FIFA’s ethics committee to appeal against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini’s eight-year bans

first_img Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini 1 Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini could face even longer bans after FIFA’s ethics investigatory chamber confirmed it is appealing to increase the eight-year suspensions handed down to the two most powerful people in world football.Blatter and Platini have themselves appealed against the eight-year bans imposed by the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber last month, but now face a counter-appeal from the investigators who had originally sought a lifetime ban.The bans were imposed over a £1.3million payment made to UEFA president Platini, signed off by FIFA president Blatter, in 2011 which they said was to settle a verbal agreement made 13 years beforehand.A spokesman for FIFA’s ethics investigatory chamber told Press Association Sport: “I can confirm that we intend to appeal.”FIFA’s appeal committee will hear the appeals from Blatter, Platini and the investigatory chamber. The case can then go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.last_img read more

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Lorig part of changes at Stanford

first_imgatmosphere now and a great one. It’s great to come out and play football and he’s just sort of revitalized everybody. “You can just feel the attitudes and personalities of the team and players changing for the better.” After redshirting during his first year, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Lorig played in all 12 games last season and had three catches for 21 yards and made six tackles on special teams. His move to defense for this season came by mutual agreement with the coaching staff, he said. “We switched to the 4-3 defense . . . I always felt like I had a defensive mentality, but was on offense,” Lorig said. “From switching to the 4-3, I felt like it was an opportunity to try something out. So far, it’s worked out pretty well. We needed some defensive ends and it’s something I wanted to do. “It’s a comfortable position. It feels really natural to me, more than it did at tight end.” This season, he’s made 14 tackles with 11/2 for a loss. Last week, he had a career-best eight tackles against Arizona State. Lorig’s appearance at the Coliseum today will certainly rekindle a few memories for USC fans, who remember the drawn-out decision Lorig endured when deciding which college to attend. USC coach Pete Carroll envisioned Lorig as a fullback, but ultimately lost his recruit to Northern California. Lorig was hardly eager to relive the episode. “It feels like such a long time ago,” he said. “People here don’t bring it up. It’s a lesson learned in the past. “I don’t really want to go into it. It is what it was and I want to move on past that.” And on he goes. He’s looking forward to not only today’s game, but running into family members and a number of friends. Among his former Peninsula High teammates in attendance will be Carroll’s son, Nate. And Lorig holds out no hope of trying to coax the younger Carroll to switch his allegiance for a game. “That would definitely be a longshot,” Lorig said with a laugh. “I’m sure he’ll be down there and it will be nice to see him, too.” phil.collin@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityWell, according to the Daily Breeze rankings at that moment, it was West Torrance, which was another development he had a hard time wrapping his sharp mind around. Yet Lorig, a redshirt sophomore, has a few more pressing issues on his mind, like helping Stanford survive its first road trip of the season today when the Cardinal (1-3) take on No. 2 USC (4-0) at the Coliseum. If it appears a mismatch is looming, you won’t catch that vibe from Stanford, even if the Cardinal are rebuilding and they’ve been beleaguered by injuries, which include starting quarterback T.C. Ostrander’s seizure at a restaurant last weekend. Lorig, for one, is excited at the prospect of having three full seasons under Harbaugh. “He’s like new blood. It’s almost like a transfusion or something,” said Lorig, who switched from tight end to defensive end this season. “It’s a refreshing football Even over the phone, it wasn’t difficult to tell that Erik Lorig was stunned. “Wow,” the Stanford defensive end said. “Times change fast.” He could have been talking about the reversal in attitude around The Farm since Jim Harbaugh took over as the Cardinal coach. Exuberance abounds, even if Stanford is still struggling on the football field, because of the fired-up first-year coach. But what really horrified Lorig was that his alma mater, Peninsula High, had started the season with a 1-3 record. After a pause, he asked which team was atop the South Bay. last_img read more

