Sport Champagne would also like to see more use of television inside the stadium, ending the situation where TV viewers see more of the play through action replays than paying fans

Champagne looks to burst the bubble of the long-serving Fifa overlord in next year’s presidential elections

Platini: Tragedies such as Heysel changed football for the better

It is 25 years since Michel Platini scored the winning goal, a penalty, in the European Cup final. And yet the memory is a deeply unhappy one, for the goal was for Juventus against Liverpool, and the stadium was Heysel, where prior to the match 39 Juve fans had died.

English clubs stifle young French talent, says Blanc

Laurent Blanc, the coach of France and a former Manchester United player, believes that promising teenagers should think twice before joining a big club in the Premier League, as it may just lead to years on the bench.

Fans in raptures at prospect of Nasri and Gourcuff in midfield

Playmaking duo rekindle memories of Platini and Giresse but Blanc tries to calm nation's expectations

Palermo would not sell Pastore for €60m

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini says that even a bid of 60million euros would not be enough to persuade him to sell Argentinian playmaker Javier Pastore.

Inside Lines: Beckham in pole position to make athletes feel special

Unwanted he may – or may not – be on the field for England by Fabio Capello, but there is no doubt that the oft-maligned David Beckham does his bit for his country off it. He was influential in securing London's bid for the 2012 Olympics, may well win a few votes from equally star-struck Fifa members when the 2018 World Cup destination is decided in December, and this weekend he is cheering on British competitors as the Special Olympics European Games open in Warsaw. What's special about these Games is that they cater for those with learning disabilities, which includes Down's Syndrome and autism, who are not eligible for the Paralympics. Having watched last year's UK event in Leicester I can testify it is the most understated event in the sporting calendar. Watched by Beckham and France's Zinedine Zidane, who like him is a Special Olympics global ambassador, around 1,500 athletes from 57 countries will compete in half a dozen sports, and for some just completing a lap of the track could be the highlight of their lives. "There are 1.2m people in this country with learning disabilities, so it is good they can be recognised through sport in this way," says the Special Olympics GB chair Lawrie McMenemy. Backed by the National Grid, Britain have a team of 48 who were given a send-off at No 10 by David Cameron, whose own son Ivan, a cerebral palsy sufferer, died last year aged six. He told them: "The whole country will be cheering you on." So we should be.

Ancelotti praises Chelsea staff for help during his father's illness

Manager reveals he makes frequent trips back to Italy but League leaders have carried on free-scoring form

Doctor says 1998 France squad blood samples were suspicious

French football came under attack yesterday when a former doctor to the national side claimed there were "anomalies" in blood tests carried out on members of the World Cup-winning squad of 1998.

Leeds flourish after making most of brief Somma spell

Leeds United 3 Millwall 1

Taarabt wraps up QPR switch

Tottenham misfit Adel Taarabt has completed a permanent move to QPR for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £1million.

Shortlist for the Golden Ball award announced

Ten players have been shortlisted for FIFA's player of the tournament award, including three from Spain and two from fellow finalists Holland.

Whatever happens, cheer up - it's worse in France

France searched its soul last night as its team crashed ignominiously from the World Cup after just three games, a single goal and a players' mutiny.

Domenech lays into 'imbeciles' and prepares to drop ringleaders

Preview: France v South Africa, 3pm, Bloemfontein, ITV1

Zidane denies having role in France row

France legend Zinedine Zidane has denied suggestions he still has a significant influence over the dressing room and has been instructing the current players to challenge coach Raymond Domenech's authority.

'Everyone knows France need a miracle to progress'

The inquests have started as Les Bleus' campaign appears headed for an early end

Faltering France frustrate Malouda

Chelsea forward is unhappy to warm the bench but Domenech's men find the 'new Vieira' in Arsenal's Diaby
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee