Sportsday Live - Friday, 1 March 2013

Premier League build-up and live coverage of day one of the European Indoor Championships.

1 March 2013 Last updated at 18:58

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As it happened

  1. 1846: 

    That is it for another week of Sportsday Live. A reminder that you can keep up to date with tonight's latest football, rugby union and rugby league scores on the BBC Sport website. Thanks for your company.

  2. 1840: 

    Former United States Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger: "The worst thing a pro golfer can do to his GOLF GAME is change clubs for the money. Loving the clubs you play is priceless! #Rory."

  3. 1835: 

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter has paid tribute to Ryan Giggs' loyalty as the Manchester United winger, who has signed a new one-year contract, looks forward to playing his 1,000th professional match. Including his Wales caps and his four for GB, Giggs could make his 1,000th senior appearance on Saturday against Norwich in the Premier League.

    "Nowadays, not only because of the transfer system but also because there is so much money in football, you play half a season for one club and half a season for the other," said Blatter. "Everyone should take an example of Ryan Giggs because what he has done is really, really wonderful, amazing."

  4. 1828: 

    Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been left off AC Milan's squad for Saturday's match against third-place Lazio with a bruised leg. Balotelli was injured in last weekend's derby and Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri says the player has not been able to train all week.

  5. 1813: 

    Celtic say in a statement they are "surprised" by the Scottish Premier League-appointed commission's conclusion that Rangers gained no competitive advantage from the undisclosed payments they were found guilty of making.

  6. 1808: 

    Jules Bianchi has been appointed as Marussia's second driver after the team cancelled the contract of Luiz Razia, the team confirm.

  7. 1805: 

    Blackburn Rovers complete the emergency loan signing of winger Cameron Stewart, 21, from Championship rivals Hull City until the end of the season.

  8. 1800: 

    Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Dean Saunders says he has had plenty of messages of support ahead of Friday's home game with Watford (1945 GMT). Wolves face the prospect of back-to-back relegations unless they address an alarming slide, and Saunders said: "I've spoken to Graeme Souness, and Ron Atkinson rang me. He told me to keep going, you get ups and downs as a manager but you must keep believing in what you're doing.

    "What's happening to us now is just a problem I didn't expect. I was getting prepared for a promotion challenge next season but now I've got to address this situation because we've got to stay in this league first. Next season I can assure everyone, if we manage to stay up, we'll have a team in July on the starting grid ready to compete for promotion."

  9. 1748: 

    Tomas Berdych overcomes Roger Federer 3-6 7-6 6-4 to progress to the final of the Dubai Championships, where he will face Novak Djokovic, who defeated Juan Martin Del Porto earlier.

  10. 1746: 

    Fifa will set up a task force to tackle racism in football, the world governing body's president Sepp Blatter has said ahead of an International FA Board meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday. "It is a big, big problem also of education and understanding, but we will do it because we have to kick it out," added Blatter.

  11. 1742: 

    More from BBC Sport's Iain Carter on Rory McIlroy walking off the course at the Honda Classic in Florida: "McIlroy was defending champion at this event and was destined to miss the cut as he did in his only other stroke play event since signing to Nike clubs in a multi-million dollar deal at the start of the year. He was also beaten in the first round of the WGC Match Play last week and now has only two more tournaments scheduled before the Masters in April."

  12. 1735: 

    Southampton winger Jason Puncheon, 26, extends his contract until the summer of 2016. "It's obviously been a worry because my contract was up at the end of the season, so it was important for me to get tied down," he said. "It's a weight off my mind. The club has a vision. That's why I've signed and stayed on."

  13. 1730:  
    BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 liveGOLF

    BBC Sport's Iain Carter at the Honda Classic in Florida where Rory McIlroy has walked off the course: "This is an extraordinary turn of events for the world number one, who was suffering a shocking second round at the tournament which he won last year. He made a triple bogey and a double bogey en route to slipping to seven over par for the eight holes he completed on Friday.

    "At the ninth he picked up his ball, shook hands with his playing partners and went straight to the car park, driving off saying in his only comment that he is not in a good place mentally."

  14. 1725: 
    Alex Kacaniklic

    Burnley have completed the signing of midfielder Alex Kacaniklic, 21, on loan from Fulham for the remainder of the season. The Sweden international could make his debut at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

  15. 1718: 

    Andre-Villas Boas has commented on those who doubt whether Gareth Bale should be mentioned in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    "Gareth at the moment is showing that level of form to be at the level of those two players, who have won so much throughout their careers, including European trophies," says AVB.

    "He still has to achieve that and we hope he can achieve it with us. I think he is very down to earth."


    Ben Lloyd: "Spurs top 4. Won't hold 3rd. Tough run in. Chelsea in 3rd."

    Glen Povey: "I can see Spurs nicking 2nd at this rate! Man City are stuttering and Bale is on fire!"

    Who do you think will make it into the Champions League places? Get involved using #bbcsportsday.

  17. 1701: 

    BBC Sport's Chief F1 writer Andrew Benson has been reflecting on day two of the final pre-season testing session in Barcelona.

    Lotus's Romain Grosjean was 0.465 seconds ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button on a rain-interrupted day at the Circuit de Catalunya.

    "The weather conditions meant the teams faced limited running, with only about an hour on a dry track before the lunch break and a further two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon before the rain returned."

  18. 1655: 

    The T20 international between South Africa and Pakistan in Durban has been abandoned without a ball being bowled due to heavy rain.

  19. 1648: 
    BBC Sport news reporter Richard ConwayFOOTBALL

    "Sepp Blatter tells BBC Sport that Ryan Giggs has shown 'courageous determination' staying with 1 club & is an 'example' to all in football."


    Rashida Qamar: "People keep forgetting Chelsea know how to finish in the top 4. Arsenal will be 4th with Spurs in typical Europa position."

    What are your thoughts on the race for the Champions League places? Are there any other contenders? Could Everton be in the mix at the end of the season? Let us know on Twitter using #bbcsportsday.

