Sky Sports extends EFL rights to 2024

Sky Sports has agreed the renewal of its contract with the EFL to broadcast 138 live league games per season until 2024.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Sky Sports will also continue to deliver coverage of each leg and final of the play-offs from the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two.

It will also continue Sky's commitment to domestic cup competitions, with 15 matches broadcast per season from the Carabao Cup and the semi-finals and final of the Checkatrade Trophy.

At least 20 EFL games broadcast per season will be chosen from Sky Bet League One and League Two matches, with 16 more from Championship games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Former England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard spoke to Sky Sports before taking his first management role with Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship this season.

An additional eight rounds of Sky Bet Championship fixtures on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings will be broadcast simultaneously with other Championship games on a different channel to those chosen for main broadcast.

Sky Sports will also continue to broadcast midweek Sky Bet Championship games via the red button and other interactive services, a new move which began at the start of this season.

Barney Francis, Sky Sports' managing director, said: "We're delighted to finalise our agreement with the EFL and give certainty to its clubs, their fans and our customers for five more years.

"By confirming this deal with the EFL Sky Sports gets even stronger, alongside 128 Premier League games, the home of F1 and English cricket - the rights that matter most to our customers are secure into the next decade."

As part of the agreement, each Sky Bet Championship side will have at least two home games chosen for live broadcast per season, while no League One or League Two team shall feature more than four times, excluding final-day games.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey added: "The Board looks forward to continuing the excellent relationship and partnership it has with Sky Sports.

"It is a partnership that, as well as having the necessary financial benefits, provides the EFL with the platform to maximise reach and exposure for its competitions."

Source: Football Webpages

'I reserve the right to buy anyone a burger' - Accrington owner on win bonus

Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt says he "reserves the right" to buy his players a burger following victories after the English Football League questioned the arrangement.

Holt said he gives the team £200 to get "McDonald's or the like" if they win - otherwise they pay for their own meal.

He tweeted that he received a letter "demanding an explanation" as it is not part of their standard player contract.

The EFL confirmed the League Two leaders had responded to their enquiry.

The burger bonus at Accrington goes against EFL regulation 61.6, which states that "full details of all payments to or benefits paid in cash or in kind on behalf of players must be included in the standard contract".

Bonuses "form part of the contract" and are to be included before the start of each season. However, exceptions may be made if the EFL are written to in advance.

An EFL spokesman said: "As a result of a communication made by Mr Holt in relation to the payment of additional monies, the EFL has written to Accrington Stanley and asked them for their observations.

"The club has provided its response and the matter will be considered further in due course."

In a series of tweets leading up to Easter Monday's home game against fellow promotion hopefuls Notts County, Holt defended his "right to buy anyone a burger with my own money" and said it was "only the same as paying for a pre-match meal".

"You have to wonder what these folk would do with their life if it wasn't for my errors of judgement," he added.

In response to another tweet, he said: "It's my money John, not the club's. I spend it how I want, been known to give a free bar to our fans for 10 minutes too on the odd occasion."

Holt continued: "I don't for one minute think anything untoward in my actions. At least the EFL keep an eye on my twitter feed.

"I'm relaxed about it. Should put an expenses claim in, but I'd have to pay the bill either way."

Source: BBC NEWS

Stevenage deny claims stewards behaved inappropriately towards Grimsby fans

Stevenage have denied allegations from a Grimsby supporters' trust that stewards behaved inappropriately towards female fans by asking some to show their bras as a security measure.

The Mariners Trust has written to both clubs, the Football Association and a number of police forces following the alleged behaviour of stewards at the Lamex Stadium ahead of Saturday's league game.

According to the trust, several female supporters were asked to lift their tops up to show their bras to female stewards. A further claim said female stewards had asked to check if bras were underwired.

Full-body searches were allegedly carried out by stewards on children as young as five years old while the Mariners Trust claims the presence of a female steward placed in the male toilets, a facility also used by minors, raises "significant safeguarding issues".

But Sky Bet League Two club Stevenage, who revealed their pre-match risk assessment gave management reason to believe there was "the potential for anti-social and uncooperative behaviour" from a "high-risk group attending", deny any inappropriate incidents took place.

