Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Uefa bans vuvuzelas from matches

A fan blowing two vuvuzelas
The sharply divisive instrument will be banned from European games

Vuvuzelas have been banned from all Uefa-sanctioned games such as Euro 2012 qualifiers and Champions League games.

The horns were popular at the World Cup in South Africa but critics say they drowned out fan singing and atmosphere.

The move was taken "for reasons related to Europe's football culture and tradition," said a Uefa statement.

"Uefa feels that instrument's use would not be appropriate in Europe where a continuous loud background noise would be emphasised."

European football's governing body said that "in the specific context of South Africa, the vuvuzela adds a touch of local flavour and folklore," but it then went on to make it clear they felt they were out of place at European games.


"The magic of football consists of the two-way exchange of emotions between the pitch and the stands, where the public can transmit a full range of feelings to the players.

"Uefa is of the view that the vuvuzelas would completely change the atmosphere, drowning supporter emotions and detracting from the experience of the game."

Several football teams in England and also other sporting events and musical festivals had already banned the instruments, while some others left it up to fans to decide, but Uefa is the first major footballing body to impose a ban on its members.

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Inglis ruled out of Four Nations

Greg Inglis in action for Australia
Inglis will be a big loss for Australia but they have strength in depth

Australia's star centre Greg Inglis will miss the autumn's Four Nations tournament because of shoulder surgery.

Inglis, who won the 2009 Rugby League World Golden Boot award, plays his last game for Melbourne Storm on Sunday before joining Brisbane next season.

"He is expected to have the surgery in the next few weeks, meaning he is fit for the Broncos when the 2011 season commences," said the Brisbane website.

Australia take on Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and England in the tournament.

Inglis, 23, won the Golden Boot for his performance in the Kangaroos' Four Nations triumph last year, scoring one of their eight tries in the 46-16 final win over England.


He won the Wally Lewis Medal as the best player in last year's State of Origin series, and scored 16 tries for the Storm, including a play-off hat-trick against his new team Brisbane, as the Storm won their second Premiership in three years.

But earlier this year they were stripped of both titles for breaking the salary cap, and this season they have not been allowed to accumulate any points in the championship.

When the National Rugby League imposed the punishment on the club, chairman Rod Moodie called it "the lowest day in the club's history".

2010 Four Nations schedule:

Sat 23 October: New Zealand v England, Westpac Stadium Wellington
Sun 24 October: Australia v Papua New Guinea, Parramatta Stadium
Sat 30 October: New Zealand v Papua New Guinea, International Stadium Rotorua
Sun 31 October: Australia v England, Melbourne
Sat 6 November: England v Papua New Guinea, Eden Park, Auckland
Sat 6 November: New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park , Auckland
Sat 13 November: Final, Suncorp Stadium Brisbane

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Margarito handed 'second chance'

Manny Pacquiao (left) and Antonio Margarito
Pacquiao (left) is giving up a significant size advantage against Margarito

Manny Pacquiao said he believed in giving people a second chance after announcing a bout against disgraced Mexican fighter Antonio Margarito.

Filipino superstar Pacquiao will challenge Margarito for the vacant WBC light-middleweight title at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on 13 November.

Margarito was banned after illegal hand wraps were found in his gloves before a bout against Shane Mosley last January.

"It's unfair to him that we don't give him another chance," said Pacquiao.

"Of course he knew that [he had illegal wraps]. He is just making alibis but he badly wants to fight again and to entertain people."

Plaster-like wraps were found in Margarito's gloves before a WBA welterweight title defence against American Mosley, a bout which Margarito lost.


The three-time world champion, who maintains his innocence, was denied a license to fight in California earlier this month but was reprieved by the Texas athletic commission.

Pacquiao, 31, has requested that two of his own representatives monitor Margarito's hands being wrapped before their contest but said he was not worried by his rival's past.

"That doesn't concern me," said Pacquiao, who will be competing for an eighth world title in an unprecedented eighth weight class - or sixth in six, depending on your point of view.

"We will give him one chance to prove he is not doing bad. We are just human, we are not perfect."

Pacquiao's special request posed no problem for Roberto Garcia, who took over as Margarito's trainer after previous trainer Javier Capetillo was banned.

"I know the wrapping that I do and every single time the commissioners have always congratulated me for the good job that I do," said Garcia.

"I have no problem with Manny himself being there when I am wrapping."

Margarito, 32, said: "Everything that has happened is in the past. We are now in the present. It's time to show everyone I'm still very good.

"Nobody wants to miss this fight. It's going to be a great fight. I also want to thank the commission of Texas for re-licensing me."

I don't need to prove any more in boxing, I have already achieved what I wanted. What I want right now is to maintain my greatness

Manny Pacquiao

Margarito was given the backing of promoter Bob Arum, who stated "there hasn't been a shred of proof" that the former welterweight world champion knew his wraps were illegal.

"Antonio Margarito did not know those hand wraps were illegal," said Arum, who is promoting both fighters for the November bout.

"Lack of evidence means there shouldn't have been any penalty in the first place.

"Boxing writers have said: 'He must have known'. Well, five top trainers were interviewed and all of them said they could put a bad pad in hand wraps and the fighter would never know."

Regardless of what Margarito did or did not know, he is certain to provide Pacquiao with a stiff challenge.

The Mexican (38 wins, six defeats, 27 KOs) holds a significant height and weight advantage over Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs).

"He's stronger and bigger than me so I have to seriously focus and study all of his style," said Pacquiao, who has won a seat in his country's national congress since beating Ghanaian Joshua Clottey in his most recent fight in March.

