Clattenburg omitted again from EPL matches

Updated 06 November 2012
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Clattenburg omitted again from EPL matches

LONDON: The Premier League referee embroiled in English football’s latest racism feud has been omitted from officiating duties for the second straight weekend.
Mark Clattenburg has been accused by Chelsea of using “inappropriate language” toward midfielder John Obi Mikel in a league match against Manchester United on Oct. 28. The matter is being investigated by the police and The Football Association.
Clattenburg was stood down last weekend because of intense level of scrutiny in the wake of the allegations but the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the organization that looks after topflight English referees, had been prepared to return him to the match list for upcoming games.
“However, having discussed this with him, we both consider that it is in Mark’s best interests that he has this week away from officiating duties while he prepares to help The FA and police with their enquiries,” said Mike Riley, general manager of the PGMOL.
The referees body has stressed that Clattenburg has not been suspended, following allegations that he used the word “monkey” to Mikel during Chelsea’s heated 3-2 loss to United at Stamford Bridge. In that match, Clattenburg sent off two Chelsea players and allowed what proved to be the winning goal by Javier Hernandez despite the striker appearing to be in an offside position.
Chelsea sent a file of evidence on Wednesday to the FA, including statements from players and staff members who they claim witnessed Mikel being abused by Clattenburg, who is one of the FIFA candidates to referee at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, managers of Manchester United and Arsenal, are among those to have come out in support of Clattenburg.
“PGMOL has one of the world’s finest refereeing groups, they are focused on delivering high officiating standards to the Barclays Premier League and the overall morale of the group remains high,” Riley said. “The relationship between players, managers and match officials has improved both on and off pitch over the last four seasons and there is every reason to think this will continue.”


Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

Updated 23 January 2019
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Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

  • Can the mighty minnows continue impressive run in the UAE?
  • Or will the big guns start to fire in quarterfinals?

LONDON: Asia’s biggest sporting spectacle has reached its quarterfinal stage — and it’s time for teams to find their A-game. While there are few surprises in the last-eight lineup, the form of some of the big-name sides has been less than impressive. Here we deliver our verdict on the second round.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — Saudi Arabia’s attack

The Green Falcons started the tournament at top speed. They came in as one of the cup favorites and in their opening two matches illustrated why. A 4-0 thrashing of North Korea was backed up with a relatively simple 2-0 victory over Lebanon. Understandably, that raised hopes that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men could go all the way in the UAE. Alas, it was not to be as a 2-0 defeat to Qatar in their last group clash left them with a tricky tie against Japan. For all their efforts Saudi Arabia were unable to find the back of the net, the lack of firepower upfront costing Pizzi’s team yet again.



BIGGEST SHOCK — South Korean sloppiness

Boosted by the arrival of Tottenham star Son Heung-Min, South Korea were rightly declared the pre-tournament favorites. They had firepower up front, intelligence and creativity in midfield, and experience at the back. In the four matches in the UAE so far, however, they have looked anything but potential champions. They labored to beat Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and China in the group stage before almost being shocked by part-timers Bahrain in the second round. South Korea now face Qatar in the last eight and, as Son said after their extra-time win over Bahrain, they need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a shock exit before the semis.



UNDER PRESSURE — Alberto Zaccheroni and the UAE



The Whites owe their place in the last eight to luck more than skill. In some ways that is not a surprise — the hosts came into the tournament without their talisman, the injured Omar Abdulrahman, and on the back of a patchy run of form. But, still, the performances on home soil have been underwhelming to say the least. That was summed up with their extra-time win over Kyrgyzstan, who were playing in their first Asian Cup. It was a far-from-convincing performance and Central Asians were unlucky not to beat Zaccheroni’s side. The UAE will have to deliver their best performance for some time if they are to progress further. Their opponents, Australia, have also performed poorly, which may offer them some encouragement.



BEST HIGHLIGHT — The mighty minnows

The big guns have not had it all their own way. That may annoy their fans, but it does show that Asian football is improving. Only a few years ago the idea that Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan would look the equals of Australia and Co. would have seemed fanciful. But in the past two weeks the standard shown by the so-called lesser lights has been impressive — and great to watch. Last summer five Asian teams appeared at the World Cup for the first time and it was hoped that showing would act as a springboard for further progress across the continent. On the evidence of the action in the UAE that wish could be coming true.

 

PREDICTIONS