Imagine there’s no relegation…

A senior English football executive says some of the Premier League’s foreign owners want to abolish the relegation and promotion system.

League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan says “you’ll find that … American owners and some of the Asian owners” want to abolish relegation.

But Bevan hopes that a government-led inquiry can help prevent the proposal.

“We’re very keen that the report is successful in helping the Football Association introduce a licensing programme for clubs,” he said.

“Because there are a number of overseas-owned clubs already talking about bringing about the avoidance of promotion and relegation in the Premier League.

“If we have four or five more new owners, that could happen.”

Bevan added: “American owners, without doubt, there have been a number of them looking at having more of a franchise situation and that would mean no promotion or relegation.”

The Premier League has been swift to deny the claim.

Evra-Suarez in race row

Liverpool will look for Patrice Evra to be suspended if the Manchester United defender’s claims that he was racially abused by striker, Luis Suarez, prove unfounded.

Evra accused the Liverpool forward of repeatedly racially abusing him during Saturday’s Premier League clash.

The French defender, was quoted as telling French TV station Canal Plus: “In 2011, there are things you can’t say any more.

“The referee knows and there will be an investigation. But I don’t want to repeat what he said.”

The interviewer asked if Suárez had used racist words and he replied: “Yes, he did. We can see thanks to the television what he said. He said it at least 10 times. We can read it on his lips.”

Suarez issued a statement denying the accusation and Liverpool have given their backing to the Uruguayan.

Alls’s well at Al Wasl

Al Wasl coach Diego Maradona has dismissed reports of a split between him and chairman Marwan bin Bayat following comments the Argentinian made about the club’s inability to complete transfers.

The speculation mounted following Maradona’s press conference on Friday where he complained about the club’s failure to complete a deal for Uruguayan-Australian forward Richard Porta.

“With regards to Richard Porta, negotiations have run into some problems. I’m surprised because financially he is not too expensive. But the club is taking time,” Maradona said.

“I’d have hoped the process of bringing him here would have been a bit quicker than this, actually I’m a bit disappointed by that.”

However, following an opening weekend 3-0 win over Sharjah in the UAE Pro-League Maradona claimed all was well.

“There are no problems with the chairman and I have a normal relationship,” Maradona said.

“I dedicate this win to my mother and daughter who is also a mother and to all the mothers in Argentina.

“I wasn’t able to tell my mum about the 5-0 loss to Dubai in the Etisalat Cup, so I am happy to tell her this score.”

Apparently, he didn’t speak to her for months while in charge of the Argentina national side.

Goal of the day

Portuguese striker Helder Postiga scored a spectacular overhead kick in Real Zaragoza’s 2-0 win over Real Sociedad.

Here comes the tsunami

In what sounds like the plot for the next Terminator film, former FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner, is back, vowing to wreak havoc upon those within FIFA who have wronged him. This time, it really is personal.

Warner has written to to the Trinidad &Tobago Guardian yesterday following the publication by the Daily Telegraph of a video recording in which he was seen advising members of the Caribbean Football Union to accept gifts from FIFA presidential candidate Mohammed bin Hammam.

“I will talk about the bitter elections for the FIFA presidency in 1998 when Sepp Blatter faced his most telling rival in Lennart Johansson and the detailed reason for the support, which was offered to him by both Mohammed Bin Hammam and me,” he said.

“We took him on a worldwide crusade begging for support for him, and he won.

“That was the first time I met the present Deputy Chairman of FIFA Ethics Committee, Petrus Damaseb, at the time the president of the Namibia FA. I will tell the world what gift Bin Hammam gave to him then, which was not a bribe then as he has ruled today. With Bin Hammam’s private plane, we did the same for Blatter again in 2002 when he faced Issa Hayatou, in a most brutal election, and he won – a second time.”

Warner said the real “gifts” that Blatter gave to secure his two elections will turn stomachs inside out.

He also suggested that FIFA was a European fiefdom, explaining that of the eight FIFA presidents, only one was not a European—Dr Joao Havelange, who was Brazilian.

