Roman Abramovich may be a product of New Russia but the regime he runs at Chelsea seems a throwback to the bad old days of the Politburo. Ex-manager Jose Mourinho apparently has been declared a non-person, as our chief sportswriter Nick Townsend discovered, when invited to contribute an interview with Avram Grant for today's Carling Cup final programme. Chelsea insisted on vetting the piece which was returned with references to Mourinho obliterated. Such is the paranoia at Stamford Bridge, even the revelation that in his younger days Grant was a Liverpool fan got the Blues pencil treatment from the control commissars in the communications department. The football correspondent of another newspaper was so incensed by the way an article he penned on Joe Cole was censored by Chelsea that he asked for his name to be removed. Wembley punters who fork out their fivers today should know that what they see is not what they should have got.
Radcliffe turns Ohuruogu from glam to glum
This column caused something of a stir in chilly St Petersburg last week by suggesting that Christine Ohuruogu's nomination for Comeback of the Year in the Laureus World Sports Awards was a tad controversial. Speculation that she had won heightened when she turned up looking glam, but a media release named the absent Paula Radcliffe as the recipient, although curiously no mention was made in the presentations. Cock-up or conspiracy was the question asked of the organisers, who insisted that they had run out of time. Ohuruogu went from glam to glum.
How long can flaming Ken carry the torch?
Talking of cock-ups, has there been a more embarrassing one in the current drugs climate than the on-off invitation to Linford Christie to run in the Olympic torch relay? You can bet Seb Coe, currently in Australia, was hot on the blower giving Ken Livingstone a flea in his ear when he heard, while British Olympic Association chair Colin Moynihan was delivering a similar blast in the other one. There has been a political peace pact on the 2012 board between the Tory duo and Red Ken, whose knowledge of sport and its politics could be written on the back of a congestion charge ticket. Despite his signature on the letter to Christie, the mayor astonishingly claims he knew nothing about it. Somewhat worrying for anything else he may be signing on 2012's behalf, isn't it?
Ecclestone pins down Putin's grand ambition
The presence of judo black belt (sixth Dan) Vladimir Putin at the Laureus Awards suggests he might like to throw his weight around in international sports circles once he relinquishes the Russian presidency. He is obviously keen to keep the lavish Oscars-style sporting bash in St Petersburg, where there seems every prospect of the newcomer award winner, Lewis Hamilton, revving up for a Grand Prix. Hence Putin's smile, sat next to Mika Hakkinen, as Bernie Ecclestone remarked when asked about a possible street race, "There's someone here who can make it happen".
Kaiser: Making peace with Russia key to World Cup bid
Also living it up with Laureus and chatting with German-speaking Putin was Franz Beckenbauer. No doubt they were discussing a Russian bid for the 2018 World Cup. Earlier the Kaiser was telling us that England's best hope was for them to do a deal with Russia to go forward as Europe's only candidate. Somehow we can't see Putin playing ball.Reuse content