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Matt Jarvis shows support for gay footballers in Attitude magazine interview

Coming out could help a gay footballer play better, suggests Jarvis as West Ham winger aims to tackle homophobia

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

21:54 GMT, 3 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 3 January 2013

West Ham winger Matt Jarvis has insisted it is time a gay footballer felt comfortable enough to come out and believes that doing so could aid an individual's on-pitch performances.

Jarvis has followed the leads of David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg to become only the third footballer to feature on the cover of the UK's bestselling gay magazine, Attitude, and is confident that homophobia would not be a significant problem.

'It's everyday life,' said Jarvis, who is married. 'It's not something that's going to be a shock.

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

'I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do.'

When asked if being out could improve a player's performance, Jarvis responded: 'I'd agree with that. Because you've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind.

'If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely.'

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

The first 1m black footballer Justin Fashanu famously came out in 1990
but became the victim of considerable abuse and killed himself eight
years later, and the only player to come out since is Anton Hysen of the
Swedish lower leagues.

Jarvis, however, believes a modern player would receive greater backing and acceptance if he decided to do the same.

'There'd be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association],' Jarvis explained. 'There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.'

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Attitude's editor, Matthew Todd, however, believes football has a problem with homophobia and needs to tackle it in the same way it is racism.

'It's ridiculous that there are no openly gay players in professional football,' Todd said.

'There's rightly been a focus on ridding the beautiful game of racism, but there doesn't seem to be much effort to tackle homophobia.

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

'We know there are gay players – and fans who support the game religiously – so I hope this starts a discussion and is a small step in the right direction.'

Former MP Sir Irvine Patnick, who was accused of smearing Liverpool fans after Hillsborough passes away

MP who blamed Liverpool fans for the death of 96 people at Hillsborough passes away

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UPDATED:

09:18 GMT, 31 December 2012

The former Conservative MP who helped smear Liverpool fans after the Hillsborough disaster has died.

Sir Irvine Patnick, who was a source for a Sun story criticising the supporters' behaviour in the tragedy, died yesterday aged 83.

He was the MP for Sheffield Hallam from 1987 to 1997.

Sorry: Sir Irvine Patnick was knighted in 1994 but has since apologised for his involvement in the Hillsborough cover up

Sorry: Sir Irvine Patnick was knighted in 1994 but has since apologised for his involvement in the Hillsborough cover up

A successful businessman before becoming an MP, he was knighted in 1994.

There had been calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood since his role in The Sun's coverage of the disaster was made clear by the Hillsborough Independent Panel in September.

Amid widespread revulsion at the police cover-up which sought to shift the blame for the tragedy to the fans, Sir Irvine said in September he was 'deeply and sincerely sorry' about his role.

Justice: The families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough have fought tirelessly for the truth to come out

Justice: The families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough have fought tirelessly for the truth to come out

Tragedy: 96 Liverpool fans were killed during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough

Tragedy: 96 Liverpool fans were killed during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough

He said he had passed on police information that was 'inaccurate, misleading and plain wrong'.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

A statement issued by his family to the BBC said: 'Sir Irvine Patnick OBE, died peacefully on 30 December 2012, aged 83, in Sheffield.

Smear: Irvine was a key source in the Sun's story that blamed the behavior of Liverpool fans for the tragedy

Smear: Irvine was a key source in the Sun's story that blamed the behavior of Liverpool fans for the tragedy

'He was a much loved husband of Lynda and father of Suzanne and Matthew.

'He'll be sadly missed by his brothers and by all his family and friends.'

Manny Pacquiao reveals his top secrets

It's top secret: Manny Pacquiao

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 29 December 2012

Boxer Manny Pacquiao

Who is your sporting hero

Steve Nash of the LA Lakers is a great guy. He is maybe one of the best ever but he is also dedicated to charity work. When we are in these influential positions, we need to realise we can help pioneer change in this world.

What would you be if you weren't a sportsman

I was a tailor when I was younger, so maybe I would have owned my own store. Boxing has given me the platform to get into politics but even without it I like to think a path would have been made for me to get into politics.

Which other sportsman would you like to be

I can't pick one player on the team but I would like to help Boston Celtics win the NBA title. I'm pretty good.

