Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ SOCCER

Ballack left off roster

Chelsea has left Germany captain Michael Ballack off its squad for the group stage of the Champions League. Ballack was linked with a transfer, most notably to Real Madrid, during the offseason but Chelsea said it omitted the midfielder because the ankle injury that has prevented him from playing this season may keep him out of the majority of the club's six group matches. However, Germany manager Joachim Loew has said he hopes Ballack will be fit for a European Championship qualifier at Ireland on Oct. 13, suggesting the 30-year-old midfielder would miss just two Champions League matches.

■ SOCCER

US, Catalonia match vetoed

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Monday vetoed a friendly international between the eastern region of Catalonia and the US that had been scheduled for Oct. 14. The Catalan regional federation (FCF) had reached agreement for the game with US counterparts but the RFEF board rejected the idea by 18 votes to three, FCF sources said. One of the reasons put forward was that Spain are playing Denmark a day earlier in a Euro qualifier and then playing a friendly against Finland three days later. RFEF spokesman Jorge Carretero told the Europa Press news agency that the date was not appropriate.

■ HORSE RACING

New Zealand clear of flu

New Zealand has been found to be clear of equine influenza after blood tests taken from horses that arrived from Australia proved negative, Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ) said yesterday. BNZ has carried out tests on all horses that arrived in New Zealand from Australia since Aug. 1, giving priority to horses that had landed in the last 10 days, when the highly contagious disease had spread widely through New South Wales and Queensland states. Horses that had been in contact with imported animals had also tested negative, BNZ Director Peter Thomson said. "There is currently no evidence of equine influenza in New Zealand," he said.

■ SOCCER

Solomons, Vanuatu advance

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu joined Fiji and New Caledonia in the semi-finals of the Oceania Confederation World Cup qualifying soccer tournament in Samoa's capital on Monday with final-round victories. The Solomons, led by Benjamin Totori's two goals, beat host Samoa 3-0 to finish first in Pool B. Seule Soromon scored three goals to lead second-place Vanuatu past Tonga 4-1. Fiji and New Caledonia later played to a 1-1 draw, leaving both teams with three wins and a draw. But Fiji's superior goals-for and goals-against ratio gave it first place in Pool A. In today's semi-finals, Fiji takes on Vanuatu while the Solomon Islands, 4-0, take on New Caledonia.

■ CRICKET

Chandana calls it quits

Sri Lankan all-rounder Upul Chandana has retired from international cricket amid speculation he will sign up with the breakaway Indian Cricket League, reports said yesterday. Chandana, 35, gave his decision to Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Duleep Mendis in a letter without specifying the reason for his retirement, the reports said. Chandana, a leg-spinner and useful lower-order batsman, played 16 Tests and 147 one-dayers but failed to find a regular place in the Sri Lankan team. Sri Lanka has said it will ban any player joining the rebel Indian league.

■ MOTORSPORT

India on course to stage GP

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said on Monday it was on course to stage a Formula One grand prix after an inspection of possible sites around New Delhi. Formula One circuit designer Hermann Tilke began a two-day visit of the venues and would provide his feedback to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. "He has gone around and we have shown him a few places," IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said. "He will go back and give his views to Bernie. We are happy with the progress," he said. "We are on track." The IOA took up a conditional offer in June to stage a Formula One grand prix in 2009 following a letter from Ecclestone to Kalmadi listing tough conditions including various commercial agreements to be signed by the end of this month. Kalmadi was confident the IOA, busy with preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, would meet the deadline.

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