Sports Shorts: Chelsea salute life president Sir Richard Attenborough
Chelsea have paid tribute to life president Richard Attenborough, who has died at the age of 90, saying that the Oscar-winning film director's "personality was woven into the tapestry of the club over seven decades".
"He was a consistent force for good at the club, even in dark times," the 2012 European champions said in a statement.
"He led a long and successful life and always found time for the things in life he loved most, one of which was Chelsea FC."
Attenborough joined the Chelsea board in 1969 and stayed until 1982, his initial years being marked by the London club winning their first FA Cup in 1970 and their first European trophy, the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup, a year later.
The British actor, who won worldwide fame for his many film roles, made his most important contribution to the Stamford Bridge outfit after standing down as a director.
The club, and the freehold for the lucrative site where they play home games, changed hands and many shares were bought by property developers whose plans threatened Chelsea's existence, the club added in their statement.
Attenborough, however, kept hold of his shares and it eventually helped the club take back control of the freehold.
Ken Bates, the then-chairman, responded by appointing him life vice-president.
Attenborough became Chelsea's life president in 2008 and was handed a commemorative plate to mark the occasion.
"I'll sweep the Oscars off the mantelpiece and put this plate right on top now," he said.
"It means as much to me as any award or honour I have been given."
- NEXT: Vietnam court finds 10 guilty of rigging AFC Cup match
Image: Lifelong Chelsea supporter Lord Attenborough and with club manager Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge on November 12, 2004
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Vietnam court finds 10 guilty of rigging AFC Cup match
A Vietnam court found nine soccer players and a bookmaker guilty of match-fixing on Monday after they colluded to throw an AFC Cup game in Malaysia in return for a $40,000 bribe, state media reported.
The court jailed bookmaker Dao Duc Loi and former national team player Tran Manh each for 30 months, but gave suspended sentences to eight others from Vissai Ninh Binh who rigged the away match against Malaysia's Kelantan in March.
The sentences were lenient for Vietnam, a country known for harsh penalties for criminals and notorious for illicit gambling and match-fixing.
Gambling remains strictly illegal in Vietnam and police estimate tens of millions of dollars were placed in bets each day during the recent World Cup finals in Brazil.
The scandal was one of many in Vietnam in recent years and led to Vissai Ninh Binh's withdrawal from the top flight amid fears domestic games could also have been fixed.
Despite being disgraced at home, the team was allowed to stay on in Asia's second tier continental competition.
The fixing of the AFC Cup game was one of the highest-profile cases for Vietnam since 2005, when several national team players were found complicit in the throwing of a Southeast Asian Games match against Myanmar.
Six national team players were spared jail but two former teammates who acted as go-betweens received prison terms of three and six years.
- NEXT: Meet first player from Thailand to play in La Liga
Image: Vietnamese fans cheer during the AFC match
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Meet first player from Thailand to play in La Liga
Striker Teerasil Dangda became the first Thai to play in the Spanish top flight when he came off the bench for Almeria in their 1-1 draw with Espanyol on Sunday.
The 26-year-old is on a season-long loan from Thai Premier League side Muangthong United as he bids to seal a permanent deal with the Spanish side, who narrowly avoided relegation last term after finishing one point above the drop zone.
"I was already happy when I was named one of the substitutes for the match. I'm delighted to see action on the pitch. I can't describe my feelings," Teerasil was quoted as saying by Thai media on Monday.
"I didn't know whether I was delighted, excited or nervous. It's a mixture of all but mostly it's one of satisfaction to get a taste of what we previously could only watch on television."
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Image: Teerasil Dangda of Muangthong United (right) runs past a defender of Melbourne Victory during their AFC Champions League playoff match at Skilled Stadium in Melbourne on February 15, 2014
Photographs: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
'There are still many things that I need to work on if I want to make more appearances'
Teerasil had a brief spell at Spanish champions Atletico Madrid last year but did not play in the first team.
He also had a trial at Manchester City in 2007, when the club was owned by his compatriot Thaksin Shinawatra, but was unable to gain a work permit and left without playing.
Teerasil, a mainstay of the national team, said it was too soon to say whether the Almeria deal could become permanent.
"Let's see how it turns out. It's only one match so we cannot tell anything," he added.
"There are still many things that I need to work on if I want to make more appearances or break into the first team. I need to improve on many things."
- NEXT: Barca made errors over youth transfers, concedes President
Image: Teerasil Dangda of Thailand
Photographs: Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images
'Barca made errors over youth transfers'
Barcelona made errors in the transfer of under-age players but will go to CAS over the severity of the FIFA transfer ban for two consecutive windows, president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Sunday.
FIFA upheld a decision last Wednesday to sanction the Catalan club for breaching rules on the international transfer of under-18 players and it means they now cannot register players in the next January and July-August 2015 windows.
The initial ban was suspended pending Barca's failed appeal, allowing the likes of Luis Suarez to be brought in during this window, but Bartomeu said they will now take the fight to get the penalty reduced to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
"We were conscious that the ban was going to be ratified because we have committed some errors," he told Spanish television.
"We will go to CAS. We are going to work on a good defence so that in the coming months the situation can be resolved more favourably for us.
"We have a few weeks to send our motives for wanting to have the ban reduced. Often these cases end up with CAS. We recognise that we have done things badly but the sanction is very heavy."
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Image: Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu
Photographs: Albert Gea/Reuters
'We think that the ban is out of proportion'
The world governing body also rejected Barcelona's appeal against a 450,000 Swiss francs ($493,637) fine and they have been given 90 days to regularise the situation of all the minor players concerned.
Uruguay striker Suarez led a long list of recruits during the close season and Barca have especially reinforced in defence after fortunately being able to sign players before the appeal was heard.
Bartomeu said they were covering themselves in case they cannot get the ban eased, with the remaining days of this window not counting in the sanction.
"We have planned the season thinking that we could be two transfer windows without making a signing," he said.
"We have a B side with very strong players that can move up to the first team but we will see what happens with CAS and see what happens over the coming months.
"We think that the ban is out of proportion. We have signed a lot of players but we are still looking at the market and we have not closed the door on any more deals."
Image: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona acknowledges the supporters
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images