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David Moyes has admitted that his “compassion” for Joe Hart’s position as England No1 made it difficult to leave the West Ham United loanee out of their 1-0 win against Chelsea on Saturday.<br />
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Hart had been ineligible to play against Manchester City, his parent club, six days previously and saw his replacement Adrian – whose only previous appearances this season had been in the League Cup – perform well. The Spaniard kept his place for Chelsea’s visit and was again beyond reproach. It was the latest setback in a chastening 15 months for Hart, who will be at serious risk of losing his World Cup place if his fortunes do not improve.<br />
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“I always have compassion for the players, and I have to think of their situation as well,” Moyes said when asked whether Hart’s situation with the national team had entered his reasoning. “That’s why it wasn’t an easy decision – it wasn’t easy because of that. But ultimately it’s West Ham I have to think about getting a result for. I need to win as well.”<br />
Moyes looks certain to stick with Adrian for Arsenal’s visit to the London Stadium on Wednesday. “[He kept a] clean sheet, didn’t make any mistakes today, so I’d have to say on that I would think so,” he said, adding standard caveats about the couple of days’ training that lie in between. He said Hart “will play a lot of games this season, I’ve got no doubt about that” and emphasised that his importance to the squad extends to his wider role in the dressing room.<br />
That will be cold comfort to Hart, who turns 31 in April and saw a season‑long move to West Ham as a chance to re‑establish himself in the Premier League after being jettisoned by Pep Guardiola at City. Things have not gone to plan and Hart, whose form for a struggling side has been patchy, faces the kind of battle he could not have expected four months ago.<br />
“I thought he was very good,” Moyes said of Hart’s reaction to not being picked. “He wasn’t happy, you know <a href="http://www.footballchiefsofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_TERRANCE_MITCHELL_JERSEY.html" target="_blank">http://www.footballchiefsofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_TERRANCE_MITCHELL_JERSEY.html</a> – I told him the reason why and that’s it. But that happens all round the country. Part of a manager’s job is relaying messages to your players on how you think they’re performing. I said to them when I came in: ‘I’m going to tell you what I think, I’m not kidding anyone on, if I think you’re doing fine I’ll <a href="http://www.basketballofficialonline.com/Team/Authentic_Patrick_Ewing_Jersey.html" target="_blank">Patrick Ewing Jersey</a> tell you and if you’re not I’ll tell you as well’.”<br />
Perhaps Hart can take solace from the tough love Moyes has already dished out to Marko Arnautovic, another underperforming summer arrival who was restored to the starting lineup against Chelsea and responded with an all-action performance that was capped with a fine winning goal.<br />
“I think his all-round work has been really good,” was Moyes’s verdict on his appetite <a href="http://www.officialcoyotesonline.com/Jakob_Chychrun_Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.officialcoyotesonline.com/Jakob_Chychrun_Jersey</a> to track back and chase lost causes. “I’ve just said to them: ‘If you <a href="http://www.titansfootballofficialproshop.com/Authentic-Josh-Kline-Jersey" target="_blank">Authentic Josh Kline Jersey</a> don’t do it, I won’t select you because at the moment we need it’. Football isn’t all about running but I think what the people here want to see is that the players are putting in effort and energy. I think the energy that Marko’s shown has given the crowd a lift – and I think they’re reacting to seeing that if Marko Arnautovic can do it then, well, they all can do it.”<br />
It was a level <a href="http://www.authenticrangershop.com/authentic-35-mike-richter-jersey.html" target="_blank">http://www.authenticrangershop.com/authentic-35-mike-richter-jersey.html</a> of vigour that Moyes’s opposite number, Antonio Conte, would have welcomed from his own players. Chelsea looked leggy – “a bit tired”, Conte agreed – against opponents for whom fitness had <a href="http://http://www.officialauthenticsbuccaneers.com/buccaneers+joe+hawley+jersey" target="_blank">Joe Hawley Jersey</a> been a <a href="http://www.vikingsofficialsshop.com/Marcus_Sherels_Jersey_Cheap" target="_blank">http://www.vikingsofficialsshop.com/Marcus_Sherels_Jersey_Cheap</a> major <a href="http://www.panthersshopsnflonline.com/SUPER-BOWL-LUKE-KUECHLY-JERSEY" target="_blank">Authentic Luke Kuechly Jersey</a> concern before Moyes arrived in November. He bemoaned the fact he will essentially have “20 minutes” to prepare them for the assignment at Huddersfield on Tuesday; the implication is that reinforcements are needed but whether everyone in the corridors of power is singing from the same hymn sheet remains to be seen.<br />
“I think it is right to keep it secret if we have a conversation with the club,” he said of any discussions with Roman Abramovich about the January transfer window. “Now, it is very important for us to be focused on the league, to go game by game and try to find the right energy to play every three days.” <a href="http://www.elitejerseysshop.com" target="_blank">Nike NFL Jerseys Supply</a> <a href="http://www.chinawholesalejerseyfootball.com" target="_blank">Wholesale Jerseys Usa</a> <a href="http://www.nfljerseyscheapdiscount.com" target="_blank">Basketball Jerseys Cheap</a> <a href="http://www.wholesalecheapcustomjerseyshop.com" target="_blank">Discount Jerseys</a> <a href="http://www.cheapauthjerseysfromchina.com" target="_blank">Wholesale NFL Jerseys Nike</a> <a href="http://www.saleusajerseys.com" target="_blank">Baseball Jerseys Cheap</a> <a href="http://www.chinanfljerseyswholesaler.com" target="_blank">Baseball Jerseys For Sale</a> <a href="http://www.nfljerseys2017.us.com" target="_blank">Nike NFL Jerseys Supply</a>

