UEFA passes ‘Fair-Play Plan’
European governing body UEFA on Thursday unanimously approved Michel Platini’s “Financial Fair-Play Plan” which will require clubs to break even by 2012. UEFA president Platini’s initiative will be implemented over the next three years with the cornerstone of the new legislation — the break even requirement — intended to inject fresh financial stability into the way European clubs are managed. Half of Europe’s leading clubs lose money and more than a fifth face huge deficits. Clubs that would fail to meet the new criteria include English Premier League big spenders Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, who have all reported losses running into tens of millions of US dollars. Explaining the move, UEFA president Platini said: “We have worked on the financial fair play concept hand-in-hand with the clubs, as our intention is not to punish them, but to protect them. We have an agreement with the clubs. The philosophy is that you cannot spend more money than you generate. This approval today [Thursday] is the start of an important journey for European football’s club finances as we begin to put stability and economic common sense back into football.”
Ed Wang signs for the Bills
The Buffalo Bills signed offensive lineman Ed Wang on Thursday, after making him the first player of full Chinese descent to be selected in the NFL draft. His parents are former Chinese Olympic athletes who emigrated from China to the US in the 1980s. Wang, who attended Virginia Tech University, was the 140th overall selection in the draft last month and was taken in the fifth round. He was the first of Buffalo’s nine draft picks to sign a contract. “Just to get it all out of the way and show that I’m really here to focus on football, that was my whole point,” Wang told the Bills’ Web site. “I’m really happy. So now I can really just focus on football and do what I have to do on the field.”
Two bosses disciplined
The Japan Sumo Association on Thursday disciplined two of the sport’s bosses for handing favors to yakuza crime figures in the latest scandal to hit Japan’s 2,000-year-old national sport. The association slapped penalties on two stable masters after they allegedly helped senior members of a crime syndicate get exclusive front seats during a tournament last year. One of them, Kise, was downgraded, a move that effectively shuts down his Tokyo stable, where younger sumo wrestlers train. He had reportedly admitted to arranging seats for an acquaintance who runs a business consulting firm. At the association’s board meeting, a wrestler, Kotomitsuki, also apologized following reports that he had gambled illegally on baseball matches and then paid hush money to gangsters.
De Bonis gets two-year ban
Italian Francesco De Bonis has become the first cyclist to be given a doping ban because of discrepancies in his biological passport. The Italian Olympic Committee suspended him for two years after a request from the International Cycling Union (UCI). “The UCI emphasizes the historic importance of this first judgment under the scope of the biological passport program, introduced by the UCI in 2008,” the UCI said in a statement on Thursday. A biological passport is an electronic record where the results of all doping tests by a rider over a period of time are collated and compared. Spanish rider Antonio Colom Mas has also been given a two-year doping ban.