Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 21st 2014 Contents A44
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 21, 2014
LONDON---Trying to explain yet another
setback, a despondent but determined David
Moyes wouldn t take the bait.
Manchester United s 3-1 loss at Chelsea on
Sunday---the team s seventh of the Premier
League season---left the defending champions
14 points behind leader Arsenal.
"Some people might call it a crisis," one
reporter said to Moyes after the match at
"Who?" the United manager snapped back.
"Me," the reporter responded.
"It s not the performance that s expected,"
Moyes answered. "That s correct."
The reporter tried again: "Is it a crisis?"
Moyes: "No. That s your word, not my
Just like predecessor Alex Ferguson, Moyes
wasn t biting. But the league standings look
troubling enough---by United s standards---
without Moyes adding to the sense of uncer-
tainty with pessimistic sound bites.
Especially when the current United manager
could point out that he inherited a squad in
need of strengthening, particularly in mid-
Especially when investors will be watching
closely at a business whose share price has
slumped from a high of US$19.34 after Fer-
guson delivered the 20th English title to
US$15.20 at Friday s close. Trading on Wall
Street was closed yesterday for Martin Luther
A further fall in fortunes could wipe hun-
dreds of millions of dollars off the value of
the club, which is controlled by the Glazer
family, and hamper attempts to cut the debt
that was last recorded at £361 million (around
It s too early to say whether United s slump
is a blip or if the Old Trafford empire is crum-
bling, just as Liverpool went into decline after
dominating in the 1970s or 1980s.
Off the field, United remains a commercial
juggernaut, projecting that it will rake in about
£420 million (US$690 million) in 2013-14.
The budgets, however, are based on United
finishing at least third in the league, and reach-
ing the quarterfinals of the Champions League
and the domestic cups.
The FA Cup has already been crossed off
the list after a third round exit. Now, for once,
the second-tier League Cup has taken on a
United must wipe out a 2-1 deficit against
Sunderland at Old Trafford tomorrow to reach
the League Cup final.
But Manchester City, a team which is second
in the league, is likely to be the other finalist
given its 6-0 lead over West Ham heading
into today s second leg.
Collecting the League Cup, however com-
forting for Moyes as a first piece of significant
silverware, is not central to the club s revenue
The Champions League is, having made
almost US$50 million from last season s run
to the round of 16. There are two ways to
remain among Europe s elite: win the com-
petition of finish in the Premier League s top
Olympiakos awaits in the round of 16, a
less daunting prospect than the one facing
City against Barcelona, but the lack of depth
in the United squad makes a fourth European
title seem unlikely.
That would leave United relying on a top-
four domestic finish, which is not beyond
Moyes reach if strikers Wayne Rooney and
Robin van Persie return from injury.
The Red Devils might be seventh, but only
six points separate them from Liverpool in
fourth with 48 points to play for.
Although Chelsea was restricted to few
chances on Sunday and United enjoyed some
lively spells, the visitors weren t clinical up
front and conceded from two set pieces and
"I feel like it s the story of our season," said
United captain Nemanja Vidic, who was sent
off in stoppage time. "It s just small things.
Small details this season are making big dif-
ferences and changing games."
Could Moyes, under contract until 2019, be
the Glazers fall guy if United falls short?
It happened last month at another Glaz-
er-owned team, the NFL s Tampa Bay Buc-
"The results...have not lived up to our
standards and we believe the time has come
to find a new direction," Bryan Glazer said
At Old Trafford, though, they preach stability
and continuity after Ferguson s 26-year reign.
But there is uncertainty as United emerges
from such a distinguished---and unprecedent-
ed---period of success.
For now there is harmony in the stands,
with fans hoping the final few days of the
January transfer window sees the Glazers dip
into cash reserves that were last recorded to
exceed £83 million ($136 million).
"This is a project I know that I m going to
improve as it goes along," Moyes said. (AP)
LONDON---Moments after stating his
intention to run for Fifa president next
year, Jerome Champagne hinted that he
might abandon his challenge if Sepp Blatter
stands for a fifth term.