"But I don't need to prove any more in boxing, I have already achieved what I wanted. What I want right now is to maintain my greatness."

Margarito may have a size advantage over Pacquiao and remarkable punch resistance but he has fought just once since the bout against Mosley, a tune-up win in May.

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West Ham agree deal for Jacobsen

By Frank Keogh

Lars Jacobsen
Jacobsen played in all three Denmark games at the 2010 World Cup

West Ham have agreed a deal to sign Danish right-back Lars Jacobsen from Blackburn Rovers.

The move was sealed late on transfer deadline day and is awaiting approval from the Premier League.

Jacobsen, 30, has earned 35 caps for Denmark and played 16 times for Blackburn since arriving in June 2009.

Hammers boss Avram Grant, whose side have leaked nine goals in their opening three Premier League games, had made recruiting a new right-back a priority.

Sam Allardyce signed Jacobsen for Blackburn on a free transfer from Everton, where his appearances were limited by a shoulder injury.

The defender started his career at Danish side Odense and has also played for Hamburg, FC Copenhagen and Nuremberg.

Jacobsen played in all three of Denmark's matches at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where they beat Cameroon but lost out on qualification from the group stage to the Netherlands and Japan.

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Vaughan condemns Pietersen rant

England batsman Kevin Pietersen (left) and former England captain Michael Vaughan
Vaughan (right) believes Pietersen needs time at the crease

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has criticised batsman Kevin Pietersen for announcing his axe from the national side on his Twitter page.

Pietersen included an expletive on his Twitter post after being dropped for the one-day series against Pakistan before quickly deleting his entry.

"What he did on his Twitter account was totally wrong," Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I think that's something Kevin will regret for a long time."

Pietersen will not figure for England as they play two Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan on Sunday and Tuesday ahead of five 50-over international matches from 10-22 September.


Instead, the out-of-form 30-year-old will play county cricket for Surrey after being loaned out by Hampshire, with the England selectors hoping he will rebuild his game and confidence before the winter Ashes series.

"I actually think that England have managed it in a good way," added Vaughan.

"They feel that he needs more cricket and a couple of four-day games rather than playing the one-day series against Pakistan just to get that form and feel for batting again.

"I don't see it as a dropping. I just see it as the management of a player who needs to be playing more of the longer format of the game than the one day to try to get him into some kind of form leading into the winter."

Meanwhile, Vaughan believes the limited over series between Engalnd and Pakistan should go ahead, despite the controversy of the betting scandal surrounding the tourists.

Vaughan added: "I'm sure there will elements of the crowd watching and wondering whether this one-day series against England should be going ahead but I do think it should."

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Wednesday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


Liverpool are believed to have offered Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva and Dutch forward Ryan Babel in exchange for West Ham striker Carlton Cole but neither player wanted to leave Anfield for Upton Park.
Full story: The Guardian

Liverpool also failed in a late attempt to sign Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Full story: talksport.co.uk

Arsenal missed out on signing Mark Schwarzer for £4m after Fulham were denied a move for Crystal Palace's £1.5m-rated goalkeeper Julian Speroni. The Cottagers were also thwarted when they tried to land Brazilian keeper Alexander Doni from Roma, but a season-long loan deal could not be arranged in time before the end of the transfer window.
Full story: Mirror

Stoke boss Tony Pulis says he was advised to make a move for Eidur Gudjohnsen by Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who had signed the Iceland international striker on loan from Monaco last season.
Full story: Mirror

Striker Roque Santa Cruz faces being frozen out at Manchester City after a deadline-day move to Italian club Lazio collapsed.
Full story: The Sun

The £250m spent in the 2010 summer transfer window was the lowest total since 2006, according to research by financial analysts Deloitte.
Full story: Mirror

West Ham have signed Blackburn's Denmark international full-back Lars Jacobsen for a nominal fee but manager Avram Grant rejected a swoop for Rovers team-mate Pascal Chimbonda.
Full story: Mirror


England coach Fabio Capello was forced to use Arsenal's fifth-choice goalkeeper James Shea to make up the numbers at his squad's first training session ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifiers because of injuries to Ben Foster and Scott Carson.
Full story: The Guardian

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has urged the club to find new owners fast so they can compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City financially. (The Sun)

Chelsea captain John Terry has revealed the hamstring injury that will see him miss the start of England's European Championship qualifying campaign dates all the way back to the summer's World Cup.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Manchester United and Rangers have launched an unprecedented security operation to prevent crowd trouble when they meet in the Champions League at Old Trafford on 14 September.
Full story: Daily Mail

An ankle injury has forced Newcastle striker Andy Carroll to pull out of the England Under-21 squad to face Portugal and Lithuania.
Full story: Daily Mail

Aston Villa caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald says he wants to the job permanently.
Full story: The Sun

Newcastle defender Sol Campbell was taunted by Sunderland supporters for being overweight as he made his debut on Tuesday night, playing only the first half of a reserve match at the Stadium of Light.
Full story: Daily Mail


Jorge Larrionda, the Uruguayan referee who refused England a legitimate goal in their quarter-final World Cup defeat by Germany, said he had no idea the ball was in - until he was told by David Beckham. "As we left the pitch, David came up to us very politely, explaining the pain he felt and asking what had happened," he said.
Full story: The Sun

New Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has played down their disappointing opening day draw with Real Mallorca, and says he is the man to bring long-term stability to the club. "I am a coach not Harry Potter. He is a magician. Magic is fiction and I live for football which is real," he said. (Reuters)

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Pietersen poised for Surrey debut

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen scored only 140 runs in England's four Tests against Pakistan

Kevin Pietersen will make his Surrey debut on Wednesday having signed a short-term deal following his omission from the England one-day team.