A statement published on the club's official website read: "Grimsby's supporter liaison officer was made fully aware of the nature of the search regime prior to the game, to ensure all attending were aware and could allow sufficient time to access the stadium.

"Stewards used for this role in the away section of the stadium were provided by a reputable agency and are qualified to act as such. Searches conducted are recorded on CCTV and on this occasion, were in the presence of deployed police officers.

"No incidents were recorded on the day of any inappropriate behaviour towards female supporters or young spectators. Had such incidents been either reported or flagged up, the issues would have been dealt with immediately.

"The club takes these allegations seriously and will both study the CCTV footage and speak to the relevant parties to ensure that no infringements of accepted procedures took place."

The English Football League, which governs competition across 72 clubs, is looking into the allegations.

A spokesman said: "The EFL has been made aware of the contents of correspondence published by the Mariners Trust and a media statement released by officials at Stevenage in relation to events that are alleged to have taken place at Saturday's League Two game between Stevenage and Grimsby.

"At this current time the EFL's security advisor is looking further into the matters raised and will be seeking the observations of both clubs. We are not in a position to make any further comment until such a time when all the facts have been made available and are fully considered."

On Monday, Mariners Trust vice-chairman Paul Savage told the Guardian: "What we can't understand as football supporters is why Stevenage have told their stewards to do this.

"It's not a policing issue, it's a football club issue - they've told their stewards to check people's bras and we can only assume they've been given some intelligence to do that. You don't have it at airports, so why would you have it at a football club?

"Football fans get a bad press. There was no trouble, there were no arrests, nobody was chucked out of the ground. There was just a lot of bewildered and bemused and upset people."

Source: PA

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Accrington stun Preston while Birmingham storm through

Billy Kee's last-minute strike saw Accrington dump Championship Preston out of the Carabao Cup with a dramatic 3-2 win at the Wham Stadium.

Stanley, who opened their League Two campaign with a 3-1 win over Colchester on Saturday, went ahead through defender Ben Richards-Everton in the 20th minute.

Preston, under new boss Alex Neil and on the back of a 1-0 home league win over Sheffield Wednesday, equalised through Jordan Hugill in the 70th minute.

Jordan Clark looked to have won it for Stanley with just four minutes left, only for Hugill to strike again with 90 minutes up.

However, there was still time for substitute Kee to find a winner, converting Tom Dallison's cross to secure a memorable victory.

Che Adams netted a hat-trick as Birmingham swept into the second round with a 5-1 win over Crawley.

David Davis and s ubstitute Robert Tesche were also on target while Panutche Camara netted a late consolation for Crawley.

Bristol City made it two wins in a row when they coasted past League One side Plymouth 5-0 at Ashton Gate.

Jens Hegeler, Nathan Baker and Korey Smith put the Robins 3-0 up inside 20 minutes, Freddy Hinds slotted in a fourth after 39 minutes and substitute Jamie Paterson wrapped things up with 11 minutes left.

Grimsby's clash with Derby was abandoned after just 19 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch at Blundell Park.

The Rams were leading 1-0 following a fifth-minute header by defender Richard Keogh before the game was temporarily halted after a downpour and then eventually called off by referee Trevor Kettle.

On loan Bristol City forward Shawn McCoulsky scored twice in the space of six second-half minutes as League Two Newport won 2-0 at League One Southend.

There was more late drama at Oakwell, where Ryan Hedges scored a winner deep into stoppage time as Barnsley beat League Two Morecombe 4-3.

Tom Bradshaw and Ike Ugbo put the Tykes ahead early on, with Sam Lavelle reducing the deficit just before half-time.

Bradshaw headed in a third at the start of the second half and after a penalty from Michael Rose and Vadaine Oliver's late effort appeared to have sent the tie into extra time, Hedges had the final say.

Ipswich won 2-0 at Luton with a goal in each half from Republic of Ireland forward David McGoldrick, while Norwich saw off Swindon 3-2 at Carrow Road.

Tom Elliott scored twice as Millwall beat Stevenage 2-0 at the New Den and Nottingham Forest moved into the second round with a 2-1 home win over Shrewsbury.

QPR beat Northampton 1-0 with a first-half goal from Yeni Ngbakoto at Loftus Road, where the visitors had defender Leon Barnett sent off.

