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Chelsea chairman laments FFP helping ‘great unwashed’

Financial fair play rules should not be allowed to lump big clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City with the ranks of the "great unwashed", Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said.

Buck suggested inequality in soccer was not necessarily a bad thing and said the rules now denied other clubs the chance of one day rising like Chelsea to the top of the Premier League with the help of a billionaire investor.

"I personally believe that for the development of football, marquee clubs and marquee players are important," Buck told the Leaders Sport Business summit at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground.

"I am not, as a general proposition, in favour of dumbing down the large clubs in order to make all clubs the great unwashed. They've done that in the US over the last 20 years and I think its been to the detriment, particularly of baseball.

"MLS (Major League Soccer) started with that model of competitive balance…and I just don't think it works for the long term."

Buck said there were 10 or 12 big clubs in Europe at present and he expected those same ones to be at the top in five or 10 years time.

"The dream in England is, if you support a Conference team, that some day you'll win the Premier League. Financial Fair Play has pluses and minuses, and one of the minuses is that dream is now over.

"What Chelsea did in 2003, what Man City did five years later, that's virtually impossible to do under financial fair play," he added.

Chelsea had won only one English league top tier title, in 1954-55, until Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. They have since won five Premier League championships.

Champions Manchester City, now level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top, had not won the league title since 1968 when they were taken over in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group.

The following year they spent more in the transfer market than any other English club and have since won three Premier League titles.

Buck said clubs had to find their "natural position" in the football hierarchy, while also seeking to improve.

With the exception of Leicester City in 2016 and Blackburn Rovers in 1995, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have won every Premier League title since the 1992-93 season.

"I dont think we should assume that because every club is not equal, that therefore its bad," Buck said.

European soccer's governing body UEFA introduced a Financial Fair Play break-even rule in 2011 to stop clubs spending beyond their generated revenue.

The policy is designed to prevent rich owners from trying to buy success and distort the transfer market.

Teams can be thrown out of European competition for breaching the rules but UEFA has generally negotiated settlements with offending clubs.

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Goal-happy Shelmaliers win first ever Wexford SFC crown

Shelmaliers 4-14 Kilanerin 1-07

Goals at the start of either half powered Shelmaliers to a famous first-ever Wexford SFC crown at the expense of seven-time champions Kilanerin in Saturday's replay at sunny Innovate Wexford Park.

Four years after annexing their maiden county senior hurling crown, the black-and-amber dominated this rematch, with goals from Simon Donohoe, AJ Lehane, Ross Banville and Eoghan Nolan decorating their glorious breakthrough eleven years after Shelmaliers' emergence from intermediate ranks.

Shels monopolised the first-half, but kicked nine frustrating wides as they failed to put Kilanerin to bed.

Regardless, after a dream start when Simon Donohoe, their saviour from the drawn tie, netted after only 63 seconds, the winners eased ahead by 1-6 to 0-1 at half-time as Eoghan Nolan (2), AJ Lehane (3) and captain Eoin Doyle delivered.

Simon Donohoe went close to netting a second personal goal just before the interval.

But the black-and-amber did raise another green-flag within a minute of the resumption, when AJ Lehane profited after a swift move, and teenager Ross Banville got in on the goal-scoring act on 40 minutes to send Shelmaliers soaring clear by 3-9 to 0-3.

'Man of the match' Eoghan Nolan carved through for their fourth goal in the 45th-minute, and although Matty Forde pegged back a goal from a 55th-minute penalty, the Shels were already well and truly home and hosed and joining the roll-of-honour.

Shelmaliers: James Gordon, André O'Brien, James Cash, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Simon Donohoe (1-01), Brian Malone (0-01), Graham Staples, Glen Malone (0-01), Eoghan Nolan (1-02), Aidan Cash, Eoin Doyle (capt., 0-01), Ross Banville (1-01), Conor Hearne, AJ Lehane (1-03, 0-1f), Craig McCabe (0-02, 1f, 1pen.).

Subs: Jody Donohoe (0-01) for Banville (51); Páraic O'Leary for Hearne (55); Seán Keane-Carroll for Lehane (55); Tommy Barron (0-01) for Staples (57); Brian Murphy for Doyle (58); Cian Manley for O'Brien (60).

Kilanerin: Tom Hughes, Rhys Owley, Colm Kavanagh, Aidan Jones (capt.), Mark Boland, Gavin O'Toole, Denis Jones, Niall Hughes (0-01), Niall Breen, Peter Hughes (0-01), Dean O'Toole, Páraic Hughes, Conor Devitt, Matty Forde (1-3, 1-00 pen., 0-03fs), Seán Forde (0-01f)

Subs: Mark Gethings for S Forde (18); S Forde for M Gethings (31); Bobby Hughes (0-01) for D Jones (34); Emmett O'Toole for Peter Hughes (43); Ben O'Connor for Boland (43); Edward Hughes for Kavanagh (47);

Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).

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C’ship round-up: Lenihan’s winner downs Leeds

Republic of Ireland international Darragh Lenihan headed home the winning goal as Blackburn Rovers defeated Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United at Ewood Park.

Danny Graham opened the scoring for Rovers two minutes in, but Mateusz Klich levelled for United, who are some way off their early-season form, on the stroke of half-time.

Meath's Lenihan would win it for Blackburn, though, his header from a corner enough.

Elsewhere, Dean Smith got off to a winning start as Aston Villa manager with a victory over Swansea.

