Balotelli to accept ban?

The Manchester City assistant manager, David Platt, has hinted that the club will reluctantly accept Mario Balotelli’s four-match suspension.

Balotelli was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association after appearing to stamp deliberately on Scott Parker during Sunday’s 3-2 win over Spurs. The Italian will automatically receive a four-match ban unless City successfully appeal. However, if their appeal failed, they run the risk of the FA increasing the ban to five games.

“We found out the information last night and we have not sat down as a group to discuss it,” said Platt. “But I don’t think anybody thought we would win an appeal with Vincent Kompany, even though the majority of people didn’t feel he deserved a red card or a four-match ban. It shows the futility of an appeal sometimes. This looks poor when you slow it down.”

Platt was asked by manager Roberto Mancini to speak to the press to ensure the Italian’s difficulty with the nuances of the English language did not exacerbate a potentially delicate situation.

If only Kenny Dalglish had done the same before pronouncing on the Luis Suarez case. It could have saved his club a whole heap of trouble.

Pepe let off lightly

While Balotelli contemplates the prospect of a four-match ban, another infamous stamper appears to have got off lightly.

Real Madrid defender Pepe, who was hung out to dry by all and sundry at Real Madrid after he appeared to deliberately stamp on the hand of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi during last week’s Spanish Cup first leg, has been told that he will not be charged over the incident.

Pepe is thus free to play in Wednesday’s return leg at the Nou Camp; a game which has now been upgraded from a PG to an 18.

Taxing times

It’s not looking good for Harry Redknapp. The Tottenham manager failed to declare his offshore bank account for six years after “feigning” ignorance during an inquiry into football bungs, a court heard today.

John Black QC, prosecuting, asked jurors to consider whether “is it the case that Mr Redknapp could be unaware of the bank account” when he had flown out to Monaco just a couple of years earlier to set it up in the name of his dog, Rosie.

“The existence of the bank account was not registered to Revenue and Customs for a period of six years, two months… after Mr Redknapp was first arrested and questioned in the course of this investigation.”

The court also heard that Redknapp threatened to “sue the bollocks” off a journalist as he angrily denied taking bungs.

Referee attacked

Al Ahli’s Chile international Luis Jimenez facing punishment after headbutting a referee in Sunday’s UAE Pro-League 2-1 win against Al Jazira

Jimenez, who apologised for the incident, banged heads with the referee after the pair had clashed over a decision. The Chilean was sent off for the act.

UAE Football Association general secretary Yousuf Abdullah told The National that they would take action against Jimenez for the ugly incident.

“For sure, there will be some action taken against him,” Abdullah said. “This will be a black point in his career as a football player.”

Al Ahli coach Quique Sanchez Flores was left bemused by the referee’s performance throughout the game which he believed contributed to Jimenez’s over-reaction.

“I think the situation got to Jimenez,” the Spaniard said. “I did not like the officiating of the referee.”

As pleas of mitigation go, that one might require a bit more work.

Blatter waves away tsunami claims

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has dismissed former vice-president Jack Warner’s threat of a “tsunami” of revelations against him.

His latest comments came following the furore caused by Warner’s claim last month that he was handed the TV rights for seven World Cups for a nominal fee in exchange for securing votes for Blatter in his presidential election campaigns.

The FIFA president has now blamed the granting of TV rights to Warner from 1986 to 1998 on the former Mexican FIFA vice-president Guillermo Canedo, who conveniently for Blatter, died 15 years ago.

“From 1986 and until 1998 he (Warner) was awarded the television rights for one dollar by Mr Canedo,” Blatter revealed.

“Why? Because Mr Canedo wanted to keep the vice-presidency of FIFA and Mr Warner had a majority in CONCACAF (Confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean).”

“There is no tsunami. Jack Warner is claiming I assigned him the TV rights for Trinidad for one dollar when I was first elected in 1998. That’s not true. We had no influence on the assignment of these rights. He acquired them in 1986 from OTI (Organización de Telecomunicaciones Iberoamericanas).”

Player of the Year

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been named Serie A Player of the Year for the third time.

The annual Oscar del Calcio awards were voted on by more than 5,000 people, made up of footballers, coaches, referees and journalists.

Alongside Ibrahimovic in the team of the year were: Antonio Di Natale, Edinson Cavani, Kevin Prince Boateng, Thiago Motta/Claudio Marchisio (joint winners), Marek Hamsik, Pablo Armero, Andrea Ranocchia/Alessandro Nesta (joint winners), Thiago Silva and Christian Maggio.

Coincidentally, Ibrahimovic’s representative, Mino Raiola, says the 30-year-old will continue at Milan until he feels he can no longer compete at the highest level.

He told GR Parlamento: “Ibrahimovic will end his career at Milan – at least his career playing at the highest level. Milan will be his last top European club.

“In the future I don’t know. He could go to America. I don’t see him in China and Russia would be difficult.”

Goal of the day

Youssef Msakni slalomed past three players before stroking the ball past Morocco keeper in Tunisia’s 2-1 African Cup of Nations victory.

Tevez options narrow

Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez has stated that Milan are the only club he wants to play for.

Paris Saint Germain have been trying to sign the player, whilst Milan’s rivals Inter have also been linked, but Tevez only has eyes for Milan.

“Thanks PSG, but no,” said Tevez. “My destination is Milan. I only see myself in the Rossoneri colours. Now I’m waiting for Milan.”

Ring any bells?

In April 2009, Tevez spoke of his love for another club, on that occasion it was Manchester United.

“My loan deal ends in June but I cannot think of any team except United. The United fans love me and my family is very happy, both in Manchester and in England. My thoughts are only about winning titles with United, and if this happens then I hope I will still be here next season.

“I do not want to play with any other team. I always follow my heart, and my heart is telling me it will be impossible for me to leave English football.”

By January, 2010, he had found a new love, United’s neighbours City.

“I feel I’ve shown I’m at the right club now. Everyone knows how important the fans are at this club and, if I make them happy, it’s an honour.”

“I think the United fans know I tried hard. City is my club now, a place where I feel part of everything. Maybe this wasn’t always the way at United.”

Quote of the day

“The reason why he is always injured is because we have sex 7-10 times a week. I hate foreplay, I want to get straight to the point. My favourite position is on top so I can take control.”

Melissa Satta, girlfriend of Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, explains why her partner has only started 11 Serie A matches this season.

Boateng is currently out of action with an unspecified muscle strain.


With his team trailing 5-0 in a friendly match against Zenit St Petersburg, Uzbekistan U-23 striker Aleksandr Geynrikh thought it would be a good idea to try out something different from the penalty spot.

There’s a fine line between genius…

And insanity…