Tag Archives: security

No evidence Rio Ferdinand was racially abused by England fans during World Cup qualifier in San Marino, say Football Association

FA finds no evidence that England fans racially abused Ferdinand brothers during San Marino qualifier

fixture in Moldova.

A football banning order means an individual must surrender their passport, excluding them from all travel abroad around England international fixtures.

'We've been asked to supply our
submission to Fifa by Tuesday, which we will do,' said FA Managing
Director of Club England Adrian Bevington.

'We have gone through all of the video evidence that our security team recorded on the evening of the game.

'I do want to make clear that while
the journalists who have reported this have done so in good faith, they
clearly have heard chanting of a particular nature, and we're not
disputing that, but we haven't been able to identify any of that from
the recorded evidence that we've gone through.'

Fare, who did not have their own
observers at the match, have collated the evidence on the basis of
'hearsay', according to the Football Supporters Federation.

Having been selected for an England squad for the first time since June 2011 for the Brazil 2014 qualifying double-header with San Marino and Montenegro, Ferdinand withdrew after telling Roy Hodgson he had to follow a pre-planned programme of treatment on his back trouble.

He then attracted ridicule by flying to Qatar to appear as a pundit for the match on the Al-Jazeera television channel.

It was widely reported the morning after the game that England fans had sung derogatory songs about Rio and his brother Anton, with the FA promising to investigate the claims.

Ferdinand said on Twitter at the time: 'You expect and accept banter from
fans on the terraces as it's part of what makes the game great, but
racism is not banter and from your own fans. WOW.

'Always a small minority who ruin it for others.'

He added: 'Let's not jump to
conclusions and assume though as it might just have been banter. We'll
see after the investigation.'

The FA issued a statement confirming they had launched an investigation and would review video footage taken by their officials.

They also promised to ban any England fan found guilty of racist abuse and vowed to 'do all we can to eradicate racism from football'.

And the FA also issued a strong call for an end to the 'No Surrender' chants.

The statement read: 'We will not accept any racist chanting and we also call on those attending England matches at home and abroad to stop the “No Surrender” chanting during the singing of the national anthem, both before and during games.'

The prospect of Fifa sanctions was then raised after Fare flagged up to world football's
governing body the vile songs which suggested the pair be burned on a bonfire.

The chant in San Marino was: 'Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put Rio on the top, put Anton in the middle, then burn the f****** lot.'

Football Supporters’ Federation chief executive Kevin Miles, who was at the game, said: ‘Leaping to formal complaint on the basis of second-hand and hearsay information without engaging with supporters’ organisations who were present or the FA is not an approach designed to create the best possible outcome.

‘The Football Supporters’ Federation stand firmly against any manifestations of racism within football. On this occasion, I personally have not heard any of the anti-Rio Ferdinand sentiment being expressed in a way that could be construed as racist.

‘Anger about Rio Ferdinand’s absence from the squad and presence in Dubai in an Al Jazeera studio was strongly felt and clearly expressed. But I heard no racist content. If there were songs sung with racist undertones, then that is a matter for concern. But even then the response needs to be measured, proportionate and constructive.’

Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley today called at the time on the FA to take a stance on the 'vile' and 'abusive' chants by England fans aimed at the Ferdinands.

It has been suggested the song had racist overtones because Anton Ferdinand was the target of racist abuse from former England captain John Terry.

Abuse: England supporters chanted that Rio (above) and Anton Ferdinand (below left) should be 'burned'

Abuse: England supporters chanted that Rio (above) and Anton Ferdinand (below left) should be 'burned'

Anton Ferdinand (left)

Who are FARE

Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) is an international network of groups active in over 40 countries.

Their aim is to help support and coordinate efforts across borders and strengthen activity at national level.

According
to their mission statement: ‘We want to see the beautiful game played
without discrimination and used as a social tool to unite communities,
overcome exclusion and create social change.

'Our
focus is on tackling racism of all kinds, homophobia, and to empower
minorities and women to realise their personal and collective
potential.'

