Wales FA boss will not face action over next manager ‘definitely not English’ comment

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Wales’ new manager will ‘definitely not’ be English

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) will not take action against chief executive Jonathan Ford for saying the next Wales manager could be “foreign”, but “definitely not English”.

The FAW had set up a three-person panel to investigate a BBC Sport Wales interview in which Ford said: “We have always favoured Welsh people because arguably the passion is there.

“Somebody said this earlier, Welsh most definitely, foreign possibly but definitely not English.”

A statement from the FAW said they will not “take the matter any further” after Ford apologised for the remarks.

The interview, at the Wales Sport Awards, was discussed at an FAW council meeting when Ford was asked to leave the room.

Full statement

An FAW statement said Ford would not face any further action.

The statement said: “Following a matter arising from the Football Association of Wales Council meeting of 12 December 2017 in Cardiff, meetings have taken place between the Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Ford, the President, David Griffiths and Vice President, Kieran O’Connor of the Association.

“The CEO has clarified comments made in a media interview, where he repeated details of a previous conversation, in which a third party stated that the search for a national team manager should preclude an English applicant.

“Following the discussions today, it was accepted the documented comments were taken out of context and not in the manner in which they were intended.

“The FAW and CEO will conduct a search for the new manager in an open and objective fashion, the appointee will be the best person for the role.

“The CEO has apologised for the statement and the FAW Officers, having reviewed the situation, do not propose to take the matter any further.

“The Officers of the Association fully support the CEO, acknowledge the significant achievements in taking Welsh Football forward over the last eight years and look forward to continue to work together in the future.”

Ford’s tenure

Ford was appointed to the role in 2009 and has a marketing background. He has been widely credited with lifting the FAW’s profile and increasing turnover.

Coleman led Wales to their first tournament finals when the national team reached the semi finals of Euro 2016.

During Ford’s tenure, Wales has staged its first Uefa competition with the European Women’s Under-19s tournament in 2013 before hosting the prestigious Super Cup in 2014.

In the summer Cardiff staged the 2017 women’s and men’s Champions League Finals.

Ford will still lead the search for Chris Coleman’s successor, with a six-man panel looking to sift through the candidates with a view to appointing a new manager by the end of January, 2018.

Roberts, Giggs, Bellamy, Hartson

Coleman’s assistant Osian Roberts, plus ex-Wales strikers Craig Bellamy and John Hartson and Ryan Giggs have all expressed their interest in taking over.

Former Wales and Manchester United forward Giggs has been long admired by the FAW, while Welshman Tony Pulis – sacked as West Bromwich Albion manager last month – is also among those linked with the post.

Ford believes the Wales job has become an attractive proposition following Coleman’s successful Euro 2016 campaign.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42337632

MOTD analysis: Why Tottenham have a point to prove at Man City

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Match of the Day

You can watch highlights of Manchester City v Tottenham and six other Premier League games on Match of the Day at 22:20 GMT on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

Tottenham’s title hopes are over and, whatever happens when they play Manchester City on Saturday, they are just fighting to finish in the top four.

But Mauricio Pochettino’s side can still do some serious groundwork at Etihad Stadium for future success, starting with the way they approach the game.

For a team that talk about themselves as future Premier League champions, their record under Pochettino away from home against the rest of last season’s top six is getting a bit silly.

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Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss asked to clarify comments about Man City

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What happened after the Manchester derby at Old Trafford? Guardiola and Mourinho have their say.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been asked to clarify the comments he made before Sunday’s derby defeat by Manchester City.

The Football Association has requested observations from the Portuguese regarding his pre-match news conference on the Friday before the game.

Mourinho suggested City players go to ground easily, saying: “A little bit of wind and they fall.”

He has until 18:00 GMT on Monday to respond to the FA.

Mourinho, 54, also said he did not think he would be allowed to make to make a political statement on the touchline like Guardiola, who has recently worn a yellow ribbon – a symbol of protest against the imprisonment of pro-independence politicians in the Spanish region of Catalonia.

