser known works.

'You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. And the big Jew has rotted every nation he has wormed into.' Pound said that in a pro-fascist radio broadcast in March 1942. He said plenty of other stuff, too, and was arrested for treason after the war.

Saint and sinner: Luis Suarez has been accused of diving during his time at Liverpool

Saint and sinner: Luis Suarez has been accused of diving during his time at Liverpool

Later, Pound renounced his anti-Semitism in public, but recollections of the private individual tell a different story. He would refer to people he disliked as Jews, and refuse to talk to psychiatrists with Jewish names.

He really wasn't a nice guy. Doesn't make Eliot wrong, though. Doesn't make the depth of emotional meaning conveyed in the sparse four lines of And the days are not full enough – that's the whole poem up there, by the way – any less astonishing. Same with Philip Larkin.

'I can hear fat Caribbean germs pattering after me in the Underground,' he wrote, disgusted, to Kingsley Amis on a visit to London. Then again, Larkin was disgusted by a lot of things; by himself, often enough. For Larkin in excelsis, however, read An Arundel Tomb. 'What will survive of us is love.'

We could go on. Through Chuck Berry to Miles Davis or Michael Jackson. We separate the man from his art. But not in football. In football, we want it all. Beauty and the blameless life. We can accept that poets, artists, musicians or writers can be despicable creatures redeemed by their work, but from our footballers we demand the exalted physicality of an athlete and the immaculate morality of an angel.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Light and shade: The Uruguayan striker is a match-winner for Liverpool but has also been accused of stamping on an opponent (above right)

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So could Luis Suarez be the Footballer of the Year this season Of course not. Should Luis Suarez be the Footballer of the Year this season Well, who else have you got

This is a crude calculation as it presumes no other player could have scored Suarez's goals, but the difference he has made to Liverpool this season equates to seven league points and, potentially, a place in the Europa League.

Goals from Suarez have changed Liverpool's dividend on seven occasions. He has been the difference between victory and a draw with Norwich City and a draw and a defeat against Manchester City, Sunderland, Everton, Newcastle United and Chelsea.

Without his goal at Anfield, the Europa League qualifier with Hearts would have gone into extra time. And in this season's Premier League, seven points is currently separating Liverpool and a place in the bottom three.

True, if Suarez had not been in the team, somebody else would have been and that somebody might have scored, too. So this isn't exact science.

Nobody can accurately evaluate Suarez's worth to Liverpool this season but, ball-park, seven points sounds about right. Maybe more. Is there any footballer in the country more influential

Last week, Jamie Carragher compared Suarez to Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. Indeed, he placed him higher, because Suarez is not playing in a great team. But Footballer of the Year No chance.

This is bogeyman Suarez, remember, verbal debaser of Patrice Evra, alleged diver, alleged stamper, the man English football loves to hate and boo, even during the feelgood Olympic Games this summer when just completing the course got a standing ovation.

How can he sway a vote of journalists, some of whom believe their award winner must stand out as a role model, as much as a footballer How could he earn the votes of players, some of whom are black, ethically-minded or represent Manchester United Could you vote for him No. Could I It would be very, very hard.

On target: Suarez has scored more goals than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this term

On target: Suarez has scored more goals than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this term

A vote for Suarez would appear to send out the message that racism doesn't matter. Yet I'd have no hesitation in referring to Larkin as our greatest modern poet; no agonising over love for the music of the wife-beating Ike Turner either.

Maybe by the end of the season the Suarez dilemma will no longer exist. Different players go through purple patches at various times – Juan Mata was brilliant for Chelsea as Roberto Di Matteo's side topped the table early on – but few have been as consistent as Suarez, with no sign of relenting.

Left to fend for himself by an almost wantonly negligent series of executive choices in the transfer market, he has prevented Liverpool entering freefall. And he is not even a conventional striker.

If Liverpool had acted with coherence this summer, Suarez would be playing beside a prolific goalscorer, setting up as many as he scores, the burden on his shoulders relieved. For Uruguay, he most regularly played alongside Diego Forlan or Sebastian Abreu. These days Edinson Cavani is his regular foil. The idea of him leading a line unaccompanied would baffle his national coach, Oscar Tabarez.

Imagine: If Suarez was Footballer of the Year, they'd be uproar arguments and probably resignations

Imagine: If Suarez was Footballer of the Year, they'd be uproar, arguments and probably resignations

What he is doing at Liverpool is far removed from his comfort zone. And yet he is this season's peak performer: top scorer in the Premier League with two more goals than Robin van Persie and top scorer of any Premier League player in all club competitions, again two more than Van Persie.

The difference is, Van Persie has Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez to take a load off, Suarez is in virtual isolation.

Carragher also placed Suarez alongside Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres among recent goalscorers at Liverpool, but in essence he is more like Steven Gerrard or Carragher himself, in his ability to influence matches sometimes with sheer will.

Yet, imagine if he was the Footballer of the Year. There would be uproar, protests, arguments, quite probably resignations. A breakaway black union without doubt, if he won the PFA vote, a very awkward few weeks for representatives of the media if he topped any poll of journalists.

Mock: Suarez celebrated in front of Moyes after the Everton boss accused him of simulation

Mock: Suarez celebrated in front of Moyes after the Everton boss accused him of simulation

An unrepentant horror as an example to the next generation, it would be fiendishly hard to justify his glorification, almost inexcusable. Yet is he the best player in the league This minute, by a mile.