Career highlight

I made less than two dollars for winning my first fight but two dollars meant a lot to us. I knew I was good, and those two dollars showed me if I kept on fighting we would not need to worry about money.

…and the worst moment

Probably the fight against Tim Bradley. If you lose you lose, but I was sure that I won. None of his punches hurt me.

If your house was burning down, what one possession would you save

Everything can be replaced. I have had nothing before, and while I don't want to have nothing again, I know what is really important is to have your family healthy. Of course it's nice to know your family are healthy while driving a Ferrari!

What's the best advice you've ever been given

When you think you are 100 per cent ready you're probably not.

Favourite karaoke song

La Bamba.

Three most-listened-to songs on your ipod

Ordinary Song by Marc Velasco, Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill, and Imagine by John Lennon.

Actor Jericho Rosales

Actor Jericho Rosales

In a film of your life, who would you like to play you

It's already happened – a guy called Jericho Rosales (above) played me.

Last film you saw

I watched Toy Story 3 with my kids.

Last book you read

The Bible. Even on the night of a fight, I make sure there is time to study it.

Favourite pre-match meal

I eat pretty much the same meal every day. I have Filipino beef broth and chicken soup with rice.

Can you cook Best dish

I have a cook.

Your favourite holiday destination

We had a great family vacation where we visited Japan and Australia in the same trip. Both are beautiful countries.

What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought

My yacht. It is so nice being at peace with the world out on the ocean, surrounded by your family and the people you love.

Tell us a secret…

When I fight the crime rate in the Philippines drops like crazy during the fight. At first I thought it was a myth, but it's been backed up by statistics.

Rory McIlroy"s former rival Oliver Fisher misses out on US Tour

The sorry story of Rory's ex-rival: Fellow Brit Fisher misses out on US tour after final-hole bogey

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 4 December 2012

Sad story: Oliver Fisher won the Czech Open in 2011

Sad story: Oliver Fisher won the Czech Open in 2011

When Oliver Fisher and Rory McIlroy turned pro in successive years in 2006 and 2007, it appeared a close call as to which of the pin-ups of the amateur game would enjoy the more successful career.

What has happened in the space of 24 hours in America summed up how things transpired.

McIlroy was named the US Tour Player of the Year in a vote of his peers, while Fisher, in a valiant effort to get on the American circuit next year, bogeyed his final hole at qualifying school to miss out by a shot.

It was rough on the 24-year-old Londoner, who had birdied the previous three holes to give himself a chance.

Now Fisher has to decide whether he wants to play on the US Tour's reserve circuit, the Web.com Tour, and earn his privileges for the regular tour, or return to the European Tour.

With a trophy bearing his name and 2million in career earnings, Fisher is hardly a failure.

It just must feel like that every time he looks at his old amateur rival.

As for McIlroy, he became the youngest to be named Player of the Year since Tiger Woods in 1998, and the second European in a row to win following Luke Donald in 2011. 'It's always nice to be recognised by your peers, and particularly when you think who has won this award in the past,' said McIlroy.

Contrast: Rory McIlroy has gone on to greatness

Contrast: Rory McIlroy has gone on to greatness

After a few days in Aspen, Colorado with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the 23-year-old has moved on to Boston, where he conducted a teleconference while being driven on the freeways.

In between losing him as he went through tunnels, he revealed that a more businesslike approach had paid full dividends these past 18 months, and acknowledged that Wozniacki's dedication to her sport had rubbed off on him.

'Seeing how hard she works definitely flipped a switch for me,' he admitted.

'I think after winning the US Open last year I realised that my career had gone up a level, and I needed to become a little more professional and businesslike.'

Opposites: McIlroy was named US Tour Player of the Year

Opposites: McIlroy was named US Tour Player of the Year

Meanwhile, as one Fisher was missing out at Q-school in California, another – Ross, no relation – was breezing through, finishing second behind South Korea's Lee Dong-hwan. Englishman Fisher, 32, saw his career nosedive last year after being part of the winning Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor in 2010.

'This year has been a work in progress,' he said, referring to a couple of runner-up finishes in Europe. Fisher hits it long and high, and it would be no surprise to see him revive his career in America.

