Sun, Oct 01, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Rugby Union
All Blacks' squad enlarged

New Zealand will take 32 players on its end-of-season rugby tour to Europe, adding an extra hooker and halfback to its planned 30-man squad. The All Blacks are scheduled to play two tests against France and matches against England and Wales on next month's tour. The New Zealand squad has yet to be named. "It is prudent to have additional cover at the specialist positions, particularly given the time it would take to call in replacements from New Zealand," coach Graham Henry said in a statement yesterday.

■ Soccer

Obi Mikel looks to future

Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel said on Friday he was confident he would make an impact with Chelsea in the Premier League after his full debut for the club in Wednesday's Champions League match with Levski Sofia. The 19-year-old international was signed for ?12 million (US$22.4 million) in June. He told a news conference: "I know my time is going to come, but there are a lot of world-class players at Chelsea and I respect them a lot ... I was out for long time while my future was undecided and I knew I had to get my fitness back before I could start playing here. But the manager has been excellent and made sure I worked hard."

■ Soccer

EU says no to salary caps

The EU and soccer authorities have no plans to introduce salary caps on players, the CEO of UEFA said on Friday. "Salary caps just simply wouldn't work and was never our intention," Lars-Christer Olsson said on the margins of a meeting between soccer authorities and EU lawmakers. Speculation that UEFA, European soccer governing body, and EU governments were seeking to restrict players' wages had grown since the release of the EU-sponsored "European Sports Review" in April. A recommendation in the review, commissioned to look at how sports should be governed throughout the 25-member bloc, was that players' wages should be capped in the top leagues.

■ Soccer

Fluminense fire Lopes

Fluminense fired coach Antonio Lopes on Friday, a day after the club was held to a 1-1 draw at home by Argentina's Gimnasia y Esgrima in the second round of the Copa Sudamericana. The Brazilian club hired former Sao Caetano coach Paulo Cesar Gusmao to replace Lopes. Gusmao was fired from Sao Caetano on Aug. 31 after only four matches at the helm of the club. "I'm very satisfied to return to Fluminense, where I was champion in 1995 as a goalkeeper trainer," Gusmao said. "Our priority will be to take Fluminense out of this uncomfortable situation in the standings." Fluminense, winless in its last three matches, is 11th in the 20-team Brazilian league with 34 points from 26 games.

■ Boxing
Ortiz easily wins decision

Former WBC light-flyweight champion Eric Ortiz of Mexico knocked down Benji Garcia in the ninth round and went on to take a unanimous 10-round decision on Friday night in Camp Pendleton, California. Ortiz, who lost the title to Brian Viloria in September last year, won on the scorecards of all three judges, 97-90, 96-91 and 95-92. Ortiz improved to 25-6-1 while Garcia dropped to 11-8-3.

■ Soccer

Fans clash with police

Five policemen were injured and nine fans arrested after violent clashes with supporters of Argentine first-division club Lanus at an airport south of Buenos Aires, it was revealed on Friday. The supporters were returning from Sao Paulo where Lanus had been playing Brazilian first-division club Corinthians in a South American Cup match. The trouble started when fans refused to open their luggage at the request of customs officials, though supporters claimed club banners and shirts had been confiscated.

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