José Mourinho all but admitted defeat in the Premier League title race after watching Manchester United fall 11 points behind a Manchester City team he described as being “protected by the luck” and helped on their <a href="http://www.authenticnikefalconshop.com/devondre-campbell-jersey-for-sale-c-11.html" target="_blank">http://www.authenticnikefalconshop.com/devondre-campbell-jersey-for-sale-c-11.html</a> way to the championship because “the gods of football are behind them”.<br />
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Mourinho’s backhanded compliments came after a <a href="http://http://www.nfltitansofficialshop.com/YOUTH+TAYWAN+TAYLOR+JERSEY" target="_blank">Womens Taywan Taylor Jersey</a> 2-1 victory for Pep Guardiola’s side at Old Trafford that left the United manager complaining at length that Ander Herrera should have been awarded a penalty in the second-half incident that led to the midfielder being booked for diving.<br />
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“I think they are a very good team, they are lucky, they have decisions in their favour,” Mourinho said. “My first reaction is that I feel sorry for Michael Oliver. The referee is a human being and he tried his best. He was very committed to have a good match, which I think he had, but made one mistake, which was a crucial mistake.”<br />
Asked whether the title race was now over, Mourinho said: “Probably, yes. Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck, and the gods of football are behind them.”<br />
Guardiola’s view was that it was still too early for him to say the same but City have now won 14 league fixtures in a row and the victorious manager, praising his team for taking on the Barcelona approach of football, dismissed Mourinho’s complaints about the penalty incident. It was, according to the City manager, just more of the usual from Mourinho and something to which he was wholly accustomed from their time as rival managers in Spain.<br />
“We won because we were better in every department,” Guardiola said. “Last season it was the same – we won here and it [for Mourinho] was the referee. Today as well. Yesterday he spoke about the referee. We are an honest team. When a team has the courage to have 65 to 70 or 75% ball-possession it is because it wants to try to play and that is what we have done. We are clear, we are open and we want to attack.<br />
“People said we could not play this way in England. They said we couldn’t play the way we did in Barcelona but it is possible and we did it. Always I believed we could do it. That’s why football is so beautiful.<br />
“I’m happy to go to Stamford Bridge <a href="http://www.authenticislanderstore.com/brad-richards-jersey_c-462.html" target="_blank">http://www.authenticislanderstore.com/brad-richards-jersey_c-462.html</a> and now Old Trafford and to beat them in this way. But we are still in December. If we have 11 points <a href="http://www.authenticredsox.com/Authentic-David-Price-Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.authenticredsox.com/Authentic-David-Price-Jersey</a> [as a lead] when we play the second derby in April then maybe I will tell you that we have the title.<br />
“This win means a lot in the way we played for our confidence but in three days we go to Swansea in the winter time. We are going to face a lot of difficulties. In December it’s impossible to be champions but it is good for us.”<br />
Guardiola, <a href="http://www.arizonacardinalsauthorizedstore.com/markus-golden-jersey-elite" target="_blank">Markus Golden Jersey</a> the former Barcelona <a href="http://www.footballchargersofficialstore.com/Matt_Slauson_Jersey" target="_blank">Authentic Matt Slauson Jersey</a> head coach, also responded to Mourinho’s pre-match remarks that City players can be guilty of diving – “It’s not true that my players go down easily, that is not an argument I believe” – and promised to keep wearing his yellow ribbon in support of the two Catalan politicians who were jailed during the region’s fight for independence last month.<br />
The only downside for City was another injury to Vincent Kompany. “Vinnie is always like this,” Guardiola said. “Unfortunately we can’t count on him for a long time.”<br />
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Mauricio Pochettino has suggested that Tottenham Hotspur have paid a price for the late completion of their summer transfer business and has made it plain that the club will have to be quicker and smarter next time.<br />
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The manager will be restricted in the <a href="http://www.officialusahockeystore.com/Usa_Paul_Stastny_Jersey_Shirt.html" target="_blank">http://www.officialusahockeystore.com/Usa_Paul_Stastny_Jersey_Shirt.html</a> January window as his Champions League squad already contains the maximum of 17 foreign players – and that number does not include the fit-again Érik Lamela, whom he is keen to reintegrate for the knockout stage.<br />
Pochettino said he would focus next month on trying to “take <a href="http://www.patriotsofficialsprostore.com/Drew-Bledsoe-Jersey" target="_blank">Drew Bledsoe Womens Jersey</a> advantage of the English market and add an English player”, together with the drive to promote English youngsters from the academy. But he wants to use January, primarily, as a means to prepare the summer business; to steal a march on rivals, after he felt the club failed to do so last summer.<br />
Pochettino signed Davinson Sánchez, Paulo Gazzaniga, Juan Foyth, Serge Aurier and Fernando Llorente in the final two weeks of August. Foyth, Aurier and Llorente came in the last 48 hours – the latest example of the chairman Daniel Levy’s penchant for taking deals down to the wire. Pochettino was quick to spell out the downside of that approach.<br />
“This summer was a very good example because we signed good players but it was so late and with no pre-season [for them], you pay,” Pochettino said. “You then need six or seven months for the player to be fit, adapt himself in everything and that is always against us.<br />
