Windies dispute nearly over
The latest contract dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board and players could be resolved by the weekend, according to players' representative Dinanath Ramnarine on Thursday. "We have been talking and things are progressing slowly. In fact, I'm optimistic that we can make an announcement of a settlement within the next 24 to 48 hours," Ramnarine said. The West Indies Players Association threatened action last month when star allrounder Dwayne Bravo did not receive a retainer contract because of his personal endorsement with a telecommunications competitor of WICB's main sponsor.
■ Champ Car
Deer injures Champ driver
Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta was airlifted to hospital after his race car collided with a deer that wandered onto the track during a test session at Road America on Thursday. Da Matta was airlifted to Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah. Champ Car series spokesman Steve Shunck said da Matta was unconscious when he was airlifted. The 32-year-old Brazilian is has 12 career victories and is sixth in the series points standings this season.
■ Rugby Union
Drunken Fijians banned
Five Fijian rugby players, including national sevens captain Semisi Naevo, have been banned from international matches until Dec. 31 for taking part in a drunken party after a test match last month in Japan. Naevo will miss the first two rounds of the IRB world sevens series in Dubai and South Africa while Maleli Kunavore, Joeli Lotawa, Emosi Vucago and Sekove Leawere will not be considered for international selection until Jan. 1 under the ban imposed on Thursday by the Fiji Rugby Union. The five players were alleged to have been involved in an all-night drinking session, to have fought among themselves and damaged a hotel room after Fiji's Pacific Five Nations test against Japan at Osaka on July 1.
Stoudemire out of team
Amare Stoudemire was dropped from the US roster on Thursday for their trip to Asia, leaving 14 players available for the 12 spots on the world basketball championship team. USA Basketball announced Stoudemire's departure hours before it played Puerto Rico in a friendly. The Phoenix Suns forward was to miss that game and return home to help his right knee recover and await the impending birth of a child. Stoudemire entered camp as somewhat of a long shot to make the final 12. He was limited to only three NBA games last season after a pair of knee operations, and was still well off his top form after an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee in April. But a strong finish to the first segment of camp paved the way for him to make the second week after Suns teammate Shawn Marion developed a knee injury.
Ronaldinho staying put
Barcelona star Ronaldinho brushed aside media reports of interest from AC Milan on Thursday by saying he was very happy at the Nou Camp. "I feel very happy" at Barcelona, Ronaldinho told the Barca Web site amid reports that AC Milan were ready to break the bank for him. "Right now I'm not thinking of anything but Barca," said the Brazilian playmaker who led the Catalan club to the Champions League and the Spanish title last season. Ronaldinho, now in Mexico with Barca on a pre-season tour which will take them on to the US, denied knowledge of a potential Milan move for him but said simply: "It's always good to know a big team with great supporters likes you and admires you."