Torino striker banned
Torino striker David Di Michele was banned for three months for illegal betting on Monday, and three other Italian players were also suspended. Di Michele was also fined 20,000 euros (US$27,000). Thomas Manfredini of Atalanta received a three-month ban, while Vincenzo Sommese of Mantova was hit with the harshest penalty of five months and 20 days, plus a 10,000 euros fine. Massimo Margiotta of Frosinone was banned for four months with a fine of 10,000 euros. The players were accused of having placed bets "directly or through a third party, on the results relative to official soccer matches organized by the Italian soccer federation." More than 20 players were linked by federation investigators last year to bets totaling more than 10.5 million euros from 1998 to 2005.
Reyes signs for Madrid
Spanish international winger Jose Antonio Reyes became the eighth player to join Atletico Madrid in the close season when he moved from English Premiership side Arsenal for a fee believed to be 12 million euros (US$16.3 million) on a four year contract. The 23-year-old had been on loan at Real Madrid last season but the Spanish champions did not want to meet Arsenal's asking price offering just 6 million euros. Reyes played a pivotal role in the final match of the season that saw Real take the title off their bitter rivals Barcelona as he scored two of 'the meringues' three goals in their victory over Real Mallorca. Reyes joined Arsenal in January 2004 and made 110 appearances for the side, scoring 23 goals, after transferring from Sevilla in January 2004.
City sign Hossam Ghaly
Newly promoted Premiership side Birmingham City continued their overhaul of the squad on Monday by signing Egyptian international midfielder Hossam Ghaly from Premier League rivals Spurs for around £3 million (US$6 million). The 25-year-old international became Birmingham's eighth close season signing after signing a three year contract and agreeing terms with the club, subject to receiving a work permit. "Hossam is an excellent buy," said Birmingham manager Steve Bruce, who brought City straight back up after they were relegated two seasons ago. "I was always impressed when I saw him play for Spurs. "As well as being technically gifted, he can stand up to the physical side of the game and give us that edge," added Bruce, whose £6 million bid for Ghaly's club and international team-mate Mido has faltered of late.
Jumper accepts suspension
US triple-jumper Kenta Bell has accepted a three-month suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. The US Anti-Doping Agency said on Monday that Bell tested positive for the drug methylprednisolone on June 24 at the US National Championships held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Methylprednisolone is a prescription drug, but Bell did not have an exemption required by anti-doping rules. Bell's suspension was deferred and he was allowed to return to competition after completing an anti-doping education program this month, agency general counsel Travis Tygart said.
Former champ shot, busted
Antwun Echols, a former super middleweight boxing champion, was shot in the leg while trying to break up a fight in the parking lot of a Davenport, Iowa, grocery store and was later arrested on drug charges. Police said Echols sustained a minor wound on Sunday night and was taken to a hospital. The suspect fled in a sport utility vehicle. Police were called to the store, where they found Echols and Stevie Hodges, both of Davenport. Hodges had been knocked to the ground and kicked, police said. The suspect then shot Echols once in the leg, police said. Echols was charged with possession of crack cocaine and outstanding warrants for child support issues, police said.