“The most important thing that we have been talking about is to identify our targets and, on 3 July, when we start our pre-season, they are here. If we don’t, it’s so <a href="http://www.officialbengalsfootballproshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_CEDRIC_OGBUEHI_JERSEY.html" target="_blank">http://www.officialbengalsfootballproshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_CEDRIC_OGBUEHI_JERSEY.html</a> difficult for them to help the team and then, during the season, you are going to pay. It’s so important today to identify your targets for the summer. If not and we wait until May and, before we sign, we sell, it’s so difficult to bring in players that can help.”<br />
Pochettino betrayed an element of frustration at Tottenham’s summer business when he was asked whether he needed to qualify once more for the Champions League to attract the best players. “But you have the very good example of last season,” he said. “How did we finish? In second place. And we attract? We attract?”<br />
The questioner tried to be positive and highlighted how Sánchez had been signed. “We attract a 21-year-old,” Pochettino said, pointedly. “Yes or no?”<br />
Pochettino is painfully aware that the summer market will be particularly difficult because of the World Cup and the fact that the window will close for incoming signings on the Thursday before the Premier League season begins.<br />
It has made him more determined to act swiftly – possibly tying up some business for the summer in January, in the same way that Dele Alli was signed from MK Dons in <a href="http://www.49ersfootballjerseys.com/patrick-willis-womens-youth-jersey" target="_blank">Authentic Patrick Willis Jersey</a> the winter window of 2015 with an agreement for a five-month loan-back. Pochettino would like to put something similar in place for Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon.<br />
“The Dele signing is a very good example of the <a href="http://www.mapleleafsofficialauthentic.com/Jake_Gardiner_Jersey_Adidas" target="_blank">Jake Gardiner Womens Jersey</a> need to anticipate,” Pochettino said. “We cannot be reactive because if we are, we are going to lose. If we are going to compete in the same period with City, United, Liverpool or Chelsea, then we are going to struggle to bring in the players we want. Maybe we need to sign the player in January and they can join in the summer. <a href="http://www.goodcheapnfljerseys.com" target="_blank">Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap</a> <a href="http://www.cheapauthjerseysfromchina.com" target="_blank">Cheap Hockey Jerseys</a> <a href="http://www.elitewholesalejerseyscheap.com" target="_blank">Baseball Jerseys For Sale</a> <a href="http://www.nflsjerseysshop.com" target="_blank">Cheap Basketball Jerseys</a> <a href="http://www.wholesalenhljerseysstore.com" target="_blank">Cheap Jerseys Wholesale</a>

José Mourinho has accused Manchester City of diving, with <a href="http://http://www.cowboysfootballofficialprostore.com/YOUTH+BYRON+JONES+JERSEY" target="_blank">http://www.cowboysfootballofficialprostore.com/YOUTH+BYRON+JONES+JERSEY</a> Manchester United’s manager claiming “a little bit of wind and they fall”.<br />
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United face Pep Guardiola’s team at Old Trafford in Sunday’s derby and although Mourinho praised City he also claimed they try to gain advantage by going to ground easily. “One thing that I don’t like a lot is that they lose their balance very easily,” he said.<br />
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Mourinho’s comments echo those he made about Arsenal after last weekend’s 3-1 win there. “I leave for you the Arsenal players on the grass,” he said. “The grass is absolutely beautiful – I think there is a desire to go on to the grass.”<br />
Paul Pogba’s red card at the Emirates Stadium means he is suspended and Mourinho refused to reveal how United will approach the City game in the midfielder’s absence. “You all want to know how we are going to play,” he said. “Everyone connected with football <a href="http://www.officialshopraidersonline.com/Charles_Woodson_Jersey_Cheap" target="_blank">http://www.officialshopraidersonline.com/Charles_Woodson_Jersey_Cheap</a> professionally or as a fan is questioning: ‘Who is going to play? How are we going to try to play?’ I’m not going to tell.<br />
“Even the players do not know who is going to play. We are working on principles of play. I want every player to be connected with it and ready for it. With the problems we have with absences it is important that other players are ready to play or be on the bench and come on, and to have different roles than they are used to.<br />
“So the work is much more global than the 11 players who are going to start. The players <a href="http://www.authenticbluesstore.com/-17-jaden-schwartz-jersey_c-453.html" target="_blank">http://www.authenticbluesstore.com/-17-jaden-schwartz-jersey_c-453.html</a> who are fit? Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available, Phil Jones is available, Marouane Fellaini I have <a href="http://www.footballchargersofficialstore.com/Forrest_Lamp_Jersey" target="_blank">Forrest Lamp Womens Jersey</a> to wait [until Saturday]; Michael Carrick is not available, Eric Bailly is not available. Nemanja Matic is injured but he plays.”<br />
United are eight points behind City so know a defeat <a href="http://www.officialdodgersshoponline.com/WOMENS-JOC-PEDERSON-JERSEY.html" target="_blank">Joc Pederson Youth jersey</a> would allow their visitors to open up a formidable lead. Mourinho said: “I don’t want us to feel any kind of pressure. I want us to feel it as a match like we are going to have another one two days later against Bournemouth. We want to win, we want to play well, we are going to try and let’s <a href="http://www.officialmlbrangersshop.com/authentic-14-carlos-gomez-jersey.html" target="_blank">Carlos Gomez Jersey</a> see the direction of the game.”<br />
