Tag Archives: remarks

Man arrested for alleged racist abuse during Millwall"s v Leeds

53-year-old man arrested for alleged racist abuse during Millwall's match against Leeds
Sky Sports News report identified 56 examples of racist abuse at MillwallSustained abuse heard from Block 28 at The DenMillwall 'appalled' by footage and captain Danny Shittu 'deeply saddened'

By
David Wilcock

PUBLISHED:

21:57 GMT, 12 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 12 February 2013

A man has been arrested in connection with allegations of racist abuse aimed at Leeds striker El-Hadji Diouf by Millwall fans, Scotland Yard said on Tuesday night.

The 53-year-old man was arrested after Sky Sports News last night broadcast footage which appeared to show some of the London club's fans hurling insults at the Senegalese forward during a game at the Den in November.

Millwall said they were 'appalled' by the footage and vowed to reopen an investigation into allegations of racial abuse, which initially emerged online.

Caught on camera: A fan is filmed making racist remarks during a Millwall game by Sky Sports News

Caught on camera: A fan is filmed making racist remarks during a Millwall game by Sky Sports News

Club captain Danny Shittu said he was 'deeply saddened' by what he had seen in the documentary.

The man, from Enfield, north London, remained in custody tonight on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

Millwall have promised to ban any individuals for life if they are found guilty.

The footage appears to show fans hurling insults at Diouf during an npower Championship clash between the two clubs at the south-east London ground on November 18.

The Lions' chief executive, Andy Ambler, said that an initial investigation was closed after Diouf said he heard no racist abuse aimed at him.

Abuse: Sky Sports News picked up another fan making racist remarks

Abuse: Sky Sports News picked up another fan making racist remarks

'Like all Millwall fans and football fans generally, we're appalled by the footage we've seen,' he said.

'Sadly racism exists in our society and certain individuals want to bring it into football grounds. It's down to us in football do to more.

Shittu later released a statement on the club website which read: 'I am deeply saddened by the documentary on Sky Sports showing racism by the minority at matches including at Millwall FC.

Anger: Leeds forward El-Hadji Diouf was believed to be the target of racist abuse

Anger: Leeds forward El-Hadji Diouf was believed to be the target of racist abuse

'As the current Millwall captain, racism is something I do not stand for or condone.

'I am currently in talks with the club about any further measures we can take in dealing with and eradicating racism at matches.

'I do not want the events shown yesterday to tarnish the hard work done by the club thus far and their efforts in tackling this issue.

'Every player at all levels has the right to represent their club without being subjected to homophobic or racial taunts. I will do all I can to help eradicate racism at my club and in football.'

Bolton forward Marvin Sordell has previously made allegations of racial abuse towards Millwall's fans.

A banner stating “Sordell is a c***” was unfurled at a later game which came in the wake of his claims, while a 13-year-old boy was banned from the ground.

Former batsman Greg Ritchie criticised for "racist" remarks

Former Australia batsman Ritchie criticised for 'racist' remarks during South Africa Test

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UPDATED:

15:44 GMT, 11 November 2012


Criticised: Greg Ritchie, pictured in 1985, has been slated for comments at a lunch

Criticised: Greg Ritchie, pictured in 1985, has been slated for comments at a lunch

Former Test player Greg Ritchie has been criticised by Cricket Australia for making alleged racist remarks at a lunch during the first Test with South Africa.

Ritchie, a batsman who played for Australia between 1982 and 1987, made the remarks when speaking at a lunch held by the Gabba Members' Club on the first day of the first Test on Friday.

CA contacted Ritchie, who admitted making the comments, and he was reminded about the organisation's anti-racism policy.

CA has also stated it does not think it appropriate for Ritchie to speak at any of its international venues.

The governing body has also been given assurances by Queensland Cricket and the Gabba Members' Club that Ritchie is not due to speak at the venue for the remainder of the Test, which tomorrow enters its fourth day.

A CA spokesman said: 'We are very disappointed at comments Greg Ritchie has made at the luncheon.

'A senior CA official has contacted Greg Ritchie, who has admitted making the comments, and CA has made it clear to Mr Ritchie that it finds his comments totally unacceptable.

'QC and the Gabba has confirmed that Mr Ritchie is not booked to speak at the venue for the rest of this Test.

