Cortese hits out at spending controls

first_imgSouthampton’s executive chairman Nicola Cortese has criticised the Premier League’s decision to impose wage and spending controls on member clubs. Southampton were one of six top-flight clubs that voted against the spending controls, which were agreed by the narrowest majority at a Premier League chairmen’s meeting last month, but Cortese is the first chairman to speak out publicly against them. The regulations will restrict the amount of losses clubs can make to £105million over three years, and clubs whose total wage bill is more than £52million will only be allowed to increase their wages by £4million per season for the next three years. Clubs will face a points deduction if they breach the new controls. The Premier League chairmen will be presented with the detailed spending control plans at a meeting in mid-April. Saints have reported a £0.9million profit for the last six months of 2012, helped by the increased income of being promoted to the top flight. That result, and a wage bill that is 59% of turnover, would see Southampton comfortably comply with the new financial regulations, but Italian banker Cortese insists owners should be allowed to run their clubs as they wish. He said: “Our results also demonstrate we are already operating within the spirit of likely new Premier League financial regulations in respect of average profits and losses over three years. We believe very strongly that each club should continue to be permitted to run their business – including their pay rolls – as they see fit. This is fundamental to the future integrity of football.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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McIlroy plays down rift talk

first_img McIlroy denied speculation at the Players Championship that he would create his own team with his father, close friends and associates, but McDowell said during the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria that the world number two had decided on his second management change since October 2011. The 24-year-old left International Sports Management just four months after winning his first major by eight shots in the US Open at Congressional, joining his good friend McDowell at Horizon. McIlroy told a press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship: “I’m here to try and stay on point and talk about golf. I can’t really comment on speculation at this point.” Press Association He added: “Obviously you guys know that something’s up. That’s fair enough. But at this point I can’t really say much more.” Asked about his apparent annoyance with McDowell – “Ask G-Mac. He knows more than me” he said to reporters on Tuesday – McIlroy added: “I spoke to Graeme yesterday afternoon. We got back to the hotel and we just had a chat. Everything’s good. “I’m great friends with Graeme. He’s been a real big brother to me on Tour. I remember playing practise rounds with him at the Dunhill Links, for example, back in 2007 when I got my card. “He really showed me the ropes out here for a couple years and it’s great to have good friends on Tour and he’s obviously somebody that I consider a very good friend.” McIlroy was less forthcoming when pressed to explain a comment he made in an interview with Sky Sports, when he was asked if he had been frustrated by the speculation and replied: “No, not at all. Someone very smart said to me a couple of weeks ago, if you want to be in the circus, you have to put up with the clowns.” Pushed to explain who he was referring to, McIlroy said: “I thought it was quite a good comment. Just think about it.” center_img Rory McIlroy is unable to clarify reports that he is leaving Horizon Sports Management to create his own management group, but revealed he has cleared the air with Graeme McDowell.last_img read more

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Mourinho does not see fair play

first_img The Chelsea manager was speaking about UEFA’s FFP policy which was designed to ensure a club’s expenditure does not exceed its income. A summer of lavish spending has ensued regardless, though, and Mourinho – who believes his club have taken a correct and prudent approach – is unhappy that some continue to splash the cash. Jose Mourinho has labelled clubs who continue to spend big in an era of Financial Fair Play as “economic sharks”. “Clubs have to think about the future, where financial fair play will make us think about football in a different way,” he said in an interview with ESPN which was carried by several national newspapers. “We have already started but other clubs seem to think FFP will never start or they think they can override what FFP says and determines. They have continued spending incredible sums. We have gone with another thought.” Chelsea have not exactly traded on a shoestring themselves, with the likes of Andre Schurrle, Marco Van Ginkel, Willian and Samuel Eto’o all arriving for varying amounts. Mourinho, though, points to an investment in youth as evidence that Chelsea are using the market sensibly. “The club has invested in young players and, with those young players mixed with the players who came to Chelsea in the past, we are constructing a team to compete directly with those who invest more,” he said, with 32-year-old Eto’o the exception to that. “But we are happy. We have a young team with a bright future. We have two players almost for every position, some more experienced, some with more potential for growth. And we have other players, loaned out for one, two or three years, that have to come back. “And with less investment, we intend to maintain the level of these economic sharks who seem like they will continue with the desire to buy and they will keep buying. I’m happy for them that they have that objective.” The former Real Madrid coach, now in his second spell at Chelsea, added: “I am used to these injustices. I won the Champions League with Porto without investing and playing teams who had spent money. It was not mentioned much.” Mourinho’s sense of foul play has hardly subsided over recent days owing to the fallout from his side’s Super Cup loss to Bayern Munich. The Portuguese hinted at a conspiracy against him after his side ended with 10 men, saying referee Jonas Eriksson had “killed” the game by dismissing Ramires. He feels equally strongly about FFP too, making reference to the perceived criticism he faced after heavy investment during his first spell with Chelsea. “After I arrived at Chelsea at the start of Mr (Roman) Abramovich’s investment, he spent money and bought players, and when I won they said it was because I had spent money,” he said. “And now we do not buy players, the others do and I do not see the same sort of opprobrium criticising these clubs spending a huge amount at a time when, socially and politically, Europe is not in a very good moment. “I do not see the same sort of criticism. That is the injustice.” Press Associationlast_img read more

