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Old 29-01-2005, 11:32 PM   #46
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Chelsea confirm new Adidas kit deal

Chelsea have confirmed details of a major kit sponsorship deal with Adidas worth approximately £12million per year until 2014.
A week after the club paid £24.8million to cut short their arrangement with Umbro, the Premiership leaders have linked up with the German sportswear firm in a deal which starts in July 2006.

The new agreement is for an eight-year term and will be worth almost £100million in all.

The club have retained the merchandising and retail rights which Manchester United relinquished when they signed their £302.9million deal with Nike.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon said: 'This partnership is great news for Chelsea and we look forward to working with adidas, whose vision we share.

'We believe a global partnership with adidas will be a huge step in helping the club achieve its long term strategic goals. Together we can become a formidable team.'

Chelsea's retail and merchandising rights are thought to bring in around £6million annually.
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Old 31-01-2005, 07:40 PM   #47
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Mourinho laughs off Cole allegations
Jose Mourinho tonight scoffed at suggestions he has held secret transfer talks with Arsenal's Ashley Cole.

Jose Mourinho: Denying Cole rumour (NealSimpson/GettyImages)
It has been reported the Chelsea manager was spotted talking to the England left-back in a London hotel along with the player's agent last week.

But after watching his side reach the FA Cup fifth round with a 2-0 home win over Birmingham, Mourinho made light of the claims.

Mourinho, who saw goals from defenders Robert Huth and John Terry help his team through a tricky tie against City, had no truck with questions about Cole.

'I was in Milan with Adriano,' he joked, mischievously suggesting he had instead had an unlikely meeting with the Inter and Brazil striker.

'On Thursday I flew to Milan, so I couldn't be with Ashley Cole.'

In case anyone was in any doubt, the Chelsea boss quickly made it clear his claims of talks with the likes of Adriano were in jest.

'Steven Gerrard, Adriano, Ashley Cole - and next week it will be another one,' he said.

'I have a perfect and wonderful squad and I don't need any more players this season. Next season I will need one or two.

'It is names after names with us, because it is Chelsea. Everybody wants to come and everybody wants to connect players with us. But I have no time to meet players. I am concentrating on my job with the club, and that is to get some silverware.'

Mourinho's remarks were backed up by a Chelsea spokesman, who added: 'We get linked with all the players. We have never commented before and we are not going to comment now or in the future, regardless what the circumstances may or may not be.'
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Old 31-01-2005, 07:40 PM   #48
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Chelsea 2-0 Birmingham: FT Report
A goal in each half from central defenders Robert Huth and John Terry kept Chelsea in the hunt to win four trophies in this season.

Chelsea's Robert Huth (c) scores the opening goal against Birmingham City . (MikeEgerton/Empics)
Huth, missing from the first team squad for two months after damaging his ankle on international duty, put Chelsea in command in the fifth minute when he rose unchallenged to plant Damien Duff's corner into the net.

The crossbar denied Huth a second goal before Terry finished off poor Birmingham with a powerful header from substitute's Frank Lampard's cross in the 79th minute.

Chelsea were quickly into their normal fluent mode against Birmingham and twice in the early minutes they caused City some jittery defensive moments.

# Terry: We deserved it

Birmingham were expecting an onslaught as they opted to leave striker Emile Heskey on his own in attack and Jose Mourinho's Carling Cup finalists did not disappoint.

The Blues demonstrated a desire to cover themselves in more cup glory with a relentless drive on City's goal.

In the fourth minute Duff burst clear of the City defence and forced Maik Taylor into a diving save with a low drive.

But it was only a brief respite from the non-stop pressure and the opening goal duly arrived a mere sixty seconds later.

Defender Huth put Mourinho's men in control of the fourth round tie when he rose unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box to power a header beyond the helpless City 'keeper.

Birmingham were clearly rattled by the severity of Chelsea's opening salvo and it took them most of the opening quarter to readjust.

But with Heskey given a thankless task up against the formidable partnership of Terry and Huth at the heart of the home defence, City were predictably starved of openings.

It was the 19th minute before Steve Bruce's side found the confidence and the space to test Carlo Cudicini in the Chelsea goal.

City were further hampered by an enforced substitution in the 26th minute when the injured Martin Taylor was replaced by Olivier Tebily.

In the 32nd minute Duff should have made it two when Joe Cole put him clear of the City defence with a clever ball inside Tebily.

But the Republic of Ireland international, normally so deadly in such positions, squandered the opportunity by failing to hit the target.

Mourinho had made eight changes from the side which earned them a place in the Carling Cup final against Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium next month but the disruption to normal service was minimal.

In the 41st minute it was left-back Wayne Bridge who turned master craftsman with a lovely through ball for Duff.

