Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - Page 19 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

AGENCIES

■SOCCER

Maradona blamed for alarm

Argentina coach Diego Maradona was responsible for a fire alarm at Chelsea’s hotel early in the morning of their clash against Manchester United on Sunday, English newspaper the Sun claimed on Monday. The former World Cup winner reportedly set the alarms off at 7am in a Manchester hotel that caused 200 guests, including the Chelsea squad, to be evacuated. Chelsea’s players spent 40 minutes outside in freezing temperatures, the Sun said, just hours before they were beaten 3-0 by United in the English Premier League at Old Trafford. Maradona, who was in Manchester to watch Argentina striker Carlos Tevez was blamed for the fire alarm, the paper said. “It looks as though it was set off by Diego and his entourage smoking cigars on the 14th floor,” the Sun quoted a fireman at the scene.

■FORMULA ONE

McLaren chief denies racism

Ron Dennis, the head of the McLaren Formula One team, told an employment tribunal on Monday that allegations he made racist remarks were an “absolute lie.” Dennis was responding to accusations made by a former air steward on his private jet, Peter Boland, whom Dennis sacked. Boland previously told the hearing that when Dennis had boarded the jet in the Middle East he said that he wanted to wash his hands because he had been “shaking hands with Arabs all day.” But Dennis, giving evidence at the tribunal in Southampton, denied the accusations of Boland, who is alleging discrimination and victimization due to sexual orientation. Dennis branded the racist allegation an “absolute lie” and “ridiculous.” Dennis, who masterminded the rise of McLaren’s reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, the first non-white driver to win the title, added: “I am here to defend my reputation, which has been badly damaged.”

■SOCCER

Former star spared jail

Former Scotland international Frank McAvennie was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence on Monday after he admitted brawling outside a bar. The ex-West Ham and Celtic striker, 49, head-butted a man outside a wine bar in the Isle of Man’s capital Douglas on July 4 last year. The High Bailiffs’ Court in Douglas heard that McAvennie had asked security staff to remove Isle of Man resident Ian Moffitt, 23, from the bar as he felt threatened by him. Sergeant John Manley said the two then clashed outside the establishment, “first with words, then pushing each other and throwing ineffectual punches” before the Glaswegian head-butted Moffitt. High bailiff Michael Moyle sentenced the star to four months in prison for affray, suspended for a period of two years. “It is somewhat ironic that you used to be a striker: Mr Moffitt might take the view that you still are,” Moyle said.

■CRICKET

Yousuf criticizes Malik

Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf believes Shoaib Malik does not deserve to be the national captain and said his appointment was an injustice. Yousuf said Malik’s appointment in 2007 over other senior players was hugely unfair. “It is perhaps for the first time in Pakistan cricket that a player who is not a certain choice in the Test and one-day team has been made captain,” Yousuf told the Geo Super Sports channel. Yousuf was one of several senior players overlooked for the captaincy after Pakistan’s first round exit from the last World Cup.

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