Mourinho has previously encouraged fans to make the atmosphere at home more vibrant, criticising them for being too quiet. But he refused to go down that track before City’s visit.<br />
“I stop with that,” he said. “I’m not going to write any more words about it, I’m not going to say any more words about it. We are paid to work and to work hard and to give the best we can, not to criticise fans and I’m not going to say any words. It is the reality of things. I’m not paid to come here and make any comments or to ask for something from the fans. I am paid <a href="http://www.calgaryflamesofficialonline.com/Adidas-Brian-Elliott-Jersey" target="_blank">Brian Elliott Jersey</a> to give them happiness, which is what I try to do every day.”<br />
Of the challenge facing City, Mourinho said: “They are a good team. They defend well, they react well to the moment they lose the ball. They have a good dynamic in attack, they have creative movement, they have amazing players, they have a fantastic coach, they have lots of good things.<br />
“Football is unpredictable – me as a manager I can try to define a gameplan, to work in a direction, but we don’t know what can happen. There are so many things that are out of control that can totally transform the direction of the game, I wouldn’t risk saying what game we are going to have.” <a href="http://www.wholesalejerseysfromchina.us.com" target="_blank">Wholesale NFL Jerseys Nike</a> <a href="http://www.nflnhljerseysshop.com" target="_blank">Cheap NFL Jerseys</a> <a href="http://www.bestjerseysforsale.com" target="_blank">Baseball Jerseys Cheap</a> <a href="http://www.authenticjerseyssupplierselite.com" target="_blank">Cheap NHL Jerseys</a> <a href="http://www.wholesalelimitedjerseys.com" target="_blank">Jerseys China</a> <a href="http://www.cheapnfljerseysalen.com" target="_blank">Wholesale NBA Jerseys</a> <a href="http://www.jerseysoutlet-us.com" target="_blank">Wholesale Jerseys NFL</a>

This, it feels, is it. It may be only the second weekend of December but if Manchester United lose at home to Manchester City on Sunday the gap at the top of the table will be <a href="http://www.footballeaglesofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_NELSON_AGHOLOR_JERSEY.html" target="_blank">http://www.footballeaglesofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_NELSON_AGHOLOR_JERSEY.html</a> 11 points and the title race – and José Mourinho’s record of always winning the league in his second season at a club – will be as good as over.<br />
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Events have a habit of getting in the way of even the most sophisticated projections but if City were to win a 14th Premier League game in a row – a record for one season – it could have profound consequences well beyond the end of this campaign. With the Pep Guardiola model established, his squad packed with technically gifted and tactically aware devotees, City’s level is set. Given Mourinho’s habitual third-season problems, the likelihood of further upheaval at Chelsea in the summer and perhaps mounting dissatisfaction among Tottenham’s young players as they see their peers earning far more elsewhere, City may find themselves without a serious challenger in the short-to-medium term.<br />
So how does Mourinho go about stopping City and checking the relentless march of the Pep-bots? City’s last three games, against West Ham, Southampton and Huddersfield, were all won 2-1 with a late goal and have all followed a similar pattern. Sit deep against City, limit the space Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané have to accelerate into and, even with passers as gifted as David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, they can be restricted. As yet, nobody since Everton has been able to restrict them enough in the Premier League to achieve anything other than narrow late defeat but there have at least been signs they are not entirely unstoppable.<br />
Happily for Mourinho, sitting deep, packing the midfield and allowing the opposition possession sits exactly into his protocol for away games against top sides, as revealed by Diego Torres in his biography of the former Real Madrid coach, and as practised with stultifying efficiency against Liverpool this season. Less happily, this is at home, and while the Old Trafford crowd will probably accept a radically reactive approach if it is successful, it’s not hard to imagine unease being provoked if it is not. Less happily still, the main thrust of that 10-point plan is that “he who has the ball has fear”. City, with a pass completion rate of 88.8% this season, do not look like a team with much fear of the ball.<br />
Mourinho has tended to deploy a back three this season only against other sides playing a back three – CSKA Moscow, Arsenal, Watford, Chelsea, Tottenham – but, <a href="http://www.officialvancouvercanucks.com/Adidas-Markus-Granlund-Jersey" target="_blank">Authentic Markus Granlund Jersey</a> if only for reasons of personnel, he seems likely to use a back three on Sunday. If Marouane Fellaini is fit, there is a chance he will play alongside Nemanja Matic at the back of midfield with Ander Herrera breaking forward in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 hybrid but it is hard to imagine United would be bold enough to use a 4-2-3-1 with four creative players. Having an additional spare man at the back should anyway make it easier to pack that key area just outside the <a href="http://www.authenticyankeeshop.com/authentic-29-todd-frazier-jersey.html" target="_blank">Womens Todd Frazier Jersey</a> penalty area where City cannot be allowed space.<br />
If United are able to stifle City, there is plenty of evidence they can score against them. The nature of Guardiola’s philosophy means his side will always be vulnerable if you can get through the initial press. Most sides cannot, or are so overwhelmed by the challenge of coping with City’s movement they are too befuddled to take advantage when they do generate openings – or, rather, openings to generate openings – which is why City have the second-best defensive record in the league but they have conceded in each of their last three games.<br />
