Hello, the British colonial days are long over

NEARLY 56 years ago, on Aug 31 1957, Malaysia gained independence from the British.
But, you won’t know it if you were at the Adidas Chelsea Blue Pitch Training session today.
While treating guests like royalty has always been a major part of Malaysia’s identity, treating the locals like second class citizens certainly isn’t.
As such, Adidas scored a PR own goal when, despite inviting the local media to attend the training session, only allowed the British media” access to the London club’s players.
Perhaps it was the local PR’s team “I need to impress the Mat Sallehs and put them on a pedestal” attitude. Or maybe, Adidas and Chelsea think the Malaysian media are not good enough to interview the “superstars” from the English Premier League.
We were told we would not be able to enter the courts upon registration. Later on when enquiring on interview slots, we were told the organisers are sorting it out and we would be informed shortly.
After waiting a while, the local media once again enquired about the interviews and were told by a representative from the PR company: “The interviews are taking place inside now with selected press and we have been told that there are no more interviews. The orders came from Chelsea, we can’t do anything.”
It was then we learnt the British press were all almost done conducting interviews, but we were refused entry despite being invited. Only one local press representative managed to sneak in with the foreign writers.
Understandably, we made our frustration known, having wasted our time attending a function only to add crowd to the circus.
“Well you can still be here and take pictures,” said the same representative.
We then hear, via third parties, that it was an exclusive event and not open to all.
If that was the case why were the local press invited? Why didn’t the organisers/PR agency inform us about restrictions? Why ask for a RSVP and then not act on it?
We have to realise that the British colonial days are long over, unless of course you count English Premier League clubs’ euphoria invading Malaysia. The motives are arguably the same though – making profit.
It certainly seems like the Royal London Circus has come to town and we are just mere spectators … unless Adidas and Chelsea think the local media are clowns.

Update: Chelsea FC Public Relations (PR) and Communications Head Steve Atkins in a telephone call to sports247.my apologised for the gaffe but refused to pin the blame on any party.
“We are sorry for the hiccup. It was result of a miscommunication and we regret the incident. It was never our intention to neglect the local press. In fact we have had a good relationship with the press from our previous trips here,” said Atkins.

Source: my.m.yahoo.com

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Fans hit by add-ons when buying club football shirts

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Sides including Tottenham ­Hotspur, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Manchester United are ­charging up to £10 for adding an official league badge.

That’s on top of the standard shirt price of between £40 and £60.

Fans are being confronted with budget airline-style add-on options when buying shirts online.

North London giants Spurs top the extras league of shame, charging punters £10 for adding Premier League badges to a shirt.

Meanwhile, Arsenal fans are being asked to cough up an additional £7 to add two Premier League badges to their kit and £5 for a single ­ Champions League badge.

The extras mean the cost of an ­Arsenal replica shirt could soar to £74.50.

Champions Manchester United and Merseyside giants Everton charge ­punters £6 to gift-wrap ­purchases.

Swansea City adds £8 to the cost of a jersey if you want a Premier League badge on it.

Similarly, Premier League new boys Cardiff City are demanding £6 more for Premier League badges on their shirts.

Of the 20 clubs, 15 charge £6 for ­Premier League badges on shirts.

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“The important thing is that clubs are clear from the outset about how much names, numbers or league badges cost.”
A spokesman for the ­Football Supporters’ Federation
Norwich City charge £7 for two ­ badges and £3.50 for one.

Last night a spokesman for the ­Football Supporters’ Federation warned clubs they should not try to add on costs.

He said: “The important thing is that clubs are clear from the outset about how much names, numbers or league badges cost.

“With airlines you can unexpectedly find added extras appearing – ­customers ­almost expect it now.

“But fans have a different relationship with their football team and clubs should respect that trust.”

A spokesman for Manchester United said: “Manchester United does not set the price of any of the goods in its megastore or online, that is a matter of MUML – a wholly-owned ­ subsidiary of Nike.

“As a result, we cannot ­comment on pricing.”

Nike, Cardiff City and Arsenal all failed to respond to calls for ­comment.

A spokesman for Spurs said: “Since the advent of the Premier League, the badges have always been an optional extra and down to the preferences of the individual fan as shirts are worn across a number of competitions.

“Our pricing for these badges has remained unchanged for the last seven years.”

Last year we named and shamed clubs for overcharging punters when posting out ­merchandise.

