A controversial statue of the late pop star Michael Jackson will be removed from outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground after fans complained it made the Premier League club look like a laughing stock. The statue was erected behind the Hammersmith stand by former owner Mohamed Al Fayed in 2011,two years after the singer’s death at the age of 50. Chairman Shahid Khan,who took over the club in July,said: “Our supporters’ views on the statue have been made clear. I respect Mr Al Fayed and know he had good intentions in paying an individual tribute. However,the removal of the statue is the right thing for Fulham Football Club.” Jackson was a friend of Al Fayed’s,who invited him to attend a game at Craven Cottage in 1999.
Moratti steps down at Inter
Massimo Moratti will bring his 18-year spell as Inter Milan president to an end once Indonesian media magnate Erick Thohir has signed a deal to take control of the club,espnsoccernet reported. After the latest meeting with Thohir,during which most of the points of the deal were agreed on,the Indonesian is all set to take control of the Italian club. Only minor details need to be resolved before the Moratti family’s involvement with Inter concludes. “There are no major problems to resolve,but an agreement has not yet been reached. There are other businessmen ready to support him,and we could still need a month to finish the deal.
Totti extends Roma deal
Longtime Roma captain Francesco Totti has extended his contract for two more seasons,ensuring he will play until he’s on the cusp of 40 and giving the club’s fans a reason to rejoice two days before the city derby. The deal is reportedly worth 3.2 million euros ($4.2 million) per season. The 36-year-old Totti says “I’m extremely happy to play another two years with the only shirt that I love.” Totti’s current deal was due to expire at the end of this season. The deal also reportedly includes a clause that will give Totti a managerial position with his hometown club once he stops playing. With 228 goals in Serie A,Totti is second on the all-time list behind Silvio Piola,who leads with 274. Roma meets Lazio on Sunday.
Arteta boost for Arsenal
Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is ready to return to the squad after missing the start of the season with a thigh injury. The Spaniard has missed the team’s opening four league matches,as well as Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Olympique Marseille in the Champions League. “The only player who could come back into the squad is Arteta,he comes back into full training today,I have to make the decision about him tomorrow morning,” Arsene Wenger said. Arsenal are without several players including midfielders Tomas Rosicky (hamstring),Santi Carzola (ankle),Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and forward Lukas Podolski (hamstring).
32 nations bid for Euro 2020
A total of 32 countries have proposed 39 different cities to host matches at the 2020 European Championship,UEFA said. The national associations representing more than half of the 54 UEFA countries have not yet specified if they want to stage the final. ” UEFA President Michel Platini suggested the broad hosting plan to reduce construction costs for host nations and travel expenses for fans. UEFA will choose the 13 hosts,whose national teams must all get through qualifying to play at the 24-team tournament,in September 2014. One city will host the final and both semifinals,with Istanbul the likely favorite after Turkey was edged by France for Euro 2016.