CSKA Moscow president Evgeny Giner: ‘Yaya Touré made it up’

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Russian Premier League champion CSKA Moscow’s president did little to assuage fears of bigotry on Sunday. Evgeny Giner told Sport-Express.ru that Manchester City midfielder “made up” his accusations of racist chants from CSKA fans in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match.

“Yaya Touré invented it all,” Giner said (via a Google translation and common-sense clean-up). “The [UEFA-assigned] delegate did not hear anything. The inspector did not hear anything. There was no hooting from the stands. CSKA … has enough black players ourselves. What kind of racism? …

“The British can not put up with the fact that they did not receive the 2018 World Cup. The British are constantly coming up with something: that in Russia the pitches are in bad condition, then the stands behave disgracefully racist. It is very frustrating.”

Giner’s statement comes after Touré called for a boycott of the 2018 FIFA World Cup set to be held in Russia if the country does not clean up its act. Russia has one of the worst reputations in Europe for accepted racist behavior, such as Zenit St. Petersburg fans’ public desire that the club not sign any black or foreign players.

(MORE: UEFA opens CSKA Moscow racism investigation; Yaya Touré says it’s not enough)

“I was at the game, and there was no racism,” Giner said. “I then spoke with our fans. I do not even want to discuss why Yaya Touré did that. … God will judge him. Granted, in the championship of Russia, there were times when bananas flew onto the field, which is unacceptable.

“But in the match with Manchester City, we have nothing to talk about. Our fans behave decently and are sympathetic to the request of the club to have much fewer imposed fines.”

On Thursday, UEFA opened an investigation into the alleged events, which Touré brought to the attention of referee Ovidiu Hațegan as they occurred. Hațegan elected not to stop the match, which City won, 2-1. Both clubs issued statements on the incident, with City confirming it formally requested a UEFA investigation, while CSKA denied any wrongdoing.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.