Comments: Ritchie made the remarks at a lunch during the Test between Australia and South Africa

Comments: Ritchie made the remarks at a lunch during the Test between Australia and South Africa

'We have spoken to QC and the Gabba Members' Club and reminded them of the obligations under the ICC Anti-Racism Policy for International Cricket and of the Australian community expectations of speakers that speak publicly within our venues.'

CA is also writing to remind all of its member states and venues about its support of anti-racism initiatives.

The spokesman continued: 'Cricket Australia believes there is no place for racism in sport, on or off the field.

'We fully support the ICC Anti-Racism Policy for International Cricket.

'We regularly carry messages as per the (policy) on our big screen at matches, so all our spectators clearly understand their obligations under it.

'CA believes that it is not appropriate for Mr Ritchie to be speaking at our international cricket venues at present.'

Ritchie, who played for Queensland for 12 years, scored 1,690 runs in 30 Tests with a top score of 146.

Arsene Wenger should have substituted Jack Wilshere – Graham Poll

Wenger should have followed Ferguson's lead and taken Wilshere off

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UPDATED:

06:18 GMT, 5 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson again proved he is a more savvy manager than Arsene Wenger on Saturday when he replaced Tom Cleverley with Anderson soon after his final warning from referee Mike Dean.

The game was not an overly physical contest but was littered with strong fouls which required cautions – eight of them – and felt like a game which would not finish with 22 players on the field.

The misconduct started with Jack Wilshere unnecessarily making a very heavy challenge in just the 13th minute and Dean had no option but to show the yellow card despite it being the Arsenal man’s first foul.

Dismissed: Jack Wilshere was sent off for Arsenal against Manchester United

Dismissed: Jack Wilshere was sent off for Arsenal against Manchester United

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Graham Poll: Mason will be in the spotlight at Stamford Bridge
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Graham Poll: Suddenly something changed Clattenburg's attitude
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Graham Poll: I know Clattenburg will be shocked, angry and going over every detail in his head
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Graham Poll: Clattenburg knows if he made racist remarks his career is already over
29/10/12

Graham Poll: Why Clattenburg’s day went rapidly downhill with Torres’ dodgy dismissal
29/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Players often look incredulous at being cautioned so early, stating that it is only their first offence, but if the tackle is reckless it must be cautioned.

Ashley Young and Michael Carrick soon followed the Arsenal midfielder into Dean's notebook before Cleverley became the fourth player in the book in the first half for a poor challenge on Santi Cazorla.

Dean was clearly in control but with United only one goal to the good and Arsenal in the ascendancy the game had an edge to it which needed watching.

Dean issued what was clearly a final warning to Wilshere in the 54th minute after another poor challenge on Robin Van Persie. Then, showing consistency and common sense, did the same to Cleverley in the 56th minute after Cleverley brought Wilshere down. Both fouls could have been cautioned and probably would have been had they not already seen yellow.

Within four minutes Cleverley was substituted by Ferguson but Wenger failed to react despite a clearly tiring Wilshere being in danger of a red card. Before another ten minutes had elapsed, Wilshere flew into Patrice Evra and left Dean with no choice but to dismiss him.

Wise move: Tom Cleverley was subbed after receiving a yellow card

Wise move: Tom Cleverley was subbed after receiving a yellow card

I have spoken to Wenger regarding interaction between players and referees and he has always preferred to allow players to act as they feel and accept the consequences of their actions.

Maybe that’s why he left Wilshere on when it appeared to me fairly obvious that he was heading for an early bath.

GOOD WEEK
BAD WEEK

Referee Michael Oliver
Michael Oliver (above) and Anthony Taylor who refereed the live Sunday games at Loftus Road and Anfield respectively. Both are establishing themselves after being promoted to the select list in 2010. It takes a few years to be accepted by all parties but these two are showing that new referees can prosper on the elite list and there is hope for the future.

Kevin Nolan of West Ham United
Assistant referees are instructed to give the benefit of any doubt, where one exists, to the attacker when judging offside. Given how close the call was when Kevin Nolan (above) finished so expertly for West Ham, Peter Bankes cannot have been certain and so should have kept his flag down, especially when Nolan was onside.

Mark Clattenburg racism row: Official wants to carry on refereeing during FA probe and Scott Ledger precedent allows it

Clattenburg wants to carry on refereeing during FA probe… And linesman precedent allows it

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UPDATED:

10:39 GMT, 2 November 2012

Mark Clattenburg intends to continue refereeing throughout the FA and police investigation into allegations he directed a racist comment at John Mikel Obi – and a precedent exists that will allow him to do so.

