Jlloyd Samuel leaves Esteghlal after 5-month pay dispute

Jon Turner 23/06/2014
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Bitter end: Jlloyd Samuel has left Esteghlal after a successful two-and-a-half years.

After two-and-a-half successful years, it appears Jlloyd Samuel's time at Eteghlal reached a bitter conclusion following the former Aston Villa defender's claims that he hadn't been fully paid for five months. 

Samuel, who made over 160 appearances in a nine-year career at Villa Park, moved to the Iranian club in December 2011 and proved a huge hit with the Esteghlal faithful. 

During his spell in Tehran, Samuel helped Esteghlal to the 2012/13 Iranian Pro League title and the 2012 Hafzi Cup, as well as playing a key role in helping the club reach the semi-finals of the 2013 AFC Champions League.

But despite a largely enjoyable time in the Iranian capital, Samuel has left the club under a cloud after releasing a statement on his official Facebook page accusing Esteghlal of failing to pay his full wages.

"To all my loyal fans, I would just like to say I enjoyed playing at (Esteghlal) SS for the past 2 and half season," the 33-year-old stated. "I am however very upset in the way things have happened with my situation. I have given always my best for the team and never spoke bad about club.

– Jlloyd Samuel interview: From Trinidad to Tehran

"What they have done to me is not correct and not paying over 50% off my contract for more than 5 months is wrong and I have been more than patient.

"I cant continue like this as it's not proffesional and will have to take all procedure into getting the rest of my money. I would like to say thanks again to all the fans and wish maybe I see you in the future."

Esteghlal fans were clearly upset by the departure of the player they nicknamed the 'Black Diamond' with various supporters posting comments underneath the statement. 

"You are an amazing player Samuel! We truly appreciate all you've done for our team!" wrote Sara Tad, while ejman Ebrahimi posted: "u were one of best player in esteghlal history , always u are in our heart , we love u for ever."

Samuek has signed a two-year deal with newly-promoted Iranian club Paykan.

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Laudrup nears Lekhwiya appointment

Barnaby Read 22/06/2014
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Long awaited return: Laudrup has been out of management since being sacked as Swansea City manager.

Former Swansea boss Michael Laudrup is reportedly set for a return to management with Qatar Stars League champions Lekhwiya.

The Lekhwiya job was made vacant by Belgian Eric Gerets who joined UAE club Al Jazira after two years in Qatar where he won the league title last season.

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder, Laudrup, has been out of work since being sacked as Swans manager in February of this year.

Since then he has been in a bitter wrangle with his former club but has seemingly now agreed on a settlement package with the Welsh club's chairman, Huw Jenkins.

Laudrup led Swansea to the League Cup trophy in his first season in charge but he failed to make a significant enough of an impact in his second year where his attractive Swansea side struggled to balance European and domestic football.

Lekhwiya have claimed the Qatari championship in three out of the past five years since being founded in 2009.

The Qatar outfit were dumped out of the AFC Champions League in April by an Asamoah Gyan inspired Al Ain.

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Indian Super League signs historic deal with English Premier League

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Major deal: Ricahrd Scudamore (r) believes the partnership will benefit both sides.

The Indian Super League (ISL) has entered into a strategic partnership with the English Premier League (EPL) – the world’s most popular and successful football league to bring its best practices to India under the exchange program.

The Co-operation Agreement between the ISL and the EPL will allow the ISL to leverage the league's expertise in nurturing and growing a high quality football competition.

England’s Premier League is the most watched continuous annual global sporting event in the world.

Last season, 13.9 million fans attended matches with record average stadium occupancy of 95.9%.

Across nine months, 380 matches are viewed in 175 countries with coverage available in more than 650 million homes.

The Indian Super League, set to kick off in September 2014, will receive strategic support, advice and assistance from the Premier League to further the development of the league and its clubs.

The EPL will also assist in establishing club governance, shaping the brand, fan engagement, defining anti-corruption and anti-doping policies for the ISL, as well as joint promotion of the ISL and Premier League football in India.

The co-operation between the Indian Super League and the Premier League lends credence to the ISL’s mission to engage the 200 million-plus Indian football fan base by showcasing a quality football offering with international standards of governance and an unparalleled viewing experience.

Indian Super League is an unrivalled football championship, aiming to foster local talent and feature international stars, making the game one of the country’s flagship sports and India, a name to reckon within the global arena.

ISL will feature eight franchises from Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.

India is the Premier League’s number one market in terms of social media engagement, with an average reach of 1.48m Indian fans every week.

Through the alliance, Indian Super League will help the Premier League and its clubs in staging football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India.

“Having earlier this year signed a mutual co-operation agreement with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), we are very pleased to also enter into this partnership with the ISL,” said Chief Executive of the Premier League Richard Scudamore.

“This will see both organisations work together and share knowledge in several key areas including player development, refereeing, marketing and promotion.

“We know from our broadcast partner Star India, and our work with the AIFF on our long-established grassroots football project Premier Skills that we run in several locations across India, that the popularity of football, and the Premier League, is growing.

“There is a further opportunity to develop the sport as a result of that increased interest and we hope to continue to make a real contribution to all levels of Indian football.”

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