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Father tries to finish story of son killed in Iraq

first_imgDarrell Griffin Sr. tensed with anticipation the moment the C-130 Hercules hit the tarmac. As the noisy turboprop cargo plane’s wheels rolled along the runway of Baghdad International Airport, the September heat felt like 140 degrees. Griffin stood up, shifting under the weight of 80 pounds of body armor and a Kevlar helmet. The 55-year-old Van Nuys accountant grabbed his bags, stepped out the door and ran for his life toward the terminal. There could be snipers, he was told. He knew all about snipers. March 21, 2007, Baghdad, Camp StrikerStaff Sgt. Darrell Griffin Jr. met his squad mates at 0800, grinning and upbeat. The other soldiers of Charger Company were tired and restless. They’d been in Iraq almost a year and the deployment was wearing on them. Too many long patrols in their massive, wheeled Strykers. Too many bodies blown up by roadside bombs. Comrades shot to pieces. They hadn’t slept well or showered for days. They didn’t even have food. But Griff, all 6 feet 2 inches, 240 pounds of him, couldn’t stop smiling. He’d been blessed in his time with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Third Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. He’d been writing a book about his experience and had hundreds of pages of material. “I feel like God’s got something really big planned for me today,” he said. Two hours later, a sniper shot him through the back of the head. March 21, 2007, Van NuysDarrell Griffin Sr. was visiting a client. His cell phone rang – Kim, his wife. He answered and found her upset. “Skip’s been shot,” she told him, using Darrell Jr.’s nickname. “How bad is it?” he asked, hoping this was just another flesh wound requiring stitches. His wife began to cry. “It’s fatal,” she told him. He dropped the phone and ran out of the office in tears. That night, he got a knock on his door from two men, dressed in green Army uniforms – casualty assistance officers. His 36-year-old son’s mission was over. His own was just beginning. I am attempting to create an account of two tours of combat in Iraq as an infantryman. I am trying to make sense of a world that I had never known until the first time that I had to kill a man. A world where men wanted to kill me and a world where friends didn’t just move away but died violent deaths on the field of battle. … If nothing else, this attempt at a book will hopefully put to rest the demons that I have courted by killing and living in this chaotic world for two years. – Darrell Griffin Jr. Growing up in Van Nuys, Skip never put much stock in school. He spent a lot of time in detention. He ran away from home more than once. He dropped out of Van Nuys High School and got a GED. But he never stopped studying. He was a macho guy who worked out and held manly, physically demanding jobs, but he enjoyed nothing more than sitting down with a nice glass of Merlot, Mozart’s Requiem and a philosophical text. The Bible. Kierkegaard. Nietzsche. Chomsky. Skip inhaled them, reading three at a time and racking up hundreds of dollars worth of bills at esoteric bookstores. It was his dream to join their scholarly ranks, to publish a text of his thoughts on life and war and all the horrible things he’d seen in far away places called Najaf, Tal Afar and Sadr City. He’d been poking away at it for years, writing out longhand, diagramming his thoughts in elegant, tight printing. He taught himself to read and write Greek so he could channel the thoughts of his ancient heroes. The philosopher with the M4 rifle called his ruminations on spirituality, life and love “The Long Conversation.” After a stint in the National Guard, Skip enlisted in the Army in June 2001 and his thoughts turned to military affairs. When he deployed to Iraq for the first time in October 2004, his father encouraged him to keep a journal, and they planned to transform the 400 pages of ponderings, battle books and e-mails into a book. “He was the smartest man I’ve ever known,” Darrell Griffin Sr. said. “He was synthesizing the great philosophers with the realities of a foot soldier.” With his son dead, his father knew he had to complete that synthesis. As he made arrangements for Skip’s funeral, he began planning to pick up where his son left off. Please pray for this guy because he is such a good man and it doesn’t look like he will make it right now. The other 2 injured are in serious but stable condition and are expected to be ok. Dad, I would love nothing more than to be a child again being held in your arms as I have always remembered. when we meet again I need a hug from you and mom and I need to just cry in your arms. Well, back to being a leader. I have to be strong for my guys because they are watching my reaction to all of this and follow my lead when it comes to the mood of things. – Darrell Griffin Jr. He signed the 2005 e-mail “your faithful son, Lil’ Skip.” The soldier’s messages back to his wife, Diana, father, stepmother and five siblings alternated between gruesome details of the horror of battle – a dog dragging away a corpse’s head, a body identified only by its shoes because nothing else remained, trucks awash with blood and guts – and tender remembrances of home. He called Diana frequently and sent her love poems. “He’d ask me to pray for him and his soldiers,” she said. “He said, `I hope you won’t look at me differently for the things I had to do.’ I told him, `Don’t stop and think, just do what you have to.”