The general objectives of the FARE network are:

To
promote a commitment to fight discrimination at all levels of football
across Europe – in stadiums, on the pitch, in administration, in
coaching and sport education and through the mediaUse the appeal of football to tackle societal discriminationTo foster networking and exchange of good practice transnationallyTo
undertake activities to capacity build and empower marginalized and
discriminated groups, in particular young people, migrants, ethnic
minorities, members of the LGBT communities and women.

Where do they get their money from

Funding has come from the European Commission, UEFA and smaller bodies such as Stand Up Speak Up, a campaign launched by Thierry Henry and Nike to fight racism.

Did FARE have anyone at the match

No. They operate as a conduit for complaints of racism.

So why are they getting involved

Despite having no direct experience of the chanting, FARE claim they are duty bound to lodge a complaint after collating evidence sent to them and after studying media reports of the match.

And why do they think the chant was racist

That is far from clear. The bonfire song is sung at football stadiums across Britain without any suggestions of racism. Some suggest the inclusion of Anton Ferdinand as well as his brother Rio has turned the song into a racist attack. FARE have talked only of an ‘undercurrent of race’. Others point to connotations of the Ku Klux Klan.

What happens next

FIFA will assess the complaint next week. If the allegations are proved it is possible, but unlikely, that England could end up being forced to play their next match behind closed doors. Hungary and Bulgaria played in empty stadiums as a result of FIFA punishments.

Ouseley told BBC Radio 5 Live:
'Whether it's racist or not, it's certainly unacceptable. It's vile and
it shouldn't be part of sport. Something needs to be done about it.

'These
are the supporters of the England national team who are travelling
abroad and singing songs like that. What messages does it send out about
the type of people we are and who we represent

'The
Football Association should be taking a stance on this about the people
it wants supporting the England team, the image it wants to send
abroad.

'I've already
contacted the chairman of the Football Association and said this has to
be looked at, investigated and dealt with. Do you want to be having an
army of fans who call themselves the England fans travelling abroad,
being abusive to their own players like that, or indeed other people

'FIFA will determine (whether it is racist) but clearly we can take a stance on that. We have policies

on anti-racism, homophobia and all other forms of unacceptable behaviour. Why are we so quiet about it'

FIFA said in a statement: 'We can
confirm that FIFA has been contacted by FARE regarding the FIFA World
Cup qualifier match between San Marino and England last Friday.

'FIFA will now analyse the content of the documents and next steps will be determined in due course.'

The ultimate sanction, if FIFA take action against England, is playing a World Cup qualifier behind closed doors.

FARE, headed by Piara Powar, did not have
observers at the game as it was not expected to be 'high risk', but were
supplied with information about the chants by people who were and they
have decided to act.

The organisation is a pan-European
network that aims to rid racism from football. They also reported racist
or xenophobic incidents at Croatia v Serbia and Poland v Ukraine,
matches where members were present.

The FA did not know
an official complaint had been made when Sportsmail enquired but they
are aware of the songs.

English fans also sang about the IRA and 'German
bombers' during the World Cup qualifier but FARE made it clear the
Ferdinand chanting was the reason FIFA had been notified.

A FARE spokeswoman said: 'It refers to the racist abuse Rio Ferdinand received, along with his brother Anton.

'We don't make the judgement. We send a
report to FIFA but in the end its their decision whether they open
proceedings or not. And whether they issue a fine or not.'

An
FA spokesman said: 'We have not been notified on this matter and until
we get a full report it would not be appropriate to say anything.'

Powar told Sportsmail:
‘It’s not really the sort of thing we are generally attuned to looking
at – fans abusing players of their own country who may not have been
picked.

'Nevertheless if it happens at a game, even if the focus of the abuse isn’t there it’s still happening.

‘One
of the things we want to underline straight off is that sometimes
racism doesn’t only take the form of monkey chants or bananas being
thrown. Sometimes there are things that are more subtle at play.

‘In the end we are not responsible for
making a decision on whether England fans are guilty of racism here but
we do have a duty to report things that are said to us because
individuals have reported them as racist or xenophobic within the
context.'

