Monday, November 30, 2009

A proposal to slaughter cows to bless South Africa's World Cup stadiums, sparks protests

Zulu youths chasing a bull
Animal sacrifice is a vital part of life for many South Africans

A proposal to bless South Africa's World Cup stadiums by slaughtering a cow in each one has caused concern among animal rights activists.

The Makhonya Royal Trust, which put forward the idea, described the cattle killing ritual as a "true African" way of blessing the 2010 tournament.

Government minister Sicelo Shiceka has promised to lobby football's governing body, Fifa, in support of the plan.

But animal rights groups have demanded to be consulted over the plans.

The National Council for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has written to Fifa over the issue.

The BBC's Mohammed Allie in Cape Town says the NSPCA does not object to the ritual slaughter of animals.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth
New stadiums have been built for the eagerly anticipated World Cup

But the group wants to ensure it is done in a humane way and wants to be involved in the process to ensure the welfare of the cattle, our correspondent adds.

The Makhonya Royal Trust, which co-ordinates African cultural activities, said the sacrifice was an important way of ensuring a successful World Cup.

"We must have a cultural ceremony of some sort, where we are going to slaughter a beast," trust chairman Zolani Mkiva told Reuters news agency.

"We sacrifice the cow for this great achievement and we call on our ancestors to bless, to grace, to ensure that all goes well."

Mr Shiceka, the co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister, was quoted in South African media as giving his support to the plan.

"The World Cup will be on the African continent and we will make sure that African values and cultures are felt by the visitors," the Citizen newspaper quoted him as saying.

The row comes amid attempts by activists to stop a traditional Zulu bull-killing ceremony due to take place on 5 December.

Activists have brought a legal challenge in an attempt to stop the ritual, known as Ukweshwama, when a crowd of young men kill a bull with their hands.

Disgraced sprinter Marion Jones planning basketball return

Marion Jones
Jones made a tearful statement outside New York's federal court in 2007

Disgraced sprinter Marion Jones is in basketball training with a view to playing in the women's NBA.

Jones left prison in September last year after serving a six-month sentence for lying about steroid use and involvement in a drugs fraud case.

Reports state that the 34-year-old has been working on her skills in San Antonio since October.

"It would be an interesting journey if I decided to do this," Jones told the New York Times.

"It would give me an opportunity to share my message to young people on a bigger platform, it would give me an opportunity to get a second chance."

How can I use my experience, my story, to help people and in the process hop on this journey of trying to make a team?

Marion Jones

Jones played college basketball at North Carolina, where she was the starting point guard on their national championship team in 1994.

She also told the New York Times that she hopes to play in Europe this winter and in the WNBA next season.

"It's important for people to know that it's possible to make a mistake in your life, but it's what you do after the mistake that people are going to remember you by," she added.

"Are you going to make whatever negatives that happened in your life a positive? Are you going to disappear? That has certainly never been in my horizon.

"How can I use my experience, my story, to help people and in the process hop on this journey of trying to make a team?"

San Antonio Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes says he has not yet been told by his assistants whether Jones has the ability to play in the WNBA, but praised her for trying.

"I deal with people where they are right now," he said. "If she's interested in playing, great for her. The past is the past."

In October 2007, Jones admitted lying to investigators that she took the banned anabolic steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) before the Games.

The United States athlete pleaded guilty to two charges of perjury and admitted to using the drug between September 2000 to July 2001.

Jones also pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in 2003 about a separate cheque fraud case involving her former boyfriend, sprinter Tim Montgomery.

She was sentenced in January 2008 by a federal judge in New York and went to prison on 7 March last year.

Jones was stripped of the five medals she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and retired from athletics after being given two-year ban by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Peterson quits South Africa scene

Robin Peterson
Peterson was recently left out of South Africa's one-day squad

South Africa left-arm spinner Robin Peterson, 30, has turned his back on international cricket to join Derbyshire as a Kolpak player.

He has played six Tests, 35 one-day internationals and five Twenty20 internationals but was recently dropped from the Proteas squad.

"We are delighted and excited by the capture of Robin," said Derbyshire head of cricket John Morris.

"He is an all-rounder of international quality and plenty of experience."

Port Elizabeth-born Peterson, who has also batted in the top order in one-day cricket, was in the South Africa squad for the recent ICC Champions Trophy but did not play in any of the matches.

Milfy II

He was then dropped for the current one-day series against England.

Morris added: "Good quality spin bowlers are a valuable commodity in the modern game, as are explosive batsmen.