The England and Wales Cricket Board set up the deal so the 30-year-old gets match practice before the end of the season to get in shape for the Ashes.

Surrey manager Chris Adams said it was "exciting for everyone involved" and would "give a buzz around the team".

Pietersen is available for Surrey's last four games of the season.

His first appearance will be the floodlit Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Worcestershire at The Oval.

After making only 11 appearances for Hampshire in four years, he will officially leave the county at the end of the season and has said he would prefer to play for a team nearer his London home.

Following a disappointing display in England's summer Test series against Pakistan, he was axed from the side for the one-day and Twenty20 internationals.


Controversially, he leaked news of having been dropped and also his move to Surrey on his Twitter feed before either had been formally announced.

Pietersen will play for Surrey to improve his form ahead of the winter's Ashes series in Australia, starting in Brisbane on 25 November. As he is contracted to England, the arrangement is at no cost to Surrey.

He will arrive as Surrey's Steve Davis goes off to join the England limited-overs squad, and Adams said he was looking forward to having him on board, for however short a time it may be.

"From my perspective as team manager I'm losing Steve Davis but gaining Kevin Pietersen, so it's good player out, good player in," he said.

"It'll be exciting for everyone involved to have player of Kevin's quality around. The information and knowledge that will exist within him, we have to get out in the time that he spends here."

Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon said: "We are very pleased to be in a position to have agreed to the ECB's request to assist Kevin's return to form."

England selector Geoff Miller said he stood by the decision to drop Pietersen for the limited overs games against Pakistan, despite him being named Man of the Series when England won the ICC World Twenty20 earlier this year.

"We know KP is a high-quality international player but his form has not been where he would have wanted it to be, so we've given him the opportunity to get some middle practice - with the Ashes in mind," he said.

When he leaked the news, Pietersen made his dissatisfaction clear in graphic language, and Miller said at least it showed his passion for playing.

"I'd expect Kevin to be disappointed," he said.

"We have to thank Surrey for accepting the request and we think that will benefit him more than some one-dayers - and I know he will fight his way back to be an integral part of the England side.

"I fully anticipate seeing Kevin Pietersen back to the way he was when he dominated opposition attacks.

"There are a few players who will be fighting to get into that side, and Kevin will be one of those."

As for the embarrassment of the twitter leak, Miller said he would be having words about it.

"I'll talk to KP. Whether there is an apology or not, I'm sure (England coach) Andy Flower will have a word with him," said Miller.

"If he wants to apologise or thinks there is a need to apologise then so be it. I will certainly explain to him what my feelings are."

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Nadal through after opening test

US Open, Flushing Meadows
Dates: 30 August - 12 September Start time: 1600 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live on Sky Sports

Rafael Nadal
Nadal has yet to make it past the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows

World number one Rafael Nadal began his campaign for a first US Open title with victory over Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the first round.

The Spaniard won 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in three tough sets as Gabashvili stayed competitive with solid serving.

Nadal goes on to face Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in round two.

Fourth seed Novak Djokovic and in-form David Nalbandian earlier needed five sets to progress, while seeds Marcos Baghdatis and Ernests Gulbis lost.

Nadal was made to work hard by Gabashvili and was unable to break the world number 98 until the seventh game of the third set, having seen seven break points slip by before then.

But despite not looking completely comfortable on the quick surface, the French Open and Wimbledon champion was too strong in the tie-breaks and eventually came through in two hours and 57 minutes.

"It was a very tough match tonight," conceded Nadal. "My serve tonight worked well and hopefully I can continue like this. It's not my best shot but I always try hard to keep improving.

A couple of points changed the match and I was just fortunate to get through

Novak Djokovic

"I know if I want to have chances to win here, this year or any year, I need to serve really well and that's one thing I am focusing on."

Djokovic, who also went the distance in his opening match at Wimbledon this summer, beat fellow Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3 3-6 2-6 7-5 6-3 to set up a meeting with Philipp Petzschner.

The 23-year-old, who was runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2007 and a semi-finalist in 2008 and 2009, seemed to be lagging in the heat but dug deep to come through.

"I've been in those situations before, played a lot of long matches in very difficult conditions, feeling very exhausted," he said afterwards.

"You kind of start panicking a little bit when you don't feel great physically. Then your opponent takes the advantage. And it's not easy. Definitely those moments are very challenging for an athlete."

Djokovic started well but after winning the first set he looked increasingly uncomfortable.

Troicki, yet to make it past the third round of a Grand Slam, was able to take command and won the next two sets before breaking early in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

Djokovic was looking to shorten the rallies to preserve his energy in the strength-sapping conditions, but a poor drop shot followed by a double fault gave Troicki a break point for 4-1.

That was saved with a raking crosscourt forehand winner, however, and the 2008 Australian Open champion battled back to 2-3 before breaking to level the set.

Djokovic suddenly seemed energised and moved to 6-5 before three unforced errors from Troicki sent the match into a decider.

Early breaks were exchanged but it was Troicki who started to look weary and Djokovic was able to break for a 3-1 lead and then power through to wrap up victory in three hours and 40 minutes.


"Give credit to Viktor," added Djokovic. "He was playing well and serving incredibly well. Even if I would lose today it would have been deserved on his side. A couple of points changed the match and I was just fortunate to get through."

Former world number eight Baghdatis came into the tournament in resurgent form, but was shocked 6-3 2-6 1-6 6-4 7-5 by France's Arnaud Clement at the Louis Armstrong Stadium.