Those crowned Footballer of the Year tend to be winners. It seemed incongruous two years ago when Scott Parker collected the prize in a season that ended in relegation for his club, West Ham United.

The case for Suarez would be different. It would be based on his contribution to a former member of the elite, Liverpool, and how far a great club might have tumbled without him.

There was certainly a similar case for Chris Waddle at Tottenham Hotspur one season, when the club could easily have slipped into the bottom three without his frequent interventions. Yet Suarez won't win and can't win, we know that.

He has been associated with too much of football's dark side – racism, simulation – to rise above the negativity. He refused to shake hands with Evra, at first, even though the wronged man made the first move, he openly mocked David Moyes when the Everton manager dared to suggest he went to ground too easily. And yet despite the opprobrium, Suarez stays strong.

If no-one likes him, see if he cares. Perhaps this is why, as well as being this season's best footballer he is also one that troubles the soul.

Suarez does not do sorry, he does not do contrition and, in this, demands to be considered only for his art. Will he care if recognition is not his at the end of the season Probably not. As Pound said on his release from a lengthy stint of hard labour: 'I've had it worse.'

Arrests: Crowd trouble in Germany is at a 12-year high

Arrests: Crowd trouble in Germany is at a 12-year high

Don't mention the arrests…

And more news just in from Germany, where tickets are cheap, stadiums are full, standing is tolerated and crowd trouble is at a 12-year high.

According to figures released to Reuters in Berlin, the 2011-12 season had the highest number of criminal proceedings this century, a sharp rise in the amount of injured fans from the previous season and a 20 per cent increase in police work hours.

'Criminal proceedings are up 70 per cent, work hours up 40 per cent and injuries up 120 per cent from the 12-year average,' said a police spokesman.

A total of 8,143 criminal cases against individuals were launched compared with 5,818 the previous year, while the number of injuries rose from 843 to 1,142.

Meanwhile, according to the Home Office, English football arrests are at an all-time low since records began in 1985, and there was a 32 per cent decline in Premier League arrests from the 2010-11 season. But keep this quiet. It doesn't fit the self-flagellating narrative.

And while we're at it… Unbuyable Try to lure him back, Sir Alex!

He is back, at a football ground near you, tonight. And while Cristiano Ronaldo can be guaranteed a hostile reception when he steps out for Real Madrid against Manchester City, there will not be a true football fan in the stadium who does not feel a frisson of excitement at the anticipation of seeing him play live again.

Because we miss him, of course we do. Even the blue lot, deep down. Manchester United miss him, English football misses him. We haven't had one quite as good since. Not a player whose talent is so immense he actually found a new way of kicking a football.

Welcome (back) to Manchester: Ronaldo touched down in England on Tuesday night ahead of Real's clash with City

Welcome (back) to Manchester: Ronaldo touched down in England ahead of Real's clash with City

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Hydrodynamics Laboratory in Paris will test their theory about the way Ronaldo strikes his knuckleball at a scientific gathering in San Diego this week. They have been dropping steel beads into a tank of water and studying the trajectory. Nobody does that for Ashley Young.

So, when Sir Alex Ferguson says that he remains on good terms with Ronaldo but the player is 'unbuyable', the heart sinks. Try, Sir Alex. Have a go, for all of us. It doesn't matter if it makes life really hard for your rivals. We won't moan, even if you win the league by 25 points. Just get our guy back. Please.

Relationship: Ferguson has claimed the former Manchester Untied star is 'unbuyable'

Relationship: Ferguson has claimed the former Manchester Untied star is 'unbuyable'

Madrid is the love of Ronaldo's life, but he hasn't always felt loved back. Good. Use that. Tell him he's wasted there. Tell him the Spanish crowds have never taken to him as they have Lionel Messi. Massage his ego, play on his insecurities. Wasn't there a time when Madrid made him sad Didn't he refuse to celebrate his goals at the start of the season, because he felt unappreciated That never happened at Old Trafford, did it Hell, it's worth a try.

Unbuyable is such a miserable term. Unbuyable says he is Madrid's, for ever. Unbuyable means nights like this are one of the few chances you will get to see one of the world's greatest players at the height of his powers. If you can go, don't miss it. He's the one you'll tell the grandkids about.

Sacking Hughes might not add up

The problem for Tony Fernandes at Queens Park Rangers, and for all owners, is that the only way to build a club is to place faith in a coach and his vision. Invariably, this means an equal investment in players, staff and the remodelling of academies and training facilities.

In terms of results, there is no indication this season that Rangers are going to turn around under Mark Hughes, so continued support now is merely a leap of faith.

In training: Hughes puts his squad through their paces on Tuesday as his future hangs in the balance

In training: Hughes puts his squad through their paces on Tuesday as his future hangs in the balance

Yet the alternative, to remove Hughes and his entourage and start again, is fraught with expense and difficulty with no certainty of alleviating the crisis, either. West Ham United stuck with Avram Grant and went down, West Bromwich Albion sacked Roberto Di Matteo and stayed up.

Wigan Athletic kept Roberto Martinez and stayed up, Wolverhampton Wanderers dismissed Mick McCarthy and went down. The only concrete guarantee is that the cost of replacing the manager, his backroom boys and overhauling the squad twice in one season is horrific. This alone may be what buys Hughes the time to turn Rangers around.