Sun, Dec 14, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Sports Briefs


■ SoccerFriendly matches planned

The Netherlands will play France, Greece, Belgium, South Africa and maybe the US in soccer friendlies before next summer's European Championship in Portugal, the team said Friday. The Dutch will play France on March 31 in Rotterdam, Greece on April 28 in Eindhoven, Belgium on May 29 in Eindhoven, and South Africa on June 5 in Amsterdam. The US game is slated for Feb. 18 to replace a match against Germany, which was canceled after the Netherlands was pitted against Germany in the Euro 2004 draw. US Soccer Federation spokesman Jim Moorhouse said that while the sides were negotiating, the USSF wouldn't confirm the game until the contract had been signed. The Netherlands has played the US twice before and won 2-0 both times. The game is scheduled for Amsterdam.

■ Boxing

Martinez easily beats Perez

Former WBO bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez scored a unanimous decision Friday over Mexican Sergio Perez. Martinez's boxing skills set the tone throughout the 12-round regional bantamweight title bout. With the victory, Martinez, of Panama, retained his WBA Central Federation 118-pound belt. Leading with either a right or left to the head, Martinez (22-6) dictated the pace during the first three rounds. Perez (24-11) tried to connect with lefts to the head, which Martinez usually blocked. In the fourth, Perez threw off Martinez's strategy as he landed solid rights to the head. Perez also was effective with lefts to the body. But Martinez resumed his tactic from the first three rounds and controlled the middle rounds by outpointing Perez with lead rights and lefts. Two judges had Martinez winning, 117-111, while the third scored it, 117-110.

■ Soccer

Georgian official jailed

The president of Georgia's soccer federation was jailed Friday for three months for attempting to flee the country this week after being accused of tax evasion, authorities said. President Merab Zhordania was detained by border guards at the airport in the capital, Tbilisi, when he attempted to fly to Paris, said Shalva Londaridze, a spokesman for the border guards office. The 43-year-old Zhordania did not have customs and border clearance, Londaridze said. Late Friday, a Georgia court rejected an appeal by Zhordania's lawyer to have his client freed on bail and ordered him held for three months while the investigation continues, court officials said. Zhordania's lawyer said he would appeal. Zhordania has led the soccer federation since 1998, but the charges relate to his 1993-1998 term as president of one of Georgia's leading clubs, Dinamo Tbilisi. Georgy Dzhikia, the deputy prosecutor general, said Zhordania is under investigation for evading taxes on millions of dollars.

■ Rugby

Laporte gets extension

Bernard Laporte, who led France to an impressive performance in this year's World Cup, was given a four-year contract extension from the French Rugby Federation on Friday. A contract extension had been expected. Following France's defeat to England in the semifinals of the World Cup in November, federation president Bernard Lapasset said he wanted Laporte to stay on as coach. Speaking on French radio, Laporte said he was ready for more.

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