This newspaper revealed last week how the mean-spirited Premier League had knocked back requests from some of their clubs to wear away kits for home fixtures on Boxing Day to back an awareness campaign by homelessness charity Shelter.
Po-faced bosses pointed out that such a switch would be in breach of kit rules. But those were relaxed earlier this season to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to wear the No 7 shirt following his arrival at Old Trafford, despite Edinson Cavani having been assigned the number.
Sports Agenda understands that some clubs have now asked how much they would be fined should they break the rules. If the penalty is relatively small, some may take the risk. It is to be hoped that is the case. Perhaps the fines could go to those in need?
Premier League clubs are weighing up the cost of a fine for wearing away kits on Boxing Day
ESCAPE FOR RUBEN AFTER DECKING RAP
Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek has won a two-year battle to keep garden decking he put up without planning permission at his Surrey mansion.
The star was accused of blasting ‘X-rated drill rap’ music from the unauthorised structure at his £1.7million pad near the Blues’ Cobham training ground.
One neighbour claimed it was so loud that they had to scream over the fence for it to be turned down.
Loftus-Cheek was initially ordered to tear up the decking after he lost an appeal against the council’s decision. But he then applied for permission to put up a 2.5 metre fence to hide it, which has done the trick.
Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek has won a two-year battle to keep his garden decking up
AGENTS FLOCK TO CAST EYE OVER YOUNG LIONS
Around 70 agents flocked to Turf Moor last week to watch England’s Under 21s beat Czech Republic 3-1. Club managers were also in attendance, including West Ham’s David Moyes and new Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder.
WARNOCK FORCED TO AVOID AWKWARD ENCOUNTER AT BORO
Spare a thought for Neil Warnock.
First, the 72-year-old found out that he was about to be sacked as Middlesbrough manager last Saturday when he read it in the Daily Mail. Then, on Sunday, Warnock turned up at Boro’s training ground to pick up his belongings only to be told his replacement, Chris Wilder, was inside the building and he was not allowed to enter.
Neil Warnock (L) could not collect his belongings at Boro as Chris Wilder (R) was in the building
On the previous Tuesday Warnock had broken the record for the number of matches managed in England (1,602) and will have seen many things during his time in the game.
Standing behind the gates of the training ground he may, however, have been left to reflect on how quickly things change in football.
GB LEFT LIGHT ON SPORTING POLITICAL INFLUENCE
The retirement of Sir Craig Reedie as an active International Olympic Committee member at the end of this year will leave GB light of influence in global sports politics.
Having consecutively been president of World Badminton, the British Olympic Association and World Anti-Doping as well being a key London 2012 stalwart, Sir Craig flew the flag in the corridors of sports power with distinction.
Sir Craig Reedie’s retirement has left GB short of influence in global sports politics
With Lord Coe busy on World Athletics matters and Sir Bill Beaumont (president of World Rugby) less comfortable in IOC politics, it is left to HRH The Princess Royal to push British interests. As the chair of the IOC member nominations commission maybe she could get a Brit to the top of the list. But who?
Matters have been helped by the recent appointment of Annamarie Phelps to president of European Rowing. More need to follow.
RFU REBUFFS THIN SKIN CLAIMS
LATE last month a piece appeared in The Times which questioned ‘why it’s so hard to work for Eddie Jones’. The story examined a high staff turnover under the Australian who, it said, ‘could be a brutal employer’.
Over the last couple of weeks the RFU has set up a number of one-to-one interviews with England players but the paper has not yet been given one — leading some to wonder if they are being punished amid allegations of thin skin.
The RFU, however, insist that is not the case. A spokesperson said the paper was given usual media access and added: ‘We offer media a range of one-to-one interviews with players and aim to be equitable in providing a fair number of interviews for each media outlet across the course of a year.’
The RFU has moved to deny claims they are thin skinned amid the treatment of a newspaper
F1 TEAMS GO INTO LOCKDOWN IN BRAZIL
Formula One teams were back in lockdown this weekend, not due to Covid but because of security concerns. Teams at the Brazilian Grand Prix were confined to their hotels due to high crime and kidnapping rates in Sao Paulo.
BOOSTER JABS FILTER THROUGH TO FOOTBALL
While most under-50s have to wait their turn when it comes to receiving a Covid booster jab, there appears to be no such issue for those working in football.
Multiple clubs across the Premier League and EFL have ensured their ‘key staff’ have been given access to the extra shot before the rest of the population, regardless of age.
Indeed Burton Albion last week tweeted a picture of shirtless assistant manager Dino Maamria, 47, getting his jab on a day when all first-team staff were given the booster.
NON-LEAGUE INTEREST PICKS UP OVER INTERNATIONAL BREAK
Fun and games in non-League, where the international break brought an increase in numbers and in spotlight.
A floodlight failure and an irate assistant manager spotted arguing with the referee post-match in a car park for around 25 minutes after he had failed to send off a player were among the shenanigans.
TENSE FLIGHT AHEAD FOR ENGLISH AND AUSSIE STARS
England and Australia’s cricketers may be sick of the sight of each other before a ball has even been bowled in the Ashes. Both sides’ T20 players will share a charter flight from the World Cup in Dubai down to Oz (although no word on who turns left).
Upon arrival they will each head to the same complex on the Gold Coast, where England’s Test players and Lions are currently quarantining in a self-contained block.
They will then go to their own blocks for 14 days before moving on to Brisbane and virtual normality. For England’s players it will feel like going back 18 months to the biosecure bubbles at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.
England and Australia stars will share a flight Down Under from the Twenty20 World Cup
UNITED PUT ON CAREERS EVENT FOR YOUNGSTERS
Manchester United recently hosted a careers networking event for 70 partner school students. Those involved, from schools with high numbers of BAME students, met artists, fashion designers, YouTubers and representatives from other industries from the black community in an event that also featured a Q&A with former defender Wes Brown.
SPORT ENGLAND CHIEF CONTINUES WORK AS CYCLING ADVISER
Although he has high-profile roles with both Sport England and Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman continues to work as policy adviser for British Cycling.
This week he travelled to Odense in Denmark as the keynote speaker at the UCI’s Bike City Forum to talk about the role of cycling in tackling climate change, pollution and obesity.