first_imgFrank Lampard has admitted it would be a “disaster” if Chelsea failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.A goalless draw against Fulham on Monday saw the champions remain in fifth place in the Premier League.With Chelsea trailing leaders Manchester United by 12 points, the 32-year-old midfielder denied that the cup competitions were now the priority.Speaking at the launch of the England Footballers’ Foundation, Lampard told BBC Sport: “We must finish in the top four and can never take our eye off the ball, it would be a disaster if we didn’t qualify.”Chelsea host Everton in round four of the FA Cup on Saturday and play FC Copenhagen in the first knockout round of the Champions League three days later.And Lampard admitted that the two competitions were now vital to his club. He said: “There’s huge importance because you can see the league’s going to be difficult and that means it’s more important to reach finals.”The club’s record signing Fernando Torres has failed to score in the two matches he has played since his £50m move from Liverpool but Lampard also backed his team-mate to star for his new club.“He’s made a huge difference,” he said. “No, he hasn’t scored in two games but all the spotlight is on him.“There’s a huge responsibility, people are looking to him to do it instantly, but he will make a difference to us.“He’s a top-class player, he has boosted the lads already and for sure will come good, he’s going to add to us in a big way. “David Luiz has come in as well and has been fantastic.”With £25m for Luiz, Chelsea splashed out £75m on transfer window deadline day and Lampard said he was delighted by the January spending spree.“I was slightly surprised but it was very exciting and I was pleased,” he said.“It’s a huge boost to have such quality players that we needed at the time.“We haven’t spent much in recent years compared to some by our standards, but last season we won the [League and FA Cup] double and this was a good time for us to go into the market. “I’m just thankful we’ve got the funds to do this.”Lampard admitted Chelsea’s inconsistent form this season has been down to “a few factors”.“We haven’t performed as well, there’s been injuries, and some unsettling moments, but if you don’t perform you fall behind in the title race and that’s the reason really.”Lampard is the nephew of Harry Redknapp, and after seeing his uncle mastermind Spurs’ victory over AC Milan on Tuesday, the Chelsea player admitted he would like to see him manage England after Fabio Capello steps down in 2012.“There’d be a few candidates,” he said. “It’s for him and the FA to decide but it’d be nice if it were an English manager. “At the moment Harry’s doing a fantastic job at Spurs and if he has an opportunity to manage England I’m sure he’d be an outstanding manager. But at the moment we have to play for Capello and we have to win something.”Lampard captained England to victory over Denmark on 9 February but insists there is still a lot of work to do before the national team can claim to have fully recovered from their World Cup debacle in South Africa.“Since the World Cup we’ve had good and not so good results,” he said.“We haven’t turned the corner yet. That is a process and takes time.“When we reach the European Championships and do better than we did at the World Cup then we can say we have.” Source: BBClast_img read more


first_imgAccording to the document, 12 of the 24 teams in the competition would be European, four or five from South America, two each from the rest of the Americas, Asia and Africa, leaving the Oceania to battle for the last place with a South American team.The winners of the four previous Champions Leagues would be guaranteed places.The European participants could make between $50 million and $80 million each.Already some clubs have voiced their support.Barcelona’s board of directors said the tournament would be “exciting, dynamic, inclusive and prestigious.”They added that it would “create a global platform for clubs to contribute to the growth of their brands.”Emilio Butragueno, Real Madrid’s head of public relations, told his club’s TV station: “We think that for fans it could be a very interesting competition.”— 60-day deadline —Infantino says he needs agreement soon because the consortium gave FIFA a 60-day deadline and after that the money will vanish and hopes to get approval at the FIFA conference in Moscow in June ahead of the World Cup.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 Lausanne, Switzerland | AFP | A united response to FIFA’s plans to enlarge the Club World Cup to 24 teams will be the subject of debate on Wednesday at a meeting of football power brokers organised by UEFA.Ahead of the Europa League final in Lyon, the governing body of European football is holding a meeting of its “Council of UEFA” and FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s plans are the main topic on the agenda.Many of those participating have already expressed hostility to the plan.The council, chaired by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, brings together the European Club Association (ECA), the recently renamed European Leagues (EPFL) and the players’ union (FifPro).Infantino is pushing to revamp the Club World Cup, boosting it from seven clubs to 24 in a four-year format. At the moment it is played every year.At the same time, he hopes to launch a biennial league tournament for nations, the Global Nations League.Infantino says he has an offer of $25 billion over 12 years for the two competitions from a group of investors, which the Financial Times has identified as SoftBank from Japan and the governments of China and Saudi Arabia.That is allowing FIFA to dangle enormous amounts of cash in front of the biggest clubs.For the club competition alone the consortium “guarantees minimum revenues of $12 billion for the four editions from 2021 to 2033”, according to a document, which AFP has read, that FIFA presented to seven big European clubs including European Champions Real Madrid, Spanish champions Barcelona and German champions Bayern Munich.last_img read more