Pulled out: Man United defender Ferdinand was called up but withdrew from Roy Hodgson's squad

Pulled out: Man United defender Ferdinand was called up but withdrew from Roy Hodgson's squad

Discussions: Hodgson says that if he calls Rio up again he will need to speak to him about his fitness first

He added: ‘If someone says to us, “We think
this is a big issue”, and there doesn’t seem to be malicious intent from
their perspective then we are obliged to report it.

'We have people who look at this
stuff and they have a fairly clear idea of the standards required by
governing bodies.

'It’s then put to them and it’s their process. In this
case it’s FIFA’s process. They see whether the evidence hits the
standard to take forward a prosecution.

'FIFA, in the last couple of
incidents they’ve dealt with, have shown a stronger side. They banned
Hungary and Bulgaria from playing with fans last Friday. Forced them to
play behind closed doors.

'That’s quite rare to have a major tournament
qualifier behind closed doors. The last two incidents we reported FIFA showed a very strong hand.'

FARE feel the use of the ‘You know
what you are’ chant also has a racial element, given the history of the
chant in the Terry case.

Peter Herbert, chairman of the
Society for Black Lawyers, insists the bonfire chant does have racist
overtones, adding: ‘We’re uncovering a hard core of racist fans out
there and it doesn’t take very much to trigger their abuse.

‘Some England fans, in that sense,
would claim the Ku Klux Klan are not racist. I think anybody with any
sense and understanding of how racism operates will see that this is
clearly racially motivated and is directed at him. It would not have
been said if it had been a white footballer in the same situation.’

John Terry and Frank Lampard pelted with coins and hot dogs during Chelsea versus West Ham match at Stamford Bridge

Coins and hot dog thrown at Terry and Lampard by West Ham fans during London derby at Stamford Bridge

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

20:18 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:03 GMT, 17 March 2013

Chelsea were embroiled in yet another police probe last night after John Terry was hit by a missile in the win over West Ham.

Hammers fans launched coins and bottles at Blues players as they celebrated Frank Lampard's 200th goal for the Blues.

Metropolitan Police chiefs confirmed they have opened an investigation after receiving an official complaint regarding the incident.

Incident: Police have launched an investigation after coins were thrown at Chelsea's Frank Lampard as he celebrated in front of West Ham fans in Sunday's derby at Stamford Bridge

Incident: Police have launched an investigation after coins were thrown at Chelsea's Frank Lampard as he celebrated in front of West Ham fans in Sunday's derby at Stamford Bridge

Unsavoury: A hot dog (right of shot) was hurled from the West Ham fans at Chelsea captain John Terry as he warmed up near the corner flag

Unsavoury: A hot dog (right of shot) was hurled from the West Ham fans at Chelsea captain John Terry as he warmed up near the corner flag

The FA are will consider this morning whether to begin their own investigation into the ugly scenes.

Tensions between Terry and visiting
supporters were already boiling point as Hammers fans directed torrid
abuse towards the Blues skipper as he warmed up early in the first-half.

In response, Terry mimicked lifting a number of trophies – a reference to the three Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two League Cups and European Cup he has won at Chelsea.

Silverware: John Terry lifts an imaginary trophy in response to West Ham taunts

Silverware: John Terry lifts an imaginary trophy in response to West Ham taunts

John Terry pretends to lift a trophy in front of the West Ham fans

Take that: Terry responds to the West Ham fans while his Chelsea teammates celebrate Frank Lampard's opening goal

Take that: Terry responds to the West Ham fans while his Chelsea teammates celebrate Frank Lampard's opening goal

There were no arrests or ejections
yesterday, but Chelsea security staff will this morning study CCTV
footage to identify the culprits.

A statement from West Ham read: 'West Ham will be working with Chelsea to investigate reports of missile throwing.

'Any individual found to have acted in
an inappropriate way will have to face the consequences of their
actions, including the possibility of a ban from attending future
matches.'

Confrontation: The hot dog appears to land some way from Terry as he limbered up in front of the away end

Confrontation: The hot dog appears to land some way from Terry as he limbered up in front of the away end

Missiles: The West Ham fans also aimed coins at Terry

Missiles: The West Ham fans also aimed coins at Terry

The incident is the fourth police investigation Chelsea have been involved in this season.

Police opened an investigation into
allegations referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused Jon Obi Mikel
during the now infamous clash against Manchester United on October 28.

The same match spawned another police
probe as a steward sustained a knee injury after he was crushed in the
aftermath of Javier Hernandez's winner.

Likewise, South Wales Police
investigated Eden Hazard kick on a ball boy during the Capital One Cup
semi-final second leg clash against Swansea on January 23.

Angry words: Terry was the subject of taunts from the away fans

Angry words: Terry was the subject of taunts from the away fans

Hammers fans were clearly outraged by Lampard's decision to celebrate his milestone moment in front of them yesterday.

But Lampard said: 'I wasn't hit by anything. I went quite close to the West Ham fans but that was the natural curve of my run.'

On the incident, Blues manager Rafa Benitez said: 'When you score 200 goals, you don't think about where you go. You celebrate.

'Afterwards, he realised it would be better to be in another part (of the ground). I don't think he was hit (by a missile).'

Michael Laudrup signs one-year contract extension at Swansea

Danish delight for Swansea as Laudrup signs one-year contract extension

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

17:12 GMT, 8 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:20 GMT, 8 March 2013

t the club.

Michael Laudrup has moved to end speculation about his future by signing a one-year contract extension at Swansea City.

The Dane had been linked with Real Madrid and Chelsea in the wake of Swansea’s remarkable Capital One Cup final triumph against Bradford last month.

But the 48-year-old declared his desire to lead Swansea into Europe after agreeing a deal that will run until June 2015.

All smiles: Michael Laudrup agreed a one-year extension to his current deal at Swansea

All smiles: Michael Laudrup agreed a one-year extension to his current deal at Swansea

He said: ‘We’ve started something this season that I want to continue.

‘I know there has been a lot of
speculation (about my future), but I’ve always said that I am happy here
and I never had any doubts I would stay.

‘I am delighted to sign the new deal
and I’m already really looking forward to next season. I hope there will
be some very exciting things happening with the team and with the club
in Europe.’

The development will go some way to
protecting Swansea financially. Sportsmail understands that Laudrup, 48,
has committed to a hefty clause in the region of 5million, much like
the one Brendan Rodgers agreed to when he signed his extension at the
Liberty Stadium four months before joining Liverpool.

Last night Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins admitted he still fears bigger clubs will come in for his manager.

He told Sportsmail: ‘It’s a fact of
life in football that if you do well people will want your manager or
players and there is no such thing as a cast iron agreement anymore.

‘But this deal shows Michael’s desire
to stay here and it also gives us the extra financial security if
another club does come in.’

Historic: Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup success this season

Historic: Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup success this season

Historic: Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup success this season

Jenkins added: ‘The success we have
had with Michael has been brilliant. I thoroughly enjoy working with him
and long may that continue.

‘This is obviously great news for
everyone connected with the club, from the fans, to the players and the
staff. We are delighted that he has agreed this extension.’

Talks only started last week between
the two parties after Laudrup was initially reluctant to commit his
future to the club beyond stating his desire to lead the club in Europe.

Jenkins said: ‘I think the fact we got it done relatively quickly shows you what Michael thinks about the club.

‘He is enjoying himself and he finds the challenge exciting, which for him is very important.’

Tottenham and Arsenal warned about vile chants

North London rivals in vile chants threat: Yobs will be ejected from White Hart Lane

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:55 GMT, 28 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:00 GMT, 1 March 2013

Tottenham and Arsenal will issue a warning to supporters intent on using sick chants during this weekend’s north London derby.

Spurs will use Sunday’s programme and their official website to warn fans they will take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to those found singing abusive songs, and fans who are caught doing so will be thrown out of the ground.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been the target of disgusting abuse from Tottenham fans in recent matches.