‘ And sometimes, those things were terrible. He pulled a comrade from a Stryker whose legs stayed behind in the wrecked armored vehicle. He killed at least eight men. He’d smelled the stink of death before and ducked bullets as an emergency medical technician in Compton, but he was profoundly affected by the war. Two days after his son’s death, Darrell Griffin Sr. placed a call to Rep. Howard Berman’s office. He was a writer, too, he told them, and he wanted to go to Iraq. He wanted to meet the men who served with his son. He wanted to see where Skip died. When he called Berman’s office, Griffin was upfront: I’m a conservative Republican, the congressman’s a liberal Democrat and I didn’t vote for him. But I need your help. Staffers began making calls. The grieving father also reached out to Alex Kingsbury, an associate editor with U.S. News & World Report who’d interviewed his son at length a few days before he died. Kingsbury had met Griff while embedded with Charger Company in early March and included him as a minor character in a piece about a firefight near a helicopter crash. The two hit it off and enjoyed a long conversation about Nietzsche and Marshall McLuhan in the middle of the desert. “He looked to philosophy as a crutch,” Kingsbury said. “It was a filter for the tough, tough things he’d seen. In Iraq, there are horrible things you have to deal with daily. He wasn’t a mechanical killer who didn’t think about what he was doing. He thought about it. A lot.” As of late I have started to wonder whether or not we are killing insurgents or merely combatants fighting each other in a “war of all against all.” At this stage of the war, I choose not to use the word “insurgent” as a description of who I am trying to kill. – Darrell Griffin Jr. Darrell Griffin Sr. and Diana Griffin both asked Kingsbury for any other notes or memories he had of the sergeant. He did – nearly half an hour of video he’d shot in a deserted mess tent. And Griff’s death hit him hard, as well. He’d been so impressed by his eloquence that he was planning a longer article on warriors’ struggles to cope with the death they deal out daily. Griff was going to be the main subject. The Griffins asked Kingsbury to speak at the funeral, which he did, sharing Griff’s passion for history, great minds and the military’s traditions. Then he wrote an intensely personal, haunting account of their brief meeting in Iraq and the legacy Darrell Griffin Jr. left behind, published in early May. The article, peppered with Griff’s e-mails home, really got things rolling. Berman read it, Pentagon officials read it, everyday soldiers read it. His father’s quest to get to Baghdad suddenly had much more weight when people realized whose life he was trying to retell. “It made it more meaningful, reading what his son had written,” Berman said. “It changed me. It personalized it. He grew up in my area. … This is what he was going though. This is what he thought about, this is how he felt.” He personally pressed the Department of Defense to accredit Griffin Sr. as a journalist. With Berman’s help, the man who’d only authored a text on the importance of small business got credentialed to embed as a journalist with his son’s Stryker unit as it finished its Baghdad deployment. Skip had told him what it was like, but Griffin Sr. never felt like he got the full picture. He needed to fill it in himself. “I had to experience that fear,” he said. “I had to understand what he’d been through.” He’d had a little time in the military, joining the National Guard as a cook to avoid Vietnam in the 1970s, but nothing like he was about to experience. “Darrell Jr. was a big, tall, strapping, Rambo-looking guy,” Kingsbury said. “His father’s not muscular, not strapping-looking at all and he’s an accountant as opposed to an infantryman in Iraq. But Darrell Sr.’s a brave guy. He might not look the same as his son, but he’s just as brave.” It took a few months, but by early September, Griffin Sr. found himself shuttling through Baghdad hot zones on his way to Camp Striker. It was hot and frightening. His military escorts to the airport in Kuwait each dressed in civilian clothes to blend in and strapped on a pair of .45s for the drive. He slept in Army tents and rode around in a heavily armored truck known as The Rhino he described as “a Winnebago on steroids.” Griffin Sr. missed Charger Company’s last mission, but spent three days meeting the soldiers his son loved, fought for and died alongside. He ate in the dining facility where his son chowed down, used the phones with which he called home, shopped at the same post exchange. “My vision of Skip is my son, the kid I used to change diapers for,” he said. “These guys painted a different picture: of a real man, a hero.” The kind of guy who could have stayed back while his squad fought things out, but instead waded right into the firefight. A leader who told his troops to call him Griff or Darrell when the brass wasn’t around, rather than by his rank. Griff was laid back back at the base, but fierce and intense in the field. He won a Bronze Star for valorous conduct while dragging a wounded comrade to safety. He’d start each mission by placing his fist on his chest and uttering his motto: “Strength and Honor.” When the smoke cleared and they headed back to base, he’d tell them to light up cigars and celebrate making it home alive. March 21, 2007, Sadr CityGriff’s Stryker hit Iris Avenue when small arms fire pierced the morning air. The sergeant was at the rear, head poking out of the hatch. The squad heard a crack and saw Griff’s body seize up. They yanked him back inside and saw the head wound, just below his helmet. A sergeant cradled him. A lieutenant screamed for him to hold on, and they rushed him to another Stryker to administer first aid. His breath came in ragged spurts, then slowed to shallow, feeble gasps. The soldiers called in an air evac chopper and it lifted off, speeding him to the hospital. He stopped breathing on the way. Griff was dead. Oct. 3, 2007, Van NuysDarrell Griffin Sr. sat in his small office, surrounded by pictures of his six children and a box with his eldest son’s possessions. A battle flag, notebooks, dog tags and a sweat-stained hat sat on the table. The Army had wiped Griff’s laptop hard drive clean as a matter of security before sending it home, but Griffin Sr. had pages of hand-written notes, e-mails and Kingsbury’s videos. Armed with the memories and experience of Iraq, he thought he could reconstruct the book, his final collaboration with his son. Griff would live on in words. “There’s no such thing as closure,” he said. “Nothing will close that hole. But if I don’t finish the book, it’ll be incomplete. I want to tie up those loose ends.” brent.hopkins@dailynews.com (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas Citylast_img
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Lid eyed on payoffs to city agency heads fired quickly