"What can I say? I was really heavy on court, I wasn't feeling very fit," admitted Baghdatis, who was a runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open but has never been beyond round two in New York.

"I couldn't play aggressive. I was really defensive today and Arnaud played a very good first set. I didn't play very good tennis and he won the match."

Latvia's Gulbis, seeded 24th, lost in straight sets to Jeremy Chardy, 28th seed Radek Stepanek lost 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-4 to Julien Benneteau and 30th seed Juan Monaco was sent packing by Canada's Peter Polansky in straight sets.

But 19th seed Mardy Fish, runner-up to Roger Federer in Cincinnati , recovered from a mid-match wobble to overcome Jan Hajek 6-0 3-6 4-6 6-0 6-1 and 23rd seed Feliciano Lopez beat Santiago Giraldo in straight sets.

Eighth seed Fernando Verdasco avoided a repeat of his first-round exit at Wimbledon to Fabio Fognini, but only just, the Spaniard edging to a 1-6 7-5 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory over the Italian.

And Argentina's 31st seed David Nalbandian, a former semi-finalist, was a break down in the final set before eventually prevailing 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 against South African Rik de Voest.

"I didn't play last year because of injury," said Nalbandian. "I'm just so happy to be here, I just try to be do my best all the time. I feel good so far but first of all I just want to enjoy every match I play."

James Blake, who is reportedly considering retirement at the end of this tournament, sailed past Kristof Vliegen of Belgium in straight sets.

Potenshöjande medel -

Spurs wait on Van der Vaart deal

By John Sinnott

Rafael Van der Vaart
Van der Vaart helped Netherlands reach the World Cup final

The Premier League is looking at Tottenham's deadline-day £8m transfer for Real Madrid midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart, BBC Sport understands.

Spurs moved for the 27-year-old Dutch international only two hours before the transfer window closed at 1800 BST.

But the Premier League is examining the circumstances around the switch and a decision is expected on Wednesday.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp claimed Van der Vaart had been set to join Bayern Munich for £18m but the deal collapsed.

"He's a great passer of the ball, he's a top footballer, he will join in here and be a big plus," said Redknapp, who is hopeful the deal will be approved by the Premier League.

Van der Vaart helped Netherlands reach this summer's World Cup final, which Spain won 1-0, but has struggled to establish himself at Real since signing from Hamburg two years ago.


"It was a last-minute job. When I came in this morning it wasn't something I was looking to do," said Redknapp.

"I think he was going to Bayern Munich on Monday for £18m and suddenly he became much cheaper.

"They let me know around 1600 BST that he was available for £8m and, for that money, he is a top player who will definitely improve us. The fee has come crashing down because the deadline is so close."

Redknapp also confirmed he had made an enquiry about Liverpool winger Ryan Babel but "never came close" to landing him.

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Aston Villa job interests Koeman

Ronald Koeman
Koeman is out of work having left AZ Alkmaar

Former Ajax boss Ronald Koeman has said he is interested in becoming Aston Villa's new manager and claims the club contacted his agent last week.

Villa are yet to name Martin O'Neill's successor, with Kevin MacDonald currently occupying the role on a caretaker basis.

"Of course I am interested to listen to everybody," Koeman told BBC Sport.

Earlier on Tuesday, MacDonald also said he wished to be considered for the job on a permanent basis.

MacDonald had been undecided as to whether he wanted the role, but has now put himself into consideration.

The 49-year-old reserve-team coach has overseen the first five games of the season after manager O'Neill's sudden resignation in July.


And later on Tuesday, former Netherlands defender Koeman, who also managed PSV Eindhoven, Valencia, Benfica and was assistant at Barcelona and the Dutch national team, threw his hat into the ring.

Koeman, 47, is currently out of a job having left AZ Alkmaar.

"There was a contact with my agent but nothing more than that, about one week ago or something," said Koeman.

"Until now I didn't know anything about that. If they are interested they can call me."

Villa said at the weekend that they wanted to appoint someone in the near future with Premier League experience, appearing to limit Koeman's chances of getting the job.

But the Dutchman still believes he has the attributes to manage the club.

"If they are looking for a manager with Premier League experience then of course I cannot come," added Koeman. "I have enough experience but not in English football.

"I think I would do a good job, I think I have enough experience in the last 10 years after working in Holland, where I was league champion, and working in Portugal, Spain...in that case my experience is enough."

As well as Koeman and MacDonald, other names linked to the job include Everton manager David Moyes and former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Although he thinks his time at the helm will add weight to his case, MacDonald believes that he may not be the strongest candidate for the job.

Kevin MacDonald
MacDonald says he wants the job on a permanent basis

"Who says I will be chosen? Whoever gets interviewed, if they come up with the right solution on how to take the club forward, that would be the right person for the job," he said on Sunday.

"It would help me being in the position. That would put me in a more favourable position than people who come in from the outside.

"But you then are going to look at people to be interviewed who have got a lot more experience, have won things and have done it at the highest level as well."

The former Liverpool player has received backing from several of Villa's players including captain Stiliyan Petrov.

And Wales centre-back James Collins told BBC Sport why he hopes MacDonald gets the job on a full-time basis.

"Kev has been at the club a long time and has done a great job since he stepped in," said Collins.

"He has done great and all the boys respect him and has got the team playing well.

"And I'm sure he is in there with as good a chance as any."

MacDonald's only previous managerial experience is a four-game spell as caretaker boss of Leicester in 1994.

