Report into World Cup bidding delayed

Fifa’s investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process has been delayed until September.

Lawyer Michael Garcia, who is leading the investigation, had been due to submit his findings in July.

But Fifa’s ethics committee say they now expect the report to be delivered to ethics judge Joachim Eckert by the “first week of September 2014″.

The Qatar 2022 bid committee is facing allegations of corruption, but has denied any wrongdoing.

The Sunday Times alleged  in June that Qatar’s former Fifa vice-president, Mohamed bin Hammam, paid £3m to football officials around the world in return for support of the Qatari bid.

Qatar overcame competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to be named as 2022 hosts.

Garcia is leading a long-running investigation into the bidding process for both the 2018 World Cup and the 2022 tournament.

The results of the bids were announced in December 2010, with Russia winning the vote to stage the 2018 event.

Former attorney general Lord Goldsmith,  a member of Fifa’s independent committee on governance, Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce and Football Association chairman Greg Dyke have all said said there should be a re-run of the 2022 vote if allegations of wrongdoing prove correct.

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England will miss Gerrard – Hodgson

England will miss “fantastic” captain Steven Gerrard after his retirement from international football, says national boss Roy Hodgson.

The Liverpool midfielder, 34, won 114 caps and scored 21 goals, representing his country at six major tournaments.

“We shall miss his leadership qualities as we look ahead with a youthful group,” Hodgson said.

Former England captain Bryan Robson, meanwhile, said Gerrard had been a “great servant” to his country.

The former Manchester United midfielder added he does not think there is a “standout candidate” for the captaincy.

Gerrard, whom Hodgson also managed at Anfield, will now assume a “high-profile” ambassadorial role with the Football Association.

The England boss added: “He is an incredible man and fantastic footballer who we have all been blessed to see in an England shirt so often.

“It is never by coincidence that people reach such a staggering figure as 114 caps. It is a mark of his wonderful talent allied to a huge drive and determination to live up to the highest standard.”

Hodgson described Gerrard as a “tremendous captain” and an “exceptional role model”.

He added: “I wish him all the best in the future, although I know I can count on his continued support and influence as a helpful presence moving forward.”

Steven Gerrard and Roy Hodgson Gerrard led England as captain on 38 occasions, winning 20 of those matches

Robson, who captained England on 65 occasions, told BBC Sport Gerrard would be a “big miss” for the national side.

“It is always a shame when a great player decides to retire from the international scene,” said Robson, 57. “But he can look back and say he gave everything for England.

“He has been a fantastic player for England over the years. It is a really difficult call because you want to play for your country, especially if the manager is picking you.”

Former England striker and BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted:  “He’s been a wonderful servant to his country. A great player who always gave all.”

Ex-England and Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher , who played alongside Gerrard, wrote:  “Good decision by Steven Gerrard, 114 caps – great servant for England.”

And another of his former team-mates for club and country, Michael Owen , said on Twitter:  “A huge decision and so tough to make. England will miss him.”

114: Number of caps. England’s third most-capped player behind Peter Shilton (125) and David Beckham (115)

12: Number of World Cup finals matches he played in, scoring three times

38: Matches as England captain

Ex-England skipper and colleague Rio Ferdinand tweeted:  “Gerrard has been an incredible player. Surpassing 100 caps is some achievement.”

FA chairman Greg Dyke said: “It is sad news but also gives us the opportunity to celebrate a wonderful career; Steven gave everything for England and he will be missed.

“As a captain he could not have done more for the cause. His longevity and determination will see him remembered by everyone as an England great.”

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Ukraine conflict unsettles six players

Six Shakhtar Donetsk players refused to return to the city following Saturday’s friendly in France because of concerns over the conflict in Ukraine.

Donetsk is currently controlled by pro-Russian rebels, with the Ukrainian army attempting to regain control.

Alex Teixeira, Fred, Dentinho, Douglas Costa, Facundo Ferreyra and Ismaily did not fly back after the game in Lyon.

Club president Rinat Akhmetov has warned that the players may face sanctions if they do not return.

“Players have contracts that they have to abide by. If they do not come, I think, they will be the first to suffer,” Akhmetov told the club’s website.