first_imgBut last week, with the council forced to spend more than six hours hearing each city department’s explanation of its environmental initiatives, it became too much. “Isn’t this what our committees are supposed to be doing?” grumbled one council member as the presentations droned on. For departments, it was a chance to detail their various efforts, similar to what is done during annual budget deliberations. But it provided little new information and few questions from council members – many of whom were just eager to get on to other work. There will be a lot of firsts at the annual Women’s Conference hosted by California first lady Maria Shriver in Long Beach next week. With the theme “Architects of Change,” the program will feature a panel including Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first female vice presidential candidate of a major political party; Dee Dee Myers, who was the first female White House press secretary; and Christine Todd Whitman, who was New Jersey’s first female governor. The daylong conference also will feature an eclectic mix of speakers including Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, first lady Margarita Zavala of Mexico, designer Diane von Furstenberg, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, folk singer Joan Baez and pop singer Katharine McPhee. Some prominent Republicans are having second thoughts over the recall campaign that ousted former Gov. Gray Davis and ushered in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Among them is campaign consultant and pollster Arnold Steinberg, who believes Schwarzenegger is seeking too much accommodation with Democrats. “He has a (Nelson) Rockefeller complex,” Steinberg told the Flash Report in a recent interview. “Instead of slave labor, he borrows to pay for pyramids. The legislative Democrats initially feared him, but he quickly gave away the store. “The recall was the perfect storm for Republicans. Now we see that no recall would have been superior. Fiscal collapse under Gray Davis would have assured Republicans victory in 2006. “Now? Schwarzenegger’s legacy is, effectively, the disorientation of the Republican Party as we know it.” It’s the favorite parlor game at City Hall: Where’s Rocky? City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo – who came under fire this summer over unpaid auto insurance and a car accident his wife had while driving his city car – has all but disappeared from the local scene. Delgadillo was notably absent last week at several events that would normally have drawn him in front of the cameras. First was the landmark settlement of a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union over the treatment of the homeless on city streets. But Delgadillo was “in meetings” and could not be there for the announcement. Instead, his chief deputy, Richard Llewellyn, attended. Then there was the high-profile plea by actor Kiefer Sutherland to drunken-driving charges. When Paris Hilton was on the hot seat, Delgadillo was widely seen in the media explaining the case. This time with Sutherland, Delgadillo was a no-show. But there are some signs that he might be coming back. His office announced he is scheduled to appear at an event in Boyle Heights today announcing the assignment of a deputy city attorney at Roosevelt High School to deal with youth crime in the area. rick.orlov@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.As negotiations continue, council members are looking to avert similar problems in the future. The Executive Employee Relations Committee, which includes the mayor and key council members, is considering a contract for new general managers that would outline severance packages based on how long they are employed. Under current City Charter provisions, approved by voters in 1999, general managers serve at the pleasure of the mayor but can appeal their dismissal to the City Council. It was one of those ideas that sounded good at the time, but fell flat in practice. At its much-heralded two-day retreat this summer, the City Council decided to focus on specific issues facing the city, including environmental, housing and transportation issues. Does this sound familiar? A new Los Angeles department chief is hired amid much promise and fanfare – only to be asked to leave months later when things don’t work out. The chief doesn’t quit and is fired, threatens a lawsuit and then reaches a lucrative financial settlement with the city. It happened with Guerdon Stuckey, who received a $50,000 contract after he left the Department of Animal Services. And it appears a similar deal is in the works with Gloria Jeff, whom Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently fired as the city’s transportation chief. last_img read more