United went on to lose the game 2-1 at Old Trafford, which sent City 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Mourinho had milk thrown at him outside the Old Trafford dressing rooms after objecting to City’s post-match celebrations and said the incident was “a question of diversity in behaviour, diversity in education”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42359383

‘Football is about dreams’

Posted by Warren Fyfe on December 13, 2017 with No Comments
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Ashley Barnes

Eleven of the 13 games either won or lost by Burnley this season have been decided by a single goal

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said “football is about dreams” after his side moved into fourth place in the Premier League with victory over Stoke at Turf Moor.

Substitute Ashley Barnes struck two minutes from time to ensure the Clarets’ remarkable start to the campaign continued.

Barring the first two days of this season – when not every team had played – this is the highest they have been in the top flight since March 1975.

“It’s a run of results and a start which the fans are enjoying and rightly so,” said Dyche.

“Football is about realities but also about dreams. It’s a tough task for us winning games at this level but, Leicester blew the roof off dreams in football.”

Since 2003, Leicester are the only English club other than Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham to have played in the Champions League proper, doing so after winning the title in 2015-16.

Barnes’ strike – after the ball ricocheted off team-mate Scott Arfield – was one of few clear-cut chances in the match, though Stoke’s Peter Crouch hit the post early on.

Dyche’s side climb into the Champions League places above Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham – who all play on Wednesday – while Stoke stay 15th.

“We found a way to win and a fine goal,” said Dyche. “We’re not the real deal, we’re a side that are improving.

“I keep reality because this division will eat you alive. We’re having a real go at what we can achieve this season.”

Burnley – good in a tight spot

Burnley were not at their best for much of the game – perhaps inhibited by the prospect of leapfrogging some of the Premier League’s biggest names, even if only for 24 hours.

Steven Defour was the only Clarets player to have a shot on target prior to Barnes’ decisive strike – his second goal of the season. Indeed the most alarming moment for Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland in the first half came when he fumbled the slippery ball from a looping cross, but he quickly recovered.

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It’s important the Burnley fans have dreams – Dyche

It was a typically determined display by Dyche’s side, whose eighth clean sheet of the season is only bettered by Manchester United’s nine.

A sixth 1-0 win of 2017-18 shows how well they can close out tight games, and they are 14 points and 12 places better off than after 17 games last season.

Dizzy heights and European nights?

Burnley’s climb into the top four will have some fans dreaming of the return of European football to Turf Moor.

The Clarets’ last European venture was in the Fairs Cup in 1966-67, six years after a memorable flirtation with the European Cup.

Winning the league in 1960 put Harry Potts’ side into Europe’s elite club competition – and they won both of their home matches.

But, after beating Reims on aggregate, defeat by Hamburg in the quarter-finals brought an end to their first European adventure.

They looked well placed to return in 1975, but having climbed into the top three on 21 March, a side featuring players such as Leighton James and Brian Flynn eventually finished 10th.

Problems mount for Hughes

While Dyche’s stock is on the rise, defeat will only increase the focus on Stoke counterpart Mark Hughes.

The Potters players were confronted by angry fans at the city’s railway station after sharing a train following their 5-1 defeat by Tottenham on Saturday.

Hughes hoped that would provoke a response from his players, and he certainly got one in the early stages.

But Stoke were ultimately unable to take advantage of an unusually tentative Burnley as they slipped to a fourth defeat in their past five games.

“Don’t tell me that anyone says Burnley deserved to win that, because they didn’t,” Hughes said. “The lads are devastated.

“We’ll be OK, we’re fine. We are working hard to try to turn this around but I am encouraged by what I’ve seen tonight.”

The 16 points Stoke have taken from their opening 17 games is their lowest at this stage of a Premier League season.

And Barnes’ goal was the 36th they have conceded in the league this season – the worst record in the top flight.

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Burnley didn’t deserve to win – Hughes

Man of the match – Steven Defour

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Ashley meets Newcastle bidder Staveley over £300m offer

Posted by Warren Fyfe on December 13, 2017 with No Comments
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Benitez hopes for good takeover news after Everton fixture

Newcastle’s owner Mike Ashley and British businesswoman Amanda Staveley have met for the first time to discuss the sale of the Premier League club.

The duo met in an Indian restaurant in London last week, BBC Newcastle understands, after the investment firm run by Staveley – PCP Capital Partners – made a fresh offer of around £300m.