Targets: Spurs' ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Gunners manager Arsene Wenger

Targets: Spurs' ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Gunners manager Arsene Wenger

Targets: Spurs' ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Gunners manager Arsene Wenger

Slated: Sol Campbell was the victim of abuse by Spurs fans after his switch to Arsenal

Slated: Sol Campbell was the victim of abuse by Spurs fans after his switch to Arsenal

Slated: Sol Campbell was the victim of abuse by Spurs fans after his switch to Arsenal

Likewise, former Gunners striker Emmanuel Adebayor has also been at the centre of vile chants from Arsenal fans since his acrimonious exit for Manchester City in 2009 and the club will also post a warning on their website.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are considering inviting Gareth Bale to the negotiating table to discuss improved terms as they seek to persuade him to stay for at least another season.

Bale has signed contract extensions in each of the last two summers and Spurs may try to persuade him to do so again. Bale is waiting to see if Tottenham qualify for the Champions League before making a decision.

Third time lucky Spurs are hoping that Bale will extend his contract once again

Third time lucky Spurs are hoping that Bale will extend his contract once again

Real Madrid will accelerate their efforts to lure Bale if Cristiano Ronaldo fails to sign a new contract. Real will only formalise their interest if Ronaldo indicates he won’t extend a deal that is due to expire in 2015.

Meanwhile, a UEFA security officer has been appointed for Spurs’ Europa League clash against Inter Milan at the San Siro on March 14.

Nine Tottenham fans were injured in attacks ahead of their clash in Lazio in November. And a group of Spurs fans were attacked last week ahead of their match in Lyon.

Crime scene: Spurs fans were attacked at the Smoking Dog pub in Lyon

Crime scene: Spurs fans were attacked at the Smoking Dog pub in Lyon

Paul Gascoigne health fears: Fans see former star struggle on stage at charity event

Fans fear for Gazza's health as former England star bursts into tears during event after slurring that he had been 'on the whisky for three days'The 45-year-old struggled to answer questions during charity appearance'Trembling' former England star ushered onstage by two security guards
He unleashed abuse before apologising to fans who had paid 100-a-headHis agent said Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' but had made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out'

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

12:29 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:49 GMT, 3 February 2013

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Football fans expressed their fears over the health of former England star Paul Gascoigne as they watched the him burst into tears during a rambling appearance at a charity event.

The 'trembling' 45-year-old had to be helped onstage for a question and answer session in which he slurred responses and muttered a slew of curse words.

Guests at the event, who had paid 100 to see the footballer, described how Gascoigne apologised to the crowd, blaming 'three days on the whiskey' for his performance.

The Newcastle-born footballer, widely
regarded as one of the most gifted English players, has battled
alcoholism and drug use since retiring from the game in 2004.

The 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a
funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the exchanges with
his agent Terry Baker.

Gazza rose to national prominence during the Italia 90 World Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany.

Following
the breast cancer charity event, hosted by Northampton Town, a further 15 speaking
events were cancelled – some at former clubs where Gascoigne is
regarded as a hero.

Mr
Baker said that the former midfielder did not drink whisky and that the
comment had been a botched joke about being on a 'whisky diet'.

He said that Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' despite having made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out' but

He told The Sun: He probably shouldn't have gone out but he didn't want to let all those people down.'

Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Struggles: The ex-footballer has long struggled with his alcohol addiction and drug use

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

One
attendee wrote an online account of the evening in which he described
how guests were told that Gascoigne was 'very ill' but had 'insisted on
appearing'.

The fan claimed
that guests were told the former Newcastle United and Lazio star would
be brought to hospital 'immediately afterwards'.

He said Mr Barker told guests that
his client had consumed two pints and that they should be 'patient' with
him, telling them to 'remember Gazza for the good times he gave us'.

Once ushered onstage, Gascoigne was asked who the best player he had played with was.

Paul Gascoigne

1990 World Cup

Fallen star: Gascoigne rose to prominence during the 1990 World
Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

According to the account, he answered: 'Bryan Robson. But he's a ****. They're all ****s. You're all ****s.'

After apologising, Gascoigne broke down again as he struggled to answer questions.

