Found November 13, 2012 on Fox Soccer:
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli believes Roberto Mancini's decision to drop Mario Balotelli for Manchester City's last match was purely for footballing reasons. Reports have suggested that Mancini is willing to sell the 22-year-old striker after growing tired of his lifestyle. Balotelli was surprisingly left out of the City squad for Sunday's win over Spurs amid reports of a breach of club discipline - fuelling fresh speculation over his long-term future at the Etihad. However, Prandelli has defended Balotelli, ahead of Italy's midweek friendly against France, by rejecting claims that his off-field behaviour is harming his City career. "Mario told me that it was a technical choice of the coach," he said. "He is not happy with what he is doing and he must try with matches and training to change Mancini's mind. "He will have an opportunity with his national team and he must get ready. "It is normal that the newspapers talk about him because he is a personality. But he should think about playing football." Meanwhile, the relationship between Balotelli and Mancini is similar to a "husband and wife's", says the player's agent. "They argue, but they love and respect each other so much," Mino Raiola told Radio CRC. "Everyone has their own ideas, but Mario will remain at Manchester City. He won't go to AC Milan. "He will be a City player for at least another two and a half years because Mario is not thinking about other clubs." Reconstruction has long been on the agenda of both the SFL and the Scottish Premier League, which is currently in charge of the top tier, but the new proposal reportedly favours one overall league body and three leagues of 16, 10 and 18 teams. These leagues would be made up of existing SPL clubs, the 30 SFL members plus second teams for Celtic and Rangers. SFL chief executive David Longmuir said: "The SPL are aware of it. It's not something new; these talks have been going on for quite a while. "The content and the substance of the reconstruction proposal is slightly different, but the actual principle of discussing league reconstruction is not a new subject matter. "We've been working with our clubs on ideas and how we might wish to take the game forward and how to improve it. "Tomorrow's the first chance they're going to have to see the detail. "We're going to be discussing a proposal that might re-energise and refresh the game and be compelling for fans and create a better structure for the game going forward." The timing is due to "a desire to improve Scottish football," Longmuir insisted. He added: "It's as simple as that. And to re-engage fans and to give them a compelling league structure which creates a bit of excitement, variety and also engages with investors, broadcasters and sponsors." Following consultation with the SFL's clubs, including Irn-Bru Third Division side Rangers, Longmuir could then take the proposal to the SPL. He added: "We're only consulting with the clubs. They've got a chance to question, build on or critique it and that's exactly what we're going to do tomorrow." The 12 SPL clubs are scheduled to meet on December 3 at their regular general meeting where reconstruction, and possible expansion, is sure to be on the agenda. Major change currently requires an 11-1 majority but the loss of Rangers has not sparked the expected end to what had been termed by some as the 'Old Firm veto'. Following the meeting on October 22, SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster suggested the debate on the voting structure would continue on November 19. On restructuring, he said: "There is a real desire for change within the game. "There is a public appetite for change, and that is matched by clubs as well. "So hopefully we can work together to come up with a set of proposals on which we will get a consensus. "Different clubs have different views about what the ideal format is. I think it's important on any change that you form a consensus. "So we'll be working with all parties within Scottish football, our clubs and obviously the SFA and SFL, to see if we can agree exactly what that consensus should be." St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour believes there should be one league organisation and favours the introduction of a pyramid system, to enable clubs to join the bottom tier. The Buddies chief anticipates reaching an agreement over restructuring will be a challenge. "It will be difficult to get to an agreement," Gilmour told BBC Scotland. "You'll never keep everyone happy. What we've got to do is get into a situation where the majority can take everybody with us. "I know the SFA (Scottish Football Association) had put a date in place to try to make things move. "I understand why they tried to do that, but one of the stumbling blocks that we have in the SPL is the 11-1 vote. "It's something that we are addressing and it has to be addressed." SFA chief executive Stewart Regan revealed he was aware of the proposals and would seek to discuss them together with both league executives. Regan said: "Reconstruction has been on the agenda for two years. Just after I came to the Scottish FA it was part of the Henry McLeish report. "A number of proposals have been tabled by the SPL. We have had debates going on for months and months and months. "We remain committed to reconstruction. The leagues remain committed to reconstruction, but that will only happen if the clubs are comfortable with the proposals. "The SFL are meeting their clubs tomorrow. David Longmuir has prepared a proposal which he has already discussed with the professional game board. "We will get feedback at the end of the month and if it's a proposal the clubs are interested in taking forward then we will certainly be part of the group that moves it to the next stage."
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