  21. 1639: 

    Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Dasaolu are through to the 60m semi-finals in Gothenburg, but Dwain Chambers has gone out.

    The BBC Sport website has live coverage of the rest of this evening's events from Sweden, with title holder Jenny Meadows about to run in her heat in the 800m.

  22. 1627: 

    Rory McIlroy has released a statement giving his reasons for walking off the course during the second round of the Honda Classic

    "I sincerely apologise to the Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal," he said.

    "I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil.

    "It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate. I came here with every intention of defending my Honda Classic title. Even though my results haven't revealed it, I really felt like I was rounding a corner."

  23. 1622: 

    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has finished fastest on the second day of the final pre-season test in Barcelona.

    The Frenchman finished 0.465 seconds faster than Jenson Button in second.


    1) Grosjean - 1:22.716 - 88 laps

    2) Button - 1:23.181 - 72

    3) Maldonado - 1:23.628 - 75

    4) Vettel - 1:23.743 - 65

    5) Hulkenberg - 1:23.744 - 79

  24. 1614: 

    Dwain Chambers has finished fifth in his heat of the 60m at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, and will have to wait to see whether he progresses as a fastest qualifier. Follow the action on the BBC Sport website with live video and text commentary.


    Daniel Taylor: "Spurs will lose against Arsenal and then fall into a slump before clinching 4th on the final day of the season, Chelsea 5th"

    Jack Quinn Stacy: "Shocked if AFC miss 4th & THFC make it. CFC? Well there's a reason they've won more trophies than any EPL side in past decade."

    : "If Arsenal win on Sunday and Chelsea draw with West Brom then game is over for Chelsea"

    Get involved with the discussion on who will qualify for the Champions League at #bbcsportsday

  26. 1558: 

    This afternoon's coverage of the European Indoor Athletics Championships is also up and running, with live video and text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

  27. 1553: 

    It's day two of the final session of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, and our live text commentary will keep you up to date with all the latest news.


    1) Grosjean - 1:27.757 - 85 laps

    2) Button - 1:25.936 - 70

    3) Maldonado - 1:29.132 - 68

  28. 1546: 
    Rory McIlroy

    World number one Rory McIlroy walks off the course after completing just eight holes of his second round at the Honda Classic in Florida.

    The defending champion withdrew after hitting his second shot into the water on the 18th - his ninth - and slumping to seven over par for the day.

    The official PGA Tour Twitter feed says that McIlroy withdrew with "severe wisdom tooth pain affecting concentration."

  29. 1544: 

    West Brom's Isiah Brown will become the youngest player to appear in the Premier League if he appears against Chelsea on Saturday.

    The midfielder will be 16 years and 54 days old on Saturday, and Baggies boss Steve Clarke says he has included the England Under 17 international in his squad.

    If he plays Brown will surpass the current record held by Fulham's Matthew Briggs, set in 2007, by 11 days.


    BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson has cast his eye over .

    This week Lawro is up against journalist, TV host and Arsenal fan Piers Morgan - what do you make of their forecasts?

    Get involved at #lawrospredictions.

  31. 1530: 

    It looks touch-and-go as to whether Vincent Kompany will be fit in time for Manchester City's game against Aston Villa on Monday night. The City skipper has been absent since limping off with a calf problem against Stoke on 26 January.

    "Vinnie is getting better. We hope [he will be fit] for the next game," says manager Roberto Mancini.

    "Will try for Villa on Monday but it's difficult. He didn't train with the team, he was with physio. We try for FA Cup. Calf is a difficult injury because you think ok at start and then have a problem. The calf is a strange injury."

  32. 1519: 

    David Beckham is not ruling out extending his career for at least as long as former United team-mate Ryan Giggs, who will play until after his 40th birthday following his new contract extension.

    "When we were still teenagers, Alex Ferguson educated us to respect the game, respect our bodies and love what you do," Beckham has told L'Equipe.

    "Right now, it's Ryan Giggs who has gone the furthest. But hey, in the end, it might be me (who plays for the longest time)."

  33. 1515: 

    Fulham have announced that defender Philippe Senderos has signed a one-year contract extension.

    "I'm delighted to extend my stay with the Club by a further year," Senderos told the club's website. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Fulham so far and I love playing for this Club.

    "I'm relishing playing first-team football and I'm confident that we can continue our recent good form and end the season strongly. A top-10 finish is certainly achievable."

  34. 1513: 

    Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is contention for the north London derby on Sunday after recovering from an ankle injury.

    Younes Kaboul, Sandro and Tom Huddlestone are all absent with knee injuries while Clint Dempsey is also missing due to a calf problem.

    Provisional squad: Lloris, Friedel, Walker, Naughton, Gallas, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Holtby, Livermore, Dembele, Carroll, Parker, Bale, Sigurdsson, Defoe.


    Gaurav Chhetri: "If Arsenal win on Sunday, Arsenal will surely finish top four. Spurs have tough game ahead. Liverpool simply battle for Europa"

    Alastair Temple: "Personally I would like to see Spurs, Arsenal and Everton get 3rd to 5th (not fussed on the order) and Chelsea drop to 6th."

    Diag O'Nally: "Spurs will take any position above Arsenal on the table. Chelsea to drop out of top 4."

    How will the race for the Champions League places play out? Will Spurs secure third? Will Everton sneak up on the rails? Get involved at #bbcsportsday

  36. 1501: 

    Novak Djokovic is through to the final of the Dubai Championships, the Serb took one hour and 44 minutes to despatch Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina 6-3 7-6.

    Djokovic, unbeaten in 2013, is aiming for his fourth win in this tournament in five years, and he will play either Roger Federer or Tomas Berdych, who contest their semi-final later today.

  37. 1500: 
    BBC Sport news reporter Richard Conway:FOOTBALL

    "FA general secretary Alex Horne says he hopes goal-line technology will be installed at Wembley in time for August's Community Shield.

    "The FA part of Premier League tender that is in discussions with 2 companies. Talks over how/when goal line tech is used in FA Cup on-going."