However, the Irishman's shot was deflected for another corner and when that arrived in the middle of the City penalty area moments later, Huth was denied a second goal by the width of the crossbar.

Chelsea swapped one rampaging winger for another during the interval with Mourinho deciding it was Arjen Robben's turn to terrorise the City defence instead of Duff.

But it was City who almost got on level terms in the 52nd minute when a cross from Julian Gray fell to former England midfielder Darren Anderton at the far post.

Anderton's volley was good enough to bring the best out of Cudicini and the Italian was forced to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Anderton was unlucky not to earn his side a penalty when his shot appeared to strike the upper arm of Terry inside the penalty area in the 56th minute.

Sixty seconds later City midfielder Robert Blake despatched a 20-yard shot that flashed narrowly wide of Cudicini's right-hand post as Bruce's side began to believe they could salvage something from this fourth round tie.

Chelsea should have put paid to any such thoughts in the 61st minute when Robben failed to make the most of a sweeping four-man move.

Glen Johnson sent Mateja Kezman free with a fabulous 40-yard pass and when the Serbian striker's cross was laid into Robben's path by Eidur Gudjohnsen, the Dutchman sent his shot a yard too high.

But it was Birmingham who were almost gifted an equaliser seconds later when Blake failed to capitalise on a dreadful back header from the normally reliable Terry.

In the 70th minute, only a brilliant reflex save by Taylor prevented Robben from scoring Chelsea's second.

The Dutchman's left-foot shot was destined for the bottom corner of the net until Taylor dived to tip the ball round the post.

Skipper Terry finished off Birmingham's FA Cup hopes in the 79th minute when he rose to head home Frank Lampard's cross.

# Terry: We deserved it

John Terry owned up to his dubious part in Chelsea's first goal as he helped the hosts to a 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round win at home to Birmingham.

Terry blocked the run of defender Martin Taylor at a first-half corner, allowing Robert Huth to charge in and score. Terry added the second, his seventh of the season.

'They started quite well; they were bright. (Emile) Heskey was winning a lot of headers, which was disappointing defensively,' the Chelsea captain told Sky Sports.

'But overall I think we deserved the win.'

Chelsea took an early lead when Huth made the most of Damien Duff's corner as he ran in unmarked after Terry had blocked Taylor off the ball to stop the defender tracking the German.

'It's not something we work on in training. Robert and I just said one will win it, and the other will do the block,' said Terry.

'I was pleased with my goal; it was good to get on the scoresheet. The lads were a little bit relieved after we went 2-0 up.'

The England defender added the Blues are not yet thinking about winning a `quadruple' of trophies, despite continuing their good form.

'There is still a long way to go, so many games still to go - so we will take each game as it comes.

'It was the FA Cup today, Blackburn away in the league in the week - and we will deal with each game as it comes.'

Mourinho was impressed with Birmingham's second-half performance.

'In the first half I think we played very, very, very well, we should have been two or three or four goals up, we played some fantastic football.

'In the second half, we didn't, it was our fault and they improved a bit,' the former Porto boss told Sky Sports.

'The most important thing is to be in the next round.'
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Old 31-01-2005, 07:41 PM   #49
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Chelsea suffers record loss
LONDON -- Chelsea made record English soccer losses of $166 million in 2003-04, the team's first season under the ownership of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the Premier League club said on Sunday.

Arjen Robben: Just one of many expensive recruits brought in by Chelsea. (Photography/Empics)
The pre-tax figures for the year to June 30, 2004 surpass Leeds United's previous record loss of $94.5 million in 2003.

Chelsea spokesman Simon Greenberg confirmed the losses for the club's parent company Chelsea Village, saying the accounts would be filed to British company registration centre Companies House on Monday.

Compared with Abramovich's vast fortune the loss is unlikely to worry Chelsea, who are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League and on course to win their first title for 50 years.

"Two years ago we were seen as streets paved with gold. That is over. Chelsea is now being run properly. The club is being run as a business," chief executive Peter Kenyon told the BBC.

Abramovich, the main shareholder in Russian oil firm Sibneft, wiped out $152 million worth of debt after buying Chelsea for $114 million in July 2003. He has since spent around $380 million on players.

The Russian's investment has paid off with Chelsea well clear at the top of the Premier League and safely through to the lucrative Champions League knockout stages under the guidance of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho replaced Claudio Ranieri last year after the Italian was sacked despite leading the team to second in the Premier League and to the Champions League semi-finals.


Abramovich spent $332 million on new players in his first season, with the annual payroll more than doubling to $218 million.

Kenyon, recruited from Manchester United after Abramovich's arrival, said the club was looking to become financially self-sufficient and that it had a five-year plan to reduce their dependency on the Russian.

