Unsurprising connected headlines

Villas-Boas sacked by Chelsea: AVB goes after just nine months.

A statement on the club’s website read: “Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season. [BBC]

By any measure Abramovich is an autocrat in a world not built for the expression of extreme personal whims. A close ally of Vladimir Putin, he applies comparable impatience and intolerance to his sporting empire. Those who can hide their mistakes and display unconditional obedience survive. The front-of-house stooge — the manager — picks up the tab whenever things go wrong. The awkward squad in Chelsea’s dressing room will be feeling very smug. Another victim is chalked up. But there is a deeper problem for them and their capricious owner. You look at this Chelsea side now and see a lack of players good enough to mount another title challenge. With a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Napoli, Abramovich’s Champions League dream is receding. In management circles, the deal has long been clear: take the Chelsea job, watch your back and wait for the dismissal cheque. [Telegraph]

Russia election: Vladimir Putin celebrates victory.

Mr Putin, who supported Mr Medvedev in the Kremlin race in 2008 and became prime minister because of a constitutional ban on a third consecutive term as president, will now be in office until 2018. He could then run for another six-year term. At a news briefing on Monday, the electoral commission said that with more than 99% of the votes counted, Mr Putin won 63.75%, enough to give him a first-round victory over nearest rival Gennady Zyuganov, who polled 17.19%. [BBC]

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