The under-fire official could cite the case of Scott Ledger, the linesman investigated last season over alleged homophobic remarks, in order to continue refereeing.

Sportsmail has learnt that Clattenburg is keen to take the field again as soon as possible and has confided as much to friends.

Eye of the storm: John Obi Mikel (R) of Chelsea talks to referee Mark Clattenburg as team-mate Juan Mata looks on during last Sunday's clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge

Eye of the storm: John Obi Mikel (R) of Chelsea talks to referee Mark Clattenburg as team-mate Juan Mata looks on during last Sunday's clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have formally accused the
official of racially abusing Mikel during Sunday’s 3-2 defeat
by Manchester United, but the Arsenal boss said he would prefer to see
such matters dealt with internally. Clattenburg is also facing a police
investigation after a formal complaint was made by the Society of Black
Lawyers.

Despite being omitted from the list of officials on duty for this weekend’s fixtures, the 37-year-old has not been suspended by the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL).

There are fears about the spotlight that would accompany Clattenburg’s next refereeing appointment, but no decision has yet been made as to whether the Clattenburg will be considered for duty next weekend.

Official complaint: Chelsea have accused Clattenburg (above) of using racist language during Sunday's match

Official complaint: Chelsea have accused Clattenburg (above) of using racist language during Sunday's match

Enlarge

Fans' banter: United fans hoist a banner at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Chelsea fans have a famous banner which reads: John Terry: Captain. Leader. Legend

Fans' banter: United fans hoist a banner at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Chelsea fans have a famous banner which reads: John Terry: Captain. Leader. Legend

However, the PGMOL’s decision to allow Ledger to continue in his role as assistant referee while under investigation last season offers a potential precedent.

Ledger continued to be selected for top flight fixtures after being reported by an official in the Barnsley Referees’ Association, for allegedly making homophobic comments during a game involving teenage boys. Ledger was found to have no case to answer.

CASE STUDY: SCOTT LEDGER

Linesman Scott Ledger

Ledger was accused in March of making homophobic remarks during a game involving teenage boys.

He was reported to the Sheffield and Hallamshire Football Association by
an official in the Barnsley Referees’ Association following alleged
comments made during and after a fixture between Barnsley and Rotherham
Referees’ Association in February.

The five-a-side game is understood to have involved 15 and 16-year-old
boys and the allegation is that homophobic remarks were directed at
those participants.

Ledger (right) was investigated by the FA and found to have no case to answer.
He was not suspended and continued to officiate throught the
investigation

South Yorkshire official Ledger, who has risen to Premier League level
following a career in the Army, was appointed to the Football League
list of assistant referees in June 2007.

He has since progressed to the elite group of officials and was
appointed as assistant referee for the Community Shield clash between
Manchester United and Manchester City at Wembley in August 2011.

Mark Clattenburg will be shocked and angry after Chelsea allegations – Graham Poll

I know Clattenburg will be shocked, angry and going over every detail in his head

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 29 October 2012

Monday would have been a tense, nerve-jangling day for Mark Clattenburg. One of those days when you can’t think straight because the phone won’t stop ringing.

Of course you could turn it off but your bosses at the PGMO (Professional Game Match Officials) board might want you.

You also need the support of family, friends and colleagues. So you leave the phone on.

Wrong call: Fernando Torres was sent off by Mark Clattenburg

Wrong call: Fernando Torres was sent off by Mark Clattenburg

More from Graham Poll…

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Graham Poll: Clattenburg knows if he made racist remarks his career is already over
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Graham Poll: Chelsea will be fuming as Clattenburg got two big calls wrong
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Graham Poll's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

You can’t help but be drawn to the radio phone-ins. Surely someone is on your side.

You believe that you have done nothing wrong — but are fully aware that, in the heat of ‘battle’, inappropriate comments can come out.

I would never condone the use of ‘inappropriate language’. Indeed, foul language should not be uttered by a match official, ever. But it is. Sometimes you are pushed so far that it seems the only way a player will listen is if you swear and perhaps shock him. Very occasionally I did swear at players and justified it in my mind as the last resort to control them. Sometimes they threatened to report me, which can be worrying and affect your decision-making.

On the morning after the game, you try to recall how it all went wrong.

Clattenburg will have been wondering how a performance which was going so well suddenly blew up in his face. Monday will have been a very long day. He will have reviewed the DVD and seen how well he was doing until the 62nd-minute sending-off of Branislav Ivanovic; a routine dismissal conducted in textbook fashion. Detect the foul, assess the sanction, check with colleagues and administer in a calm and dignified way.

