Fri, Jul 21, 2006 - Page 21 News List

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■ Soccer
Die-hard fans get lucky

A German soccer club plans to open a cemetery next to its stadium so that die-hard fans can rest in peace alongside their favorite team. Hamburg SV, a Bundesliga side from the northern port city, aims to open the graveyard some 15m from the stadium's main entrance, said deputy chairman Christian Reichert. "For a large number of people, it's important to be close to the club after their lives are over," he said. "The cemetery will have the look of a small, open stadium." Fans get 25 years in the turf and can choose from a range of burials: ashes in an urn from 2,500 euros (US$3,150), a single grave at 8,000 euros and a two-person plot at 12,500 euros. Plans for the 70,000 euro graveyard, due to be completed in September, include a war memorial from the team's former stadium, as well as commemorative stones honoring former Hamburg players, who include ex-England star Kevin Keegan.

■ Rugby

Bill Young to retire

Australia's second most capped Test prop forward, Bill Young, yesterday announced his retirement from rugby. Young, 32, who made 46 international appearances after making his Test debut against France in Paris in 2000, has been troubled by a chronic neck injury this year. He sought a third and final doctor's opinion this week after experiencing numbness in his left hand and arm. "I've got problems that need fixing in my neck and if I don't then I could end up with some permanent disability in my left hand," he said earlier this week. Young is just the sixth player in tournament history to play 100 Super rugby games for the ACT Brumbies. "If you had told me 10 years ago that I would play 46 Tests for the Wallabies and over 100 Super 14 games for the Brumbies, I would have been delirious," Young said at a press conference yesterday.

■ Kickboxing

Fundamentalists may lift ban

Malaysia's only fundamentalist-ruled state may conditionally lift a ban on Thai kickboxing to promote healthy sporting activities for youths there, a news report said yesterday. The Kelantan State Youth Committee Chairman Abdul Fatah Mahmood said if the ban were to be lifted, the sport would have to be played under a set of regulations -- T-shirt and long trousers to be worn by boxers instead of shorts, an age limit on contestants and compulsory presence of doctors during fights, the Star reported. The fundamentalist Parti Islam Se-Malaysia barred the sport there after it won control of Kelantan in 1990. The ban was ostensibly because the sport was considered brutal and violent, but residents say Buddhist rituals at the start of a fight could have been a reason, as they were considered un-Islamic. Abdul Fatah was quoted as saying that the muay thai martial arts fighting style was known to have caused deaths in the ring while fighters sometimes took steroids.

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