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World governing football body FIFA is set to lift the ban on displaying the poppy after talks with the FA.

This came after the UK countries were fined by FIFA last year for wearing the famous insignia to commemorate Armistice day, deeming it to be a political symbol.

England and Scotland wore the emblem on black armbands during their World Cup qualifier at Wembley last November. Wales and Northern Ireland were fined for displaying it in their stadiums.

The ensuing row drew criticism from the Prime Minister, with Theresa May calling Fifa’s stance “utterly outrageous”.

“Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security,” she said. “I think it is absolutely right that they should be able to do so.”

Last week Fifa is understood to have sent out a draft proposal to its member nations with revised provisions that could see the poppy permitted if opposing teams and the competition organiser for the relevant match both accept its use in advance.

The new law by FIFA will see fines levied if the poppy is worn for any of these ‘political reasons’:

  • The commemoration of any living or dead person
  • political parties or groups
  • any local or national government
  • discriminatory organisations
  • any group whose aims/actions would offend a notable number of people
  • any specific political act/event


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Premier league fans, all of your wish have been granted! Diego Costa is returning to Atletico Madrid, meaning English football needs a new Tyrant.

The striker's exit from Chelsea has somewhat damaged his reputation amongst the fans, but when the dust has settled, he should be remembered as the truly fantastic player who made huge contributions to two league titles and made his presence known in decisive matches against tough defenders.

Costa won't go down as a true Blues legend like Didier Drogba but he nonetheless made a massive impact at Stamford Bridge, with 58 goals in 120 games in all competitions.

He could have been as good as the Ivorian but the Spain international was involved in dust-ups throughout his time in England - his most recent leading to his departure.

A training-ground dispute with Antonio Conte ultimately prompted the Blues boss to inform Costa that his services were no longer required via text message, an ignominious end for such a passionate servant of the club. 

Costa undoubtedly always gave 100 per cent. He struggled to get to grips with the English language but he had no issue getting his vibrant personality across to the fans with his fiery performances on the pitch. 

On the pitch, his commitment to the Chelsea cause was total, his intensity immense. He was willing to do whatever it took - even fight dirty - in order to win silverware for all three of the coaches he played under.

Premier League defenders feared Costa. He not only scored goals but also had the physique to bully defenders and the technique to link up to deadly effect with the likes of Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian.

Despite struggling to adapt to English culture, he adapted easily to the English style of football. Indeed, he was an old-school No.9, a throwback to a bygone era. 

Bobby Tambling  - Chelsea's all-time top scorer for 47 years before Frank Lampard overtook his tally of 202 goals - is in no doubt that Costa would have also thrived in the more aggressive age in which he played.

"A player like Costa would be on every manager's wish-list," Tambling told Goal. "He scores goals anywhere he goes.

"He's not a Luis Suarez [in terms of skill] or anything like that, but his desire is so great.

"He is a wonderful player. He would have been a good player in any era of football."

Costa also brought smiles to the Chelsea dressing room. He was the joker in the pack, a prankster none of his team-mates could afford to turn their back on.

He was good with the young fans but he had no interest in dealing with English journalists, whom he believed had it in for him. 

Costa took the mantle on from Luis Suarez as the most hated player in England, after the former Liverpool player left to add some bite to Barcelona's attack in 2014.

Just like Liverpool fans, Chelsea supporters always defended their anti-hero, who they felt was unfairly treated by both the Football Association (FA) and the media. The hashtag #CostaCrimes emerged as violent conduct charges were handed out. 

Costa will sadly not play football for a further three months because of Atletico's inability to register players until January on account of their transfer ban, but the Rojiblancos know that he will prove worth the wait.

Indeed, Diego Simeone is Costa's friend and a manager who understands him, having chased his signature for over year. 

Chelsea's sixth title wouldn't have been achievable had they sold him last summer, or even in January when Tianjin Quanjian were willing to pay more than the £58 million Atletico shelled out.

