Tag Archives: shortlist

Torquay appoint Alan Knill as interim manager

Torquay task Knill with stopping the rot after appointing ex-Bury boss until end of season

By
Pete Evans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

12:08 GMT, 20 February 2013

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UPDATED:

12:08 GMT, 20 February 2013

Torquay have appointed Alan Knill as their interim manager until the end of the season.

The former Rotherham, Bury and Scunthorpe boss will work with assistant Shaun Taylor, who has been managing the Gulls for the last six games while manager Martin Ling has been absent on sick leave.

Knill faces a tough task at Plainmoor as he inherits a side who have lost their last five matches, the most recent a defeat at Aldershot last night.

New man: Alan Knill (right) watched Torquay lose to Aldershot

New man: Alan Knill (right) watched Torquay lose to Aldershot

Torquay stand just five points clear of the npower League Two relegation zone ahead of the visit of Port Vale on Saturday.

'Alan was suggested to us by some people in the football industry,' chairman Simon Baker told the club's official website.

'We had drawn up a shortlist and we checked up on Alan with people he had worked with, and they all gave him a glowing reference.

'We met him at Aldershot yesterday and we are delighted he has decided to come in and help us. He comes across as a very agreeable man but there is an edge of steel in him, which is what we need.'

On the slide: Torquay have struggled for form in recent months

On the slide: Torquay have struggled for form in recent months

Ling has been away from the club since the day his side recorded their last victory, a 1-0 win at Exeter on January 28, and Baker revealed the latest update on the former Leyton Orient manager's condition.

'The last I heard from Mrs Ling was that Martin is making progress and we will see how it all pans out,' Baker added.

'We will cross that bridge when it comes but our focus at the moment is between now and April 27, when the season comes to an end.'

Chris Foy"s highs and lows of 2012 in rugby union

It's been a funny old year, so here are the highs and lows of an unforgettable 2012

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 28 December 2012

At the end of a year that featured so many remarkable, inspirational sporting feats, this column presents the rugby highlights and lowlights – the good, bad and ugly of 2012.

These are a mixture of the conventional and bizarre, the well-known and obscure. Above all, this is a personal selection of memories, not an exhaustive, comprehensive record of the last 12 months. Here goes:

Player of the Year: Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. It has been said here before and it is worth saying again – Argentina's back-row captain is simply without equal.

Stand-out: Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is Sportsmail's Chris Foy's Player of 2012

Stand-out: Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is Sportsmail's Chris Foy's Player of 2012

Try of the Year: To jog the memory, Sky provided a useful shortlist. Based on their eye-catching selection, the one that stands out is from New Zealand's ITM Cup; Hawke's Bay wing Gillies Kaka against Bay of Plenty.

Sheer counter-attacking audacity and predatory class.

Performance of the Year (team): It is still vividly fresh in the mind, almost a month on. England beating the seemingly invincible All Blacks with a three-try swagger was the ultimate collective feat.

Performance of the Year (individual): In England's win over France in Paris in March, Tom Croft reached standards even beyond what he delivered for the Lions in 2009.

The Tigers flanker scored a scorching try, dominated the lineout, carried superbly, tackled, hit rucks, the lot. Upsets of the year: Harlequins losing to Connacht in Galway and Edinburgh ambushing the mighty Toulouse at Murrayfield in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Invincible England hammered New Zealand at Twickenham

Invincible England hammered New Zealand at Twickenham

More from Chris Foy…

Chris Foy: Fantastic plastic will end the winter mudbaths, for the better
20/12/12

Chris Foy: Crowd at HQ must roar to silence wails of the Welsh
06/12/12

Chris Foy: Early World Cup draw can sow seeds of discontent
29/11/12

Chris Foy: New guru Parker will soon learn rugby is not an exact science
22/11/12

Chris Foy world of rugby: Lam's back, so it could be the chop for Howley
15/11/12

Chris Foy: Six injured and counting, Lancaster needs stability
01/11/12

World of rugby: Ireland facing the music as Strauss gets a call-up
25/10/12

Chris Foy: More referees will follow Lawrence's example and quit if this hounding goes on
18/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Best Test newcomers: Craig Gilroy (Ireland), Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Michael Hooper (Australia), Joe Launchbury (England), Tim Visser (Scotland).