The performance was said to have left 'a lump in everyone's throat'.

Gascoigne's manager Matt Jones today said the former footballer had been 'up and down' recently.

He added: 'Paul is getting the help and support that he needs. I am in regular contact with him and his counsellors and just giving him the support that he needs.

'The reality is that Paul is an alcoholic. He has been very good of late but every day is a battle not to have a drink.'

Having won 57 caps for England after a glittering career in which he played for Lazio and Everton, the star tried to address his alcoholism on several occasions and has spoken about his attempts at rehabilitation.

No Milan move for Balotelli or Beckham as Rossoneri eye Kaka return

No Milan move for Balotelli or Beckham as Rossoneri eye Kaka return

By
Peter Scott

PUBLISHED:

18:42 GMT, 19 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:42 GMT, 19 January 2013

AC Milan coach Massmiliano Allegri has insisted his club are not interested in signing Manchester City
striker Mario Balotelli or free agent David Beckham.

The Rossoneri have been heavily linked with Manchester City striker Balotelli, who came to prominence at Milan rivals Inter.

His fractious relationship with Blues boss Roberto Mancini has led to speculation that he will return to Italy.

Fractious: Mario Balotelli (right) has not always enjoyed a good relationship with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini

Fractious: Mario Balotelli (right) has not always enjoyed a good relationship with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini

Beckham meanwhile, is without a club after leaving LA Galaxy, and enjoyed a successful loan spell with Milan in 2009.

But Allegri insisted there will be no move for either player.

'[We are] only negotiating for Kaka, so there will be no Mario Balotelli or David Beckham,' he said.

'There are talks in progress for Kaka, an important negotiation process if this great return should occur. I agree with the club and Adriano Galliani on everything, so there has never been my position opposed to that of the club. There is an exchange of ideas, certainly, but it's not true that I don't want Kaka.

Heady days: David Beckham and Kaka (right) when both played for AC Milan

Heady days: David Beckham and Kaka (right) when both played for AC Milan

'Beckham I know Beckham, he is a great guy and a player of real class. However, you can't wipe out his birth certificate and Milan have chosen to focus on youth hopefully with support from an important champion like Kaka.

'Balotelli We are only negotiating for Kaka. In attack we have Giampaolo Pazzini, Bojan Krkic and M'Baye Niang, while we also have experienced players who bring a sense of security.'

Phil Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Raymond van Barneveld

I reacted disgracefully! Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Barney

|

UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 31 December 2012

Phil Taylor apologised for his ‘disgraceful’ behaviour after beating Raymond van Barneveld in the World Championship semi-final on Sunday.

‘The Power’, who will play Michael van Gerwen in the final, clashed with Barney after his 6-4 win at Alexandra Palace and the pair had to be separated by security guards.

‘I reacted disgracefully and I feel terrible,’ Taylor told Sky Sports.

‘I’m ashamed because I really like Raymond but he hurt me a little bit, that was all it was.

‘It was spur of the moment.’

Scroll down for a video of the incident

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Taylor and Van Barneveld clash

Bangladesh cancel Pakistan tour due to security concerns

Bangladesh cancel Pakistan tour due to security concerns

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UPDATED:

12:20 GMT, 31 December 2012

Bangladesh have called off their upcoming tour of Pakistan because of security concerns.

No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore in 2009.

Six Sri Lankan players were wounded when
gunmen opened fire on their coach as they were being driven to the Gaddafi Stadium for a Test match.

The news will be a bitter pill to swallow for Pakistan having recently resolved another major dispute to resume bilateral ties with India after five years.

Wounded: Six Sri Lankan players were hurt when their bus was shot at in Lahore in 2009

Wounded: Six Sri Lankan players were hurt when their bus was shot at in Lahore in 2009

Wounded: Six Sri Lankan players were hurt when their bus was shot at in Lahore in 2009

'Bangladesh will not visit Pakistan for now,' said Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan.

'We have noticed that the security situation in Pakistan has not improved significantly, (it has) rather deteriorated.

