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    Charlton finally SAVED as millionaire Danish businessman Thomas Sandgaard takes over stricken club after EFL shambles

    CHARLTON ATHLETIC have finally been saved after confirming Thomas Sandgaard as their new owner.
    SunSport exclusively revealed how the Addicks face being booted out of the EFL unless ESI sold the League One side.

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    Charlton Athletic have confirmed Thomas Sandgaard as their new ownerCredit: Instagram / @sandgaardfnd

    Yet thankfully, Charlton announced on Friday afternoon that Danish businessman Sandgaard has acquired 100 per cent of the Londoners.
    Previous owner Roland Duchatelet will continue to lease the training ground and The Valley stadium with a rental agreement in place for both for the next 15 years.
    Sandgaard, who is worth more than £350million,  has passed the EFL’s owners and directors’ test and revealed the funds have already been provided to ensure the club’s survival.

    He said: “While there was an injunction in place to prevent the acquisition of ESI, it did not prevent the acquisition of the club itself and so I am thrilled to announce that I have acquired the Club from ESI.
    “With the club about to run out of funds this month, it was important that I moved quickly to complete the acquisition and put funds in to the Club to ensure its survival.
    “The club will also be working quickly post-completion to recover any losses suffered as a result of the actions of the previous owners to the extent possible.
    “I am truly humbled by all the support from Charlton fans, honoured to officially become part of the Charlton family and be part of a team that will lead the Club into a successful future.

    “The Charlton community is one-of-a-kind. They welcomed and embraced this change of hands with more openness than many others would have given Charlton’s history.”

    Sandgaard’s open letter to Charlton fans

    “Today is the day! We did the impossible. We triumphed and we made it to this point because of you.
    “Thank you for your passion, your perseverance and your patience. There is no club without you. We are Charlton Athletic Football Club.
    “From early on, I felt that we were in this together. I am humbled by your support and honoured to officially become part of the Charlton family. The Charlton community is one of a kind. You welcomed and embraced this change of hands with more openness than many others would have given your history.
    “Thank you for standing up for what you believe in. I will not let you down. Cheers to each of you. Cheers to Charlton! I assure you we are just getting started. We are London’s club.
    “This week and every week, we will #CheerForCharlton.
    “Sincerely, Thomas Sandgaard, Proud Owner of CAFC”.

    The club announced the news by posting an open letter from Sandgaard on their website on Friday afternoon, with the businessman signing off as “Proud owner of CAFC”.
    Lee Bowyer’s men currently sit 11th in the Championship after following up a 2-0 opener against Crewe Alexandra with a 3-1 defeat to Doncaster.
    Charlton next travel to Lincoln City on Sunday, with the Imps looking to bounce back from their 7-2 Carabao Cup defeat to Liverpool.

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    Warnock to miss Boro’s trip to old club QPR as he recovers from Covid but will meet squad and new striker Akpom today

    NEIL WARNOCK will not travel to Middlesbrough’s game at old club QPR as he continues to recover from coronavirus.
    The 71-year-old was rocked last week after testing positive for Covid-19 after returning to Teesside from his home in Cornwall.

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    Neil Warnock will miss Boro’s trip to old club QPR on SaturdayCredit: Getty

    Warnock missed the Carabao Cup defeat to Barnsley after feeling unwell and it was later confirmed he had the deadly disease.
    He was forced to watch Boro’s home draw with Bournemouth last Saturday from his Teesside base and leave assistants Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson in charge.
    And despite completing his ten-day isolation period he will not be making the journey to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

    However, he will return to the training ground to speak to his squad today, including new signing Chuba Akpom.
    Blackwell said: “We’re not looking for him to travel to London.
    “Myself and Ronnie have done all of the preparation and we see this as a final rest for him this weekend.
    “It’s a long season and so it’s a good chance for him to make sure he’s fully rested.”

    He continued: “He’s getting on well. He’ll be in this morning to take the team meeting.
    “We’ve spoken every day and we can hear the improvement in him day by day. He’s been able to rest and recuperate.
    “He hasn’t suffered heavily, thankfully. He looks after himself well, to be fair.”

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    Blackwell added: “When a larger than life character like Neil gets it, it certainly hits home that anyone can get it.
    “We’ve certainly missed him because a character like he is, he instantly lifts spirits in the group.”
    Boro head to the capital searching for their first Championship win of the campaign following defeat at Watford and the draw with the Cherries.
    The Rs meanwhile beat Nottingham Forest on the opening day but slipped to a 3-2 loss at Coventry last time out.