Angelo Ogbonna’s goal for West Ham at the Etihad on Sunday <a href="http://www.officialbravestore.com/Ra_Dickey_Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.officialbravestore.com/Ra_Dickey_Jersey</a> was the first City had conceded in the league this season to a header but they are not a tall side and if United have Romelu Lukaku <a href="http://www.bearsonlinesprostore.com/ADRIAN-AMOS-JERSEY-CHEAP.html" target="_blank">Adrian Amos Authentic Jersey</a> and, potentially, Fellaini attacking corners, set plays will be an obvious threat.<br />
Against Watford and Arsenal, the link-up between Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard was exceptional and the suspended French midfielder will be missed, at least in that regard. Questions persist about whether he really controls the midfield as a player of his stature and ability should but Pogba is a master at leading a break and linking the back of the team to the front. In his absence, United may have to go more direct, using Lukaku’s aerial ability to win knockdowns for Anthony Martial and Lingard.<br />
That brought the winner in the home game against Tottenham, when United sat deep and were largely content to frustrate, and, while it is unlikely City would succumb to quite such a simple goal as Spurs did, Martial and Lingard running from deep would be a huge test of Fernandinho’s defensive capacities specifically and City’s defensive organisation in general.<br />
But the sense is that this isn’t really about City stopping United from scoring. The game will be decided on how well United are able to resist City’s endless waves of attack. And on that might rest the next three to four years of English football.<br />
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It feels somewhat perverse to praise Fifa’s acumen during a week in which its handling of Russia has re-alerted <a href="http://www.authenticsharksjerseys.com/Authentic-Joonas-Donskoi-Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.authenticsharksjerseys.com/Authentic-Joonas-Donskoi-Jersey</a> the football community to its ethical compromises, but the world governing body’s intervention into Australian affairs appears astute.<br />
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The decision to lead a working group to address Australian football’s inability to expand its governing congress should, thankfully, herald the final act in the long-running saga. Moreover, by opting for a body consensual in nature but under Fifa/AFC direction, resolution should occur with the minimum of collateral damage.<br />
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This is not a normalisation committee, the most decisive option at Fifa’s disposal, nor is it more futile mediation. This is a strategic intervention <a href="http://www.detroitlions.us.com/WOMENS-TJ-LANG-JERSEY.html" target="_blank">T.J. Lang Womens Jersey</a> that brings the end within sight while minimising the risk of a World Cup suspension and maximising the likelihood the head of Australia’s delegation in Russia will have been elected, not imposed.<br />
What Fifa has managed to achieve <a href="http://www.officialusahockeysshop.com/Cheap_Olympic_Matt_Niskanen_Jersey" target="_blank">Authentic Matt Niskanen USA Jersey</a> is the prioritisation of the ends – the adoption of a more inclusive and representative membership model – by an appropriation of the means, the congress review working group.<br />
For much of this process the case for democratisation has been held hostage by acrimony. The debate should always have been about the betterment of Australian football and the ideal governance arrangement for the game’s prosperity. This has not been the case and the longer the imbroglio has continued the more it has descended into an unseemly squabble over voting thresholds anchored by an <a href="http://www.authentichurricanestore.com/-86-teuvo-teravainen-jersey_c-468.html" target="_blank">http://www.authentichurricanestore.com/-86-teuvo-teravainen-jersey_c-468.html</a> unsatisfying status quo.<br />
Fifa’s overdue entry to the scene has the potential to reframe this process for the better. It can now orchestrate a wide-ranging conversation, one that could unlock the untapped ambition and optimism of large sections of a football community fatigued or marginalised by business as usual. This is in contrast to the prolonged behind-closed-doors courting of a minority of stakeholders. It is a welcome opportunity to reboot.<br />
Fifa’s action places FFA in a curious situation. By avoiding a normalisation committee it could be argued the decision is a win for Steven Lowy and his agenda. But there is not much else on offer to provide succour.<br />
Fifa’s communique makes clear it will “define the terms of reference of the congress review working group, which include its objective, composition, mandate and timeline,” in other words benching FFA from its existing role in stewarding the democratisation process. Moreover, Fifa will do so having met with “the stakeholders (member federations, A-League <a href="http://www.seahawksfootballofficialonline.com/Braylon-Edwards-Jersey.html" target="_blank">Braylon Edwards Jersey</a> clubs, PFA) and any other relevant interlocutors, such as the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), that have been established in the meantime”. This is consistent with all Fifa communication on this matter, avoiding direct reference to FFA and its leadership as a stakeholder.<br />
The letter, signed by Zvonimir Boban, the former Croatian international, now Fifa deputy secretary general, is businesslike in tone but an undercurrent of irritation is detectable. Recent failings in the democratisation process are detailed in the second paragraph before the third opens with the following carefully chosen words: “In light of the above the committee eventually decided...”. That eventually is pregnant with meaning. Fifa is also keen to point out the need for “a timely conclusion”, which is understandable given it has already allowed FFA a nine-month extension on its original deadline to reach this point.<br />