But then Was it a comment from a Chelsea player, disappointed that a team-mate was being dismissed and with that the chance of winning a key game possibly being taken away Was it the crowd reaction and the pressure that changed his attitude

Dismissed: John Terry is shown the red card by Graham Poll

Dismissed: John Terry is shown the red card by Graham Poll

Dismissed: John Terry is shown the red card

All these thoughts are analysed; the second sending-off will be replayed time and again. Knowing Mark, he will be justifying the decision. On Sunday night he was insisting he could justify the decision as it was his opinion that Torres was trying to get an opponent into trouble. That’s as maybe but with contact from Jonny Evans there must be doubts.

Given his history of dealing with controversy, Clattenburg will be able to deal with the fall-out from the game, his decisions and their consequences. However, the allegations that were made afterwards will be a whole new experience for him.

If he is innocent, he will be livid and getting his statement prepared to submit to the FA. He will be thankful that the referee communication system was in place and operating well. It clear that Clattenburg referred to his assistant Mick McDonagh just before the Ivanovic dismissal and he will be relying on the fact that the ‘open mic’ will mean every word will have been heard by both assistants and the fourth official Mike Jones.

They choose between the same ‘open mic’ or a ‘push to talk’ system requiring them to activate the system by pressing a button. The referee has no choice. And that will be Clattenburg’s defence.

That’s the way it was for me in 2006, when I was accused of telling players that I would ‘sort them out’ and ‘teach them a lesson’.

Joint effort: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off after Clattenburg talked to his assistant

Joint effort: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off after Clattenburg talked to his assistant

I refereed Tottenham v Chelsea in November 2006. Spurs won 2-1 and I sent John Terry off for two cautionable offences. After training the next day Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard claimed I had told them I would sort them out after their unacceptable behaviour in the midweek Champions League game against Barcelona.

I was contacted by the FA to provide a statement in response and they then looked into whether I would be charged. I felt like the person on trial, even though I had done nothing wrong. My three colleagues in that game all confirmed that they had heard no such comments and the allegations were withdrawn.

Chelsea players later retracted their claims on the club website.

Of course if all matches had the dialogue recorded — as it can be and indeed has been — then the authorities would know exactly what had and what had not been said.

When the communication system was introduced I was in favour of broadcasting it for fans attending, as is the practice at rugby games with ‘Ref Link’. This was blocked, but should be re-examined. The least that should happen is that recordings should be made and kept.

Danger: If Clattenburg abused John Obi Mikel his refereeing career is over

Danger: If Clattenburg abused John Obi Mikel his refereeing career is over

If Clattenburg is guilty of making inappropriate comments his career could be over. While Luis Suarez got an eight-game ban and John Terry four, Clattenburg knows that his would be a much tougher sanction which will effectively end his career.

This game, and the allegations which followed it, should be a watershed for referees to look at themselves and accept that by allowing the football field to be awash with foul language and abuse they are doing the game and themselves a disservice.

It is time for them to stand up and be counted, to dismiss all players who hurl abuse at them and never use such language, however tough the situation or extreme the provocation. Insist that all dialogue between the officials is recorded, if only for protection, and start to deliver a game we can all be proud of again.

Mark Clattenburg under siege as FA and police probe ref

Clattenburg under siege as police and FA probe race-row ref following Chelsea claim

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 29 October 2012

Mark Clattenburg is fighting to save his career after the Football Association and police began formal investigations into allegations that he racially abused Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

Clattenburg has denied making any inappropriate comments and his account will be backed by assistants Michael McDonough and Simon Long, along with fourth official Mike Jones.

The referee, at the centre of the storm on Sunday following his handling of Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, complied with FA regulations by filing an ‘extraordinary incident’ report on Monday.

Scroll down for video

In the spotilight: Mark Clattenburg, leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

In the spotilight: Mark Clattenburg, leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

Grabbing a lift: Clattenburg jumped into a car with fellow ref Michael Oliver

Grabbing a lift: Clattenburg jumped into a car with fellow ref Michael Oliver

It relates to Chelsea allegations that he made inappropriate remarks to two of their players and was later confronted by manager Roberto Di Matteo, Mikel and chief executive Ron Gourlay.

Mikel did not hear the alleged abuse, but the account has been backed up by two Chelsea players — reported to be Brazilian duo Ramires and David Luiz — who are both prepared to make statements.

