Corruption scandal set to explode in England

The stark news will send shock waves through the domestic game a week after Italy’s match-fixing scandal saw leading Serie A sides Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio and AC Milan severely punished.

In England, a team of specialist bung-busters ‘ headed by former Met Police chief Lord Stevens ‘ has highlighted a series of highly-questionable Premier League transfers.

Now they want the green light to go further and grill the clubs, players and agents involved in those “dodgy deals” in a bid to bring them to justice.

And the investigators will enjoy unprecedented powers in their search for the truth.

They will be able to demand home, office and mobile phone records, and personal bank accounts in an effort to find out who paid and who received the money which allegedly “went missing” in the deals.

Nothing will happen for a couple of months because Lord Stevens’ team will not officially present their interim report to the Premier League until September.

Eriksson hooks up with a girl

England’s failed soccer boss Sven Goran Eriksson is nuzzling up to a girl young enough to be his daughter.

The British media obtained pictures showing the 58-year-old serial love cheat getting close up and personal with the bikini-clad beauty before disappearing with her into a secluded summerhouse in the grounds of his Swedish lakeside home.

They are believed to have spent the entire afternoon in there despite brilliant sunshine outside.

Meanwhile Nancy, 47, was hundreds kilometres away in Italy after the former England coach:

ditched her following the team’s disastrous exit from World Cup; banned her from accompanying him home to Sweden and; refused to return to join her at a close pal’s wedding last weekend.

Last week, during a furious phone row, Sven told Nancy there was no chance of a reconciliation.

Oh, not again ‘Mrs Crouch’

Brazen Abi, 20, protested she had given up the drug when she was dumped by England’s Peter Crouch last week after she was exposed as a cocaine-hoovering love cheat.

But shocking photos published in the British media show her with coke caked around one nostril as she scoops up more white powder from a packet, before crudely baring her boobs.

Actually, she was on cocaine just three weeks ago, on the night she bedded an ex-boyfriend behind Crouch’s back.

Builder Ben Lunt, 23, who Abi cheated with when the beanpole striker was on World Cup duty, told a pal: “It’s a joke telling people she’s not done drugs for years. She’s definitely still on them.”

Ronney needed a partner

Wayne Rooney has admitted he would have preferred to line up in a 4-4-2 formation for England at the World Cup.

Rooney had to play as a lone striker in the knockout stages as England beat Ecuador and were beaten by Portugal.

And the Manchester United striker said: “If it had been my decision I would probably have preferred Peter Crouch up front, with me behind, but it wasn’t my shout.”

Rooney is quick to add that he had complete trust in former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson.

Rooney, notoriously sent off during the Portugal defeat, added: “Some so-called experts have said that my anger on the pitch, resulting in the red card, was all Sven’s fault… it could have happened at any time, in any match.”

In his new autobiography, Rooney also insists he did not deliberately stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.

“I’ll go to my grave and still maintain it was a complete accident,” he said. “If I’d done it deliberately, if it had been a definite stamp meant to harm him, the fella would still be in hospital to this day.”

Rooney is also at pains to stress he did not try to confront his United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, even after the Portuguese winger appeared to encourage the referee to show the red card.

The former Everton striker claims he and Ronaldo will have no problem training together at United next season.

Medals more valuable

Craig Bellamy has given up ‘1 million a year to realise his ambition of playing for Liverpool ‘ because medals mean more to him than money.

The Welsh striker rejected a bankbusting pay rise by Blackburn which would have earned him ’65 000 a week so he could complete a ‘6m move to his boyhood idols at Anfield.

Bellamy still won’t be strapped for cash on Merseyside, having signed a four-year deal worth more than ‘9m, but it says much about the 27-year-old that the gold he wants to strike now comes in the shape of winner’s medals.

Bellamy said: “I would have fancied staying at Blackburn if Liverpool hadn’t come in because I was happy there and the new contract they offered me was very good. But you have to decide whether your dream is worth more than money.”

United good for Ronaldo

Eric Cantona has backed Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to stay at Manchester United. Portuguese winger Ronaldo, 21, was eyeing a move to Real Madrid but will now spend next season working under Alex Ferguson.

Red Devils legend Cantona, who retired in 1997, reckons it is the right decision.

The Frenchman insisted: “For me, United is the biggest club in the world. Sir Alex has two very talented youngsters in Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, who will continue to learn every season.

“United are the perfect club at which to improve as a young player. They are the biggest club in the world yet still spend time working with young players and giving them the chance to learn.

“If I was an 18-year-old and all the big clubs in the world wanted to sign me, I’d pick United.”

July 2006
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