Newcastle are yet to comment, but they have not denied the meeting took place.

Ashley said in October he wanted to sell after 10 years in charge.

The businessman has been in America but is now back in England as talks continue between the two parties.

Any deal would need Premier League approval, which takes 30 days.

Staveley helped broker the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour in 2009 and it was reported she led Dubai International Capital’s £400m bid for Liverpool in 2008.

Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James’ Park, with some supporters regularly protesting about the way the businessman has run the club.

He bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. Their latest accounts – up to 30 June 2016 and before the club’s relegation to the Championship – showed a profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126m in 2015-16.

The club have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley’s 10-year reign and are currently 16th in the top flight after 16 games, having won promotion last season under Rafael Benitez.

They host Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday (19:45 GMT).

Analysis

BBC Newcastle’s Newcastle United commentator Matthew Raisbeck

Mike Ashley has been willing to negotiate on price with any interested parties. Amanda Staveley, who attended a match at St James’ Park earlier in the season, is offering him a way out, and negotiations between the parties have been ongoing for a few weeks.

What a takeover means for the January window will be of particular interest to the club’s fans and Rafa Benitez. The Magpies’ boss was unhappy with their transfer business in the summer and is keen to receive funds to strengthen in a number of positions, with the team now dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42341749

Wales football chief faces investigation over next manager ‘definitely not English’ comment

Posted by Warren Fyfe on December 13, 2017 with No Comments
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Wales’ new manager will ‘definitely not’ be English

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has begun disciplinary action against its chief executive Jonathan Ford for saying the next Wales manager could be “foreign”, but “definitely not English”.

The FAW has set up a three-person panel to investigate a BBC Sport Wales interview in which Ford said: “We have always favoured Welsh people because arguably the passion is there.

“Somebody said this earlier, Welsh most definitely, foreign possibly but definitely not English.”

The interview, at the Wales Sport Awards, was discussed at an FAW council meeting when Ford was asked to leave the room.

A disciplinary panel will meet to question Ford on the matter, though he is working as normal as Wales look to replace Chris Coleman, who departed following the failure of the national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, next summer.

Ford declined to comment when contacted by BBC Sport Wales.

Ford’s tenure

Ford was appointed to the role in 2009 and has a marketing background.

He has been widely credited with lifting the FAW’s profile and increasing turnover.

Coleman led Wales to their first tournament finals when the national team reached the semi finals of Euro 2016.

During Ford’s tenure, Wales has staged its first Uefa competition with the European Women’s Under-19s tournament in 2013 before hosting the prestigious Super Cup in 2014.

In the summer Cardiff staged the 2017 women’s and men’s Champions League Finals.

Ford will still lead the search for Coleman’s successor, with a six-man panel looking to sift through the candidates with a view to appointing a new manager by the end of January, 2018.

Roberts, Giggs, Bellamy, Hartson

Coleman’s assistant Osian Roberts, plus ex-Wales strikers Craig Bellamy and John Hartson and Ryan Giggs have all expressed their interest in taking over.

Former Wales and Manchester United forward Giggs has been long admired by the FAW, while Welshman Tony Pulis – sacked as West Bromwich Albion manager last month – is also among those linked with the post.

Ford believes the Wales job has become an attractive proposition following Coleman’s successful Euro 2016 campaign.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42337632

Liverpool’s Salah wins BBC African Footballer of the Year award

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Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah wins 2017 BBC African Footballer of the Year

Egyptian Mohamed Salah has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year for 2017.

Following a record number of votes, the Liverpool star won ahead of Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Guinean Naby Keita, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Nigeria’s Victor Moses.

“I am very happy to win this award,” the 25-year-old told BBC Sport.

“It’s always a special feeling when you win something. I feel like I had a great year, so I’m very happy.”

Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer with 13 goals, has enjoyed a stellar year for both club and country.

In early 2017, the forward was the central figure for Egypt as they finished runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He also had a hand in all seven of the goals that took the Pharaohs to their first World Cup since 1990 – assisting two and scoring five, including the stoppage-time penalty against Congo that qualified them for Russia.

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Chelsea face Barca, Spurs v Juve in Champions League last 16

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Real Madrid lift the Champions League trophy

Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 to lift the Champions League trophy last season

Chelsea have been drawn against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, while Tottenham will face Italian champions Juventus.

