Arrested development

Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings has been arrested at his home by Merseyside police, the Scottish Football Association chief executive, Stewart Regan, has confirmed.

In a statement, Regan says it follows “extensive inquiries” into alleged betting irregularities at a Scottish Premier League match between Motherwell and Hearts on 14 December 2010.

A Merseyside police statement said: “Detectives have today executed warrants at ten addresses across Merseyside and Glasgow and arrested nine men as part of an investigation into suspicious betting activity.

“The arrests are the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission and the nine who have been arrested for conspiracy to defraud are being interviewed by detectives.”

Among those arrested were Wayne Rooney’s father and uncle. If Wayne hadn’t done such a good job of it already, the pair would be accused of tarnishing the family name.

Jennings, who is from Liverpool, was sent off in Motherwell’s 2-1 home defeat to Hearts. Coincidentally, a new customer in the Liverpool area placed an online single bet of £500 on there being a red card during the game at odds of 10-1.

If in doubt, blame the translator

Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has adopted the tried and trusted technique of those who open their mouth before engaging their brain: he claims to have been mistranslated.

The Argentine striker was banned for two weeks after allegedly refusing to come on as a substitute in City’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

After the match a club translator quoted Tevez as saying: “I didn’t feel right to play so I didn’t.”

But his agent, Kia Joorabchian, insisted that “the interpretation was incorrect”.

“Carlos does speak English but his English his not good enough to host a full-blown interview,” stated the Iranian-born businessman. “I listened to the questions in English and the interpretations in Spanish. Both questions were interpreted incorrectly and both answers of Carlos were then misinterpreted.”

“What happened on the bench in Munich was one of a lot of confusion as shown on the TV footage,” said Joorabchian. “The events of Munich have been judged prior to the real outcome coming out.

“We see Nigel de Jong going on and Carlos still warming up and a God-awful row between Roberto Mancini and Edin Dzeko. You see this row carrying on and Carlos sits down. Carlos then stands up, there’s more shouting and he sits back down. The next thing we hear is what Roberto says.”

Here’s some exclusive footage of the chaotic scenes in Munich.

The blame game

Rafael Benitez says Inter president Massimo Moratti is to blame for the club’s current slump on the pitch. Well, it was never going to be Benitez’s fault, was it.

Since Jose Mourinho left at the end of the 2009/10 season, Inter have had four coaches, one of whom of course, was Benitez.

“He makes a lot of mistakes, since me he’s had three more coaches which means the president makes a lot of mistakes, maybe too many,” the former Liverpool and Valencia boss told Sky Sport.

“Inter didn’t behave in the correct way with me, they didn’t appreciate my ability as a coach despite winning two titles with me in the Italian Supercup and the Club World Cup.”

With those immense achievements on his Inter cv, surely it can only be a matter of time before the Rafa tribute statue goes up outside the San Siro.

Benitez has history when it comes to criticising former employers. When he left Valencia he blamed the board, albeit in cryptic fashion, stating: “I asked for a sofa and instead they bought me a lamp.”

Similarly, after leaving Liverpool, it was the American owners who were responsible for the club’s poor run of form.

“The Americans, they chose a new managing director and everything changed.

“So, what changed?

“The managing director is involved in all the decisions: new lawyer, new chief of press, new manager, nine new players, new medical staff, new fitness coaches – they changed everything.

“So, if you want to ask again what was going on, it’s simple: they changed something and, at the end, they changed everything.

“So, white liquid in a bottle: milk. You will know who is to blame.”

Again with the cryptic.

Goal of the day

A wonderful solo effort by Pelentier Dagoberto for Sao Paolo in their 3-3 draw away to Cruzeiro.

Family comes first

David Beckham says his family will come first when deciding his next career move.

“This (the family) is the number one priority, family comes first and where they are happy is where I stay, it’s that simple,” he told

“My children go to school in LA and have done for five years. They are at the age where stability is important, so we’ll see. I always said I will wait until the end of the season, see how I feel physically and then decide.”

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, Milan (on loan twice), Tottenham (the move broke down but he trained there earlier this year) has decided that what really matters is the stability of his children.

Getting off lightly

The Special One certainly has a unique talent for coming up smelling of roses. Jose Mourinho has been handed a two-match ban by the Spanish football federation for his role in the mass brawl that marred the end of the Spanish Supercopa second leg against Barcelona in August.

The bans will be effective only in the Spanish Super Cup, which is the curtain-raiser to the La Liga season between the league champions and the Copa del Rey winners. So, there’s a chance that he may not serve the suspension at all.

Still, I bet they’ve hit him hard in the pocket where it really hurts, I hear you cry. Well, not exactly, he’s been fined 600 euros.

Popularity contest

Marca have published the results of a survey to discover the most popular footballers in Spain, based on the number of shirt sales per player.

Unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s biggest shirt seller, followed by David Villa, Andres Iniesta and Xavi. For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo shifts the most shirts although the Portuguese does have a huge extended family which might go some way to explaining his popularity.

Elsewhere, Falcao accounted for 60% of shirt sales at Atletico Madrid this summer, while Pedro Leon holds 40% of the shirt sales at Getafe.

At Mallorca the most popular name to have been chosen by the fans was that of Michael Laudrup, who was sacked last week.

Touchingly, Espanyol name late captain Dani Jarque as by far their most popular name and number, with the No 21 shirt shifting 40% of the club’s shirt sales.

Nothing shady

Qatar World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi has dismissed “baseless” allegations that the Gulf state’s did anything underhand in its bid to land the 2022 finals.

The successful bid team have grown increasingly frustrated with the media scrutiny they have received since they were awarded the finals last December.

“Amid all the celebrations and joy, we knew that the work was only just beginning,” he told delegates.

“What we did not know or expect was the avalanche of accusations and allegations that we would face in the immediate aftermath of what was a historic day for sport in our country and for the wider region.

“Baseless accusations were made against our bid. We were presumed guilty before innocent without a shred of evidence being provided,” he said, a reference to allegations heard by a British parliament inquiry on football that claimed Qatar had bribed two African FIFA Ex-Co members.

Five star performance

Goalkeeper Marcos Fascanella stopped four penalties for Excurionistas in a penalty shootout on Tuesday against fellow fourth-division club Argentino de Merlo. He also saved one during the match, which ended 1-1 before the shootout.

Excurionistas won the shootout 2-1, with Fascanella having what he described as “the best match of my life ” also converting one of the two penalties.

Here’s the highlights from the game.


There are reports circulating that Juan Sebastian Veron is set to announce his retirement.

The Estudiantes midfielder, who was recently recalled to the Argentina national side by new coach Alejandro Sabella, is reported to be set to retire at the end of October due to growing injury concerns.

Former team-mate and current Benfica player Enzo Perez started a Twitter hashtag “Bruja, never leave”, which has been quickly adopted by Estudiantes fans across the social networking site.

Apart from an unhappy spell in England with Manchester United and then Chelsea, Veron has enjoyed a hugely successful career for both club and country.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who never really got the best out of the player, once dismissed journalists’ doubts over Verón with the words: “Youse are all … idiots”.

To which they should have responded, but didn’t: “Maybe, but we can recognise a square peg in ar round hole when we see one.”

The following summer the player was sold to Chelsea in a cut-price deal.