The 85,000-a-year official has been taken off this weekend’s Premier League match list as the FA compliance department begins a top-level inquiry.

Police will begin an investigation after Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, wrote asking them to open up an investigation into Clattenburg’s conduct. That could damage the FA’s hopes of a speedy resolution — waiting for a police inquiry to end meant John Terry’s recent case ultimately took nearly a year to be decided

Accused: Clattenburg is alleged to have racially abused John Obi Mikel (right) during Chelsea's defeat

Accused: Clattenburg is alleged to have racially abused John Obi Mikel (right) during Chelsea's defeat

Dispute: Mikel complains to Clattenburg as his side slump to defeat at Stamford Bridge

Dispute: Mikel complains to Clattenburg as his side slump to defeat at Stamford Bridge

Meanwhile, the investigation will jeopardise Clattenburg’s standing in the game and could affect his chances of making it on to the FIFA list for the 2014 World Cup. In addition to Clattenburg’s initial incident report, which was studied by the FA’s governance department on Monday morning, he will be asked to provide a detailed statement of the controversial incidents.

Chelsea allege Clattenburg used ‘inappropriate language’ in two separate exchanges with Mikel and Chelsea winger Juan Mata during their first Premier League defeat of the season.

Assistants McDonough and Long — who both ran the line — and fourth official Jones will provide additional statements for the FA’s compliance department.

Marching orders: Referee Mark Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players on Sunday

Marching orders: Referee Mark Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players on Sunday

Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) while Clattenburg struggled to contain both sides

Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) while Clattenburg struggled to contain both sides

Fernando Torres of Chelsea talks to referee Mark Clattenburg

They wore ‘crystal clear’ wireless technology microphones which suppress crowd noise and allow officials to communicate without distraction. Although the conversations are not recorded, Professional Game Match Officials sources claim it is ‘inconceivable’ that the use of an offensive or inappropriate phrase would not have been heard by the officials.

A statement released on Monday said: ‘PGMO believe that, with any football match, the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself. Mark Clattenburg is one of the elite referees in world football and, in these circumstances, the intense level of scrutiny would detract from the match and be unfair to the clubs and the supporters of both sides.’

Tough time: Clattenburg was given a hostile reception by the Chelsea fans as he left the field

Tough time: Clattenburg was given a hostile reception by the Chelsea fans as he left the field

Winner: Javier Hernandez scores Manchester United's third goal (above) and celebrates (below)

Winner: Javier Hernandez scores Manchester United's third goal

 Javier Hernandez scores

VIDEO: Did referee abuse black Chelsea player See the John Obi Mikel incident here…

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Mark Halsey twitter abuse sees man cautioned by police

Liverpool fan who abused Halsey on Twitter after United defeat cautioned by police

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UPDATED:

11:13 GMT, 28 September 2012

Abused: Halsey

Abused: Halsey

The man who posted abusive messages about referee Mark Halsey after his handling of Liverpool's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend has been cautioned by the police.

Liverpool supporter, 27, John Wareing tweeted: 'I hope Mark Halsey gets cancer again and dies.'

Halsey, a cancer survivor, had reported the abuse to the police earlier this week.

DS Tony Lunt of Greater Manchester police said: 'Clearly the victim and his family were very distressed by the extremely offensive comments posted on Twitter.

'We take all reports of abuse on social networking sites very seriously as these remarks can and do have a devastating impact on people’s lives.

'As a result of our investigation, we have cautioned a man who has admitted responsibility for some of the messages.

'This individual was very apologetic and realises that in a moment of stupidity he posted deeply derogatory remarks about the victim and completely regrets his actions.

'Twitter, like all social networking sites, can be a fantastic tool for people to communicate but it must not be abused to the detriment of decent hard-working people who may be in the public eye.

'Our inquiries are ongoing to identify anyone else who posted these offensive messages.'

Kevin Pietersen saga: Emotions still too raw for return – Peter Hayter

Peter Hayter: Emotions are too raw at the moment to allow KP to return to England's team

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UPDATED:

21:20 GMT, 15 September 2012

Barring a dramatic turn of events at the 11th hour, Kevin Pietersen appears certain to be out of England’s squad for the tour of India when it is announced on Tuesday, just as his name was absent from the original selection made almost a week ago.

Time is certainly running out for Pietersen and the England camp to strike a last-minute deal to enable him to travel on the first leg of the winter Test tours.

