Soccer Shorts


Today's other stories in brief

Blackburn confirm takeover talks Blackburn Rovers are in takeover talks with a US-based consortium, although any purchase of the club is unlikely to be completed before the new season, writes Michael Walker.

The Blackburn chief executive, John Williams, confirmed yesterday talks with prospective new owners had been in progress for two months.

"We're willing sellers in discussions with third parties and those discussions have naturally progressed over a period of time," Williams said.

"We've made some progress with a third party but it is difficult because of all the formalities involved." ...

Ireland slip further in rankings

The Republic of Ireland slipped six places to 38th in the latest Fifa world rankings after the recent friendly draws against Bolivia and Ecuador in the US.

Northern Ireland, who recently appointed Nigel Worthington as Lawrie Sanchez' successor, moved up four to 29th despite not having played since March. Scotland have slipped nine places to 23rd while England remain eighth following recent results.

Wales remain 75th after a friendly draw with New Zealand and the Euro 2008 stalemate against the Czech Republic in Cardiff.

World champions Italy remain top while France have overtaken Brazil to go second. Argentina are down to fifth, now behind Germany who now occupy their highest position in four years.

No Villa bid for Reo-Croker

Aston Villa have denied reports that they have tabled a bid for unsettled West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. Reo-Coker is seeking a move away from Upton Park after handing in a transfer request.

Villa are thought to be leading the chase for the player as manager Martin O'Neill looks to bolster his squad for next season.

Reports earlier this month suggested Villa had made a £7 million move for Reo-Coker, but West Ham manager Alan Curbishley claimed last week that the club had received no bid from Villa.

Now Villa's head of communications Phil Mepham has admitted no offer has been made for Reo-Coker as yet and that nothing will happen until the player returns from international duty with England's under-21s at the European Championship.

"Alan Curbishley said last weekend there had been no bid from Villa and that is how things stand," Mepham said.

In brief . . .

Middlesbrough yesterday agreed personal terms with 26-year-old Turkish striker Tuncay Sanli, who is out of contract with Fenerbahce . . . West Brom yesterday rejected a £4 million bid from Wigan Athletic for 27-year-old midfielder Jason Koumas . . . Spanish striker David Villa (25) says he wants to remain at Valencia despite reports linking him with a move to the Premiership this summer . . . Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti has confirmed his club are interested in signing Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez from West Ham United . . . Midfielder Teddy Bjarnason (20) has signed a new three-year deal with Celtic . . . Everton will play a Northern Ireland XI as part of their pre-season preparations, the Premiership side will travel to Coleraine on July 14th as part of the Milk Cup's 25th anniversary celebrations . . . Liverpool legend Tommy Smith (62) will have a triple heart bypass following the heart attack that hospitalised him almost a fortnight ago.

Tonight's Fixtures (7.45 unless stated): Uefa European Under-21 Championship: Group B: Czech Rep v Serbia (at De Goffert, 5.15); England v Italy (at Gelredome).

FAI Cup: Second Round: Dundalk v Athlone Town (Oriel Park).

Last Night's Results: Uefa European Under-21 Championship: Group A: Holland 2 Portugal 1; Israel 0 Belgium 1.