Former Bayern Munich president and West Germany international Uli Hoeness has been released from prison after serving half of his three-and-a-half-year sentence for tax evasion. The former Bayern Munich player, who was sports director for 30 years before taking over as club president in 2009, was convicted in March 2014 for evading 28.5m euros.
Die hard Man City fan, Noel Gallagher (in blue jacket), turned psychic, predicted how yesterday’s Wembley final would finish. Gallagher was asked earlier yesterday outside Wembley for his prediction – and he got every detail right. “I think it’s going to be mega close and I’m not very optimistic,” he said. “But I’m going to say we’ll win on penalties.”
He was then asked “who’s going to get the decisive penalty?” “Yaya. Roll it in.” Toure swept home the winning penalty to hand Man City the league cup – 3-1 on penalties – and proved Gallagher to be right.
Police are planning for nights of European football at Leicester City’s King Power stadium next season. The Foxes’ miraculous performances in the Premier League have put them on the brink of passage to the elite Champions’ League or, if the dream does not quite come off, the Europa League. Senior officers at Leicestershire Police have been discussing the implications for them should City’s end-of-season league position in May send them into European competition for the first time in 15 years. Officers visited two matches in London last week as guests of the Metropolitan police. The matches, Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday and Spurs’ 3-0 demolition of Fiorentina in the Europa League two nights later gave officers an insight into modern European match policing.
Issa Hayatou, the head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has formally written to Gianni Infantino to congratulate him after being voted in as the new president of football’s world governing body FIFA. Infantino succeeds fellow Swiss Sepp Blatter, after polling 115 votes, 27 more than closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, at Friday’s election. Infantino was not the favoured candidate of CAF, who had given its backing to Sheikh Salman. Despite that, Cameroon’s Hayatou – who had been FIFA’s acting president in the lead-up to the election – sent Infantino a letter, dated 27 February 2016, congratulating him on behalf of the CAF Executive committee and the African football family: “Be assured of the continued support of CAF, African members of the new FIFA Council, as well as our commitment to strengthening the excellent relationship between CAF and FIFA,” Hayatou wrote.
Lionel Messi reached the 30-goal mark for the eighth consecutive season as he helped Spanish leaders Barcelona come back from behind to beat Sevilla. Sixth-placed Sevilla, the last team to beat Barca back in early October, led when Vitolo volleyed in a left-wing cross at the far post. Messi’s sublime 20-yard free-kick levelled before he teed up Gerard Pique to sidefoot in the close-range winner. Barca, who have not lost in 34 games, are now eight points clear in La Liga. The Catalan side’s fightback at the Nou Camp means they have equalled the longest unbeaten run of a La Liga team in all competitions, levelling Real Madrid’s run in the 1988-89 season. But more concerning for the Bernabeu club is the huge gap that has opened up between them and their arch-rivals Barca. Zinedine Zidane’s third-placed side are 12 points adrift of the leaders following Saturday’s home derby defeat by Atletico Madrid. Second-placed Atletico won 1-0 at the Bernabeu to remain Barca’s nearest challengers.
Willy Caballero was Manchester City’s hero as they beat Liverpool on penalties to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley. The 34-year-old Argentine goalkeeper spectacularly rewarded the faith of manager Manuel Pellegrini with saves from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shoot-out after he was selected ahead of first-choice Joe Hart. Fernandinho put City ahead just after the break after an error by Liverpool’s otherwise heroic keeper Simon Mignolet. But two glaring misses from former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling opened the door for Coutinho’s late leveller. In the shootout, Fernandinho hit a post with City’s first kick, but Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero were on target as Caballero made his decisive saves, allowing Yaya Toure to convert the winning penalty.
Newly appointed Nigeria’s interim coach, Samson Siasia, have given a hint that he may recall former captain Vincent Enyeama and Emmanuel Emenike back to the Super Eagles squad. Both players had announced their retirement in what was seen as their disapproval of former coach Sunday Oliseh’s ways. Speaking to journalists shortly after his appointment, Siasia said:
“It is an emergency assignment. If they (the NFF) say we should do the rescue job, we have to do it for the sake of Nigeria. “We will go for the best legs. I mean players with commitment, to ensure that we qualify ahead of Egypt. We will look at the players we believe can help the team, including Vincent Enyeama and Emmanuel Emenike who retired from the team last year. The coaching crew will sit down and make up the list, and the Egyptians must fall as far as we are now in charge.”
Towards the late minutes of today’s match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal got out of his seat, a rare sight that elicited cheers from the home fans. Where was he going? The Manchester United boss walks up to fourth official and proceeds to lie down on the floor, presumably questioning the actions of someone on the pitch.
Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho pictured yesterday with his Manchester City team mates getting a Saturday night train to London from Stockport. They have a date with Liverpool today at Wembley by 5:30pm Nigerian time. It’s the league cup final.
Jurgen Klopp and YNWA banner adorn Wembley way. We might see a battle of the Toure brothers, Yaya for Man City and Kolo for Liverpool.