FFA’s public response drew plenty of ire. The opening line of its press release indicates it will establish the working group with “direct support” from <a href="http://www.authentictigershop.com/authentic-24-miguel-cabrera-jersey.html" target="_blank">http://www.authentictigershop.com/authentic-24-miguel-cabrera-jersey.html</a> Fifa, in contrast to the terms outlined in Fifa’s letter. When the A-League clubs issued their response later in the day they made <a href="http://www.footballredskinsprostore.com/Brian_Quick_Jersey_Cheap" target="_blank">Brian Quick Jersey</a> sure to point out the “misleading nature” of FFA’s communication. Consequently, much of the immediate analysis of the situation on Thursday focused on FFA’s spin.<br />
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Cornel Borbély, Fifa’s ethics committee chairman, was investigating the alleged role of Russia’s deputy prime minister for sport, tourism and youth policy, Vitaly Mutko, in state-sponsored doping when world football’s ruling body abruptly removed the Swiss from his job in May.<br />
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Mutko was banned this week from all future Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee, which accepted evidence that he was centrally involved in systematic doping of athletes, but Fifa has taken no action. Formerly a Russian minister of sport, Mutko was alleged to have overseen the vast doping programmes before the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. He is still president of the Russian football association and the organising committee for the World Cup next year.<br />
Borbély, a Zurich lawyer who chaired the investigatory arm of Fifa’s ethics committee, was examining the voluminous evidence on Russia and Mutko’s activities when Fifa decided at its congress in Bahrain not to renew his tenure. Mutko would be barred from football if the ethics committee agreed with the World Anti‑Doping Agency, its investigator Richard McLaren and now the IOC, that Mutko was directly involved in state‑sponsored doping.<br />
Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, sought in March to prevent its independent governance committee barring Mutko from the Fifa council, arguing it would damage the <a href="http://www.officialhornetsproshop.com/authentic-41-glen-rice-jersey.html" target="_blank">Glen Rice Youth jersey</a> prospects of a successful World Cup in Russia.<br />
Miguel Maduro, the Portuguese law professor who chaired that <a href="http://www.officialbaseballgiants.com/Willie_Mccovey_Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.officialbaseballgiants.com/Willie_Mccovey_Jersey</a> committee and maintained its decision because Fifa’s rules require politically neutral council members, was also fired at the Bahrain congress. Maduro told the UK parliament’s select committee for digital, culture, media and sport in September that he had <a href="http://www.officialcavaliershop.com/authentic-5-jr-smith-jersey.html" target="_blank">J.R. Smith Jersey</a> been urged by Fatma Samoura, Fifa’s secretary-general, to change his decision and declare Mutko eligible. “She said the World Cup would be a disaster and that as a consequence the continued presidency [of Infantino] would be in question,” Maduro said.<br />
Fifa has taken no action against Mutko or Russia in nearly 18 months since Wada asked <a href="http://www.footballchargersofficialstore.com/Branden_Oliver_Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.footballchargersofficialstore.com/Branden_Oliver_Jersey</a> its ethics committee to investigate the findings made by McLaren in his first report, in July 2016, of Russian state doping and a systematic cover‑up. Borbély is understood to have contacted Wada and McLaren for the evidence but was not supplied with much material, because McLaren was conducting further investigations.<br />
In December last year, Wada published McLaren’s second report, which found “an institutional conspiracy across [more than 1,000] summer and winter sports athletes, who participated with Russian officials within the ministry of sport and its infrastructure”.<br />
Wada said this <a href="http://www.authenticwildstore.com/-20-lars-eller-jersey_c-449.html" target="_blank">Lars Eller Jersey</a> had been concluded from forensic testing, “based on immutable facts”, not only on the evidence of the whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow anti‑doping laboratory. Authoritative sources said that after that second report, Borbély contacted Wada again and this time McLaren did send him a substantial volume of evidence. Borbély is understood to have been examining the material, to form a view about whether he considered that action should be taken against Mutko, when his tenure was not renewed.<br />
Borbély and Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chair of the ethics committee’s adjudicatory branch, were given no notice of the decision to terminate their tenures. The FA and its representative David Gill, who is paid $300,000 a year to be a member of the Fifa council, supported the decisions to replace the ethics committee chairmen and Maduro.<br />
Borbély and Eckert warned that their removal would set back their investigations into hundreds of cases and “incapacitate” the fight against corruption. Borbély was replaced by a Colombian judge, María Claudia Rojas, and he is understood to have given her the material from McLaren.<br />
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It has taken a while – 17 appearances to be precise – but Fernando Llorente is up and running as a Tottenham Hotspur goalscorer. The summer signing from Swansea City has been used mainly as a substitute by Mauricio Pochettino but, given a starting opportunity in what was a dead Champions League rubber, he responded with a decent all-round performance and he crowned it with his first goal in the club’s colours.<br />