  38. 1455: 
    BBC Sport horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght:

    "28 day ban for jockey David Probert for stopping riding early on Paphos, beaten nose by Saharia (2-00)."

  39. 1447: 
    Romain Grosjean

    The teams are testing at Barcelona ahead of the new season and Romain Grosjean is the first man under the 1m23s today, clocking 1:22.716 to reclaim top spot in the Lotus.

    Follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

  40. 1441: 

    QPR manager Harry Redknapp says he is braced for a hostile reception when he returns to Southampton on Saturday.

    Southampton were relegated under Redknapp in 2005, and the club's fans were further enraged when the 65-year-old quit to rejoin rivals Portsmouth.

    "Listen, I will get a bit of grief, won't I? But what can you do? That's no problem," he says.

    "They are not bad people there. I wouldn't say Southampton supporters are nasty, aggressive people. They're not."


    It is Friday afternoon, and that means BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson's predictions for another weekend of Premier League action are up for debate.

    Do you agree that Chelsea will scrape past West Brom? Will leaders Manchester United ease to victory against Norwich? Can QPR get a vital away win at Southampton?

    Let us know what you think using #lawrospredictions on Twitter.

  42. 1429: 

    World number one Rory Mcllroy is six over after seven holes of the second round and looks on course to miss the cut at the Honda Classic in Florida.

  43. 1424: 
    BBC Sport horse racing reporter Frank Keogh:HORSE RACING

    "Saharia wins 14:00 GMT at Lingfield but headlines will focus on beaten evens favourite Paphos after jockey David Probert drops hands near finish.

    "Punters who backed beaten favourite Paphos at Lingfield furious with jockey David Probert. Eased up near line & got beaten. Ban likely."

  44. 1417: 

    Midfielder Yossi Benayoun is out of Chelsea's Premier League clash with West Brom with an ankle injury.

    Gary Cahill (virus) and Cesar Azpilicueta (leg) are available, however, after missing the midweek FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.

    Oriol Romeu (knee) remains a long-term absentee.

    Provisional squad: Cech, Turnbull, Hilario, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Cole, Bertrand, Luiz, Terry, Ake, Oscar, Mata, Moses, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires, Hazard, Marin, Torres, Ba.

  45. 1413: 
    Rodman and Jong-Un

    NBA legend Dennis Rodman labels North Korea's new ruler Kim Jong-Un an "awesome kid" as he visits the secretive country as part of the Harlem Globetrotters's travelling party.

    "[Kim] Is like his grandfather and his father, who are great leaders, he is an awesome kid, very honest and loves his wife so much," Rodman is quoted as saying.


    Ray Verma on Twitter: "Daniel Levy saw something Chelsea fans didn't. AVB defying critics. Spurs = champagne football. Battle of North London begins."

    Dean James on Twitter: "Cannot write off Arsenal. Criticised for bad form yet they're unbeaten in 5 league games taking 13 points."

    Nabil Dhala on Twitter: "Everton have a shot at CL. They were brilliant a few months ago. If they go on a run of wins, who knows? Still not over!"

    Who will miss out on Champions League football next season? Get involved at #bbcsportsday

  47. 1355: 

    Cardiff City have confirmed Dato Chan Tien Ghee, better known as TG to supporters, has resigned as chairman.

    TG persuaded Vincent Tan to buy into Cardiff City when the club was having financial difficulties under Peter Ridsdale.

    "TG is embarking on new career and business pursuits that requires his full attention," said a club statement.

    "Given constraints of time and distance, TG believes he is unable to meet the demands of his position as chairman and board member of Cardiff City Football Club."

  48. 1352: 

    Bolton confirm Mark Davies could be out of action for up to 10 months after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in Tuesday's win against Peterborough. Shortly before that match, the midfielder had agreed a new contract until 2017.

  49. 1350: 

    Fulham boss Martin Jol admits he would like to re-sign midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong on loan from Arsenal.

    Frimpong, 21, is due to return to the Emirates Stadium this summer.

    "He is on loan at the moment and it would be quite expensive to take him [permanently], but if there was an opportunity to take him on loan again, I would probably do that," said Jol.

    "It is quite a nice position to be in, to get a loan player you don't have to pay a transfer fee. It is a good way of doing things."

  50. 1345: 

    BBC Six Nations pundit Shane Williams rejects a move to French Top 14 side Toulon to re-sign for Japanese Division Two side Mitsubishi Dynaboars.

    Williams, 36, could have joined Toulon at an earlier stage in his career.

    "There was an option to go to Toulon, plus other teams as well… but it was just the wrong time really for me to go to Toulon," said Williams.

    "I think if I'd had the option several years ago and I was out of contract I would have done it."

  51. 1343: 

    PFA Scotland say Dunfermline's players have made an official complaint to the Scottish Football League over partial payment of wages.

    The Pars squad received 20% of their salaries on Thursday but BBC Scotland has learned players have now been paid half of what they are due.

    Manager Jim Jefferies held a meeting with the playing staff on Friday, but the team are expected to fulfil Saturday's First Division fixture against Partick Thistle.


    Charlie Engel on Twitter: "Spurs playing above expectations, Arsenal on rock bottom form and still only 4 points the gap! Far from over."

    Navead Yousaf on Twitter: "Arsenal and Chelsea will get 3rd and 4th respectively. Spurs will choke and Bale will stop scoring."

    Sangam Dhakal on Twitter: "Don't be surprised if LFC make deep run and take Chelsea out, LFC still has to play Spurs and Chelsea at Anfield."

    How do you see the race for Champions League football developing? How important is Spurs' clash with Arsenal this weekend? Send your views in. #bbcsportsday

  53. 1335: 

    Rafael Benitez at his Chelsea press conference: "What I said is we have 11 games to play, 33 points [to play for], we must stick together and get behind the team.

    "We need the atmosphere of Arsenal and Napoli. The message is clear - I have no problem with the board, Michael Emenalo, Roman Abramovich or the players. I will do the best for the club. I have 26 years of principles, respect and education to achieve what I have."

