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Under -21 international against England
turns into a nightmare of racism and abuse

uefauefaOnce again Serbia’s football fans have shown their ugly side during a European Under-21 qualifying match against England in the city of Krusevac on October 16th.

One particular English player, defender Danny Rose, was racially abused and pelted with stones apparently before, during and after the game.

He has demanded that Serbia be banned from international football.

The English Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement in which he said that he was appalled at the events and would give his full backing to the FA’s complaint on the issue.

England won the match 1 0 on the night which gave them a 2-0 aggregate win. It came with the last kick of the game at the end of stoppage time.

Serbia has a long history with racism and soccer violence. In 2010 they were forced to play a Euro 2012 qualifier behind closed doors after fans rioted at an abandoned Italy game in Genoa.

Rose is quoted as saying; “The monkey chants started straight away while we were warming up. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could. During the second half two stones hit me in the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball they were doing the monkey chanting again.”

The English FA has confirmed it had reported a number of racist incidents to the UEFA delegate with a formal protest also being lodged with European soccer's governing body.

After England had scored in the 90th minute Rose commented that he turned around only to be surrounded by Serbian players who he said pushed and slapped him. He was ushered away from the melee only to kick the ball away out of frustration. His punishment was to be sent off.

Serbia coach Aleksandar Jankovic who was quoted on the Serbian B92 website about whether he should apologise for the fracas, replied: "Apologise for what? It takes two for a brawl."

UEFA has commented that it will wait for the referee's report before deciding what action would be taken.

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
give their royal seal of approval

duke duchess cambridgeduke duchess cambridge

So the waiting game is over after many years in the making. English soccer's £105 million Football Association's St George's Park National Football Centre was officially given the royal seal of approval by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the 9th of October.

Prince William who is the FA President wasn’t even born when the seeds of this centre were first mooted. Now with a world class training facility available to the England team the race is on to win a major trophy for the first time since 1966.

The FA stated at the official opening that it hopes the state-of-the-art facilities will result in silverware within 15 years as well as leading to 250,000 new top-level coaches being brought into the game.

As reported in newspapers and on TV, England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told reporters;

"We've got the best stadium in the world and now the training facilities too so we have taken away all of the excuses for the future. Football these days is all about preparation and recovery at the top level."

The huge new centre is located in the Staffordshire National Forest, in 330 acres of land-scaped parkland. It will be the training base for all 24 England teams.

So here are some of the key details at St George's Park. It has 11 outdoor pitches, including an exact replica of the Wembley Stadium surface; a full-sized indoor pitch and an enormous indoor sports hall.

It also boasts a bespoke sports medicine, rehabilitation and performance centre, which has been deemed the most advanced facility of its kind anywhere in the UK.

St George's Park will be the home of FA Learning, the FA's educational department, and will provide national coach education courses.

But it doesn’t stop just there. The national centre has two onsite hotels which have been built to cater for the national sides, groups or team bookings and also to accommodate major sporting or business conferences and banquets. It is envisaged that the hotels will also provide accommodation for residential courses.

One important point that has to be emphasised here is that you can have the greatest training facilities in the world, but if you don’t have home-grown natural born talent coming through the junior ranks of football, no amount of world class coaches and facilities will deliver that coveted silverware.

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nikenikeIt’s been announced that US Company Nike will supply the kit for England's national soccer team from next year. The reason for this is that Nike has put the current Umbro brand up for sale.

The English Football Association (FA) said that the new five-year deal will cover English soccer at all levels and will include the men's and women's national teams, as well as amateur and disabled squads.

It is also believed tat Nike will sponsor St George's Park, the new home of the FA's national football centre.

At this stage no financial details are available about the sponsorship.

For nearly all of the last 60 years Umbro, based in Manchester, had provided the England team kit. Last May Nike said it planned to sell it to focus on core brands.

Nike is the world's largest sporting goods company, and it entered the soccer market in 1994.It now rivals Germany's Adidas for top spot with the latter having a market share of around 38 per cent in soccer, with Nike not far behind on 36 per cent.

It appears determined to hold on to its top partners after the Umbro sale by confirming earlier this year that it would take over the supply of kit for English premier league champions Manchester City from next year as well.

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IPO confirms it as the most valuable club in the world

English Premier League soccer club Manchester United PLC, with a record 19 championships, has raised $233.3 million in its U.S. initial public offering. This priced the shares below the marketed range.

The 134-year-old team which was bought by the Glazer family in 2005 sold 16.7 million shares for $14 each, according to a statement just released. They had offered the shares, equivalent to a 10 percent stake in the company, for $16 to $20 apiece. The club started trading on Friday 10th August, listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MANU.

The IPO gives the Glazer family's team an enterprise value of $2.9 billion, about $1 billion more than the value of Spain's Real Madrid, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Forbes.

This new valuation confirms Manchester United as the most valuable sports club in the world.

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Terry adamant that he only used the offensive term sarcastically

john-terryjohn-terryChelsea captain John Terry has been charged by the FA in England with racially abusing an opponent during a Premier League match last October. The development comes just three weeks after he was cleared by a court of the same offense.

The FA is quoted as saying that it had considered all the evidence from the trial before charging Terry with directing abuse at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry commented that he denied the charge and would be requesting the opportunity to attend the commission for a personal hearing.

The exact charges against Terry are for using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Anton Ferdinand, contrary to FA rules.” The FA also said: “It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Anton Ferdinand.”

During his recent court case for the same incident, prosecutors claimed that Terry snapped in response to insults about an alleged extramarital affair made by Ferdinand.

