Sergey Bubka, the former Olympic pole vault champion from Ukraine, has confirmed he will stand against Sebastian Coe for the presidency of the IAAF, Dailymailuk reports. Bubka is, like Coe, currently a vice-president of athletics’ international governing body and has long coveted the chance to succeed long-standing president Lamine Diack, who steps down in August. The 51-year-old, who made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee in 2013, said: ‘I am seeking the IAAF presidency to give something back to the world of athletics which has given so many opportunities to me throughout my life.’ Bubka, who won Olympic gold in 1988, said encouraging young people’s interest in athletics and ‘clean sport’ would be his priorities. He added: ‘I have been honoured to serve athletics alongside Lamine Diack, with my colleagues and friends. ‘Now that Mr Diack has decided to step down as president, I wish to build upon the progress achieved by the IAAF under his leadership to ensure that the sport of athletics and its governing body are world-class and an example to others with regard to governance, transparency and ethics. ‘We also need to provide greater grassroots support to inspire the next generation of athletes; we need to better engage with young people and build new audiences; and we need to ensure protection of clean sport.’
Real Madrid’s world famous Santiago Bernabéu stadium is set to be renamed the Abu Dhabi Bernabéu, according to the Spanish sports newspaper AS. The report has not been confirmed by Real Madrid but the club’s president Florentino Pérez was reportedly caught on camera admitting to a member of the regional government that the stadium will be called whatever the Abu Dhabi investment group IPIC want it to be called. In October, Real Madrid agreed a “long-term strategic partnership” with Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) aimed at strengthening the club’s status as the world’s richest, and help fund a planned stadium overhaul. The agreement includes setting up Real museums and expanding their soccer schools around the world, as well as creating content for digital media platforms, said IPIC, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government. Madrid have not said that the stadium will be renamed, although Pérez has admitted that it might be given a “surname”, reports suggest. The European champions last year agreed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates that Spanish media reported was worth €30 million a season. Real chose a design led by German architects GMP for the remodeling of the Bernabeu, which was opened in the 1950s and holds just over 80,000 spectators. The club hopes the work, which would see a striking new roof and exterior added to the current structure and include a hotel and a shopping centre, can be completed by 2017.
Former Portugal and Real Madrid star, Luis Figo has declared his intention to challenge Sepp Blatter for the Fifa Presidency. “I care about football so what I’m seeing regarding the image of Fifa, not only now but in the past years, I don’t like it. Last year was a World Cup year, I was in Brazil, I saw the reaction of the fans regarding the image of Fifa. “Something has to be changed. Change in leadership, in governance, in transparency, in solidarity. Now is the time for that.” Figo confirmed he has the five required letters of support from National Associations, making him a serious, and confirmed candidate. Figo was a player of the highest calibre for Barcelona and Real Madrid, winning the World Player of the Year in 2000. He told CNN his first priority as President would be to “increase solidarity.” Figo confirmed he was not being paid by anyone to stand for their position. In contrast to David Ginola, whose recent declaration was supported by a bookmaker and did not have the backing of any national associations. Asked if Sepp Blatter was beatable, he said “No one is untouchable in this life.” The deadlines for nominations close tomorrow. Other confirmed candidates are Prince Ali Hussein of Jordan and Michael Van Praag the head of the Dutch FA. Chilean Football Administrator Harold Mayne Nicholls is holding a news conference later today and may also declare his intention to stand.
Jose Mourinho has been fined £25,000 for comments claiming there is a “campaign” to influence referees’ decisions against his Chelsea side, BBC reports. Mourinho made his comments after his side were denied a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Southampton on 28 December. The Football Association ruled Mourinho’s quotes were “improper and brought the game into disrepute”. But the Chelsea boss, who was warned about his future conduct, was cleared of implying bias by referees. During the game at St Mary’s, referee Anthony Taylor booked Cesc Fabregas for diving after going down in the box under Matt Targett’s challenge. After the draw, the Stamford Bridge manager told BBC Sport: “The media, commentators, other managers are all doing it [putting pressure on referees].” In his news conference later, he added: “There is a campaign against Chelsea. I don’t know why there is this campaign and I do not care. “Everybody knows it was a penalty.” Mourinho was also issued with a formal warning for comments ahead of Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Stoke on 22 December. The Portuguese called on referee Neil Swarbrick to produce a strong performance at the Britannia Stadium.