Kenyon helped broker record sponsorship deals with Vodafone and Nike at United and has set about tying up lucrative sponsorship deals for Chelsea.

Chelsea have agreed an eight-year kit deal worth around $190 million with sportswear manufacturer Adidas after it was announced their contract with Umbro was being terminated five years early in 2006.

Shirt sponsors Emirates are to be ditched next season as Kenyon looks for more revenue, with mobile phone companies Siemens and Orange mooted as potential replacements.

Abramovich took Chelsea private after purchasing former chairman Ken Bates's controlling interest in Chelsea Village.
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Old 31-01-2005, 07:41 PM   #50
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Chelsea don't fear 'tapping Cole' probe
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon would have nothing to fear if Arsenal launched an investigation into allegations he had 'tapped' Gunners defender Ashley Cole.

Sol Campbell: Tuesday showdown (NealSimpson/Empics)
Kenyon and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho are reported to have met Cole and his agent Pini Zahavi secretly at a London hotel on Thursday with a view to luring the left-back to Stamford Bridge.

But, asked if he was worried about the consequences if the Gunners choose to take the matter further - as Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has suggested they will - Kenyon told Radio Four's Today programme: 'No, not at all.'

The former Manchester United chief executive would not be drawn into commenting directly on Chelsea's interest or otherwise in Cole but indicated that his club would only recruit players by the rules.

He added: 'There was supposed to be another secret meeting with another Premiership club about another Premiership player so it's where do you stop with these things.

'But the rules of the game are quite clear so we're just getting on with our business.'

However, Arsenal are already planning to question Cole, who has another two seasons to run on his Highbury contract.

Hill-Wood told The Sun: 'The Premier League rules are very clear on this matter. If the club is presented with evidence that those rules have been contravened I am sure we will take the matter further.

'These are very serious allegations and we will be investigating the matter as quickly as possible.

'It has been reported in a very definite manner and that makes you think something untoward has gone on. We cannot let this pass.

'Ashley Cole is under contract to Arsenal for another two seasons and I am sure the club will be talking to him about these reports in an effort to get this matter resolved.

'We know this sort of thing does go on in football and it would not be the first time another club has tried to speak to one of our contracted players.'

The Premier League must wait for any official complaint from Arsenal before launching an investigation.

But Mourinho has scoffed at suggestions he had met Cole.

'I have a perfect and wonderful squad and I don't need any more players this season. Next season I will need one or two.

'It is names after names with us, because it is Chelsea. Everybody wants to come and everybody wants to connect players with us. But I have no time to meet players. I am concentrating on my job with the club, and that is to get some silverware.'
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:15 PM   #51
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Wenger wants Chelsea to come clean

Arsene Wenger angrily challenged Chelsea to issue a categorical denial of claims of an illegal move for Ashley Cole as he revealed his belief that a secret meeting may have taken place.

Sol Campbell: Tuesday showdown (NealSimpson/Empics)

Wenger voiced concerns over the destabilising timing of the reports, describing the 'coincidence' on the eve of Arsenal's clash against Manchester United at Highbury tomorrow as 'just a little troublesome'.

But while he has gained an assurance from Cole that he remains committed to Arsenal, Wenger has not asked the defender whether he did meet Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon in secret last week.

After all, the Arsenal boss concluded that 'it looks to me like, yes, it has happened, although I don't know [for sure]'.

And he does not want to do anything that might disrupt his own attempts to get Cole's agreement to a lucrative contract extension.

Wenger nevertheless insisted the onus is not on 24-year-old Cole to confirm or deny whether Chelsea illegally approached him without first gaining Arsenal's approval.

Instead, he tried to pile all the responsibility on Chelsea, while casting doubts on Mourinho's attempts to side-step the allegations.

'Ashley said he is fed up with that story, that he is completely committed to the club and he doesn't want to know about it,' declared Wenger.

'He wouldn't lie to me. But if you asked anybody who was in this meeting if it happened, nobody would say `yes I was there'.

'I don't want to speak to Mourinho because if I asked `were you in that meeting', I can guess the answer straight away.

'But I do know one thing, that if it happened, it was not on the initiative of Ashley because he wants to stay and I know that from him.

'What I don't want now is to shift that responsibility from Chelsea to Ashley Cole. If somebody has not respected the rules, it is not him - it is Chelsea.

'If they don't behave as they should, it's down to the Premier League to start an inquiry and to get them punished.'

The Premier League are awaiting any official complaint from Arsenal, although Wenger accepts he has no direct evidence, other than a newspaper report, which quoted alleged witnesses.

He added: 'Before we complain, we must have evidence the meeting has happened but I don't know how so much assertive evidence comes out in a newspaper [if it is] just being invented.'

