Sports Diary
by Patrick O’Connor

DO you know the rules of football?

Have you any idea how and when they were first established?

The answer could be found at famous London auction house Sotheby’s last week when the world’s oldest football rulebook, belonging to the first ever club, Sheffield FC, came up for sale.

And the handwritten pamphlet from 1857 went for an amazing £881,250! It is thought to contain one of the earliest instructions on football and was sold as part of an archive of the club.

Sotheby’s described the rulebook as an important historical document and it was bought by an anonymous bidder. Sheffield FC auctioned it off to raise money for the club.

One of the unwritten rules for football managers or coaches is that it is not wise to slag off your own players in public.

Hope Powell, coach of the England women’s team, accused some of her players of ‘cowardice’ after their World Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out with France.

Powell claimed she had to ask three times for volunteers to take spot-kicks in the match which ended 1-1 after extra time. England lost 4-3 in the shoot-out.

After her blast England midfielder Jill Scott, backed by two team-mates, Tweeted: “You win as a team, you lose as a team.”

Misbehaviour can come back and haunt you – that was the message for Newcastle United footballers Joey Barton and Nile Ranger.

Both players have been left out of the Premier League club’s pre-season tour of America after the US Embassy refused to give them visas.

In 2008 Barton was jailed after admitting assault in Liverpool city centre and in the same year he was given a suspended sentence for an assault on a team-mate at Manchester City. Ranger has a conviction for robbery.

Far from professional behaviour you make think but the same accusation can’t be levelled at the Great Britain track and field team for the 2012 Olympics.

They will be not attending the opening ceremony which takes place a week before the athletics event starts on August 3.

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee said: “It doesn’t fit in the professional preparation for the biggest event of your life.

“In the end we are all aware that performance is number one. They can do the closing ceremonies.”

Unfortunately preparations for the Games continue to attract bad publicity when it comes to the ticketing arrangements.

According to the BBC around 700 people have been charged twice for tickets.

A statement from Ticketmaster, the company managing the ticket process, said: “We are aware of a Ticketmaster processing error affecting a small number of customers who purchased tickets during the London 2012 Olympic Games second chance ticketing process. This resulted in recent payment for tickets being processed in error twice on 6 July 2011.

“As soon as this issue was identified, a credit was actioned immediately to fully refund the second payment into the same account, which customers will see on their card statements. We would like to offer our apologies for this error and any inconvenience caused.”

Whoops…