Hosts Australia will meet South Korea in the Asian Cup final after easing to a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the second semi-final. Trent Sainsbury gave Ange Postecoglou’s side the lead after just three minutes with a header from a corner. West Brom’s Jason Davidson fired in a second after 14 minutes and UAE couldn’t mount a comeback in Newcastle. Australia will be looking for their maiden Asian Cup title in Saturday’s final at Stadium Australia, Sydney. The UAE had been impressive in beating tournament favourites Japan in the quarter-final, but never threatened a repeat of that upset. Swindon Town’s Massimo Luongo claimed both assists for the Socceroos. South Korea qualified for the final after beating Iraq 2-0 on Monday. Uli Stielike’s side also defeated Australia 1-0 in the group stages.
AC Milan defender Philippe Mexes has been given a four-game ban for grabbing Lazio captain Stefano Mauri by the throat during a Serie A match. France international Mexes, 32, was sent off following Saturday’s incident – the 16th red card of his career. Mexes reacted angrily after being tripped by Mauri and minutes later had to be restrained by team-mates. The former Auxerre and Roma player was sent off but had to be dragged away from Mauri and pushed off the field. Mexes has already apologised, adding: “These things should not happen out on a football pitch. I have children and this is not the sort of example that a father should set.” Milan lost the game 3-1.
Stoke City will be without striker Bojan Krkic for the rest of the season after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during Monday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Rochdale, BBC reports. The Spaniard, 24, was hurt chasing down the ball during his side’s 4-1 victory, and left the ground on crutches. A scan on Tuesday confirmed the ligament damage in his left knee. “It’s bitterly disappointing for the club but even more so for Bojan,” said Potters manager Mark Hughes. “He was making such a big impact on the Premier League and clearly enjoying his football.” The former Barcelona player, who joined the Potters on a four-year deal in July 2014, opened the scoring at Spotland with his fifth goal of the season.
Branislav Ivanovic’s extra-time winner sent Chelsea into the Capital One Cup final at Wembley after a thrilling semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, BBC reports. Ivanovic headed home three minutes into extra time to settle an enthralling encounter in which Liverpool made a full contribution but paid the price for missed opportunities. Chelsea were favourites after a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the first leg – but Liverpool were true to the word of manager Brendan Rodgers and played without fear, seeking their first trophy since winning this competition in 2012. And Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who missed Ivanovic’s decisive goal as he was in a heated debate with fourth official Phil Dowd, showed how much another trip to Wembley meant to him by celebrating wildly with his staff at the final whistle. It was a result that helped banish Chelsea’s embarrassment of losing 4-2 at home to League One Bradford City in the FA Cup fourth round in their previous outing. Liverpool will leave Stamford Bridge with regrets, especially after a horrendous headed miss by Jordan Henderson in front of an open goal that could have taken the game to penalties. There may also be a price to pay for Chelsea as striker Diego Costa may face retrospective punishment for two stamps on Emre Can and Martin Skrtel that were not seen by referee Michael Oliver. Costa, as usual, was involved in all of the action and should have been awarded a penalty when he was brought down by Skrtel in the first half, while the Spain international’s head-to-head clash with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard earned both players yellow cards. Mourinho will set that aside for now as he remains on course for his first piece of silverware since returning to Chelsea at the start of last season. As expected, Liverpool did not risk striker Daniel Sturridge even though he is approaching full fitness after a series of injuries that have sidelined him since August, but Rodgers adopted a bold approach that should have brought dividends in the first half. Keeper Thibaut Courtois was Chelsea’s hero at Anfield and he twice came to the rescue here as Liverpool twice opened up Chelsea for the two best opportunities of the half, first when Gerrard picked out Alberto Moreno and then when Philippe Coutinho broke through after wrong-footing Kurt Zouma. Chelsea, however, had a major grievance of their own as they seemed to be refused a clear penalty when Costa was brought down by Skrtel as he attempted to guide the ball into touch. Mourinho was forced into a change early in the second half when Cesc Fabregas came off second best in a shuddering tackle with his own captain John Terry and was replaced by Ramires. It then needed the outstretched leg of Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet to turn away Costa’s deflected shot before he dived at the feet of the striker as he tried to go around him. Liverpool made their first change with 20 minutes left, sending on Mario Balotelli for Lazar Markovic, who had been quiet and ineffective. It was three minutes into extra time when the deadlock was finally broken and Liverpool were undone by moments of sloppiness that led to their downfall. Lucas conceded a cheap free-kick with a foul on Eden Hazard and when Willian delivered the set piece, Ivanovic arrived unmarked to head in. Liverpool should have responded immediately, only for Henderson to somehow head wide when Raheem Sterling’s cross found him only six yards out. It was to be their final opportunity.