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Given Spurs’ recent stutters – they have won only once in five Premier League matches – it was an opportunity for them to find a bit of momentum and Llorente did so, on a personal level. Son Heung-min did likewise. The winger added Tottenham’s second goal with a curling shot from the edge of the area and he vied with Llorente for the man-of-the-match honours.<br />
Llorente was not the only player to open his account for the club. Pochettino had made wholesale changes to his lineup, with first place in Group H assured, and it was an important night for the winger George-Kévin Nkoudou.<br />
It was Nkoudou’s full Champions League debut and his 22nd appearance for Tottenham. Like Llorente, the vast majority have come as a substitute. He tried to be positive from the first whistle and, if his moves did not always come off, he got his reward towards the end. He jinked away from the Apoel captain, Nuno Morais, cut inside and, when he shot, the ball deflected and flew into the net.<br />
Llorente has shown flashes of his quality, most notably in the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, but everybody knew he needed a goal. Pochettino admitted the Spaniard had <a href="http://www.officialauthenticdolphinsstore.com/Nike-Ryan-Tannehill-Jersey.html" target="_blank">http://www.officialauthenticdolphinsstore.com/Nike-Ryan-Tannehill-Jersey.html</a> been “very nervous” about his drought. He showed only dead-eyed instincts when his big chance came.<br />
Llorente still had plenty to do when Serge Aurier drove over a hard, low cross in the 20th minute, <a href="http://www.patriotsofficialsprostore.com/Brandin-Cooks-Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.patriotsofficialsprostore.com/Brandin-Cooks-Jersey</a> following Harry Winks’s crossfield pass, but he killed the ball with a lovely right-footed touch and, in the same movement, spun to set up a sweeping left-foot finish. Having done the hard part, he was never going to miss.<br />
Llorente might have opened the scoring earlier, following a Winks free-kick. He rose unmarked to extend Nauzet Pérez in the Apoel goal and that was not the end of the Tottenham threat. Davinson Sánchez had a stab at the loose ball before it broke for Nkoudou. He guided it goalwards only to see Jesús Rueda clear from on the line with an instinctive header. When Llorente recycled the move, Sánchez nodded wide.<br />
Spurs dominated the first half, with Son a menace in a roaming role off the flank. There was control to their passing and the second goal felt like a matter of time. Son got it after he played a give-and-go with Llorente. His first-time shot into the far corner was marked by precision technique.<br />
The crowd of 42,679 <a href="http://www.footballchiefsofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_BRYAN_WITZMANN_JERSEY.html" target="_blank">Authentic Bryan Witzmann Jersey</a> saw a more proactive performance from Apoel in the second half, after they switched to 3-4-3, and Praxitelis Vouros fizzed a deflected shot past the far post. There were theatrical moments from the visitors and the tie also took in flashes of needle.<br />
Aurier stamped in on Stathis Aloneftis and <a href="http://www.bearsofficialauthenticstore.com/Mitch_Unrein_Jersey_Cheap" target="_blank">Authentic Mitch Unrein Jersey</a> was booked, while Danny Rose clashed with the substitute, Roland Sallai. Both were cautioned and Rose needed stitches in what Pochettino described as a “massive cut” above his eye. Rose was forced off. He would later re-emerge to watch <a href="http://www.authenticflamesjerseys.com/-39-doug-gilmour-jersey_c-454.html" target="_blank">Doug Gilmour Womens Jersey</a> the closing stages from the bench.<br />
Llorente had air-kicked when gloriously placed on 58 minutes and Aurier worked Perez on the follow-up but it was Nkoudou who gave the scoreline its gloss. “We are going to try to go as far as we can in this competition,” Pochettino said. “In football, you can always dream.”<br />
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Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool’s formidable attacking quartet will strike fear throughout the Champions League after his team swept into the last 16 with a 7-0 destruction of Spartak Moscow.<br />
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Philippe Coutinho, with the first hat-trick of his Anfield career, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah scored as Liverpool struck seven without reply for the second time in the group campaign.<br />
Victory ensured Klopp’s side advanced into the knockout phase as <a href="http://www.officialauthenticsteelershop.com/WOMENS-ROOSEVELT-NIX-JERSEY.html" target="_blank">http://www.officialauthenticsteelershop.com/WOMENS-ROOSEVELT-NIX-JERSEY.html</a> group winners and means the Premier League has five clubs in the last 16 of the competition for the first time. It also made Liverpool the highest scoring English team in a Champions League group campaign, the second highest ever, and Klopp admitted the attacking prowess of Coutinho, Mané, Salah and Firmino would intimidate every team in Europe providing it is maintained.<br />
“If we perform like this, if we are that clinical, then yes we can [strike fear into opponents],” said the Liverpool manager, who also oversaw a 7-0 win away in Maribor. “But we had the same players before and they didn’t score and then it is not that we talk like this. That is not a criticism of the past. If we perform like this then we are a threat, 100%. And if you see how Dom Solanke performed at Stoke, how Daniel Sturridge performed when he came on tonight – he could have scored two or three and he made a goal for Sadio – that’s good.”<br />
Liverpool’s prize for winning their group and reaching the knockout stage for the first time since 2008-09, will be a <a href="http://www.titansauthenticsofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_CURLEY_CULP_JERSEY.html" target="_blank">Curley Culp Authentic Jersey</a> last-16 tie against either Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk or the reigning champions Real Madrid.<br />