  54. 1332: 

    A big day on the ATP World Tour is under way as world number one Novak Djokovic takes on Juan Martin del Potro in the Dubai semi-finals, to be followed by Roger Federer against Tomas Berdych.

    Later on Friday, Rafael Nadal faces the toughest test so far on his comeback from a knee injury when he plays Nicolas Almagro in the Mexican Open semi-finals. Follow the latest scores on the BBC Sport website.

  55. 1331: 

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits his success at Swansea was aided by the work Roberto Martinez previously did at the Liberty Stadium.

    Rodgers will take his new side to Martinez's Wigan on Saturday, and was keen to praise the foundations laid by the Spaniard at Swansea - a club Rodgers would ultimately lead to promotion.

    Rodgers said: "He did a terrific job at Swansea for the couple of years he was there, it made my job easier going in.

    "I could then work on other aspects. Every manager who comes in after someone you will always respect what he has done.

    "Certainly with me and Roberto, he did an excellent job there. I was there to move it on and hopefully move the club forward again."

  56. 1324: 

    West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke refuses to set his sights on Europe, despite reaching 40 points - a total normally associated with safety - with 11 games to go.

    "I think it is better we look at the next few games coming up and try and add a few more points to the tally," said Clarke, who returns to Stamford Bridge this weekend.

    "I'm not sure the European spot is there. It only goes down to fifth in the league and at this stage of the season we're a little bit away from that.

    "It's not something we will rule out because we're going to try to get as many points as we can between now and the end of the season."

  57. 1318: 

    England wing Chris Ashton insists tackling is not an issue for him after facing criticism following his side's 23-13 win over France.

    Ashton, 25, came under scrutiny for allowing Wesley Fofana past him in the first half for France's only try.

    "I thought there was a lot of heat for one tackle, although I am trying to get better at that all the time," said Ashton.

    "This is new for me. I don't know where all this defence stuff has come from. I'm not afraid to tackle - I want to tackle."

  58. 1308: 

    Essex complete the signing of Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait for this summer's FL t20 campaign.

    The 30-year-old right-armer, who only plays Twenty20 cricket, is renowned for his pace, having bowled the quickest recorded delivery by an Australian.

    He produced a delivery clocked at 100.1 mph (161.1 kph) in a one-day match against England at Lord's in 2010.

    Tait spent the winter playing for Adelaide in the Big Bash and Chittagong in the Bangladesh Premier League.

  59. 1307: 

    Newly-crowned Premier League player of the month Gareth Bale is in no rush to leave Tottenham, according to former Spurs captain Ledley King.

    Bale, 23 has been described as the world's third-best player after scoring eight goals in his last six games.

    "He's enjoying it at Spurs. I wouldn't see him in any rush to leave," King told BBC Sport.

    Asked if Bale would be the decisive figure in Sunday's north London derby, King said: "I think so. Arsenal will be wary of him and the threat he poses."


    Sho Hussain on Twitter: "Last year Arsenal won't finish in the top 4 they said. Arsenal finished 3rd! Sorry to Spurs fans, this year won't be different."

    PK on Twitter: "Am I the only one thinking Chelsea will be fine for third? They are very much used to their managers being in the news."

    Sam Charman on Twitter: "From a neutral point of view I hope Chelsea miss out, Arsenal and Spurs need the CL cash to attract top players, Chelsea don't."

    Who will miss out on Champions League football? Spurs, Chelsea or Arsenal? Get involved in the debate #bbcsportsday

  61. 1259: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button set an impressive pace in a wet/dry morning session on the second day of the final pre-season test in Barcelona.

    The Englishman ended up 0.216 seconds ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil but with a time set in damper conditions.

    At the time he set the lap, Button was 1.736secs quicker than the field.

    Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg was third fastest overall, ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and Lotus's Romain Grosjean.

  62. 1253: 

    QPR striker Bobby Zamora will miss tomorrow's Premier League game at Southampton.

    The 32-year-old striker picked up an ankle injury in last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, meaning Loic Remy could start for the first time since January.

    Manager Harry Redknapp does not have many other injury concerns to contend with, although defender Tal Ben Haim is struggling with a hip problem.

  63. 1252: 

    This weekend's set of fixtures in the Premier League marks the 800th game for the seven clubs who have been ever-present in the league since its inception in 1992.

    The Premier League website has provided an all-time table of the previous 799 fixtures. Unsurprisingly, Manchester United top the table with 522 wins and just 112 defeats, scoring 1605 goals in the process. Everton are bottom, having amassed 655 points less than United over the 21 years.

  64. 1242: 

    Gareth Bale on Twitter: "Very honoured to be the Barclays Player of the Month. With the manager getting an award too it's been a great month for Spurs #teamgame"

  65. 1239: 

    Gareth Bale is named the Premier League player of the month for February, with his manager Andre Villas-Boas handed the manager of the month award.

    Spurs won all three of their Premier League fixtures in February, with Bale notching five of their six goals.

  66. 1227: 

    Sam Waley-Cohen claims his Gold Cup mount Long Run looks likely to be fitted with cheek pieces for the big race.

    Sam Waley-Cohen on Twitter: "Great morning at Seven Barrows. All very happy. Cheek pieces highly likely. #goldcup"


    Michael Patterson on Twitter: "Cannot be too confident when Spurs get in this type of position or write Arsenal off but Spurs seem mentally tougher this year."

    Ben Davison on Twitter: " I think Chelsea may miss out on the Champions League spot. The Benitez and Lampard sagas are not going away. #spursthird"

    Alex Sheasby on Twitter: "As an Arsenal fan would love to see Spurs in 5th, but I think it will be Chelsea due to lack of consistency."

    Who gets Champions League football from Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal? How important is this weekend's north London derby? And what role will the unrest with Rafael Benitez play? Get involved #bbcsportsday

  68. 1218: 

    Coventry are placed under a transfer embargo as from today after failing to file their annual accounts on time.

