■ SoccerMatthaeus decides to marry
German soccer great Lothar Matthaeus will marry his girlfriend today in his Belgrade apartment, the Web site of Bunte magazine reported. The German magazine, which writes about celebrities, said Wednesday that the ceremony uniting the 42-year-old with Marianna Kostic will take place with 15 close friends attending. Matthaeus, who coaches Partizan Belgrade in Serbia and Montenegro, is a two-time world player of the year and was the hero of Germany's 1990 World Cup championship-winning team. Matthaeus, marrying for the third time, told the magazine the couple will have an official church ceremony next year. Both partners bring three children from former marriages into the relationship.
Simon Katich set to play
Left-hander Simon Katich has retained his place in the Australian test cricket team to play India in the first test at the Gabba beginning Dec. 4. With Darren Lehmann ruled out for the four-match series, Katich was Thursday selected ahead of Queensland batsman Martin Love following his strong allround performance in the second test against Zimbabwe in October. West Australian fast bowler Brad Williams and New South Wales left-armer Nathan Bracken were also named in the 12-man team to be captained by Steve Waugh in his last series before retirement. Williams, who made his test debut against Zimbabwe at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and Bracken enjoyed success in the recent triangular one-day series in India and have kept their places in the 12 with Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee sidelined by injury.
Ted Bates dies at age 85
Southampton club president Ted Bates has died after a brief illness. He was 85. The English club said he died early Wednesday after serving for 66 years as a player, coach, manager, chief executive, director and president. "It was a privilege to have known him and worked alongside him," club chairman Rupert Lowe said. "His knowledge of the game was unrivaled and he was still a good judge of a player right up to the most recent games he attended. In many ways he epitomized what this club is all about with his decency and dignity, his loyalty, his ability and his experience." Known as Mr. Southampton, Bates signed with the club on his 19th birthday. "It is very sad news," Southampton captain Jason Dodd said. "I have known Ted Bates for years because he always used to travel on the team coach to games. This season we had not seen much of him so we realized he was not in great health but this is a big blow to everyone."
Kepler Wessels cleared
A disciplinary committee on Wednesday cleared former South Africa cricket captain Kepler Wessels of accusations he made racist remarks, news reports said. The Eastern Province Cricket Board, for whom Wessels now coaches, said last week they had received a complaint from the predominantly mixed-race Gelvandale Cricket Club that he had referred to two of their players as "animals" at a net practice session in October. Wessels, who led South Africa's return to international cricket after apartheid, angrily denied the accusation. The United Cricket Board instructed Eastern Province to suspend Wessels on full pay pending the outcome of Wednesday's disciplinary hearing. However, the disciplinary committee declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence, the South Africa Press Association reported.