Day: January 19, 2013

The African Cup Of Nations: Back So Soon?

Whether it was a sign of maturity or resignation, it was good to hear so little moaning from Premier League clubs about losing African international players to Africa’s Cup of Nations, especially given the decision to move the biennial tournament away from World Cup finals’ years by holding tournaments in 2012 and 2013. But Premier League clubs have accepted their temporary depletion of playing resource with relatively good grace, with the minor kerfuffle over Tottenham’s Emanuel Adebayor down to the player’s selection uncertainties – the Togolese striker being dropped for criticism of the team’s management before being re-instated at the behest of their football federation chief. Of course, Arsenal v Chelsea without Gervinho and Jon Obi-Mikel isn’t such cause for alarm given the players’ poor seasons. But even Manchester City have just kept calm and carried on without Yaya Toure… oh… and brother Kolo; while Chelsea have done similar over Victor Moses. So the loss of EPL stars to the tournament hasn’t been much of an issue at all – he says, having written 170 words about it. The truncated inter-tournament period meant that the qualification competition was a home-and-away legs knockout affair. And even then it had to begin halfway through the 2012 finals, with Sao Tome and Principe overcoming Lesotho   January thanks to a third-minute penalty in the first leg. But after that humdinging start, the...

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Birmingham City: Peter Pannu In A Pickle

It is exactly three years since the press-release heavy article in the Birmingham Mail newspaper announcing Birmingham City’s new sponsorship deal with Chinese sportswear manufacturers X-Tep. But even allowing for the spin, it shows how large a failure Carson Yeung and his associates’ Blues ownership has been. Three years on from heady days of live Chinese TV coverage of Blues games and other dreams, Yeung awaits trial in his native Hong Kong on money-laundering charges. And Blues are edging down the Football League Championship and selling all significantly valuable players simply to stay in business – a process which, the latest football club accounts confirm, is far from complete. The article also shows how central ‘acting chairman’ Peter Pannu has always been. It’s references to the “X-Tep deal” being “the tip of the iceberg as far as what Carson Yeung is doing for us in China” and how “this link-up and our combined expertise…can only help our star shine” all came from “club chief” Pannu.” And a photograph on the Guardian newspaper’s website last weekend literally showed Pannu in a central role when Yeung and co. took over in September 2009. Yeung is flanked by six ‘associates’ from home and Hong Kong. Immediately to Yeung’s right is Vico Hui, former Chief Executive of Blues’ ultimate parent company Birmingham International Holdings (BIH). Hui is currently blamed for what eventually became the...

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