However, Terry was adamant that he only used the offensive term sarcastically to counter the profanity he claims Ferdinand was accusing him of using.

The magistrate who ruled on the case at Westminster Magistrates' Court said in his judgment that Terry's explanation was "certainly under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely."

However he found the Chelsea captain not guilty of the offence after deciding it was "impossible" to be sure what the defender said.

Although the FA had already interviewed Ferdinand and Terry over the incident, it had to suspend its investigation until a police investigation and the subsequent trial were completed.

If the FA charge against Terry is proven then the likely outcome will be a lengthy match ban and fine at least similar to that which was dished out to Liverpool forward Luis Suarez. He was banned for eight matches last season for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

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Manchester United beats soccer rivals and NFL clubs.

Forbes has estimated that Manchester United, one of the UK’s top Premier League clubs has once again topped the rankings as the most valuable soccer and sports team in the world, valued at $2.23 billion. Part of this is down to very lucrative sponsorship deals with multinational brands such as DHL Express and insurer Aon as well as significant merchandise sales.

The new valuation on United is up from $1.86 in 2011 and places them 19 per cent ahead of second place Spanish rivals Real Madrid valued at $1.88 billon

The club, which is owned by US businessman Malcom Glazer and recently filed for an IPO in the States, beat all other European soccer rivals as well as all NFL franchises in the US. The proposed float will be used to free up cash for new players at United.

After Real Madrid, the third spot is shared by US sports teams the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys who are valued at $1.85 each.

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Manchester United, Premier League, DHL Express, Aon, Real Madrid, Malcom Glazer, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys

Ryan Giggs has been given the honour of leading Team GB's Olympic team and hoping that he can add an Olympic gold medal to his long list of other awards.

Ryan GiggsRyan GiggsThe 38-year-old Welshman was chosen as one of the three overage players allowed to play in the squad and is a reward for a lengthy and hugely successful club career.

The Manchester United midfielder is quoted as saying:  "Obviously it is a tremendous honour to be part of the Olympics. The manager Stuart Pearce has given me the captaincy, which is even better, so I am really looking forward to it. It is a unique experience. I hope we can get gold. That is what the players are hoping for.”

As reported last week, Giggs had been expected to play alongside his former United team-mate David Beckham on Team GB, but the LA Galaxy midfielder was not picked by Pearce for the final squad although he was chosen for the initial 35-man panel.

One piece of bad news for Pearce concerns Daniel Sturridge. The 22-year-old Chelsea forward will be assessed early next week to see whether he is able to play at London 2012 after he fell ill recently with viral meningitis. Pearce said:"He won't come to Spain with us for our preparations, but all being well we'll pick him up when we fly back into the Olympic Village.”

It’s believed that an assessment will then be made on Sturridge at that stage.

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Ryan Giggs, Team GB's Olympic team, Manchester United, David Beckham, Daniel Sturridge, Stuart Pearce, Olympic Village

David Beckham’s hope of being selected as one of the three over-age players allowed on the English Olympic football squad has been killed off by Olympic team coach Stuart Pearce.

David BeckamDavid BeckamIt is now understood that Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards will be the three over-age players who have made the squad.

Beckham said in a statement: "Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.”

It is understood that the 37-year old was told by Pearce that he had chosen to pick Richards instead because he wanted stronger defensive options.

Pearce had picked the former England midfielder for his initial 35-man shortlist and had also flown out to the USA to watch him in action for the Los Angeles Galaxy. The irony of the situation is that Beckham would have been match fit going into the tournament while all the other players would be just returning to fitness training after the summer break.

Although the choice of Giggs and Bellamy was no surprise, the inclusion of Richards was, considering the Manchester City defender was left out of England's Euro 2012 squad.

Pearce has always been his own man and brings to the job his now famous burning will to win that characterised him as a player.

So Beckham will have to sit in the stands like everybody else this year and cheer on his ‘dream of glory’.

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First penalty shootout at Euro 2012 shows up England’s appalling record

The statistics tell their own story of woe! Since losing to Germany in a World Cup semi-final in 1990, England have been eliminated on penalties in five more major tournaments, including the recent Euro 2012 quarter final against Italy.

The Italians won the shootout 4-2 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev following a 0-0 draw after extra time.

For both teams this was a nightmare scenario since neither have good records when it comes down to penalty shootouts.

Italy created a stream of chances on the night and it was clear to all that they were determined to finish the contest in normal time. However, nobody told England's defence the game plan and man for man they were solid, particularily goalkeeper Joe Hart and central defender John Terry who were both outstanding.

In the end, it came down to penalties and this time England’s nerves got the better of them. After Andrea Pirlo coolly took his goal, Italy took full advantage of the situation when Ashley Young slammed his shot against the bar.

Now the pressure was most definitely on Ashley Cole, but he placed a weak effort well within the reach of the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

England Captain Steven Gerrard and striker Wayne Rooney had both scored to give their team a 2-1 spot-kick advantage after Riccardo Montolivo had shot narrowly wide. But the Italians suddenly realised that they were in with a shout and masters of their destiny.

The rest as they say is history.

So the English penalty fiasco continues and 2012 can now be added to 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2006.

New English manager Roy Hodgson has just learned a difficult history lesson, one that will haunt him as he prepares for the next big battle ahead, the 2014 World Cup!

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England, Euro 2012, World Cup, Italy, Ashley Young, Ashley Cole, Gianluigi Buffon, Roy Hodgson, Joe Hart, John Terry, Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Riccardo Montolivo,

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