Chelsea chief executive Kenyon, who held a secret meeting with Sven-Goran Eriksson last season, today insisted the Blues would have nothing to fear from any official inquiry over Cole.

'The rules of the game are quite clear so we're just getting on with our business,' he told BBC Radio Four.

Mourinho, meanwhile, claimed yesterday that he has 'no time to meet players' and has a 'perfect' squad that needs no additions this season.

However, Wenger fears that Chelsea may have broken the code of conduct between leading clubs, seeing similarities with Real Madrid's aggressive pursuit of Patrick Vieira over recent seasons.

'I feel like I am in a film I have seen already. The scenario of what is going on, I could have written it one year ago,' he added.

'Of course, this has happened before in England. But I feel there is a code of conduct between the big clubs in England.

'If Chelsea want Ashley Cole, they just have to find our number, and they have enough intelligent people to find it, and to call us to ask to speak to him.

'But I feel that this is tactically very bad. By doing this kind of behaviour, they only pay more.'

While Cole is seeking a huge pay rise from Arsenal, Wenger insists the England defender will stay put - even though Chelsea could offer him greater wages and possibly more chance of success.

'I am 100% that Ashley Cole will extend his contract as he is part of that bunch of players who are the core and heart of the team,' he declared.

'I feel he will even be under pressure from the other players to do it. We are not far away from a deal with him.'

Wenger seemed to intimate that Cole, who has two and a half years left on his Arsenal contract, may have been unwittingly lured into a meeting with Chelsea by so-called `super-agent' Pini Zahavi.

'Ashley is with an agent. Do you know the agent? I do not need to say more. This agent tells him I have organised a meeting when basically it's with people who he is not supposed to meet,' he said.

The biggest irony of all, however, is that rather than crossing swords with Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of tomorrow's clash at Highbury, Wenger has been distracted by Mourinho and Chelsea.

And that is concerning enough in itself to him.

'The timing is not welcome before a big game. I find that coincidence just a little bit troublesome,' he concluded.
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:16 PM   #52
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High-flying Chelsea report record debts

LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Beatles sang that it couldn't buy them love and it is said to be the root of all evil, but whatever its pitfalls or shortcomings there is little doubt that money will buy success in English soccer this season.
Roman Abramovich's billions have vaulted Chelsea to the top of the English Premier League where they are firmly on track for their first championship win since 1955.

Still gunning for silverware on four fronts, the Russian oligarch's team are in rude health on the pitch.

On the balance sheet, however, the club looks decidedly peeky, having posted on Monday annual figures which would bankrupt many a successful business.

The Blues are very much in the red.

Figures filed to British company registration centre Companies House show Chelsea having made record English soccer losses of £88 million ($166 million) in 2003-04, their first season under the ownership of Abramovich.

The sum easily outstrips the previous record loss of £49.5 million which Leeds returned in 2003.

But where Leeds's debt all but crippled the Yorkshire giants who were forced to sell off their training ground, Elland Road stadium and almost all the squad which had reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001, Chelsea's figures barely register as a blip on the financial health or status of the club.

It is this which makes Chelsea unique in English soccer and which spells gloom for the chasing pack.

With Abramovich holding the purse, the west London slickers need never worry about an operating loss, however immense.

Indeed, as a privately owned company, they need not have revealed these figures at all but preferred to come clean before the inevitable leak of the report.

Certainly the figures will make uneasy reading for their rivals, who must compete with Chelsea but can only dream of matching their spending power.

A product of the telephone-figure sums bandied around in salaries and signing fees, the debt is sign of Abramovich's ambition for the club.

The main shareholder in Russian oil firm Sibneft, Abramovich wiped out £80 million of debt after buying Chelsea for £60 million in July 2003 and has since spent around £200 million on players.

He forked out £175 million on new players in his first season at the club, with the annual payroll more than doubling to £115 million.

It is enough to make grown men weep - especially if they are in the employ of Arsenal or Manchester United, Chelsea's main rivals for soccer glory and both run along traditional business lines.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon insists the first season of Abramovich's tenure was exceptional and that the Londoners are aiming to break even by 2010.

Though they have spent some £75 millions on six signings since Jose Mourinho took over as manager in June last year, they have offloaded more than a dozen including some of their biggest wage earners. Argentines Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo, who failed to fire at Stamford Bridge, went to Italy and former France captain Marcel Desailly into retirement.

Romania stirker Adrian Mutu, who failed a drugs test, has also been dropped from the payroll and Mourinho says he is happy to stick to a tighter squad of 24 players from now on.

Part of Chelsea's plan is to increase commercial income and Chelsea announced at the weekend they had agreed an eight-year kit sponsorship deal with German sportswear manufacturer Adidas-Salomon.