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Laudrup only focused on points

first_img If Swansea are to take the three points on Wednesday they will need to contain in-form Newcastle striker Loic Remy who has scored eight goals in his last nine appearances for the Magpies. And Laudrup revealed he was among the players he pursued during the summer. “He’s really a player. I like him a lot,” Laudrup said of Remy. “He was one of the players I was interested in last summer. There’s no doubt about that. “He is a player that I like. He has everything. He has speed, individual quality and goals.” Swansea will look to end a poor run of Barclays Premier League home form against Newcastle on Wednesday night, but manager Michael Laudrup insists he does not care where their points come from. Press Association The Swans have won just once in the league at the Liberty Stadium since Newcastle last visited back in March, one week after the Welsh club’s Capital One Cup triumph over Bradford at Wembley. While there have been just two defeats – against Arsenal and Manchester United – from the six home games so far this season, back-to-back games against Newcastle and Hull now offer Swansea a chance to rack up points on their own turf. However, Swansea have already secured three away wins this season, giving them one of the better records on the road in the division, which means Laudrup is unconcerned by the home run, and is happy to take points whenever and wherever they come. “We can’t rely on always winning away, of course, and we now have two games at home,” he said. “The last time we had that we got four points against Sunderland and West Ham, and I think at least we should have the same this time. If we can get six I will take that. “But I look a lot at the number of points, not so much where and when we get them. “I agree normally the majority of teams have to pick up more points at home and in our case it’s the other way round, but we have three away wins and we have to be happy with that. “We have 15 points. If we can get to 19 or 21 points in the next few days that will be great and we will still have four games to get more points in the first half of the season. “Of course if we can get six points from these two games then great, but if we don’t get them here and we win at Norwich, I will take that as well. “I would like to win at home every time but at the end of the day it’s about points. We are only having this discussion because normally teams get more points at home.” last_img read more

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Delph wins thriller for Villa