"Robin brings both of those attributes and I am thoroughly looking forward to working with him in 2010."

Kolpak players are signed using a loophole in European Union law to allow stars from countries and regions with associate trade agreements with the EU - such as South Africa and the West Indies - to avoid counting such players against a county's overseas quota.

The England and Wales Cricket Board recently succeeded in lobbying for new Home Office laws that will restrict the number of Kolpaks.

Derbyshire recently lost the services of South Africa paceman Charl Langeveldt when he gave up his Kolpak status to return to international cricket.

Tuesday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


All the latest gossip will appear here as it breaks.


Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure is seeking a move to Manchester United or Chelsea after being omitted from the line-up to face Real Madrid on Sunday. Full story: Daily Mirror

Tottenham are planning a £10m bid for Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia. The 21-year-old is tipped to play alongside Chelsea's Didier Drogba at the 2010 World Cup finals. Full story: Daily Mirror

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish wants to spend his January transfer kitty on strikers, with Serbian duo Nikola Zigic and Milan Jovanovic his main targets. Full story: Daily Mirror

Roma are favourites to sign Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko in January. Full story: Daily Mirror

Forward Mark Viduka, who was released by Newcastle last season, is set to abandon his retirement plans by signing for new Australian side Melbourne Heart. Full story: The Sun


Premier League clubs paid £70m to agents for transfers last season, with Manchester City spending the most at £12.8m. (Various)


Barnsley will give fans a free coach ride to the rearranged Championship clash at Plymouth after heavy rain caused Saturday's match to be abandoned, with the Tykes 4-1 up. (The Sun)

Messi wins Europe's Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi won an unprecedented treble last season

Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi has been named European Footballer of the Year to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or award.

French magazine France Football said that Messi beat last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second place by a massive margin - 473 points to 233.

Messi, 22, won the treble of Champions League, the Spanish championship and Spanish cup with Barcelona last season.

He also top-scored in the Champions League with nine goals.

One of them was in the defeat of Manchester United in the final in Rome.

Third and fourth place in the voting were Messi's Barcelona team-mates, the midfielders Xavi (170 points) and Iniesta (149).

Striker Samuel Eto'o, who left Barcelona for Inter Milan during the close-season, was fifth.

The highest-placed English player was Wayne Rooney, who was eighth.

'Fruitful year'

France Football said Messi was only seven points short of the maximum available from the 96 jurors.

The magazine quoted Messi as saying: "Honestly, I knew that I was among the favourites because Barcelona had a fruitful year in 2009.

"But I didn't expect to win with such a margin. The Golden Ball is very important to me. All the players who won it were great players, and some great players never won it."

He added: "I dedicate it to my family. They were always present when I needed them and sometimes felt even stronger emotions than me."

Barcelona picked up Messi at an early age from the Newells Old Boys youth team.

Four years ago, Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, who has since become the national team manager, said Messi would be the player to take over his mantle as national hero.

Redknapp sets league as priority


Spurs will rotate squad against Man Utd - Redknapp

Harry Redknapp is more focused on qualifying for the Champions League than winning a trophy at Tottenham.

The Spurs boss is likely to confirm his priorities by fielding a weakened team in the Carling Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on Tuesday.

Tottenham, who won the Carling Cup in 2008, are third in the Premier League after a fine start to the season.

He said: "Wembley is a great day out but I would love to get into a Champions League position with Spurs."

Tottenham ended their silverware drought two seasons ago with glory at Wembley under Juande Ramos, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final.

But the miserable slump in form that followed in the league ultimately led to the exit of Ramos and Redknapp's appointment as manager.


Redknapp added: "You can win a cup and have a bit of luck on the way but to get to a Champions League position would be done through a whole season. It would be great for us.

"It is a one-off game at Wembley, a great day out for the fans. If you win it everybody enjoys it but Tottenham won it two years ago and then went into freefall. So it didn't do them any good."

Redknapp feels the title will be won by Chelsea or United, leaving Arsenal and Liverpool to scrap with Spurs, Aston Villa and Manchester City for the final two qualifying Champions League spots.

"The four clubs have had a monopoly on it," he said. "I'm not saying we're going to do it but we have got a chance.

"It's not impossible. If we sit here and say we're never going to do it, we never will.

"If the manager doesn't believe it, the players would think 'why should we?' But it is possible. We have a good squad here.

"This time last year, you wouldn't even have considered us breaking in there, we were at the bottom of the league.

"We are getting to the stage where it is possible for us to go away (to top-four clubs) and feel like we've got a chance of winning."

