Balotelli to appeal club fine to league tribunal

Updated 17 December 2012
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Balotelli to appeal club fine to league tribunal

LONDON: Manchester City’s Italian striker Mario Balotelli is to appeal this week to the English Premier League against a club fine imposed for on-field ill discipline, according to reports Monday.
The 22-year-old failed to overturn the sanction internally and would now take the case to a league tribunal, Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency said, without quoting sources.
Balotelli missed 11 domestic and European games last season through suspension.
The forward was instrumental in helping Italy to the final of this year’s European championships in Poland and Ukraine, scoring twice in the 2-1 semi-final victory over Germany.
But Balotelli has shown erratic club form and was substituted during defending champions City’s recent derby with Manchester United, which they lost 3-2, fueling speculation about a possible departure during the January transfer window.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli meanwhile said that Balotelli “really needs to use his head” to succeed with the northwest England club, calling for him to replicate the form that saw him score twice in the Euro 2012 semifinal win against Germany.
Prandelli told a news conference in Rome that he backed City manager Roberto Mancini to get the best out of the young player, despite his temperamental nature.
“Roberto is an excellent coach. He wanted Mario in Manchester. He knows what he’s doing. We’ve got an advantage over Roberto. We only have Mario for three or four days and he doesn’t have the time to annoy us,” the Azzurri manager joked.


Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

Updated 16 min 49 sec ago
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Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is to leave at the end of the season after a reign of almost 22 years that made him the most successful boss in the Premier League club’s history.
“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” the Frenchman said in a statement issued by the Gunners on Friday.
Wenger, 68, has been with the North Londoners since October 1996 and is by far the longest-serving current manager in English football.
He will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Arsenal are currently a distant sixth in the league but are in the semifinals of the Europa League, which represents their only realistic route to the Champions League next season.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity,” said Wenger, who urged the fans to stand behind the team to end the season on a high.
Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke said it was “one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.
“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch,” he said.
“His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles, including going unbeaten for an entire season, seven FA Cups and took Arsenal into the Champions League for 20 years in a row. They won the league and FA cup double in 1998 and 2002.
The club said a successor would be appointed as soon as possible with German Thomas Tuchel, out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund almost a year ago, installed as the early bookmakers’ favorite.