Mackay defends honor as fresh report says he used slur to describe Tan

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It hasn’t been a year to celebrate for Malky Mackay. The former Cardiff City manager was fired in December and may have lost out on the vacant Crystal Palace job thanks to a series of abhorrent texts between him and former Bluebirds administrator Iain Moody.

And it’s no surprise that Mackay is in a rush to defend himself, appearing on the BBC to discuss the mistakes he made in sending texts that have been deemed racist, sexist and homophobic.

[ RELATED: Cardiff City calls for LMA firing over Mackay ‘banter’ wording ]

Mackay claimed that only three of the more than 10,000 texts in question came from his phone, but fresh allegations say one of the texts from his phone labeled owner Vincent Tan with an Asian slur.

From the BBC (video link):

“They are completely unacceptable, inappropriate, and for that I sincerely apologise,” said the 42-year-old Scot.

“I’m a leader of people and it shouldn’t have happened, but I’m a human being and I made a mistake.”

Mackay is alleged to have shared the texts with former Cardiff colleague Iain Moody, who quit his position as Crystal Palace sporting director shortly after the allegations came to light.

“Out of 10,000 text messages in and out of someone’s phone, I sent three,” added Mackay.

“There is no excuse. It was a period where I was under pressure and stress in terms of relationships which were not going well at my football club at the time. Once again, that doesn’t actually excuse anything.”

The rub here is that the leaked texts don’t say who has sent which message, so it’s difficult to consider absolving Mackay. After all, it’s clear that he didn’t protest enough to stop thousands of texts returning to his phone, whether from a superior or not.

And so today’s allegations that Mackay used an offensive Asian slur to describe former Cardiff owner Tan are a major problem for Mackay.

More from the BBC:

The Mail alleges the damaging text was sent from Mackay’s phone on 5 June last year, when he contacted Cardiff’s then head of recruitment Moody about a player they were trying to sign.

The message read: “Not taking no for an answer from the (deleted) until the 20th time or unless somebody big blows us out of the water. Can you tell him that?”

Well, that puts a face on it.

The scandal has already cost Moody his job as sporting director of Crystal Palace, and he resigned in a hurry. Mackay should be grateful he didn’t have a job to lose.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.