Source: http://www.dailystar.co.uk

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Blues for Malaysia

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SHAH ALAM: A first half blitz was enough for Chelsea to thump Malaysia 4-1 in a friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium today.

Goals by Bertrand Traore (sixth min), Kevin De Bruyne (28th) and Romelu Lukaku on the stroke of half-time was enough for the Blues to record a comfortable lead.

Nigerian winger Victor Moses then made it 4-0 in the 88th minute.

The national team under the guidance of Datuk K. Rajagopal then scored a consolation goal thanks to Mohd Fadhli Shas.

But Jose Mourinho’s first working trip here would end on a high as the Blues were just too strong.

Malaysia started well looking to record their first win over an English team since 1975.

But they were pegged back early on as a defensive lapse allowed 18-year old Bertrand Traore, on trial at Chelsea, to score an easy goal.

Chelsea then struck again with De Bruyne powering a shot from the edge of the box before Lukaku made it three after being put through by the impressive Traore.

The second half was a more relaxed affair but Moses who came on at half-time scored an easy tap in to extend the lead.

But the 50,000-strong crowd had the final cheer as Fadhli scored a header from a goal-mouth scramble a minute later.

Chelsea will head to Indonesia for the third stage of their Here To Play Here To Stay Asia Tour on Tuesday.

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my

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2,537 police personnel deployed for Liverpool match

The city police have dispatched thousands of its personnel to provide security for a friendly match between English Premier
League club Liverpool and the Indonesia XI team, scheduled to take place at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, at 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.
“The number of personnel deployed is 2,537,” said police spokesman Sr.Comr.Rikwanto on Saturday as quoted by tempo.co.
Rikwanto said the dispatched personnel were not only from the city police.

“A joint force comprising personnel from the city police, the police precincts, and sub-precinct police offices will secure the match,” he said.

The Reds’ visit to Jakarta is part of its pre-season tour of Asia and Australia. It is expected that tens of thousands of spectators will pack the GBK stadium.

Source: theJakartapost

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Manchester United thrash A-League All Stars to give David Moyes first win

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However his Manchester United career develops Jesse Lingard will be recalled as the first scorer of the David Moyes era, the 20-year-old collecting neatly from Tom Cleverley’s pass, after Danny Welbeck dummied, to finish on 11 minutes.

Following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Singha All Stars in Bangkok in Moyes’s inaugural outing in charge, the goal settled his side down, and with Wilfried Zaha starting sharp, United were slicker, quicker and more incisive as the contest unfolded.

Welbeck, who previously finished in a United shirt on 13 February at Real Madrid, was the man with his side’s second. This time Lingard found Ryan Giggs, whose weighted pass was slotted confidently by the striker beyond Ante Covic.

As with last weekend’s defeat, United were vulnerable to being turned. An illustration came when Besart Berisha fed Thomas Broich in a move that too easily split the tourists’ defence. The forward’s shot missed Anders Lindegaard’s goal by mere inches, flying beyond the Dane and over.

Within moments of the second half starting, this time Berisha was the player clear though he could only spoon an effort from the left that went close to being a throw-in on the other side. United had switched off. Berisha, an Albanian, was allowed too much room by Michael Keane, who had replaced Rio Ferdinand at half-time, and he rolled the finish beyond Lindegaard who should have got closer to the ball.

Lingard, who hails from Warrington and is yet to make a senior appearance, quickly restored United’s two-goal cushion with a pile-driver that flew past Michael Theo, on for Covic at the break, from the angle on the left.

On 63 minutes and after taking instructions from Phil Neville, one of Moyes’s coaches, Robin van Persie entered, having joined the tour in Sydney. It was the Dutchman’s corner that was placed perfectly on Welbeck’s head as he doubled his tally for the evening before a bumper 83,127 crowd.

Van Persie, on who much depends when United begin their title defence, offered one flash of his brilliance, twisting to make room inside the All Stars’ area to play in Anderson but the Brazilian was offside. The Dutchman made no mistake as the match neared 90 minutes. After being put clean through he dawdled and appeared to have missed the chance to score. But when the ball was returned to him, the striker’s lesser-trusted right boot did the business.

Zaha closed the game with some dancing feet that should have allowed Adnan Januzaj to make it 6-1 but from near-in he missed.