Best game covered: South Africa v England in Johannesburg. Springbok fervour in the stands and ferocity on the field, England hit to near-oblivion, then reviving to nearly conjure a stunning win.

Best nickname revelations: Dan Cole (Polar Bear) – 'It's a large Arctic creature, fur as white as my skin.'

Toby Flood, during Movember: 'I'm told I look like the lead singer of Metallica.' (He meant Lemmy from Motorhead!)

Worst match conditions: Plenty of contenders, but it has to be Australia v Scotland in June. The visitors prevailed in a monsoon far more reminiscent of a wild night at Murrayfield than the usually balmy surrounds of the New South Wales coast.

Agonising defeat: Ireland deserved a maiden win over New Zealand during their second Test in June but after Jonny Sexton missed a penalty at 19-19 in Christchurch, Dan Carter's last-minute drop goal saw the All Blacks home.

Worst celebration: Seconds after Scotland clinched their famous win that night, the players formed a bouncing huddle, but when Joe Ansbro and Alasdair Strokosch leapt on to it, their clash of heads left Ansbro with blood pouring from an eye wound and he missed his country's next game.

Amusing ambush: Roger Lewis, chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, offering to stage the England v Wales World Cup 2015 pool game in Cardiff, just minutes after the draw had pitched the bitter rivals together. The host nation didn't take long to reject his 'kind offer'.

Polar bear: Dan Cole has acquired a nickname because of his size and fair hair

Polar bear: Dan Cole has acquired a nickname because of his size and fair hair

New buzz-phrase: 'Work-ons'. England's new coaching team have wholeheartedly adopted it. Bad day for defences: Heineken Cup – Northampton 36 Munster 51.

Worrying trend: Exodus of Welsh players to French clubs, amid economic turmoil.

Drawn-out farce of the Year No 1: Promotion of London Welsh to the Premiership. Having won the Championship but failed to satisfy the Minimum Standards Criteria, both the Exiles and Newcastle were kept hanging on until the decision was eventually reversed on appeal in July.

Drawn-out farce of the Year No 2: England coach recruitment. While Stuart Lancaster was put in charge without too much fuss after his convincing Six Nations audition, the RFU were slack in pursuing Andy Farrell, then snubbed by Wayne Smith before Farrell's re-think.

Surreal news day: Wasps had just staged a press conference in a pub by Ealing Common when the TV rights war erupted in September. It was nearly closing time when the last words had been filed.

Best new overseas imports: Kahn Fotuali'i (Ospreys), Vereniki Goneva (Leicester).

Dead ringer: Toby Flood was told he looked like the lead singer of Motorhead when sporting his 'Movember' facial hair

Dead ringer: Toby Flood was told he looked like the lead singer of Motorhead when sporting his 'Movember' facial hair

Most difficult phone call: Warren Gatland ringing his long-time sidekick Shaun Edwards to tell him that he would not be part of the Lions coaching staff next summer.

Favourite fans: Clermont, Munster and Ulster.

Grounds for complaint No 1: When there was a rare burst of snow in Rome prior to England's Six Nations encounter with Italy, ground-staff made a feeble attempt to clear the surface at the Stadio Olimpico and only in the half occupied by the Azzurri.

Grounds for complaint No 2: Saracens' use of the PA system at Vicarage Road to relentlessly play 'Stand up for the Saracens' in an attempt to drown out Munster's magnificent fans.

My prediction howlers: England to beat Australia. Wrong. England 'surely can't win' against New Zealand. Wrong. Leinster to retain the Heineken Cup. Almost certainly wrong.

The last word…

Danny Cipriani has been recalled by Sale for Friday's clash with Worcester at Salford City Stadium as the Premiership's bottom club attempt to close the five-point gap to 11th-placed London Irish.

The former England fly-half was dropped from the squad last week and heavily criticised by the Sharks' hierarchy following the 62-0 defeat against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol on December 16 in the group stage of the Heineken Cup.

Recall: Danny Cipriani is set to play against Worcester for Sale

Recall: Danny Cipriani is set to play against Worcester for Sale

Having settled into the Premiership with more conviction than anyone imagined, London Welsh have signalled their commitment to long-term growth and development by recruiting Tony Copsey as their chief executive.

