A dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Arsenal issue title challenge

Arsenal players took time off from their FA Cup open-top bus parade celebration to warn Chelsea that they are coming after their Premier League title next season.

The Gunners thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday and took to the streets of Islington on Sunday to parade the trophy in front of thousands of fans in the rain.  

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ on board the bus, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey said the club now want to build on their second successive FA Cup triumph by lifting the Premier League trophy next season.  

He said: "We wanted to do well this year and win something else and we have managed to do that, it's a great feeling and you can see all the fans here today out in great numbers.

"There is a bit of rain today but it is fantastic for the supporters. They have given us great support throughout the year and hopefully next year we can go on and challenge for the Premier League and win more things.

"Hopefully we can all stay fit and have a full season. When we keep everyone fit and healthy we are capable of going on these great runs and hopefully we can maintain that throughout the season next year.

"This winning habit is very important to pick up and hopefully we can start the season well and challenge for the Premier League next year."

Forward Theo Walcott, who open the scoring at Wembley with a stunning 41st-minute volley, said: "Even with the weather being terrible it's great. The support that we have throughout the whole country and across the world is amazing and I can't thank them enough.  

"I have the belief in this team and the manager does, each player has to trust in each other and this has got to be a stepping stone to challenge for the title - that's the ultimate goal.

"We need to do it for these fans because they have been waiting a long time."

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker, who headed in the third goal at Wembley, said: "With this squad everything is achievable and that's what we are proud of. The fans have been amazing throughout the season.

"Hopefully we can (challenge for the title) and build for next season."

Midfielder Mikel Arteta said: "I don't think we have any limits and I think we have the quality and everything needed to go and be bigger and bigger and hopefully we can do that in the next few seasons."

Striker Olivier Giroud, who sealed the win over Villa with a 90th-minute tap-in, added: "Next year we really want more, it's been three years that I have been here and I am really enjoying playing for this club.

"We really want to start the season strong next year and, for sure, to join the title race. We want more."

Following a civic reception at Islington Town Hall, where the squad posed for photos with both council officials and local school children, the bus returned to the Emirates for a presentation to the thousands of supporters who had waited patiently for hours in the rain.

After the players and manager were introduced to the crowd, Mertesacker and Arteta brought the FA Cup onto the stage before midfielder Jack Wilshere took to the microphone - as he had done during the celebrations 12 months ago - to lead a cheeky chant mocking rivals Tottenham. 

Arsenal win FA Cup for the 12th time

Jack Wilshire swears during Arsenal's FA Cup victory parade 

Jack Wilshere
Wilshere sang two anti-Spurs songs on a balcony alongside his team-mates.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has led fans in an expletive-laden chant during the club's FA Cup victory celebrations.

The 23-year-old took to the microphone in front of thousands of fans outside the club's Emirates Stadium, mocking Premier League rivals Tottenham.

Wilshere sang two anti-Spurs songs on a balcony alongside his team-mates.

He launched a similar attack during last year's victory celebrations. The club is yet to comment.

The appearance marked the end of the club's victory parade.

Supporters at the ground braved the rain for hours to celebrate the team's record-breaking 12 FA Cup win.

Players had travelled to a civic reception at Islington Town Hall in an open top bus at 11:00 BST.

Jack Wilshere during victory parade
Wilshere and his team-mates had celebrated their win with an open-top bus tour

Wilshere came on as a second-half substitute during Saturday's final, which saw the Gunners thrash Aston Villa 4-0.

Arsenal victory parade
Players travelled to a civic reception at Islington Town Hall

The win makes Arsenal the most successful club in FA Cup history.

Media captionDaniel Boettcher reports on Arsenal's victory parade: ''Today is all about the FA Cup''
Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott celebrate
Theo Walcott scored the first goal against Villa five minutes before half-time
Arsenal victory parade
Two open top buses travelled from the Emirates Stadium to Islington Town Hall
Arsenal players on victory bus
Arsenal has won the world's most famous cup competition 12 times
Victory parade
Arsenal comfortably defeated Aston Villa 4-0 in the final at Wembley on Saturday

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Martin Nganga guilty of arson after setting fire to Blackbird Leys house

Friday 29th May 2015 The house in Mallard CloseThe house in Mallard Close

A businessman has been found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life after setting fire to a house in Blackbird Leys.

Martin Nganga, of Tiverton in Devon, had denied pouring petrol into the hallway of a house in Mallard Close, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, in the early hours of January 29 last year and causing a blaze that forced tenants to jump to safety from first floor windows.

But a jury at Oxford Crown Court today found the 46-year-old  guilty.

The court had heard how one of the residents of the house was Nganga's best man Peter Kiriamburi, whom Nganga believed was having an affair with his wife Lilian Kibunja.

Friday, 29 May 2015


Earlier today former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner hit out at the United States after he was charged in the corruption case that has led to the arrests of more than a dozen international football officials and businessmen. 

