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Man City seeking apology for Bayern president’s oil comments

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Manchester City will demand a public apology from Uli Hoeness for his recent comments about the Premier League club’s transfer dealings, lest the Bayern Munich president and/or his employers face legal action.

[ MORE: Jose Mourinho “preparing” for next job; expects to start “in June” ]

Hoeness, who worked with Pep Guardiola during his trophy-filled stint in Germany, recently alleged that Man City owner Sheikh Mansour pays for the club’s transfers by ramping up oil prices. The allegation didn’t come without salacious detail, either.

“My friend Pep told me what happens when he signs a player costing ($110 million). He puts some videos together and goes to see the sheikh.

“There is an opulent feast put on, during which he teaches the video to him and the money is transferred. The next day, the sheikh raises the price of oil to recoup the money.”

According to the Daily Mirror, City officials were very upset over the comments. So much so that they are considering legal action if Hoeness, a convicted tax evader, is unwilling to make a public apology and/or retraction. One source had the following to say on the matter:

“It was the remark of a smug, arrogant egotist. We are also concerned that there may be a racist element to what Hoeness has claimed.”

Southgate: Kane, Sterling setting England example on, off the field

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Perhaps Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling aren’t leaders in the most traditional sense — grizzled veterans who have been around the block and seen everything there is to see — but nevertheless, they’re the ones setting the example for England’s next generation of young stars, many of whom aren’t so much younger than they are.

[ MORE: Eric Dier out of England squad, back at Spurs with another injury ]

It’s clear for all to see that Kane and Sterling are leading and inspiring the Three Lions with their on-field performances, for club and for country — they have 55 goals and 19 assists between them since August — but to hear Gareth Southgate speak of their leadership off the field, one can’t help but feel the England program has been entrusted to very safe hands — quotes from the Guardian:

“To have such a top striker, like Harry, who has such humility and such a low ego, has a huge impression on the whole group, because at the moment he is the star player. You wouldn’t know it from the way he conducts himself, you wouldn’t know it from his application to training and the way he is disciplined with his preparation and his focus.

“Equally, that’s the same for Raheem. You see his focus in training, his preparation for those things, so for young players coming on it’s an easy equation: if I do the things those two do, there’s a good chance that I’ll get the performances that they are putting in.”

It’s certainly a new concept that players could be the undisputed leaders of the England squad at 25 and 24 years old, respectively — particularly to Southgate, who came through the England setup in the 1990s — but it’s something he’s been quick to embrace.

“I think young people in all walks of society have a little bit more belief. I think bosses in all industries are less draconian in the way they work, and I think that helps youngsters to come in and be more creative and believe they can make a difference. They don’t baulk at anything. I just think, generally speaking, given an opportunity, they’ll go and surprise people.”

“(During Southgate’s career) You were told: ‘Don’t get carried away, you’ve got to earn your right to play, you’ve got to earn your right to do this. Did that get the most out of us? Probably not. There were some great qualities that gave us, and we’ve got to make sure we don’t lose that, because respect is important, as is appreciation of what you’ve got, but equally, we want to let talent have its head.”

In particular, 17-year-old Jadon Sancho already views Sterling as a hero, a mentor and a friend. Asked whether Sterling “was now one of the daddies of the team”:

“Yeah,” the 18-year-old replied, his face lighting up as he began his eulogy. “His numbers are crazy this year, and he’s showing all the youngsters what it’s about. I’m just happy that I’m sharing a pitch with him.”

Sterling pays tribute to young friend, cancer victim after England goal

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LONDON (AP) Raheem Sterling revealed a t-shirt memorializing a young footballer after scoring his second goal in a hat trick for England against the Czech Republic on Friday.

Damary Dawkins, a Crystal Palace youth team player who had been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia for four years, died on Sunday aged 13.

Sterling’s t-shirt under his England jersey had a photo of Dawkins and the message “May your soul rest in peace.”

