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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 December, 2003, 03:34 GMT
The back pages
Sven-Goran Eriksson's comments on the Rio Ferdinand affair win the battle of the column inches in Sunday's papers.

Sunday Mirror: Sven: Ferdinand should have been banned
Mail on Sunday: Cole disgrace
The Independent on Sunday: Vaughan hails his survivors as lights go out on Murali
Sunday Express: Back in Ruud health
Daily Star Sunday: Fergie: I got it wrong
News of the World: Sven: Ban Rio
Sunday Times: That's rich - destitute Leeds hold Chelski
The Observer: Red alert
Sunday Telegraph: The great escape - bad light save England
Sunday People: Lamps lands mega deal

The Sunday Mirror's world exclusive (see also News of the World) reveals that Mr Eriksson agrees that Ferdinand should have been banned after it was discovered he missed a drug test.

Arsene Wenger, however, is less enamoured of the views of Mr Blatter's viewpoint.

The Sunday Express is among the papers to quote Wenger's comments on the Fifa president's plans to reduce the size of Europe's domestic leagues to free up time for international fixtures.

"It will kill the dream of smaller teams trying to get into the big leagues around Europe," says Wenger.

In the round-up of Saturday's games, cup giant-killers Telford grab some well-deserved space, although the big three teams dominate the space.

"Destitute" Leeds' draw with Chelsea's megabucks all-stars amuses the Sunday Times no end, while Arsenal's Ashley Cole receives stick from the Mail on Sunday among others after becoming the 53rd player to be sent off under Arsene Wenger's regime.

Away from the football field, England's cricketers receive much credit for the spirited rearguard action which earned them a first Test draw against Sri Lanka.

"They must have felt they got out of jail," says the Independent on Sunday's Stephen Brenkley, who goes on to laud Ashley Giles in particular for his efforts with the bat.

To rugby, and the contrast between defeat for Martin Johnson's Leicester Tigers in Paris on Saturday - and the expected crowd of 500,000 which will greet him on Monday's World Cup victory parade - is focused on by the Mail on Sunday.

"It's an awesome, but very humbling prospect," admits Johnson, still enjoying plenty of column inches, two weeks after captaining England to glory.

Also in the Mail on Sunday is a piece suggesting that Dwain Chambers is considering a career in American football as he faces up to a possible two-year ban from athletics.

Chambers is currently assembling a robust defence ahead of a UK Athletics disciplinary hearing in February - and gridiron teams may also like to consider assembling a similarly robust defence to combat the prospect of Europe's fastest man charging at them (You're sacked - contrived segue Ed).

The gossip column
07 Dec 03  |  Football

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