Lifelong Villan Smith swapped Brentford for the Birmingham club over the international break and had Tammy Abraham to thank as the loanee's goal earned a 1-0 win over Swansea on a day ex-Villa owner Doug Ellis was remembered.

At Griffin Park, Smith's old Brentford side were unable to mark Thomas Frank's first game in charge in similar vein.

Chris Mepham was sent off in the second half and then Niclas Eliasson scored a 90th-minute winner as Bristol City ruined Frank's day with a 1-0 win.

West Brom missed the chance to return to the top of the table as they went down 1-0 at Wigan.

The previously free-scoring Baggies, overtaken by Middlesbrough on Friday night, were denied at one end and then saw Josh Windass net a 74th-minute winner. Jake Livermore was sent off for Albion late on.

Timm Klose's brace helped Norwich come from behind to win 2-1 at Nottingham Forest, for whom Lewis Grabban had opened the scoring, while Will Vaulks' goal for Rotherham was cancelled out by Christian Doidge as Bolton secured a 1-1 draw on the road.

Gary Rowett continues to struggle for consistency as Stoke boss, Che Adams' goal ensuring former side Birmingham beat his Potters 1-0, while strugglers Hull and Preston drew 1-1, Louis Moult's goal three minutes into time added on coming after Jarrod Bowen's penalty (85) looked to have won it for City.

Yakou Meite scored a brace as Reading beat Millwall 3-1. Sam Baldock scored the other from the spot with Murray Wallace on the mark for the Lions.

An own goal from Dean Gerken and Tomer Hemed's penalty allowed QPR to win 2-0 at Ipswich.

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O’Donnell suffers suspected broken leg in Munster win

Munster coach Johann van Graan said he awaited confirmation on the exact nature of Tommy O'Donnell's injury but he said he suspected that the back row forward had suffered a broken leg.

O'Donnell was carted off just before half-time in Munster's 36-22 win over Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup clash in Thomond Park.

The flanker was not the only Munster player to incur an injury in the win with Dan Goggin and Rhys Marshall suffering knee and upper leg injuries respectively.

Like O'Donnell, Goggin has had rotten luck with injury, having been sidelined for five months with a knee injury at the end of last year.

Speaking afterwards, Van Graan said his side paid a heavy price injury terms in the victory over Gloucester.

"Tommy’s gone to hospital. No confirmation yet but I believe he broke his leg and Dan Goggin looks like a serious knee injury. We also lost Rhys Marshall which looks like a serious upper leg injury. We will know more on Monday."

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Gosden bags glorious Ascot hat-trick & trainers’ title

Breaking the dominance of Aidan O'Brien is a hard thing to achieve – but John Gosden proved up to the task as a scintillating treble on Qipco British Champions Day helped secure his third Flat trainers' championship.

With the coveted crown having headed to Ballydoyle for the past two seasons – and six times in total – the Newmarket handler foiled the hat-trick after taking Britain's most valuable race day by storm at Ascot to wrap up the title with more than two months remaining.

Gosden said: "I gave the cup to Aidan and he had to give it to me this year. It means a lot. I said to Aidan on 1 January 'we start with a blank sheet again, a bit like a football manager'."

Though wins for Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup all but secured a first title for Gosden since 2015, the best was arguably saved until last, with Cracksman recording a brilliant second success in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

Arriving on the back of an odds-on defeat in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at the Royal meeting, the son of Frankel returned to his imperious best to take the Group One prize by six lengths, completing a double for Frankie Dettori, who was also victorious aboard Stradivarius.

Reflecting on the day, Gosden said: "Frankie, how he got through the Houdini hole on Stradivarius, I don't know.

"I thought Roaring Lion was beyond brave, as he was never enjoying the ground, but he had the guts to win it, and I thought Oisin [Murphy] was cool and didn't panic.

"Cracksman had been showing it home and the vibes were pretty strong from the work reports in Newmarket. I knew that just focus his mind and he will fly, and he literally flew. It's not a bad day to have a treble."

While most of those housed at Clarehaven Stables have played their part in some way in helping Gosden take title number three, there are several performances that particularly satisfied the trainer.

Gosden added: "I think getting Enable back was good, and getting Cracksman back is top class. That was very fulfilling, at the top level.

"To see Stradivarius going round after round is very fulfilling. It's all down to the horse, as they have got to be strong in the mind and body and we are lucky to have them."

It may be Gosden's name that appears in the headlines, but winning the championship again has been far from an individual effort in his eyes – and one that has happened through the hard work of those behind the scenes.

He said: "You are lucky that you have great owners that send you some lovely horses. I've got a wonderful staff who have worked with me for many years.

"It's a good team, as it's all on first-name terms and everyone talks to each other and everyone's ideas are discussed. It has got to be down to those three ingredients.

"There is no individual satisfaction on this horse or that. It is about trying to do the best and if it is to win a little race with a filly and make her a winner, that is very fulfilling.

"I'm just lucky to have some great staff and fabulous owners and the horses to go with it. Without them, I would have nothing."

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International rugby league live: The Kangaroos look to avoid consecutive defeats

Email International rugby league: Australia v Tonga: live scores, stats and commentary

Updated October 20, 2018 17:48:37

Map: New Zealand

Australia's Kangaroos take on the dangerous Mate Ma'a Tonga at a sold out Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, looking to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time since 1978.

Follow all the live scores, stats and commentary.

Australia v Tonga

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Topics: sport, rugby-league, new-zealand

First posted October 20, 2018 17:38:35

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