Whyte tries to calm fans
Rangers chairman Craig Whyte has tried to reassure fans about the club’s financial position despite the threat of a massive tax bill and revelations about his own history as a director. Although the Scottish champions published accounts on Thursday revealing a near 50 percent reduction in net debt to ￡14 million (US$22 million) in the 12 months to June 30, they could, if they lose a court case with British tax authorities, be hit with a bill for ￡49 million. Rangers, while publishing their figures, also said that Whyte was “disqualified to act as a director of Vital UK Limited in 2000 for a period of seven years.” Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said: “We have been in dialogue with the club on this matter and in light of today’s [Thursday’s] developments have requested clarification by return. We await disclosure of key information before we can make any further comment.” The revelation about Whyte’s past had been contained in a BBC documentary broadcast in October, a program that led the Rangers chairman to take legal action against the broadcaster.
Maradona diagnoses Pele
Diego Maradona has taken another swipe at Pele, saying the former Brazil great must have taken the “wrong medication” when he suggested that Neymar was better than Lionel Messi. Speaking in Dubai on Thursday, Maradona acknowledged that the young Brazilian striker was good, but insisted he would never be able to match Messi, the Argentina playmaker who netted his 16th league goal of the season for Barcelona this week. Pele has said that Neymar was “technically” better than Messi, but that the Brazilian has a lot to prove if he wants to be considered the best player in the world one day.
Leiva out for the season
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, the English Premier League club said on Thursday. The Brazil international had a scan on Thursday that confirmed an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. A statement on Liverpool’s Web site said Lucas “will undergo surgery and unfortunately be ruled out for the remainder of the current campaign.” The 24-year-old Lucas, injured in a clash with Chelsea’s Juan Mata, has been one of Liverpool’s best players for the past two seasons. And he has been in fine form during the past fortnight, starring in Liverpool’s Premier League and League Cup wins over Chelsea and Sunday’s 1-1 league draw with leaders Manchester City. In particular, he has formed a successful midfield partnership with Scotland international Charlie Adam, a pre-season signing from Blackpool. However, Liverpool do have other options in midfield with Jay Spearing able to fill a similar defensive role, Jordan Henderson waiting in the wings and Jonjo Shelvey recalled from a loan spell with second-tier side Blackpool.
McKinna heads to Chongqing
Australian Lawrie McKinna has signed a one-year deal to manage Chongqing Lifan FC in China’s League One, his Central Coast Mariners club said yesterday. After a spell coaching Chengdu Blades in the Chinese Super League earlier this year, McKinna recently returned to the Mariners to work in the club’s soccer operations. McKinna will help with the Mariners’ 2012 Asian Champions League campaign before taking up the Chongqing job.