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Newcastle are the bookies’ favourites to win the Championship but relegated clubs have a very poor record of bouncing straight back – Simon Hopper analyses the best ante-post bets ahead of the new season.

Bayern Munich have defended Franck Ribery following criticism by German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, who claimed that the Frenchman was not commited to the club.

Club president Beckenbauer was quoted claiming Ribery “doesn’t give a damn” about Bayern and only joined them to make a name for himself.

Beckenbauer was also quoted as suggesting Ribery was aware of FIFA’s article 17, which allows a player under the age of 28 to walk away from a club after three years of his contract, when he signed his four-year deal with Bayern in 2007.

Real Madrid have been interested in signing the 26-year-old, who has made it clear that he would prefer to leave the German club this summer.

But a statement from the Bayern board read: “Our player Franck Ribery has always behaved professionally, correctly and seriously.

“Bayern have at no time had and do not have the impression from Franck Ribery that he would only use Bayern in order to further his own career. He has always given himself and his abilities to the service of the team.

“Franck Ribery has never commented on the possibility of making use of FIFA Article 17.”

The statement concluded: “We would, though, be very happy if Franz Beckenbauer, in his role as a member of the FIFA Executive, would take care that Article 17, which greatly burdens the whole of professional football, be abolished and therefore more contract stability for all clubs worldwide is provided.”

Newcastle are the bookies’ favourites to win the Championship but relegated clubs have a very poor record of bouncing straight back – Simon Hopper analyses the best ante-post bets ahead of the new season.

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