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Bolton set for much-needed ownership change after sale agreed

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BOLTON, England (AP) A businessman who was banned from English soccer for three years for financial misconduct has signed a deal to buy struggling second-tier club Bolton.

[ MORE: Bolton given extra time to settle tax debts, avoid liquidation ]

Bolton says Laurence Bassini, the former chairman of Watford, has purchased the club and will settle its long-term debts that are threatening to put one of the founding members of the English Football League, in 1888, out of business.

The change of ownership must be approved by English soccer authorities.

Bolton, which could be relegated to the third tier on Friday, owes $1.6 million to Britain’s tax authority and its players have still not been paid their salaries for March.

[ MORE: Bolton avoid administration, 12-point deduction in 11th hour ]

Bassini was banned from holding a position of authority at an English club for three years in 2013.

Bolton says “significant funds will immediately be made available” once the sale of the club is confirmed, “enabling the payment of the outstanding wages to the players and coaching staff along with a number of the long-term creditors.”

Bolton was most recently in the Premier League in 2012.

Spurs defender Danny Rose slams lack of action on racism

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Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose launched a scathing attack on the executives and authorities in world soccer, believing that racism should have been booted from the game by now and saying those in power have done far too little to prevent the incidents that dot the landscape today.

Rose was the victim of racist chants last week during a game in Montenegro while on international duty with England, and he says the punishments are far too weak.

“A country can only get fined a little bit of money for being racist, it’s a bit of a farce isn’t it?” Rose said. “I’ve had enough.”

The abuse has become so bad that Rose is looking forward to his retirement, excited for the day he can fade back into anonymity and not be subject to the vile taunts. “I think I’ve got five or six more years left in football, and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.”

“Seeing how things are done in the game at the minute, you just have to get on with it. There is so much politics in football. I can’t wait to see the back of it.”

Despite prevalent incidents all over the world, players subject to racist abuse – and their teammates and coaches – are still forced to plead with authorities both during and after matches for something to be done. Often, those involved are forced to insist the incidents actually took place, with many denying they happened. Montenegro head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic claimed after the match that he did not “hear or notice” any racist abuse, which forced both Rose and England boss Gareth Southgate to retort by saying, “there’s no doubt in my mind it happened.”

It also leaves coaches like Southgate in a difficult position, feeling the need to take a stand but also not wanting to potentially harm the team. “Gareth Southgate was a bit upset after the game because it was the first time he’d been involved in something like that,” Rose said. “He didn’t know what the right course of action was. He said he was fully behind me if I wanted to walk off. I appreciate that, but I just wanted to get the three points and get out of there as quickly as possible.”

Rose wasn’t done calling out the authorities who failed to prevent such a situation. “Obviously it is sad that I had to prepare for that, but when countries only get fined what I probably spend on a night out in London then what do you expect?”

UEFA charged Montenegro for the abuse during the England match, and a disciplinary hearing will take place on May 16.

Southgate the latest from World Cup run to receive royal honors

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LONDON (AP) An unlikely fashion icon during the World Cup, England manager Gareth Southgate was looking sharp again in his trademark vest on Thursday.

Not on the sideline of a soccer field but at Buckingham Palace.

Southgate was there to collect his OBE — Officer of the Order of the British Empire — from the Prince of Wales, three months after being awarded the honor in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year list.

The 48-year-old Southgate led England to the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia last year. For games, he donned a vest, or waistcoat, under his suit jacket and sales of the garment soared back home in England during the tournament.

After receiving his honor, Southgate said it was a “very proud moment” and that he was “very grateful to all of the players and all the support team that work with me, because I’m here representing them, really.”

England striker Harry Kane received an MBE — Member of the Order of the British Empire — at the palace last week.

Danny Rose breaks silence about facing racist abuse in Montenegro

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Danny Rose has spoken emphatically and candidly about his personal feelings and career plans in breaking his 10-day silence about the racist abuse he and England’s other black players faced during the Three Lions’ game in Montenegro last month.

[ MORE: Bonucci criticized for saying Kean “50-50” to blame for racist abuse ]

While the likes of manager Gareth Southgate and players Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi chose to speak about the incident in the minutes immediately following the final whistle, Rose says he wanted to keep his thoughts to himself and speak with a number of important figures in his life before going public with his thoughts.