first_img Having twice been pegged back after going ahead, it looked like Paul Lambert’s men would have to settle for a share of the spoils on the south coast. However, Delph’s wondrous strike 10 minutes from time saw Villa secure an impressive smash-and-grab 3-2 win at Southampton, becoming the first team to win at St Mary’s this season. Fabian Delph’s first Premier League goal was one to remember, rifling home from distance to secure Aston Villa a thrilling 3-2 victory at high-flying Southampton. Rodriguez’s right-wing cross was squared back across goal by Rickie Lambert for Lallana, who turned exquisitely in the box and looked set to strike home until Ron Vlaar fantastically flung himself in front of the ball. Moments later Lallana was proving a threat again, this time sending a cross in from the left that grazed Brad Guzan’s crossbar. Saints continued in the ascendancy and, after referee Jon Moss waved away claims that Guzan had handled outside his area, Rodriguez stung the Villa goalkeeper’s palms from distance. Villa had offered nothing of note in the opening exchanges yet caught the hosts cold after 15 minutes. Agbonlahor turned Maya Yoshida on the halfway line to latch on to a hopeful Delph through ball, burst forward and cut past the sliding Dejan Lovren before coolly slotting home. It was just the third goal Southampton have conceded at home this season and one they quickly attempted to make amends for. Rodriguez met a looped Nathaniel Clyne cross with an incredibly powerful header, but Guzan was alert to acrobatically turn the ball around the post and Lovren had a header blocked from the resulting corner. A great last-ditch Ciaran Clark interception denied Lallana another chance at goal as Saints continued to up the ante, with Pochettino bringing on Osvaldo for James Ward-Prowse after just 38 minutes in search of a change in fortunes. There were more changes at the break, with Jack Cork and Matthew Lowton replacing Victor Wanyama and Vlaar, as the second half began frantically. Delph did well to squeeze a ball through to karim El Ahmadi down the right, with the Villa midfielder’s low angled strike going just inches wide of Paulo Gazzaniga’s goal. It was a missed chance Paul Lambert’s side were made to rue immediately, with Clyne swinging in a fine cross from the right for Rodriguez to power a header past Guzan. Ricky Lambert tried an audacious 40-yard free-kick soon after and Rodriguez was blocked off at the near post, before Osvaldo was sloppily dispossessed before he could shoot. The Italy international soon showed his class, though, flicking a Lallana cross goalwards only for Guzan to save low to his left. Saints continued to press, now in a 3-4-3 formation after Clyne hobbled off, although Villa again caught them out. Cork was caught out by El Ahmadi on the right flank and the Morocco international’s cross was turned home by Kozak. It was the summer signing’s last action of note, replaced immediately by Benteke who saw penalty appeals waved away soon after. Saints were soon level again, though. Substitute Jose Fonte sent a fine right-wing cross to Lambert, whose knock back was bundled home by Osvaldo. Rodriguez came close to making it 3-2 moments later with a fine header, only for Villa to again go ahead and in some style. Again against the run of play, Delph was given space to voyage forwards and struck home an outstanding 22-yard effort into the top corner. Saints pushed for yet another leveller, but were unable to save their unbeaten home record. Osvaldo was involved in an altercation at the end of the match and was shown a yellow card. All three of Villa’s goals came against the run of play, as Saints were made to pay for their failure to turn their domination into goals. Having lost at Arsenal and Chelsea, this defeat saw Southampton fall to three defeats on the trot for the first time since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival in January. Saints began brightly and captain Adam Lallana saw a cross clip the bar, before Gabriel Agbonlahor showed pace and composure to net the opener after 15 minutes. Karim El Ahmadi was inches away from shocking Saints again moments into the second half, only for Jay Rodriguez to head home at the other end shortly afterwards. It was no less than Saints deserved after dominating possession, but again Villa went ahead through Libor Kozak – starting in attack instead of Christian Benteke, dropped after seven scoreless matches. Again Southampton showed character to level through substitute Dani Osvaldo, only for Villa to snatch victory in the 80th minute. Delph was allowed time and space to rifle home a superb effort from distance, extending Villa’s unbeaten league run to five matches. Heavy traffic in and around Southampton meant a large number were not in their seats at the start of a match which began well for the hosts. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Wilshere waits on FA

first_img Such sanctions have been implemented in the past as was the case with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who was suspended for one match, fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after he made a gesture to home fans as he walked off the pitch following a 1-0 defeat at Fulham in December 2011. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted in his post-match press conference that “if he (Wilshere) did it and he is banned, then we will have to accept it.” If that proves to be the case, then Wilshere will miss the visit of second-placed Chelsea next up on December 23. Defeat for Arsenal – who have been drawn with Bayern Munich once again in the last 16 of the Champions League – saw their lead at the top of the table cut down to just two points. Wenger feels the way his men respond from the defeat could well shape the rest of what has so far been a promising campaign. The Gunners could now be overtaken by first Liverpool, who host Cardiff on Saturday lunchtime, and then City who are at struggling Fulham. Indeed Wenger’s men may well end up down in fourth spot for Christmas should Chelsea win at the Emirates Stadium – with fifth-placed Everton out to also close up to potentially one point if they can win at Swansea. Wilshere feels Arsenal must learn fast from their disappointing defensive display at the Etihad Stadium. Television cameras picked up Wilshere raising his middle finger in the direction of home fans at the Etihad Stadium during the second half of Saturday’s 6-3 defeat for the Barclays Premier League leaders. Following the submission of observations from referee Martin Atkinson and his officials, Press Association Sport understands the governing body is gathering more evidence to help with the context of the situation and under their disciplinary procedures have until 6pm on Tuesday to lodge any formal charge against the player. “Most of the goals were individual mistakes. I know I certainly am beating myself up about it and the other players I know will be disappointed,” Wilshere said on Arsenal Player. “We will learn from that individually and collectively. “I think we were too stretched and the space between the defence and the midfield was too much. “We have to tighten up a little bit.” Arsenal are set to monitor the healing process of the deep cut to defender Laurent Koscielny’s knee which was sustained when attempting to prevent City’s second goal late in the first half and was unable to continue. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere must discover if he will be charged with misconduct by the Football Association for an abusive hand gesture towards Manchester City supporters which could see him eventually hit with a one-match ban. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Liverpool remembers Hillsborough victims