Champagne, a Frenchman who is a former
Blatter adviser, yesterday became the first
person to declare his candidacy for football s
top job, saying he will seek the five required
"We need a different Fifa, more demo-
cratic, more respected, which behaves better
and which does more," said Champagne, a
former diplomat who unexpectedly left Fifa
in 2010 after 11 years of service.
Before being re-elected unopposed in
2011, Blatter said this would be his final
four-year term. But the 77-year-old Swiss
official has hinted he could go for a fifth
term in 2015.
Asked if he could beat Blatter, Champagne
said: "No, I don t think. He is someone of
Pressed repeatedly to say if he would
stand against Blatter, Champagne responded
vaguely, and avoided any criticism of Blatter s
reign, which stretches back to 1998.
"I don t know what he will do," Cham-
pagne said. "I am telling you that I am
standing, but I don t know what will happen
in the next four months ... some people say
I am manipulated by him but I tell you no."
UEFA president Michel Platini is also
mulling over whether to seek the post.
Before entering football, Champagne s
diplomatic postings included four years in
Los Angeles as deputy consul-general. He
worked as protocol chief when France hosted
the 1998 World Cup, then joined Fifa soon
after Blatter was elected.
Troubled relations with confederations
were reportedly a factor in Champagne leav-
ing Fifa in January 2010.
As international relations director, Cham-
pagne s work was acclaimed but reportedly
angered some confederation presidents.
Pele has given Champagne his support.
"I know his vision of football and the
future of the game and for this reason I
trust him," Pele said on a video shown at
the launch. "We have worked together for
many years and he has the experience as
he has been in Fifa for a long time.
"I am a friend of everyone who loves
football and I want the best for football and
he is a person everyone can trust."
In a manifesto, Champagne outlined plans
to "rebalance" football in the 21st century,
highlighting the need to address the "elitist
way in which competitions are developing,
with a significant and ever increasing imbal-
ance between continents, countries and
even within specific leagues."
While unable to say how he would inter-
vene, Champagne pointed to the lack of a
level playing field in Spain, where Real
Madrid and Barcelona secure much of the
television revenue, and the wealth of some
English Premier League clubs.
Speaking at the site where the Football
Association was founded in 1863, Cham-
pagne did back English calls for rules to
ensure more homegrown players play in
On the rules of the game itself, Cham-
pagne said he would expand goal-line tech-
nology to rule on offside decisions and
LISBON---Cristiano Ronaldo received one
of Portugal s highest honours from the coun-
try s president yesterday.
The Portugal captain was awarded a medal
and ribbon making him an official of the Order
of Prince Henry at a formal ceremony in Lis-
bon s presidential palace.
Ronaldo said it was "a moment of great
pride" that gave him "the motivation to keep
working, and even harder in the future."
"I look upon football as fun," the 28-year-
old Ronaldo said. "There s a while to go before
I retire, and I want to win more trophies at
club and national level."
The Real Madrid forward, football s player
of the year in 2008 and 2013, is Portugal s
most famous athlete. He has made 109 national
team appearances, the third most, and is lead-
ing scorer alongside the retired Pauleta with
47 goals each. He will lead Portugal s bid for
its first international trophy at the World Cup
"Winning the World Cup is a dream," Ronal-
do said. "It would be the peak of my career."
President Anibal Cavaco Silva said Ronaldo
deserved the recognition because he "brings
prestige for Portugal around the world."
As well as his natural talent, Ronaldo is an
example for younger generations, Cavaco Silva
said, because of his "hard work, discipline,
determination and will to win."
The ceremony was attended by members
of Ronaldo s family, Portuguese government
officials and Spanish diplomats, as well as
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and
Portugal coach Paulo Bento. (AP)
Ronaldo gets top Portuguese honour from president
Moyes calm as Man United falters
Manchester United's manager David
Moyes lifts his arms and shouts as he
watches his side play Chelsea during
the English Premier League football
match between Chelsea and
Manchester United at Stamford Bridge
stadium in London, Sunday. AP PHOTO
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