The deal will begin on July 1, 2006 and will be worth around £12 million ($22.59 million) a year.

But whatever their commercial income, as long as Chelsea have an owner with pockets as deep as Abramovich, the Manchester Uniteds, Arsenals and Liverpools of the Premiership will have to get used to playing second fiddle.
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Old 02-02-2005, 12:07 PM   #53
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Kenyon won't 'debate' Cole reports

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has again refused to deny making an illegal approach for Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole.

Peter Kenyon: No denial. (NealSimpson/Empics)

Recent reports claimed Blues manager Jose Mourinho, Kenyon, agent Pini Zahavi and Cole held secret transfer talks last week.

However, Kenyon insists it is club policy not to comment on 'speculation'.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: 'We're not going to add to the speculation, you'll never end it.

'We can't just knock back every story. We don't want to debate it any further because that is club policy.'

Kenyon was speaking after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had called on Chelsea 'to clarify' the situation.

'They can say yes or no, then it is up to the Premier League,' he said yesterday.

Kenyon also defended the role of agents, stating money from transfers to or from Chelsea is clearly accounted for.

'Football rules today,' Kenyon added. 'All the money we're involved with in a transfer is transparent, the Football Association know exactly where it is.

'The rules are quite clear and it is not as clouded or non-transparent as people would make out.

'They (agents) are a necessary evil at times but we are in an environment where people want representation, and they have a role to play.'
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Old 02-02-2005, 12:07 PM   #54
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Chelsea could ditch shirt sponsor

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon today confirmed the club are considering not having a shirt sponsor in their centenary season.
The Premiership leaders are in talks over a new sponsor just days after clinching a £12million-a-year deal with sportswear giants adidas.

Chelsea's contract with Emirates expires this summer and Kenyon already has his sights set on completing another massive new deal with a different sponsor by the end of this month.

However, one of the major issues surrounding any new agreement will be its start date. The deal with adidas is not set to begin until 2006 and Kenyon admitted today the club may decide not to carry a sponsor's logo on their shirts during the 2005/06 season.

Kenyon confirmed: 'We've been discussing that for a significant amount of time and we are in the latter stages with several big blue-chip international consumer brands. We have to be in a position to resolve it by the end of February.

'But one of things we are debating internally is whether the new sponsorship will start in 2005, when the deal with the Emirates finishes, or in 2006, when the adidas contract starts.

'That also means we are having a discussion as to whether our centenary year will carry a sponsor or not.

'So there are discussions over who the sponsor is, when it starts and a key component of that is really around our centenary celebrations.'

Chelsea have already revealed the club's famous blue shirt will sport a more traditional badge next term and deciding to go without a sponsor would be another radical step - but one they could probably afford.

It would also bring back memories of another famous Stamford Bridge side from the early 1970s, which included Peter Osgood, Ian Hutchison, Charlie Cooke, Alan Hudson and Ron Harris.

Chelsea continue their quest for title glory tomorrow night with a tricky visit to Blackburn.

Manager Jose Mourinho will revert to his normal first XI after resting most of his influential players in the 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Birmingham on Sunday.

Chelsea, currently embroiled in a row over their alleged `tapping up' of Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole at a secret meeting in a London hotel last week, are 10 points clear of the Gunners at the top of the Premiership.

But the most important week so far in the club's season will come at the end of this month when they play Newcastle in the fifth round of the FA Cup, travel to Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League and face Liverpool in the final of the Carling Cup at Cardiff's Millennium stadium.

Those seven days will be crucial for the club if they are to continue their amazing quest for an unprecedented quadruple.

The significance of the week is not lost on Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech, who will return in goal at Ewood Park on Wednesday night.

Cech said: 'We have to fly again to Newcastle, but we have beaten them already in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.

'If we want to win the FA Cup, we have to beat everyone. If that means we have to fly to Newcastle, it will be a tough game, of course, but we have to beat everyone.

'It's going to be tough but it could also be one of the greatest weeks in Chelsea's history. I'm really excited by this week and I hope we're going to go through.

'Each of these games is going to be really important for us so we have to take them in a row and try to win all of them.'

Mourinho will recall Didier Drogba to the attack in place of Eidur Gudjohnsen along with Arjen Robben tomorrow night.

The Chelsea boss was dissatisfied with Robben's second-half performance against Birmingham but will not risk starting the game at Ewood Park without him. Defenders Paulo Ferreira and William Gallas will also return as well as midfielders Tiago and Claude Makelele.
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:55 AM   #55
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Chelsea lose Huth to knee injury

LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Chelsea's German defender Robert Huth will be out for six to eight weeks with knee ligament damage.
The centre back, who has four caps, had only just returned to action after an ankle injury and scored in the 2-0 win over Birmingham City in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

'He was really unlucky because someone fell on him,' Chelsea physio Mike Banks told the club website. 'At least he won't need surgery.'