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    FA clear Fleetwood staff for Akinfenwa ‘fat water buffalo’ jibe as PFA say ‘white player wouldn’t be described this way’

    WYCOMBE and the PFA have slammed FA disciplinary beaks after no charges were brought against the Fleetwood staff member who called Adebayo Akinfenwa a “fat water buffalo”.
    PFA chiefs claimed that the FA had failed in its duty to Akinfenwa, who is understood to be upset and unhappy about the decision.

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    The Fleetwood staff member who described Adebayo Akinfenwa as a ‘fat water buffalo’ has escaped punishment from the FACredit: PA:Press Association

    The PFA said: “It is abundantly clear that a white player with a similar stature to Akinfenwa would never be described in the way he was during this incident.
    “Black people have battled dehumanisation for centuries, and the PFA strongly condemns the use of all disparaging remarks that compare black players to animals.”
    The decision followed a two-month probe into the incident at the League One play-off second leg in July.
    A member of the Fleetwood technical staff made the comment to a match official during the game.

    Wycombe made a formal complaint to the FA in the days after the match and the investigation found: “The witness accounts all confirmed the use of the term “water buffalo” or “buffalo”.”
    Two of the match officials reported “they had not interpreted the words to be discriminatory” and were descriptions of Akinfenwa’s playing style.
    As part of the inquiry, the FA commissioned a report from an independent expert in race relations, who “concluded that the words were not objectively racist”.
    While commending Akinfenwa’s “courage and conviction” and conceding the offence that was caused, the FA stated it was “not satisfied there is sufficient evidence” to lay a charge.

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    The striker played a crucial role in helping Wycombe get promoted to the Championship last seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    But the outcome caused fury at Wycombe and PFA headquarters.
    Wycombe blasted: “The failure of the FA to act is disappointing. The investigation confirms that the language was used. There is no place in sport for such comments.
    “The Club believes the FA had the opportunity to take appropriate steps to ensure the conduct was punished appropriately and to make sure that everyone knows that this type of comment will not be tolerated in the future.”
    And the PFA added: “This type of hurtful, derogatory language is unacceptable, regardless of intent.
    “Adebayo showed great courage in coming forward to report this incident, which tarnished what should have been a night of celebration for Wycombe Wanderers.
    “This incident demonstrates that bias extends to problematic language casually used on our pitches and in the dugouts.
    “We share Adebayo’s disappointment that this allegation will not be upheld, especially since he took steps to speak publicly about the incident’s emotional impact.
    “We are in contact with Adebayo, and will continue to offer him our support.”

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    Les Ferdinand claims taking knee in support of Black Lives Matter ‘has lost meaning’ and defends QPR refusal to do it

    QUEENS PARK RANGERS director of football Les Ferdinand has revealed that the R’s did not take a knee against Coventry on Friday night as the impact has been “diluted”.
    The match was the first live televised game broadcast in this country since the death of George Floyd not to feature either side taking a knee prior to kick-off.

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    Les Ferdinand has explained QPR’s stance on taking a kneeCredit: PA:Empics Sport

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    Coventry and QPR did not take a knee ahead of their televised match on Friday nightCredit: Sky Sports

    QPR have now released a club statement in order to fully explain their stance.
    It reads: “In light of comments made across the media following the decision for Coventry City and QPR not to ‘take the knee’ ahead of our EFL Championship fixture on Friday night, the club would like to make the following statement.
    “We have noted with great interest a number of people within football and media questioning our decision not to take the knee before the game.
    “The decision – which was made jointly with Coventry City and the match referee ahead of the fixture – was not made to suggest a lack of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.”

    And Ferdinand, 53, added: “This should not be about QPR. Many clubs did not take the knee on the opening weekend, yet this was not reported.
    “Taking the knee was very powerful but we feel that impact has now been diluted. In the same way ‘Clap For Carers’ was very emotional for us all, it got to a stage where it had run its natural course and the decision was rightly made to stop it.
    “Does that mean we, as a nation, don’t care or appreciate our NHS workers? Of course it doesn’t.
    “No one is more passionate than me about this topic. I have spoken on the matter throughout my footballing life.

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    Players taking a knee has become a regular sight in English footballCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    “I work for one of the most diverse football clubs in this country. A lot of people are being fooled out there.
    “Recently, I took the decision not to do any more interviews on racism in football because the debate was going around in circles. People want a nice soundbite when something happens, but how many of the media who have criticised QPR over the past 48 hours genuinely want change?
    “The taking of the knee has reached a point of ‘good PR’ but little more than that. The message has been lost. It is now not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge.
    “Taking the knee will not bring about change in the game – actions will.
    “Those media that have been quick to question us should be looking more inwardly. Our Under 18s were forced to abandon a game in August 2019 against AD Nervion FC due to racist abuse.
    “More than 12 months on, Uefa refused to deal with the situation and the Spanish FA did nothing.
    “What media coverage has been given to that? Not nearly as much as what has been granted to QPR not taking a knee.
    “Don’t judge us. Simple research and evidence will show you we are doing more than most. If you want change, judge yourselves.”

