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Chelsea boss concerned about ticket price rises

Hiddink echoed the thoughts of Slaven Bilic and Steve McClaren. Credit: PA

Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink insists Premier League clubs should not forget "the man in the street" in the row over rising ticket prices.

An estimated 10,000 Liverpool fans staged a walk-out of Anfield during their league match against Sunderland last weekend in protest at increases next season, which included a new £77 match ticket and the club's first £1,000 season ticket.

And Hiddink said:

I've heard and read several statements of several colleagues of mine, which are very sensible and with a lot of common sense. Football has changed in the last few years a lot regarding organisation, television rights, sponsors. It's a very interesting world for broadcasters, for sponsors.

But we must not forget it's about the players who like to perform and, equally in importance, the public. The man in the street who likes to see high level football. I was happy to read my colleagues have a similar point of view: that the public is the most important thing.

– Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink


Bryan Oviedo rewarded with new Everton contract

Everton utility man Bryan Oviedo's recent impressive performances have been rewarded with a new three-and-a-half-year contract.

Oviedo is enjoying an impressive run of form. Credit: PA

The Costa Rica international has signed the deal after showing this season he is back to his best following an horrific double fracture of his leg two years ago.

"I am really happy to commit my future to Everton because this is a special club and, for me, a second home," said Oviedo, who joined from Copenhagen in the summer of 2012 and has kept Leighton Baines out of the side in the last two matches.

"When I experienced some really tough times, the toughest of my career, everybody was behind me - the manager, the staff, the players and the fans and that support helped me through and made me stronger, as a person and as a player.

"I feel that I am in the best moment of my career. I am experienced now and I have greater confidence and I have a real ambition to win a trophy for Everton.

Former Fifa secretary general Valcke given 12-year ban

Valcke has been handed a 12-year ban. Credit: PA

Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has been banned for 12 years for a number of offences including his part in a World Cup tickets scandal and using a private jet for personal reasons.

The Frenchman, who was formally dismissed last month, has been banned from all football-related activity for 12 years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (almost £71,000) by FIFA's ethics committee.

Valcke also negotiated to sell World Cup television rights for below their true value, according to a statement from the ethics committee.


Messi wins player of the month for the first time ever

Lionel Messi has been named Spain's La Liga player of the month for January - the first time he has ever won the award.

La Liga player of the month has been given out since the beginning of the 2013-14 Primera Division season, but the five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner had not won it until now.

Messi has never been named as player of the month in La Liga until now. Credit: PA

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner finally won the award at the 23rd time of asking after scoring six goals in as many league games in January.

The 28-year-old struck a hat-trick against Granada as well as scoring in victories over Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid to take his total of league goals for the season to 12.

Messi is only the second Barcelona player to win the award following Neymar's success in November.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award twice since it began in September 2013.

Wenger: Too much time a disadvantage for Leicester

Arsene Wenger is happy with Arsenal's hectic fixture schedule and hopes too much time to think in between games could be the downfall of leaders Leicester.

The table-topping Foxes travel to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday five points clear at the Barclays Premier League summit - with the Gunners third, below fierce local rivals Tottenham.

Wenger has started the title mind games. Credit: PA

With no continental tournaments to worry about and having already been knocked out of the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup, many believe a less congested run-in could see Claudio Ranieri's Leicester complete a most remarkable title success.

But Wenger, whose side remain in the FA Cup - looking to win it for a third straight year - and have a Champions League last-16 clash with Barcelona on the horizon, believes too much time thinking about upcoming fixtures could be detrimental to a team.

"Yes, time to think can be a disadvantage if you not are thinking in a positive way and the pressure is on," he said. "It is true that sometimes the less time you have to wait for the next game, the better it is.

"I believe they are still in a position where they think where they have nothing to lose. But once you are top of the league, you can also think about losing what you have.

"That is where the nerves come in a little bit. I do not know how they will respond to that."

Ticket rethink shows Liverpool owners care - Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the owners' U-turn on ticket prices proves they care about the fans and the club.

Reds fans walked out of the match against Sunderland at Anfield last weekend in the 77th minute in protest at what they saw as an unacceptable hike in ticket prices for next season, with the most expensive tickets in the new Main Stand costing £77.

The club's owners Fenway Sports Group responded on Wednesday by announcing that prices would be frozen for the next two years.

In an open letter principal owner John W Henry, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner and FSG president Mike Gordon expressed their concerns, saying they were "particularly troubled by the perception that we don't care about our supporters, that we are greedy".

Jurgen Klopp says FSG have proved they care about the club. Credit: PA

Klopp believes their swift action shows that is not the case.

"I think in the world of football it is not too easy when you are the owner of a club to prove you are interested in the club," he said.

"I know it, I have been here four and a half months and I know the owners as people.

"They really care about the club and the interests of supporters and it was a clear reaction, a clear sign, and hopefully it is understood for what it is - proof of their real interest in this club and all the things around this club.

"I am really fine with it, it is a good thing."

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