Under his leadership, Villa have been knocked out of the Europa League by Rapid Vienna and were thrashed 6-0 by Newcastle.

But victories over West Ham and Everton have put Villa fourth in the early Premier League standings.

Moyes, in the opposing dug-out for the Toffees' 1-0 defeat on Sunday, has emerged as a surprise contender for the role.

His odds of taking over at Villa Park fell dramatically on Monday.

Everton are yet to register a Premier League win this campaign and ended eighth in the table last season after three consecutive top-six finishes.

Eriksson has been without a job since he failed to take Ivory Coast beyond the group stage of this summer's World Cup.

David Moyes
Moyes' odds of becoming Villa boss have tumbled

The Swede, who was sacked as Manchester City boss in 2008 after one year in charge, had been employed on a short-term contract for the tournament.

Other names reportedly under consideration include former Villa captain Gareth Southgate and Frenchman Gerard Houllier.

Fulham manager Mark Hughes has also been mentioned despite only taking up the Craven Cottage reins in July.

Early frontrunner Bob Bradley ended speculation he could in line for the job by signing a four-year extension to stay on as United States coach.

The 52-year-old had previously said he would be "honoured" to be considered by fellow American and Villa owner Randy Lerner.

Potenshöjande medel -

Sunderland pay �13m to sign Gyan

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan

Gyan blasts Ghana into extra-time lead

Sunderland have broken their transfer record to sign striker Asamoah Gyan from Rennes for a fee "in excess of £13m" according to the English club.

The 24-year-old forward, who scored three times for Ghana at the World Cup, has signed a four-year deal.

The Ghanaian could make his debut against Wigan on 11 September.

Gyan's arrival comes on the day it was announced that striker Fraizer Campbell will be out for at least six months after rupturing cruciate ligaments.

Meanwhile, fellow striker Martyn Waghorn has left the Stadium of Light for Championship side Leicester.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was delighted to have completed the Asamoah deal.


"It's a fantastic signing for us," he said. "It's a hell of a lot of money in today's climate but the owner understood the necessity and we've managed to bring in another top class striker. We're making huge strides.

"I tried to sign him last summer but it wasn't possible."

Gyan said he was pleased to have joined the Black Cats and praised the fans for their "never say die" attitude.

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan

Gyan blasts penalty against bar

"I follow English football and I know Sunderland have incredible fans," added the forward, who has scored 22 goals in 44 games for Ghana.

"I know about the derby against Newcastle. That is something incredible. I have witnessed that myself.

"The Sunderland fans never say die. They keep cheering on for 90 minutes. That gives me confidence to play maximum football."

Gyan began his career with Liberty Professionals in Ghana before moving to Italian side Udinese in 2003.

In 2008, French outfit Rennes paid Udinese 8m euros (about £6.6m) for the striker who went on to score 14 goals in 47 appearances.

Sunderland also confirmed that midfielder Teemu Tainio has left the club.

The Finland international's contract has been terminated by mutual consent.

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England want Pakistan player ban

England's players said they found it difficult to celebrate their victory at Lord's

The England team believes the Pakistan players implicated in the betting scandal that has engulfed the tourists should sit out the rest of the tour.

England are set to play Pakistan in two Twenty20 matches and five one-dayers.

Professional Cricketers Association boss Angus Porter told the BBC the England team thought it "preferable" that those involved did not play.

Pakistan officials are understood to agree that the three players under investigation should miss the series.

"Speaking on behalf of the England team we can say we think it would be preferable if those individuals who are named do not play in the forthcoming series," said Porter.

Captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Kamran Akmal have all been questioned by police, although Akmal is no longer part of that investigation.


The International Cricket Council has already said the tour will continue and England all-rounder Stuart Broad agreed the series should go ahead.

"We shouldn't call it off on the back of an investigation that is ongoing," said Broad, who scored 169 in England's win in the fourth Test at Lord's.

"It is up to others to decide if any of the Pakistan players involved in those allegations should miss those games."

Broad, whose innings at Lord's was the second-highest by a number nine in Test history, added that he and his team-mates were still in a "state of shock" over the allegations of spot-fixing.

"I never dreamt there was anything untoward about our victories," added the Nottinghamshire player, whose record-breaking knock helped seal an innings win and a 3-1 victory in the series.

"I have absolutely no doubts that Pakistan were giving everything to try to win that match.

Pakistan's team manager Yawar Saeed: "No allegations are true til they are proved"

"When Pakistan did not come out to practice on the fourth day (Sunday), it did cross our minds that we might have another forfeited Test on our hands.

"When we shook hands with their players afterwards - and there was never any suggestion that we weren't going to do that - we just said the normal things even though it seemed wrong somehow to celebrate as strongly as we would normally do."

Spinner Graeme Swann said he had no qualms about the two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals going ahead.

"I love one-day cricket and, with nothing proved, I have no problem whatsoever [with] who I play against," Swann, who took 22 wickets in the Test series against Pakistan, wrote in The Sun.

"What I want most is that cricket gets back in the papers for the right reasons - for someone to score an unbelievable hundred or produce a great spell of bowling.

"It's terrible for cricket to have something like this hanging over it. We want a clean game and that's what the spectators deserve."

However, former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned whether the final leg of the tour should proceed.

"It's difficult to focus on the series," he said. "Everybody will be looking back and asking questions.

"If I'd been playing and I'd got a hundred, or somebody like Graeme Swann who took so many wickets, you're bound to ask questions - are they legitimate runs or wickets?

"It's very difficult for the one-day series, everybody will be studying every aspect, any no-balls or wides or somebody getting out in a particular fashion."