    Anyone who thinks just taking a knee is sufficient in fighting social injustice really doesn’t get it
    Lee Hoos

    And club CEO Lee Hoos said: “As many of us know, the taking of the knee originated from the US where athletes have been doing it to protest against social injustice and police brutality.
    “What you’ll find is that players in the States on the same team choose to express themselves differently – and in the US, it is a statement of protest, not just a symbolic gesture.
    “And that is how it should be – each individual needs to be free to make their own decision on how to express intolerance for social injustice, without fear of being negatively judged.
    “The EFL have stated that it is for the players and teams to make their own decisions on this, but as a matter of courtesy should let their opposition and the match referee know.
    “As a club, we fully support our players – whether they choose to take a knee or not. We judge our players by their actions and every one of them has been extremely supportive of our values and goals – and they are the values and goals of the most diverse club in the country.
    “I have seen no media organisations who come close to matching what we do to further the causes of social justice and inclusion, nor BAME representation at senior level. This is despite them having considerably more resources than we do.

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    Players take a knee to support Black Lives MatterCredit: PA:Press Association

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    US athletes including LeBron James are using their platforms to campaign for social justiceCredit: EPA
    “To be blunt, anyone who thinks our players condone racism because they didn’t take a knee really doesn’t get it. Anyone who responds to Black Lives Matter by saying all lives matter really doesn’t get it. Anyone who thinks just taking a knee is sufficient in fighting social injustice really doesn’t get it.
    “Actions speak louder than words. People need to DO something more than simple gestures.
    “We will continue to support not just our players but all players who believe in greater social equality and how they wish to legitimately express those views.
    “Our support is in our actions.”

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    Swansea coach Alan Tate facing potential ban after ‘chokeslam’ on Birmingham midfielder Jon Toral

    SWANSEA coach Alan Tate could face punishment from the FA after footage has emerged of him grabbing Birmingham midfielder Jon Toral by the throat.
    The incident happened as the two teams were walking towards the tunnel as they went into the break on level terms.

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    Swansea coach Alan Tate can be seen pushing back Birmingham midfielder Jon Toral

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    The incident sparked a reaction from both sets of players and coachesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Former Arsenal academy midfielder Toral was seen speaking to Tate, who grabbed and pushed the Spaniard back with his left hand around his neck.
    Toral then theatrically fell towards the floor, which sparked a reaction from both sets of players and coaches.
    Birmingham posted a clip of the incident on Twitter, with many fans stating that the EFL should look into it.
    Others stated that the move was something that belonged in a wrestling match.

    One said: “Alan Tate to the WWE what a chokeslam.”
    Another tweeted: “Swansea coach Alan Tate has just chokeslammed Jon Toral”
    A third quipped: “Alan Tate gets MOTM with one clean chokeslam. Love it.”
    While one fan remarked: “That is outrageous from the Swansea staff member there. Alan Tate is it? What on earth.”

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    Tempers boiled over at half-time at the Liberty StadiumCredit: Alamy Live News

    Another simply stated: “Alan Tate thinks he’s the Undertaker!!”
    Tate played 340 games for the Swans between 2002-2013, where he was part of the side that went from League One to the Premier League.
    It remains to be seen whether Tate will be punished following the 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium.

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    Barcelona in shock £20m bid for Max Aarons as Norwich TURN DOWN offer for right-back so Catalans move on to Sergino Dest

    NORWICH have turned down TWO offers from Barcelona for right-back Max Aarons.
    The second offer could have been worth £20million including add-ons but the Championship club are holding out for more.

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    Max Aarons’ move to Barcelona could be off after Norwich rejected two bids for the defenderCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    But Aarons, 20, is one of the most wanted young right-backs in Europe and has already interested Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
    Barcelona are now set to sign their second choice Sergino Dest from Ajax.
    Norwich, relegated from the Premier League, want a guaranteed £20m for Aarons and are refusing to budge on their price.

    They have already sold Jamal Lewis to Newcastle for £15m and are in a stable financial situation.
    Norwich boss Daniel Farke admitted earlier in the month that key players could be sold if “unbelievable” offers are received.
    He said: “Let’s see where we are when the window is closed.
    “At this moment everything is possible in football. Let’s wait because the experience of the past tells you major transfers can happen quite late.

    “I expect it will be getting worse and worse with the speculation and rumours.