Blues fans will miss his fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude but the purists will certainly not be sorry to see him go.

Costa took the mantle on from Luis Suarez as the most hated player in England, after the former Liverpool player left to add some bite to Barcelona's attack in 2014.

Just like Liverpool fans, Chelsea supporters always defended their anti-hero, who they felt was unfairly treated by both the Football Association (FA) and the media. The hashtag #CostaCrimes emerged as violent conduct charges were handed out. 

Costa will sadly not play football for a further three months because of Atletico's inability to register players until January on account of their transfer ban, but the Rojiblancos know that he will prove worth the wait.

Indeed, Diego Simeone is Costa's friend and a manager who understands him, having chased his signature for over year. 

 

 

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Manchester United have announced they set a new club record of £581 million in revenue in 2016-17.

After winning the Europa League and EFL Cup as well as finishing sixth in the Premier League, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward declared the season a success in sporting and financial terms.

United posted profits of £39.2m and managed to reduce their debt to £213m in Jose Mourinho's first season in charge of the squad."We concluded a successful 2016/17 season with a total of three trophies and a return to Champions League football," Woodward told investors as the club released its financial accounts.

"The year saw us set record revenues of over £581m and achieve a record EBITDA [Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization] of £199.8m.

"We are pleased with the investment in our squad and look forward to an exciting season."

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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that he will be swapping boots for gloves by taking on a new challenge in the world of boxing.

The ex-England international has announced that he will be seeking to become a professional in another sporting field at the age of 38, and two years after he retired from the football ranks.

Ferdinand spent close to 20 years at the very highest level during an illustrious playing career which saw him grace the books of West Ham, Leeds, Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers – while winning 81 caps for his country.

He is now moving in a different direction, as part of the ‘Defender to Contender’ project, and is hoping that the support of Betfair will allow him to earn his British Boxing Board of Control licence before stepping into the ring within the paid ranks.

Ferdinand said: “When Betfair approached me about the Defender to Contender challenge, the chance to prove myself in a new sport was a real draw.

“Boxing is an amazing sport for the mind and the body. I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to show people what’s possible.

“It’s a challenge I’m not taking lightly, clearly not everyone can become a professional boxer, but with the team of experts Betfair are putting together and the drive I have to succeed, anything is possible.”

Ferdinand will be training with former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall.

The Olympic boxing trainer said: “In all honesty, I think Rio can definitely box as a professional given time. He has natural power in his right hand, is extremely fit and is very enthusiastic to learn which is encouraging.

“Style wise he’s very raw and I’ll have to develop this which will take time but he has all the natural ingredients, height and reach advantages over boxers in his weight division and definitely has potential to win a title in the future.”

Betfair will be introducing a number of former and current boxers to Ferdinand at key points throughout his campaign in an effort to help him prepare for specific fights and hone his skill set.

 

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Edinson Cavani maintains that he has “no problem” with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar despite their recent on-field squabble.

A desire to be among the goals led the pair to clash during a recent Ligue 1 meeting with Lyon.

Neymar prevented Cavani from taking a free-kick early in the second half of that contest, before the Uruguayan then snatched penalty duty away from his Brazilian colleague – only to then fail from the spot.

The incidents have sparked talk of a feud inside the PSG camp, with French publication L’Equipe claiming that there was a dressing room “clash” after the Lyon game.

Cavani, though, has been quick to rubbish such talk, telling Gol de Medianoche de Radio Universal: "These things are created. I don't know why these stories are created. The truth is that these are normal things; things that happen in football.

"I learned of the story just now talking with my brother, about people saying that Cavani won't let anyone take penalties and that there's a problem with Neymar. The truth is that there's no problem. 

"He [Neymar] has just arrived and like I said from the off we are keen for him to adapt in the best way possible. I think that's been proven because you can see he is adapting quickly."  