The signs are that a series of meetings, described as amicable in nature, have produced some progress towards a resolution of the issues that led to Pietersen being dropped for the final Test against South Africa at Lord’s and missing out on an England central contract.

Isolated figure: Pietersen is unlikely to travel to India with England's Test squad

Isolated figure: Pietersen is unlikely to travel to India with England's Test squad

Yet it appears the fall-out from the revelation that he sent text messages to ‘close friends’ in the South African dressing room containing offensive remarks about Andrew Strauss is still too great and feelings within the England camp still too raw for Pietersen to be welcomed back.

Opinion is split in the game over Pietersen’s future, as revealed by a poll of former captains and team-mates by The Mail on Sunday. But at least one former team-mate, Paul Collingwood, believes Pietersen should stay at home this winter.

‘Emotions are still very raw,’ he said. ‘I do believe Kevin will play for England again but the one thing England will make sure of is that the decision they make is not just for a short fix but for the next few years.

‘There is a need for the emotions to die down and for both sides to be clear he will be back in when the time is right and not just because we are going to India and it is the hardest challenge.

‘A happy camp usually plays better than a disgruntled one and going to India, with his Indian Premier League contacts, will not help. India is a place which can test team spirit at the best of times. You’ve definitely got to be very together in a place like that because it can be tough, not just on the field but off it as well.’

Back to the day job: Pietersen has been in form for Surrey

Back to the day job: Pietersen has been in form for Surrey

When England announced last week that
they were delaying the announcement of the squad, some believed the door
was being kept open for final talks which could yet swing the decision
in Pietersen’s favour.

It was claimed that Strauss’s successor Alastair Cook and coach Andy Flower may be prepared to countenance his return, having taken soundings over whether Pietersen could be accommodated within the dressing room without damaging team spirit. Without him, England would be taking an inexperienced top six to India.

The contrary view was that England were sticking to their guns but wanted an extension on two grounds. First, they needed to make sure any legal niceties regarding a possible case for constructive dismissal had been covered. Second, they wanted Flower and his England World T20 squad to be in Colombo before showing their hand.

A fresher view was that Pietersen had been asked to travel to India and also commit himself to England for the whole of their Test tour of New Zealand but had asked for more time to respond. Or that he had turned the offer down.

It has been said that Pietersen has sought to explain why he has not been able to engage with the team as they would have liked. He has felt it difficult, or even inappropriate, to express himself in a dressing room run by one man who replaced him as captain – Strauss – and another he wanted removed as assistant coach when he demanded the sacking of Peter Moores.

Decisions to make: Andy Flower (right) and Alastair Cook (left) will not want to disrupt team harmony

Decisions to make: Andy Flower (right) and Alastair Cook (left) will not want to disrupt team harmony

Whatever Piers Morgan may have broadcast on Twitter, both sides also appear to agree that alleged links between Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and James Anderson and the now defunct KP Genius parody twitter account were not as much of an issue to the player as it seems to have been to his celebrity supporter.

Morgan last week accused the trio of conspiring to wreck Pietersen’s career and Anderson of being an ‘egocentric berk’. Swann is the only one to have responded publicly by tweeting: ‘Sorry to disappoint all you Piers Morgan fans but KP’s parody had nothing to do with me. I suggest a warm cocoa and an early night.’

More central to the discussions, it has been said, have been Pietersen’s long-term and unconditional commitment to the England cause and the full and frank disclosure of the exact content of the text messages.

Pietersen’s main opponents in the dressing room have not altered their belief that his behaviour towards Strauss was reprehensible and probably unforgivable.

For an accommodation to happen, Pietersen would have to convince the England players that his commitment to their cause is not merely pragmatic and that they would have no more trouble from him in future.

In the end, however, it appears Pietersen has run out of time.

England must block out Kevin Pietersen furore to beat South Africa

Enough about KP, let's play! England must block out text furore and take fight to tourists

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 15 August 2012

Andrew Strauss would never have dreamt that the build-up to his 100th Test for England would be like this.

Graeme Smith could never have imagined that the eve of his record-breaking 94th Test as captain would be so dominated by one absent opponent. Once again at Lord's everybody was talking about Kevin.

These two contrasting, highly successful skippers conducted themselves admirably in their different ways ahead of the decisive final Test, Strauss reasserting his authority by talking in strong terms about the Kevin Pietersen affair while Smith acted in a bemused, slightly prickly manner over a saga that has affected his team, too.

Quit talking: All the build-up to the final Test has surrounded Pietersen's absence

Quit talking: All the build-up to the final Test has surrounded Pietersen's absence

That Pietersen apology in full

I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA team. The texts were meant as banter between close friends. I need to rein myself in sometimes.

I apologise to Straussy and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts. I truly didn't mean to cause upset or tension particularly with important games at stake.

This is a hugely important Test, with England needing to win it not only to square the series but also to stop South Africa overtaking them as the best Test team in the world. Now we will see which captain will be able to cut through the distractions caused by a man who is close to neither.

At any other time there would be much debate about whether Strauss's position would be in any way threatened if England were to lose this game and the Investec series 2-0 and topple from their lofty perch after just a year.

Yet there has been such turmoil caused by the biggest crisis in English cricket since Pietersen clashed with coach Peter Moores, leading to Strauss and Andy Flower taking over, that surely England will want the incumbent's calm hand on the tiller even if South Africa triumph.

Strauss, as ever, cut a mightily authoritative figure yesterday as he faced up to the humiliating realisation that one of his team had been critical of him in texts to opponents and the chances of that undermining both his leadership and his team.

'Once the players became involved in Kevin's dispute with the board then I had to become very protective of our environment,' said Strauss. 'I have to be vigilant now about the values with which we live and treat each other because it is central to how we became a very good side.'

Smith, meanwhile, must be secretly delighted that England have been faced with such a divisive situation.

Back to basics: England spent the day training at cricket HQ before the biggest match of the year

Back to basics: England spent the day training at cricket HQ before the biggest match of the year

Back to basics: England spent the day training at cricket HQ before the biggest match of the year

The ECB response from Hugh Morris

We are in receipt of Kevin's apology, but further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all parties are able to focus on playing cricket and to maintain the unity of purpose that has served us so well in recent years.

He said: 'Kevin is obviously a world-class cricketer and for me to say that England won't miss him would be wrong. But there is a talent pool in English cricket that we need to respect. For us to sit back and take things for granted now is not the way we have prepared for this tour.'

South Africa will be firm favourites to achieve at least the draw they need here but England may yet surprise us and take strength from the adversity that has claimed their outrageously gifted batsman.

They have certainly seemed relaxed and happy in practice and would love to prove that, as in one-day cricket, they can win without Pietersen.

Strauss would give no clues as to whether England would change the balance of their side but it would be a huge surprise if they abandoned their four-bowler policy now, even though they desperately need to take 20 South African wickets on one of Mick Hunt's flawless Lord's pitches.

That means Jonny Bairstow will almost certainly step in to join James Taylor in the middle order, two hugely promising batsmen who have come through the ultra-professional England age-group and Lions structure.

Bairstow struggled against the short ball when faced with Kemar Roach against West Indies earlier this summer but the hope now is that he takes on bouncers rather than being caught in two minds by them. All he has to do is whack the bowling of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. No pressure then, Jonny.

Firm focus: Coach Andy Flower and bowling coach David Saker watch on during the session at Lord's

Firm focus: Coach Andy Flower and bowling coach David Saker watch on during the session at Lord's

Firm focus: Coach Andy Flower and bowling coach David Saker watch on during the session at Lord's

England v South Africa: Third Test

His task would be made considerably easier if England already have a platform built for them by Strauss and the man who will replace him sooner or later as Test captain, Alastair Cook.

It is eight years since Strauss made such an auspicious debut here at Lord's against New Zealand and he makes his 100th appearance as a three-times Ashes winner and a captain in two of those series.

Now he wants to ensure he does not follow Michael Vaughan in losing to South Africa after conquering Australia.

'Good sides can draw strength from adversity and I'm certainly expecting us to do that,' said Strauss.

'Our preparation for this match has been far from ideal but I'm determined to enjoy and savour my 100th Test as much as I can.

'If I am distracted by the fact it is a milestone it is not going to help me play well, so we all need to concentrate now on playing in the way we know we can.'

Smith is a remarkable cricketer, having taken control as an abrasive 22-year-old and becoming a formidable, mature leader by the age of 31.

The man once derided by Pietersen as a 'muppet' prepares to lead his side to the summit of Test cricket if he can avoid defeat over the next five, compelling days.

No wonder Smith was smiling when the cameras were off him.

Laugh it up: Broad and Anderson see the funny side of things, despite the row rumbling on over KP

Laugh it up: Broad and Anderson see the funny side of things, despite the row rumbling on over KP

Big match stat attack – by Lawrence Booth

94 South Africa captain Graeme Smith will lead out a Test side for a record 94th time — 93 with South Africa and one as captain of the ICC World XI.