Also clutching a tour card is American Erik Compton, the bravest man in professional golf. He underwent two heart transplants before his 30th birthday, but nothing, it seems, will stop Compton, now 33, pursuing his dream.

Joe Cole still thinks he can be Liverpool hero

Cole believes he can still make the grade at Liverpool after fine Europa League display

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 22 November 2012

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole believes he can still be a success story at the club.

The 31-year-old scored and set up Jonjo Shelvey in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Young Boys at Anfield in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Cole claims he has impressed at each of his former sides and can repeat that on Merseyside.

Aiming high: Joe Cole says he can be a success at Anfield

Aiming high: Joe Cole says he can be a success at Anfield

'I was a good player at West Ham, Chelsea and Lille and I think I can be a good player at Liverpool,' he told ITV4.

'I'm getting stronger with every game. It is normal that a player wants to play all the time.

'It was my third game back from a hamstring problem and I felt good.

'On a personal note it was quite good. The overall sense though is disappointment that we didn't see it out in the end.

'But the young lads especially have been terrific this year. We just keep going.'

In a Liverpool side teeming with youth Cole was one of the more experienced figures.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said: 'It was nice for Joe Cole to play well. He has been working very hard in training.'

Asked if Cole had a future at the club, he added: 'He's certainly working hard. He knows it's difficult because he's been away from the club on loan.

'Joe's a fighter and he's working very hard. That's all he can do.'

Cole was upset that his side could not hold on to their slim lead, with a wonder goal from Elsad Zverotic after 88 minutes enough to earn the Swiss team a point.

Now they face a difficult away game in
Italy to play Udinese, in which they must at least match Young Boys'
result against Anzhi to progress.

Cole believes Liverpool should not be finding themselves in such a position, when a win meant they would have qualified.

Setback: Elsad Zverotic (left) struck late to confound Cole and Co

Setback: Elsad Zverotic (left) struck late to confound Cole and Co

'It's disappointing. It was just the game management at the end,' he said.

'We need to see the game out. Maybe we had a few young players on the pitch but we should have killed the game off.

'Fair credit though it was a good finish from their kid.'

Driven home: Cole fires in Liverpool's second of the game

Driven home: Cole fires in Liverpool's second of the game

West Ham 0 Manchester City 0 – match report

West Ham 0 Manchester City 0: Unfair This bore draw is just the start, Mancini

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 3 November 2012

An awkward night in the East End of London will pale in comparison to the mission facing Roberto Mancini in Manchester on Tuesday.

For the second consecutive season, he is presented with the prospect of the team he has assembled on Abu Dhabi petro-dollars being eliminated from the Champions League in the group stages. Victory against Ajax on Tuesday is an absolute necessity.

Even then, the odds of survival seem heavily stacked against Manchester City. After Ajax, Mancini will have to conjure further wins over Real Madrid at home and against Borussia Dortmund in Germany — then trust that other results in the group fall favourable.

Tip top: Joe Hart pushes over Yossi Benayoun's effort

Tip top: Joe Hart pushes over Yossi Benayoun's effort

Match facts

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Reid, Collins (Spence 84), McCartney, Jarvis, Noble, Diame (O'Neil 71), Benayoun, Nolan, Carroll (Cole 77).

Subs Not Used: Spiegel, Maiga, Chambers, Hall.

Booked: Collins, Benayoun, McCartney.

Man City: Hart, Nastasic, Kompany, Toure, Clichy, Barry, Toure, Nasri (Sinclair 90), Tevez (Javi Garcia 84), Dzeko, Balotelli (Aguero 69).

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Razak.

Att: 35,005

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Latest Premier League table and results

It promises to be an uncomfortable
period in the extreme. For the first time in 16 Premier League games,
City failed to score. And that was after Mancini tried to break West
Ham’s spirited resolve by using, over the 90 minutes, the striking
talents of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and
Samir Nasri.

All Mancini could conjure at the end
was a hard-luck story. ‘No, it’s not a fair result,’ he said. ‘We missed
four incredible chances. I am happy with the performance but, if you
don’t score, you can’t win.’

