Fans clash with police
China’s soccer association said yesterday it was investigating a violent clash between fans of a provincial team and police, the latest bout of unrest to hit the nation’s beautiful game. Fans of Henan Province’s Jianye soccer club battled riot police in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou on Wednesday night following their team’s 2-0 home defeat to Jiangsu’s Shuntian, the Beijing Times reported. More than 10 people were injured after fans threw stones at police outside the ground, demanding management fire those responsible. Some burned their tickets and others used fire extinguishers to fight police, the report said. Gambling, match-fixing, crooked referees and poor performances by China’s national team have made the sport a source of chagrin for the nation’s fans and a matter of mounting state concern.
■ RUGBY UNION
Flight video features players
National carrier Air New Zealand has launched a new campaign to crouch, touch, pause and engage with their passengers, recruiting several All Blacks for their new in-flight safety video. The video, which local media said would be on flights next week, but has already appeared on video-sharing Web site YouTube, features All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry giving tips from the cockpit. Fellow All Blacks Conrad Smith, Mils Muliaina and Richard Kahui and prominent rugby commentator Tony Johnson also feature in the video, along with garishly dressed rugby fans. The video is sprinkled with rugby symbolism and terminology with Henry, a former secondary school headmaster, sternly warning passengers of the airline’s no-smoking policy: “If you find yourself needing to smoke on this flight, consider yourself dropped ... we can’t have that kind of disruption in the team.” It concludes with a Jonah Lomu-obsessed elderly woman running naked, or streaking, down the central aisle of the plane. The video will replace the previous “bare essentials” video in which several Air New Zealand staff wore body-painted uniforms as they ran through safety procedures.
Vikings’ Harvin hospitalized
Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl wide receiver Percy Harvin is alert and comfortable, but will spend the night in hospital after he collapsed at practice on Thursday from what the team called a migraine headache attack. Harvin, who missed most of the team’s training camp because of headaches, experienced trembling during Thursday’s workout and was unresponsive for a short period, the team said. “I don’t know how they classify it. Not really a seizure, but he had some trouble over here,” Vikings coach Brad Childress told reporters. “I’d be remiss if I tried to qualify it one way or the other. He seemed like he was stable.” Childress, who is putting the incident in the migraine category, said Harvin experienced a similar incident in college.
Remy heads to Marseille
France striker Loic Remy has joined Olympique Marseille from Ligue 1 rivals Nice, the French champions said on Thursday. The player later passed a medical and signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed transfer fee, Marseille said in a statement on their Web site. Marseille, who have lost their first two league matches this season, desperately need a striker to replace their Senegal forward Mamadou Niang, last season’s Ligue 1 top scorer with 18 goals, who has left for Fenerbahce.