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Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan says he’s no ‘villain,’ threatens to walk away

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In an extremely rare interview Cardiff City’s Malaysian owner Vincet Tan has come out all guns blazing, as the billionaire businessman finally has his say following months of intense criticism.

After changing Cardiff’s colors from blue to red, then bankrolling the team to Premier League promotion last season, Tan hasn’t stayed out of the headlines since. But for all the wrong reasons.

He fired hugely popular manager Malky Mackay in inauspicious fashion in January and in this lengthy interview with the BBC, Tan calls out fans, ridicules former manager Mackay and threatens Cardiff’s supporters with walking away and much more.

Speaking to the BBC, Tan was back in his homeland of Malaysia where he is treated as a hero and was having a huge party thrown in his honor to celebrate his business and charity work along with his birthday.

Here’s the transcript below, as Tan talks Bond villains, taking over transfers and scolds Cardiff’s fans. There will be some serious repercussions from this explosive interview.

On the fans of Cardiff City protesting against him:

“I would say that even now 90 percent of the fans are supportive. The problem is you have 10 percent of fans who are not supportive. They should apologize for what they have done to me. I think whatever we have done, we have done it right. Fans are not involved in the management, fans don’t know the details. My message to the fans is I came to your town, I saved your club and I put a lot of money into the club and got the team promoted for the first time in 51 years.”

“Supporters, this is your club. Why do you do stupid things and be influenced by people who have done things that aren’t right for the club? Without me this club would’ve gone down.”

On former manager Malky Mackay:

“Before he came to us Malky was at Watford and they finished 16th and 17th for two years, he didn’t do very well with Watford. I think Malky got lucky that he came to Cardiff. Where we went wrong is that as far as I was considered, one transfer was not authorized. We agreed to spend $52 million, which is what I put in and is a lot of money, and compared to the other teams that came up, Hull and Crystal Palace, we spent double or triple what they did and you see they are doing much better than us.”

“If I have my say then it is a public feud, so I just let him say all the things he wanted to say. He played the press well. One day we are the hero, maybe another day we are zero. Maybe today I am zero in the eyes of some people. In the eyes of football fans he’s the hero, tomorrow this will reverse when the truth comes out. I assure you.”

source: AP
Former manage Mackay, right, was lambasted by Tan for his performance in the transfer market.

On changing the clubs color from blue to red and changing the team badge:

“I stand by that decision to change the logo from the bluebird to the dragon. That is your national symbol of Wales. I am putting your country flag of Wales back into the jersey. In Asia red is a color of success, festivity, joy. After we changed the color, we won promotion in the first season. I think that was a good omen. No way, under my ownership, will I change it back to blue. Perhaps if you find an owner who likes blue, sure pay me out and do whatever you want. I’ll go somewhere else and build another red club!”

On the British press:

“The British press are unfair, maybe because we didn’t tell our side of the story that well. Somebody told their story better. When the time is right I will tell my story. Sometimes the British press are maybe a little bit racist and quite unfair.”

On being cast as a villain in many pictures:

“I wear sunglasses because of the glare of the spotlight in the stadiums. And I wear gloves because it’s very cold in the UK.”

On the future:

“Right now, at this point of time, I will stay. Unless the fans [expletive] me off, then I may leave. We believe we will stay up in the Premier League, we are blessed with good luck, we should be able to stay in the league. Next summer I’m sure we will do better with the transfers because I will be personally involved. We will look at the team and make it stronger. We will not let the manager run wild, that was a mistake I made.”

Report: Chelsea set to overhaul defense with clear out

WATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Odion Ighalo of Watford, Gary Cahill of Chelsea and Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea battle for possession during the Premier League match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road on August 20, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
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At times during Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday, Antonio Conte looked like he was going to cry.

The defending was that bad.

[ MORE: Conte bemoans defending ]

Chelsea gave up three first half goals, the first in calamitous fashion as Gary Cahill was inexplicably caught on the ball to let Alexis Sanchez in to score, and Conte was seething in his post-match press conference about the level of defending and the fact that Chelsea has now conceded at least twice in each of their last four games.

The Daily Mail reports that the Italian manager has seen enough from both Cahill and struggling right back Branislav Ivanovic and he will “phase them out” in the coming weeks at Stamford Bridge.

With captain John Terry set to come back from injury, plus Kurt Zouma close to a return too, Conte has other options and it seems likely he will now use those.

Per the report, Conte is also looking elsewhere to bolster his defensive options with Burnley’s Michael Keane and Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson both linked with a January move to the Blues with the west London said to be scouting both players closely.

It will be intriguing to see how Conte changes things up in the games to come, especially as the Blues face tough tests against Hull City, Leicester City and Manchester United in their next three Premier League games.

Chelsea played the final 35 minutes at the Emirates in a 3-5-2 formation which is one Conte mastered at Juventus and with the Italian national team in the past. That formation may well get the best out of Terry, the erratic David Luiz and perhaps Zouma alongside them. Truth be told, Ivanovic and Cahill have both struggled for the last 12 months and it is about time they were held accountable for some of the defensive mistakes they’ve made.

Whatever Conte does, it has to be something drastic because the way he sets his team’s up they won’t win games 5-0. As long as Chelsea keep things tight, they’ll do well under the Italian manager. But right now that’s a big ‘if’ for the Blues.

As I wrote from the Emirates this weekend, Conte knows he has a huge job on his hands to transform their defense.

FIFA disbands racism task force ahead of World Cup in Russia

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) FIFA has disbanded its anti-racism task force, declaring the work complete despite ongoing concerns about discriminatory behavior in 2018 World Cup host Russia.

FIFA wrote to members of the task force to say that it has “completely fulfilled its temporary mission” and “is hereby dissolved and no longer in operation.”

“I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not,” task force member Osasu Obayiuwana told The Associated Press on Sunday. “The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which need continuous attention.

“I personally think there remained a lot of very serious work for the task force to have done – the 2018 World Cup in Russia being one such matter. But it is evident the FIFA administration takes a different position.”

The task force was established in 2013 by then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter and headed by Jeffrey Webb, a vice president of world soccer’s governing body until he was arrested in 2015 as part of the American investigation into soccer corruption.

Webb, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, was replaced exactly a year ago as task force chairman by Congolese federation president Constant Omari, who also sits on FIFA’s ruling council.

“We never had a single meeting under his chairmanship,” Obayiuwana said. “I wrote him, more than once, asking for when a meeting would be held. But I never received a reply from him.”

Obayiuwana, a journalist, broadcaster and qualified lawyer, received the letter from FIFA on Friday announcing the end of the task force.

“The FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination was set up with your help on a temporary basis to develop recommendations for FIFA,” wrote Gerd Dembowski, FIFA’s diversity and anti-discrimination manager.

“We are therefore delighted to inform you that all of the task force’s recommendations have been implemented and all resulting projects are ongoing.”

FIFA pointed to the introduction of an anti-discrimination monitoring system at matches, the launch of a “Good Practice Guide ,” starting a team of footballing legends and a new diversity award. Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s first female and non-European secretary general, will present the award on Monday at the SoccerEx convention in Manchester.

FIFA also told task force members that its own initiatives “actually exceed the working group’s recommendations” – trumpeting its “Say No to Racism” campaign, women’s leadership conferences and programs in Russia. There are less than nine months until Russia stages the Confederations Cup, the warm-up event for the 2018 World Cup.

The most recent research from the Moscow-based SOVA Center and the UEFA-affiliated FARE Network reported a surge in the number of racist displays by Russian soccer fans, with most cases going unpunished. Researchers logged 92 incidents of discriminatory displays and chants by Russian fans in and around stadiums in the 2014-15 season, against a total of 83 for the previous two seasons put together.

Rob Harris can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/RobHarris and http://www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew 2-0 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It was mostly the Crew from start to finish, and Ola Kamara’s brace helped ensure Greg Berhalter’s side that the team will remain in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. While the other Kamara — Kei — and his Revolution teammates were largely limited for chances on the evening, the Crew backline did an admirable job to prevent their opposition from testing them. For the Crew, it was the team’s first shutout since the two sides last met on August 20, ironically also a 2-0 victory for Berhalter’s group.

[ MORE: David Villa discusses MLS playoffs, Guardiola and more ]

Three moments that mattered

42′ – Ola smashes one past the Revs on the stroke of halftime — The Crew attack has sputtered a lot in 2016, but Ola Kamara continues to keep the team’s bleak playoff hopes intact.

67′ — Afful’s effort smacks against the post, stays out — The Crew attacked and attacked and attacked some more. Harrison Afful was definitely a bit unlucky that this chance didn’t end up in Brad Knighton’s goal.

84′ — Questionable penalty seals the points — It looked a bit soft to be given, but Kamara makes no mistake with the finish.

 

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ola Kamara

Goalscorers: Ola Kamara (42′, 84)

Watch: Dario Benedetto scores audacious blast for Boca Juniors

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When there’s little support up the field, what should you do?

Just ask, Dario Benedetto.

The Boca Juniors man broke Sunday’s 4-1 win over Quilmes wide open after a quarter hour when Benedetto smashed a 40-yard attempt into the back of the net, leaving the opposing keeper speechless.

The 26-year-old did just about everything right on the day, as Benedetto finished off the match with a hat-trick before halftime.