The Sport Matrix: Thursday 2 May 2013


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The Independent Online

Contract problems add to Newcastle's relegation danger

Newcastle United face financial turmoil if they are relegated from the Premier League later this month after it was revealed that the club failed to make provisions for relegation in the contracts of their January signings.

With their league position under threat at the turn of the year, Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haïdara and Moussa Sissoko all arrived at St James' Park at a cost of £31m in an attempt to improve fortunes. None of their contracts contain clauses lowering wages if the club – managed by Alan Pardew, above – drop down to the Championship for a second time in four seasons.

Saturday's calamitous 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool, coupled with Aston Villa's 6-1 victory over Sunderland on Monday, left Newcastle fourth from bottom in the Premier League with three matches to play. Wigan, one place below, have a game in hand.

Pardew's side visit West Ham and QPR over the next 10 days before ending the campaign with the visit of Arsenal. Fellow strugglers Sunderland and Norwich City are understood to have relevant clauses. MORE

Bayern complete rout to reach final

Bayern Munich will contest an all-German Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund after completing a comprehensive semi-final victory over Barcelona last night. Bayern won 3-0 in the Nou Camp to wrap up a 7-0 aggregate victory, Arjen Robben scoring the pick of the goals. MORE

Mata: Club will always come first

Midfielder Juan Mata says he has had no problem working under a number of different managers at Chelsea. "I've said it before, as a professional you have to do it no matter who the manager is," he said. "I've really enjoyed myself with all [of his managers at the club.]" MORE

Mourinho set for Bridge return

Real Madrid are prepared to let Jose Mourinho return to Chelsea on the cheap, with midfielder Xabi Alonso also likely to move to Stamford Bridge. The Portuguese has three years left on his contract, but both clubs are desperate to strike a deal as soon as possible. MORE

Trainer of Caviar rubbishes rumours

Peter Moody, trainer of Black Caviar, has angrily denied that his mare was tarnished by steroids. "Steroids increase bulk," Moody told Sydney newspapers. "Black Caviar was a huge mare, from the day she was born. It would have been absolutely counter-productive." MORE

£200m overhaul of Lord's approved

A £200m plan to rebuild Lord's was approved at MCC's annual meeting yesterday. The strategy will now be put before its 18,000 members. The work will take 14 years to complete, renovating stands and introducing underground car parking. MORE

Wood puts Durham in the driving seat

Mark Wood extended his fine record at Trent Bridge as Durham took control against Nottinghamshire. The 22-year-old bowler hit 58 as the visitors recorded 471 in reply to Notts' 320. The hosts reached 145 for 5 in their second innings, still six behind. MORE

Deans wary of dismissing Lions

Australia's coach, Robbie Deans, has insisted that the British and Irish Lions will be treated with respect this summer. "I have a lot of respect for these Lions," he said. "This will be a remarkable, fantastic series – the ultimate rugby experience." MORE

Consistency the key for McIlroy

Despite not being fancied to win this week's Wells Fargo Championshi, Rory McIlroy will be playing a course he likes in Quail Hollow, and where he won for the first time on American soil in 2010. If he finds consistency, he has a chance of prospering. MORE

Olympic winner Harrison calls time

Audley Harrison, an Olympic gold medallist in 2000, announced his retirement from professional boxing yesterday. He won a European heavyweight crown but fell well short of his world title ambitions. MORE

Jamie Roberts

Much has been made of the number of Welsh players in the Lions squad. I have no doubt Warren Gatland has chosen on merit – he's an honest guy and wouldn't do it any other way. MORE