Chelsea visit Blackburn on Wednesday looking to stretch their lead at the top to 11 points after Manchester United beat Arsenal 4-2 at Highbury on Tuesday.

Assistant manager Steve Clarke expects the squad to be fresh after rotating players for the Birmingham game following last Wednesday's 2-1 win at Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final.

'We made eight changes at the weekend from the Manchester United game a week ago,' Clarke said.

'Those who played against Manchester United but not Birmingham had a couple of days off, and then a couple of days just ticking over, and they've only just stepped up training for the last two days.'
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:00 AM   #56
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:02 AM   #57
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Sri Lanka pair hopeful of claiming tsunami baby after court drama, arrest

AFP Photo

A Sri Lankan couple ordered to undergo DNA tests to prove their claim to a baby survivor of the December tsunamis said they were hopeful of winning custody of the child despite being arrested for trying to snatch him.

Junitha Jeyarajah and her husband Murugupillai broke down in court and threatened suicide when the DNA tests were ordered on Wednesday, and were then arrested for trying to take the little boy from the local hospital.

"It has been a difficult situation," Jeyarajah told AFP shortly after their release. "We respect the law and hope that the law will be good to us."

Two others were remanded for a week for allegedly trying to snatch the baby, a magistrate said.

Also arrested was Samithamby Sri Skandarajah, who found the four-month-old child under a heap of garbage and says the couple are the baby's parents.

The couple's release ended a dramatic day centred around "Baby 81", the 81st patient admitted to Kalmunai hospital on the day of the disaster, December 26.

They had earlier broken down in tears after magistrate M.P. Mohideen ordered the DNA tests, as relatives sought to calm them.

"There is no need for a DNA test, this is our son," Junitha Jeyarajah said as her husband held unidentified tablets in his hand, threatening to kill himself by swallowing them.

"This is not justice," said Jeyarajah, who claims the family were separated from their baby by the giant waves which smashed into Kalmunai on December 26.

She and her husband, accompanied by a large crowd of supporters and media, then marched to the hospital and demanded to see the child.

While the couple were cradling the baby, the noisy crowd obstructed normal activities in the wards, angering medical staff who left their posts and staged a protest outside before the arrests were made.

The United Nations' children's agency UNICEF said it was closely following the case and hoped the baby would not have to stay in hospital until April 20, the date of the next hearing.

"We feel enough evidence (of parentage) can be found locally by way of documents and statements from neighbours. It is in the best interest of everyone," UNICEF spokesman Geoffrey Keele told AFP.

"We welcome the efforts to ensure that the baby is reunited with its real parents. But we think it's best to resolve it locally rather than drive the baby and the couple all the way to Colombo for tests and put them through more stress and trauma."

The DNA test was ordered on the request of a lawyer representing the District Child Protection Committee.

"Tomorrow if we come to know that the present couple are not the real parents then what happens to the baby?" Shaul H. Moulavi Manarudeen asked the court.

"It is necessary that the tests be conducted considering the vast nature of tsunami disaster, with hundreds of parents reporting missing children and vice versa."

Judge M.P. Mohideen accepted his argument, ordering the hospital to take care of the baby until the case is settled.

On Thursday, the court will decide when to take the baby to Colombo, 380 kilometres (237 miles) from here by road, for a DNA test.
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:02 AM   #58
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An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred on 26 Dec 2004, off the west coast of Sumatra. The massive quake, the worst in forty years, triggered tsunamis that devastated South and Southeast Asia, killing more than an estimated 150,000 people in at least nine countries and displacing up to five million people.

Families across South and Southeast Asia, stricken by disaster, need your help. The need for aid to house, clothe and feed the survivors will last for months to come. And after that, there is the large task of rebuilding homes, communities, towns and economies. The UN estimates that this phase may last a decade.

Support the organisations below providing assistance to those whose lives have been devastated by this terrible disaster
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:03 AM   #59
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Nepal king unveils new cabinet amid international condemnation

Photo: AFP
KATHMANDU (AFP) - Nepal's King Gyanendra swore in a new cabinet dominated by royalists, a day after he fired the government and seized power in a move that sparked international condemnation.

India, the biggest regional power, announced in a show of disapproval it would not take part in next week's planned South Asian summit in Dhaka.

The decision torpedoed the February 6-7 event which Gyanendra had planned to attend. The charter of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation states leaders of all seven nations must attend summits.

India had voiced "grave concern" at the king's dismissal of the coalition government and imposition of emergency rule, calling it "a serious setback to the cause of democracy in Nepal."

