Ref­er­ees ‘re­mote-con­trolled’

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

An­to­nio Conte has de­ployed Kante slightly deeper, the mid­fielder rarely get­ting ahead of the ball.

Shield­ing the de­fence, steal­ing pos­ses­sion, feed­ing the ball for­ward in­tel­li­gently: Kante is play­ing the very role made fa­mous by his fore­run­ner.

Fa­mously, the unglam­orous Makelele fell vic­tim to Florentino Perez’s starry-eyed galac­ti­cos sys­tem at Real Madrid, and found a new lease of life within the self­less col­lec­tivism of Jose Mour­inho’s Chelsea. He left Spain aged 30 but played an­other eight sea­sons of top-level foot­ball.

Kante is only 25, and far more re­liant on his en­ergy and en­durance, but the first three weeks of Conte’s equally team-cen­tric regime have al­ready of­fered signs that he may be able to adapt his game sim­i­larly.

Keen for an­other Keane Iron­i­cally enough, Mour­inho — hav­ing been chewed up and spat out by the real Real Madrid — is now at the helm of the clos­est thing the English game has ever seen to a galac­ti­cos project.

Manch­ester United have spent the sum­mer splash­ing eye-wa­ter­ing sums of money to ac­quire the sport’s glitzi­est names, and Paul Pogba, the project’s crown jewel, may well turn out to be the heir to a throne that has gone un­claimed at Old Traf­ford for over a decade.

Keane de­parted Manch­ester in 2005 in the only way he knew — seething ac­ri­mony, no re­grets — and since then the spot va­cated by the Ir­ish­man has rarely been less than glar­ing.

If the lat­ter-years Alex Fer­gu­son seemed weirdly in­tent on never again buy­ing a se­nior mid­fielder, Mour­inho has no such plans. He wanted Pogba last year, he got him this year. The par­al­lels be­tween the two play­ers are nu­mer­ous.

Keane’s sta­tus was ce­mented in Turin; Pogba left for Turin be­fore boomerang­ing back to Eng­land, rep­u­ta­tion sim­i­larly el­e­vated. United broke their trans­fer record to sign both play­ers — and while the club need only look to Juan Se­bas­tian Veron for proof that sear­ing tal­ent and a soar­ing fee is no a guar­an­tee of cen­tral-mid­field suc­cess, the mem­o­ries of Keane’s mag­nif­i­cence are an equally stark re­minder that the new boy’s top-dol­lar pedi­gree makes him a close to a sure thing as there can be. — Four­fourtwo CAPE TOWN — The Board of Di­rec­tors set of­fi­cial trans­for­ma­tion tar­gets for the South African na­tional men’s team based on the de­lib­er­a­tions of the Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Cricket and Cricket Pipe­line sub-com­mit­tees at its meet­ing to­mor­row.

The tar­gets re­quire the na­tional team to play an av­er­age min­i­mum of 54 per­cent black play­ers and av­er­age min­i­mum of 18 per­cent black African play­ers over the sea­son.

This is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion in the Board’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to drive trans­for­ma­tion ag­gres­sively as part of CSA’S pol­icy to make cricket a truly na­tional sport ac­ces­si­ble to all.

The tar­gets will be an av­er­age of the cu­mu­la­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion across all three for­mats in a sea­son.

“What is re­ally en­cour­ag­ing,” com­mented CSA pres­i­dent, Chris Nen­zani, “is that the Proteas, who are our flag bear­ers, are al­ready achiev­ing these tar­gets and in some cases exceeding the tar­gets we have just set.

“The Test start­ing XI that played in the re­cent Test se­ries against New Zealand con­tained six play­ers of colour and two Black Africans and the ODI start­ing XI had as many as eight play­ers of colour (73 per­cent) in their most re­cent se­ries against the West Indies and Aus­tralia, while the South Africa ‘A’ side had six play­ers of colour and three Black Africans in the start­ing XI that beat the Aus­tralia Na­tional Per­for­mance Squad by nine wick­ets in the fi­nal match of their quad­ran­gu­lar se­ries in Aus­tralia on Satur­day.

The tar­gets come into play with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. — Sport24 LONDON — Howard Webb has warned against turn­ing of­fi­cials into “re­mote­con­trolled ref­er­ees” af­ter Mark Halsey claimed he had been told to say he had not seen in­ci­dents which could be open to video re­view.

Webb, a Premier League ref­eree for 11 years who also took charge of the 2010 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal and the World Cup fi­nal, said he him­self had never been in­flu­enced by Pro­fes­sional Game Match Of­fi­cials Lim­ited (PGMOL) over his match re­port.

For­mer Premier League ref­eree Halsey replied to Twit­ter posts on Satur­day about Manch­ester City striker Ser­gio Aguero’s three-match ban for vi­o­lent con­duct by al­leg­ing pres­sure for ref­er­ees to say they have missed an in­ci­dent to al­low ret­ro­spec­tive pun­ish­ment.

“The first thing to be clear about is I can say, cat­e­gor­i­cally, that I never came un­der pres­sure from the ref­er­ees’ body to say I had not seen some­thing I had dur­ing my ref­er­ee­ing ca­reer,” Webb, who is a for­mer tech­ni­cal direc­tor of PGMOL, said.

“Halsey’s al­le­ga­tion is a sig­nif­i­cant one. The PGMOL has de­nied that any ref­eree would come un­der pres­sure to lie about an in­ci­dent but not said much more than that, which may be be­cause they do not want to be drawn into a public row with some­one they may feel is try­ing to keep his name in lights.”

The de­ci­sion to take ret­ro­spec­tive action is now made by a panel of three for­mer ref­er­ees, rather than the of­fi­cial who ref­er­eed the game. As FIFA be­gins tri­als of video tech­nol­ogy, Webb be­lieves the role of the ref­eree could be­come fur­ther marginalised.


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