The former Wales and Scarlets lock will take up his new post from New Year's Day alongside former Llanelli team-mate Lyn Jones, now coach.

Roberto Di Matteo and Alex McLeish set to beat Roy Keane to Nottingham Forest job

EXCLUSIVE: From Champions League to Championship Di Matteo joins McLeish in running for vacant Forest job

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UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 27 December 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has joined Alex McLeish on the shortlist of candidates to replace the sacked Sean O’Driscoll at Nottingham Forest.

Ambitious Forest bosses are hoping to deflect criticism of the way O’Driscoll’s brief tenure was brought to an abrupt halt by appointing a successor with a Barclays Premier League pedigree.

Former Birmingham City and Aston Villa manager McLeish saw the odds on his appointment tumble, after a rush of bets during the morning, and he is on Forest’s radar.

Shock: Roberto Di Matteo is a surprise contender for the Nottingham Forest job

Shock: Roberto Di Matteo is a surprise contender for the Nottingham Forest job

But Di Matteo is also under close
scrutiny, as Forest give careful consideration to candidates they feel
will capture the public’s imagination as well as spark a concerted push
for promotion.

The view within the City Ground is
that recruiting a manager who rounded off last season by lifting the
Champions’ League trophy in Munich is about as big a statement of intent
as they could make.

Di Matteo cemented his place in
Stamford Bridge folklore by defeating Bayern Munich on their own ground,
in an epic final last May, but it still wasn’t enough to safeguard him
from the sack, as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich cleared the way for a
possible move for Pep Guardiola in the next few months.

Wanted: McLeish has been out of a job since he was sacked as manager of Aston Villa on the final day of last season

Wanted: McLeish has been out of a job since he was sacked as manager of Aston Villa on the final day of last season

The one-time West Brom manager may
have reservations about dropping into the Championship, but that will
not deter Forest chiefs from outlining their plans and promising him
funds to take them back into the top flight.

Di Matteo and McLeish now appear to
be the two leading contenders, with both due to be interviewed before
Forest make their choice and launch a quest for new signings in the
January window.

McLeish has been out of work for
eight months after losing his job at Villa Park. However, with Blackburn
Rovers also looking for a manager, the Scot is likely to be
interested in a position at Ewood Park.

The ex-Villa and Birmingham City chief retains a base in the Midlands and would have little trouble stepping into the role after Forest's owners, the Al-Hasawis, took the decision to axe O'Driscoll and his odds have tumbled this morning.

Out of the running: Roy Keane attended Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds yesterday

Out of the running: Roy Keane attended Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds yesterday

The Kuwaitis have confirmed that they have a meeting with a manager of Premier League experience today and that points towards McLeish being the man most likely at present to succeed O'Driscoll.

However Keane, who was in the crowd to watch Forest defeat Leeds 4-2 yesterday, is aso out-of-work following his sacking by Ipswich Town and remains among the favourites with the bookmakers for the role.

Ballon d"Or: the making of the trophy Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andreas Iniesta want

World's oldest jewellers employs six-a-side team to make the Ballon d'Or trophy… but can we see the name they're engraving

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UPDATED:

10:46 GMT, 21 December 2012

The battle has been raging fiercely across the globe since the shortlist of three was announced. Some say Andres Iniesta, a few more back Cristiano Ronaldo, while the majority are firmly in the camp of the three-time winner Lionel Messi.

But tucked away in the basement of a 400-year old family-run Paris jewellers a six-a-side team are quietly beavering away making exactly what it is the world of football is fighting over.

Golden balls: The world's oldest jewellers have a team of six working on the Ballon d'Or trophy

Golden balls: The world's oldest jewellers have a team of six working on the Ballon d'Or trophy

Golden balls: The world's oldest jewellers have a team of six working on the Ballon d'Or trophy

Golden balls: The world's oldest jewellers have a team of six working on the Ballon d'Or trophy

The Ballon d'Or trophy, a brass football dipped in gold, resting on a rocky base of pyrite, has remained largely the same since the original awards ceremony in 1956, won by Englishman Sir Stanley Matthews.