He felt particularly aggrieved by the
failure of Balotelli. In the 33rd minute, the volatile Italian striker
had the chance to bring a smile to his manager’s face. A free-kick from
Tevez evaded West Ham’s defence and Balotelli appeared at the far post
with the freedom of Upton Park. He tried to divert the ball into the net
with his right leg almost horizontal to the ground, when perhaps he
would have been better advised to have headed the ball. And on the
stroke of half-time, Balotelli missed the target with a volley.

Mancini’s frustration this season is
deepening. James Milner was withdrawn from the team in the warm-up and,
like Joleon Lescott and David Silva, he is not expected by Mancini to
feature against Ajax. ‘When you win the title, I think the year after is
more difficult,’ said Mancini. ‘We have improved our defensive phase,
but we now need to score (as freely) as last year.

In the 68th minute, Gareth Barry
engineered an opportunity when he arrived late into the penalty area to
catch West Ham’s defence napping.

Taking a tumble: Edin Dzeko goes down under Mohamed Diame's challenge

Taking a tumble: Edin Dzeko goes down under Mohamed Diame's challenge

Causing a scene: Vincent Kompany

Now it's Carroll's turn

Causing a scene: Vincent Kompany appeals for a foul… while Andy Carroll (right) holds his face

He appeared to bring the ball under
control with the upper part of his arm but, without censure, he had
ample chance to score. Instead he shot wide of the far post. ‘Had that
been a goal it would have been a real sickener as he brought the ball
down with his hand,’ said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

West Ham are deserving of credit. They
caused moments of anxiety for City and defended with heart over the
final 30 minutes when they kept the champions out. In fact, Kevin Nolan
felt he had given West Ham a fourth-minute lead, but he was judged to
have volleyed Mark Noble’s free-kick from an offside position. ‘City
were a little fortunate with that decision,’ said Allardyce.

Yossi Benayoun thundered a volley
against Joe Hart’s crossbar in the 18th minute, while Andy Carroll’s
overhead kick on the hour from a corner from Matt Jarvis looked
goalbound until it was deflected to safety off the back of City’s
stand-in right back Kolo Toure.

Anything to score: Carroll flings himself at the ball

Anything to score: Carroll flings himself at the ball

Complaint: Gareth Barry appeals to Howard Webb

Complaint: Gareth Barry appeals to Howard Webb

But while Allardyce is enjoying
jousting again at the highest level, Mancini remains a man who cannot
predict with total certainty what the future holds for him.

Last week he was forced to admit that
he had been close to accepting an attractive financial package from
Monaco, the latest club to have a billionaire benefactor bristling with a
desire to reach the top table of European football.

Mancini, clearly, was keeping his
options open. After all, City only delivered the championship —demanded
by the club’s owners and coveted by fans impatient to have bragging
rights over Manchester United — with effectively the final kick of the
season from Aguero.

Oh no, Mario! Balotelli sees the ball evade him

Oh no, Mario! Balotelli sees the ball evade him

What's going on here then Howard Webb looks puzzled as Kevin Nolan sits injured

What's going on here then Howard Webb looks puzzled as Kevin Nolan sits injured

Mancini’s signature on a new five-year contract with City seemed to calm the speculation surrounding his future.

But these are complex times at City.
The arrival from Barcelona of Txiki Begiristain as director of football
and Ferran Soriano as chief executive, has shaken up the administrative
structure at the club. It will hardly escape Mancini’s notice that the
third member of that triumphant triumvirate at Barca, former manager Pep
Guardiola, will be seeking new employment next summer after the
completion of a year-long sabbatical.

Back home: Former Hammer Carlos Tevez was given rapturous applause

Back home: Former Hammer Carlos Tevez was given rapturous applause

Nervous: Sam Allardyce and Roberto Mancini urge their teams on

Oops! Carroll bemoans a missed chance

Nervous: Sam Allardyce and Roberto Mancini watch on while Carroll bemoans a missed chance

Guardiola’s reputation for creating a
team that epitomised football as the beautiful game will cast a giant
shadow on managers across Europe. But only those with deep pockets
should bother calling him.

Mancini endured a tough day at the office. And tougher days beckon, beginning with the visit of Ajax on Tuesday night.

