AHEAD OF THE GAME: Granit Xhaka is CLEARED of any involvement in a possible betting scam after he was booked in Arsenal’s win over Leeds in December 2021… while City removed 60 champagne bottles from the dressing room after Real Madrid win
- There had been investigations into betting patterns around a Xhaka booking
- Pep Guardiola has put celebration drinks on ice until City win their first trophy
- Everton are looking at changing the payment schedule for their new stadium
Granit Xhaka has been cleared of any involvement in a possible betting scam following the yellow card he received in Arsenal’s 4-1 win at Leeds 17 months ago.
Multiple investigations into the matter have finally concluded there is no case to answer for the Switzerland midfielder.
The FA, Gambling Commission and the National Crime Agency have all closed their investigations into suspicious betting patterns surrounding the booking, which included one bet of £52,000 being placed on Xhaka to receive a yellow card in the final 10 minutes of the game in December 2021.
Mikel Arteta’s side were 3-0 up at the time Xhaka was booked by referee Andre Marriner for time-wasting in the 86th minute, with video footage of the incident showing the Gunners midfielder standing over the ball deep in his own half for about 20 seconds, delaying taking a free-kick.
Following the FA’s own six-month investigation last year the matter was passed on to the NCA amid suspicions of involvement from organised crime, but that case has now been dropped due to a shortage of evidence.
Granit Xhaka has been cleared of any involvement in a possible betting scam 17 months ago
Multiple investigations have concluded there is no case regarding bets on the midfielder to receive a yellow card in the 10th minute of a game against Leeds
City’s bubbles put on ice!
Manchester City’s security staff removed 60 bottles of champagne that had been ordered for the home dressing room following Wednesday’s stunning 4-0 win over Real Madrid, with Pep Guardiola banning celebrations until they have won their first trophy of their Treble pursuit.
Club officials were told that the champagne had been dispatched in error by hospitality staff and was intended to be placed in the dressing room on Sunday, when City are expected to clinch their fifth Premier League title in six years by beating Chelsea, while they could even be crowned champions on Saturday if Arsenal fail to win at Nottingham Forest.
In addition to Sunday’s knees-up Guardiola has promised to take the City squad and their families out for a celebratory meal and drinks at the end of the season, irrespective of how many trophies they win.
City face Manchester United and Inter Milan in the FA Cup and Champions League finals respectively over successive weekends next month.
…and cup drinks are off too!
The Metropolitan Police hope to avoid clashes between Manchester United and Manchester City supporters by telling coach companies not to make the usual stop at Harrow on the way to next month’s FA Cup final.
The travel companies have been told to take fans straight to designated drop-off points in London rather than stopping in Harrow, which has become a traditional meeting point for fans seeking pre-match drinks ahead of games at Wembley.
The Metropolitan police are hoping to avoid clashes between Manchester United and Manchester City fans on the way to the FA Cup final
The potential for trouble ahead of the first all-Manchester Cup final has been exacerbated by transport problems caused by widespread rail strikes involving members of both the RMT and Aslef unions, which has resulted in the FA and both clubs booking 160 coaches to help fans get to the game on June 3.
The Met were sufficiently concerned by the prospect of disorder to ask the FA to bring the kick-off time forward from their preferred early evening slot, with the result that the FA Cup final will kick off at 3pm for the first time since 2012.
Everton rethink stadium plan
Everton are looking at changing the payment schedule for work on their new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock in the light of their continuing takeover talks with potential investors.
Mail Sport revealed earlier this week that American investment fund 777 Partners have submitted a £600million bid for the club, while another US firm MSP Capital are also interested, with current Everton owner Farhad Moshiri keen to pass on stadium costs to whoever takes over.
As a result, Everton have held talks with their main contractor, Laing O’Rourke, about potential changes to the payment schedule with the next instalment on the £505m build due later this month.