Klopp said: “We knew if we won we would top the group so that’s not the biggest surprise but I think it’s strange this year in the group stages. There are a lot of really strong teams in second place. Obviously all the teams in the last 16 are strong but this year is quite special. It’s not often you can face Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Juve if you win your group. Antonio Conte said it yesterday – there are no easy opponents and I don’t think anyone is happy when they get us in the draw. We will not be happy when we see who we face in the next round, but we will ready.”<br />
After several underwhelming seasons in Europe’s elite competition, the Premier League will be strongly represented in the last 16 with Liverpool joining Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the knockout phase. “I could not be less interested in the other teams to be honest but I think the reason [for five English teams in the draw] is quality,” Klopp said.<br />
“All the teams in the Champions League have strong squads. We will see where this leads to but it’s a fact that English football is top quality. I don’t know why it didn’t happen in the last few years. I don’t think there are a lot of options for English teams in the next round but it is good news for English football. There has been a <a href="http://http://www.officialtitansfootballshop.com/titans+taywan+taylor+jersey" target="_blank">Womens Taywan Taylor Jersey</a> lot of good news for English football recently with <a href="http://www.officialtampabaylightning.com/Adidas-Anton-Stralman-Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.officialtampabaylightning.com/Adidas-Anton-Stralman-Jersey</a> their youth teams winning World Cups.”<br />
He said the “little shadow” on the rout of the Russian champions was an injury to Alberto Moreno that could sideline the in-form left-back for several matches, beginning against Everton on Sunday.<br />
Klopp said: “It could be something serious but he was a little more positive in the treatment room, so maybe we will be lucky. We need all the boys for the next few weeks and especially for Sunday. We showed tonight we learned from the mistake we made in Seville. Now we must show we learned from the mistake we made after Maribor when we faced Tottenham [and lost 4-1].”<br />
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The chairman of the Football Association is to embark on a worldwide tour of other Fifa member countries on a charm offensive which could help England if they decide to bid for the 2030 World Cup.<br />
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Greg Clarke has already visited two thirds of Uefa territories but he will extend his meetings to include Africa and Asia. The purpose of the trip is to build bridges and reverse a commonly held belief <a href="http://www.jaguarsnflofficialonline.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_DANTE_FOWLER_JR_JERSEY.html" target="_blank">Dante Fowler Jr Womens Jersey</a> among certain countries that the FA is arrogant.<br />
However, it will no doubt also be invaluable if the FA puts its hat in the ring to host the 2030 World Cup finals, in what will be the second 48-team competition. A European host country for 2030 is looking increasingly likely after Uefa promised to fight for the tournament and block any effort to hand it to China.<br />
When Clarke was asked this year about a possible World Cup bid, he said: “We are building bridges, we are showing that we are not standoffish noses in the air, we invented football, that sort of stuff that we have a reputation for, we are just a team player in Uefa and Fifa.<br />
“I have joined a couple of Uefa committees, I have met a lot of people and what I am trying to do is to create room at the table for England to be listened to.<br />
“It’s my job to get to know enough people in Uefa and Fifa so that we may or may not get a run at a tournament but we won’t waste £20m bidding for a tournament we can never win, because that’s 40 artificial pitches I can’t afford to waste.”<br />
If Fifa abides by a continental rotation policy the 2030 World Cup finals will be held in Europe. The policy, which dictates that the World Cup tournament should not be held in the same region more than once every 12 years, <a href="http://www.authenticjetshockeyshop.com/-26-blake-wheeler-jersey_c-443.html" target="_blank">http://www.authenticjetshockeyshop.com/-26-blake-wheeler-jersey_c-443.html</a> was abandoned in 2007 but resurrected with the ruling that the 2026 edition would not take place in Europe.<br />
It should block an Asian nation winning the 2030 tournament, given that Qatar will host 2022. The FA has not committed to bidding for the 100th anniversary of the tournament but is aware there would be plenty of legwork <a href="http://http://www.nflcardinalsofficialstore.com/YOUTH+KAREEM+MARTIN+JERSEY" target="_blank">Kareem Martin Youth jersey</a> if it did decide to bid for the finals.<br />
England have failed in two bids to host the World Cup since the 1966 tournament, most recently in the vote for the 2018 edition. Richard Caborn, a former minister of sport, claimed an arrogance around the FA was reason for its failed bid.<br />
The chief executive, Martin Glenn, has admitted previously that there is a PR war to be won in terms of how England is perceived on the world stage. England’s failure <a href="http://www.officialredsoxauthentic.com/Luis_Tiant_Jersey" target="_blank">http://www.officialredsoxauthentic.com/Luis_Tiant_Jersey</a> to perform at major tournaments in recent years has not inspired and there is a prevailing feeling that they are trying to tell the rest of the world how to run the game.<br />
Clarke’s performance at a government hearing into the FA’s handling of Eni Aluko’s allegations of racism against the former England coach Mark Sampson failed to win him any admirers. But he has forced through radical reforms in how the FA operates and will hope he can use those tested negotiation skills to build bridges abroad.<br />
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