Rafael Benitez has lifted the lid on his acrimonious departure from Newcastle United, with the Spaniard revealing that “unfulfilled promises” and broken trust forced him out.Having become a firm fan favourite during his time at St James’ Park, the fans were desperate to see the former Liverpool boss commit to a new contract this summer.Instead, they saw him walk away at the end of his deal, with the Magpies board failing to reach an agreement with a coach who had worked wonders in difficult circumstances. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Benitez has since made a lucrative move to China, linking up with CSL side Dalian Yifang, but claims such a switch was only considered once bridges were burned at Newcastle and it became apparent that there was no way he could remain in charge.Explaining a long-running saga in The Athletic, the ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid coach said: “People in Newcastle have been talking about my decision to move to China without knowing what happened behind the scenes during my three years at St James’ Park.”I haven’t wanted to say too much about that – I’ve encouraged supporters to get behind Steve Bruce and his new team – but I’ve been made aware of what Lee Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director, claimed in the club’s match programme last weekend and I think it’s important I address that.”Hopefully, it will be the last time I have to do so. In the future I want to write about football and nothing but football.”When I joined Newcastle in 2016, I did it with all my heart. I could feel the history and see the potential of the club and I wanted to be part of a project and to stay close to my family on Merseyside.”I tried to do my best every day, even staying when we went down to the Championship and saying no to other offers – bigger offers than the one I recently accepted with Dalian Yifang, by the way. If I was only interested in moving ‘for money’, as Charnley stated, I could have done it much earlier.”Over my long career, and especially in my time at Newcastle, I’ve always shown commitment to my club, its city and its community and I’ve done it with professionalism and honesty. I want to remember the good moments I spent in the north east – and there were many of them – and not have to keep denying things about my time there or about my departure.“Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me an offer I could accept. They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground – if they like, I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that. Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and, in my opinion, the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10.”After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer and, when it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings. Charnley’s comments in the programme about having a deal agreed for Joelinton in February explains a lot that I couldn’t understand at that time.”After three years of unfulfilled promises, I didn’t trust them.”When we finished 10th in the Premier League in our first season back, all players and staff were paid a bonus – aside from my coaching team. That felt like a punishment for me not signing an extension.”So, by the end, I knew there would not be a proper offer and they knew I was not signing.”I couldn’t explain that in public because I was not allowed to talk to the press without their permission, so I was waiting until late June, like every fan, hoping there would be good news about Newcastle’s prospective takeover.”The time was passing and we were losing job opportunities in Europe. I couldn’t wait forever. I’m a family man and I have a responsibility to them, my staff, Paco [Francisco de Míguel Moreno], Antonio [Gomez] and Mikel [Antia], and their families, too. I don’t like to gamble with the future of my people.”In front of us we had three options: nothing serious from Newcastle, the hope of a possible takeover or a different project. Yes, it was a big offer in China – I have never denied that – but it was also another continent and another league, from a club giving us a lot of recognition and respect. That decision wasn’t easy, but it was clear.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
After consultation with partners including those who will join us as co-sponsors, we tabled a draft resolution on Sri Lanka for consideration by the Human Rights Council (HRC) at its 19th Session. We have taken this step upon careful reflection and after extensive dialogue and bilateral engagement at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Three years since the end of the conflict, it is our belief that the government of Sri Lanka must take concerted actions on the ground to foster national reconciliation and accountability. The U.S. Government has provided humanitarian and development assistance to facilitate post-war reconciliation, and we believe that HRC action can further assist in this aim.After consulting broadly with delegations from all regions and incorporating many helpful suggestions to the initial draft, we have introduced a moderate, reasonable, and balanced resolution text as a basis for further discussion and collaboration with our many partners in the Human Rights Council. In this regard, we reiterate our long-expressed willingness to work in partnership with the government of Sri Lanka on this resolution, and on the broader issues of reconciliation and accountability. Full statement: The United States (US) says the draft resolution on Sri Lanka which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council this week, was done so after consulting other countries including those who will co-sponsor the resolution.The US Ambassador to Geneva, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, told the Council that the US firmly believes that action now in the Council reflects the international community’s ongoing interest in and support for action on the ground in Sri Lanka. This resolution is not intended to condemn; indeed, it acknowledges the contributions of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which has made many constructive recommendations to the Sri Lankan government. However, many international and domestic observers share our conclusion that the government has not yet promulgated a credible action plan for implementation of those recommendations, nor has it taken the additional needed steps since the war to foster national reconciliation.Our intention is clear: we want the countries of the world to join in encouraging the government of Sri Lanka to take the steps needed to ensure meaningful and lasting national reconciliation after a long conflict, to reach out sincerely to the Tamil population and bring them back in to the national life of Sri Lanka, and to ensure accountability for actions taken during the war.Time is slipping by for the people of Sri Lanka. Together with the international community we want to work with Sri Lanka in order to bring lasting peace to the island. We firmly believe that action now in this Council reflects the international community’s ongoing interest in and support for action on the ground in Sri Lanka. Numerous international and domestic observers have echoed our concern that the government of Sri Lanka must now establish domestic processes that will sow the seeds of lasting peace on the ground. With this resolution, the countries of the world can extend their hand of cooperation to help all the people of Sri Lanka achieve that goal.
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