Ayre head

Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre has called for English clubs to abandon collective sale of Premier League TV rights in favour of selling their own individual deals abroad.

Ayre, who clearly hasn’t looked at the UEFA club rankings in the past decade, fears that English sides (by that I think he means Liverpool) will be left behind by their European rivals if overseas revenues continue to be shared equally between the league’s 20 clubs.

He told BBC Radio Merseyside: “The other European clubs just don’t follow that model. They will create much greater revenue to go and buy the best players.

“It is a debate that needs to be had on a more collaborative basis between the clubs of the Premier League.

“But if you go further afield then it is a myth that the Premier League is huge.

“It is popular but the clubs that are really popular are the clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

And he said that if foreign revenues continue to be shared equally, the bigger clubs in countries like Spain will leave English clubs behind.

“While we must be careful to maintain the integrity of the Premier League we have to maintain our position in Europe as well.”

Surely, not a huge concern for the current Liverpool side.

I’m not sure what legendary Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly, would have made of all this, or indeed of Ayre. The Scot, widely regarded as the founding father of the modern Liverpool FC, and the person after whom the club’s influential Spirit of Shankly supporters group is named, was a man who valued the solidarity embodied by football.

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life,” he once said.

Votes for cash

You’re heard about it, you’ve read about it, now you can watch the movie. FIFA’s cash-cash-for-votes scandal has finally reached the small screen, courtesy of the Telegraph who carry exclusive footage of former CONCACAF chief, Jack Warner, urging Caribbean officials to accept cash gifts from Mohamed Bin Hammam.

It’s a revealing video, in which the disgraced Warner explains to the assembled delegates why they should accept the cash inducements offered by Bin Hammam.

The most poignant moment of the speech comes when Warner addresses those who may have reservations about receiving what is in effect a cash bribe.

“I know there are some people here who believe they are more pious than thou,” he says. “If you are pious go to a church friends, but the fact is our business is our business.”

Indeed, what a messy business FIFA has become.

There is also a verbal tirade aimed at UEFA president Michel Platini, saying a victory for Sepp Blatter over Bin Hammam would lead to the Frenchman taking over. In fact, Warner seems somewhat obsessed by the the prospect of a French takeover of FIFA.

Warner says: “We have to ensure Platini is not some automatic inheritor of FIFA. Because I tell you if that happens FIFA will become a French province. Forever. The fact is that Platini is being groomed to succeed Mr Blatter and we don’t know if it is in our best interests to have a French president, a French general secretary…but in any event I don’t think it’s in our best interests to do that.”

Record breakers

It was a busy night of international football on Tuesday with many Euro 2012 and World Cup qualifiers taking place across the globe.

The evening produced a number of record breaking feats, among them Japan’s 8-0 win over Tajikstan which set a new mark for the number of shots on target in an international match. Japan had 45 efforts on target which means that this might well have been the only time in history that an eight-goal margin of victory was deemed an opportunity missed.

Elsewhere, 41 passes preceded David Silva’s opener against Scotland, a record high for this European Championship qualifying campaign. The world champions have now won each of their last 23 matches on home soil, and are the only side not to have dropped a single point across the South Africa 2010 and Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Meanwhile, in the South American World Cup qualifiers, Diego Forlan scored his 32nd goal in Uruguay’s 1-1 draw with Paraguay, to overtake Hector Scarone and become his country’s highest ever goalscorer.

Breaking the duck

One unwanted record came to an end last night, at least from Venezuela’s perspective: after suffering 20 consecutive losses to Argentina, Cesar Farias’ side recorded their first ever win over La Albiceleste.

Here’s the goal that made history.

Calling it a day

In Europe, results went largely as expected, although there was one shock with the elimination of Serbia. A 1-0 defeat in Slovenia meant that the runenrs-up spot and play-off place in Group C, goes to Estonia. The turning point in the match came midway through the second half when skipper Nemanja Vidic missed a penalty kick.

The game heralded the end of Dejan Stankovic’s international career. The Inter midfielder will play one more match for Serbia which will allow him to surpass Savo Milosevic’s record of 102 international appearances and then retire.

“This was my last competitive match for my country, I will play one more game and that will be my farewell to the national team,” Stankovic told Belgrade media.

Coach Vladimir Petrovic, who took over from Radomir Antic after a 1-1 home draw with Slovenia early in the campaign, is likely to follow, although unlike Stankovic, he will be pushed before he jumps.

“They don’t need to sack me because my contract expires in two months’ time and it’s up to the FA whether they want to extend it,” Petrovic said when asked if he would step down.

Serbian media reacted to the defeat with indignant tabloidesque fury.

“Apocalypse”, stated Sportski Zurnal across the front page, while The Press said the Serbian team had “lost their dignity with an unacceptable performance which warrants resignations among the staff”.

Goal of the day

At one point Edin Dzeko’s first half strike against France looked like it had propelled Bosnia to automatic qualification for next year’s finals. A Samir Nasri penalty ensured France topped the group, while Bosnia enter the play-off lottery.

Here’s Dzeko’s effort.

Specsavers decision of the day

Armenia travelled to Dublin to face the Republic of Ireland with realistic hopes of reaching the play-offs. However, it wasn’t to be. Their cause was not helped by the decision of referee, Eduardo Gonzalez, to send off keeper Roman Berezovsky midway through the first half for handling the ball outside his area. Replays showed that not only did the keeper not touch the ball with his hand, but that Irish striker, Simon Cox, had handled it before it reached Berezovsky.

Own goal of the day

Further evidence that this was never going to be Armenia’s night came when defender, Valeri Aleksanyan, under no pressure whatsoever, knocked the ball into his own net.


Three defeats in his first five games including Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Honduras, is not exactly the start Jurgen Klinsmann will have been looking for, but USSF president Sunil Gulati sees no reason to panic.

“He certainly felt more pressure about results than Jurgen feels,” Gulati said before the match, when asked to compare the new coach with predecessor Bob Bradley.

“Part of the attraction, obviously, is he’s an innovative guy and wants to try things, not necessarily only things that have a 50-year track record of success, but some new things. So that always takes a little time for everyone — staff, coaching staff, players, leadership — and everyone’s adjusting.”

By sleight of hand or through the power of his personality, Klinsmann appears to have convinced his bosses to judge him not on results, but on innovations. This could well end in tears, probably on an app.


Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the local 2014 World Cup organising committee, is to be investigated by the police this week on suspicion of illegal transfer of funds into the country and money laundering.

“The investigation into Teixeira will open this week. It will be conducted by the anti-financial crimes bureau,” a police spokeswoman told Reuters.

Teixeira could be called in for questioning.

“Federal prosecutor Marcelo Freire asked head office of the Federal Police in Rio de Janeiro to open a police investigation of the president of the CBF for the crimes of illegal transfer of money to Brazil and money laundering,” the MPF said.

The investigation will centre on allegations by the BBC of three top officials of football’s world governing body FIFA, including Teixeira, of taking bribes over the appointment of International Sports and Leisure (ISL) as its marketing arm.