■ Basketball Lakers expect Kobe Bryant \n \nEmbattled NBA star Kobe Bryant is expected to be in attendance when the Los Angeles Lakers' veterans report to training camp in Hawaii in early October, a team spokesman said Tuesday. "It is our understanding that he will be there and he will participate," spokesman John Black said by telephone from Los Angeles. Black said the team has not heard otherwise from Bryant or his agent and is preparing for camp accordingly. The 24-year-old guard is charged with sexual assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a Colorado, hotel on June 30. Bryant has said the two had consensual sex. The NBA star is due to return to Colorado for a preliminary hearing Oct. 9. The Lakers, who last held training camp in Hawaii in 2001, open camp on Sept. 30. Veterans including Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal and newcomers Karl Malone and Gary Payton are scheduled to report Oct. 2. The Lakers play Golden State in exhibition games on Oct. 7 and 8 before returning to Los Angeles on Oct. 9. \n \n■ Panam games \nCuban athletes defect \n \nThree Cuban athletes have defected to the Dominican Republic, where they were competing in the Pan American Games, an official said Tuesday. The defections occurred during the international competition, which started Aug. 1 and ended Sunday, said General Fernando Cruz, director of the Dominican intelligence agency. Cruz refused to give further details on the defections. To diminish the potential for further defections, Dominican officials doubled security during the baseball final Aug. 12 between the US and Cuba. Soldiers in camouflage stood around the Cuban dugout during batting practice and guarded much of the section where Cuba's delegation was seated. Some gates that had previously been open during the tournament were locked and guarded. Defections by Cuban athletes are not rare. Two Cuban gymnasts participating in the World Championships defected Tuesday in California. \n \n■ Athletics \nCarl Lewis enters plea \n \nNine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis pleaded innocent Tuesday to a charge of drunken driving. Attorney Mark Rafferty appeared at the Metropolitan Branch Courthouse to enter the plea on behalf of his client to one count of driving under the influence. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16. The charge stemmed from an early morning crash on April 21 involving Lewis' 2004 Maserati. Lewis allegedly lost control of the car and struck a sound wall on the side of the Harbor Freeway in South Los Angles, said city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan. Lewis was arrested by the California Highway Patrol after allegedly failing field sobriety tests. A breath test administered at a police station allegedly showed a blood-alcohol reading of .08 percent, the level at which a driver is considered intoxicated in California. \n \n■ Tennis \nPaes undergoes treatment \n \nLeander Paes, one of the world's best doubles tennis players, is being treated for a brain lesion and will miss the upcoming US Open. Paes, 30, suffered severe headaches late last week. He checked himself into an emergency room near his Orlando home Sunday, and a scan showed a lesion in the left occipital region of the brain. He was transferred to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando on Tuesday, hospital spokeswoman Michelle Lynch said. Tests are being conducted to determine the lesion's cause, with the results expected within a few days.
The national cricket body (CTCSA) yesterday presented plans to develop the sport in Taiwan, with hints that an Asian Games bid might be on the horizon. At a luncheon at the Orient Luxury Hotel in Chiayi City, CTCSA chairman Lu Jia-hong presented plans the association has to build cricket grounds in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township. The CTCSA said that the assistance of expat teams in Taiwan was crucial to its plans. Taiwan has upward of 13 cricket clubs, but only one dedicated ground — the Yingfeng Cricket Ground in Taipei’s Songshan District. Lu said that the association is focused on gaining Asian Cricket Council
‘HUGE MISTAKE’: Boris Johnson pledged to support any effort to stop the breakaway league, while UEFA’s president said that the teams involved still had time to back out FIFA president Gianni Infantino yesterday said that breakaway European Super League clubs cannot be “half in, half out” of the established soccer system, while Real Madrid president Florentino Perez insisted he is trying to “save football” with the move. European soccer’s governing body UEFA has threatened to ban the 12 clubs, who include Manchester United and Real Madrid, from domestic and international competition, with Infantino adding his voice to the backlash. “We strongly disapprove ... if some go their own way then they must live with the consequences of their choice, either you are in, or you are out. You cannot be
TEAM ‘RESET’: Although it remains to be seen if Messi’s seventh Copa del Rey will be his last with Barca, the win has helped the team find its footing amid uncertainty Lionel Messi on Saturday scored twice, including a stunning solo goal, as Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey, consigning their opponents to a second final defeat in two weeks. The cup was won and lost in a whirlwind 12 minutes in Seville, which saw Barca score four times to clinch an emphatic 4-0 victory, with Messi at his devastating best. It remains to be seen if his seventh Copa del Rey triumph is the last trophy Messi lifts in Barcelona colors, but if this was to be a final flourish, the 33-year-old crafted a fitting farewell. “It’s very
‘CYNICAL PROJECT’: La Liga president Javier Tebas compared the 12 clubs to drunks leaving a bar at 5am ‘intoxicated with selfishness and a lack of solidarity’ Twelve of Europe’s most powerful clubs yesterday announced the launch of a breakaway European Super League (ESL) in a potentially seismic shift in the way soccer is run, but faced accusations of greed and cynicism. Six English Premier League teams — Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — are involved, alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan. The ESL said the founding clubs had agreed to create a “new midweek competition,” but would continue to “compete in their respective national leagues.” It said it hoped the inaugural edition would start “as soon as practicable.” Three more