Manor set for Virgin rebranding

Richard Branson
Branson is expected to officially announce the deal on Tuesday

Manor GP are to be rebranded as Virgin Racing as one of four new teams in Formula 1 next season.

The news was effectively confirmed by motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, when they announced the 2010 F1 entry list on Monday.

Manor boss John Booth and Virgin chief Richard Branson are due to announce the sponsorship deal on Tuesday.

Virgin Racing join fellow newcomers Lotus F1 Racing, Campos Meta 1 and US F1 Team in a total of 12 teams.

German driver Timo Glock has already signed to be Manor's lead driver in 2010, while British company Wirth Research will design the cars.

Sauber are widely expected to be granted an additional place on next year's grid following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on 11 December.

Ernie Becclestone

Peter Sauber last week regained control of the team he sold to BMW four years ago after the German manufacturing giant's withdrawal from the sport.

The Formula One Commission are also set to discuss Toyota's fate next week, again in Monaco on Wednesday.

The Japanese manufacturer surprisingly pulled out of F1 at the end of last season, despite signing the new Concorde Agreement that bound them to the sport for the next three years.

Speculation has surfaced of late regarding a potential takeover, yet it is unclear whether a buyer would automatically be granted an entry on the basis of Toyota's signature on the Concorde.

Man City top agent spending list

Joleon Lescott
The signing of Lescott took City's total spending to nearly £150m

Manchester City are the biggest Premier League spenders on agents' fees, according to new figures.

City shelled out almost £13m between October 2008 and September 2009.

Manager Mark Hughes spent nearly £150m in the transfer market in the same period, including £25m on Emmanuel Adebayor and £22.5m on Joleon Lescott.

The total amount paid to agents comes to £70.7m with Chelsea second having spent £9.5m. At less than £500,000, Burnley are the lowest spenders.

Manchester United were near the bottom of the list at just £1.5m.

It is the first time the figures from top-flight clubs have been published after the elite 20 followed the example set by the Football League, who began to publish annual spending reports five years ago.

Under new regulations, clubs agree to the publication of the figures after 30 November each year.

A Football Association spokesperson said: "We are pleased that, through these new requirements, clubs are bringing greater transparency to the domestic transfer market.

"For the first time, there will be a game-wide picture of the level of spending on agents. The leagues and other key stakeholders have been fully supportive, following the example set by the Football League with its publication of agents fees over the last few years."

Total money spent on agents (from Oct 08 - Sep 09):

Manchester City - £12,874,283
Chelsea - £9,562,223
Liverpool - £6,657,305
Tottenham - £6,066,935
Wigan - £5,527,548
Arsenal - £4,760,241
West Ham - £3,576,972
Portsmouth - £3,184,725
Bolton - £3,166,611
Everton - £2,008,407
Sunderland - £2,007,040
Aston Villa - £1,708,374
Blackburn - £1,610,885
Hull - £1,599,188
Manchester United - £1,517,393
Fulham - £1,469,258
Wolves - £1,235,703
Birmingham - £974,982
Stoke - £716,042
Burnley - £468,398

Woods pulls out of own tournament

Tiger Woods in action
Woods has won 14 majors during his glittering career

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the Chevron World Challenge, a tournament he has hosted for the past nine years.

The world number one said injuries sustained in a car accident on Friday morning have forced him to pull out.

Woods was found semi-conscious with facial injuries after his car reportedly hit a fire hydrant and tree.

"I am extremely disappointed that I will not be at my tournament this week," the 33-year-old said in a statement on his official website.

"I am certain it will be an outstanding event and I'm very sorry that I can't be there."

Woods also confirmed he will not participate in any further tournaments in 2009, although the next official PGA Tour event does not take place until the new year.

The World Challenge starts on Thursday at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.

Although the $5.75m (£3.495m) tournament is not an official PGA Tour event, it features 12 of the world's top 20 players.

"We support Tiger's decision and are confident the strong field and excellent course will provide an exciting week of competition," said Tiger Woods Foundation President Greg McLaughlin.

Woods, who has won 14 majors and 82 tournaments across the globe, has won the World Challenge four times.

BBC sports award shortlist named

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Sheffield Arena Date: Sunday, 13 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live & BBC Sport website.

Watch a full preview of this year's top 10 on Sports Personality of the Year: The Contenders, BBC One, Wednesday 2 December, 2245 GMT

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year top-10 shortlist has been revealed.

It features Formula One champion Jenson Button, cycling star Mark Cavendish, world champion diver Tom Daley and Manchester United great Ryan Giggs.

