Nice work if you can get it

Any Portsmouth fans wondering why the club has entered administration not once but twice in the past few years, and is currently teetering on the brink of extinction, should look no further than the salary paid to ex-manager Harry Redknapp by the club’s former owner Milan Mandaric.

The Spurs boss was paid £3 million while in charge at Fratton Park. An astronimcal figure for a club of that size, but when one considers that this was in 2002 and Portsmouth were a Championship side at the time, it beggars belief. Two years later Redknapp’s salary was to rise to £4.2 million.

These scarcely credible figures were revealed yesterday at Redknapp’s and Mandaric’s trial for tax evasion, with the former Pompey chairman also claiming that the $145,000 he paid into Redknapp’s Monaco bank account was not for services rendered, but merely a gift to a friend. A further payment of $150,000, Mandaric said he paid the money to Redknapp was “an expansion of our togetherness, from being football people into friendship territory”.

It’s at times like this that even bankers look at each other and say: “We’re in the wrong job.”

Indian auction

Hernan Crespo proved the main attraction of India’s inaugural Premier League Soccer (PLS) auction on Monday as the Argentinian forward fetched US$840,000 in the bidding.

Crespo’s lawyer Gianluca Chibbaro, who was present at the auction, said the Argentine was looking forward to play in PLS.

“He is very excited to come to India and play. We all are too much excited. This is going to be hugely successful,” Chibbaro told PTI.

Ten per cent of $840,000 for attending an auction, who wouldn’t be excited.

Italy’s 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro went to Siliguri for $830,000, while Robert Pires of France ($800,000), Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha ($550,000) and Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler ($530,000) went to Howrah, Durgapur and Kolkata respectively.

The inaugural edition of the league is scheduled to take place from February 25 to April 8.

Women may be allowed to attend matches

In a country where the legal testimony of one man equals that of two women, the announcement that women in Saudi Arabia are set to be permitted to attend football matches for the first time, represents progress of sorts.

Jeddah’s huge King Abdullah Sports City development is set to become the first beneficiary of this change after officials stated they had received instructions to develop the stadium so it will be prepared to accept families in 2014.

“Sources close to the stadium said more than 15% of the facility will be allocated for families when the facility is fully completed in 2014,” reported the Al Sharq. “Besides families, female journalists and photographers will also be admitted into the stadium and will be allocated exclusive places away from male journalists so they can cover local and international events.”

Whatever next? Saudi women allowed to drive cars or even vote? Who knows. As the country is dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th century, anything seems possible.

Lord of the Flies

Sunday’s friendly match between Raja Casablanca and KAC Marrakech was abandoned at half-time.

In one of the least intimidating pitch invasions ever witnessed, hundred of youngsters sprinted on to the pitch causing no damage, but generally acting as if they were auditioning for a part in Lord of the Flies. Although they were eventually ushered from the pitch, the referee who had come to officiate at a football match rather preside over a creche, took the entirely understandable step of abandoning the game.

Goal of the day

Sudan’s 2-1 win over Burkina Faso was their first at the African Nations Cup finals for 42 years. Mudathir El-Tahir burst through just after the half hour to open the scoring and help Sudan reach the knockout stages for the first time since they won the tournament in 1970.

You couldn’t make it up

Did someone at Liverpool smash a mirror recently? The club, which seems to stumble from one mishap to another at the moment, have been forced to issue an apology after footage of a supporter making an alleged racist gesture during the club’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday was featured in a video on the club’s official website.

The scene was included in a highlights package of the FA Cup fourth-round win and was immediately removed after being brought to the attention of club officials.

“Footage featuring an alleged incident during the match was mistakenly included in the highlights package on the club’s website,” read a Liverpool statement issued to the BBC. “This was a mistake, it should not have been included and we are sorry it happened. It was removed immediately when it was brought to our attention.”

Lost in translation

Former CSKA Moscow midfielder Daniel Carvalho has apologized and retracted allegations he had to take anabolic steroids while playing for the Russian club early in his career.

Carvalho, now with Brazilian club Palmeiras, told a local radio station he was given anabolic steroids to bulk up because he was “too skinny” when he arrived at the CSKA Moscow in 2003.

However, when word got out about his admission, and with lawyers in Brazil and Russia salivating at the prospect of an expensive legal suit, Carvalho released a statement through Palmeiras saying he didn’t know if the substance in the injections he received was actually steroids.

“I don’t know if it was an anabolic steroid, I don’t have the medical knowledge to know that,” he said. “If it was, it’s something that happened 10 years ago and it’s in the past. If it wasn’t, I apologize to the Russians for the badly used words.”

Carvalho had previously said the doctors at CSKA Moscow used “huge syringes” to make the injections that made him gain 8 kilograms in just six months.

Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, there’s a fairy good chance that it is a duck.

Players suspended for match fixing

The Zimbabwe Football Association has suspended 67 players, including most of its national team, following an investigation into match-fixing.

Former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya sent the national team to play unsanctioned friendlies in Thailand, Syria and Malaysia two years ago and a betting syndicate allegedly fixed the results.

Former Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali and international players Daniel Vheremu, Benjamin Marere and Thomas Sweswe made statements admitting taking money, along with a member of the coaching staff, Joey Antipas.

The list of players who featured in the matches includes several key members of the current squad: Nyasha Mushekwi, Khama Billiat and Ovidy Karuru.

Mourinho under fire

Seeing a man being kicked when’s he’s down is never a pretty sight; not even when the man in question is Jose Mourinho. The latest person to jump on the anti-Mourinho bandwagon is former Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster.

The German has criticised the tactics of Mourinho during the recent Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg against Barcelona.

He told the Onda Cero radio station: “I think we can all agree that day was horrible. I would like to know what the coach was thinking when he selected this team; a player who had not played for so long and Pepe in the midfield. It was weird.”

Mourinho beware: though Schuster enjoys a reputation as something of a maverick, he does, as the last man to lead the club to La Liga success, retain some credibility in Madrid.

Fan club hit by bomb attack

A bomb has exploded outside a Panathinaikos fan club in Patras.

The blast damaged the club entrance, broke windows in nearby houses, apartments and stores and destroyed several cars.

The attack occurred amid escalating violence between rival football gangs, resulting in prearranged street fights as well as a number of arson attacks targeting supporters’ clubs around the country.