Goalie dropped over sex film
West Bromwich Albion suspended goalkeeper Russell Hoult on Friday after a series of lurid newspaper articles about his private life. The 34-year-old Hoult had been the club's first-choice goalkeeper since Tony Mowbray took over as manager of the League Championship team in October. "Goalkeeper Russell Hoult has been suspended by West Bromwich Albion pending further inquiries by the club into newspaper articles this week," a club statement said. Hoult was allegedly filmed on a mobile phone having sex with a woman, who was not his wife, with another man also present.
Brazil to reopen Maracana
Brazil will return to Maracana stadium after seven years to begin qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Brazil hasn't played at its biggest and most famous soccer venue since 2000, when striker Romario netted a hat trick in a 5-0 rout of Bolivia in 2002. The stadium was closed for nearly nine months last year for renovations ahead of this year's Pan American Games. Maracana will host Brazil's first home match in the South American qualifying tournament for the 2010 Cup, against an opponent yet to be determined, said Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation.
Shabbir back after ban
Pakistan's Shabbir Ahmed has been named as one of five players called up for the one-day series in South Africa, the paceman returning to the side for the first time since serving a 12-month ban for an illegal bowling action. Shabbir, who played 10 tests and 32 one-dayers before his ban, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Abdul Rehman and Imran Nazir have all been added to the squad currently playing the final test of a three-match series in South Africa. A tall paceman who has struggled with his action since his debut in 1999, Shabbir has been reported four times and was banned in December 2005 after being called twice in a year by International Cricket Council (ICC) match officials. His action was cleared last month after he underwent fresh tests in Australia.
Czech ski jumper Jan Mazoch, who suffered a life-threatening injury at a World Cup event last weekend, continues to make progress, a hospital spokeswoman said on Friday. "There has been a clear improvement in his state of health," said Anna Niedzwiedzka, spokeswoman for Krakow university hospital. "He is reacting to speech and touch," she told reporters. Mazoch, 21, was competing in his first World Cup event of the season last Saturday in the resort of Zakopane when he lost his balance. Mazoch fell heavily on his back and face before ending up at the bottom of the landing zone, and suffered brain and skull injuries.
Rahman likely to fight Sam
Former WBC champion Hasim Rahman is close to a deal to fight Sinan Samil Sam in a bout that would pit together two of the organization's top four heavyweight contenders. "We're in serious talks and expect to complete them by next week some time," Rahman's manager Steve Nelson said on Friday. "We are pretty close to finalizing the deal." Nelson said the fight would be in May and take place in Istanbul, Turkey. Rahman (41-2-6) hasn't fought since losing his title to Oleg Maskaev in August. The Turkish-based Sam (27-0-3) is the third-ranked contender and the WBC's international heavyweight champ.