Ferdinand receives death threat

Police are investigating a threatening letter reportedly containing a death threat sent to QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

The letter was sent to the club, who were so shocked by its contents that they didn’t show it to the player.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “I can confirm that officers are investigating an allegation of malicious communication.”

The defender is receiving police advice following the delivery of the letter last Friday.

It’s unclear what the police advice to Ferdinand will be: apologise to John Terry for not being white enough, perhaps?

Sectarian charge

A Rangers player has been charged by police in connection with making alleged sectarian remarks during a night out.

Goalkeeper Grant Adam – the brother of Liverpool and Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam – is alleged to have committed the offence early on Sunday morning in Glasgow.

Strathclyde Police say they “can confirm a 20-year-old male has been charged in connection with an alleged sectarian breach of the peace.”

It is not unusual for Rangers to be fined by UEFA as a result of sectarian chanting by fans, but the charge against Adam indicates that they’re determined to break new ground in the bigotry stakes.

One witness said: “I saw bouncers ushering Grant out just after 2am. He didn’t seem that drunk and he wasn’t being manhandled. He seemed to be complying with the bouncers.

“I couldn’t hear exactly what he said but I think it referred to his views on the Pope.”

No idea what was said of course, but it’s fair to surmise that Adam was not involved in a theological discussion about Pope Benedict XVI’s hardline stance on contraception.

Back in the fold

Myanmar’s ban from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers has been lifted after an appeal but they must play all their qualifying home games on neutral territory, FIFA has confirmed.

Myanmar were initially banned by FIFA after crowd trouble halted their 2014 Asian qualifying match against Oman in July.

“The Myanmar Football Federation will be … reintegrated into the preliminary competition,” said FIFA in a statement.

“(Myanmar) will now be required to play all their home matches in the preliminary competition for the 2018 World Cup on neutral ground in another country.”

War of words continues

Romario and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke have continued their war-of-words ahead of a key meeting concerning Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilian politicians appear to be intent on a game of brinkmanship with the sport’s governing body over the hosting of the 2014 finals. Valcke’s patience, it is clear, is beginning to wear thin.

He is this week set to meet Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and new Minister for Sport Aldo Rebelo in an attempt to ratify the controversial World Cup law, which needs to be passed for the tournament to come into effect.

Valcke told Brazilian newspaper O Estado:  “In the end, there will not be any victors. Brazil will not defeat FIFA, Romario and other deputies will not defeat FIFA. Either we do things together or we will not win, the World Cup will be in Brazil and we want it to go well.”

World Cup winner Romario, now a politician, has previously criticised the regulations, claiming FIFA should not be able to overrule Brazilian law.

Romario, who intends to run for election as Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said on Twitter: “If they want a fight, they will have one because I’m happy to. Did you hear what the secretary of FIFA, Jerome Valcke said? That no politician or Romario will win over the World Cup.

“As if I’m against FIFA. I’m actually in favour of Brazil, especially the people and FIFA has to understand that no foreign entity will come above our sovereignty. FIFA will make 3-4 billion (Reais) in profit, and the LOC (Local Organising Committee) 1-2 billion, and they don’t want to take responsibility for anything. Isn’t that a scandal?”

Goal of the day

It wasn’t so long ago that Monaco were competing at the top end of Ligue 1 and regularly qualifying for the Champions League. Now, with just one win in their first 14 matches of the current season, they are rock bottom of Ligue 2. But, Marama Vahirua’s 86th minute equalizer against Le Mans on Saturday will have brought back memories of better times.

In bad taste

Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Monotlivo has apologised for laughing during a minute’s silence that was held in memory of the victims of the flash floods in Liguria.

A minute’s silence was observed in every Serie A game on Sunday in memory of those who died in the floods, and television images showed Montolivo smiling and laughing during that time.

“I am ashamed of my smile during the minute’s silence,” Montolivo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It’s a gesture that I don’t remember but it’s inexplicable and absolutely out of place.

“I didn’t realise the minute’s silence had already started and the tension ahead of the game can sometimes make you do things that you would not do otherwise.

“However, there are no excuses for that and hence, I apologise to all the people that felt offended by it and I send my condolences to the families of the victims of the flash floods.”

Acting under cover

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has been speaking of the veil of secrecy the club operated under to ensure that their decision to re-name the North Stand as the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand was kept under wraps.

Only eight out of 660 full-time United employees were let in on the secret and all made a pact that they would not tell a soul of the gesture to mark Ferguson’s 25 years in charge. Nobody from the football side of the club had been trusted with the news, which is just as well, as the chances of one of the players not tweeting about it would have been close to zero.

The work began once the final organised tour of Old Trafford had finished on Thursday evening and went on until 2am the following morning. The workmen had been asked to sign confidentiality agreements, as had the company that produced the red lettering.

The secrecy was worth it as Ferguson looked genuinely stunned when the name of the stand was unveiled.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” he said afterward. “I have to thank the club because it’s a proud moment.”

On the move

One of the secrets of Ferguson’s enduring success is a refusal to stand still and a commitment to permanent renewal. So, even as he celebrated 25 years at Old Trafford, the United boss was already planning for the future with the signing of PSV’s Andreas Pereira

The 15-year-old has confirmed he has agreed a deal to join Manchester United in January.

“I knew that PSV had given me my chance, but Manchester United is obviously a great club,” he toldVoetbalPrimeur. “Other British clubs were interested. I thought about it, but Manchester United is a dream club for me.”

The 15-year-old midfielder revealed he decided on a move to Old Trafford after meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson, and says he is delighted to be given a chance to play for his “dream club”.

Referee comes under attack

Shocking scenes from an Iranian lower league match between Chooka Talesh and Shahrdari Dezfool, in which a referee comes under attack from players, coaching staff and fans. Mercifully, he is escorted from the pitch before any real damage can be done.


David Beckham strengthened his bargaining position should he decide to extend his stay at LA Galaxy, by helping the club to the MLS Cup final.

A 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake secured the Western Conference for LA set up a title-deciding showdown with Houston Dynamo, who beat Sporting Kansas City 2-0 to win the Eastern Conference title.

“I think it’s special,” Beckham said. “When it was announced that the MLS Cup would be at the HDC (Home Depot Centre), I said it would be great if we could make it. Now we’ve made it, now we want to win it, simple as that.

“Tonight is a special night for the fans, for the manager, for the management as well, because Tim Leiweke [the club president], Phil Anschutz [the club owner], they put a lot behind this team and they got two teams that they own in the finals. So, it’s a special night for them, so congratulations to them, but as a team we need to be ready.”