PSG broke the world transfer record to lure Neymar away from Barcelona over the summer, with a €222 million deal taking him to the French capital.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed a bright start to his time at Parc des Princes, netting five times in six appearances.

While he has been brought in to add extra firepower to the PSG ranks, alongside fellow new recruit Kylian Mbappe, their presence has taken some of the shine away from Cavani.

The 30-year-old frontman netted 49 times in all competitions last season and is understandably keen to ensure that he remains a regular on the scoresheet in the face of added competition.

 

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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill was frustrated at his side's inability to break down Arsenal in Sunday's 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge but praised the visitors' defending.

Eyeing a sixth straight home Premier League victory against their rivals, Chelsea had to settle for a point that leaves them three adrift of the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table.

While Cahill still feels the result was a good point, he left the match feeling they could have emerged with more.

"It was frustrating in some ways," Cahill, 31, told his club's website.

"We tried to create. We have created more in recent games, but we were playing against good opposition. There were a couple of chances for either side. We had that Pedro chance early on, but it was cagey.

"It felt frustrating because we were trying and trying, but they defended well and limited us to a few chances. We had a lot of the ball but couldn't quite open them up.

"Obviously we wanted to win the game, but if we weren't going to win, it was important we didn't lose. It's a good point."

The match was Cahill's first league game since the opening weekend after serving a three-match suspension for being sent off against Burnley.

The England international added: "It was a good, competitive London derby. I don't think there was too much in the game. Late on it was opening up, and maybe we could have nicked the win then, but it wasn't to be.

"We want to win every home game. We feel we have the ability to go for three points every time we play here, and we tried to do that, but we take the point."

 

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Manchester City started deadline day in confident mood: deals for Alexis Sanchez and Jonny Evans were on the table, not to mention a scarcely believable offer for Eliaquim Mangala.

Long before the transfer window closed they had missed out on both Alexis and Evans and failed to recoup any money whatsoever for Mangala.

It was Arsenal who scuppered City's chances of securing Alexis, the one remaining priority target, by failing to get their own ducks in a row. 

Evans was by no means a priority at the start of the summer but ended it as the only viable option who ticked all of the boxes required by Pep Guardiola.

Yet he did not arrive either, a result of Mangala refusing to join Crystal Palace for a fee which could have reached £23 million, more than the Blues had ever hoped to receive.

The failure to land Alexis has left senior figures at City dumbfounded. They had reached a verbal agreement over a £60m deal with Arsenal on Thursday morning, with the Gunners promising they would sign it off once they signed Thomas Lemar from Monaco, which they insisted was a distinct possibility.

As of 13:00 BST, City officials working on the deal were convinced it was done.

The Chilean had already announced to his international team-mates that he was making the move to City and he was saluted as the squad ate breakfast together ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.

Sources within the player's inner circle had also been telling Goal throughout the day that not only had a contract been taken to Chile's Juan Pinto Duran camp, but that it had in fact been signed.

Lemar rejected Arsenal, however, leading to the Londoners pulling down the shutters and refusing to sell Alexis. That was that.

The Chilean, in the hours leading up to an important qualifier, eventually learned he would not be getting the move he had set his heart on several months ago. Next week he will return to Arsenal, the club he has wanted to leave for some time.

To compound matters for City, they soon realised that Mangala did not want to join Crystal Palace, who had surprised City with a sizeable offer on Wednesday night.

City needed to get rid of the Frenchman to be able to bring in Evans, who had been identified as an experienced international and a very useful squad option.

There had also been hope that Mangala could go to West Brom to smooth over the Evans negotiations, but he rejected that proposal too. As did Fabian Delph, who was also up for sale but rejected several offers, including another from Stoke City.

Both he and Mangala will now form part of the City squad for next season, despite not being rated good enough by Guardiola. 

It means that City end the summer with a bitter taste in their mouths, despite starting it by signing Bernardo Silva out of the blue and quickly agreeing personal terms with at least five other players. 