And current England captain Andrew Strauss said it was up to cricket's administrators to decide whether the series should proceed or not.

"That is something for the ICC (International Cricket Council), ECB (England and Wales Cricket Broad) and PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) to sit down and decide what the best way forward is," he stated.

"Clearly there are going to be some very strong reasons for the series to go ahead, but they are also going to have to sit down and think about what is the right thing to do. That's their decision."

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Rossouw returns for South Africa

South Africa's Danie Rossouw
Rossouw made his international debut for the Springboks in 2003

South Africa have made one change for their final Tri-Nations match against Australia in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Lock Danie Rossouw, who has been troubled by a hip injury, returns to the starting XV after two weeks on the bench, replacing Filip van der Merwe.

On the bench Gio Aplon replaces Butch James, who injured his shoulder in last weekend's 44-31 win over the Wallabies.

South Africa are a point ahead of the Australians having played a game more, with New Zealand already champions.

Some observers suggested that because the All Blacks had already won their seventh title in nine years, De Villiers should have rested some senior players and experimented with youth against the Wallabies.

But the coach said: "I wasn't tempted to make more changes, all our focus is on this one game and we can only take our future planning from there afterwards."

De Villiers did reveal, however, that he was monitoring the progress of hooker Bismarck du Plessis and loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira.

Du Plessis recently returned to action following a neck injury, while Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira has not played a Test this year after concerns over his eligibility to play for South Africa.

"Both will be back at the end of the year and in top form. It's good to have competition in the team," De Villiers said.

South Africa: Francois Steyn; JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Gurthro Steenkamp, John Smit, Jannie du Plessis, Danie Roussouw, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies.

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Live text - US Open day two


To get involved use Twitter, 606 or text us on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with TENNIS before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages charged at your standard operator rate.)

By Mark Ashenden

1639:NEWS FLASH I'm not joking but we have a fire alert at BBC TVC. I have to evacuate. I will continue to be on twitter if possible. I will be back. Wish me luck.

1636: So where is everybody today? Stuck in the office getting a sneaky view of tennis updates away from the bosses? On public transport? In New York? I'd love to know where you're hanging out. Maybe you're in a park playing the great game. Tweet me @bbcsport_mark, text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with TENNIS before your message, or get on 606.

1632: Jankovic looks in the mood today. The former finalist in NY a break up and serving at 2-0 against Romania's Halep. I have to say, I'm quite a fan of the purple number JJ is sporting today. Menacing yet stylish. Favourite tennis outfit? I never got to see Federer's dark blue suit he was rumoured to be preparing for last night's action.

1626: Sofia Arvidsson already two serve breaks up on Sorana Cirstea on Court 14. Keothavong had better start warming up. She's up next. Fancy Anne's chances today? Did you know her nickname is Annie or Special K?

christortise on Twitter: "Wozniacki-Dementieva final, taking 3 hours over 2 days, 7-6 6-7 10-8. Or something like that"
It's never too early for predictions. Dementieva looked smooth yesterday. Wozzo (?) swinging her glowing nails around under the lights later today.

Get involved on 606
kinsang on 606: "Have a feeling that Clement could upset Baghdatis."
These two boys have kicked off day two on Louis Armstrong. It's 1-1 with Clement looking good on his serve. You do mean 'beat' when you say 'upset'? Unless you think Clement could pile in with a stream of insults to cause a stream of tears from Baghdatis? Either way, I like your thinking.

1612: So who's in action? Let my colleague David Ornstein take you through today's action: "In the words of Alicia Keys, let's hear it for New York. Tuesday's headline acts are: The one they call JJ - women's fourth seed Jelena Jankovic - raises the curtain on Arthur Ashe Stadium at 1100 (1600 BST) and she is followed by the third-highest ranked man in the world, Novak Djokovic. Former champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova also strut their stuff, before the main evening attractions - Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki . There is even a dose of British interest as Anne Keothavong features in the second match on Court 14 and Ross Hutchins duets with Scott Lipsky in the men's doubles second on Court 15." Salivating over that feast of goodies?

1608: Of course, this live stuff would be nothing without you. Give me your blabberings. Predictions. Thoughts on Andy Murray's chances. Lookalikes. Nadal or Federer? Who are you looking out for today? Are you anywhere unusual? Tweet me @bbcsport_mark, text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with TENNIS before your message, or get bantering on the 606 messageboard.

1604: WELCOME (capital letters have their place you know). After yesterday's feast of five-set marathons on Mammoth Monday we have Tantalising Tuesday that will hopefully evolve into Terrific or Tremendous Tuesday. Before you put that kettle on though, why not check out Elena Baltacha's fabulous column she bashed out after her first-round win against Petra Martic. A cracking read. Fellow Brit Anne Keothavong is playing in about an hour. More details on that and what else is coming up in a bit. Are we happy campers today?

1557: Day two. US Open. It doesn't matter that your football club have a few hours to sign that super-striker you've been dreaming about since the start of the season. The small bouncy balls at Flushing Meadows are what matter today. Are you on board or what?

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England Women ready for semi test

Women's Rugby World Cup 2010
Venue: Twickenham Stoop (semis and final) Dates: Fri 20 August - Sun 5 Sept
Semi-final kick-offs: 1800 BST & 2015 BST Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 3

England's Amy Turner
Turner scored against Ireland and returns to the starting line-up

England Women are poised for a tough encounter when they take on Australia in Wednesday night's World Cup semi-final at the Twickenham Stoop.

"The Australian-English rivalry is great in every sporting contest and I am sure it will be no different on Wednesday," said coach Gary Street.

