Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2013 Contents A53
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BERN---Expecting a heat wave this
weekend, the Swiss Football League
says matches can be stopped twice in
each half for drink breaks to protect
The league says it agreed with referees
that play can be "briefly interrupted"
around the 15th and 30th minutes of each
half as players should be able to "hydrate
themselves correctly." Temperatures of at
least 33 Celsius are forecast on Sunday
when Sion plays St Gallen and Lucerne
meets Zurich from 1.45 pm local time.
Hotter conditions are expected inside
stadiums because of warming winds
from nearby mountains. (AP)
Swiss League approves drinks breaks in heat wave
LONDON---They are among the world s lead-
ing footballers and, unsurprisingly, the most
coveted by rival teams.
With no competitive matches in Europe,
it s the intrigue about the futures of Wayne
Rooney, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Cesc
Fabregas that is largely filling the void during
European clubs could be on the verge of
completing hundreds of millions of dollars in
transfer business before the September 2 cutoff,
defying the economic climate on the continent
and UEFA s relatively new Financial Fair Play
Or, quite possibly, very little money could
change hands. Instead, the leading players will
stay put and the European footballing land-
scape will remain largely unchanged.
It s a situation that would become far clearer
with public clarity from the players, who have
gone very quiet recently.
One of the biggest transfers to be mooted
in the offseason has been for Bale, with Real
Madrid the most active in the chase for the
Leaving north London would seem logical.
Financial considerations aside---the weekly
pay packet in Madrid would likely be worth
at least $300,000 a week---Bale s chances of
lifting a trophy would be significantly
enhanced, and he would be able to display
his talents in the Champions League again.
While there has not been an official bid,
Marca---the Spanish sports newspaper
renowned for its close links to Madrid---has
ramped up coverage of "Operation Bale," claim-
ing in recent weeks that a transfer exceeding
$100 million is imminent.
So has Bale reaffirmed his loyalty to the
team that turned him into one of Europe s
hottest properties? Not quite.
"I m hoping to improve from last season,"
is one of the few vague public comments from
the speedy Wales star this month.
And in an usual move, Bale s agent, Jonathan
Barnett, went on Marca s television station in
May to declare that they would listen to an
offer from Madrid. Not that Bale and his agent
have much say in the matter, since there are
three years remaining on the player s Totten-
"The player is under contract at Tottenham,"
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said
Friday, confirming that talks over extending
that deal are ongoing but unresolved.
If Bale wanted to leave why not hand in an
official transfer request? It s a question many
have been asking of Rooney, who wants to
end his nine-year Manchester United career,
and Suarez, who wants to upgrade Liverpool
for a more competitive club.
"It s a bit of a red herring, there s no require-
ment you submit a transfer request," sports
lawyer Ian Lynam said in a telephone interview.
"Most players who move don t move on the
back of a transfer requests."
Suarez is one of the few leading players to
publicly agitate for a transfer. Taking to the
airwaves in his native Uruguay, the striker
made it clear in repeated radio interview he
wants to leave Liverpool despite having with
three years to go on his contract.
Madrid is his preferred destination---a move
that could hinge on the Spanish side s pursuit
of Bale---but the only offers so far have come
from Liverpool s Premier League rival, Arse-
na---the latest worth 40 million pounds ($61
That Suarez is keen on joining Arsenal,
which is in Europe next season unlike Liver-
pool, seems to be at odds with comments in
May that escaping the English media "who
are trashing me unfairly" is his reason for
wanting to exit Anfield.
In this, what price loyalty?
Liverpool stood by Suarez when racially
abused Manchester United s Patrice Evra in
2011, an incident and eight-match ban that
damaged the global standing of the 19-time
That reputation was harmed further when
Suarez bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic
during a game in April, and was banned for
Such incidents make it seem even more
baffling that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger,
a proponent of high moral standards in football,
would pursue Suarez, who still has six matches
of his ban left to serve.
Suarez s departure would leave Liverpool
without its most prolific scorer.
With Rooney, though, Manchester United,
is steadfastly refusing to release an increasingly
peripheral player. Bids from Chelsea have been
rebuffed despite Rooney falling behind striker
Robin van Persie in the United pecking order.
Lynam disputes the notion that knowing a
player is officially up for sale prevents clubs
from extracting the highest transfer fee.
"Technically the clubs don t have to sell a
player and they can keep him," said Lynam
of London-based law firm Charles Russell.
"But the reality is there is a lot of power with
the players and clubs are loathed to hang onto
a player who really wants to move ... when
you compare it to American sports, the level
of power the players have in European football
Rooney has not spoken publicly on the sit-
uation since Alex Ferguson disclosed before
retiring as United in May that the disenchanted
striker wanted out of Old Trafford.
At the same time as denying Rooney an
escape route, United has pursued Fabregas at
Barcelona, while also being heavily linked with
a highly ambitious bid to re-sign Cristiano
Ronaldo from Madrid.
Seeking a big-name signing to start his
managerial reign, David Moyes has embarked
on a highly public quest to prize Fabregas from
the Spanish champions with a series of hostile
bids for the former Arsenal captain.
"It s logical that we ve had offers for Fabregas
because he is a quality player," Barcelona vice
president Josep Maria Bartomeu said. "But he
is not for sale."
The same "not for sale" sign has been placed
over Rooney by United, Suarez by Liverpool
and Bale by Tottenham. The departure of one
could set the wheels in motion for a series of
blockbuster summer moves.
For now, the transfer merry-go-round is
barely moving. (AP)
Transfer deadlock goes
on for Suarez, Rooney
Transfer targets: Wayne Rooney, right, and Luis Suarez are two of the summer's hottest properties.
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