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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rio set to skipper England

Rio Ferdinand could follow Darren Fletcher in leading out his national team this weekend, following an injury in training to England captain John Terry.

If Terry's ruled out, then vice-captain Ferdinand would be the automatic choice to pull on the armband for the Wembley clash with Kazakhstan. As the first home qualifier, this match will be an important step towards World Cup qualification but Rio insists his ambitions are much higher than merely being on the plane to South Africa in 2010.

"With England I have been very disappointed," said Rio at a pre-match press conference.

"It's not just that I have never won anything with England, I have not even been in a position to win something by getting to a major final.

"I regard that is disappointing and the hunger to achieve something is only enhanced by the trophies I have won with Manchester United."

Rio's United team-mates Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney could also start for England on Saturday, while selection for future squads will no doubt be a goal for the currently or recently injured Michael Carrick, Ben Foster, Owen Hargreaves and Gary Neville. Read more...

Teams in the red face Euro ban

Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United could face exclusion from the Champions League - on the grounds that they hold excessive debt - under plans being drawn up by Uefa next week. The European game's governing body has set up a working group which will meet in Geneva on Monday to discuss how to extend its licensing system and restrict the levels of debt that clubs are permitted to operate with. Currently the financial stipulations in Uefa's system are limited to bans on clubs who have outstanding debts on transfer payments. It also states that staff should be paid on time. But the proposals being drawn up by Uefa's general secretary, David Taylor, and its president, Michel Platini, would see the system delve far deeper into the financial workings of clubs. "The ultimate sanction is not to be in our competitions," Taylor said yesterday. He explained that debts fixed against assets, for stadium building, are considered more acceptable than those run up in the acquisition of players or for takeovers. He confirmed that this would affect clubs such as last season's Champions League finalists, United and Chelsea, and one of the semi-finalists, Liverpool, unless they significantly reduced their debts.
Matt Scott, The Guardian