Silence: The teams paid their respects to fallen heroes in advance of Remembrance Day

Silence: The teams paid their respects to fallen heroes in advance of Remembrance Day

Kimi Raikkonen to stay at Lotus in 2013

Kimi gimme one more year! Raikkonen will stay at Lotus in 2013

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UPDATED:

12:04 GMT, 29 October 2012

Speculation surrounding Kimi Raikkonen's future has ended after Lotus announced he will stay at the team next year.

Lotus made the announcement in a video posted on youtube that the 2007 title with Ferrari will remain after making his return to F1 from rallying this season.

'We're delighted Kimi is staying with us for 2013,' the British-based team said on their official Twitter feed (@Lotus-F1Team) after posting a link to the film clip.

Staying put: Raikkonen (right) will remain at Lotus through the 2013 season

Staying put: Raikkonen (right) will remain at Lotus through the 2013 season

The Finn has been the most consistent driver on the grid, with 14 successive scoring finishes and every racing lap completed. He has been on the podium six times in 2012.

The 33-year-old is third in the championship, 67 points off the lead, with three races to go despite not having won yet this season.

Team principal Eric Boullier told reporters after Sunday's Indian Grand Prix that neither Raikkonen nor French team mate Romain Grosjean were likely to win any of the season's final three races.

'Realistically I would be kidding people if I said we would win a race this year,' he said.

Consistency: Raikkonen has enjoyed successful year

Consistency: Raikkonen has enjoyed successful year

'Yes I can be frustrated at not getting this missing, or elusive, win but we had a good start to the season with a new package and two new drivers. If you put us in the same position next year then it will be a different story.'

Raikkonen was seventh in India, Grosjean ninth. Boullier said an announcement on the full driver line-up could be expected soon.

Grosjean, despite several first corner crashes of the kind that got him suspended for the Italian Grand Prix in September, is almost certain to be kept on as well.

Tour de France could start in Britain in 2014

Tour de France could return to Britain in 2014 with Edinburgh start

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UPDATED:

21:23 GMT, 24 October 2012

The Tour de France is poised to return to Britain as soon as 2014, with a bid to bring the race to British roads believed to be close to winning the approval of organisers ASO.

Brian Cookson, the British Cycling president, who was in Paris for Wednesday’s presentation of the 2013 route, said that he was optimistic the Tour would come to Britain soon, with '2015 the most likely but 2014 possible.'

Its last visit was in 2007, when two days of racing in London and Kent were witnessed by over 2 million people.

Success story: London was praised when it hosted the Tour de France

Success story: London was praised when it hosted the Tour de France

The latest project is far more ambitious, with a Grand Dpart in Edinburgh followed by up to four road stages taking the peloton south, through England and Wales, and ending up as close to the south coast — and France — as possible.

The proposal will see Yorkshire, which has been in competition with Scotland to host the Grand Dpart, included as part of a British bid that would take the Tour within an hour’s drive of 30 million people.

'The Scottish-led bid is in the advanced planning stages, and it is a very positive and well thought of bid,' said Cookson.

'The funding is more or less in place and it is likely to happen. ASO have said they are likely to make up their minds in the next few weeks. Although they haven’t given us an exact time scale yet, we believe the Tour de France will be coming back to Britain very soon indeed; 2015 is the most likely but 2014 is possible.'

Cookson expressed disappointment at the lack of dialogue with the competing Yorkshire bid.

Capital calling: Edinburgh could host the Grand Depart in the future

Capital calling: Edinburgh could host the Grand Depart in the future

'We have not been involved, simply becasue they didn’t ask us,' he said. 'You would normally expct there to be a more meaningful dialogue with a possible host city or area than we have had with Yorkshire. We have asked.'

He admitted that the London start in 2007 — 'widely acknowledged as the best ever,' said Cookson — made the Tour director, Christian Prudhomme, determined to return.

'“We saw at the Olympics this year what kind of response the Great British public can produce,' said Cookson. 'There is not the slightest doubt that Great Britian will put on a really good show and that ASO want to get back here when the time is right. It will be sooner rather than later.

