A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Arsenal game against West Ham in doubt over tube strike
Arsenal have confirmed their St Stephen’s Day fixture with West Ham is in doubt due to the threat of a tube strike. London Underground drivers are set to stage three strikes over Bank Holiday pay, with the first scheduled for December 26th.
The move by members of the union Aslef threatens travel chaos in the capital and Arsenal admit their game at the Emirates Stadium is under threat.
“Arsenal Football Club is currently in discussions with the Premier League, West Ham United, police and relevant authorities over the possible postponement of the Boxing Day fixture at Emirates Stadium, following the announcement that London Underground drivers plan industrial action on that day,” a statement on the club’s website read.
QPR’s match with West Brom is going ahead and Fulham insist they have no plans to cancel their match with Southampton.
Balotelli fine hearing takes place today
Mario Balotelli’s lawyers are preparing to present their case after taking the Manchester City striker’s appeal against a club fine to a Premier League tribunal.
Balotelli has exercised his right to take his fight to a league panel after failing to overturn the sanction through City’s internal appeals process.
It is understood City imposed a fine of two weeks’ wages – a figure reported to be around €418,000 – on the Italy international last season for on-field indiscipline.
Neither City nor the Premier League have commented on what is regarded as a private matter but it is understood a hearing will take place today at an undisclosed location in London.
Messi extends contract with Barcelona until 2018
Barcelona secured the futures of leading players Lionel Messi, Xavi and Carles Puyol with renewed contracts yesterday.
World Player of the Year Messi’s deal has been extended by two years to June 30th, 2018, which ties him until he is 31.
Puyol (34), the club’s captain, has agreed a three-year extension to June 30th, 2016, which would effectively see the Spanish international through to the end of his playing career at 38.
Xavi’s existing deal ran until June 2016 depending on appearances but the 32-year-old midfielder’s new contract would now end then regardless of the number of times he played. The new contracts will be signed in the coming weeks.
Offering Messi a further two years indicates how important the Argentine is to the club and ensures they secure his services over the peak of his playing career, injury permitting. At 25, Messi has already set a number of club scoring records and is favourite to win a fourth World Player of the Year award next month.