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Disabled kids ride with volunteer pilots

first_imgSpeaking through a Say it Sam device that talks for people who can’t, Kelly Navarro said her first flight in a small plane was “out of this world.” The 17-year-old from Torrance, who has cerebral palsy, also got a lesson about the plane’s equipment from the pilot. Blustery Santa Ana winds made for bumpy rides. Some parents were nervous, but not the kids, said Kathryn Presson, a volunteer pilot from Reseda. “It tells you these kids are not easily intimidated,” Presson said. “They’ve been through so much. So what are a few (spots of) turbulence?” With their 13-year-old daughter, Charlene, who has Down syndrome, Eric and Tina Jan were thrilled to see the eighth-grader’s sense of empowerment during the flight. “She got to steer the plane left and right,” said Tina Jan. “She was excited.” Saturday was the start of the program’s operation out of Los Angeles. It will return in 2008 about the same time of year, Gibson said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre One of the plane’s tiny seats held him tightly and secure. The trip brought the teenager precious feelings of freedom, said his father, Jose Rodriguez. Challenge Air helps disabled children fly – and sometimes steer the planes themselves – 16 times a year at events across the country. It was begun by Rick Amber, a sports enthusiast and Navy fighter pilot who lost the use of his legs after crashing a plane on a combat mission while serving in Vietnam. Amber, who died in 1997, launched the nonprofit group 14 years ago so every disabled person could see the world from a different point of view, said Lonna Gibson, West Coast director. “It’s self-esteem-building,” said Gibson. “These kids go back to school and tell their friends that they flew a plane.” With 140 flights throughout the day and Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” jamming from a deejay booth, kids ate hamburgers, sat in equipment from the Traveling Space Museum and learned about aviation. They went away with flight certificates and gold aviator wings to pin on their shirts. PACOIMA – A wheelchair user for life, Jose Rodriguez Jr. soared through the sky without one Saturday at an event offering free plane rides to disabled and ill children. Volunteer pilots recruited by Challenge Air for Kids and Friends, a Texas-based nonprofit group, flew about 135 kids from across Los Angeles with parents and friends in four-seat airplanes on routes that mainly looped from the 184-acre Whiteman Airport in Pacoima to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Rodriguez, 14, who has cerebral palsy, described the flight with just one word: “awesome.” Not only did the Venice boy – a quadriplegic who has no control over his limbs – see the sights from high above, he also traded his wheelchair for a different seat for a while. last_img read more