A-League A-Stars (3-5-2): Covic (Theo, ht); Boogard, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp (Chapman, 84), (Grant, 62); Bojic, Emerton (Currusca, 84), Miller (Celski, ht), McGlinchey, Rose (Risdon, 62); Broich (Williams, 73), Berisha (Ifill, 73)

Subs from: Bridge

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Lindegaard; Rafael, Jones, Ferdinand (Keane, ht)), Evra (Fabio, 76); Carrick (Anderson, 71), Cleverley; Zaha, Giggs Van Persie, 62), Lingard; Welbeck (Januzaj, 71)
Subs from: De Gea
Attendance: 83,127

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The Muslim Premier League

When the Premier League started in 1992, it included just one footballer known to be Muslim, Tottenham’s Spanish midfielder Nayim. England’s top division now features 40 Muslim players and they are having a significant effect on the culture of the game.

On 5 February, 2012, Newcastle United played Aston Villa at St James’ Park and one moment symbolised the impact Muslim players were having on the Premier League.
After 30 minutes, Demba Ba scored for the home side. He raced to the corner flag and was joined by Senegalese compatriot Papiss Cisse. The two devout Muslims then sank to their knees in prayer.

The growing influx of Muslim players has been fuelled by the internationalisation of football.

Scouts have spread their nets wider in the search for new talent and the Premier League has become a much more diverse place.
Young men with origins in remote villages of west Africa or tough estates in Paris have become global stars.

They may have found wealth and fame playing for English clubs, but many still hold on to something that is rooted in their cultural identity, something that guides them and comforts them when the going gets tough – their Islamic faith.

When a player of the calibre of Ba, who left Newcastle last year to join Chelsea, says he is serious about his religion, some might argue clubs cannot afford not to listen.
And there is a genuine willingness, on the part of managers and clubs, to understand and accommodate the religious needs of their players.

Muslim footballers are provided with halal food, have the option to shower separately from the rest of the team and are given time and space for prayer.

Until recently, all Premier League players named man of the match were awarded a bottle of champagne.

Yet for Muslims, alcohol is forbidden. So when Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure politely refused to accept his award on religious grounds during a television interview, the competition organisers were forced to sit up and take notice.

Champagne was phased out and now all players receive a small trophy instead.
When Liverpool won the League Cup final in 2012, players had the sensitivity to move the clothes of their team doctor, a devout Muslim, out of the changing rooms so that alcohol wasn’t sprayed over them.

Yet there are challenges to managing Muslim players and Ramadan is a particular pressure point.

How can players who aren’t eating or drinking for up to 18 hours of the day perform at the highest level over 90 minutes of a game?

Some players insist on fasting every day. Others may fast during training but not a match day. Clubs tend to muddle through with some kind of compromise, but it can’t be an easy period for players or managers.

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby, 27, says: “Arsenal would prefer me to not fast, but they understand this is a special moment for me and they try to accommodate things to make me better.”

Ba, 28, admits he has had some issues with managers about Ramadan, but says he has been steadfast.

“Every time I had a manager that was not happy with it, I’ve said: ‘Listen, I’ll do it. If my performance is still good, I’ll keep playing; if it’s bad you drop me on the bench, that’s it.'”
Former Stoke striker Mamady Sidibe, 33, insists: “You have some players who are fasting on a match day and doing very well, it’s no problem. I make sure that on match day I’m not fasting and not to give excuses to people.”

Ramadan this year ends on 7 August, 10 days before the start of the Premier League season.

Sponsorship deals have also been a source of tension. Teams who advertise gambling and pay day loan companies on their shirts put their Muslim players in a difficult position, as it means they are being used to promote activities which contradict Islamic teaching.

Crewe striker Nathan Ellington, 32, who has also played for Wigan and West Brom, takes the view that he cannot affect which sponsor his club chooses.

He said: “I think that’s usually out of the hands of the Muslim. Although he’s not allowed to gamble, that’s something you cannot affect really.”

Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi, 31, agrees: “We are players and these are things that are coming from the football club. We can’t do anything about it, we just do our job.”
Fans are also getting an education in Muslim practices.

When manager Alan Pardew suggested Ba’s slow start to the 2011-12 season was due to his fasting, fans picked up on it and marked every subsequent goal with a song celebrating how many goals he had scored since Ramadan, to the tune of Depeche Mode’s Just Can’t Get Enough.

Children playing football in the parks of Newcastle have even been spotted falling to their knees as if in prayer themselves after scoring a goal.

They may not completely understand what it means, but it’s a sign that Muslim practices are becoming a more familiar part of popular British culture.

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Football Practice During Ramadan | All-American Muslim

Coach Zaban enforces practice changes during Ramadan.

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