Liam Kelly scored twice in the closing stages as Reading beat Gillingham 2-0 at the Madejski Stadium, while a header from Nouha Dicko with 15 minutes left was enough for Wolves to see off Yeovil 1-0.

Fulham won 2-0 at Wycombe and Sheffield Wednesday coasted to a 4-1 home win over Chesterfield.

Source: PA

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Yeovil to refund travelling fans after 8-2 defeat at Luton

Yeovil's players and staff will refund the 258 supporters who travelled to Luton only to see the Glovers thrashed 8-2 at Kenilworth Road on the opening day of the Sky Bet League Two season.

The visitors had actually gone ahead through Otis Khan but a James Collins hat-trick, Isaac Vassell's brace and further goals from Olly Lee, Alan McCormack and Elliot Lee ensured a humiliating start for Darren Way's side.

And the club have now decided to reimburse those supporters who made the trip.

Midfielder James Bailey, who captained the side on the day, said in a club statement: "We know we let ourselves and the fans down.

"We felt the same as everyone else connected with the club and know the performance was unacceptable.

"The support we had at Luton was fantastic and we didn't repay them how we wanted. Most were still there at the end of the game when our performance didn't merit that.

"As a group, we want to apologise and give fans their money back."

Way added: "Saturday was never going to be easy but the manner of the defeat was totally unacceptable and I apologise to the supporters and take full responsibility for that.

"Paying supporters their money back is a collective decision, we're not happy with just apologising but at the same time know our best apology will come on the pitch in the coming weeks."

Source: PA

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Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford hoping to sing way on to FA Council

Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford has posted a promotional music video on YouTube in a bid to win a seat on the Football Association Council.

Radford, 35, wife of the Sky Bet League Two club's chairman John, is one of five candidates bidding for two places currently available to represent the Football League on the FA Council.

Radford, who graduated from Durham University with a degree in politics, said on her Twitter account that her song was a tongue-in-cheek imitation of a campaign video once used by former US president John F Kennedy.

In the video Radford sings the lyrics: "Do you wanna a girl on council, who is seasoned through and through, but not so seasoned she won't try something new."

The song continues: "A girl who is old enough to know and young enough to do, well it's up to you, it's up to you, it's strictly up to you. And it's Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn for me."

Radford, appointed Mansfield chief executive in 2011 when she was 29, pointed out on Twitter she was "spoofing an old JFK ad".

She added that it " might raise a few smiles".

Radford became engaged to Stags' owner John two weeks after taking up her post at the club when they were in the old Blue Square Premier Division. The couple married in the summer of 2012.

The Stags were promoted back to the Football League in 2013, ending their five-year absence.

Source: PA

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Wycombe aim to dazzle opposition with bright new strips

Wycombe is aiming to get shirty with opposition strikers after unveiling their new goalkeeper kits.

The Sky Bet League Two side have designed the strips to feature distinctive patterns aimed to put forwards off their stride.

A yellow kit has a multi-coloured kaleidoscope pattern on the front, which resembles a target to aim for - rather than the goal.

The sky blue and baby pink colour of the second strip is also designed to stand out from the crowd and disrupt the opposition's attacks.

Drawn up with the Chairboys' official kit supplier O'Neills, the kits aim to make the goalkeeper appear larger and more imposing.

Wanderers coach Barry Richardson, who is the club's second-choice goalkeeper, said: "There has been a lot of research into the science behind goalkeeper kits, which is why you see a lot of luminous colors and chevron patterns which enlarge the presence of the keeper in the goal.

"We've developed that idea over the past couple of years, with a bright lime and green design last year, and have enjoyed working with O'Neills to come up with these designs which we hope will be effective on the pitch and also be popular for fans who'd like to buy the replica versions."

Source: PA

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Francesco Becchetti era over at Leyton Orient as he sells club to consortium

Francesco Becchetti has sold Leyton Orient to a business consortium headed by Nigel Travis, a lifelong fan and chief executive of the Dunkin' Brands Group.

The O's, who have been in free-fall ever since Italian Becchetti bought the east London club from Barry Hearn in 2014, saw their 112-year stay in the Football League come to an end when finishing bottom of Sky Bet League two last season.

Earlier this month, a winding-up petition against Leyton Orient was dismissed at a High Court hearing, with all debts having been repaid.

