Controversy not video cameras gives football its engrossing vitality | Michael Butler

Christian Benteke’s last-minute penalty for Liverpool at Crystal Palace had everyone disagreeing but that is part of the game’s enduring magicIt does not matter how many times you watch Damien Delaney’s tackle on Christian Benteke during Liverpool’s controversial win at Crystal Palace on Sunday, there is no definitive answer to whether it should have been awarded as a penalty. Jamie Carragher argued it was, “100%”. Alan Pardew unsurprisingly said the referee, Andre Marriner, was wrong. After viewing the incident via numerous replays, two former Premier League referees, Mark Halsey and Graham Poll, held opposing views of the incident in their newspaper columns. It goes to show there will always be incidents that are far from clear-cut. The Benteke penalty on Sunday was particularly timely in this regard, coming the day after the International FA Board announced plans for a two-year trial of video technology to help referees, to
Continue reading "Controversy not video cameras gives football its engrossing vitality | Michael Butler"

Tottenham’s Dele Alli playing through pain barrier, admits Mauricio Pochettino

• 19-year-old has made 27 league appearances for Spurs this season
• ‘He is an incredible athlete, yes. But he is not a machine’The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli is nursing an injury but has played through the pain barrier to improve the club’s chances of ending their 55-year wait for a league title, according to Mauricio Pochettino. Related: Arsenal defy critics as Harry Kane rues Tottenham’s missed opportunity Continue reading...









Former Leeds managing director to face trial in Dubai over slander charges

• David Haigh to face trial on 16 March in United Arab Emirates
• Haigh faces slander charges over tweet about former clubThe former managing director of Leeds United is to face trial on 16 March regarding criminal charges in the United Arab Emirates over a tweet about the former owner of the club. David Haigh has been in custody since May 2014 and was due to be released on 16 November last year after a Dubai court convicted him of fraud. Continue reading...









Leicester City fans causing earthquakes with celebrations, claims study

• Recent late winner against Norwich caused earthquake with magnitude of 0.3
• Group of geology students say Ulloa’s goal caused spike in seismic activityLeicester City’s success on the pitch has been sending shock waves through the city with the celebrations of fans being picked up by equipment used to detect earthquakes. Related: Jamie Vardy dismisses talk of pressure as Leicester City enjoy last laugh at Watford Continue reading...









Football transfer rumours: Chelsea’s Diego Costa to leave for PSG?

Today’s fluff is reeling from aftershocks Leicester City fans caused seismic waves with a magnitude of 0.3 when they celebrated their 89th-minute winner against Norwich, according to Leicester University students who were testing for earthquakes nearby at the time. But there may be more than a minor tremor in the city when it is discovered that Jamie Vardy’s new contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the club for a relatively affordable £30m, a figure low enough to tempt any number of desperate top-flight sides. Leicester are already busy identifying possible replacements, if news about their interest in Midtjylland’s Pione Sisto is anything to go by. Apparently scouts were in Denmark last Thursday to see him fail to score in a 1-0 defeat to Copenhagen, and West Ham are also interested. Continue reading...









Football transfer rumours: Chelsea’s Diego Costa to leave for PSG?

Today’s fluff is reeling from aftershocks Leicester City fans caused seismic waves with a magnitude of 0.3 when they celebrated their 89th-minute winner against Norwich, according to Leicester University students who were testing for earthquakes nearby at the time. But there may be more than a minor tremor in the city when it is discovered that Jamie Vardy’s new contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the club for a relatively affordable £30m, a figure low enough to tempt any number of desperate top-flight sides. Leicester are already busy identifying possible replacements, if news about their interest in Midtjylland’s Pione Sisto is anything to go by. Apparently scouts were in Denmark last Thursday to see him fail to score in a 1-0 defeat to Copenhagen, and West Ham are also interested. Continue reading...









FFA to help fund marquee players as part of four-year A-League plan

  • New plan hinges on revenue not yet obtained from broadcast deal
  • A-League expansion and promotion/relegation still off the agenda
Football Federation Australia will play an increased role in helping A-League clubs identify and fund marquee players, as part of a new four-year strategy that focuses heavily on promoting the domestic competition.
In a more centralised approach than what has existed previously, FFA will from next season invest a “seven-figure” sum into subsidising clubs’ cost of signing high-profile international marquees that raise the game’s profile in Australia, just as Alessandro Del Piero did at Sydney FC.
Continue reading...