Athletics is represented by two more world champions, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and triple jumper Phillips Idowu.

Heavyweight boxer David Haye, England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, tennis ace Andy Murray and world gymnastics champion Beth Tweddle make up the 10.

The nominees will be put to a public vote on the night of the live show, which will be broadcast from Sheffield Arena at 1900 GMT, Sunday 13 December on BBC One.


The public will be able to vote for their BBC Sports Personality of the Year by telephone and details of the numbers to phone will be given out during the programme which will be presented by Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey.

Before the big event there will be an Inside Sport preview show on Wednesday, 2 December, at 2245 GMT on BBC One.

The shortlist was put together by a panel of 26 sports editors from national and regional newspapers and magazines.

The lists of nominations from national and regional publications

Carl Doran, editor of Sports Personality of the Year, said: "I think you'll agree it's an outstanding list and underlines what an exceptional year it has been for British sport.

"Overall there are nine sports represented and for the first time since Steven Gerrard in 2005 we have a footballer on the list in Ryan Giggs.

"You only have to look at those who just missed out like Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Tony McCoy and Andrew Flintoff to see how strong the line-up it is. British sport is in tremendous shape as we get closer to the 2012 Olympics."


He added: "We've our best ever line-up and some amazing surprises for our biggest ever show in front of 11,000 people at the Sheffield Arena.

"We have some very special awards that are likely to bring the house down, in particular our Lifetime Achievement Award which will honour a true world superstar.

"There'll also be live performances, surprise appearances and the greatest collection of sporting talent you're likely to see in one place. Not forgetting one of the closest races for the main award for years."

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: "The reaction of viewers and those members of the public who have been able to attend the event in the last three years has been fantastic and we hope this year in Sheffield will continue that trend.

"It's been another great year of sport and the event promises to be another show to remember.

"It's a tremendous cast list and a great experience for the audience in the venue, and we hope this year will be a classic."

Last year's event at Liverpool's Echo Arena was watched by a television audience of 9.8m, with triple Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Hoy beating Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and double Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington to the honour.

The other awards to be presented on the night will include:

- Team of the Year

- Coach of the Year

- Overseas Personality

- Young Personality

- Helen Rollason Award

- Unsung Hero Award

- Lifetime Achievement

Watch a full preview of this year's top 10 on Sports Personality of the Year: The Contenders, BBC One, Wednesday 2 December 2245 GMT

Crusaders face �60,000 visa fine

Players deported (clockwise from top left): Quinn, Van Dijk, Mapp, Hannay, Dalle Cort and Duggan
Players deported (clockwise from top left): Quinn, Van Dijk, Mapp, Hannay, Dalle Cort and Duggan

The Crusaders could be fined £60,000 over the visa irregularities that led to the UK Borders Agency deporting six of their Australia-born players.

In September the six were banished from the UK for 10 years.

A UKBA statement read: "Businesses have a legal responsibility to carry out the correct checks and the consequences are severe for those who do not."

The Rugby Football League, the sport's governing body, is to launch its own probe into the affair.

RFL boss Nigel Wood said: "We needed confirmation from the UKBA they had concluded their inquiries.

"That has only just been received so we are at liberty now to commence any rugby league specific inquiry, which we will be doing."

Jace van Dijk, Tony Duggan, Damien Quinn, Josh Hannay, Darren Mapp and Mark Dalle Cort were all found to have breached the conditions for their UK entry in a previous year and had their visas revoked.

Wood added: "We couldn't act beforehand because it might have been prejudicial to inquiries that were going on externally."

UKBA in Wales and the South West regional director Jane Farleigh said: "Having considered all the circumstances of this case, it was not considered appropriate to pursue a criminal prosecution against Crusaders Rugby League Club.

"However, the club has been served with a civil penalty notice for employing six illegal workers.

"The employers now face a fine of up to £60,000 unless they can prove to the agency that they carried out legally-required checks before employing workers from outside Europe.

"Businesses have a legal responsibility to carry out the correct checks and the consequences are severe for those who do not.

"The players involved have left the country and are now prohibited from working in the UK."

Flower urges Pietersen patience

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen has struggled to dominate with the bat since returning from injury

Andy Flower has warned England must be patient with Kevin Pietersen as the fit-again batsman struggles for form.

Pietersen has amassed just 52 runs from three innings in the current one-day series against South Africa after four months out with an Achilles injury.

England have managed to move 2-1 ahead, however, and have a chance to seal a series win in Durban on Friday.

Flower said: "We should be patient with him. It's not easy just to walk back in and dominate straight away."

Pietermaritzburg-born Pietersen will be back at what was once his home ground this week as England seek to secure what would be a notable limited-overs victory.

The 29-year-old succumbed to the long-standing injury in July and missed a large part of the Ashes series against Australia.

Since making his comeback, Pietersen has been nowhere near his aggressive best, although England team director Flower insists that is not a cause for concern.

"I wouldn't be too worried. I think he's going to take a little while to get back in form," added Flower.

"Being out for four months - when he's used to playing all the time - I think is a challenge he's going to have to overcome.

"He's a high achiever, an outstanding sportsman - and he will be very impatient to get back into his dominant ways again.


"He will score heavy runs on this tour, and maybe Friday is the day. It could be his day."

Flower also revealed that Jimmy Anderson - England's match winner on Sunday - shrugged off more than a nagging knee injury take a superb 5-23 in Port Elizabeth.

Flower told BBC Sport: "He stubbed a toe in the team room the other day and it's either horribly bruised or broken. I'm not sure which.

"He just clumsily careered into a chair and had to have an anaesthetic on it before he played.

"So he did very well. His knee is improving a lot and he looks to be getting closer to full fitness.

"He's a very skilful bowler. The conditions were slightly helpful but he was accurate and skilful enough to take advantage."

England confident for Ashes clash

2009 Men's Champions Trophy
Venue: Melbourne, Australia Dates: 28 November to 6 December
Coverage: Highlights and match reports on the BBC Sport website

England defend a short corner
England lost their opening game then drew with Spain

England are upbeat for Tuesday's Champions Trophy match with Australia, despite not beating them for 24 years.

Olympic bronze medallists Australia have won 27 of the last 32 matches between the two sides, with five draws.

The hosts have started the Melbourne tournament with two wins, while England lost to Germany and drew with Spain.

But England assistant coach Bobby Crutchley said: "If we keep improving as we have done, the Australians' style is likely to give us some space."

England's last win over their Ashes rivals came on grass in Melbourne in 1985, and since then they have conceded 111 goals, with just 39 scored.

England hockey team ready for moust-Ashes

They proved their calibre ahead of this tournament for the world's top six nations by winning the EuroHockey Nations title in August.

Olympic champions Germany, who they beat in the European final, gained some measure of revenge with a 3-2 win on Saturday.

And England were then left frustrated after Spain gained a 3-3 draw, with a controversial penalty, followed by an equaliser with four minutes remaining.

Defending champions Australia, meanwhile, have scored 11 goals in victories over Korea and the Netherlands.

"Looking around after the first two games here the Australians have started better than anyone," Crutchley continued.

"There will be a large crowd in the stadium for the match which will make for a fantastic experience."

The two sides are also involved in a charity contest to grow moustaches, as part of the Movember campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

"It's really about raising funds and awareness and having a bit of a laugh and a joke at the same time," forward Jonty Clarke told BBC Sport.

"It's almost turning into a contest on who can raise more money between England and Australia so hopefully we can get one over on them there as well."

England's Dan Fox

Champions Trophy hockey - England held by Spain

Juniors Meadow drawn away to Hibs

Active Nation Scottish Cup

Irvine Meadow have been rewarded for their third-round Active Nation Scottish Cup elimination of Arbroath with an away tie at Hibernian.

The Ayrshire junior side became the first junior side to defeat a senior club in the Cup when a Richie Barr goal sent the Red Lichties packing.

Hearts have been drawn away to Aberdeen, Morton or Dumbarton host Celtic and Rangers travel to Hamilton.

In another eye-catching fourth-round tie, St Johnstone are away to Forfar.

Prior to the draw at Hampden, Irvine Meadow general manager Ian McQueen described Saturday's win over Arbroath to BBC Scotland, a game played in front of 1,150 supporters.

"It was tremendous, there was a feeling of great achievement, great pride in the amount of work that has been put in by everyone connected to the club," he said.

"It was a tremendous response by the fans. I hope they continue to stick with us in big numbers."

In the third-round games still to be decided, Clyde's rearranged match with Livingston and Peterhead's home tie against Raith Rovers will take place on Tuesday evening.

And in Saturday's replays, Brechin take on Wick Academy and Dumbarton face Morton after draws last weekend, while Stenhousemuir will play Cove Rangers after their match was abandoned due to heavy fog.

Cowdenbeath will travel to Alloa on Tuesday 8 December after their third-round tie ended goalless at Central Park.

Active Nation Scottish Cup fourth-round draw:

Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Motherwell
Hamilton v Rangers
Morton or Dumbarton v Celtic
Hibernian v Irvine Meadow
St Mirren v Cowdenbeath or Alloa Athletic
Raith Rovers or Peterhead v Airdrie United
Dunfermline v Stenhousemuir or Cove Rangers
Forfar v St Johnstone
Clyde or Livingston v Dundee
Albion Rovers v Stirling Albion
Aberdeen v Hearts
Edinburgh City v Montrose
Partick Thistle v Dundee United
Ross County v Inverurie Loco Works
Ayr United v Wick Academy or Brechin
Kilmarnock v Falkirk

Ties to be played 9/10 January 2010.

Serena given fine & suspended ban

Serena Williams
Williams was furious with the line judge after being called for a foot-fault

Serena Williams has been fined and given a suspended three-year ban from the US Open for her tirade at a line judge at Flushing Meadows.

The American, 28, verbally abused an official after a foot-fault call which gave Kim Clijsters a match point in their semi-final this year.

The world number one will incur the ban if she commits any further "major offence" before the end of 2011.

In that case, her fine will also double to £106,000.

After the match in September, Williams was fined £6,000, which has been included in the latest penalty of £53,000.

The fine, a quarter of the £212,000 Williams received for reaching the semi-finals, still tops the previous highest Grand Slam fine of £38,000 given to Jeff Tarango in 1995.

After the incident, Williams released an initial statement, which did not include a straight apology, but later said she wanted to "sincerely apologise" for her behaviour.


"I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately," she said.

"It's not the way to act - win or lose, good call or bad call in any sport, in any manner."

The International Tennis Federation's Grand Slam Committee met last week to agree on a punishment.

It found her guilty of "the Grand Slam major offence of aggravated behaviour".

Williams was trailing 6-4 6-5 and serving at 15-30 when the baseline judge called a foot-fault on a second serve.

That prompted the American to walk over to the official, using her racquet to gesture angrily as she verbally abused her.

The official reported what she had heard to the umpire, and Williams, who had earlier been warned for racquet abuse, was eventually given a point penalty - handing Clijsters the match.

Man Utd v Tottenham

Man Utd    v    Tottenham

    Carling Cup quarter-final
    Venue: Old Trafford Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2009 Kick-off: 2000 GMT
    Coverage: Full commentary on BBC 94.9FM & Online, BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC local radio & highlights on The League Cup Show


    Teenage forwards Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck are competing with Michael Owen for a place in the Manchester United line-up.

    Rafael Da Silva could be included at right-back to give veteran Gary Neville a rest, while Ben Foster is expected to replace Tomasz Kuszczak in goal.

    Tottenham defender Ledley King is still out with a hamstring problem, while Niko Kranjcar is cup-tied.

    Giovani Dos Santos could feature after recently returning to training.


    Tottenham, beaten on penalties by United in last year's final, are looking to reach the last four of the League Cup for a record-equalling 12th time.

    606: DEBATE

    Spurs have not won at Old Trafford since a Gary Lineker goal gave them a victory there nearly 20 years ago, and now face a United side that has not lost in this competition since being humbled by Coventry in 2007.

    The north Londoners are third in the Premier League, and manager Harry Redknapp declared after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Aston Villa that his team are good enough to seriously challenge for a top-four finish.

    Their performance at the weekend underlined how far they have progressed this season, and a win against United would further boost their growing reputation.



    • These clubs have met 170 times. Manchester United have won 79 of those matches and Tottenham 46, with 45 drawn.

    • United have not lost in 20 league and cup matches against Spurs. They have won 15 and drawn five since Tottenham's 3-1 home win in the Premier League in May 2001.

    Manchester United

    • Holders United are aiming to win this competition for the fourth time.

    • All of their previous three League Cup triumphs have been under current boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

    • The last goal United conceded in this competition was against Derby County in the second leg of last season's semi-finals.


    • Tottenham have suffered just one defeat in regular play in their last 15 League Cup ties.

    • They won this tournament in 1971, 1973, 1999 and 2008, and have been runners-up on three occasions.

    • Leading Spurs to last season's final is the best Harry Redknapp has achieved in the League Cup as a manager.

    • Peter Crouch is the joint leading scorer in this season's Carling Cup with four goals, including a hat-trick against Preston.

    Portsmouth v Aston Villa

    Portsmouth    v    Aston Villa

      Carling Cup quarter-final
      Venue: Fratton Park Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2009 Kick-off: 1945 GMT
      Coverage: BBC Sport website, full match commentary on BBC Radio 5 live extra and BBC Radio Solent & highlights on The League Cup Show


      Portsmouth will be without Jamie O'Hara, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mike Williamson and forward Tommy Smith, who are all cup-tied.

      David James (calf) and Steve Finnan (groin) are again likely to miss out.

      Aston Villa are hoping Nigel Reo-Coker (ankle) and Stephen Warnock (illness) will return, but James Collins is still sidelined with a calf problem.

      Goalkeeper Brad Guzan could start as reward for his penalty-saving heroics in the previous round at Sunderland.


      Portsmouth's players are enduring a miserable season but have the chance to make club history by reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup.

      Grant optimistic about Pompey prospects

      Pompey, who have never been in the last four before, have been knocked out at this stage four times.

      And in order to go one better this time, they will have to beat a club with outstanding pedigree in this competition.

      Only Liverpool have won the cup more times than five-time champions Villa. However, Martin O'Neill's side have stumbled through to the last eight this season, scoring just one goal on their way to this tie.

      Portsmouth, on the other hand, have managed 11 goals in this tournament - as many as they have scored in the Premier League all season.



      • These clubs have only met in one previous League Cup tie: a two-legged second-round encounter in 1983, which Villa won 5-4 on aggregate.

      • Villa are vying for a third successive victory over Pompey, who they beat 2-0 in the Premier League earlier this season.

      606: DEBATE


      • Pompey go into this tie on a three-match losing run in the Premier League. They have scored twice and conceded eight times in those matches.

      • They last reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup in the 2004/05 season.

      • Jamie O'Hara could make his 100th club career appearance.

      Aston Villa

      Pompey have been playing well - O'Neill

      • This is Villa's best run in the competition since 2003/04, when they reached the semi-finals for the 12th time in their history.

      • Martin O'Neill's side have lost one of their last nine league and cup matches.

      • Steven Sidwell could make his 300th club career appearance.

      Emirates throwing incident probed

      Michael Essien challenges Cesc Fabregas
      Referee Marriner (background) oversaw a feisty encounter

      The Football Association will investigate the throwing of an object on to the pitch during the game between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates.

      Referee Andre Marriner halted play in the first half to remove the item, believed to be a camera, which came from a section of the home crowd.

      It appeared to be thrown towards Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.

      Marriner included the incident in his match report and the FA will contact Arsenal for further information.

      Chelsea's 3-0 victory dealt the Gunners' title ambitions a significant blow.

      A goal in either half from Didier Drobga, and a Thomas Vermaelen own-goal shortly before half-time, resulted in leaders Chelsea moving 11 points clear of their London rivals.

      Troubled Chester await their fate

      Chester City

      Chester City expect to find out their immediate fate by the end of Monday following another troubled weekend.

      City were already due to be dealt with on Monday regarding their continued non-payment of debts to creditors.

      But the Blue Square Premier bottom club now face a new investigation following Saturday's pitch protest.

      Chester fans, upset at the running of the club under former owner Stephen Vaughan, caused an abandonment of the home game with Eastbourne Borough.

      And they will almost certainly have to answer both to the Football Association, as well as the Football Conference.

      Conference general manager Dennis Strudwick told BBC Sport: "I'm waiting for the referee's report.

      "And it will depend on what he says before we decide what action should be taken.

      "All misconduct charges are dealt with by the FA.

      "But the Conference will deal with what happens with regards to the game itself."

      Although Chester had just taken a 3-2 lead when Saturday's game was abandoned, the precedent already set by the Conference suggests that they will be further punished.

      We've done everything we can and we hope Chester have done everything they can

      Conference general manager Dennis Strudwick

      Gateshead's players allegedly refused to return to the pitch after a long delay following Martin Brittain's leg-break in a home game against Hayes & Yeading on 5 September.

      Following the resulting abandonment, Gateshead were charged by the Football Conference for "failing to fulfil a fixture" and the points were awarded to Hayes & Yeading.

      As for Chester's financial fate, the club have been threatened with expulsion from the Conference if they do not settle outstanding debts to the Professional Footballers Association, as well as to two neighbouring clubs, Wrexham and Vauxhall Motors.

      But Chester are holding out for their share so far of the £225,000 discretionary parachute payment due to them from the Football League.

      That already amounts to a six-figure sum. And they are also due an as yet unpaid £70,000 share of the £1m payment kindly made by the Premier League in September to help all 68 Conference football clubs cope with their 'current financial difficulties'.