Premier League leaders Manchester City will play Switzerland’s Basel, Manchester United face La Liga side Sevilla and Liverpool take on Portugal’s Porto.

Holders Real Madrid will face Paris St-Germain.

A record five English teams progressed from the group stage this season.

Chelsea were the only English team to make it through as runners-up, with the other four sides all topping their respective groups.

The Blues have arguably been handed the most difficult tie, and it comes days after boss Antonio Conte conceded that their Premier League title defence was over following their defeat by West Ham, which left them 14 points adrift of Manchester City.

However, Chelsea did beat Barcelona in the semi-finals before lifting the Champions League trophy in 2012.

Real Madrid, who are aiming for a 13th title and third in a row, were given a tough draw against big-spending PSG after finishing behind Tottenham in Group H.

The group winners will be away in the round of 16 first legs on 13/14 and 20/21 February, and at home in the return matches on 6/7 and 13/14 March.

The final will take place in Kiev on 26 May.

Champions League last-16 draw

Juventus v Tottenham (13 February and 7 March)

Basel v Manchester City (13 February and 7 March)

Porto v Liverpool (14 February and 6 March)

Sevilla v Manchester United (21 February and 13 March)

Real Madrid v PSG (14 February and 6 March)

Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma (21 February and 13 March)

Chelsea v Barcelona (20 February and 14 March)

Bayern Munich v Besiktas (20 February and 14 March)

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42308625

Man City celebrations ‘not to blame’ for derby row

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Manchester City players and staff celebrate their derby win at Old Trafford

Manchester City players and staff celebrate their derby win at Old Trafford

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright rejected claims that Manchester City over-celebrated Sunday’s derby win and played down the post-match row.

United boss Jose Mourinho had milk thrown at him outside the Old Trafford dressing rooms after objecting to City’s post-match celebrations.

The Premier League leaders won the game 2-1 to go 11 points clear at the top.

“It’s just hilarious on so many levels, I don’t think you can blame City,” Wright told BBC Radio 5 live.

“People are accusing them of not having class, they are saying you don’t know how to act when you win, but you’ve got to take into consideration they have just broken a record, the 14 wins, against their biggest rivals.”

City’s players celebrated in front of their fans after the final whistle, while the coaching staff tried, without success, to get coach Pep Guardiola to join them.

After the players and staff then headed down the tunnel, it is understood Mourinho made his feelings known outside the visitors’ dressing room as he made his way to post-match interviews.

In the ensuing row the Portuguese coach had water and milk thrown at him, while City coach Mikel Arteta suffered a cut head after he was hit by a plastic drinks bottle. It is not known who threw it and sources from both clubs say no punches were thrown during the incident.

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Why Lukaku could be ‘most important player’ in Manchester derby

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Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has scored just two goals in his past 13 games

Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku could be the most important player on the pitch in Sunday’s Manchester derby, says ex-England player Owen Hargreaves.

After joining United from Everton for £75m in the summer, Lukaku hit seven goals in his first eight league games but has scored only twice since.

Hargreaves, who played for both Manchester clubs, believes another element of his game will be crucial.

“United will need to get out of defence through Lukaku,” he said.

“Everyone said before he came to the club that his hold-up play was not good enough for a top, top player but in the past few weeks it has been much better.

“United need that so they can get players up the pitch. He could be the most important player in the game.”

A must-win Manchester derby for United?

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Manchester derby: Could City leave United behind?

United are second in the Premier League, eight points behind their city rivals.

Pep Guardiola’s side boast the most prolific attack in England’s top flight, having scored 46 goals in 15 games.

United, meanwhile, have the best defence. They have conceded just nine goals, with only one of those at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho’s side adopted a cautious approach in their 0-0 draw at Liverpool in October, and Hargreaves believes they will have to be more adventurous against City if they are to retain hopes of winning the title.

“United have to win,” said the 36-year-old, who played for United from 2007-2011 before spending a season at City

“A draw is good for City. How many points are they going to drop over the rest of the season? They’ve already won the league so the goal for them is to make some noise in the Champions League.

“It is more a must-win game for United. If City win, the title race is over.”

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