Redknapp accused of greed
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp Harry Redknapp arranged for bungs to be paid into his off-shore bank account because he was “greedy”, a court alleged today.
Redknapp is standing trial for tax evasion alongside his former chairman at Portsmouth FC, Milan Mandaric.
Prosecutor John Black QC said the tax dodge was “all about Mr Redknapp and he was greedy and wanted more money”.
The barrister asked Mandaric: “That’s the truth isn’t it?”
Mandaric replied: “Absolutely not true. He was paid millions of pounds. He was paid fairly … there was no issue whatsoever.”
Mandaric said the cash “was money that I was going to develop his portfolio” with.
“We can go over and over, Mr Black. I respect your job and everything but I cannot deviate from the truth. Simple as that.”
Despite spending his day in court and his evening watching his side defeat Wigan 3-1, Redknapp still found time to conduct a bit of transfer business. By his normal standards, Tuesday’s deadline day was a relatively quiet affair.
In came Louis Saha on a short -term contract and Ryan Nelsen from Blackburn, out went Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko to Lokomotiv Moscow, while defender Sebastien Bassong joined Wolves, Stephen Pienaar returned to Everton and Vedran Corluka moved to Bayer Leverkusen on loan. Meanwhile, Adam Smith returned to Spurs from MK Dons before heading north to join Leeds United on loan.
Imagine what might have happened if Redknapp had not been otherwise engaged for most of the day.
Generally speaking though, it was a relatively quiet final day of the transfer window across Europe. Money, it has to be said, is tight, and UEFA’s Finacial Fair Play rules appear to have concentrated the minds of some of the more profligate clubs.
“It looks like economically the whole of Europe is becoming a bit more cautious,” said Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger. The parsimonious Frenchman who has endured years of criticism from supporters for failing to spend money, now finds himself in the unusual position of being a trendsetter.
In an initial two-year monitoring period that started in July 2011, UEFA’s rules allow clubs to make a total loss in the first assessment period up to €45 million, so you can understand why a club like Liverpool say, would be reluctant to repeat last winter’s experiment when they took a punt on Andy Carroll for £35 million. Once bitten … this this year they signed nobody.
Fellow big spenders Manchester City restricted themselves to a solitary loan deal for Chilean midfielder David Pizarro, while Chelsea, who 12 months ago spent £50 million on Fernando Torres, were equally cautious, spending just £6.7 million on Genk midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
“Financial fair play has definitely had an impact (in the transfer window),” said Alan Switzer, director of the sports business group at Deloitte. “The 2011-12 season does now count towards the UEFA rules and that will be part of the consideration which clubs will be giving to any transfer.”
Throughout Europe a similar picture emerged of clubs reluctant to embark upon a short-term splurge for fear of the long term repercussions.
Whether this outbreak of sanity persists or is merely a temporary blip in European football’s runaway journey to hell in a handcart, remains to be seen.
Goal of the day
With the ball almost behind him, Scott Sinclair somehow manages to hook a shot over Petr Cech to put Swansea ahead in their Premier League game against Chelsea.
Turkish football chief quits
Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, president of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), and his two deputies have announced their resignation in the wake of the country’s match-fixing scandal.
“In a context where non-ethical behaviour from certain people and institutions is considered authorised and where trust does not exist, I don’t have the means to resist any more,” Aydinlar said in a statement posted on the TFF website.
The move comes five days after a special meeting of the General Assembly of the TFF, during which no agreement could be reached as to what sanctions should be imposed on clubs involved in match-fixing.
The trial of 93 suspects accused of cheating in 19 first and second division matches last season is scheduled to begin on February 14 in Istanbul.
Among the 23 suspects detained is Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim, whose team was excluded by the TFF from this year’s Champions League because of the charges.
In the wake of several midweek Serie A matches being postponed because of snow, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has side’s game against Milan to be called off. Fair enough, although considering the game is not scheduled to kick off until Sunday evening, the request does seem a little premature.
The official has written a letter to Serie A Lega chief Maurizio Beretta requesting the game be re-arranged.
“All the forecasts for the next few days, and the weekend in the particular, predict prohibitive weather conditions, those that we have not seen for 27 years,” he wrote.
“In Milan there will be snow and temperatures between -8 and -10.
“In these conditions, I strongly believe that playing the Milan-Napoli game is inopportune due to the extreme conditions.”
I bet Carlos Tevez is relieved he stayed in Argentina now; there’s just no way he’d get a tee-off time in those conditions.
Argy bargy leads to postponement
The Argentine Football Assocation has called off a third-division match, amid fears of crowd violence in a game between the club Nueva Chicago and rival General Lamadrid.
AFA suspended the game scheduled for Wednesday after the death of Nueva Chicago fan Aldo Barralda. Barralda was stabbed on January 18 in a fight between rival hooligan gangs associated with Nueva Chicago. The hospital Santojanni said Barralda died of a lung infection.
Barralda was believed to have been involved in the death of Agustin Rodriguez, the member of a rival hooligan at the club Nueva Chicago. It was Rodriguez’s death which prompted dozens of football hooligans to invade the Santojanni hospital two weeks ago, looking for Barralda and trying to avenge Rodriguez’s death.
There are no winners in this situation.
A Brazilian team’s mascot has been suspended for two home matches for making obscene gestures to opposition fans.
Ceara’s “Grandpa” mascot was suspended after making the gestures to fans from Ferroviario in a match on Sunday.
Local media reports that Ceara is also expected to punish the person who was inside the mascot costume.
An photo of the miscreant mascot can be found here.
Terry in court
English football in the dock? Not quite, but John Terry has become the latest high profile football figure to be appear in court facing criminal charges.
The Chelsea and England skipper pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of racially abusing opponent Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ordered Terry to be prosecuted for a “racially aggravated public order offence” over comments allegedly made to Anton Ferdinand in an on-field exchange during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat by Queens Park Rangers.
If found guilty, the defender could be fined up to £2500, a drop in the ocean for a man of his means. However, the damage to his professional reputation could be considerable – although as this is John Terry, perhaps not that considerable.
Tuesday’s Premier League encounter between Everton and Manchester City was suspended for five minutes after a man handcuffed himself to the goalpost. Having seen Edin Dzeko’s finishing in recent months, the pitch invader clearly picked the safest spot in the ground to stage his protest.
The man in question, John Foley, was not as first suggested, staging a football-related demonstration, but was protesting about an alleged scam perpetrated by budget airline Ryanair on gullible and easily-exploited employees. The company chief, Michael O’Leary, is a Manchester City fan and was in attendance at Goodison Park last night, although he, like everyone else in the ground, will have had little idea as to what the protest was about.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Mr Foley’s campaign, you can read details here.