Last edited by afbug; 8th May 2007 at 08:45 PM.
Blatter calls on United to reschedule Asia tour
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has thrown his weight behind calls for Manchester United to look again at this summer's controversial tour of Asia.
The newly-crowned Premier League champions have caused uproar by scheduling their visit to the continent to coincide with the running of the quadrennial Asian Cup, which will be co-hosted by Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand in July.
Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam launched a scathing attack on the English champions yesterday and Blatter has backed demands for United to reconsider.
'The Asian Cup is on a date reserved for competitions for the confederations and they should also be respected by clubs who are touring in the same region where these competitions are taking place,' said the FIFA president.
'I would personally appeal to the club, to the associations, but also to the organisers in the different countries. We have an opportunity for solidarity for football.'
Malaysia is the last stop on United's jaunt on July 27, with the tour kicking off in Tokyo on July 17 followed by a stop in Seoul three days later and a match in Macau on July 20.
Those dates clash with the latter stages of the continental championship, which will feature all four co-hosts as well as defending champions Japan and nations such as China, South Korea and Iran among the 16 participants and runs from July 7-29.
As a result, the tour was not ratified by the AFC during their Congress in Kuala Lumpur.
The FIFA president has already been in contact with Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson and he hoped the Old Trafford club would reconsider.
'I had an opportunity to speak with him the other day when we met in Nyon and he said `I will work on that' but that it's not so easy because this was an invitation by the government (of Malaysia), not the federation,' said Blatter.
'But we have a structure in FIFA and I told the sports minister here in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that when you organise a tour you have to go through the national association. They have to ratify such a match. They have to inform the confederation.
'For the clubs, FIFA's okay is not necessary but I'm sure if such a case will be presented to the club, Manchester United, that the organisers of the tour will understand such a situation.'
The match was to form part of the country's celebrations of 50 years of Malaysian nationhood but Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the president of the Football Association of Malaysia, conceded the game may not now go ahead.
'We have to abide by the ruling, I guess,' he said. 'That's the order of the day and we have to abide by that. If they want to come at that time they can't come. Now the sanction has not been given so we have to follow the ruling. They can't come during the Asian Cup, they have to rearrange.
'By the look of it, the Asian Cup will have to take precedent. This is bad news for the fans but this is the feeling of the family of Asia.'
Quinn ready to hand Keane transfer war chest
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has promised to back manager Roy Keane all the way as he attempts to bolster his squad for life in the Premiership.
Black Cats skipper Dean Whitehead finally got his hands on the Championship trophy at a private ceremony on the outskirts of the city tonight, with Keane and Quinn already planning their summer spending spree.
Indeed Quinn, whose Drumaville consortium could swell the manager's war chest to around £25million in the wake of promotion, is already looking to the January transfer window not just the August one.
He told the club's official website: 'We will do exactly the same as we did during the last two transfer windows.
'We are changing nothing - the only thing that has changed is the financial leeway with player targets.
'It will be difficult because we already have a terrific bunch of players. Roy and [chief scout] Mick Brown have identified their targets already.
'[Chief executive] Peter Walker and I will be doing everything we can to make sure the manager gets the signatures he wants.
'We delivered last August and in January and, naturally, the aim is to deliver this summer.
'To be honest, I am already looking to the January transfer window. I have to be ahead of the game, we have to be in a position to cover for all eventualities, so I am already looking forward.
'The manager will be looking to recruit next January, I am sure, so I am already looking at that.
'What's also important is that [former chairman] Bob Murray left this club with only the football to deal with.
'Thanks to his vision, we have nothing to worry about bar the football, and that has been a massive help to us.'
Sunderland capped their remarkable season by claiming the Championship title with a superb 5-0 win at Luton yesterday in front of a delirious travelling army of supporters.
The Football League's decision not to present the trophy at Kenilworth Road and the Black Cats' to politely decline a parade and civic reception back on Wearside left many fans disappointed, but Quinn was quick to thank the club's followers for their backing.
He said: 'It was a marvellous end to a rollercoaster season and a fitting tribute to our supporters - not only to those that were at Luton, but all our fans that have stuck with us this season - that we were able to finish off the season in style by lifting the title.
'It adds to our momentum and going in to the Premiership as champions just adds a little extra than going up as runners-up.'
As expected, the Football Association have charged Manchester City's Michael Ball with violent conduct for stamping on Cristiano Ronaldo. Finally, justice is done.
Tonite SAF will field a weaken team against Chelsea so that a stronger team will be fielded against West Ham this weekend.
SAF gunning for Samuel E'to? Wow, he is definitely going to make our strikeforce even more potent.
Nani, who has been likened to United star Ronaldo, will snub interest from clubs across Europe in order to achieve his dream move to Old Trafford.
If he buys E'to and Hargreaves, he will have spent his budget of 50m pounds. How to buy his third players? Gareth Bale, his target, is not expensive - about 8m pounds. Am sure SAF's US boss can afford an extra few million pounds.
Hmm.....E'to....not so sure leh. He cost 27m? 27+20 for Hargreaves is like 47 liao and add the Saha sale should be enuff for a Nani. But I think SAF is getting sick of BM wanting more as well. He tot he had a deal at 18m but BM wants more.....I think in the region of 20m and above. They really wanna suck us dry.
If E'to is at 27m and Hargreaves at 18m then its 45m for both and it leaves 5m plus Saha sale for a Nani etc. Surely he have to sell a striker if he is buying one as Man Utd have too many strikers already. I'm quite surprised that he is not looking at a Scholes replacement. This guy is hard to replace. Maybe after next season.
Guard of honour for Dong, Eagles and Lee whom are making their 1st team debut.
Last 2 games are meaningless.
The draw is expcted result
Draw was a great result considering the team that played lastnite.
Carvalho & Ballack to miss final
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has ruled midfielder Michael Ballack and defender Ricardo Carvalho out of the FA Cup final against Manchester United.
I think Moanie is sick of Ballacks liao.
Mourinho vents anger at ref Poll
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has hit out at Graham Poll, describing him as a "referee Chelsea have no luck with".
But I think ah Poll screwed up lastnite. Denied Man Utd a clear cut penalty.
Last edited by afbug; 10th May 2007 at 07:48 PM.
Transfer Rumours: May 07
Within hours of being crowned Premiership champions for a ninth time, United are already looking ahead to strengthening the squad for next season.
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he has three transfer targets in mind, and the tabloids have gone into a flurry of speculation as to their identity.
The shock name being thrown around is that of Reading midfielder Steve Sidwell, who will be available on a free transfer at the end of the current campaign.
The Royals dynamo was thought to be on his way to Newcastle, but United and Chelsea have allegedly emerged as strong rivals for his signature.
Bayern Munich star Owen Hargreaves continues to be the most likely arrival in the eyes of many, but reports suggest that his rising price tag will force United to look elsewhere.
Tottenham boss Martin Jol is adamant that striker Dimitar Berbatov is going nowhere, despite strong rumours linking the Bulgarian with Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, the names of Spanish striker Fernando Torres, Portuguese starlet Nani and Welsh defender Gareth Bale continue to crop up as potential new arrivals ahead of next season.