Schalke draw and go top
Schalke 04 provisionally moved top of the Bundesliga on Friday with a 0-0 draw at Hoffenheim. They are a point ahead of champions VfL Wolfsburg, who have six points and host Hamburg SV today. Schalke looked a shadow of the team that made an explosive start to the season with two comfortable victories. Hoffenheim, who have yet to win this season, gradually upped the tempo, with strikers Vedad Ibisevic and Chinedu Obasi gaining more space, but failed to carve out any clear chances. Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick brought on a third striker in the second half by adding Demba Ba to replicate the trio that took them top at the halfway mark last year, but to no avail.
Refs to use vanishing spray
Mexican referees are to use a vanishing spray to mark a line on the pitch to ensure defensive walls keep the right distance at free-kicks. The Mexican Football Federation said in a statement the spray, called “AeroComex Futline,” would come into use from this weekend’s first division matches, which include champions Pumas UNAM’s visit to Tecos UAG. Argentina has been using such a spray, carried in an aerosol can, in the first division since the beginning of the year. The white markings made by the non-toxic water-based spray disappear in a matter of minutes.
Burress pleads guilty
Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress pleaded guilty to a gun possession charge on Thursday and agreed to a two-year prison sentence in what the Super Bowl hero’s lawyer called an agonizing decision. Burress, 31, caught the winning touchdown in the Giants’ Super Bowl victory in February last year, but his career unraveled the following season when he accidentally shot himself in the leg in a New York City nightclub in November. He was released by the team and stands to lose millions of dollars in salary. After his guilty plea, the National Football League suspended Burress and told him he was ineligible to sign with any team until he completes his jail term, the NFL said in a statement.
Cubs sold to Ricketts
The Chicago Cubs, whose century of Major League Baseball championship futility is the longest title drought in US sports history, are at last to be sold to the Ricketts family. The Tribune Company on Friday said it had a definitive agreement to sell all but a 5 percent stake in the team and historic Wrigley Field ballpark to the Ricketts, the culmination of long and convoluted negotiations. The Ricketts will also acquire a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, with the total deal worth at least US$845 million. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.
Taoyuan rout Germans 16-0
Taoyuan routed Ramstein Air Force Base of Germany 16-0 in a Little League World Series contest shortened to four innings because of the 10-run rule on Friday. Kao Yu-chieh had a three-run homer as Taiwan scored 12 times in the first two innings. Offering a faint smile, Kao tilted his head and tugged nervously at the buttons on his jersey when asked about his big blast. “I told myself relax, take your time, and I did it,” the 12-year-old catcher said through interpreter Yeh Ming-huang. In the US’ pool, Warner Robins of Georgia beat Urbandale of Iowa 11-3, and Staten Island of New York beat Mercer Island of Washington 10-2.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to