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said “if we were all at my level maybe we would be leaders” after his side’s 1-0 derby defeat by Atletico Madrid. A first defeat under Zinedine Zidane leaves Real nine points off leaders Barcelona, and four below Atletico. Real were missing Gareth Bale and Marcelo through injury, while Karim Benzema was replaced at half-time. “I don’t want to disrespect anyone, but when the best players aren’t available it’s harder to win,” Ronaldo said. “I like to play with Karim, with Bale, with Marcelo. “I’m not saying the others like Lucas Vazquez, Jese and Mateo Kovacic are not good players – they are very good players – but it’s not the same.” Afterwards he sought to clarify his quotes, telling Marca: “When I say that, I am talking about my fitness level, not my level as a player. I am no better than any of my team-mates”. Ronaldo used an expletive to describe how he feels the media describe him and added “but I don’t listen to what the press say. The statistics and numbers don’t lie”
Nigeria have reappointed Samson Siasia as coach following the resignation of Sunday Oliseh earlier on Friday. The Nigeria Football Federation have ensured a coach is in place for March’s Nations Cup qualifiers against Egypt. Oliseh quit after only eight months, accusing the NFF of “contractual violations” and owing salaries. The NFF responded in a statement, saying Oliseh was this week “paid three months’ salary and a half-year rent” but admitted he is still owed a bonus. And the governing body quickly moved on from Oliseh’s reign by handing Siasia a second spell in charge of the Super Eagles. He was previously coach between December 2010 and October 2011, before his contract was terminated following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. This time he will work alongside Salisu Yusuf, former Nigeria Under-17 player Emmanuel Amuneke and Alloy Agu. The NFF said: “The combination was recommended by the NFF Technical and Development Committee following Sunday Oliseh’s resignation on Twitter in the early hours of Friday.” Amuneke coached the Nigeria U-17s to a fifth World Cup title in Chile last year, while Salisu Yusuf and Alloy Agu were part of the coaching team led by Oliseh. The first task for Siasia, who is in charge of the national U-23 side, is to prepare the team for the Nations Cup qualifiers against Group G leaders Egypt at home on 25 March and the return match two days later.
Gianni Infantino has succeeded fellow Swiss Sepp Blatter as president of world football’s governing body FIFA. The Uefa secretary general polled 115 votes, 27 more than closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein (4 votes) and Jerome Champagne (0) were third and fourth respectively. Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down last year and was later banned from football for six years for breaching ethics guidelines. Infantino is a 45-year-old lawyer from Brig in the Valais region of Switzerland, less than six miles from Blatter’s hometown of Visp. He only entered the presidential race when it became clear that Michael Platini, boss of European football’s governing body UEFA, would not be allowed to stand.
Acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou has announced the first-round results:
Gianni Infantino – 88 votes
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa – 85 votes
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein – 27 votes
Jerome Champagne – 7 votes
Tokyo Sexwale dropped from the race after his speech. Second round of voting will soon commence. Now only a simple majority of 104 votesis required to win the race. Gianni Infantino claimed 88 in the first round and Sheikh Salman 85 so their camps will now be busy lobbying in an attempt to swell their support while the vote is set up. If neither man claims a majority in the second voting, then a third round of voting will hold with the candidate with the fewest votes dropping out..
FIFA has passed a package of reforms at an extraordinary congress in Zurich. They include the disclosure of salaries and a four-year limit on a president’s term as football’s world governing body seeks to recover from a corruption crisis. A new council will replace the current executive committee, featuring a female representative from each confederation. Later on Friday FIFA will elect a new president to replace Sepp Blatter, who held the position since 1998. The five candidates are Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Gianni Infantino, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne. The election process is expected to begin at 1 pm Nigerian time, but several rounds of voting may be required before a winner is known. “We stand united in our determination to put things right, so that the focus can return to football once again,” said acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou. “The hard work of restoring trust and improving how we work begins now. “This will create a system of stronger governance and greater diversity that will give football a strong foundation on which to thrive. And it will deter future wrongdoing.”
Sunday Oliseh has resigned as coach of Nigeria citing contract violations, unpaid wages and lack of support. Oliseh has only been on the job for eight months. The 41-year-old’s decision to quit comes just ahead of next month’s crucial 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against group leaders Egypt. “Your contractual violations and the interest of the nation necessitates that I tender my resignation,” he wrote to the Nigeria Football Federation. “Since so little help is being rendered me in getting the players to give their best and very vital conditions and advantages to the team play are also being sacrificed coupled with non-redress of the aforementioned despite my several e-mails and others, seeking your aid to effectively carry out my duties were ignored. “These unconducive working conditions that my coaching crew and myself have to live with, your contractual violations and the interest of the nation necessitates that I tender my resignation and recourse to the termination of our working agreement,” The NFF technical director Shaibu Amodu, who has managed the national team on four occasions, is widely expected to take charge of the team on temporary basis.
Professional boxers could compete at the Rio Olympics under new plans from the sport’s governing body. AIBA president Dr Ching-Kuo Wu wants to abolish rules stopping any fighter with 15 or more paid bouts from competing. His proposal needs to be approved by the AIBA’s executive committee, but Wu said: “We want something to change… not after four years, but now.” He added that it was “absolutely possible” to change the rules in time for August’s Olympics. The qualifying process for this year’s Games is already underway, with 60 boxers having already secured their places in Rio. Wu, who has been president for a decade, added: “When I took over the presidency in 2006, I made it very clear the term of ‘amateur’ is not really relevant because when you look now at all the Olympic sports, who is really amateur? “It is an International Olympic Commission policy to have the best athletes in the Games. Of the international federations, AIBA is probably the only one without professional athletes in the Olympics.”
Beijing has overtaken New York as the city with the highest number of billionaires for the first time, a new report by China-based firm Hurun says. A total of 100 billionaires are now living in the Chinese capital, compared to 95 in New York, the report said. Shanghai, China’s centre of commerce, came in fifth place. Hurun, which tracks wealth and luxury in China, has released a Global Rich List for the past five years measuring billionaires’ wealth in US dollars. It found that Beijing had welcomed 32 new billionaires since last year, allowing it to vault past New York which it calculated only saw four new billionaires. Overall, China has overtaken the US as the country with the most number of billionaires. However, the top 10 billionaires in Hurun’s list is still dominated by Americans.