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    “But as long as the club and these young players are open, honest and transparent with each other then we are pretty clear.
    “We have said we don’t want to sell them unless we get an unbelievable crazy offer and the club has to make a decision. That is the business we are in. But they are fully in our plans.”
    England Under-21 international Aarons was named EFL Young Player of the Year after his breakout campaign of 2018/19, and was one of the Canaries’ bright spots of their single season in the top-flight.

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    Warnock to be in contact with Middlesbrough staff and players from home for Bournemouth clash after positive Covid test

    NEIL WARNOCK will get his tech head on to try and inspire Middlesbrough to victory over Bournemouth.
    The 71-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 this week and will be forced to watch today’s Championship clash from his North East home while self-isolating.

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    Neil Warnock will miss Boro’s clash with Bournemouth after testing positive for Covid-19Credit: Getty

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    Kevin Blackwell will step up on the touchline after the boss self-isolatesCredit: Rex Features

    Trusted lieutenants Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson will take charge of the side as 1,000 fans return to the Riverside for the first time since March.
    And despite his health scare, which also forced him to watch the Carabao Cup game with Barnsley from a private box, Warnock will still be in the ears of his squad and assistants before and during the game.
    Blackwell said: “He’s fine – that’s the frustrating thing for everybody. We just him all the best and get well as quick as he can.

    “He is in his house up and here and he will be watching from there. 
    He’s got everything technologically wise set-up to watch the game and communicate directly to the ground.
    “It’s marvelous what technology is now and gone are the days when if he was sent home no-one would have seen him for 14 days.
    “We can see him everyday and the company is running very well as it is. 

    “Neil will certainly speak to one or two platers by phone over the next 24 hours over what we are expecting from them.
    “There is an opportunity, hopefully, that he will speak to them before the game. Quite when that will be, I’m not sure yet.
    “With this new Zoom technology and everything else we have got it, and the IT guys we have here, we can rig up something and will certainly use that.
    Boro lost 1-0 at Watford on the opening day before Barnsley dumped them out of the cup on Tuesday.
    However, the Teessiders will have the extra lift of having supporters cheering them on against the Cherries, who beat Blackburn 3-2 last weekend, after the game was given the green light to be part of the EFL’s Covid-19 programme.

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    This will be the first time Boro’s fans will have a chance to welcome Warnock’s management team in person, and given the awful run of one home win since Boxing Day, Blackwell cannot wait to have supporters back.
    He added: “We want to win games and it’s as simple as that… they are the demands we set.
    “Having fans there behind you can make such a difference. There is no doubt it will help.
    “When it was closed down and we were fighting relegation, it actually helped us not to have fans here as myself, Neil and Ronnie were able to get information across live in the game, equally across to the players on the other side of the pitch, so that actually helped us.
    “No we think we look a little bit more structured and getting better performances, the added bit of the crowd is what we now need to add that little extra edge that could win the games for us.
    “So we are absolutely delighted they are coming back and we can’t wait until we can get many more back.”

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    Crystal Palace drop Said Benrahma interest with Roy Hodgson chasing a striker instead of £25m Brentford star

    SAID BENRAHMA’S hopes of a dream Premier League move could be dashed again – as Crystal Palace prioritise bringing in a new striker.
    Palace have been tracking the Brentford playmaker as Roy Hodgson continues to revitalise his squad in the first few weeks of the season.

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    Crystal Palace have cooled their interest in Said Benrahma

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    Roy Hodgson has prioritised bringing in an out and out striker

    And the Bees would sell for around £25million.
    Palace are set to coin around £11m from the sale of Alexander Sorloth to RB Leipzig but boss Hodgson believes bringing in another goalscorer is his most pressing need.
    That could be a major blow to Benrahma, 25.

    The Algerian has already seen hopes of joining West Ham dashed because the Hammers have limited funds and need to strengthen in defence.
    Aston Villa were also linked but they turned down the chance to sign him after splashing out in other areas – including Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
    Hodgson said: “Any interest we do have would be totally dependent on the price because it is not necessarily the priority area.
    “We still really are more interested in improving the area up front and to get another front player into the club so that is the top priority.

    “It would be nice to get another wide midfield player into the club too because it would make us a lot stronger.

    “But how much funds there will be available for that player I couldn’t possibly tell you because it is all tied up with how much money we need for that centre forward.”
    Belgian side Club Brugge are also keen on Christian Benteke and could land the flop striker for £10m.
    Wages would be a problem but the Belgians found a way around that obstacle when they signed Simon Mignolet from Liverpool.
    Elsewhere, Palace are keen to send young Scottish midfielder Scott Banks to League One Rochdale on loan for the season.

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