The details of the deal for Eagle Investments 2017 Limited to purchase the club have not been revealed, but the club confirmed it was "not associated with Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins."

Travis, who was born in nearby Woodford, is confident the O's can now move forwards as they aim to regain their Football League status.

"I have been a passionate Leyton Orient supporter for my entire life and feel a great sense of responsibility to the players, the staff, the fans and the community," said Travis in a statement on the club's official website.

"We have challenges in front of us, and I am not under-estimating those. However, over the long-term, we believe we can return the club to the Football League."

Travis is set to serve as chairman of the Leyton Orient board, while other directors will include principal investor Kent Teague, who is from Dallas, and also a fan representative.

The O's aim to recruit an "experienced chief executive, who will be responsible for the day-to-day commercial management of the club". Local businessman and long-time fan Marshall Taylor will take up the role on an interim basis.

Outgoing owner Becchetti, who bought Orient in 2014 after they lost in the League One play-off final at Wembley, feels despite a testing period he has now left the club in a "position from which it can grow".

The Italian said: "I invested a great deal in the club in good faith and have delivered the club to Nigel Travis and his consortium without any debts to the banks, without arrears for taxes and salaries and in a normal situation with its suppliers. This is a position from which it can grow.

"Over the last two years, I have, unfortunately, not been able to dedicate myself to following the club as closely as I would have wanted. This is clearly the moment to leave the club to others and I know that in doing so I am leaving it in good hands with Nigel Travis.

"I give my sincere best wishes to the fans and to the club for a bright future, full of success."


Judge dismisses bid to wind up Leyton Orient

A winding-up petition against Leyton Orient has been dismissed at a High Court hearing.

Controversial owner Francesco Becchetti was given until Monday to pay off debts or sell the club following a previous hearing in March.

A lawyer representing Orient told Registrar Sally Barber that all debts had been paid at a Bankruptcy & Companies Court hearing in London and she dismissed all bids to have the club wound up.

Another judge had examined the case in March.

Registrar Nicholas Briggs had adjourned applications.

Bosses at an events management firm had told Registrar Briggs they were owed about £18,000.

He had said he would adjourn Central Circle Event Management's application after hearing of plans to inject £1million into the O's.

The judge was told club bosses also owed other people money.

He heard a council was owed about £35,000 and a photographer about £6,000.

Orient were relegated from the Football League for the first time in 112 years at the end of the 2016-17 season after finishing bottom of Sky Bet League Two.

Fans were pleased that winding-up bids had been dismissed but said more problems could be around the corner.

Mat Roper, a board member at the Leyton Orient Fans' Trust, said: "We know that there are a number of creditors and individuals who are still owed money.

"We could well be back again in a few weeks."

He added: "It's a long, hard road being an Orient fan."

Roper said many fans wanted Becchetti to sell the club.

"He came in 2014 and overspent," Roper said. "Since then it has been a catalogue of problems."


Best Transfers So Far

It's fast approaching the midway point of this current transfer window, with some great deals done so far, however it seems the best is yet to come. Lets have a look at some of the deals done so far.


Firstly we have Jermaine Defoe, who this month has signed for MLS outfit Toronto FC, managed by former team-mate Ryan Nelsen. Defoe has cost Toronto £6 Million, and he will officially join the club on February 28th. This is the biggest deal so far involving a British Club.


Next up, its Jonas Gutierrez. Gutierrez joins Norwich from Newcastle on loan for the remainder of the season. A very clever deal in my opinion.


Next, it's Aiden McGeady. McGeady has joined Everton from Spartak Moscow for an undisclosed fee on a four-and-a-half-year deal. The Republic of Ireland international enjoyed six years at Celtic before moving to Spartak for £9.5 Million in 2010.

Magnus Wolff Eikrem

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his first signing in Magnus Wolff Eikrem. The former Manchester United trainee joined Cardiff for an undisclosed fee from Heerenveen.


And finally, Robert Lewandowski. Despite the deal not set to be completed until June, I couldn't miss this one out. One of the worlds most admired strikers agreed his move to German giants Bayern Munich where he has agreed a five-year deal.

So, what has been your favourite transfer so far? Any of these? Or something different. Get in touch via twitter @TFootballFamily to share your thoughts and the best will get a retweet!