Valencia has announced the sacking of manager Gary Neville on Wednesday, as the former Manchester United and England defender lasted just four months in Spain. The 41-year-old, who is part of the England coaching set-up, was given his first managerial job in December. Valencia won three of their 16 league games under the former television pundit, and 10 of 28 games overall.
Rights group Amnesty International has accused Qatar of using forced labour at a flagship World Cup 2022 stadium. Amnesty says workers at Khalifa International Stadium are forced to live in squalid accommodation, pay huge recruitment fees and have had wages withheld and passports confiscated. It also accuses FIFA of failing almost completely to stop the tournament being built on human rights abuses. Qatar said it was concerned by the allegations and would investigate.
Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery following sustaining a broken leg on international duty. The 21-year-old injured his right leg in a tackle while playing for France Under-21s against Scotland on 24 March. Laporte has been strongly linked with a summer move to Manchester City, with reports in Spain claiming incoming boss Pep Guardiola has identified him as his number one transfer target.
Watford have signed Nigerian striker Ola Adeyemo after his successful trial with the Under-21 team. The forward started training with Harry Kewell’s Under-21 team in January and scored during their friendly victory over Reading. Former Dundee United striker Adeyemo, 21, went out to India with Kewell’s squad for the recent Nagjee Cup where the Hornets reached the semi-finals. Adeyemo also featured for the team in Professional Development League games against QPR and Millwall which helped secure a contract with the Under-21s. Born in England and brought up in Ireland, Adeyemo qualifies to represent Nigeria by descent and was called up to their under-23 team in January 2015.
Brazilian football legend Pele is suing South Korean electronics giant Samsung, after claiming the firm improperly used a lookalike in an advertisement. He is claiming at least $30m, according to legal papers lodged at the US District Court in Chicago. The advertisement for ultra high-definition televisions ran in the New York Times without Pele’s permission. It is alleged that Samsung ran the advertisement after breaking off negotiations in 2013 to use Pele’s image to promote its goods. According to the complaint, the ad – which does not name Pele – includes a facial photo of a man who “very closely resembles” him, and also a small picture of a footballer making a “modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pele”. The iconic star now makes much of his income through product endorsements.
Sunderland are set to terminate Emmanuel Eboue’s contract after the defender was suspended by FIFA from all football-related activity for one year. The 32-year-old, who joined Sunderland until the end of the season on 9 March, was given the ban after failing to pay money owed to a former agent. Sunderland said Eboue did not make the club aware of the matter, which relates to a dispute from July 2013. The Ivory Coast international has two weeks to appeal against the decision. Eboue, who has not made a first team appearance for the Black Cats, had been ordered by Fifa to pay agent Sebastien Boisseau an undisclosed amount he was entitled to under the terms of an agreement between the pair. The former Arsenal full-back was fined 30,000 Swiss francs (£21,000) in September 2014 and given four months to settle the matter. Eboue spent eight seasons at the Gunners after arriving from Belgian side Beveren in 2004. He moved to Turkey in 2011, where he won three Super Lig titles and five domestic trophies. He started training with Sunderland in February before signing a short term deal.
Belgium might have been beaten by Portugal on Tuesday but could take some consolation from the fact that the Lukaku brothers combined to score their consolation in a 2-1 defeat. Oostende left-back Jordan’s cross was headed in by Everton striker Romelu.
N’Golo Kantehas refused to commit his future to Leicester City. The 25-year-old midfielder, a crucial part of his side’s success this term, has attracted the interest of clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus, made his first start for France on Tuesday, and scored his first goal against Russia. “I will fight for Leicester this season and next season we never know and we will see,” he told Sky Sports. “At this moment I am focused on Leicester. We have to finish well this season but I don’t mind about [being linked with] the other clubs.”
Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis has been charged for misconduct in relation to betting. It is alleged that the Argentine committed 12 breaches of FA Rule E8 concerning matches between 22 January 2016 and 28 January 2016. He has until 5pm on 5 April 2016 to respond to the charge.
Lionel Messi scored his 50th goal for Argentina on Tuesday when he netted from the penalty spot in a 2-0 World Cup qualification win over Bolivia. It took the Barcelona forward, 28, to within six goals of Gabriel Batistuta’s goals record for Argentina. Lionel Messi is the 47th player to reach the 50-goal mark in international football.
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has left by mutual consent after just 147 days at the Premier League’s bottom club. The 49-year-old Frenchman replaced Tim Sherwood on a three-and-a-half-year deal in November, but departs after six successive defeats. His last game in charge was a 1-0 defeat at Swansea City on 19 March, a result that left Villa 12 points from safety with seven games remaining. Villa won only two of their 20 league games during Garde’s tenure. A club statement thanked the former Arsenal player for his efforts during a difficult period and said Eric Black would take temporary charge.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have failed to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after falling to a 1-0 defeat in Egypt in their Group G match on Tuesday. With just one game remaining and only the group winners to qualify, Nigeria cannot make up their five-point deficit to table-toppers Egypt. Ramadan Sobhy’s 65th-minute winner puts Egypt on the verge of qualification. Egypt face Tanzania in June and will book their place in Gabon with any result better than a 3-0 defeat. Tuesday’s match in Alexandria became a virtually all-or-nothing tie after Chad withdrew from the group on Sunday, citing financial difficulties, and all results from their matches them were erased. That left only three teams in Group G and in accordance with the rules of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) only the winner would qualify for the finals.