    The League One club were due to register their finances with Companies House ahead of Thursday's deadline but have not done so as a result on the ongoing rent row at the Ricoh Arena.

  69. 1216: 

    British long jumper Shara Proctor, who qualified for the women's long jump final in second at the European Indoors Championships, says she is confident ahead of Saturday's final.

    "It was easy, besides the fact it started so early. It's 09:00 BST back in the UK, so I was a little sleepy," said Proctor, who jumped 6.61m.

    "I still had to come out here and make that jump but it was either be smart or keep jumping for the next couple of rounds - I was smart about it and put my sneakers back on. I feel really comfortable going into the final tomorrow."

  70. 1212: 

    Here's your Friday teaser: Since 2000 who are the 9 athletes to win individual gold at the European Indoor Champs for GB?

    Answer here at about 14:00 GMT or go to @QofS_Official

  71. 1208: 

    Former Tottenham captain Ledley King believes Gareth Bale is the best player in the Premier League.

    King told BBC Radio 5 live: "(Robin) van Persie has had a great season also, but what makes Gareth so exciting is the different types of goals he scores, whether he is driving through running at players or shooting from 30 yards - you just do not know what to expect from him."

  72. 1204: 

    Aston Villa skipper Ron Vlaar is battling to overcome a calf injury in time for Monday's fixture with Manchester City.

    Vlaar was unable to train during the earlier part of the week but the Dutch international was able to take some part yesterday and he will be assessed over the weekend.

    Striker Darren Bent remains doubtful with a foot injury but keeper Shay Given has recovered from a groin problem in time to be part of the squad to face his former club.

  73. 1154: 

    Manager Kevin Blackwell has revealed that "three or four" members of Bury's first team are currently playing for the League One strugglers for free.

    The Football League imposed a transfer embargo on the Shakers for the second time this season on 22 February.

    "There are three or four here who don't earn a penny and I can't thank them enough," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

  74. 1151: 

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists Austrian forward Andreas Weimann is happy at Villa Park.

    Weimann has 17 months left of his remaining deal, and there has been speculation that negotiations have stalled over the terms of a four-year contract offer.

    "Have contract talks stalled? No, we are still talking. Contrary to reports, I spoke to Andi the other day about it and he has never once indicated what the report said," said Lambert. "I've spoken to him and everything is fine. Talks are ongoing but that's normal when you are trying to negotiate."

  75. 1147: 

    The R&A say they will take their time over the decision to ban belly-putters after the closing of a 90-day window for the worldwide golfing community to react to the proposed ban.

    The R&A statement reads: "Anchoring has been a polarising issue in our sport and despite having weighed the matter thoroughly before making the proposal, we believed it was important to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to air their views.

    "Our consultation period has generated a number of considered responses which have continued to arrive right up to the deadline. We appreciate those responses and will take time to review and evaluate them."

  76. 1142: 

    Dan Ashworth will start his new role as the Football Association's director of elite development on Monday after being given permission to leave West Bromich Albion before the end of the season.

    The 41-year-old had been due to work a 12-month notice period with the Baggies, but will instead be available on a one-day-a-week consultancy basis until the summer.

    Ashworth's replacement as Albion's sporting and technical director, Richard Garlick, was appointed in January.

  77. 1139: 

    Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole faces several weeks on the sidelines as he attempts to shake off a knee injury.

    The 24-year-old will miss tomorrow's Premier League fixture with Fulham after having an injection in the knee, with manager Martin O'Neill admitting surgery may be required if that does not solve the problem.

    Danny Rose is expected to return to training next week after aggravating a hamstring strain which has been treated at parent club Tottenham.

  78. 1135: 

    Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is carrying a knock and will be assessed ahead of Saturday's match at Wigan.

    Martin Skrtel is fit again after a knee injury, although he is likely to be on the bench, meaning Fabio Borini (shoulder) and defender Martin Kelly (knee) are the only two first-team players currently sidelined.


    Coz on Twitter: "If Arsenal beat Spurs on Sunday it's anyone's guess who will fall short of a Champions League place."

    Nabil Dhala on Twitter: "The race for Champions League hinges on Abramovich. Benitez stays and Chelsea play in the Europa League. Drastic action needed."

    Yousuf Ali on Twitter: "Chelsea won't make top 4, Rafa knows and is trying to deflect blame to fans. More opposition to him will now arise."

    Who will make top four out of Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea? What will be the difference between Champions League qualification and Europa League consolation? Let us know #bbsportsday

  80. 1132: 

    Nigel Levine makes it three British athletes three safely through to the semi-finals tomorrow in the men's, with the 23-year-old finishing second in heat four. He clocks a time of 46.68s.

    Levine was quick to praise Pavel Maslak, who won the heat: "That was alright. I tried to win my heat, but I have to big him [Maslak] up, respect to him.

    "European Championships is not going to be easy. The first round is out the way, I'll go back and talk to my coach and go from there. If you can't run well in the first round, you'll be in trouble in the second."

  81. 1124: 

    Victory for Richard Strachan in heat three of the men's 400m with a time of 46.96s to qualify for the next round. He found the front early on and rarely looked troubled by the chasing pack.

    "I had to get to the front to control race - that is so important indoors," said Strachan. "I backed off around the bend, it's just about getting to the front and controlling the race."

  82. 1116: 

    Great Britain's Michael Bingham finishes second in his men's 400m heat at the European Indoors Championships with a time of 46.92s. Russia's Pavel Trenikhin takes victory in 46.65s.

    Bingham admitted he had to change his style to cater for the indoor arena: "You just have to run a little different. It's just part of indoors really."

  83. 1110: 

    Reporters from three schools in Lancashire came to MediaCityUK for a presenting masterclass as part of their preparations for BBC School Report. The masterclass was hosted by BBC sports presenter Amelia Harris-Lindsay.

    They are among pupils at around 1000 schools around the UK who are taking part in the School Report News Day on 21 March.

