Nice's Mario Balotelli booked after protesting against racist chants

David Cooper 11/02/2018
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Nice striker Mario Balotelli was booked for protesting to the referee about alleged racist chants during his side’s defeat at Dijon on Saturday night.

The former Manchester City, Liverpool and Italy striker was shown a yellow card by referee Nicolas Rainville in the second half after complaining about the home fans following a missed opportunity.

Balotelli was seen gesturing to the crowd while talking to Rainville in the 72nd minute, but was cautioned for his actions.

Nice tweeted a picture of Rainville booking Balotelli with the caption: “In the meantime, Mario Balotelli has inherited a yellow card, after… getting annoyed with racist insults from the public.”

Nice were 2-1 ahead at the time before conceding two late goals, including a controversial penalty, to lose 3-2, dropping them to eighth in the Ligue 1 table.

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere hit out at the standard of refereeing, telling the club’s official website: “I am scandalised.

“It’s been four consecutive games that we have the feeling of playing at 11 against 12. The differences of refereeing from one match to the other are incomprehensible.”

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Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah in talks to take full control of Sheffield United

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Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah (l)

Sheffield United co-owners Kevin McCabe and Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud are in talks over the Saudi Arabian prince taking full control of the club.

Prince Abdullah became joint-owner of the Blades in September 2013, ending McCabe’s long search for an investor. The prince served notice of his intention to buy the remaining 50 per cent of the McCabe family’s shares at the end of last month.

“His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe are in discussions regarding the transfer of ownership and control of Sheffield United football Club to the prince,” said a statement on the Blades’ official website.

“Sheffield United football Club is part of the Blades Leisure Limited group, a joint venture between Sheffield United Limited, controlled by the McCabe family, and companies controlled by the prince.

“Ownership of Blades Leisure Limited is governed by an Investment Agreement dated August 30, 2013, which provides for the transfer of control of Blades to the prince.

“In response to a process commenced by Sheffield United Limited, on January 26, 2018 UTB LLC, a company controlled by the prince, served a notice exercising an option to purchase the remaining 50 per cent of Blades Leisure from Sheffield United Limited.

“Both parties are currently in negotiation with regard to the remaining provisions in the Investment Agreement and hope to come to a final settlement in the near future.”

The club said the takeover would have no impact on the club’s staff. McCabe joined the Blades’ board in 1993, left soon after and returned in 1995 before effectively taking control at Bramall Lane in 1999.

The Blades were promoted as League One champions last season under manager Chris Wilder and are currently eighth in the Championship, five points off the play-off places.

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Man United's Ander Herrera hits out at match-fixing allegations

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Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says his conscience remains clear after match-fixing allegations were reopened in Spain.

Real Zaragoza’s 2-1 win against Levante on May 21, 2011 has been investigated by Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutors’ office over payments related to alleged match fixing.

Herrera played for Zaragoza at the time and may face trial after the case was reopened by a judge in Valencia.

The timescale remains unclear and the 28-year-old maintains his innocence, with his representative reissuing a statement first released in December 2014.

“I have never had and will never have anything to do with manipulating match results,” Herrera said.

“If I am ever called to testify in any judicial hearing, I’ll be happy to attend, as my conscience is totally clear.

“I love football and I believe in fair play, both on and off the pitch.”

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