'It's something we're happy be a part of,' Francois Mellerio, who along with his brother Olivier are the 14th generation to run the firm, told AFP.

The jewellers currently employs 12 artisans at its store on Rue de la Paix, six of whom have worked on this year's trophy.

Piece by piece: The same family-run store in Paris have built the trophy every year since 1956

Piece by piece: The same family-run store in Paris have built the trophy every year since 1956

Piece by piece: The same family-run store in Paris have built the trophy every year since 1956

Using a real football as a guide, the
masters of their art weld two brass disks together and painstakingly
chisel the seam lines by hand.

It is then engraved with the award logo and dipped in gold before being attached to the base, which Mellerio explains is the unique part of the design.

'No two rocks are identical, no two emeralds, no two rubies – there's always a difference, that's nature,' he said.

Previously, the jewellers, who also craft the Musketeers' Trophy for the men's singles champion at the French Open, would be given the name of the winner before the big night. Now, though, plaques are engraved with all three names before being attached at the last minute.

Craftsman: All the finishing touches are applied by hand... but who will get their hands on the trophy

Craftsman: All the finishing touches are applied by hand... but who will get their hands on the trophy

Craftsman: All the finishing touches are applied by hand… but who will get their hands on the trophy

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta

The 2012 gong is to be handed out in the first week of next year at a special gala evening celebrating the great and good of the last 12 months.

Barcelona's Messi, whose triumph last year put him on a par with Michel Platini with three, is hot favourite again this time around, though the argument is strong for both team-mate Iniesta and Real Madrid's Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi signs new Barcelona deal

Want to sign Messi You'll have to wait until 2018 as superstar signs 12.5m-a-year Barca deal

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UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 18 December 2012

Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract to keep him at Barcelona until 2018.

The Catalan giants confirmed on their official website the Argentinian would pen the deal 'in the coming weeks'.

Barca also revealed Xavi and Carles Puyol had agreed extensions until 2016.

Six more years: Messi is poised to sign a new contract with Barcelona

Six more years: Messi is poised to sign a new contract with Barcelona

Messi's current deal runs until June 2016 and the new agreement will keep him at the Nou Camp beyond his 31st birthday.

The deal is expected to be structured so that it increases yearly, rising to 12.5million a year net before bonuses.

Messi, 25, signed his last big contract in the 2009-10 season with then sporting director Txiki Begiristain and his vice-president Marc Ingla.

Incredible year: The Argentinian has already scored 90 goals in 2012

Incredible year: The Argentinian has already scored 90 goals in 2012

The top 10 richest players

1 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 27.5m

2 David Beckham (Free agent) 26.2m

3 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 24.3m

4 Samuel Eto'o (Anzhi Makhachkala) 19.4m

5 Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) 17.2m

6 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St Germain) 16m

7 Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) 15.7m

8 Yaya Toure (Manchester City) 14.7m

9 Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 13.9m

10 Kaka (Real Madrid) 12.9m

That contract is heavily incentivised
with his pay, after bonuses, in any given season automatically becoming
his basic pay for the following season.

The forward has enjoyed an
extraordinary year, even by his own remarkable standards, netting his
89th and 90th goals of 2012 at the weekend.

The 25-year-old had already surpassed Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

He is also in contention to claim a
fourth successive FIFA Ballon d'Or crown, being named on a three-man
shortlist alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mate Andres Iniesta.

Xavi

Carles Puyol

New contract: Xavi and Puyol have agreed extensions until 2016

Defender Puyol's contract was due to expire at the end of the season, while midfielder Xavi's ran out the following summer.

Their new deals are set to keep them at Barca for the rest of their careers and underline their commitment to the runaway Primera Division leaders under new coach Tito Vilanova.

They also reduce the chances of former boss Pep Guardiola being able to tempt them away if he returns to club management next season.

A statement on the Barcelona website read: 'This news means that FC Barcelona has secured its ties with three of its most important players. Over the course of the next few weeks, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Leo Messi will all be signing their respective new contracts.'

Sir Chris Hoy set to return to training in Australia after "grim" stomach virus

Hoy set to get back on track Down Under after trip to hospital with 'grim' stomach virus

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 11 December 2012

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy will resume training this week after being hospitalised for 24 hours last weekend with a severe stomach virus.

