Abidal to undergo surgery
Barcelona’s France international Eric Abidal is to undergo surgery for a liver tumor, the club said late on Tuesday. The 31-year-old will undergo the operation tomorrow at a Barcelona hospital, the Spanish champions announced in a brief statement on their Web site. The club said: “A liver tumor has been detected in the player Eric Abidal and he will be treated surgically next Friday.” The central defender, who signed from Olympique Lyonnais in 2007, played in both legs of Barcelona’s Champions League round-of-16 victory over Arsenal. Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas reacted to the news on Twitter, saying: “Much encouragement and a lot of strength to Eric Abidal. Bad news for football.” Real Madrid’s Brazilian playmaker Kaka also wrote on Twitter: “What sad news about Eric Abidal, tumor in the liver! Let’s pray for him ... God bless!!” Abidal has been capped 52 times by France, having made his debut for his country in 2004. He has played in two World Cups, helping France reach the final in 2006.
I was beaten, Nikezic says
Former Montenegro international Nikola Nikezic has complained to FIFA and UEFA, alleging that he was forced to end his contract with Russian Premier League club Kuban Krasnodar after being beaten up and threatened with a gun. “I feared for my life,” Nikezic, 29, was quoted as saying by local media on Tuesday. The forward added that he was invited into a room at the training ground last week and was met by “two strong men.” “After I had initially refused to annul my contract, one of the men punched me, while the other took off his jacket and I saw he had two guns,” Nikezic said. “Then I was punched again. The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes. I was scared and agreed to sign whatever they asked.” Kuban have strongly denied the allegations. Nikezic, who represented Serbia and Montenegro at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said he had written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini, asking for help.
Ref banned for two months
Bulgarian referee Nikolay Yordanov has been banned for two months for making mistakes in champions Litex Lovech’s 2-1 win at second-from-bottom Pirin Blagoevgrad on Saturday. Yordanov’s ban, imposed by the Bulgarian Football Union on Tuesday, came after a furious protest from Pirin over his failure to penalize Litex’s Brazilian winger Doka Madureira for a head-butt on Anton Kostadinov early in the second half. Later on Tuesday, a disciplinary commission also banned Doka for four matches.
Williams out with injury
Wales winger Shane Williams has been ruled out of their final Six Nations match against France on Saturday with a knee injury. Williams, 34, picked up the injury in last Saturday’s 19-13 win over Ireland and is set to be sidelined for up to two months. Williams announced last year that he would retire after this year’s World Cup, so he is likely to have played his last Six Nations game.
Japanese race postponed
The Japanese round of the MotoGP championship has been postponed until October because of the earthquake and tsunami, the sport’s governing body said on Tuesday. It is the second year in a row that the race could not go ahead as scheduled. Last season’s race was postponed because of travel disruption caused by an ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano.