■ Rugby Union
All Blacks commit future
All Blacks Jerry Collins and Greg Somerville are among 75 players to have committed their playing futures in New Zealand until after next year's World Cup, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said yesterday. Prop Somerville, the most experienced player on the list with 55 caps, flanker Collins, back Luke McAlister and lock Greg Rawlinson are the key players to have recently recontracted to play through 2007 and beyond, the NZRU statement said. "By recommitting to New Zealand, many of our players believe they still have a lot to offer New Zealand rugby and enjoy the game and lifestyle here," NZRU deputy chief executive Steve Tew said.
Kiwis call up Taylor
New Zealand have called up batsman Ross Taylor as standby for Scott Styris at the Champions Trophy, a team spokesman said yesterday. The all-rounder was a doubtful starter for yesterday's day-night match against Sri Lanka due to the recurrence of a back problem. The 31-year-old Styris had missed the opening match against South Africa with a hamstring twinge. "Ross is not joining the official tour party. He is on stand-by and will arrive on Sunday," team spokesman Lindsay Crocker said. New Zealand, winners in 2000, also have injury concerns over strike bowler Shane Bond.
Bosnian fans want chiefs out
Up to 600 fans of Bosnia's national team protested on Thursday demanding the resignation of the country's soccer chiefs, including coach Blaz Sliskovic, over alleged fraud. "Thieves, get out! [Soccer] federation, get out!" the protestors chanted in front of the office of Bosnia's soccer federation in downtown Sarajevo after authorities implicated its officials in the scandal. They called for all of the federation's officials, as well as Sliskovic, be replaced. "We demand that competent people be appointed in the federation," said the fans' leader Nizar Aldinavij. Local authorities have started investigating the federation for alleged fraud of up to 500,000 euros (US$630,000).
Chile suspend Pizarro
Peruvian soccer officials on Thursday indefinitely suspended striker Claudio Pizarro from the national team after he skipped a friendly match with Chile to return to Germany to train with Bayern Munich. "The player is suspended from the national soccer team," the Peruvian soccer federation said in a statement. "Pizarro returned [to Germany] before the end of the [training] period without the permission of the coaches of the Peruvian national squad." The statement said Pizarro's conduct "constitutes an infraction of the regulations on the statute and transfer of players approved by FIFA." Local media speculated that Pizarro left without permission because he was angry with coach Franco Navarro for leaving him on the bench for most of that first game. Pizarro on Tuesday called Peru's Radioprogramas radio to say he would not play for his country as long as Navarro was in charge.
Legalized gambling debated
Vietnamese lawmakers are divided on whether to legalize soccer betting, a move that could generate revenue for the sport and curb rampant illegal betting, state media reported yesterday. "Now is the time that we should acknowledge this issue and work out legal regulations," the Thanh Nien newspaper quoted Dang Van Xuong, a legislator from southern Long An Province, as telling the National Assembly's plenary session on Thursday. But the newspaper said legislator Nguyen Van Nhuong from the central province of Quang Binh disagreed, saying Vietnam should continue its current approach, prosecuting cases of match-fixing and illegal betting on soccer.