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South Whittier educator named California Teacher of the Year

first_img“One of the reasons I’ve been able to get this honor is because of the impact Carmela has had on my life,” Long said. “When I was interviewing for this, the last panel I interviewed with in Sacramento, I was able to answer many of their questions because of my experience at Carmela. “This is a feather in Carmela’s cap,” Long said. “Not many schools can say they have a state Teacher of the Year, but we can – and that’s really neat to see.” Long bested hundreds of teachers statewide for the TOY honor, which began in 1972 to pay tribute to the state’s educators, the growing complexity of challenges that confront California’s schools, and the need to promote collaboration among teachers to meet those challenges. The TOY honor only validates what South Whittier School District officials said they already knew – that Long is “an outstanding teacher,” said Superintendent Erich Kwek. “I’ve watched Mike teach in the classroom. He motivates his kids, and he’s a skilled teacher in all areas,” Kwek said. “He’s just one more great thing that’s happening in South Whittier. SOUTH WHITTIER – Ask fourth-grade teacher Michael Long about the impact he’s had at Carmela Elementary School, and he’ll tell you you’re going about it the wrong way. A better question would examine the impact that the 600-student school has had on Long’s life, he says – and the answer would be easy. “It’s made me a better teacher,” said Long, 36. “The teachers here are really supportive, and to me, Carmela feels like my family.” So when Long was named this week as one of five 2007-08 California Teachers of the Year, he was quick to share the honor with the school, staff and students, whom he says played an integral part in his success. “And it’s a great morale booster to have one of ours recognized.” The calendar year has been a blur of congratulatory wishes and banners and balloons and get-togethers for Long, who won TOY at the school level in the spring, then the district level in the summer, then the county level in the fall before he hit the state contest. “I wasn’t surprised when he won, because I knew he was a quality educator whose vision and passion have always impressed me,” said teacher Patricia Vega-Jeter, who team-teaches fourth grade with Long. “But it was definitely nice to see that someone is recognizing these quality educators,” Vega-Jeter said. “He’s a great spokesperson for educators, and he’s making it good for all of us to participate in the celebration.” Long earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies in 1994, a master’s degree in education and a teaching credential in 1999 from Biola University in La Mirada. As state TOY, Long has a year of public speaking engagements ahead of him, as well as traveling to Sacramento to participate in workshops and training and visiting other schools. “I’m completely honored and really grateful for this because I wouldn’t be the teacher I am if not for my co-workers, professors and my family,” Long said. “All those people have poured themselves into me and made me a better person.” But student Jose Flores, 10, says all he knows is that his knowledgeable, kind and humorous teacher “makes me want to get into school more because he makes learning fun. “Even if he didn’t get state Teacher of the Year, I know I would still look at him like he was.” tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Chelsea threaten to drop Solanke to youth squad over £50k wage demands

first_img Dominic Solanke has played just 17 minutes of first-team football for Chelsea 1 Chelsea have threatened to drop Dominic Solanke back to the club’s youth squad over his astounding £50,000-a-week wage demands.The 18-year-old striker – currently on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem – is currently on £7,000-a-week with the Blues.But, despite having played just 17 minutes of football in one first-team appearance for the Blues, the youngster is demanding a bumper deal to commit his long-term future to the London club.Solanke has scored seven goals in 24 games for Vitesse Arnhem this season, and wants assurances that he will be given first-team opportunities if he signs on again at Stamford Bridge.Blues fans were furious with the news, and Chelsea are refusing to back down to the demands and are prepared to dump the highly-rated starlet back in the development squad unless he lowers his terms.According to The Times, the Premier League giants have also threatened to block any possible loan move next season, unless he agrees to sign a new deal on their terms.It is understood Solanke will not be a part of incoming manager Antonio Conte’s plans next term, so now will have to choose to spend the rest of his Chelsea stay in exile, or put his career first and sign a new deal.last_img read more