first_imgFrom an elite event of standard distance the Wasa Triathlon, in the Kootenays of B.C., has transformed into one of the most family friendly festival weekends in Western Canada. The event has grown over the last 20 years from 90 competitors to over 1000 participants with nearly one quarter being young triathletes aged between four to 15 years old. Race director, Charlie Cooper says “the event attracts families from all over B.C., Alberta and North West USA.”  “The growth in recent years has been led by the number of young triathletes coming with their families.  We are proud to cater for all ages with the first event day being dedicated to support our younger competitors.”On Saturday June 11, the Trikids Triathlon will again see a large group of smiley kids crossing the finish line for a well-earned medal.  Cooper explains that all young competitors will get to enjoy the same race experience as the adults: professional announcer Steve King, loads of volunteer support, drink stations, electronic timing, the exciting finish chute lined up with spectators, a catered lunch and a groovy t-shirt. “We want these young triathletes to love the sport, experience the competition but above all it’s about participation and having a fun weekend with the family,” Cooper said.”Many Albertan families use the Wasa triathlon as a camping weekend, enjoying the long summer mountain days and impressive setting.” For mums and dads there is some serious racing to be had on the Sunday with the sprint and standard distances both for individual and relay teams.The scenic shores of Wasa Lake attract amateurs and elite triathletes to compete in this swim-bike-run event. First-timers in the sport also target this event as a must-do to kick off their season. It’s not only the picturesque mountain scenery and pure air that attracts competitors says Cooper, the prize money is good too, with $4,300 to be awarded to the top five finishers in the women and men categories. The quality of the competition every year makes Wasa’s standard course one of the most competitive and fastest. All TriKids receive some good orienteering and preparation to make it a fun, memorable and safe experience. Many parents report young ones sleeping with their medals and proudly wearing their Wasa event shirt to school! Registration at www.rmevents.com closes June 9 for Adults & TriKids.last_img read more


first_imgON TRACK CROWD OF 38,647 WITNESS 78TH RUNNING OF WEST COAST’S PREMIER DERBY PREPBy BETH HARRISAP Racing WriterARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Dortmund towers over his competition, standing the equivalent of 5-feet, 8-inches tall. He’s pretty imposing on paper, too.The chestnut colt romped to a 4 1/4-length victory in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, keeping him unbeaten at 6-0 heading into next month’s Kentucky Derby.“It’s good to see this horse just really developing the way he has from his first start,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “I just love the way he ran.”Dortmund led all the way in running 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.73 under Martin Garcia and paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10 as the 3-5 favorite in the six-horse field. Baffert earned his record seventh victory in the West Coast’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby.“When we bought him he looked like a really good horse, but he was just a big horse and sometimes they don’t turn out,” Baffert said. “He’s a big, long-legged horse. When he made the lead and when he gets by himself like that, he’ll idle on you a little bit, so he had to keep going.”Dortmund bobbled slightly coming out of the starting gate in the No. 1 post _ a spot Baffert detests _ but he quickly went to the lead and kicked clear leaving the final turn.“Even though he’s won all his races, he’s still learning,” said Garcia, who won his first Santa Anita Derby. “He can play around a bit when someone comes to him. When I ask him to go, he becom s push-button and he just takes off.”Dortmund joins his sire Big Brown (3-0) and Barbaro (5-0) in taking an undefeated record into the Kentucky Derby. Big Brown won the Derby in 2008 and Barbaro did so in 2006.At 17 hands, Dortmund stands taller than the average thoroughbred, which can measure anywhere from 15 to 17 hands, with a hand being equal to 4 inches.One Lucky Dane, also trained by Baffert, returned $4.80 and $2.80, while Bolo was another 2¼ lengths back in third and paid $3 to show. Prospect Park was fourth, followed by Cross the Line and Bad Read Sanchez.Dortmund earned 100 points for the victory, moving him into second place on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard that determines the 20-horse field for the May 2 race.One Lucky Dane was running just 16 days after returning from a 4½-month layoff with a victory on March 19. He moved into 16th on the Derby leaderboard and will head to Churchill Downs, too.“He qualified in Bob Baffert’s eyes,” the trainer said. “I don’t need 40 points.”Baffert’s other top horse, American Pharoah, will run in next weekend’s Arkansas Derby, giving the white-haired trainer a third shot at winning the Kentucky Derby for the fourth time in his career.“I can’t believe I’m so fortunate to be in this position with two outstanding 3-year-olds,” he said.In other stakes:_ Stellar Wind rallied to win the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks by 5 1/4 lengths under Victor Espinoza. The 6-5 favorite ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.26 and paid $4.40 to win. Trainer John Sadler said he plans to run the filly in the Kentucky Oaks on May 1._ Even-money favorite Gimme Da Lute won the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths for Baffert. Ridden by Garcia, the 3-year-old colt ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.64 and paid $4 to win._ Spirit of Xian won the $151,750 Providencia Stakes by a neck under Joe Talamo. The filly ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.10 and paid $35.60 to win.last_img read more