The 36-year-old is currently training with a selection of British cyclists in Perth, Western Australia, as he considers whether to continue on until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Scot arrived early last week and began to feel progressively worse with gastrointestinal problems before he was taken to hospital in Subiaco, Perth, on Saturday.

Weighing up his future: Sir Chris Hoy is in training in Perth, Western Australia

Weighing up his future: Sir Chris Hoy is in training in Perth, Western Australia

Hoy, one of 12 on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, was discharged on Sunday after being given rehydration treatment and medication and he returned to the gym for a light session today.

'I'm glad to be getting better and almost feel back to normal now after a pretty grim few days,' Hoy, who is taking part in the Rotterdam Six Day event from January 3 to 8, said on his website.

'It's always frustrating when you're on a training camp and you can't train if you're injured or unwell.

'This is the first block of serious training I've done since the Games, but it could've happened at a far worse stage of the season though so it's not too much of a problem.

'It'll be good to get a solid couple of weeks training in before Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to racing in the first week of January in Rotterdam.'

Hoy added on his Twitter page: 'Had a rough weekend with a stomach virus, including a night in the hospital. Pleased to say I'm on the mend and back training now.'

Meanwhile, a World Series Cycling project featuring 10 grand prix races across the globe could be in place as soon as 2014.

What a summer: Hoy is back in full training for the first time since the Olympics

What a summer: Hoy is back in full training for the first time since the Olympics

The group are optimistic of successful negotiations with the UCI, the world governing body, over plans for 10 four-day events, which would run alongside the three Grand Tours – of Italy, France and Spain – and six of the established one-day races.

The grands prix would include a time-trial, rolling stage, mountain stage and sprint stage, with all events taking place from Thursday to Sunday. Jonathan Price, chairman of London-based sports promoters the Gifted Group, told Press Association Sport: “We want to see races up and running in 2014.

'We've already had discussions with broadcasters, we're confident there's a real appetite for this product.

'We're now going to start some serious discussions with potential host locations to get our first race up and running.'

After three and a half years of planning, WSC, registered as a company in Luxembourg, is close to implementation.

The first meeting with teams was held before the Tour de France in Rotterdam in 2010, with eight contracted teams confirmed yesterday as Garmin-Sharp, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Rabobank Cycling Team, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek, Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank and Vaconsoleil-DCM.

Financial backing is being provided by
Czech billionaire businessman Zdenek Bakala, who owns Mark Cavendish's
Omega Pharma-QuickStep team.

Pure gold: Hoy won two medals in London

Pure gold: Hoy won two medals in London

Bakala has led talks with the UCI since March, and, despite the world governing body being occupied by the ongoing fallout of the Lance Armstrong scandal, a conclusion to negotiations is close.

'We see this as something we wanted to do with them, because we believe it was something the marketplace wanted and was good for the sport,' Price added.

'Those discussions have been positive and I hope we're getting close now to a conclusion to them.

'Clearly they have a lot on their plate right now – that probably hasn't helped – but even against that backdrop the discussions have been positive.'

The structure can be compared to that of tennis, where the top male players feature in the ATP Masters 1000 events and the four grand slams, with the WTA Tour running alongside. In cycling, plans are similar, with a commitment for a parallel women's series.

The Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana would be part of the project alongside one-day races Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Cup, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour of Lombardy, with a points system to award the leading rider and team at the end of the season.

Riders would race a maximum of 88 days per season, while there is a commitment for an anti-doping programme in a bid to eradicate the use of performance-enhancing drugs from the sport.

Tour de France organisers the Amuary Sports Organisation, who also run races such as the Tour of Qatar and Paris-Nice, have not yet been consulted. It could be a potential stumbling block.

Price added: 'In terms of our 10 grands prix, we don't need any other race organiser on board. We no more need ASO's approval to do that than Coca-Cola needs Pepsi's approval to launch a new product.'

Price is confident a restructuring of cycling's calendar will only improve the sport, with many races on the current calendar struggling.

'Judgement has been passed on a lot of the other races,' he said.

'A lot of those races are dying and they're not dying because we've come up with a concept of a format that's driven by what television, sponsors and fans want.

