■ Aussie Rules
Brawling players suspended
Twenty-two Australian Rules football players involved in one of the country's largest-ever on-field brawls have been suspended for more than 400 matches, with one player suspended for five years. The suspensions, announced yesterday, came three months after a brawl involving 50 players, officials and fans erupted before play got underway at a Cairns Australian Rules grand final between the North Cairns Tigers and the Port Douglas Crocs on Sept. 18. Police were called and children had to be carried to safety as adults fought among themselves.
Betting fever grips Germany
The 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany has already caught the imaginations of hundreds of German betting-shop entrepreneurs, who have set up shops to cash in on an expected gambling boom. "Betting shops are springing up like wild mushrooms," said Hasan Kanat, an estate agent-turned-bookie with four shops of his own. The state of Hessen -- home to the organisers of the tournament -- said the number of shops in its region had more than doubled to about 170 over the past six months.
Christmas party flames fight
Manchester City have started disciplinary proceedings against a first-team player who poked a lit cigar into a trainee's eye at a Christmas party. Media reports said midfielder Joey Barton pushed the cigar into trainee James Tandy's eye after Tandy tried to set fire to his shirt with a cigarette. The 22-year-old Barton is likely to face a severe punishment in the form of a hefty fine. Police were not called to the incident at a Manchester nightclub, which left Tandy, 18, with minor burns to his left eye.