“Hopefully, the mind and heart will prevail over misunderstanding, and the players will not follow temptation and fear. Especially since there is nothing to fear.”

Five of the six players are Brazilian, with Ferreyra hailing from Argentina, and have a reported market value of £46m.

Shakhtar are currently not allowed to play home matches at their Donbass Arena, due to the conflict.

The new season is scheduled to begin this weekend and the Ukrainian Football Federation has yet to decide where the club will play.

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Hull can aid my England hopes – Ince

Tom Ince hopes his move to Hull City can boost his England chances.

The 22-year-old winger, who has arrived on a two-year contract following the end of his deal at Blackpool, has been capped 14 times at Under-21 level but is yet to receive a senior call-up.

“I’ve taken the long route (to the top flight) but feel I’m back where I belong,” he told BBC Look North.

“This is the next step for me. I have ambitions and dreams to play for my country at the top level.”

Ince, who had been a target for Inter Milan, spent the second half of last season playing in the Premier League on loan at Crystal Palace.

The former Liverpool youth-team player added: “It’s been a whirlwind summer. The last six months have been a bit up and down but I’ve finally found my home.”

Ince’s father Paul was a team-mate of Tigers boss Steve Bruce at Manchester United in the 1990s. The wide player admits Bruce, whose own son Alex is also a Hull player, was a key factor in his decision.

He added: “The key factor was the manager. I have known Steve on a personal level and as a manager. I know what style of football he brings.

“I have good memories of Alex and I playing football in the lounge at Old Trafford. I’m sure it’s surreal for the manager to see me back playing football with his son. There’s that whole family feeling again.”

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Liverpool close on Origi and Lovren

Liverpool are closing in on deals to sign Southampton defender Dejan Lovren and Lille striker Divock Origi.

The Reds, who are currently on tour in the United States, have agreed a £10m deal for Origi, 19, who is set to fly out for a medical in the next few days.

The pursuit of Lovren, 25, is gathering fresh momentum despite Southampton rejecting a £20m bid two weeks ago.

The Croatian has spoken of his desire to join Liverpool and Saints are thought to be softening their stance.

Lovren, who joined the South Coast club from Lyon for £8.5m last summer, has asked to leave St Mary’s 12 months into a four-year contract.

Divock Origi Liverpool have agreed a £10m deal with Lille for Divock Origi

Under the terms of the Origi transfer, the youngster will stay at the French club on loan next season and move to Anfield in 2015.

Both players featured for their countries at the 2014 World Cup, with Origi scoring against Russia and playing in all five of Belgium’s games during their run to the quarter-finals.

Lovren played in all three of Croatia’s games as they were eliminated in the group stage.

Liverpool have also agreed an £8.5m fee with QPR to sign France striker Loic Remy.

Meanwhile, Spanish striker Iago Aspas has completed a season-long loan move to Sevilla.

Striker Rickie Lambert, 32, was signed for £4m from Southampton

Midfielder Adam Lallana, 25, was signed for £25m from Southampton

Midfielder Emre Can, 20, was signed for £10m from Bayer Leverkusen

Winger Lazar Markovic, 20, was signed for £20m from Benfica

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Man City striker Negredo breaks foot

Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo has broken his foot and says he will be out of action for “a few months”.

The 28-year-old, injured in a friendly against Hearts on Friday, revealed the news on Instagram along with a picture of his right foot in a protective boot.

Alvaro Negredo Alvaro Negredo says he will return from injury “stronger than ever”

“I want to let you know that it’s going to be hard for the next few months,” he wrote. “I fractured my 5th metatarsal and will be out a few months.

“I will be back stronger than ever. I will return with a vengeance.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini was willing to listen to offers for the Spain international, who was not part of their World Cup sqiad.

But Negredo said last week: “I don’t want to leave City. I’m very happy and very settled here.

“I had a difficult end to the season and that’s why there has been a lot of talking but I’ve been very happy here from the first day I arrived.”

Negredo scored 26 goals before the end of January after signing from Sevilla in the summer of 2013.

But a shoulder injury, combined with a loss of form, led to 16 scoreless appearances.

Negredo limped out of City’s 2-1 friendly win at Tynecastle shortly before half-time.

The club are due to fly to Kansas for the start of their pre-season tour of the United States on Monday.

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