Karim Benzema has been warned by the French Prime Minister that he could lose his place on the French national team. Benzema is embroiled in a sex-tape case involving team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, whom he is accused of blackmailing. Speaking on French radio, PM Manuel Valls said “a great athlete should be exemplary. If he is not, he has no place within the France team.”
Chelsea have submitted a planning application for a new 60,000 capacity stadium at Stamford Bridge. In a message to supporters and neighbours on their website, the club said “a planning application for a new stadium at Stamford Bridge with an expanded seating capacity has been submitted. This follows a successful consultation process during which we received very helpful feedback. This application will now be examined by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard returned to the club’s Melwood base on Monday to train with his former teammates. The former Reds captain, now playing for LA Galaxy, has been invited by new manager Jurgen Klopp to train with his boyhood club during the Major League Soccer off-season. On a cold and miserable day on Merseyside, Gerrard travelled a familiar route to Melwood where he was greeted by Klopp and his former teammates. While both Gerrard and Klopp have made it clear that the arrangement will not extend to a short-term playing contract, neither have hidden their excitement over his return. “I spoke with Steven, one phone call and a few messages,” Klopp said. “He’s a Liverpool legend, of course. But his contract, as I know, is in the USA. “But during his break time, I told him, ‘of course you can come whenever you want; you can train with us, do whatever is good for you’. Our doors are always open for him. That is clear. “But nothing else. Everybody can learn from Stevie, but I am trying to understand.’ Gerrard also recently told BT Sport, for whom he is a match day pundit, of his excitement at returning to Melwood and observing new coach Klopp’s methods.
Manchester City this morning revealed a $400m investment from China. This is said not be regarded as the start of an exit strategy from the current owners and that Sheik Mansour remains 100% committed to the club. What it will do is open doors to a commercial market generally recognised as one of those that offers huge opportunities for growth. It is also worth noting City are now worth approximately10 times more than when Sheik Mansour bought it in 2008.
President Isaiah Kiplagat and two other Kenya Athletics officials have been provisionally suspended for 180 days by the ethics commission of the IAAF. Athletics’ world governing body is looking into allegations of “subversion” of the anti-doping process in Kenya and “improper diversion” of funds received from Nike. Athletics Kenya vice-president David Okeyo and ex-treasurer Joseph Kinyua have also been provisionally suspended. Their suspensions begin immediately. The IAAF is also investigating Kiplagat in relation to alleged receipt of an apparent gift of two motor vehicles from the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation in the period 2014-2015. Okeyo, who is also an IAAF member, was referred to the organisation’s ethics commission after being investigated by police in his native country. He is alleged to have siphoned off funds from a sponsorship deal between the national association and American sportswear firm Nike. Okeyo has denied any wrongdoing and said all funds had been fully accounted for by Athletics Kenya and audited.
Voting has closed for the 2015 BBC African Footballer of the Year award. The five-man shortlist was announced on Saturday 14 December during a special live launch broadcast in Johannesburg, South Africa, with voting ending at 7pm Nigerian time on Monday 30 November. Algeria’s Yacine Brahimi, the 2014 winner, is on the shortlist along with Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ghanaian Andre Ayew, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast. The winner, who is voted for by African football fans, will be announced on Friday, 11 December between 4:30pm and 5pm during a special live broadcast on both BBC World News and BBC World Service, with the BBC Sport and BBC Africa websites also carrying the announcement. Three of this year’s shortlist, which was voted for by journalists from 46 African countries, have previously won the BBC award – Ayew in 2011, Toure in 2013 and Brahimi.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar make up the three-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or – the award given to the world footballer of the year. It is the eighth consecutive year that Real Madrid’s Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Messi have been on the shortlist. This is a first for Neymar. There are also other categories as World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football, Women’s World Player of the Year, World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football and Puskas Award. All the winners will be announced at a gala in Zurich on 11 January.