The business City did complete was impressive; they filled priority positions with very good or even excellent players who should have the best years of their careers ahead of them.

But it is true that the deals which escaped City this summer have had knock-on effects which will last into the season and potentially beyond.

The Dani Alves situation has been well covered, but it is a fact that the Brazilian's shock decision to snub Pep Guardiola scuppered City's hopes of buying four new full-backs and also ate into the money set aside for a top-class centre-back.

It also ensured that City had to pursue Evans, a homegrown option for centre-back, to effectively replace Ryan Bertrand, who would have been signed as the fourth left-back.

Ideally, City wanted to go into this season with Vincent Kompany, John Stones, Aleksandar Kolarov and an experienced, top-class defender as their four centre-back options. Kolarov would have been released on a free next summer and replaced with another world-class centre-back.

In the event, City will have to sign both of those quality centre-backs next summer, as well as recruiting at least one deep-lying midfielder, with Fernandinho and Yaya Toure out of contract. 

More immediately, however, they will have to play out the rest of the campaign with the unwanted Mangala as part of an understocked defence which is still lacking a second left-back.

City never planned to sign a central midfielder this summer, and insiders insist they can get by with three centre-backs and three full-backs, but even if that is true the puzzle is far from complete without Alexis.

The Chilean, a serious goal threat with a winning mentality and tireless work-rate, possesses everything Guardiola wants in a player, and he was seen as the man to drag the club forward on the pitch and nurture the young players off it.

City may go back for him next summer, and they could well find both top-class defenders, but that will be no good to them over the next nine months.

The Blues still have the best manager and the biggest collection of talented players in the country, but will have to hope injuries do not exploit a weaker squad than anybody expected. It all started so well, but a disastrous final day could prove costly. 

 

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The transfer deadline day in Major leagues in Europe apart fron Spanish La Liga  has gone everyone who has tried to force a move or stay away from his present club will have to wait till January before they can make the move.

A host of players rejected to play for champions Chelsea this season and we can’t really tell why, probably because it is a World cup year or because Conte doesn’t really rotate his starting eleven as he played thirteen major olayers throughout last year campaign without European football.

Here are five players who appear to have rejected the advances of Chelsea this transfer window as major transfer targets have been missed out on. 

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is one time Chelsea star who was tip to return to Stamford Bridge for the second time to create a great thing at the West London side.

However, the Chelsea move was hijacked by the former club boss Jose Mourinho as the player chose Manchester United at the last minute of the £75m move to Old Trafford, instead of  Antonio Conte's side.

The Belgian ace heavily impressed in his time at Goodison Park, scoring twenty-five league goals last season, and was in-demand this summer as a move away looked inevitable.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been locked in contract negotiations with Arsenal for much of the summer, but the England international have reject a £180,000-a-week deal at Emitrate Stadium.

Chelsea bid £40m  Arsenal midfielder it was accepted by the Gurnners, but the 24-year-old reject a move to Stamford Brigde instead to dream move to Anfiled after he was not a grauntee a cerntal midfield at West London.

He held out for his preferred move to Liverpool, and with a similar bid accepted by Arsenal and a medical completed, the transfer to Anfield has now gone through.

Danilo

Danilo was yet another player to reject the advances of Chelsea this summer, choosing Pep Guardiola and Manchester City instead as he left Real Madrid in a £26.5m move.

Just to really rub it in, the Brazilian then claimed it was an easy decision to say no to Chelsea.
 

"It wasn’t a difficult decision to choose City over Chelsea. The moment City called me and Pep called me, I knew what I had to do."

 

Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente rejects Chelsea move to London rival Tottenham for a fee reported to be £15 million.

The 32-year-old rejected the chance to join Chelsea, who also made a late bid of £15m for the Spanish striker. He becomes Tottenham’s second deadline-day signing after Serge Aurier signed earlier in the day from PSG.