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TRANSFER ALERT! Tottenham plotting sensational summer move for World Cup winner

first_imgTottenham have joined Borussia Dortmund in the race to sign Mario Gotze, according to reports in Germany.The playmaker was previously linked with a switch to Liverpool earlier this summer after enduring a tough campaign at Bayern Munich.New Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti wants to keep hold of the 24-year-old but it is understood he already has his heart set on a move.Dortmund are keen on re-signing their former star man and Gotze has apparently held talks with representatives from his old club.But, according to Bild, Spurs are prepared to trump any bid Dortmund make this summer, with Mauricio Pochettino eyeing the World Cup winner as his marquee summer signing. 1 Mario Gotze in action for Germany at Euro 2016 last_img

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Chinese giving local toy brands less play

first_imgThe preference is evident in the gargantuan New World Department Store in Shanghai’s commercial heart. Shelves are crowded with foreign-brand models and remote-control cars, the ubiquitous Legos from Denmark, Mattel Inc.’s Barbies, Transformers made by Japan’s Bandai. Chinese-brand toys are crammed into a few shelves stacked with dolls and toddler toys made by Star Moon Toys, a manufacturer in the southern city of Dongguan that also makes toys for some of the world’s biggest brands. China’s toy market is still in its infancy. Domestic retail toy sales totaled $603 million in 2006, according to Chinese government figures. That’s a fraction of the $22 billion in U.S. toy sales last year, according to the research firm NPD Group. The culture lacks an equivalent to the Christmas holiday toy binge in the United States; traditionally, children are given clothes and money for the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar. But times and tastes are changing. Chinese toy sales are growing about 20 percent a year as living standards rise with the buoyant economy. Since most urban Chinese are limited by government policy to having one child, families are willing to spend lavishly on their sole offspring, especially for books and educational toys. “The children’s market here is huge,” said Alice Tang, managing director for AT Licensing & Merchandising Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company that acts as licensing agent for brands such as Tezuka Productions, owner of Astro Boy and other Japanese cartoon figures. Nationwide, most Chinese families devote less than $10 a year to toys, according to industry estimates. But families in Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities spend more than that in a month. “Sure, foreign-brand toys are about 40 percent to 50 percent more expensive than domestic ones, but I think it’s worthwhile,” said Wang, a churchgoing Christian who raises her son with her computer-engineer husband. “The design is much better, unlike domestic-brand toys that kids get bored with quickly because the quality isn’t good. Plus, they break easily,” she said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champQuality and safety issues are drawing more attention as incomes rise and upwardly mobile Chinese grow more health conscious. While virtually all toys on the market, whether foreign or domestic brands, are made in China, factories making foreign brands are assumed to abide by more rigorous standards to screen out lead paint and other harmful materials. “I dare not buy cheap wooden toys or toys with paint,” said Lin Yan, a professor at Shanghai International Studies University, whose 7-year-old daughter tested for elevated levels of lead in her blood. “I have a stupid standard: I buy her expensive toys in big department stores. I can only assume most of the expensive ones are foreign brands and are guaranteed to have better quality,” said Lin. When her daughter is given toys she suspects are unsafe, she throws them away. “Sometimes they have indescribable odors,” she said. SHANGHAI, China – When freelance writer Wang Jian shops for toys for her 5-year-old son, she’s happy to pay extra for Legos blocks and Japanese-brand train sets. The reason, she and other parents say: Foreign brands enjoy a reputation for higher quality – a perception reinforced by the product scares of recent months. “We pay close attention to the news about toy and food safety. If I find a problem with a certain brand, I will just stop using it for sure,” said Wang, who writes for film magazines. China may be Santa’s global workshop, but when it comes to buying playthings for their own children, Chinese families who can afford it opt for foreign-brand toys – even if they are made in China. last_img read more

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