Warner said: "The person who did the investigation is American - Michael Garcia. 

"The country that bid for the World Cup and failed was America. They are the ones who are angry and we have seen that this has to be some kind of evidential witch hunt, so to speak. 

"We all don't see a link that America believes that it has some divine right to get the World Cup and they don't believe that a country like Qatar, a small country, a Muslim country, has a right to a World Cup."

Finnish politician suggests sterilizing African immigrants 'to avoid total collapse' in Helsinki

Reuters / Emmanuel Braun

Reuters / Emmanuel Braun

A City of Helsinki deputy councilor has come under fire after he publicly stated in a Facebook post that African men who come to Finland as refugees should not be allowed to have more than three children, and should be sterilized instead.

According to Olli Sademies, 67, the problem with African immigrants is that they have too many children. So forced sterilization is the way to tackle it, he suggested.

"Migrants put to the test our social security," Sademies wrote. "Africa's social security is based on a large number of children, which enables some children to live longer and take care of their parents."

In order "to avoid total collapse" of a similar system in Finland, African refugees should be restricted, Sademies said. "Three children maximum. It would require the forced sterilization of African men, which will effectively discourage them from trundling into our country," he wrapped up.

 Olli Sademies (image from Olli Kalevi Sademies Facebook page)

Olli Sademies (image from Olli Kalevi Sademies Facebook page)

The Finns Party that Sademies is a member of has rushed to distance itself from the controversial statement.

Party Secretary Riikka Sjunga-Poutsalo said on Twitter that Sademies’s comments are only his own views, not those of the party.

Seppo Kanerva, who leads the group of Finns Party councilors on the Helsinki council, slammed Sademies' remarks.

"What he’s written is completely mad," Kanerva told Yle’s Swedish language news service, according to Yle in English. "It’s fascism. Hitler thought in the same way. I don’t understand why he wrote that."

The politician told Helsingin Sanomat daily he stands behind his words.

"This is a way to tackle the problem, and I wait for better suggestions. Tell us what would be better!" he told the HS.

In 2012, a Finns Party parliamentary assistant Helena Eronen raised eyebrows when she suggested on her blog on the Uusi Suomi website to make it compulsory for immigrants to wear armbands.

"If every foreigner was obliged to wear a mark on their sleeve stating their country of origin, then the police could see at a glance that 'aha, there’s a Muslim from Somalia', or 'aha, that’s a beggar from Romania,'" Eronen wrote, as cited by the Helsinki Times.

Earlier this month, over 300,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Sun to sack columnist Katie Hopkins, who described African migrants as “cockroaches.” The article, published just five days after 400 people died when a migrant boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea last month, provoked public outrage.

“NO, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad,” she wrote. “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit ‘Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984,’ but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb. They are survivors.”

The UN’s human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, commented that UK tabloids like the Murdoch-owned Sun that published Hopkins' comments, bring back the dark days of the Nazi media.

“The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches,” the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in April.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Fifa: Blatter refuses to quit as president & vows 'to restore trust'

Sepp Blatter has been Fifa president since 1998
Sepp Blatter has been Fifa president since 1998

Sepp Blatter has refused to resign as Fifa president following a request from Uefa chief Michel Platini.

The 79-year-old Swiss held an emergency meeting with key Fifa officials on Thursday after world football's governing body was subjected to yet more damaging corruption claims.

Platini then made a personal appeal for Blatter to quit but was told it was "too late" to resign.

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter: "I cannot monitor everyone all of the time... those who are corrupt in football are in a minority"

Blatter later vowed to restore trust in Fifa and "find a way to fix things".

Opening a meeting of Fifa's congress on the eve of Friday's presidential election, he said: "These are unprecedented and difficult times for Fifa.

"It must fall to me to uphold responsibility for the well-being of the organisation."

However, while admitting he could not be held responsible for the actions of a few, he conceded: "I'm sure more bad news may follow but it's necessary to restore trust in our organisation."

His speech came just hours after Frenchman Platini said the latest crisis had left him "absolutely sickened", adding: "People have had enough, they don't want this president any more."

Blatter, who has been president since 1998, is seeking a fifth term when he takes on Prince Ali bin al-Hussein in Friday's election.

Several influential football figures had called for the vote to be delayed after seven Fifa officials were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday.

But Uefa, which governs European football, decided on Thursday not to boycott the election and will continue to back Prince Ali, although some member associations, such as Russia, have said they will back Blatter.

Close up of Uefa president Michel Platini
Uefa head Michel Platini: "Blatter will convince the majority to vote for him... but he has already lost, Fifa has already lost"

Caf, which looks after the interests of Africa, has also reiterated its support for Blatter.

So has the Asian Football Confederation, although one of its members, the Australian football federation, has announced its intention to vote for Prince Ali.

"A big, big, big majority of the European associations will vote for Prince Ali," said Platini.