first_img Loved ones of those who died were joined at Anfield by players, club officials and ordinary fans among the 24,000 attending to mark today’s emotional anniversary. The 96 Liverpool fans died in the crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium after going to see their team play Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989. A sombre memorial service took place at Anfield to mark 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans. As the families of those who did not return home took their places in reserved seats on the Kop for the start of the service, the crowd got to their feet as one with a roar of approval and a huge ovation from all four sides of the ground. There were also loud cheers and clapping for the gathering of past and present Anfield greats who took their seats, including current club captain Steven Gerrard, Kenny Dalglish, manager at the time of the disaster, Ian Rush, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness. More recent stars Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman were also in attendance, along with Howard Kendall, Everton’s manager in 1989, and current Everton boss Roberto Martinez, who gave a reading. On the pitch, thousands of football scarves were laid out in the shape of “96”, donated from fans and clubs across the UK and beyond after an appeal from Liverpool FC for scarves to show a symbol of unity across fan rivalries. Some of those present at today’s memorial are witnesses in the new inquest into Britain’s worst sporting disaster, which began last month and resumes next week. The original accidental deaths verdicts in 1991 were quashed in the High Court in 2012 after a long campaign by the fans’ families. Traditional football hymn Abide With Me was sung before the names of the 96 fans were read out. At each name a light was lit, one by one, on a large piece of sculpture entitled the Band of Life, until all the lights were illuminated. Press Association As the time reached 3.06pm, the exact moment the match was abandoned while the tragedy unfolded, a minute’s silence began. In the city’s main streets and shopping thoroughfares, public transport stopped. The hum and noise from outside the ground faded as a hush fell across the city while Anfield, often a cauldron of noise, also fell into a sombre stillness. Heads bowed, some fans wiped away silent tears as they remembered the scores of lives lost. The minute’s silence ended with a round of applause, as across the city bells tolled 96 times at churches and civic buildings. The first reading was given by Martinez, who read from St John 14:1. In a short address afterwards, he said he was 15 at the time of the disaster, a football-mad kid in a football-mad family, when he heard the news. He said: “We could not believe the pain and horror that the families would get by receiving the news that their loved ones would not be coming home. Would not be coming home from a football match. How can you die by watching a football match? “That was not right or fair what happened and afterwards was not right or fair either.” To a huge cheer, Martinez added: “The authorities took on the wrong city if they thought they were going to get away with it.” He said the Hillsborough Family Support Group, which led the campaign for new inquests, was a remarkable group of people. He said: “I know, I don’t have to tell you, Everton are with you, you know that.” Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool’s first team manager, gave a reading of Psalm 23, before addressing the Hillsborough families themselves. Rodgers said his biggest inspiration as manager was each time he came to Anfield and seeing the names of the 96 on the Hillsborough Memorial. He said: “I feel very humble to be in your company. “You are the real inspiration for us. Your courage, fortitude, resilience and love for the people you lost, it’s what inspires me, every day, as the manager of Liverpool Football Club. “Thank you for the inspiration you give us all. You’ll never walk alone.” last_img read more

