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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 17 hours ago
Read
Nov 1, 2012

Allardyce worries for game's future

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has said he is "worried about where the game is going" as external issues such as the Mark Clattenburg affair continue to deflect attention from the actual football.

The official Chelsea complaint against the referee follows over a year of controversy in the Premier League, which has included incidents like the Luis Suarez and John Terry affairs and the subsequent dramas over handshakes and t-shirts.

While Allardyce did refer to the complaint as "strange" he eschewed the approach of some of his contemporaries, such as Leeds manager Neil Warnock, and declined to directly comment on it. He did, however, express his concerns about the general direction of the game.

"It's very difficult to comment because you don't know the full extent of what's been said," he said. "That's a very difficult thing for me to comment [on]. I just think that the situation is very difficult for everybody to sort out and then the police are involved as well. It really worries me about where we're going in the game if every incident is going to end up in police hands. It's very sad for the game of football in general.

"Over the last how many years as a manager, I've never heard a referee give a bad comment to a player in my time so I found it a very strange thing that has been reported but, if it has, only the authorities can decide whether it has or it hasn't happened.

"The whole game was very different [to when I was a player]. There'd be a bit of toing and froing, there was always industrial language between the pair of us. That was never a problem in our day."

Allardyce, however, did express his delight at the eventual entertainment - and actual football - provided by the Capitol One Cup games.

"I watched the Reading-Arsenall and the Chelsea-Manchester United game and from a manager's point of view it's not great but from an entertainment point of view, it's top drawer," he said.

"English clubs lose one or two games in the Champions League and it's 'we're not as good as everybody else' again, here we go. But we've got the most entertaining league in the world, let's support it."

Meanwhile, West Ham do not see American football as a rival as an anchor tenant for the Olympic Stadium, ESPN has learned.

NFL franchises have held 'encouraging' talks with London mayor Boris Johnson which appeared to be a rival to West Ham's bid. But the Hammers would welcome the NFL franchises playing a maximum of ten games at the stadium, believing that such a deal would not constitute a rival tenant.

ESPN has been informed that a franchise using the stadium would be viewed as more of a partnership, as it would be with a series of other events held at the east London arena such as pop concerts.

West Ham continue to wait for an announcement from the mayor's office as to when a decision will be finally made about the protracted and often contentious future for the Olympic stadium.

A Premier League side holding the tenancy remains the most enticing proposition, although ground sharing with Leyton Orient is another option to maximise the use of the stadium and its income.

Under the terms of the bidding process and confidentiality agreements, West Ham were not allowed to make any official comment.

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