'They're dying because the marketplace has cast judgement on them.

'If you want to progress as a sport and if you want to develop, you need to respond to what the marketplace want and if you don't you die.'

Meanwhile, Britons Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard are part of Team Sky's seven-man squad for the season-opening Tour Down Under. Two-time Olympic team pursuit champion Thomas will race with Rowe and Stannard in Adelaide in January.

Steven Gerrard shortlisted for England player of the year (er… is there anyone else?)

Gerrard shortlisted for England player of the year (er… is there anyone else)

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UPDATED:

18:58 GMT, 7 December 2012

England skipper Steven Gerrard heads the five-man shortlist for the Three Lions' 2012 player of the year.

Gerrard became only the sixth England player to reach 100 caps in Sweden last month and was regarded as one of the stand-out performers at Euro 2012, when Roy Hodgson's team were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Italy.

The 32-year-old won the award in 2007, and has finished in the top three on three other occasions, highlighting his consistency over an international career that now extends over 12 years.

Centurion: Steven Gerrard celebrated his 100th England cap last month

Centurion: Steven Gerrard celebrated his 100th England cap last month

Gerrard is joined on the list by Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson and also Joe Hart and Ashley Cole, who won it in 2010.

In addition, Manchester United's Danny Welbeck is also amongst the nominees after emerging as top scorer in 2012 with five goals.

Supporters can vote for their choice on www.thefa.com, with the winner due to be confirmed at an awards' dinner at St George's Park on Sunday, February 3.

Euro 2020 to take place in several countries

Wembley put forward for Euro 2020 final after UEFA confirm championship will be played all over the continent

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UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 6 December 2012

The FA will campaign to host the Euro 2020 final at Wembley after UEFA confirmed their controversial plan to stage the tournament in up to 13 cities across the continent.

Scotland, Wales and Ireland will bid to be involved in the tournament but Wembley — with its 90,000 capacity, modern design and corporate facilities — is a strong contender to stage the final.

The stadium also has the perfect platform to remind UEFA president Michel Platini of its quality when it hosts the Champions League final at the end of this season.

Champions: Spain are the holders of the European crown after beating Italy in the final in Kiev

Champions: Spain are the holders of the European crown after beating Italy in the final in Kiev

2020 vision – the key points

Move is a one-off to mark 60th anniversary of the Euros

Bidding proces starts in March next year and decisions on hosts will be made in early 2014

Host cities will not automatically qualify

That game will be preceded by a
week-long UEFA congress in London, due to be attended by the same
dignitaries who will select the Euro 2020 host cities in 2014.

The bizarre format, including the selection process for the cities, has
yet to be revealed but FA chairman David Bernstein said last month, when
Platini’s idea was mooted, that he wanted Wembley to play a major role.
He also flatly rejected a beauty-contest style bidding war after the
failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

‘Wembley is incredibly highly thought of by UEFA and it is something we
will probably push for,’ said Bernstein. ‘UEFA want to host a semi-final
and the final on the same ground or in the same city and I think we
will be on their shortlist, although there will be some strong
competition.

Spreading the joy: Michel Platini and UEFA confirmed Euro 2020 will be played across the continent

Spreading the joy: Michel Platini and UEFA confirmed Euro 2020 will be played across the continent

‘In a pan-European competition, the focus needs to be on the semi-finals
and the final. We would not want to be involved in a World Cup-style
process. We do not want to spend a lot of money on something that fell
flat.’

Platini first aired his proposal after Euro 2012, suggesting it was a
solution to soaring costs and claiming that the European economic crisis
made the financial burden upon one host nation too great.

A more cynical view is that Platini is fuelling his ambitions to succeed
Sepp Blatter as FIFA president by spreading wealth around Europe to
attract support.

What a summer: Wembley saw plenty of top-class action during the 1996 European Championships

What a summer: Wembley saw plenty of top-class action during the 1996 European Championships

Wanderlust: Platini unveiled his plans

Wanderlust: Platini unveiled his plans

The only one of 53 member countries to vote against the idea was Turkey, who originally bid to host the tournament.

