THE sacking of Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson  on Saturday morning was preceded a couple of days before by comments from the chief executive of the League Managers Association warning that clubs should not be “treated as the playthings of the super rich”.

Hodgson was one of four managers reportedly at risk from the axe along with Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa, Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea and Avram Grant at West Ham.

In an article Richard Bevan wrote: “In any other sector, there is recognition that the highest performing organisations are those who build winning organisational culture – shared beliefs, goals and ways of behaving – coupled with a long-term vision.

“Yet, in football, there is an incomprehensible belief that the continued sacrificing of the football manager, the ‘scapegoat’ and installing another will turn around a football club’s performance.”

He blasted the “chronic short-termism” in football and Bevan quoted academic research showing that the effect of changing managers initially brought an average 2.5 points for Premier League clubs, before a team’s performance dipped backed to a level below that achieved before the managerial switch.

“It is clearly the decision of club chairmen whom they hire and fire and when they choose to do this,” said Bevan.

“But the statistics show that a club is likely to end up worse off when they sack their manager, they have less points and are often significantly out of pocket due to monies spent on compensation and paying up contracts.”

Are you listening Roman Abramovich?

Apologies for continually harping on about the idiots who run world football but this latest development beggars belief.

You may remember that when FIFA staggered everyone by awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar despite the country’s intensely hot summers, we were all reassured that Qatar had the ‘technology’ to overcome the problem.

But now FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he expects the event to be held in January!

The countries which pitched for the 2022 competition alongside Qatar obviously felt that they were bidding for a summer tournament but now Blatter says: “Although we have the basic conditions of their bid for a June and July World Cup, the FIFA executive committee is entitled to change anything that was in the bid.

“When you play football you have to protect the main people – the players.”

Now as the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has pointed out, a winter World Cup would mean completely reorganising  league fixtures throughout the world.

“It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere because nobody was told that when the bid was voted for,” said Wenger.

“Another clever move from Mr Blatter,” was the rather caustic comment from Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.

And former England manager Graham Taylor said: “He’s (Blatter) now saying it’s going to be too hot in the summer. I mean everyone’s been aware of that for goodness knows how long. So I really am at a loss for him coming in now and saying there’s a possibility of it being played in the winter.”

Blatter and his cronies will still have win over the major  European leagues. The break would have to be quite substantial to accommodate not only a full World Cup programme but also the preparation period before it kicks off and, of course, a recuperation spell afterwards for the world’s major footballing superstars.

Somehow, I don’t feel it will get off the ground.

Two footballers at separate sides of the world have not exactly covered themselves in glory this last week.

Let’s just say they’ve not done much to diminish the idea that footballers are a bit thick!

Brazilian midfield player Somalia is apparently to be charged for falsely reporting that he had been kidnapped – as an excuse for running late for training.

The player, who turns out for leading Rio de Janeiro club Botafogo, claimed he had been abducted at gunpoint at about 7am on his way to the training ground.

But police say CCTV footage from his apartment building showed him leaving late for work at 9am. He told police he had been carjacked and driven around Rio for two hours before having his money and jewellery stolen.

And Wolves player Greg Halford is really in hot water with his manager Mick McCarthy.

Halford went on Twitter to say that Aston Villa’s Steve Sidwell, who Wolves were keen to sign, was at their Molineux ground to watch the win over Chelsea.

Halford reported: “With Steve Sidwell in the stands, read what you like into that.”

McCarthy, obviously peeved that Halford’s Twitter had alerted other clubs that Wolves were chasing Sidwell,  raged: “Greg said he was sat next to Sidwell. They should call it Tw*tter – and anyone on it should be renamed! Too many tweets make a tw*t.”

Sidwell eventually signed for Fulham.