'Although there a re a few more ducks to be put in a row the Scottish-based bid could be more than three stages because it is obviously further from Scotland down to the south coast. I have to be a bit cagey about it as this juncture but the idea is that the route will go within an hour’s drive of 30 million people on mainland Britain.'

Frankel and Black Caviar could breed

The ultimate love story Frankel's first date could be with unbeaten Australian mare Black Caviar

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UPDATED:

17:00 GMT, 23 October 2012

It would be a match made in heaven. Two of the greatest race horses in the sport could be put together in an effort to produce future generations of history-making stallions and mares.

Frankel has been shortlisted as a possible first date for Australia's unbeaten mare Black Caviar.

The two highest-rated horses in the
world last season could meet in the breeding sheds once time is called
on the racing career of the Peter Moody-trained six-year-old.

Wonder horse: Frankel signed off with an unblemished 14-win record

Wonder horse: Frankel signed off with an unblemished 14-win record

Frankel signed off at Ascot on Saturday with an unblemished 14-win record, whereas Black Caviar is unbeaten in 22 starts.

Frankel will now be retired to stud at Newmarket for a second career as a stallion during which he is expected to earn more than 100 million for his owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, a member of the Saudi Arabian ruling family.

'We would consider going to Frankel because he is clearly the best distance horse in the world,' Black Caviar's co-owner, Neil Werrett.

'There would have to be a few conditions that would have to be worked out to make it happen, but the two best horses in the world together – that would be something.

'I might be a little biased, but I would say he is the second best horse I have ever seen.'

Happy ending Black Caviar is an unbeaten mare, and could be paired with superhorse Frankel

Happy ending Black Caviar is an unbeaten mare, and could be paired with superhorse Frankel

Kevin Pietersen saga – the end for Andy Flower?

Pietersen comeback edges closer – but will saga spell the end for Flower

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 30 September 2012

Kevin Pietersen begins life as a free agent in a Colombo TV studio on Monday with his future still hanging like a dark cloud over all that England do.

It is still expected that as soon as England return home from the World Twenty20 they will announce that Pietersen has signed a new central contract to replace the one that expired on Sunday night.

But even that would be far from the end of this sorry story. In fact, it could be just the beginning.

Crabby: Pietersen posted a picture of himself on Twitter on Sunday enjoying a meal and he is expected to be back in the England fold soon

Crabby: Pietersen posted a picture of himself on Twitter on Sunday enjoying a meal and he is expected to be back in the England fold soon

So deep is the rift between Pietersen and some key figures in the England set-up that his re-integration into the team could be a long and painful process, whether it starts for the one-day series in India in the new year or, more likely, the full tour of New Zealand that begins in February.

Talks here in Sri Lanka between Pietersen and senior ECB figures, with the baton being passed from Hugh Morris to board chairman Giles Clarke last week, appear to have been largely productive – but it is what happens next that is key.

The ‘provocative’ text messages Pietersen sent to South African players during last summer’s Test series are still the biggest obstacle to him being fully welcomed back by coach Andy Flower and senior England players.

The whole saga seems to have weighed particularly heavily on Flower’s shoulders and his attitude towards having Pietersen back will be integral to any contractual resolution and a successful return to the team.

End of the road Flower has suffered from the saga

End of the road Flower has suffered from the saga

More to do: Pietersen's future is not yet resolved

More to do: Pietersen's future is not yet resolved

The biggest worry for the ECB is that Flower might have become so wearied by the shadow this crisis has cast over England that it will hasten the exit of the most successful and highly regarded coach they have ever had.

Then there is the matter of Alastair Cook being keen to appoint an official vice-captain ahead of England’s Test tour to India, a move that could have implications for the peace process because it is likely to be one of the senior players who are least inclined to want Pietersen back.

The players, of course, will just have to get on with it if they are told that Pietersen is to return. But every aspect of their attitude towards their erstwhile team-mate, and his to them, will be under scrutiny from the moment he sets foot in an England environment.

It will be the biggest examination yet of the team spirit and respect that Flower holds so dear.

On the surface there really should not be too much delaying a resolution now. Pietersen has apologised to Andrew Strauss for the messages and has insisted to England that he is committed to all forms of cricket.

But any announcement from Clarke over the next few days will be merely another chapter in a drama that will run and run.