Southampton chairman attacks EPL cost curbs

*English Premier League soccer clubs should be able to pay their players as much as they like, Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese said on Friday, attacking new cost control measures.

Top flight English clubs last month approved the introduction of limits on losses and curbs on increases in player wages to try to ensure that the latest television cash windfall leads to greater financial stability.

"We believe very strongly that each club should continue to be permitted to run their business - including their pay rolls - as they see fit," Cortese said in a statement.

"This is fundamental to the future integrity of football," added Cortese, a Swiss-Italian former banker who has run Southampton for the past four years.

Biological passports is a good news, says Federer

*Roger Federer applauded the announcement that tennis will introduce biological passports for players and urged the sport to make the ATP Tour "as clean as it possibly can be" with a broad approach.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) also said it would increase the number of blood tests done each year.

"That's good news," 17-times grand slam winner Federer said. "I think tennis has done a good job of trying everything to be as clean as possible but we are entering a new era. Everything is becoming more professional with more money involved.

A biological passport is an electronic document containing test results collated over time that can be used to detect changes that might indicate doping.

Wounded Barca no House of Horrors: Mascherano

*Barcelona need hard work, humility, serenity and positive thinking to rediscover their form, according to the club's Argentina centre back Javier Mascherano.

Barca are 11 points clear in La Liga but face an early Champions League exit to AC Milan and were dumped out of the King's Cup and beaten in the league by Real Madrid last week.

"This is a very dynamic sport," he told a post-training news conference on Tuesday. "Three weeks ago it looked like Madrid were going down in flames and now everything is fine."

"And a few weeks ago this place was Disney and now apparently it is the House of Horrors."
Their recent performances have been marked by a lack of dynamism in attack and an uncharacteristic sloppiness in defence and Mascherano said the players needed to step up their efforts.

Mourinho hopes to do a Ferguson

*Jose Mourinho hopes he is still managing in his seventies like Manchester United's Alex Ferguson, the Real Madrid boss said.

At 50, the Portuguese has a couple of decades to go if he is to still be working at 71 like Ferguson, whose side host the Spanish champions in their eye-catching.

"I think it's the kind of job where the older you are the better you are because it's the kind of job where the experiences you live and the thoughts you give to your experiences makes you better," Mourinho said.

"So yes I (can) imagine (it) ... and I would love that God gives me health so I can do it. Sir Alex is unique, I don't have any words to add to what everybody says about him and respect he has from everyone."

FIFA writes to Nigerian FA over ban on lesbians

*Soccer's governing body FIFA has written to the Nigerian Football Association over reports that lesbians had been banned from playing football in the West African nation.

A FIFA spokesman confirmed the letter but emphasised it was a preliminary inquiry.

Nigerian media reports have widely quoted Dilichukwu Onyedinma, head of the country's women's football league, as saying lesbian players would not be allowed to compete.

"Any player that we find is associated with it will be disqualified," Onyedinma was quoted as saying. "We will call the club chairmen to control their players, and such players will not be able to play for the national team," she added.