But the tribute in the European Championship qualifier, which England won 5-0, could lead to action by governing body UEFA.

The laws of football state that “players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer’s logo.” The law introduced in 2014 states that an offending player has to be sanctioned by the competition organizer.

Sane, Gundogan allegedly racially abused on Germany duty

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Three men have turned themselves in to authorities following allegations that they racially abused Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan while the Manchester City duo was on international duty in Germany.

[ MORE: Report: Man United stars lined up for exit ]

The phrases “Negro” and “Turk” were allegedly shouted at Sane, who is black, and Gundogan, who was born (in Germany) to Turkish parents, during Germany’s 1-1 draw with Serbia in Wolfsburg. “Heil Hitler” is also alleged to have been used, according to a report from a German publication.

The abuse lobbed at Sane and Gundogan was “constant” from a certain sect of the crowd in attendance, according to a statement from the German federation immediately after the game.

[ MORE: Sane escapes serious injury despite “vicious foul” ]

“The DFB condemns the racist incident in the international match against Serbia on Wednesday in Wolfsburg in the strongest terms. During the match at the Volkswagen Arena, national team players Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan were constantly insulted by a small group of spectators.

“Thanks to the support of a fan, the DFB was able to locate the ticket buyer for the seats where the spectators were sitting. The police have been turned on and are now investigating.”

Fans urging UEFA to curb Champions League ticket prices

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GENEVA (AP) After Barcelona and Manchester United raised prices for their Champions League quarterfinal matches, UEFA was urged on Thursday to enforce stricter ticketing rules by the group it consults to represent European soccer fans.

Football Supporters Europe criticized “exorbitant pricing” in hikes imposed on visiting fans by two of the world’s wealthiest clubs for their games on April 10 and 16.

After Barcelona set prices at $134 for visiting Man United fans, the English club retaliated with an equivalent 102 pound price for away fans at Old Trafford. That is almost 70 percent more than the base ticket price of $80 for the Champions League final in Madrid.

Man United said $35 from each ticket sold to Barcelona fans will subsidize tickets at Camp Nou for its own fans “again being subjected to increased/excessive prices.”

“Yet again, this is proof that the current regulations for UEFA competitions are not sufficient,” the fan group, described by UEFA as a key stakeholder, said in a statement.

English clubs have long complained to UEFA about opposing clubs, typically in Spain, raising prices for their traveling fans.

UEFA’s current rules prohibit two-tier pricing, and have been used to force Anderlecht and AEK Athens to compensate Bayern Munich fans in the past two seasons. Bayern fans attending the away games were due to get $34 from Anderlecht and $11 from AEK.

However, most Barcelona fans avoid paying the full price charged to visitors. The club discounts prices for season ticket-holders and members.

“We expect UEFA to change the regulations to state that ticket prices for away fans should be the same as the cheapest tickets available for home fans,” Football Supporters Europe said.

The Germany-based group also said Man United responding with “reciprocal pricing is part of the problem.”

“Barcelona fans should not be forced to pay for the sins of their club,” the FSE said. “Indeed, just because elite level football is awash with money does not mean that fans are – quite the opposite. It is incumbent upon clubs to recognize this fact and act accordingly.”

Champions League safety rules currently say away fan tickets “must not exceed the price paid for tickets of a comparable category” for home fans.

A strict interpretation of UEFA rules could see Man United more likely to face a disciplinary case, despite seeking to help its own fans financially by raising prices for Barcelona’s visit on April 10.

UEFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amid one dispute between two storied clubs, two more former European champions made a fan-friendly deal for their quarterfinals matches.

Liverpool said Thursday it had “extensive discussions” with UEFA and Porto before agreeing its fans will be charged $68 to see the second leg in Portugal on April 17. That is $17 less than Liverpool fans paid last season for a round-of-16 game at Porto.

“(Liverpool) would like to thank Porto for working with the club on a pricing structure,” the English club said , noting other Champions League clubs are working with UEFA “to negotiate the fairest ticket prices for their fans.”