Dutch FA boss and former presidential candidate Michael van Praag - who pulled out of the running so as not to split the anti-Blatter vote - said: "He is the end responsible person in Fifa. You cannot always continue washing your hands."

Fifa was plunged into fresh crisis on Wednesday when United States authorities indicted 14 people and arrested seven senior football officials on bribery and racketeering charges.

In a separate development, Swiss officials opening criminal proceedings into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid processes.

Blatter's decision to chair an emergency meeting with representatives from Fifa's six confederations is significant.

Such gatherings are rare.

It also took place without two of its nominated members.

Jeffrey Webb, president of the North, Central American and Caribbean Association, and Eugenio Figueredo, president of the South American confederation, were both absent after being arrested on Wednesday.

Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb in a library picture
Webb was one of seven Fifa officials arrested on Wednesday

Blatter, who has been in power since 1998, was widely expected to win a fifth term as president before the current crisis engulfed Fifa.

But things are not so clear cut now.

He is understood to have widespread support among Fifa's 209 member associations, but Prince Ali, a Fifa vice-president from Jordan, could benefit from the latest crisis to his world football's governing body.

Prime Minister David Cameron and English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke joined those calling for Blatter to step down.

Britain's representative David Gill also says he will resign from Fifa's executive committee if Blatter is re-elected.

But support for the president came from Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has claimed the United States is meddling in Fifa's affairs in an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.

It's not just about the election, is it?

No, it's not. Fifa's entire future appears to be at stake.

Fifa presidential election explained

Its reputation has been sullied by corruption claims for years now.

However, there is a sense that these latest developments could have a seismic impact on the footballing landscape.

Let's remember, there are two investigations here.

One is led by the United States, which is focusing on bribery claims going back more than 20 years and involving several key Fifa figures.

The other, led by Swiss authorities, is focusing on potential wrongdoing when voting took place for 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights.

How serious are the bribery claims?

Very. Seven Fifa officials were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday on charges they received more than $150m (£100m) in bribes.

Among them was Fifa vice-president Webb, a hugely influential figure who holds a lot of power in North America and the Caribbean.

In total, 14 defendants were charged by the US Department of Justice with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies in a 24-year scheme.

Jack Warner, a former Fifa vice-president who quit world football's governing body in 2011, was also among them.

The US is trying to extradite all seven officials arrested in Zurich. Unsurprisingly, all seven are fighting such a move.

Greg Dyke
FA chairman Greg Dyke: ''Fifa have got to be rid of Blatter''

What about the 2018 and 2022 World Cups?

It seems unlikely that either Russia or Qatar will be stripped of the tournaments at this stage, although anything is possible.

Despite Fifa's numerous attempts to prove the bidding process was fair, rumours persist that not everything was above board.

The latest development have only added to the speculation.

Naturally, both Russia, who were awarded the rights to stage the 2018 tournament, and Qatar, who will host the 2022 event, are fighting hard.

Both have always insisted that they won their bids fair and square.

Is the 2010 World Cup also under scrutiny?

Yes. The tournament was always going to be in Africa, but South Africa was chosen ahead of Egypt and Morocco.

However, the US investigation claims South African officials paid $10m (£6.5m) in bribes to host the tournament.

That has prompted a furious reaction from the South African government.

"When we concluded the Fifa World Cup here in South Africa, we got a clean audit report," said Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. "There has never been any suggestion that anything untoward happened."

How is Fifa dealing with the crisis?

As you'd expect, it is working overtime to calm fears it is in meltdown.

Fifa director of communications Walter De Gregorio tried hard to put a positive spin on developments on Wednesday.

But not everyone believed him when he claimed the investigations proved Fifa was on the right track.

In an attempt to be proactive, Fifa has already banned 11 of the 14 people charged by the US Department of Justice.

But it is coming under increasing pressure from unhappy sponsors.

Which sponsors are particularly upset?

Visa. It says it will "reassess" its sponsorship unless Fifa takes "swift and immediate steps" to address the latest accusations.

Coca-Cola, Adidas, Nike and McDonalds have also voiced concern.

John Whittingdale, Britain's Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, has urged all sponsors to "consider following Visa's lead".

It's fair to say that the loss of a high-profile sponsor would have a damaging impact on Fifa, both in terms of revenue and reputation.

And how are the broadcasters who pay such large sums for TV rights taking it?

The BBC, which holds rights to broadcast World Cup matches in the UK, has yet to comment on the scandal - but it is not alone in that.

Fellow UK rights holder ITV has similarly issued a "no comment". As have France's TF1, RTE in Ireland, Fox Sports in the US and Australia's SBS.

Germany's ZDF/ARD is so far the only major rights-holding broadcaster to give BBC Sport a statement. It said: "ZDF has repeatedly covered the human rights issues and working conditions in Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup.

"ZDF prides itself on its journalism and our need to report critically and seriously about the institutions of the sport. We remain committed to that but ARD and ZDF have signed binding contracts for the World Championships 2018 and 2022 with Fifa."