Llorente joined Swansea last summer and scored 15 goals for the club, helping the Swans to avoid Premier League relegation.

 

Ross Barkley

Everton midfielder of Nigerian descent Ross Barkley has astonishingly rejected a £35m move to join Victor Moses at Chelsea after changing his mind during his medical, according to Sky Sports.

With the transfer window drawing to a close on Thursday evening, news emerged that the Toffees had agreed on a fee to sell Barkley to the reigning Premier League champions. The 23-year-old and his agent had traveled to London and an agreement was reached on a move to Stamford Bridge.

Barkley begun his medical, only to have second thoughts, and opted against the move. He is now expected to return to Everton.

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The transfer deadline day in Major leagues in Europe apart fron Spanish La Liga  has gone everyone who has tried to force a move or stay away from his present club will have to wait till January before they can make the move.

A host of players rejected to play for champions Chelsea this season and we can’t really tell why, probably because it is a World cup year or because Conte doesn’t really rotate his starting eleven as he played thirteen major olayers throughout last year campaign without European football.

Here are five players who appear to have rejected the advances of Chelsea this transfer window as major transfer targets have been missed out on. 

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is one time Chelsea star who was tip to return to Stamford Bridge for the second time to create a great thing at the West London side.

However, the Chelsea move was hijacked by the former club boss Jose Mourinho as the player chose Manchester United at the last minute of the £75m move to Old Trafford, instead of  Antonio Conte's side.

The Belgian ace heavily impressed in his time at Goodison Park, scoring twenty-five league goals last season, and was in-demand this summer as a move away looked inevitable.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been locked in contract negotiations with Arsenal for much of the summer, but the England international have reject a £180,000-a-week deal at Emitrate Stadium.

Chelsea bid £40m  Arsenal midfielder it was accepted by the Gurnners, but the 24-year-old reject a move to Stamford Brigde instead to dream move to Anfiled after he was not a grauntee a cerntal midfield at West London.

He held out for his preferred move to Liverpool, and with a similar bid accepted by Arsenal and a medical completed, the transfer to Anfield has now gone through.

Danilo

Danilo was yet another player to reject the advances of Chelsea this summer, choosing Pep Guardiola and Manchester City instead as he left Real Madrid in a £26.5m move.

Just to really rub it in, the Brazilian then claimed it was an easy decision to say no to Chelsea.
 

"It wasn’t a difficult decision to choose City over Chelsea. The moment City called me and Pep called me, I knew what I had to do."

 

Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente rejects Chelsea move to London rival Tottenham for a fee reported to be £15 million.

The 32-year-old rejected the chance to join Chelsea, who also made a late bid of £15m for the Spanish striker. He becomes Tottenham’s second deadline-day signing after Serge Aurier signed earlier in the day from PSG.

Llorente joined Swansea last summer and scored 15 goals for the club, helping the Swans to avoid Premier League relegation.

 

Ross Barkley

Everton midfielder of Nigerian descent Ross Barkley has astonishingly rejected a £35m move to join Victor Moses at Chelsea after changing his mind during his medical, according to Sky Sports.

With the transfer window drawing to a close on Thursday evening, news emerged that the Toffees had agreed on a fee to sell Barkley to the reigning Premier League champions. The 23-year-old and his agent had traveled to London and an agreement was reached on a move to Stamford Bridge.

Barkley begun his medical, only to have second thoughts, and opted against the move. He is now expected to return to Everton.

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Having thus far failed to land a suitable back-up for wing-back Victor Moses, Chelsea are considering a deadline day move for Bacary Sagna, reports the Daily Star.

Southampton's Cedric Soares and Bayern Munich's Rafinha are also said to be options, but the 34-year-old former Man City man would likely be the easiest to pick up.

Manchester United are also interested in signing Sagna to provide width across their backline as the ex-arsenal man can play across all positions at the back and would cost nothing as a free agent.

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