      Conference boss Strudwick added: "It's not a problem that can be solved by the Conference or Chester City but there might be a solution provided by the Football League.

      "We've done our best to promote the game and to help Chester but the creditors have to be paid.

      "We've done everything we can and we hope Chester have done everything they can.

      "We hope the Football League can help. And we know they're keen to come to the party."

      A statement is due from the Conference by the end of the day.

      Wales head back to drawing board

      A disconsolate Wales troop off after their 33-12 hammering by Australia
      A disconsolate Wales troop off after their 33-12 hammering by Australia

      Wales say their disappointing autumn Test campaign and the evolving world scene will see them produce a new game plan ahead of the Six Nations.

      "The only good thing is we'll look at ourselves and analyse our game," said forwards coach Robin McBryde after the 12-33 home hammering against Australia.

      "There are no hiding places, the game has moved on in kicking, competing in the air, pressure at the tackle area.

      "We're not seeing much rugby being played but that's across the board."

      The Tri Nations sides have been dominant this autumn, their kicking game having evolved in the summer.

      We try to play a bit of rugby by not kicking the ball away as much - but it's not a winning performance is it?

      Wales coach Warren Gatland

      The strict refereeing at the breakdown imposed by referees at the behest of the International Rugby Board has driven this, the percentages not favouring running rugby as the attacking side is often penalised.

      "We gifted Australia the game," said Wales coach Warren Gatland after Saturday's Millennium Stadium defeat.

      "Everyone talks about kicking - Australia kicked 40 times and we kicked 22 times.

      Rugby Union Blog
      Tom Fordyce

      "We try to play a bit of rugby by not kicking the ball away as much - but it's not a winning performance is it?"

      Defence coach Shaun Edwards called the defeat his worst day with Wales.

      "Australia's defence was magnificent," he said. "The tackler was incredibly proactive and it wasn't just the back row but from one to 15. Even the scrum-half was very dynamic over the ball.

      "That is the modern game - the aerial battle and the breakdown, two areas we came second."

      Australia's Drew Mitchell challenges Leigh Halfpenny for a high ball
      Wales were caught by surprise by Australia's ambition in the air

      McBryde added: "There's a shift with regards to where you win possession, it's not necessarily from the set piece but from kicks and gathering kicks."

      Wales opened their November campaign - in which they scored just four tries - with a predictable defeat to the All Blacks.

      They then struggled to a win over Samoa, improved in beating Argentina, but crashed badly against the Wallabies.

      The series highlighted Wales' dependence on their established, senior stars, with few of the newcomers or younger first-choices laying down cast-iron cases for inclusion.

      It's a bit frustrating [as a runner] but international rugby is about winning - and that's it really

      James Hook

      Injured full-back Lee Byrne's siege-gun boot was badly missed, and his stand-in James Hook - a converted fly-half whose creative skills could be utilised at centre in the Six Nations - acknowledged the changing demands of the modern game.

      "Australia kicked an awful lot, there are some great kickers in their team," Hook told BBC Sport Wales.

      "[Kicking is a] big part of the game, there's nothing you can do about it at the moment.

      "It's a bit frustrating [as a runner] but international rugby is about winning - and that's it really."

      We hit a brick wall - and we didn't see it coming. It's back to the drawing board

      Martyn Williams

      Veteran flanker Martyn Williams admitted to feeling shock at the total superiority displayed by Australia.

      "It feels like we've been hit by a truck," said Williams. "We were happy with the way we were going, then we hit a brick wall - and we didn't see it coming.

      "It's back to the drawing board, there's a couple of months before the Six Nations and we need to work hard.

      "A lot of us have been in this situation before, we've got a lot of influential players to come back and we've added a few new boys who have put their hands up."

      Mike Phillips and Matthew Rees could be injury doubts for the Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on 6 February.

      Gatland looks back with Scrum V

      Byrne and Adam Jones should be back, though, and Wales will hope to have Ian Evans, Mark Jones, Dafydd Jones, Morgan Stoddart and Gavin Henson back to full fitness to challenge for places.

      "[Australia was] disappointing," said coach Warren Gatland in summing up the November Tests.

      "We felt that we were making progress, it's disappointing to take a backward step.

      "It was absolutely my worst moment in the job, we are a better team than we displayed.

      "We've got to go back to the drawing word and work on some stuff, hopefully we'll have players coming back from injury and players here who have learnt a lot in terms of development for the next campaign."

      Wales v Australia

      Highlights - Wales 12-33 Australia