■ Horse racing
Crooked jockeys suspended
Four jockeys were suspended for between one and three years on Friday after being found guilty of involvement in a betting scam. Robbie Fitzpatrick and Luke Fletcher received three-year suspensions, Fran Ferris two years and Robert Winston, the most successful and best known of the four, a 12-month disqualification by Britain's Horseracing Regulatory Authority. The charges related to 37 races between June 16, 2003 and Feb. 29, 2004 and included providing inside information for financial reward, aiding and abetting a corrupt practice and misleading investigators. All four denied the allegations. The charges related to 21 horses ridden by Winston, 11 ridden by Fletcher, four by Ferris and two by Fitzpatrick.
Blues sign Belgian striker
English Premiership strugglers Manchester City boosted their ailing attack with the signing of veteran Belgian international striker Emile Mpenza until the end of the season on Friday. The 28-year-old, who has finished his contract with Qatari side al-Rayyan, still awaits international clearance before joining City, who are presently fifth from bottom of the Premiership, though 10 points clear of the relegation places. Mpenza, who has scored 17 goals in 52 internationals for his country and has mostly played abroad including two spells in the Bundesliga with Schalke 04 and Hamburg, has been on trial at City. Mpenza, twice a winner of the German Cup with Schalke 04 in 2001 and 2002, will be unavailable for today's difficult FA Cup fifth-round tie at Championship highflyers Preston.
Police question FFT official
The head of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) is under official investigation for alleged abuse of office, it was reported by yesterday's edition of L'Equipe. Christian Bimes, 59 years old and head of the FFT since 1993, was held by police for two days earlier this week and subsequently released but is still under investigation. Suspicions were first raised in December 2004 when five employees of the FFT brought a complaint against Bimes for abusing his position. They chiefly accused him of using official cars for personal use, not paying back personal expenses, claiming for unjustified personal expenses (such as plane tickets, using the telephone for personal use and buying groceries) and that his wife had continued to work, after they had got married, for the company that supplied the hostesses for the French Open.
■ Collegiate sports
School drops Indian mascot
The University of Illinois said on Friday it would send its "Chief Illiniwek" to the graveyard of sports mascots, bowing to pressure from those who said the war-whooping symbol it used for more than 80 years offended American Indians. The action, part of a continuing debate in the US over sensitivity and political correctness, followed an edict from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA had said schools with hostile or abusive American Indian symbols may not host lucrative post-season championship play from next year, except for football as the NCAA does not oversee its post-season play. The university was also under pressure from some American Indians do away with the mascot. American Indian and ethnic symbols are still found as nicknames for school and professional teams at all levels. A school in Pekin, Illinois, once used but eventually dropped "Chinks" as its designation, a reference to the town's namesake Peking.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but
Legendary batsman Everton Weekes, the last of the famed West Indies “Three Ws,” died on Wednesday at the age of 95 and was hailed as “a founding father” of the sport in the Caribbean. “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes,” Cricket West Indies (CWI) wrote on Twitter. “Our condolences go out to his family, friends and many fans around the world. May he rest in peace.” Barbadian Weekes was part of a feared post-World War II West Indies team who also featured Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell. Walcott died in