West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet has signed a new five-and-a-half year contract. The 28-year-old joined the club in the summer from French side Marseille in a deal worth more than £10m. The France international has excelled this season, scoring six goals in 22 appearances to help the Hammers to sixth in the Premier League. The new deal – replacing Payet’s previous five-year contract – lasts until summer 2012. Hammers co-owner David Sullivan recently described Payet as the “signing of the season”. “He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said the 67-year-old. “He’s a £30m player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. “On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”
Adam Johnson has been sacked by Sunderland after pleading guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one charge of grooming. The 28-year-old footballer’s contract was terminated hours after he was dropped for Saturday’s Premier League match against Manchester United. He will stand trial on Friday on two further counts of sexual activity with a child, which he denies. Sportswear firm Adidas has cancelled its contract with the midfielder. After Johnson’s arrest in March 2015, the club suspended him, but then lifted the ban following talks with his representatives and the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Stoke striker Bojan Krkić has signed a new four-and-a-half year contract with the club, keeping him with the Potters until the summer of 2020. Bojan began his career at Barcelona after progressing through the youth ranks at La Masia. His early promise saw him make his first-team debut at the age of 17 years and 19 days, breaking the record set by Lionel Messi. Last season, Bojan suffered a serious knee injury, from which he has recovered.
Nigeria international Kelechi Iheanacho says Manchester City will fight Tottenham “to the final whistle” when the teams go head-to-head on Super Sunday. City head to White Hart Lane having seen their Premier League title bid rocked by a 3-1 home defeat to leaders Leicester City last weekend. As a result, Manuel Pellegrini’s side are six points behind the Foxes and one behind Spurs on a weekend which also sees Arsenal play host to Leicester.
The IAAF has suffered a new blow after Nestle announced it has terminated its sponsorship of the world athletics’ governing body. The Swiss-based food and beverage company said in a statement it was concerned its own reputation could be damaged by association, owing to the doping and corruption scandals involving the IAAF. Nestle was a financial backer of the IAAF Kids Athletics programme, being its main sponsor since 2012. Nestle said in its statement: “We have decided to end our partnership with the IAAF Kids’ Athletics programme with immediate effect. This decision was taken in light of negative publicity associated with allegations of corruption and doping in sport made against the IAAF.
Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside has died aged 63 following a battle with cancer. He was chairman for 16 years, during which time the club enjoyed an 11-year stint in the Premier League and two UEFA Cup campaigns. “This is a very sad day for everyone,” said Brett Warburton, vice-chairman of the Championship club. “Phil has been a personal friend for more than 30 years. We send our deepest condolences to all Phil’s family.” Our own Jay Jay Okocha was signed by Bolton and made captain under his tenure.
Liverpool’s owners have scrapped their controversial £77 ticket and apologised for the “distress caused” by last week’s pricing announcement. Thousands of fans left 77 minutes into Saturday’s draw with Sunderland at Anfield in protest at the planned top-price £77 ticket in the new main stand. In reversing their decision, club owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) told disgruntled fans “Message received.” Liverpool’s dearest matchday ticket will now stay at £59.
Badou Zaki has left his job as coach of the Morocco national team by mutual consent, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced Wednesday. A federation statement explained that “After 20 months of instability and inconsistent results” it agreed with Zaki to end his contract. The federation also announced that a new coach would be appointed in the coming days. Former Ivory Coast boss Herve Renard is being tipped to take over. Renard, who lead the Elephants to the Africa Cup of Nations title in Equatorial Guinea last year, was sacked by French club Lille earlier this season, The 47-year-old also lead Zambia to the Nations Cup title in 2012. Former international goalkeeper Zaki, 56, took over as Morocco manager for the second time in May 2014. Zaki first managed the side for three years from 2002, losing the Africa Cup of Nations final to Tunisia in 2004.