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Duffy keen for more caps

first_img Press Association However, the degree of difficulty will only increase during the early hours of Wednesday morning when Ireland face Portugal at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey. Boss Martin O’Neill’s defensive resources have been significantly depleted since the squad met up in Dublin last month with John O’Shea, Seamus Coleman and Damien Delaney having left and Wilson not expected to have recovered from a tight hamstring in time for the game. Full-back Stephen Ward has rejoined the squad after flying in on Saturday evening, but Duffy is hoping he might get another chance to impress. He said: “As soon as you have played one game, you want to play more. “I don’t know how I did, but I just went out there and did the best I could do, and on Tuesday I will be ready if I’m picked.” Should he get the nod, Duffy will find himself pitched into battle with Portugal’s Brazil-bound superstars in hot and humid conditions, and it may prove something of a contrast to what he has been used to. The Derry-born defender spent last season on loan in the Sky Bet Championship at Yeovil, who ultimately slipped out of the division after a lengthy battle against relegation. However, the experience he gained at Huish Park proved invaluable, and Duffy, who made 39 appearances, is grateful for the opportunity afforded him by the Glovers. Asked about the prospect of locking horns with Cristiano Ronaldo and company compared to playing in England’s second tier, he said: “It’s a lot different, but it’s been brilliant for me down there. “It’s got me where I am now, so it’s credit to Yeovil for bringing me down there and giving me a chance to be in the senior squad.” Midfielder Glenn Whelan will not be involved after flying home for personal reasons. Shane Duffy reaped the rewards of four years’ hard work when he was handed his senior debut for the Ireland on Saturday. He has spent the time since working his way back, and his industry finally paid off at the PPL Stadium. Duffy said: “It’s been a long four years. I don’t know, I was just focusing on club football to see if I could get back to where I was, and hopefully this season I have shown that. “Playing the other night was sort of a reward for four years ago, what happened, so I was just delighted. “I am made up to be even in the squad, so to play was a dream. “Obviously when you start playing football, you want to play for your country, so I was delighted when it actually came. “I thought I did all right in the game, some good things, some bad things, but it’s the first step and hopefully I can do better stuff.” Duffy played his part in a 1-1 draw with World Cup finalists Costa Rica, who fought their way back from 1-0 down despite having defender Giancarlo Gonzalez sent off before the break. He lined up in a much-changed defence along with Richard Keogh, Stephen Kelly and Marc Wilson, the latter of whom had to make way for emergency left-back James McClean because of injury, and the quartet was given a stern examination by Bryan Ruiz, Marco Urena and Joel Campbell in particular. The 22-year-old Everton defender lined up against Costa Rica in Philadelphia during the early hours of Saturday morning to end a long journey back to international prominence. Duffy had been promised his first senior cap by then manager Giovanni Trapattoni in an end-of-season friendly against Paraguay back in 2010 when he suffered a horrific training ground injury which left him with a lacerated liver and fighting for his life. last_img read more

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Irvine to fly flag for N Ireland

first_img Press Association Cyclist Martyn Irvine has been selected as Northern Ireland’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The County Down 29-year-old won gold in the Scratch race at last year’s World Track Championships and also won a bronze medal at the 2010 Delhi Games. Irvine said: “I’m honoured to be considered as flag bearer considering there are a lot of other athletes in the team with bigger CVs than I have. There are little chances to represent Northern Ireland in my lifetime, possibly eight to nine and so to do so in Glasgow so close to home in front of friends and family is a real honour.” center_img Irvine will take part in three events in Glasgow – the 20k Scratch and 40k Points race, plus the road race on August 1. Northern Ireland Chef de Mission Robert McVeigh said: ” We are delighted to appoint Martyn as official flag bearer as he epitomises the spirit of Team Northern Ireland by exhibiting qualities of commitment and integrity. He has demonstrated an ability to galvanise all our sports into one team.” Squash player Chris Simpson will carry Guernsey’s flag at the opening ceremony while Jersey’s representative will be Steve Le Couilliard, a pistol shooter who is competing in his seventh Commonwealth Games. Trap shooter Tim Kneale will carry the flag for the Isle of Man, who have also taken the unusual step of naming their flag bearer for the closing ceremony, cyclist Jonathan Bellis. last_img read more

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Mourinho wants Cech to stay

first_img Cech’s days as Chelsea’s first-choice stopper appear to be numbered. The 32-year-old, who has been Chelsea number one for 10 years, had to settle for a place on the bench on Monday night as Mourinho opted to field Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the first match of the season against Burnley. Mourinho confirmed Courtois would keep his place in the team after an impressive performance in the 3-1 win, which came courtesy of goals from Andre Schurrle, Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic. But the Chelsea boss insisted Cech is capable of winning the jersey back if he stays at the club. “Yes, I want to keep (him),” Mourinho said. “The club wants to keep him and hopefully he stays. “Courtois was my first choice today and he played good enough to be my first choice in the next game. “He is not my first choice for the rest of the season. “When you have a top professional working hard like Petr, if you don’t perform you are in trouble.” Paris St Germain and Monaco are said to be two of the parties interested in Cech’s signature. Jose Mourinho hopes Petr Cech will stay at Chelsea despite his demotion to second-choice goalkeeper. Press Association Mourinho admitted he has a hard task on his hands keeping Cech happy, but he thinks the goalkeeper will not give up without a fight. “No player is happy when he is not playing every game,” he said. “But I know Petr for 10 years, I know he will not relax, he will not sit in a chair and say ‘I have no chance’. He will be exactly the opposite. I am expecting him Wednesday to go to the training ground and fight.” When it was put to him that Cech could request to leave, Mourinho said: “He didn’t ask and I hope he doesn’t ask.” last_img read more

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