Football in brief: 14/02/2009

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The Independent Online

Parker pens new Hammers deal

West Ham United: Midfielder Scott Parker has signed a new contract which commits him to the club until the summer of 2013. The England midfielder, who put pen to paper on the new deal yesterday said: "I am very happy, pleased and excited – especially after all the speculation in the transfer window – that I can now put that to rest and sign a new long-term contract. In the last few weeks, the way the club is going and the direction that the manager and the board want to go is something I want to follow."

"By signing my new contract, it says that I want to do this as well," Parker added. "It also says a lot about West Ham. There have been a lot of negative things written, saying there was a crisis and all of that."

Parker follows England strikers Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole in committing himself to the club long term, while youngsters Jack Collison and Freddie Sears have done likewise.

Manager Gianfranco Zola said: "This is great news. Scott is an excellent player and it is good to have him at our service for more years. We have a long-term view, and we need time to set up our project and give it a chance to grow."

Wednesday finalise plans to reduce debt

Sheffield Wednesday: The Championship club have announced they have reached an "outline agreement" with their bankers which could see a potential takeover move one step closer. The Owls, who are about £25m in debt, have been in negotiations with the Co-Operative Bank that could see the money Wednesday owe reduced significantly. The club have been on the look-out for a buyer for over a year.

Capello gets extra week to prepare for World Cup

Premier League: The League have confirmed that next season will kick off on 15 August and finish on 9 May – five weeks before the start of the 2010 World Cup. The season will include a double-header on the Saturday and Monday of the August bank holiday for the first time in order to give Fabio Capello's England an extra week to prepare. Under Fifa rules, domestic leagues have to end four weeks before the start of the finals.

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