Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Sports Briefs


■ Soccer
Fans riot as River crash out

Rioting River Plate fans forced the match against Paraguay's Libertad to be called off in the 80th minute as the Argentine team were knocked out of the Libertadores Cup in Asuncion on Tuesday. Libertad were leading 3-1 at home in the quarter-final second leg and 5-3 on aggregate when Chilean referee Ruben Selman abandoned play at the Defensors del Chaco stadium after River supporters clashed with riot police on the terraces. Trouble began when a large contingent of River fans began tearing up plastic seats and hurling them at home supporters, whose contingent included a number of fans wearing the shirts of River's arch-rivals, Boca Juniors. The River supporters forced riot police to retreat against a fence and set fire to banners as the situation turned ugly before being brought under control.

■ Basketball

Seattle SuperSonics sold

The Seattle SuperSonics, who have been in the Emerald City since 1967, have been sold for US$350 million, the Seattle Times reported on Tuesday. Former owner Harold Schultz and new owner Clay Bennett announced the sale of the SuperSonics and Storm, their WNBA sister team. Schultz, who bought the Sonics in 2001, presented Bennett with a Sonics jersey and a WNBA ball, symbolic of basketball in Seattle. The SuperSonics have been in Seattle since 1967 but have a very unfavorable lease at KeyArena that runs through 2010. Under Schultz, who also owns Starbucks Coffee, the team reached an impasse with local and state officials in discussions for a new or refurbished arena that would allow the team to remain in the greater Seattle area. Bennett heads a group of investors from Oklahoma City. He said at a news conference that whether the Sonics remain in Seattle for the long term would depend on whether the team can reach an agreement with the city to replace or renovate KeyArena.

■ Basketball

LeBron cements extension

LeBron James signed a three-year contract extension worth about US$60 million with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, cementing a deal announced last week. The NBA All-Star forward signed the contract in Las Vegas, where he was preparing to train with the US for the world championship. The deal will keep James with the Cavaliers through the 2009-2010 season and includes a player option for a fourth year. The extension is for two fewer years than the deal the Cavaliers offered, a five-year package worth about US$80 million. But by the summer of 2010, James will be a seven-year veteran with the option of seeking a new contract as an unrestricted free agent, making him eligible to negotiate a maximum contract worth 30 percent of the salary cap. Players with less than seven years experience can earn only 25 percent of the cap. The contract will take effect after the 2006-2007 season. The superstar will earn US$5.8 million next season, the last year of his rookie contract.

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