While his manager and some of his teammates weren’t aware of the racist chanting which had been taking place until the game’s second half, Rose was acutely aware of what was happening, though he says he didn’t bring it up to Southgate at halftime — quotes from the Telegraph:

“I spoke to Gareth after the game and he hadn’t been aware (of the racism). I didn’t mention it at halftime, so he wasn’t aware of what was happening until he heard it right at the end.

“The manager was a bit upset to be fair, because he told us it was the first time he’d been involved with something like that and he said he didn’t know what the right course of action was. He said he was fully behind me if we wanted to walk off. I just wanted to get the three points and get out of there as quickly as possible.”

Southgate offered nothing but full backing to his players after the game, striking the perfect balance of anger over the events and the feeling of failure given the level of responsibility he feels as someone in a position of prominence and power.

[ MORE: PL clubs top $341 million in fees paid to player agents ]

It’s not the first time Rose has dealt with racism while playing for England. As a member of the U-21 team for a trip to Serbia in 2012, a similar incident occurred which had Rose prepared for — and expecting — more of the same this time around. Serbia was fine all of $85,000 by UEFA and forced to play one game behind closed doors.

“I sort of prepared myself for what happened. We won and now we just wait for whatever punishment if any punishment happens.

“I wasn’t upset. I just didn’t want the focus to be on me and about a small — I have to say it was only a small — minority of the fans doing the chanting. I didn’t want the post-match to be about me. I just wanted everybody to focus on a great week we’d had with England. We scored 10 goals and it was a great performance over two games. I just didn’t want to speak and put any focus on me, that’s all.

“I played in Serbia about eight years ago and it happened there. So I sort of thought it would be a possibility that it might happen again (in Montenegro) and it did. So yes, it happened. I looked up straight away in the first half and I know the exact time it happened in the first half.

“But it didn’t affect my game. I’m a big boy now and I know that three points are obviously not the most important thing when you’re going through something like that, but I just wanted the team to get three points so that we could move on and get out of Montenegro as quickly as possible.”

[ MORE: Sterling pays for 550 students from his old school to attend FA Cup semi ]

As for what must be done to rid the game of racism, Rose believes the game’s various governing bodies must begin to take the issue seriously, beginning with punishments befitting the crime.

“When countries only get fined what I’d probably spend on a night out in London, what do you expect? When the punishment is not as harsh, what do you expect?

“You see my Tottenham manager (Mauricio Pochettino) get banned for two games for just being confrontational against [referee] Mike Dean at Burnley. But yet a country can only get fined a little bit of money for being racist. It’s just a bit of a farce at the minute. So that’s where we are at in football and until there’s a harsh punishment there’s not must else we can expect.”

While Rose is clearly a deeply insightful individual and someone willing to meet any potential criticism head-on for speaking out about important societal issues, he was very transparent about the fact that the custodians of the game have not only failed himself and many others around the world, but also that it has him just about counting down the days until he’s ready to retire.

“I’ve had enough. At the minute, how I program myself, I just think, ‘I’ve got five or six more years left in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.’ Seeing how things are done in the game at the minute. I just want to get out of it.

“That’s how I feel. I feel I’ve got five or six more years left and I just want to enjoy football as much as I can. There is so much politics and whatever in football, and I just can’t wait to see the back of it, to be honest.”

Everton looking into video of alleged bar fight involving Pickford

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Everton is investigating a video appearing to show an early morning bar fight involving goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Posted on Twitter, the video shows a person who looks the ex-Sunderland keeper in a fracas, reportedly with Newcastle United fans.

[ MORE: Fate on Liverpool’s side? ]

The man alleged to be Pickford, the 25-year-old England keeper, is shown being dragged away from a fight outside a bar in Sunderland.

From Sky News:

In a statement, an Everton spokesman said: “The club has been made aware of an alleged incident involving one of our players and we are looking into the matter.”

Pickford played 90 minutes in Everton’s clean sheet defeat of West Ham United on Saturday, as he has in 34 of the Toffees’ 36 matches this season (He did not draw EFL Cup duty).

He counts 10 clean sheets on his record, but also a rough ending to the first Merseyside Derby of the season and a colossally head-scratching day in a 3-2 come-from-ahead loss to Newcastle United last month.

Pickford has 17 caps and has started 14 of England’s last 15 matches. His former club Sunderland lost the Checkatrade Trophy to Portsmouth on Sunday in penalty kicks.