'In this circumstance, we think it will not be very wise to tour. We
have conveyed our decision to Pakistan already. We are observing the
situation. If the situation improves we will keep our commitment.

'We have made a commitment to travel to Pakistan but we believe that the security of players and officials are the most important thing.'

Pakistan have been playing 'home' series in the United Arab Emirates as well as hosting Australia in England in 2010 for two Tests and two Twenty20s.

They recently hosted two Twenty20s against a World XI featuring Sanath Jayasuriya and Andre Nel.

Phil Taylor beats Raymond van Barneveld to reach world Championship final

Power surges: Taylor sets up final date with Van Gerwen after on-stage clash with Van Barneveld in semi-final

|

UPDATED:

08:03 GMT, 31 December 2012

Phil Taylor survived a fightback and an angry confrontation with one Dutchman on Sunday night but he will have to overcome the genius of another if he is to lift a 16th world title.

The Power’s eventual 6-4 semi-final victory over his one-time nemesis Raymond van Barneveld was a display of initial clinical efficiency which drifted into nervous hesitancy and a final eyes-bulging stand-off between the pair who required security guards to maintain an uneasy peace.

Taylor will need to add flamboyant brilliance if he is to beat Michael van Gerwen, judging by the heights reached by the 23-year-old in his 6-4 triumph over James Wade.

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Taylor said: ‘Michael’s talent is the
best I’ve ever seen, even better than me at my peak. I’ve been studying
Michael’s game and he doesn’t even seem to look at his target. I’m
going to do everything on the dart board I can to beat him. I can’t beat
him playing like that.

'Nothing went on, none of us wanted to lose that. He was brilliant there. He stuck in there.
'I said to Raymond backstage, “there's nobody in this room who's a
bigger fan of you than I am”. We're not going to fall out about
anything. It's forgotten. It's done.'

He's done it! Taylor celebrates his win

He's done it! Taylor celebrates his win

Mixed emotions: Taylor reacts as he misses a dart to win the match

Mixed emotions: Taylor reacts as he misses a dart to win the match

Taylor admitted all had not gone
exactly to plan, saying: 'The crowd seemed to get behind him a bit. I
think the crowd wanted another Michael van Gerwen-James Wade match.

'I'm full of cold. I've got a
temperature. I'm shattered. I'm taking energy sweets. I should have gone
to the doctors to get some antibiotics. I'm trying anything to keep my
energy up.

Titanic tussle: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head

Titanic tussle: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head

Fightback: Van Barneveld came back to scare Taylor

Fightback: Van Barneveld came back to scare Taylor

'I've got a day off on Monday. I'm going to lie in bed most of the day. I'm shattered.'

Taylor displayed sustained scoring
power as he feasted upon the doubts in Van Barneveld’s head, checking
out 141 and 111 in successive legs. In the end it was sheer
determination not to go more than two years without a world title for
the first time in his career which carried him through.

Sao Paulo win Copa Sudamericana after "security guards attack Tigre players"

Brazil nuts! Copa Sudamericana ends in chaos as final is abandoned after 'security guards pull guns and beat up players'

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UPDATED:

09:54 GMT, 13 December 2012

The image of Brazilian football in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup was seriously tarnished when the final of the Copa Sudamericana was abandoned as visiting club Tigre accused security officials of pulling guns on them and beating the players.

After a goalless first leg in Argentina, Sao Paulo took a 2-0 lead on home turf with goals from Lucas Moura and Osvaldo.

But things took a sour turn at half-time as fighting broke out between the players as they made their way off the pitch.

All over: The referee abandoned the match between Tigre and Sao Paulo

All over: The referee abandoned the match between Tigre and Sao Paulo

Scrap: Sao Paulo (in white) and Tigre ended up fighting before the referee called time on the clash

Scrap: Sao Paulo (in white) and Tigre ended up fighting before the referee called time on the clash

Tigre then refused to return for the second half, claiming their players had been attacked by security guards in the dressing rooms.

Chilean referee Enrique Osses abandoned the match after a 30-minute delay, awarding the victory to Sao Paulo, who were then presented with the trophy in a formal ceremony.

