Sporting Digest: Football

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The Independent Online
The Ipswich manager George Burley has been awarded the Nationwide manager of the month award for August. The Portman Road club sit at the top of the First Division table after four wins and one draw from five games. Wigan's John Benson collects the Second Division award while, in the Third, Peter Fox becomes Exeter's first-ever recipient of the accolade.

The Atletico Madrid president Jesus Gil was at the centre of yet another controversy yesterday after he called the board and players of Real Sociedad "liars and cowards". Relations soured between the two clubs following Saturday's volatile league match which the Basque club won 4-1. Sociedad officials will no longer attend games at Atletico Madrid or collaborate with Atletico within the Professional Football League after a large banner bearing the words "Atletico Madrid, Gil, Bastion, Murderers" was left hanging from a stand by Real fans during the match. The banner referred to the killing of the Real Sociedad supporter Aitor Zabaleta outside Atletico's stadium prior to last season's Uefa Cup match between the two clubs. Bastion is a right-wing Atletico supporters' group which has been widely blamed for Zabaleta's killing, although nobody has ever been convicted.

The German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen insisted their Brazilian midfielder Emerson, who has been approached by the Italian side Roma, was not for sale. "We want to be German champions and we need him," Leverkusen's sport director Rudi Voller said yesterday. "He has a contract running until 2002 and we're not letting him go."

Organisers of the seventh All Africa Games in Cape Town are cutting ticket prices to boost crowds at the tournament's football matches. South Africa, who are also bidding for the 2006 World Cup, are desperate to avoid any embarrassment caused by empty stadiums at the Games.

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