Thu, Jan 22, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Star set for fine after mystery exit from training camp

AP AND BLOOMBERG , LONDON AND MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Robinho says he warned Manchester City. The club is mystified by their star’s sudden exit.

Brazil forward Robinho will be fined £320,000 (US$440,000) by Manchester City after walking out of the club’s Tenerife training camp without permission, newspapers including the Daily Mirror reported yesterday.

On Tuesday, after Robinho insisted City knew he left the training camp to return to Brazil for family reasons, the club threatened to fine him unless he could explain his sudden departure — apparently without warning.

The striker left teammates in the Canary Islands on Monday, sparking reports that he walked out for good on the same day that AC Milan star Kaka turned down a world-record move to City.

Club executive chairman Garry Cook said he couldn’t explain the exit and a “breach of club discipline” was being investigated.

“[Manager] Mark [Hughes] has some clear guardrails around the discipline of footballers and the roles they play — if he has broken those then we will manage that internally,” Cook said. “I don’t know why he left, but the collapse of the Kaka deal and the Robinho issues are unconnected.”

“It would be disappointing if players are only happy at this club because they are expecting other players to be brought in,” he said.

Robinho, who moved to City from Real Madrid last year for a British record transfer fee, said he had no dispute with City and was “committed” to helping the team become a force.

“I would like to make it clear to the fans what the situation is, so that they can understand my decision to fly home to Brazil,” Robinho said on his Web site.

“Earlier in the month I made Manchester City aware that I needed to return to Brazil, because of a family matter. The club agreed and I was grateful to them for this. Up until yesterday it was my understanding that the club had no problem with my plans,” he said.

He said Kaka’s decision not to move to City had no bearing on his reasons to fly home.

“I feel it is important to underline that I did not return to Brazil because of the Kaka deal. He is one of my good friends and it would have been great to see him at Manchester City. But it had nothing to do with his decision to stay in Milan,” Robinho said.

“I will return to the club and hope to sort out this matter as soon as possible. I am committed to helping Manchester City become the force the owners assured me they will become,” he said.

Meanwhile, City signed the injury-prone Craig Bellamy from West Ham yesterday for about £14 million — twice the price it took the Hammers to bring the Wales striker from Liverpool in July 2007.

“I think it is going to be incredible here over the next couple of years,” Bellamy said. “You speak to anyone in the Premier League and they would want to come to Manchester City. It’s rare for that to happen outside of the top four, but I think there are a lot of players who would like to come to this club.”

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