Women in Football survey exposes ‘ingrained, sexist culture’

• Survey finds 25% of women working in football have suffered bullying
• ‘Authorities are still not doing enough to address sexism in football’A majority of women working in football witness sexism at work and almost a quarter say they have suffered bullying and 15% report they have been victims of sexual harassment, according to a survey. The campaigning organisation Women in Football, which published the survey, said the game had an “ingrained, systemic problem of sexist culture” and criticised football’s institutions for not doing enough to improve it. Continue reading...









Matildas’ success highlights need to ‘pledge for parity’ in women’s football

Forget the Socceroos of Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell’s era, this is Australian football’s true ‘Golden generation’ and the Matildas should be recognised as such Could there be a more fitting start to International Women’s Day than the news that one of Australia’s most beloved sports teams, the Matildas, has secured qualification for the Rio Olympics?
In incredibly testing conditions – with five games scheduled in 10 days – including four against sides ranked in the top 20 in world football, the Matildas have achieved what neither men’s nor women’s teams have since Beijing 2008, and will once again fly the flag for Australian football on the international stage. Continue reading...









Arsène Wenger defends his Arsenal record against ‘boring’ media criticism

• ‘I am humble enough to question myself every day,’ says Frenchman
• Manager will make changes for FA Cup fifth-round replay at HullArsène Wenger has launched an impassioned defence of his tenure as Arsenal manager in the face of mounting recent criticism. A faltering title challenge has been accompanied by relentless questioning, which has provoked Europe’s longest-serving manager to snap back. “Look, I have worked here for 19 years and I’m always sitting here having to justify that I’m good enough to do the job,” he said. “I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end. I always have to convince you that I am good enough. I worked for 35 years at the top level.” Continue reading...









Newcastle expected to sack Steve McClaren within 48 hours

• Newcastle’s board holds crisis talks without Mike Ashley or McClaren present
• Ayoze Pérez says ‘something has to change’ at relegation-threatened club Steve McClaren’s future at Newcastle United remained in a state of damaging limbo on Monday night although the former England coach is expected to be sacked within the next 48 hours. On Monday Newcastle’s board met to formalise crisis talks which had begun on Sunday after the 3-1 surrender the day before against Bournemouth at St James’ Park. McClaren is still scheduled to take training on Tuesday morning. Continue reading...









Newcastle manager’s job turns into a living nightmare for Steve McClaren

Bravado of last summer has long since dissipated and right now the club would happily finish fourth-bottom of the Premier LeagueAs manifestos go it was positively audacious. Newcastle United were intent on ending the season in the top eight of the Premier League and had determined to throw everything at winning a cup. In Steve McClaren they had just appointed a head coach described as “a perfect fit” by Lee Charnley, the club’s managing director. Charnley was so confident of an upward trajectory that he neglected to insert so called “relegation clauses” in players’ contracts. It was last July and McClaren had invited those excluded from his official June “unveiling” attended only by Newcastle’s “preferred media partners” Sky and the Daily Mirror, to lunch at the training ground. Afterwards everyone repaired to the Strategy Room, where the former England coach outlined a brave new blueprint. Continue reading...









Resurgent Las Palmas prove a Beatles week is long time in La Liga | Sid Lowe

Over eight days and three matches, Las Palmas have transformed themselves from relegation certainties into ‘a team to make us dream’They say a week is a long time in politics but not in Spain it’s not; not where 78 days after the general elections there’s still no government and no sign of one either. Which, on reflection, may not be such a bad thing. It can be a long time in Spanish football, though. This, after all, is the world where Joaquín Caparrós – the man one sports paper has just declared the standout candidate for the Spain job, two days after it was revealed that he once motivated his players with a pre-match porn video – says you can go “from whore to nun in five minutes”. Or, if you’re Rafa Benítez, from “solution” to sacked. Where Cristiano Ronaldo can go from whistled to worshipped in 82 seconds.
Continue reading "Resurgent Las Palmas prove a Beatles week is long time in La Liga | Sid Lowe"

The Fiver | Refreshing apathy and blind confidence

In today’s Fiver: Newcastle United, Alan Pardew, and John Peel on obstruction It must be reassuring for Newcastle United fans, when their club has won two of the last 13 matches, zero major domestic trophies in the last 61 years, are only elevated from the foot of the Premier League by the plight of Aston Villa, and are financed in part by a controversial payday loans company, that their club’s owner, who has in effect paid his retail workers below the minimum wage, is heavily influenced by a London-based PR wonk called Keith Bishop – or as Keith is described on his company’s website, “The Bishop” – who was at St James’ Park on Saturday to witness their 3-1 loss to Bournemouth. Continue reading...