England won all three of their pool games to reach the last four.

But they have made five changes from the team that defeated the United States 37-10 in their previous match.

Alice Richardson, Fiona Pocock and Amy Turner start behind the scrum, while Heather Fisher returns in the back row for the match, which starts at 2015 BST.

Rosemarie Crowley plays at tight-head prop in Street's side, which is again captained by Catherine Spencer.

Following his team's victories over Ireland, Kazakhstan and the USA, Street said: "This is a huge game and as such we have picked an extremely experienced side to take on the Australian challenge.

"It's certainly going to be exciting to play at the Stoop and we are hoping to have the same great support that we have enjoyed at the Surrey Sports Park.

"This is going to be a tough semi-final and we won't be taking anything for granted. There are definitely no easy games in a World Cup semi-final."

England, who won the tournament in 1994, have reached four of the last five finals but lost out to New Zealand in the last two.

The Black Ferns face France in Wednesday's other semi-final.

The New Zealanders, who are first in action on Wednesday with an 1800 BST kick-off, are bidding for their fourth successive world title.

England: Danielle Waterman (Worcester), Charlotte Barras (Saracens), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Alice Richardson (Richmond), Fiona Pocock (Richmond); Katy McLean (Darlington), Amy Turner (Richmond); Rochelle Clark, Amy Garnett, Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), Tamara Taylor (Darlington), Jo McGilchrist (Wasps), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), Catherine Spencer (Bristol, capt).
Replacements: Emma Croker (Richmond), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Becky Essex (Richmond), Sarah Beale (Lichfield), La Toya Mason (Richmond), Rachael Burford (Richmond).

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Japan's Abe seals Leicester deal

Yuki Abe
Abe played in all four of Japan's games in the 2010 World Cup

Leicester have completed the signing of Japan defensive midfielder Yuki Abe after he was granted a work permit.

The 28-year-old, who has 49 caps for Japan, has joined the Championship side from J-League team Urawa Reds.

A statement on the club's website confirmed: "Leicester have signed Yuki Abe from Urawa Reds as manager Paulo Sousa continues to bolster his squad."

Abe could make his debut in Leicester's first match after the international break at Coventry on 11 September.

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Robinho close to AC Milan switch

Robinho rejected a move to Turkish side Fenerbahce

Manchester City striker Robinho is on the verge of signing for AC Milan.

The Brazilian international is undergoing a medical with the San Siro club, although no deal has yet been confirmed between the two clubs.

"Robinho is in Galliate for a medical and he will then come to Milanello (AC Milan training ground)," an AC Milan spokesperson told BBC Sport.

The 26-year-old joined Manchester City for a British record fee of £32.5m from Real Madrid in the summer of 2008.

He arrived in dramatic fashion on the final day of the transfer window on the first day of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's reign at the club.


However, the playmaker has struggled to make an impact at the Eastlands outfit and was loaned to Brazilian side Santos in January 2010.

Robinho rejected a move to Turkish club Fenerbahce this summer as he held out for a move to Italy or Spain and it now appears likely he will be heading to the former.

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani is holding talks with Manchester City over a deal for the forward and, if he is successful, Robinho will join fellow countrymen Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato at the Serie A club.

A spokesman for the Rossoneri club confirmed: "Mr Galliani is working in this direction but we will have to wait and see."

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England drop Pietersen from squad

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen scored just 140 runs in the four-match Test series against Pakistan

Kevin Pietersen has been omitted from England's limited overs series against Pakistan, with the England batsman announcing the news via Twitter.

Pietersen's announcement contained an expletive and was hastily deleted, but the England and Wales Cricket Board later confirmed he had been dropped.

The squad for the two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals will be announced on Tuesday at 1715 BST.

The series kicks off with a Twenty20 match in Durham on Friday.

Pietersen, who scored just 140 runs in six innings in the Test series against Pakistan, also said he had been signed by Surrey, a claim the county side refused to confirm.

Pietersen's message, or Tweet, was cut off halfway through the sentence, meaning how long he believed he would be spending at the club and which competitions he believed he would be playing in remained unclear.

Pietersen's outburst comes just days after the ECB issued a warning to players about Tweeting sensitive or offensive information.

Australia batsman Phillip Hughes was reprimanded for revealing that he had been left out of the side for the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston last summer, while Yorkshire players Tim Bresnan and Azeem Rafiq have both been censured after expletive-strewn Tweets.

More to follow.

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England hindered by injury doubts

Euro 2012 qualifier, Wembley:
Date: Friday 3 September Kick-off: 2000 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Five Live, live text commentary on BBC website, live on ITV

England coach Fabio Capello
Capello has been in charge of England since January 2008

England's preparations for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria have been hit by a series of injuries.

Goalkeepers Ben Foster (knee) and Scott Carson (back) missed Tuesday's training and 19-year-old Arsenal reserve keeper James Shea had to make up the numbers.

Everton's Phil Jagielka had been expected to play in central defence at Wembley but missed training at London Colney because of an ankle injury.

And Tottenham striker Peter Crouch was also absent because of back trouble.

Manchester City's Joe Hart is coach Fabio Capello's first-choice goalkeeper, but injuries to his deputies may lead to a repeat of the friendly win against Hungary on 11 August when Watford's Under-21 keeper Scott Loach and Blackburn fourth choice Frankie Fielding were drafted in.

England's squad is much changed from the disappointment of their World Cup campaign in South Africa earlier in the summer.

David James and Ledley King have been discarded by Capello, while Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher has announced his international retirement.

Spurs winger Aaron Lennon has not featured in either squad since the World Cup, but the latest omission is thought to be because of concerns over an ankle injury.

In addition, Chelsea duo John Terry and Frank Lampard have been ruled out because of injury, Terry sidelined by a hamstring problem and Lampard missing the match to have a hernia operation.

Should Jagielka be ruled out of contention against Bulgaria, Bolton's Gary Cahill could be in line for a senior debut, with Spurs defender Michael Dawson another candidate, having made his first appearance as a substitute in the 2-1 friendly win over Hungary earlier in August.

Bulgaria, now without Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov who has retired from international football, have managed three draws and two defeats in five matches on English soil.

England also face Montenegro, Wales and Switzerland in qualifying Group G ahead of the 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.

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Tour legend Fignon dies aged 50

Laurent Fignon
Fignon lost the Tour by eight seconds from Greg LeMond in 1989

Two-time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon has died at the age of 50 following a battle with cancer.

The Frenchman won the Tour in 1983 and 1984 and was second in 1989 when he lost by eight seconds, the smallest margin in the history of the race.

Fignon achieved 76 victories in his career, winning the Milan-Sanremo twice and the Giro d'Italia in 1989.

He announced in June 2009 that he had advanced cancer of the digestive system and was undergoing chemotherapy.

As a commentator with the France 2 television channel, he was present at the 2010 Tour despite his illness.

He passed away at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris and his wife, Valerie Fignon, announced his death through a hospital statement on Tuesday.

Fignon's first victory in the Tour in 1983 was haided by the fall of leader Pascal Simon, but Fignon showed the win was no fluke by going on to win five stages and the race the following year.

The 1989 race, when his American rival Greg LeMond overcame a 50-second deficit on the final stage time trial, was arguably the most thrilling in Tour history.

More to follow.

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Scotland turn down Zimbabwe match

Richie Berrington in action for the Saltires
Richie Berrington will not have the chance to face Zimbabwe

By Geoff Webster

The Scottish cricket team will not travel to Zimbabwe for their ICC Intercontinental Cup match.

The decision has been made following advice from the UK Government and is backed by the Scottish Government.

The game had been scheduled for a neutral African venue but three months ago Zimbabwe was permitted to host it.

Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith said: "As a responsible governing body we could not contravene the unequivocal advice from Government."

The International Cricket Council overturned its decision to force Zimbabwe to play its matches in a neutral country. It had originally been banned from hosting matches because of the economic and political situation in the country.

"It is hugely unfortunate that Cricket Scotland has been put in an impossible no-win situation in regard to the potential tour to Zimbabwe," said Smith.

"Both the UK and Scottish Governments were clear in their advice to us.

"Our Board has taken cognisance of all the advice and recommendations from Government and the ICC, and can only take what we believe is the correct course of action.

We strongly advise Scottish sports teams against visiting Zimbabwe

Scottish Government statement

"We hope that the Scotland team can look forward to playing in Zimbabwe again in the future if and when Government policy allows."

The UK coalition government told Cricket Scotland: "The Government is firmly of the view that there has not yet been sufficient progress in Zimbabwe on the fundamental issues of political reform and of re-establishing the rule of law to justify sports tours by British teams and the positive signal that would send.

"We therefore strongly advise against such visits.

"We recognise that the final decision is for the relevant Cricket Boards, but hope they will consider their decisions carefully in the light of our unequivocal advice."

The Scottish Government supports the stance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stating: "We strongly advise Scottish sports teams against visiting Zimbabwe."

It is not known yet what punishment, if any, Scotland will face from the game's governing body, the ICC, for refusing to travel.

An ICC spokesman said: "We will look at the decision by Cricket Scotland. We will then come up with a plan of action and see what way we can try to find a solution to this."

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Ferreira quits international game

Paulo Ferreira
Ferreira has been a key part of Chelsea's success in recent years

Chelsea's Portuguese full-back Paulo Ferreira has announced his retirement from international football.

The 31-year-old told the Portuguese Football Federation it was a move he had taken "after deep reflection" and was motivated by "personal reasons".

Right-back Ferreira won the first of his 62 caps for his country against England in September 2002.

His decision to quit international duty follows that of Atletico Madrid winger Simao last week.

Ferreira arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004 when he was reunited with his former coach at Porto, Jose Mourinho, who paid a then-British record fee for a full-back of £13.2m.


The following season Ferreira was a key part of Chelsea's first title-winning campaign in 50 years, despite missing a vital part of the season after breaking his foot in March 2005.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Tuesday's F1 gossip column

BBC Sport brings you a regular round-up of the gossip in newspapers and on specialist websites around the world.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has suggested that McLaren driver Jenson Button's driving style contributed to his crash with Sebastian Vettel at Spa. "Jenson, braking where he did, just took him completely by surprise," said Horner.
Full story: Autosport.com

The organisers of the Belgian Grand Prix say the race may be run every other year. The Spa circuit may alternate in the F1 calendar with the nearby Nurburgring track in Germany.
Full story: hln.be (in Flemish)

F1's in-house circuit designer Hermann Tilke has insisted that the Korea Grand Prix circuit at Yeongam is on schedule to be completed in time for the 24 October race.
Full story: attwilliams.com

Niki Lauda's row with former team Ferrari appears to be coming to an end. The Austrian, who raced for the Scuderia between 1974 and 1977, has denied criticising the apparent team orders employed at Hockenheim in June. Ferrari's "Horse Whisperer" blog has declared itself "pleased".
Full story: pitpass.com

This story will be updated throughout the day.

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