Soccer briefs


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Ireland arrest slide while Nigeria and England move on up

The Republic of Ireland’s win last week over Poland has halted the team’s slide in the Fifa World Rankings with Giovanni Trapattoni’s side climbing two places, to 39, in the latest list, issued by the game’s governing body yesterday.

The progress, however slight, will come as a relief to the Italian, who likes to point to the progress in relation to ranking made since he took over but whose side had recently actually been slipping back to very much where they were at that point.

Ireland move up at the expense of Turkey and Zambia, both of whom fall back, but the month’s big winners are Nigeria who hurtle 22 places up the list from 52 to 30 in the wake of their African Cup of Nations success at the weekend.

England move up to fourth after beating Brazil with the top three – Spain, Germany and Argentina respectively – unchanged.

Ireland’s main World Cup rivals, Sweden and Austria, both fall with the former down two to 21 and the latter down eight to 76 in the wake of their defeat last week by Wales. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, have slipped out of the top 100, to 102.

Selected rankings: 1 Spain, 2 Germany, 3 Argentina, 4 England, 5 Italy, 6 Colombia and Portugal, 8 Netherlands, 9 Croatia, 10 Russia, 18 Brazil, 21 Sweden, 39 Republic of Ireland.


Sneijder claims Inter blocked his move to Manchester United

Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder has claimed that he wanted to join Manchester United last summer but that Inter Milan blocked the move.

Sneijder, who joined Galatasaray from Inter in the January transfer window, told Turkish website Fanatik: “Manchester United had offered €20 million for me and the club rejected it.

“I wanted to go to United but Inter didn’t let me.”

The player further claimed that Inter asked him to accept a new contract at a reduced salary, which he rejected. After being left out of the Inter team for a long period, he was eventually sold to Galatasaray for €8.5 million, a fee far lower than United’s first offer.

Former Czech international Milan Baros has left the Turkish club after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.

Chip could warn of medical problems

Football lawmakers will be asked next month to allow trials of an electronic chip in players’ shirts which could potentially warn of medical problems such as the heart attack suffered by Fabrice Muamba on the pitch.

The laws of the game currently ban any electronic communication between the players and staff in the technical area.

Now the International FA Board (IFAB), the body which draws up the laws, have been asked to consider making an exception for chips contained in the collar of a player’s shirt which can feed back data such as heart performance, body temperature and the distance being covered.

The issue is being brought before its annual meeting in Edinburgh on March 3rd.

Manchester United see rise in profits

Manchester United’s Champions League run and new sponsorship deals have put the club on course for a bumper financial season.

The club yesterday announced significant rises in income and profits for the three-month period ending December 2012.

Six new sponsorship deals have seen commercial revenues rise 29 per cent compared to the same period in 2011. It puts United on course to reverse last year’s overall revenue fall.

For the 2012-13 financial year United are now forecasting revenue to be “£350m to 360m” (€406m-€417m)compared to £320m (€371m)last year, which was 3.3 per cent down. The club’s gross debt has decreased by 16.1 per cent since June 30th, 2012 to £436.9m (€506m).

Henry saddened by critics of Wenger and wants to return

Arsenal's record scorer Thierry Henry is saddened by criticism of manager Arsene Wenger but hopes he can return to the London club in some role after his spell in Major League Soccer ends.

The French forward, who plays for New York Red Bulls, has heard some of the criticism of Wenger from fans and pundits this season as Arsenal have struggled.

"For me, it is difficult to hear, difficult to see, but for me the boss will always be Arsene - always great for me and I know what he has done for the club," he said.

Henry, who had a loan spell at Arsenal last year in the MLS close season, said he would love to return in some capacity in the future.

"All I know is that I will be involved in the game for sure and hopefully be involved with Arsenal, that's the team that I support," he said. 

Millwall manager defends club's fans after Diouf abuse incident

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett has defended the club's supporters following TV footage showing Leeds forward El-Hadji Diouf being racially abused during a match at The Den in November.

Jackett (51), told reporters only a minority of fans were guilty of such offences, although he did admit even that is "too much".

The club vowed on Monday to reopen an investigation into allegations of racial abuse aimed at Diouf, with Sky Sports News airing damning footage as part of an investigation into racism, which identified 56 examples at Millwall.

As a result of that footage, Gerrard Scanlon (53), from Enfield, north London, was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence on Tuesday. He is accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words. 


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