Fit for purpose?

Alleged criminality in the past business dealings of Rangers FC’s new owner has been uncovered by a BBC Scotland investigation.

Rangers: The Inside Story tells an intriguing tale about the club’s owner Craig Whyte and his labyrinthine business interests. The programme is only available to viewers in the UK, but you can read a fairly comprehensive summary in this report.

Rangers responded to the programme by withdrawing all co-operation with the BBC. That’s the grown-up equivalent of storming off the pitch and taking your ball with you.

In a statement, Craig Whyte and Rangers FC said: “As a result of the BBC’s approach, Mr Whyte and Rangers FC believe there is a strong risk that the programme will mislead and misinform viewers about matters concerning the club, and has suspended the BBC’s access to the club.

“Mr Whyte and Rangers wish to reassure viewers – and those of the club’s valued fans who may be watching – that the best interests and secure future of the club are and will remain their priority.”

Platini backs Blatter

Giving credence to Jack Warner’s claim that UEFA chief, Michel Platini, is being groomed to become the next president of FIFA, the Frenchman has offered his support to beleaguered incumbent, Sepp Blatter.

The former CONCACAF chief, who until his resignation was one of football’s kingmakers, claims that Platini’s election to the top FIFA role will be more of a coronation than an contest.

FIFA boss Blatter has vowed to reform an organisation which has become mired in allegations of corruption over the past 12 months. Many are sceptical of his ability to do so, but not Platini.

“We hope that what Mr Blatter promised us this time becomes fact, and not just ideas,” said Platini. “We hope we can bring transparency to FIFA but there will be a proposal and we will have a discussion.

“FIFA has to have a better image and perhaps after a lot of years of a certain way of how to manage FIFA perhaps it would be nice to have the new things promised by Mr Blatter. I get the impression that Mr Blatter is really motivated to change something – we will see.”

In bad taste

Mexican side Guadalajara have fined two players for a goal celebration in which one pretended to shoot the other in the head, sparking anger in the country where drugs-related violence has claimed 44,000 lives and where a top flight match was recently abandoned after a shootout involving police and gang members.

Marco Fabian de la Mora, who scored a hat-trick, and Alberto Medina were each fined 50,000 Mexican pesos for the incident during the Chivas’ 5-2 league victory over city rivals Estudiantes UAG.

“I greatly regret what happened. When I saw the video I was filled with anger and regret for playing around with something as sacred as the life of a human being,” a contrite De la Mora told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s good to celebrate in football but never like that. My respects to Mexico, for a Mexico free of violence, for the mothers and siblings of the victims,” added De la Mora, who also donated a million pesos to an orphanage in the northern border town of Ciudad Juarez.

Goal of the day

Tottenham striker Roma Pavyluchenko smashed home a free-kick against Russian outfit Rubin Kazan.

Own goal of the day

Even the perpetrator, Celtic’s Du-Ri Cha, could see the funny side of this misjudged backpass that gifted Udinese the lead in Thursday’s Europa League encounter.

Red card of the day

Trailing 3-0 to Stoke City but with a man advantage for the whole of the second half, Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Yoav Ziv thought it would be a good idea to stake a claim for this year’s Darwin awards by kicking his boot at a referee’s assistant.

Faus makes a pact with the devil

Barcelona and Real Madrid are not prepared to cede to demands for a more equitable distribution of television income, according to Barca vice president Javier Faus.

Spain’s big two have come under scrutiny in recent months as rival clubs fear they are no longer competitive due to the huge gulf in income caused by the current distribution of TV revenue. In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid earn 19 x more than the smaller top flight clubs. This contrasts with the situation in England where the champions earn just 1.7 times more than the bottom club.

However, although Faus conceded that there could be more money for the other clubs in future, this would not come at the expense of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“There is an agreement in principle that the percentage needs to be restructured but not in the way that they (Sevilla and other clubs) want,” Faus told Reuters.

“The difference is that in the last 50 years Barcelona and Real Madrid have always been the reference point for Spanish football … global powers in the world of soccer,” he added.

“This will be very difficult to change and we do not want to change it.

“Yes to a better distribution of the money from rights but also maintaining the status of Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are the trailblazers of Spanish and world soccer.”

They really do take that ‘more than a club‘ slogan far too literally.

“The current deal is inferior to England, to France and to Italy,” Faus continued. “What we are saying is that we are going to work together, Barcelona and Real Madrid first because we are the strongest, so that the cake is bigger.”

One of the principal reasons the pie isn’t bigger is because La Liga, beautiful product though it man be, is no longer regarded as competitive.

Oh Dani boy…

One of the downsides of turning the Spanish league into a two-horse race, as became all too apparent last season, is that overfamiliarity really does breed contempt. This season looks set to be no different. We’ve already had the eye gouging incident in the Supercopa and now the feud continues off the pitch.

Earlier this week Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said he had to look on the  internet to learn about the teams Barcelona were playing in Europe – implying that Pep Guardiola’s side has enjoyed an easy ride in the Champions League this season. More of an insult to their opponents than Barcelona, it has to be said.

Now, Barcelona defender Dani Alves has responded by saying that while Mourinho talks a good game, the Catalan side do their talking on the pitch. It was an attempt by the Brazilian to take the moral high ground, although that would have been better achieved if he’d simply kept his mouth shut and let Mourinho’s remarks fade into the ether.

“We know what he is like. He is always trying to take merit away from others,” Alves told Spanish media, according to Spain.

“We will just get on with our work and don’t want to get involved with any of that. We’re inferior in that respect and we like to do our talking where we do it best – on the pitch.

“Journalists love it because it sells a lot of newspapers, but we are focused on performing on the pitch.”

How to make friends…

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has dismissed Jurgen Klinsmann’s time as coach of the Bundesliga side as an expensive mistake.

Klinsmann, who took over as coach of the United States national team in July, coached Bayern from July 2008 to April 2009, when he was fired.

Never one to mince his words, Hoeness told Donaukurier newspaper that the club “bought computers for thousands of (dollars)” because Klinsmann used powerpoint presentations to explain game plans to the players.

Bayern’s current coach, Jupp Heynckes, needs five color markers and a flip chart to do the same, the chairman added.

“With Heynckes, we win games for €12.50, while we spent a lot of money under Klinsmann and had little success,” Hoeness said.

If you’re a treasurer at the United States Soccer Federation, it’s not too late to cancel the iPad orders.

Heynckes was appointed to take over in the summer after the club decided to part ways with Dutchman Louis van Gaal, whose coaching abilities were exemplary, if not his people skills.

“That he (Van Gaal) was a catastrophe in human relations is another story,” Hoeness said. “As expert, he was top. That’s why he wasn’t a mistake. Klinsmann was.”


Fans of English football can sleep easier now. The suggestion that some of the foreign owners of Premier League clubs were keen to scrap promotion to and relegation from the division, have been roundly condemned.

Liverpool owner John Henry called the idea “complete nonsense,” telling The Associated Press “hasn’t been discussed.”

The Aston Villa board headed by American Randy Lerner was “confused and surprised” by Bevan’s remarks.

Meanwhile, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has labelled the suggestion “nonsensical”.

Scudamore also inferred that the man responsible for the original allegation, League Managers Association chief executive, Richard Bevan, was making it up.

“My reaction was to ask him precisely who they were and what they were saying and he was unable to substantiate it in any meaningful way – as I knew he wouldn’t be able to,” he added.