‘Instead of a party in one country, you will have a party all over
Europe,’ said UEFA’s general secretary Gianni Infantino after an
executive committee meeting in Switzerland on Thursday.

The selection process for host cities will start in March and will take
about 12 months, with decisions expected in the spring of 2014. Teams
from the countries chosen as venues will have to qualify.

Infantino said: ‘Euro 2020 will be staged across the continent in
various major cities. It is a decision only about 2020. It is not going
forward for ever. Everything is open.’

Scotland, Wales and Ireland, whose original combined bid was not well
received, will promote Hampden Park, the Millennium Stadium and the
Aviva Stadium.

They will find it difficult to compete with Wembley for the final,
however. Platini has already proved how much he admires the stadium by
bringing back the Champions League final two years after it staged
Barcelona’s win against Manchester United in 2011.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta on ballon d"Or shortlist

Messi and Ronaldo joined by Iniesta on Ballon d'Or shortlist

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UPDATED:

13:46 GMT, 29 November 2012

Lionel Messi is in contention for a fourth successive FIFA Ballon d'Or crown after being named on a three-man shortlist alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.

Barcelona superstar Messi has enjoyed an incredible year and stands on the brink of another milestone.

His 82 goals in 2012 mean he is just three shy of former West Germany and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller's record of 85, set in 1972.

Four in a row Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or the past three years

Four in a row Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or the past three years

Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, provides strong competition after playing a key role as Real Madrid edged arch-rivals Barca in the Primera Division title race.

The Portuguese scored a phenomenal 60 goals in all competitions in the 2011/12 season as Jose Mourinho's side also reached the last four of the Champions League before going down to Bayern Munich. He already has 19 to his name so far this term.

Third nominee Iniesta is another who plies his trade in the Primera Division, for Barcelona.

Real deal: Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is on the three-man shortlist

Real deal: Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is on the three-man shortlist

The Spain playmaker has had an outstanding year, shining for both club and country.

His performances for the Catalan giants enabled them to finish a close second to Madrid in the title race while he shone at Euro 2012, being named as the tournament's best player as his country swept to a stunning success with a 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the final.

Pass master: Barcelona's midfield maestro Andres Iniesta is on the list

Pass master: Barcelona's midfield maestro Andres Iniesta is on the list

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said: 'It shows how strong football in Spain is.

'We have seen again what they did at the Euros and it will be interesting to see what happens in the Confederations Cup.'

There was also a Spanish theme to the FIFA World Coach of the Year award.

National team boss Vicente Del Bosque was nominated for his role in guiding Spain to a successful defence of their European crown in Poland and Ukraine while former Barca boss Pep Guardiola and current Madrid coach Jose Mourinho were also named on the shortlist.

The winners will be announced on January 7.

FIFA announce Puskas Award 2012 shortlist

VIDEO: Ben Arfa joins Messi, Neymar, Falcao and co on FIFA's shortlist for 2012s best goal

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UPDATED:

15:20 GMT, 14 November 2012

Hatem Ben Arfa's superb solo goal for Newcastle against Bolton last season has ensured a Premier League presence on the shortlist for FIFA's Puskas Award 2012.

The annual celebration of great goals contains the best strikes from around the world, and was won last year by Brazilian superstar Neymar.

The 20-year-old Santos ace is included once again this year, as is Lionel Messi for a sublime effort in Argentina's friendly with Brazil.

Scroll down to see all 10 goals on the FIFA Puskas Award shortlist

Slalom: Hatem Ben Arfa's goal against Bolton last season set pulses racing

Slalom: Hatem Ben Arfa's goal against Bolton last season set pulses racing

Former Chelsea youngster Miroslav Stoch also features, while Radamel Falcao, the in-demand Atletico Madrid striker, has a chance of glory thanks to his goal against America de Cali.

Strangely, Ben Arfa's goal wasn't even voted as Newcastle's best of the previous campaign, with that accolade going to the Premier League goal of the season, Papiss Cisse's wonder-strike against Chelsea.

The award is named after Real Madrid and Hungarian legend Ferenc Pusks, who tormented defenders the world over during the 1950s.

Fans are invited to vote for their favourite on the FIFA website, with the eventual winner being announced at the Ballon d’Or 2012 gala in January.

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