Gyanendra said he fired the government of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for failing to hold elections or to bring peace to a country racked by an increasingly deadly Maoist revolt.

The monarch, vaulted to the throne four years ago by a palace massacre that wiped out most of the royal family, pledged to "restore democracy and law and order in the country in the next three years."

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In Kathmandu security was tight on streets that were jammed as usual while shops, businesses and schools were open. But landlines and mobile phone networks and Internet links were still not working after being shut down Tuesday. The international airport was functioning.

Gyanendra's new 10-member new cabinet, mainly made up of pro-monarchists including Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey and Finance Minister Madhukar Shumsher Rana, was sworn in at the palace.

Gyanendra said the sacking of the coalition was necessary to crush a nine-year revolt in the scenic mountain kingdom that has claimed over 11,000 lives.

Maoist guerrilla leader Prachanda, meanwhile, urged "pro-people forces of the world" to oppose Gyanendra's power grab, denouncing him as a "national betrayer."

Prachanda said the Maoists, fighting to topple the monarchy and install a communist republic, were prepared to cooperate with other political forces by establishing "a broad front with all that are against feudal autocracy."

Political parties said security forces had detained political activists, trade union officials, students and their leaders but the full number was not known.

"About 100 people from different parties are in custody," said M.D. Adsikra, a member of a former partner in the ruling coalition, the Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninist (NCP-UML).

Deuba was believed to be under house arrest. Security forces had taken away former deputy prime minister B.M. Adhikari from his home to an unknown location, NCP-UML officials said. They said half a dozen former ministers were also arrested.

Newspapers, operating under new state of emergency rules suspending press freedom, used neutral language to announce the news.

"His Majesty dissolves Deuba government," said the state-run Rising Nepal.

Witnesses in the capital saw only one rally under new laws banning free assembly. It was by several hundred pro-royalists near the palace, who shouted: "Long Live the king, peace will now prevail."

"People are trying secretly to organise meetings but some of the senior leaders have been arrested so they havem't been able to," said a 20-year-old student at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan University.

A Supreme Court lawyer, Mitilesh Kumar Singh, called the king's move a "political tsunami. He wants to bring about peace and security ... a good thing but I doubt he'll be successful and it's a violation of the constitution."

The United States, United Nations and Britain condemned Gyanendra's move.

India, along with the US and Britain, has been a key backer of Nepal in its drive to crush the insurgency. New Delhi fears Maoist violence could spill into parts of its own country where ultra-leftist groups are powerful.

The Indian military, which overnight reinforced borders with Nepal, held meetings Wednesday to review its "future course of action" in providing help to the Nepalese army.

"A section (in the military) believes that now it would be daft to arm Nepal which has shed its democratic fibre," a top commander said in New Delhi.

Human rights group Amnesty International expressed concern, noting that the last state of emergency in 2001-2002 led to an explosion of abuses, including killings, disappearances and arrests.

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Old 03-02-2005, 08:51 AM   #60
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Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea: FT Report


Chelsea were made to fight all the way for their place in the record books after a 1-0 victory at Blackburn which owed everything to their Czech keeper Petr Cech.

Arjen Robben suffered a heavily brised foot (RossKinnaird/GettyImages)

Mourinho delighted with battling Blues

Arjen Robben may have scored the goal which saw Jose Mourinho's side stretch the gap at the top to 11 points but it was Cech, who brilliantly saved a Paul Dickov penalty, who emerged as Chelsea's key man.

This was Chelsea's eighth consecutive league win - all with clean sheets - and Cech has now gone 781 minutes without conceding a goal, surpassing Peter Schmeichel's 1997 mark of 694 minutes.

Not since Arsenal drew 2-2 on December 12 have their defence been breached in the Premiership - and not since then have an opposing side caused them so many problems.

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes has bought well in the transfer window and his side, allied to their combative approach, proved doughty competitors.

Rovers are, statistically at least, the dirtiest side in the Premiership with the most fouls, the most red cards (five) and the most yellow (48) of any club in the top flight and Chelsea were taken back by their physical approach.

Aaron Mokoena, playing in a holding role in midfield, ended Robben's match after 11 minutes - the Dutch winger limping off with a bruised foot after a clash with the South African.

Robben had done his work by then but without him and the injured Didier Drogba the visitors looked a touch lightweight, especially in attack.

During the brief time Robben was on the field Chelsea looked in control. Former Rovers winger Damien Duff left Dominic Matteo for dead in the first minute after an exquisite dummy and turn, but Mokoena stood tall for Blackburn and cleared the cross.

There was a flicker of hope for the home side when Dickov picked up possession 25 yards from goal but Claude Makelele's block took the sting out of his strike and Cech was able to gather - and claim that record from Schmeichel.