6 If Andrew Strauss marks his 100th cap by scoring a ton, he will equal the record for Test centuries at Lord’s of six, held by Graham Gooch and Michael Vaughan.

10 The fresh turf at Lord’s was grown near Scunthorpe and had to be cut, transported and laid within 10 hours. It replaced turf damaged by Olympic archery.

3 England have lost three of 25 Tests at Lord’s since the turn of the century, winning 14. But South Africa have proved a bogey team and won in 1994, 1998 and 2003.

4 Jimmy Anderson needs four wickets to become only the third bowler to claim 50 Test wickets at Lord’s. Currently he trails Sir Ian Botham (69), Fred Trueman (63) and Bob Willis (47).

2 Only two of South Africa’s current touring party are on the Lord’s honours boards: Smith for his 259 in 2003 and 107 in 2008. In the latter game, Hashim Amla also hit an unbeaten 104.

1 Not even a draw will preserve England’s No 1 Test ranking. A 1-0 series victory for South Africa would give them a lead of one-sixth of a point over the hosts, who must win at Lord’s to stay top.

Kevin Pietersen will be missed by England at Lord"s, says Jacques Kallis

England WILL miss KP at Lord's… but he won't be away for long, insists Kallis

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UPDATED:

14:31 GMT, 14 August 2012

Jacques Kallis believes England will miss Kevin Pietersen at Lord's this week – but does not expect them to be without their superstar batsman for long.

Kallis and his South Africa team-mates need only avoid defeat in the third Investec Test, to clinch the series and knock England off their world No 1 perch.

That task looks a little easier in the absence of Pietersen, who lit up Headingley with a man-of-the-match century only to be dropped for this final match of three following a fall-out with his employers at the England and Wales Cricket Board.

In the field: South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis warm up ahead of Thursday's third Test

In the field: South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis warm up ahead of Thursday's third Test

Many contend South Africa-born Pietersen's refusal to deny or apologise for texts, reportedly sent to opposition players during the Leeds draw and allegedly containing derogatory remarks about his own team-mates, will spell the end of the 32-year-old's career.

South Africa all-rounder Kallis does not see things that way.

'I'm sure they'll sort it out,' he said.

'He's too good a player to stay out of the international scene. I've no doubts they'll come to an agreement, and something will be sorted out.'

Missing man: Kallis believes Pietersen will return to the England fold soon

Missing man: Kallis believes Pietersen will return to the England fold soon

In the more immediate term, Kallis senses a team without Pietersen – he will be replaced by young Yorkshire batsman Jonny Bairstow – is inevitably weakened.

'He's a world-class player … England losing him is a big loss for them.

'Any time he's not in your side it does make a big difference.

'I think they're going to miss his experience, for sure.'

Even so, Kallis and his fellow tourists are readying themselves once again to face tough and talented opponents.

Up for it: AB de Villers, Faf du Plessis and Jean-Paul Duminy play football at Lord's

Up for it: AB de Villers, Faf du Plessis and Jean-Paul Duminy play football at Lord's

'Cricket's not a one-man sport. There are 11 guys who can take a Test match away from us.

'We're certainly not preparing in any other way than we would do if he was playing.'

Kallis, not thought to have received any text messages himself from Pietersen, acknowledges that communication between players – and closer relationships with the opposition – have developed, in part, because of shared experiences alongside and against one another for Indian Premier League franchises.

But he warns that also brings a responsibility to be a little more guarded when the situation dictates – such as, perhaps, in the middle of a high-profile series against your native country when your world number one status is under threat.

'You have got to be careful about just what you send, and if you do send messages keep it pretty much to a team-mate of yours,' said Kallis.

'If a guy does well and you want to send him a message the guys will do that, especially if you're watching on TV.

'You have to be a little more careful during series you're playing against each other.

'But I think we've moved on from those days when the guys didn't have any contact with each other.'

Good to talk: South Africa are looking to secure the series with a second victory over England

Good to talk: South Africa are looking to secure the series with a second victory over England

As for Pietersen, Kallis recognises there are always likely to be ups and downs for such a mercurial cricketer – who he is sure, nonetheless, will be back.

'These sorts of things are going to happen throughout his career – a few things have happened,' he said.

'I don't think it'll affect him; I think he'll bounce back, and I think he's still got a lot of cricket ahead of him.'