    You can view the photo gallery of their visit on the BBC News website.

  84. 1105: 

    Harlequins' scrum-half Danny Care backs club and country team-mate Chris Robshaw to captain the British and Irish Lions side ahead of this year's Tour of Australia.

    "On and off the pitch he sets the standards - the last guy out there training," Care told the London Evening Standard.

    "He hasn't changed in the seven years I've known him and he has the right balance in his life. Robbo likes a good social event and there can't be many better players to choose as Lions captain."

  85. 1059: 

    Robin van Persie is in the Manchester United squad for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Norwich.

    Van Persie hurt his hip when he crashed into a TV camera at QPR on Saturday but has recovered and will come into contention.

    Ryan Giggs is set to make his 1,000th career appearance but Paul Scholes (knee) and Phil Jones (ankle) are sidelined, although the latter man could be fit for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

  86. 1055: 

    Lewis Hamilton says he prayed for Adrian Sutil's return to Formula 1 and is hoping he will get to clear the air with his former close friend.

    After Sutil was confirmed on Thursday as Force India's second driver for the coming season 15 months after he was axed by the team, the 30-year-old revealed he no longer had any relationship with Hamilton.

    Hamilton says: "On the way here [to pre-season testing], I found out and congratulated him [on becoming a Force India driver]. I haven't heard back from him, but I am sure at some stage we will get to talk. I have really been looking forward to seeing him because I haven't for a while."

  87. 1052: 

    Leicester City's owners complete the purchase of the club's King Power Stadium for £17m.

    The Srivaddhanaprabha family have bought the ground from an American pension fund manager through their K Power Holdings company.

    Vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha tells the club's official website: "It's always been part of our long-term vision to put the stadium back where it belongs."

  88. 1049: 

    The seaside resort of Skegness could become home to the country's national beach sports stadium.

    If approved, the venue would host all international beach soccer matches and national tournaments as well as local league games.

    The 2,040 seat stadium, sited adjacent to the pier, would also be used as a training venue.


    G Remon: "If Arsenal can sneak a win against Spurs then I think they will get top 4. Wenger has to play an attacking game to win."

    Shobowale Oludare: "Rafael Benitez clearly wants to leave Chelseanow, only want to stir an atmosphere that will warrant his sack."

    Chris Richards: "On paper Arsenal's run in is easier than Tottenham's. Sunday's game is crucial, if Arsenal win or even draw they will finish above Tottenham in my opinion."

    Who do you think will miss out in the race for Champions League football? Tottenham, Arsenal or Chelsea? And how decisive will Sunday's North London derby be? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  90. 1039: 

    Great Britain's Shara Proctor reaches the European Indoor Championships long jump final with her first attempt, even though 6.61 metres was four centimetres short of the automatic qualifying distance.

    It was clear that none of the field would reach that mark, allowing Proctor to pass her two remaining attempts and still go through in equal second place behind Russia's Darya Klishina.

    Live coverage is at the top of this page for desktop users (UK only). You can also watch on BBC Two and BBC HD on desktop, tablet and mobile.

  91. 1034: 

    Arsenal will be without defender Bacary Sagna (knee) for Sunday's Premier League clash at Tottenham.

    Midfielder Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 with a calf problem, while defender Kieran Gibbs remains out with a thigh injury.

  92. 1026: 

    American Stacey Lewis opens up a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore with a second-round 66.

    The world number five shot six birdies in a bogey-free round which was joint-best of the day with South Korea's Na Yeon Choi and Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn.

    Those two are in the chasing pack two behind along with first-round leader Azahara Munoz - who could manage only a 70 - Paula Creamer and Sun Young Yoo.

  93. 1021: 

    Great Britain's Eilidh Child wins heat three of the European Indoor Championships 400m qualifying with a time of 52.05s to join Perri Shakes-Drayton in qualifying outright for the semi-final.

    Shana Cox misses out on qualifying outright, finishing third in heat two with a time of 52.99 seconds. She still has a chance to progress as a fastest loser.

    Child: "I wanted to automatically qualify and win the heat and have as much energy as possible for tomorrow. I think I did that."

  94. 1015: 

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says he knew this season would be tough before a ball was kicked. Villa are in the Premier League relegation zone, having managed just five wins from 27 games so far this season.

    He says: "[Owner] Randy Lerner said it would be tough from day one. I knew the parameters but it's a brilliant challenge for me to rectify."

    Lambert adds that talks on a new contract with Andreas Weimann were on going. "He loves it here and he's the ideal type of Villa player I want," he says.

  95. 1011: 

    Fulham's Simon Davies overcomes a knee injury and could play his first game in almost a year at Sunderland on Saturday.

    Fellow midfielders Kerim Frei and Kieran Richardson have recovered from their respective pelvis and calf injuries but Mahamadou Diarra (knee) is out. Young midfielder Buomesca Tue Na Banga and Ajax loanee Eyong Enoh are also available after knee injuries.

  96. 1008: 

    Great Britain's Perri Shakes-Drayton qualifies with ease in heat one of 400m qualifying at the European Indoor Championships, clocking 51.70 seconds. Sweden's Moa Hjelmer also progresses.

    Shakes-Drayton tells BBC Sport: "You always want to run well to get a good lane. I feel good. I was surprised with that time. I didn't expect to go so fast in the first round but it is out of me now and I just have to look after myself."

  97. 1000: 

    Performance director David Brailsford says the GB cycling team are as "hungry and enthusiastic" as ever as they look to build on their London Olympics performance last year.

    He says: "We're looking forward to Rio and building over the next few years to that. We've got the Commonwealth Games coming up next year in Scotland which is a big hit for us.

    "We've got a new generation of young riders coming through and bursting onto the scene so it's all go. Sport is like that. It's not about looking backwards, it's about looking forwards. We're as hungry and enthusiastic as ever."


    Dwight Miles: "Gareth Bale will beat Arsenal. Romelu Lukaku beats West Brom. Fergie will beat Jose. Rafael Benitez will beat Chelsea. Arsene Wenger gets nothing. Again."

    David Taylor: "When Spurs get hyped up like this, they usually conspire to mess it up. A tad worried about Sunday's game against Arsenal."

    Who do you think will miss out in the race for Champions League football? Tottenham, Arsenal or Chelsea? And how decisive will Sunday's North London derby be? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  99. 0950: 

    Several Southampton players will be looking for a recall to the starting line-up when struggling Queens Park Rangers visit on Saturday.

    Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon both came off the bench in last weekend's 4-2 loss at Newcastle and will be hoping to regain starting berths.

    Jose Fonte was also named among the substitutes at St James' Park - his first involvement since sustaining a knee injury in the FA Cup tie against Chelsea on 5 January. Recent signing Vegard Forren is still waiting for his debut.

  100. 0945: 
    Manchester United's Ryan Giggs

    Sir Alex Ferguson praises Ryan Giggs as a "marvellous player and an exceptional human being" after the Manchester United winger signed a new one-year deal on Friday.

    Ferguson says: "What can I say about Ryan that hasn't already been said? He is a marvellous player and an exceptional human being. Ryan is an example to us all, the way in which he has, and continues to, look after himself.

    "He has fantastic energy for the game and it is wonderful to see. Ryan seems to reach a new milestone every week and to think that he now has 23 unbroken years of league goals behind him is truly amazing in the modern-day game."


    OptaJoe: "Ryan Giggs has currently played 931 senior games for Manchester United, 64 for Wales and four for Great Britain."

  102. 0939: 

    The England Lions are unable to salvage anything from their disappointing tour of Australia as their final one-day fixture against Australia A is washed out.

    Having lost all four games played before Friday, the squad captained by James Taylor were unable to take to the field at the Sydney Cricket Ground owing to torrential rain.

    They will now return to England with an unenviable tour record behind them, having also failed to win any of their three warm-up games against Victoria.

  103. 0938: 

    Norwich are again without midfielder Alex Tettey because of a knee injury for Saturday's trip to Premier League leaders Manchester United.

    On-loan Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara is pressing for a place in the starting XI after coming off the bench to score in the win over Everton.

    Winger Andrew Surman (knee) remains out, while England goalkeeper John Ruddy continues his rehabilitation from thigh surgery and is set for a return at the end of March.

  104. 0934: 

    Ryan Giggs signs a new one-year contract at Manchester United, keeping the winger at Old Trafford until June 2014.

    Giggs could make his 1000th senior appearance against Norwich on Saturday, 22 years to the day he made his United debut.

  105. 0931: 

    Former Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio is considering suing the club for an alleged breach of contract.

    BBC Wiltshire understands the Italian wants to take legal action because of the sale of Matt Ritchie to Bournemouth for £500,000 in January.

    Di Canio claims the winger was sold behind his back, which breaks a clause in his deal. The club have said they will not be commenting on the matter.

  106. 0926: 

    Stoke are missing Robert Huth in Saturday's Premier League home clash with West Ham as the centre-back begins the three-match suspension handed to him earlier this week by the Football Association.

    Huth will serve the ban after accepting a violent conduct charge from the FA relating to an incident in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Fulham, where he caught Philippe Senderos in the face with his forearm.

    Either Marc Wilson or Geoff Cameron, both of whom usually play at full-back for the Potters, is set to cover in the middle of defence alongside skipper Ryan Shawcross.

  107. 0918: 

    West Ham captain Kevin Nolan is out of Saturday's Premier League clash at Stoke with a broken toe.

    A foot injury was exacerbated in Monday's 3-2 loss to Tottenham and West Ham hope his absence will be temporary, while his fellow midfielder Mark Noble is doubtful with an arm problem which saw him miss the Spurs loss.

    Guy Demel is fit despite going off in the latter stages of the loss to Tottenham, while George McCartney (knee) is continuing his comeback and is unlikely to feature.

  108. 0914: 

    Caterham F1 confirm Alexander Rossi and Ma Qing Hua as reserve drivers for the coming season, joining race drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in the team's line-up.

  109. 0912: 

    The Cheltenham Festival (12-15 March) is just 11 days away and racing fans have been busy debating their favourites. You can check back through Thursday night's entertaining preview night with an expert panel, hosted by the BBC's Frank Keogh (@HonestFrank) at @PaddockPreview.

    And the Radio 5 live special on Cheltenham and horse welfare is available as a podcast, with equine stars Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre and Frankel among those featured in the programme presented by Eleanor Oldroyd, joined by racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght and jockey Andrew Thornton.

  110. 0908: 

    Cardiff Blues announce new contracts for five players, including promising fly-half Rhys Patchell.

    Patchell, who was tipped as an outside chance to make Wales' RBS Six Nations squad this season, has penned fresh terms alongside Sam Hobbs, Rhys Williams, Tom Davies and Richard Smith.


    Vinay MP: "If Spurs beat Arsenal, the Spurs v Manchester City game will be massive game for Spurs in their aim to finish second

    Jon Murray: "Hope Arsenal beat Spurs but realistically I don't see Chelsea getting top four anyway with the way things are going there."

    Do you agree with Jon Murray that Chelsea will struggle to make the top four? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  112. 0904: 

    West Brom could be without their two frontline strikers for Saturday's Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

    On-loan Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club but forward partner Shane Long is a doubt with the ankle injury suffered against Sunderland and has been unable to train so far this week.

    Left-back Goran Popov will complete a three game ban for his red card against Tottenham. Head coach Steve Clarke has included 16-year-old midfielder Isaiah Brown, who is still at school, in his squad.

  113. 0900: 

    Live coverage of the first day of the European Indoor Championships is up and running. Watch on BBC Two, BBC HD and online on desktop, tablet and mobile

    Desktop users can refresh your browsers now to watch at the top of this page.

  114. 0856: 

    Former Tottenham defender Ledley King does not expect Gareth Bale to leave the London club in the summer, despite his superb form likely to have caught the eye of teams at home and abroad.

    King tells BBC Radio 5 live: "On current form he is one of the top three players in the world. I have not seen too many players play in the Premier League like he has and he will go from strength to strength.

    "He is a very down-to-earth guy, he seems at home at Tottenham and I don't see why they can't progress into the Champions League. I don't think he will [leave] - he is happy at the club and playing his best football here."

  115. 0851: 

    BBC Sport's athletics expert Colin Jackson says there needs to be a real push for a clamp down on doping in Russia, with so many athletes failing drugs tests.

    There are 33 Russian athletes currently serving bans for doping offences.

    Jackson tells BBC Radio 5 live: "These athletes can't be stupid. They are looking around seeing their team mates are getting caught so why are they still doping? I worry a little bit about what is happening in Russia and we really need to clamp down and ensure it does not become an epidemic."

  116. 0846: 

    Reading will be without suspended striker Pavel Pogrebnyak for Saturday's Premier League clash with Everton.

    The Russia forward was sent off during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat against Wigan and will be missing for the Royals' next three games.

    Veteran striker Jason Roberts (hip) is still absent and admitted during the week he has no idea when he will be fit enough to return. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) also misses out.

  117. 0843: 

    Sheffield Council will decide today whether to knock down Don Valley Stadium, the training venue of Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis.

    The council says the "cold heart fact" is that it can no longer afford to subside the venue by £700,000 a year. Tony Minichiello, who coaches Ennis, told BBC Radio 5 live he was "a little bit resigned" to the decision that the stadium will close.

    He says: "It means athletics in Sheffield won't have a 400m track to train on. There is some talk about them revamping the Woodbourn Road site but from what I gather the amount of money they are wanting to put in doesn't really bring it up to scratch or provide any kind of lasting legacy for athletics in the city."


    Brown Jamie: "The title race may be over, but the battle for Champions League places has never been better. This weekend is crucial."

    Si Hawkes: "I think a draw for Arsenal at Tottenham will be a good result for them. Pains me to say that, though...difficult game for them."

    Who will win this Sunday's North London derby? Will man-of-the-moment Gareth Bale dent Arsenal's Champions League hopes? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  119. 0832: 

    Sir Alex Ferguson will "probably" become a Manchester United director when he steps down as the club's manager.

    The 71-year-old Scot, who took up the reins at Old Trafford in 1986, had planned to retire in 2002, but had a change of heart and has not looked back since. "There's no getting rid of me. I will probably become a director," says Ferguson.

    Speaking about his retirement day in an interview with new twentyfour7 Football magazine, quoted in The Sun, Ferguson said: "Nobody knows. Neither do I. It won't be a doctor that tells me to quit!"

  120. 0826: 

    Live text is up and running on the website for the second day of the final pre-season Formula 1 test in Barcelona. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are all in action.

  121. 0816: 

    Coming up at 0900 GMT, the first day of the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg where reigning 800m champion Jenny Meadows will captain a 29-strong Great Britain and Northern Ireland team.

    BBC Sport has live coverage on BBC Two, BBC HD and online, with a feed appearing at the top of this page for desktop users at 0900.

    You can also watch on your mobile too, handy for your morning commute.


    So after the drama of Rafael Benitez's outburst on Wednesday night, it is back to Premier League matters on Saturday for Chelsea as they host West Bromwich Albion looking to strengthen their place inside the top four and secure one of those coveted Champions League spots.

    What affect do you think Benitez's comments will have on the players? Will they galvanise them or have a destabilising affect? Tottenham host Arsenal in the North London derby on Sunday, how important is that game in the battle to finish in the top four, and will Gareth Bale be key to the outcome once again? Let us know via Twitter, #bbcsportsday

  123. 0812: 

    In case you missed it on Thursday, a snippet of Football Focus presenter Dan Walker's insightful interview with Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez is on the BBC Sport website.

    Benitez tells Walker that his relationship with Roman Abramovich is "really good" and defends his criticism of the Chelsea fans who continually boo him. Benitez also confirms he will stay at the club "until the end of the season" in May.

    The full interview will be on Football Focus, BBC One, Saturday 1215 GMT.


    Here are the top three stories from the BBC Sport football gossip column.

    Real Madrid will step up attempts to sign Wales winger Gareth Bale, 23, from Tottenham if Cristiano Ronaldo fails to sign a new contract at the Bernabeu this summer. (Daily Mail)

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects Luis Suarez, 26, still to be at Anfield next season even if they fail to qualify for Europe, after receiving assurances from the forward's agent that his client is happy at the club. (the Times, subscription required)

    Liverpool and West Ham will have the chance to bid for Wilfried Bony, 24, at the end of the season after the Vitesse Arnhem striker failed to secure a move to Russia. (talkSPORT)

  125. 0804: 

    Kevin Pietersen and Nick Compton fail but England extend their lead to 333 on the third day of their tour match against a New Zealand XI.

    Pietersen, who made 14 in the first innings, fell for eight after Compton perished for one - in their final innings before the three-Test series. Matt Prior's 68 and an unbeaten 41 from Graeme Swann helped England recover from 67-4 to 256-9 in Queenstown.

  126. 0803: 

    Goal-line technology will be introduced in the Premier League next season.

    The technology was successfully trialled by Fifa at the 2012 Club World Cup and the Premier League says it is in advanced talks with two unnamed providers.

    "We're working on the basis of having goal-line technology in place for the start of the season," says Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson.

  127. 0801: 

    Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez says he has an "excellent" relationship with owner Roman Abramovich and will remain at the club until the summer.

    The Spaniard criticised some of the club's fans following Wednesday's 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough and also said he would leave in May.

    "My relationship with Roman is very good," he tells BBC Sport's Dan Walker.

  128. 0800: 

    Good morning and welcome to Friday's Sportsday Live, coming to you from the BBC Sport centre in Salford Quays. Another busy day of sport ahead with Premier League clubs's news conferences - including Rafael Benitez's at Chelsea - and day one of the European Indoor Championships. First, though, the three top stories on the website.

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