“Three were English, one was Belgium, the incumbent is Swiss and two were French. Is it that people of colour cannot administer football? Or is it that only Europeans possess the skill to do so? Is this why Platini is being groomed as heir apparent?”

When in trouble, play the race card.

Sitting target

Schalke have launched an investigation to find fans who threw objects at former referee Markus Merk during a Bundesliga game.

Merk was an on-pitch panel expert for Sky’s live coverage of Schalke’s 2-1 loss to Kaiserslautern on Saturday beer, lighters and other objects were thrown in his direction before and after the game. Bild reported that a snooker ball was among the items thrown.

Merk has been unpopular with Schalke fans since the last game of the season in 2001, when Bayern Munich scored from a free kick he awarded in injury time against Hamburg to snatch the title from its side.

Here’s footage of Merk dodging the deluge.

Beckham in demand

Thirty six years-old he may be, but there are still plenty of clubs who think that David Beckham has something to offer.

Paris Saint-Germain continue to court Beckham, with several players already excited about the prospect of playing alongside the former England captain.

Kevin Gameiro said: “I admired him when I was kid. So playing with him would be really strange to me!”

A bit like playing with your dad, I’d imagine.

Sylvain Armand stated in L’Equipe: “When I joined Paris, you could not tell me: ‘Here, you will play with Beckham one day.’ It is a new sign the club has changed its era.

“Considering his experience, he could only bring a lot of things to the group.”

Christophe Jallet added: “We all know hiring very famous players is part of the new politics at the club.

“Between us we don’t really talk about Beckham. We just have some jokes sometimes. His interest in PSG? It is an honour. Personally, I have never played beside a world star like him.”

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, reports claim that Beckham is set to agree another one-year deal with the LA Galaxy.

Sources close to the negotiations told Yahoo! Sports that the player’s desire to keep his family in Los Angeles has been instrumental in his decision to stay in the United States.

Sion of the times

FC Sion could be on the verge of an unlikely return to the Europa League.

Having seen their appeal against expulsion from the competition rejected on 13 September, the Swiss club went to the Swiss regional court of the canton of Vaud and won a judgment that his club should be reinstated. Now the matter rests with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Never mind that the groups stages have kicked off and most teams have already played two matches, UEFA has confirmed it would abide by the CAS decision on FC Sion’s case and that if the court found in FC Sion’s favour, UEFA would “reintegrate” them into this season’s Europa League group stage.

There isn’t a can of worms in the whole of Europe big enough to deal with the implications of this scenario. The logistics of creating a new fixture list midway through the group section is the least of UEFA’s worries. Being overruled by a civil court  threatens the very authority of UEFA – and by implication, FIFA – as governing bodies and will, it is generally accepted, created a legal minefield.

Sack race

Sao Paulo have sacked coach Adilson Batista immediately after Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Atletico Goianiense, their sixth match without a win.

It was the 31st coaching change of the year among Brazil’s 20 first division clubs.

“We talked during the week that this match with Atletico was of utmost importance for the (coach’s) permanence, or not, and continuing the job,” Sao Paulo’s director of football Adalberto Batista said.

“Sadly, today we had another adverse result, added to the others, the pressure … the work ends today.

“In football the result is what matters and in our last six matches we got four points.”

Adilson took charge at Sao Paulo in July and presided over 22 matches in all competitions with seven wins and six defeats. That makes him a veteran in a league where Corinthians, Coritiba, Flamengo and Palmeiras are the only first division clubs to have avoided changing coaches this year.


The outbreak of petulance among high profile footballers continues to spread across the globe. First it was Wayne Rooney lashing out at an opponent, then Neymar followed suit. Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry have confirmed that age is no barrier when it comes to behaving like a child.

A frustrated Ronaldinho kicked out at Ceara’s Heleno in Flamengo’s 1-0 win at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry was unhappy after he was sent off for what he insisted was an accidental collision. The footage is inconclusive, but if Henry was unable to elude a stationary object whilst moving at a snail’s pace, then the reports of his athletic demise really have not been exaggerated.