With less than five minutes gone Chelsea asserted their supremacy. Frank Lampard found Robben on the left flank and the Dutchman left Lucas Neill chasing his shadow before rifling a terrific shot low across Brad Friedel to make it 1-0.

Duff kept up the pressure with a long-range shot which swerved but was still comfortable for Friedel but Blackburn did not fold and Robbie Savage had a decent claim that he was pushed in the area by William Gallas.

Mokoena's fierce rising drive from 30 yards only just cleared the crossbar, before Andy Todd came mighty close to breaching that invincible goal with a powerful downward header from Savage's corner which bounced past an unguarded post.

Savage should have done even better when Dickov chested Morten Pedersen's long-throw towards him but skied his effort.

Blackburn were forcing Chelsea into some uncharacteristic mistakes and from one misplaced pass the Wales midfielder sent the ball whistling past the angle.

Chelsea had been warned, and only Cech's brilliance kept them in front. Savage won a penalty when he ran on to Dickov's backheel and had his ankles clipped by Paulo Ferreira.

Referee Uriah Rennie's decision looked spot on but Cech kept his record going, the Czech using all of his 6ft 5in frame to dive to his left to thwart Dickov, then bravely seizing the loose ball to prevent the combative Scot following up.

John Terry lost his temper with Dickov when the striker went diving in again at Cech's feet and an ugly little fracas developed and Terry was fortunate that someone more card-happy that Rennie was not in charge.

Todd won another header at another Savage corner soon after the second half kicked off but this time he was unable to find any direction.

David Thompson then tried an outlandish volley from 30 yards which soared several yards wide.

By the hour-mark it had become apparent Chelsea had been told to match Blackburn's fire with fire and Terry went into Rennie's notebook for tangling once too often with Dickov.

At the same time, Chelsea had retreated into their shell and when they did poke their head out, it was not to great effect as Joe Cole sliced wide from 20 yards.

Dickov earned his own yellow card for persistent misconduct then Lampard, having one of his quietest matches of the season, saw his direct free-kick deflected wide off one of his own players.

Gudjohnsen flicked a volley narrowly wide as Friedel came out of goal, then Ryan Nelsen, who had an outstanding game at centre-back, was alert to see off the same player when he threatened once more.

Dickov could have made up for his penalty miss when the way to goal opened up for him but he did not strike his shot cleanly and Cech was not properly tested.

Lucas Neill sliced wide as injury time approached and - after another unseemly mass melee after Claude Makelele had knocked over Pedersen - Chelsea held on for victory.

Mourinho delighted with battling Blues

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hailed his team's fighting qualities after the Barclays Premiership leaders ground out a 1-0 win at Blackburn.

Mourinho was less then impressed with some of Rovers' tactics with goalscorer Arjen Robben forced off after 11 minutes following a challenge from Aaron Mokoena.

The Chelsea boss said: 'It's a big injury but we have other players. He is so special that maybe he was the first target for them.'

Petr Cech preserved his record of not conceding a league goal since December 12 with a penalty save from Paul Dickov and his display typified the league leaders' determination.

'We can play good football, we can fight,' said Mourinho. 'We can fight for points in a game like this - if you can call it a game.

'I think we can go over every barrier, the spirit was amazing and our players fought a lot.

'We did it without Didier Drogba, our powerful man, then after five minutes we lose our fastest player (Robben).

'It was difficult for us against a team who had a special attitude. If I was polite I would call it a special attitude.

'The blond boy in the middle (Robbie Savage) made 20 faults and no yellow card. It's difficult to control emotions.'

Mourinho also thanked the fans who backed the Blues on a bleak night in east Lancashire.

'They were fantastic, they understood the game,' he said. 'They came here to see a good game of football.

'And they understood it was not a great game of football, it was a fight. We came here with a big spirit.'

Despite being 11 points clear at the top of the table, Mourinho continues to insist the title is not won yet.

He added: 'We still have to play Manchester United and Arsenal - they are great teams.'

As for the loss of Robben, Mourinho said: 'We have other players waiting for chances. We are ready for everything. If we don't have strikers we can play John Terry as a striker and he can score.'

Captain John Terry told Sky Premiership Plus: 'To go 11 points clear was important. It is a tough place to come. They showed they can fight but we matched them all the way.

'There is still a million miles to go [in the title race] and we've got to keep playing like that. We've shown we can battle and we want to fight.

'There are still many games to go and some tough games. Manchester United will still fight all the way but if we keep winning eventually they're going to die off.'

Cech was happy with his contribution and said: 'I wanted to do my bit for my team-mates. The team has been fantastic and I wanted to help them win the game.

'We wanted the points and we got three. We are 11 points ahead but we have another 10 steps to win the Premiership.'
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