Garlic shots proving costly
Japan striker Kazuki Ganaha is counting the cost of his bid to overturn a ban imposed for taking intravenous garlic infusions. The 27-year-old was suspended for six games last year for breaking the J-League’s anti-doping rules after coming down with influenza. Ganaha appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who heard his case at a two-day hearing in Tokyo this week. CAS are expected to rule within the next few weeks but Ganaha’s legal costs are mounting and he has already paid out around US$100,000. “I don’t have any regrets,” Ganaha said. “The slate needs to be wiped clean. I’m not attempting to betray soccer. I’m doing this so other players don’t end up in the same position.” Although Ganaha did not take a banned substance, intravenous treatment is banned by Japan’s domestic league in line with world soccer’s governing body FIFA.
Leeds points bid fails
English League One side Leeds United have failed in their bid to claim back the 15 points they were deducted by the Football League after an independent tribunal on Thursday upheld the penalty. Leeds officials failed to convince during the three-day hearing that the League acted unfairly when docking the points as punishment for the club’s handling of its bankruptcy last year. The hearing’s decision to rule in the League’s favor means Leeds stay in sixth place in League One and they must now hope to secure promotion via a play-off place. If Leeds had been handed back all 15 points they would have jumped from sixth to second, ousting Doncaster from an automatic promotion spot, while Swansea would not have been assured of the League One title.
Matfield set for Bulls return
Springbok lock Victor Matfield is to return to play for his former side the Northern Bulls this summer at the end of a one-year contract with French second division side Toulon. Widely regarded as the best second-rower in world rugby, Matfield has agreed to a new three-year contract, the South African side announced on its Web site. Matfield played for the Bulls for four years before trying his hand in France with the ambitious Toulon side, but injury has badly hampered his season.
World champ slams protests
Two-times heptathlon and long jump world champion Eunice Barber of France says she is against any form of protest at this year’s Beijing Olympics. Barber said she disagreed with talk of a boycott of the opening ceremony and French athletes’ use of a badge during last month’s Olympic torch relay to show concern for China’s human rights record. “I am against the boycott, I am against the badge,” Barber told sports daily L’Equipe yesterday. “Boycott is not for the athletes. What we have to boycott are the people signing million of euros in business contracts.” She said athletes wanting to campaign about human rights during the Games were “hypocrites.” “France has no lesson to give to China. There are so many Blacks and Arabs who get burnt up in France and the so-called humanitarians don’t stand up [for them],” she said. “Do you understand these people who call themselves humanitarians and who are violent with those carrying the torch?” she said, referring to Chinese paralympic fencer Jin Jing, who had to shield the Olympic torch from protesters in Paris.