Serena Williams is out of Miami Open after losing 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 6-2 to Russian 15th seed Svetlana Kuznetsov in the fourth round. It was the 34-year-old American’s joint earliest exit from the tournament, which she has won eight times. “The players come out and play me like they’ve never played before in their lives,” said Williams, who had not lost in Miami since 2012. She has now not won a tournament since August, when she claimed the 69th title of her career, in Cincinnati.
Bayern Munich will continue to reap the benefits of manager Pep Guardiola’s coaching even after the Spaniard leaves the club at the end of the season to take charge of Manchester City, midfielder Xabi Alonso says. “Pep is ahead of his time. He is very demanding of himself and his players, but once you get to know [his style], then it is the way we like to play,” Alonso told Sky Sports. “During his time here he has built something, a style of play, I think many players will have learnt a lot and improved and for sure those fundamentals will be very useful in the future as well.” The Spaniard, who will be replaced at Bayern by Italian Carlo Ancelotti, looks set to lift his third successive Bundesliga in his final season – Bayern hold a five-point lead over Borussia Dortmund with seven games remaining.
Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor has joined up with the national squad for their African Nations Cup qualifier against Tunisia, ending his exile from international football. The 32-year-old last played for Togo in June 2015 and has not been picked since failing to turn up for an African Nations Cup qualifier against Djibouti in September. Adebayor, who has a stormy relationship with Togo coach Tom Saintfiet, took to Facebook this month to turn down the chance to play for his country after he was named in the squad for Tuesday’s game against Tunisia. But it appears he has had a change of heart after meeting officials from his country’s football federation. ‘Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together brings success,’ Adebayor posted on Facebook on Tuesday. ‘Let’s go get this win together boys! May God be with us today.’ Secretary general for the Togolese Football Federation Pierre Lamadokou added: ‘Adebayor joined the national team after negotiations with FTF officials. He trained just like his team mates.’
England hosted and won the world cup in 1966. Less than four months before the tournament was due to begin, the English FA was left panicking over the theft of the World Cup trophy. The Jules Rimet trophy was on display at a stamp exhibition in central London but on Sunday, 20 March – just the second day it was on show – it was taken from its case in Westminster’s Central Hall. With the security guards absent on a break, the exact circumstances of how the cup was taken remain a mystery. “The idea there were people by the display case all the time is just not true,” said Doctor Martin Atherton, author of the book ‘The Theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy’. “The whole thing was amateurish – the fact the FA let the trophy out, the security arrangements and the whole recovery of the trophy. “It came out one of the security guards was 74 years old or something. The security was quite inadequate. “We think two people broke in through an emergency exit, took the trophy and walked out again.”
An EgyptAir airliner has been hijacked and forced to divert to Larnaca airport on the south coast of Cyprus. Flight MS181, an Airbus A320 carrying 81 passengers from Alexandria to Cairo, was taken over after a passenger said he was wearing an explosives belt. EgyptAir said negotiations had resulted in the release of all those on board apart from the crew and four passengers. No demands have been made by those in control of the plane. Larnaca airport has been closed and scheduled flights diverted elsewhere.
Chad has withdrawn from the ongoing qualification race for the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017. Chad were due to travel to Tanzania for the fourth match in the group, but instead made the announcement of a shocking withdrawal, citing financial constraints. CAF swiftly applied its rules in conformity with Article 61 of the regulations of the competition which states: “If a team withdraws from the qualifying phase organised in groups, all its results shall be annulled (points, scored and conceded goals)”. ”Consequently, the three matches of Chad of Group G are cancelled and the results will not be taken into consideration”, CAF said. Continue reading →
Nigeria’s U-17 female team, Flamingoes, have qualified for the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup billed for Jordan from September 30 to October 21. Bala Nikyu’s girls recorded a 1-0 victory over hosts South Africa at the Makhulong Stadium to qualify 7-0 on aggregate. Bantwana needed to score seven goals to go through to the World Cup without a reply from the Flamingoes but Nigeria’s captain, Rasheedat Ajibade’s 28th minute goal put paid to any hopes of the hosts pulling off a surprise turn-around. Africa has three slots at the U17 Women’s World Cup and South Africa was hoping to snatch one of the spots. Maude Khumalo’s charges tried hard in the second half to go out with pride but a resolute Nigeria defence snuffed out any chances the locals had of scoring a consolation goal. Nigeria has never failed to qualify for the competition since it began in 2008.