Tigre coach Nestor Gorosito claimed armed security officers had beaten his players and pointed guns at them during half-time. He said goalkeeper Damian Albil had a gun pointed at his chest.

'During the break, a big guy came in
with a gun,' he said on Fox Sports. 'Some policeman started to hit some
of my players. We tried to defend ourselves. They pulled two revolvers.
We’re not going to play anymore.

'My players fought with the security
people for 15 minutes. Then the police arrived and the incidents
continued. What happened is disgraceful. There are several players hurt, but none serious.'

Crossbar challenge: Fans managed to get on to the pitch after Sao Paulo won the Copa Sudamericana

Crossbar challenge: Fans managed to get on to the pitch after Sao Paulo won the Copa Sudamericana

Gorosito also complained about the treatment his team had received throughout their preparations for the match.

'We
trained two hours away from our hotel, and it took us more than an hour
to get to the stadium,' he said. 'We were unable to warm up on the
pitch.'

Tigre president Sergio Massa said
Wednesday was one of the most shameful days in Brazilian football
history and urged the Argentinian Football Federation (AFA) to take
strong action.

Massa told the AFA official website: 'We need to show the people everything that happened, the assaults and injuries.

'When we went into the dressing room after the first half, there were 15 security people that were hitting the players. They struck us.

'For Tigre today was an historic day. The referee told us he was going to suspend the game and ended up doing that. It was all a mess, football should be a celebration.'

Tigre security chief Ruben Pasquini said in La Nacion newspaper: 'It was an ambush. They were waiting for us. (Midfielder Ruben) Botta has an injured eye. They put a gun in the chest of Albil. (Midfielder) Gaston Diaz was also hurt.'

Solid back four: Police stand outside the dressing rooms after the Copa Sudamericana final was abandoned

Solid back four: Police stand outside the dressing rooms after the Copa Sudamericana final was abandoned

You're not coming on: Security guards line the pitch as the officials make their way off

You're not coming on: Security guards line the pitch as the officials make their way off

Referee Osses said: 'We did not see anything, but we have heard some things about what happened.

'We saw there were some injuries to the Tigre players but I don't know what caused them.'

CONMEBOL official Romer Osuna said: 'The referee abandoned the game because it was not right to play on.

'This decision is final. It is a shame that a continental final finished in this fashion.'

The city of Sao Paulo is one of the
host venues for the 2014 World Cup, although matches will be played at
Corinthians' Arena de Sao Paulo and not the Morumbi.

Massa felt the incidents had cast a shadow over Brazilian football.

Explosive: Sao Paulo supporters celebrated as fireworks lit up the sky

Explosive: Sao Paulo supporters celebrated as fireworks lit up the sky

'It's one of the most shameful pages in Brazilian football. We came to play a game of football, not a war,' he said. 'All this makes us very sad.

'We don't want to win or lose a game in the offices but the AFA are going to have to make a strong protest.'

Sao Paulo had dominated the first half with Lucas, playing his final match before joining Paris St Germain, at the heart of everything.

He scored the opener in the 23rd minute, pouncing on the ball to fire home after Willian Jose's progress towards goal had been blocked.

Lucas turned provider for the second, playing a fine ball for Osvaldo to run through and lift the ball over Damian Albil.

Cop that: Police officers patrol the pitch after Tigre players refused to be play on and the match was called off

Cop that: Police officers patrol the pitch after Tigre players refused to be play on and the match was called off

However, Lucas had also been on the receiving end of several tough challenges, with one elbow to the face drawing blood.

Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, who had handed Lucas the captain's armband at the end to allow the departing star to lift the trophy, was shocked by the way the match ended, but claimed the Tigre players had been overly aggressive on the pitch.

'We don't know what happened, but the Tigre players came to Brazil to fight, not to play,' he said. 'I really don't know what happened in the dressing rooms.'

Capture the moment: The Sao Paulo players pose for pictures after their controversial triumph

Capture the moment: The Sao Paulo players pose for pictures after their controversial triumph