Bonds trial goes to the jury
The fate of MLB home run king Barry Bonds was put in the hands of the jury on Thursday after closing arguments in his trial on perjury charges. In deciding whether Bonds lied to a grand jury almost eight years ago about knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, the US federal court jury will consider the testimony of more than two dozen witnesses brought in during three weeks as they were to begin deliberations yesterday. Bonds has pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of perjury and one felony count of obstruction of justice, all for allegedly lying to a 2003 grand jury investigating steroid use. If convicted, Bonds could face jail time. However, US District Judge Susan Illston has not imposed jail time in similar cases stemming from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroid distribution scandal.
Planned Japan event panned
Olympic champions Jan Frodeno and Emma Snowsill have blasted the International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) decision to go ahead with next month’s world championship series in Japan, Australian media reported yesterday. The Olympic qualifier would require the participants to swim 1.5km at Yokohama harbor, about 300km south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant that was devastated by last month’s massive quake and tsunami. Alarmed by reports of radioactive water being released into the ocean in Yokohama, Frodeno and Snowsill are not ready to risk their health, the Australian newspaper reported. “The day I got the e-mail saying the race was going ahead, I saw news reports that said the Japanese were dumping 11.5 million liters of radioactive water into the ocean 300km up the road. That didn’t strike me as safe,” Frodeno said.
Movistar signs Rui Costa
Spanish outfit Movistar have announced the signing of Portuguese hopeful Rui Costa, who has returned to the peloton following a doping ban. Rui Costa, whose previous wins include the Four Days of Dunkirk and a stage on the Tour of Switzerland, has signed a deal until the end of this year with an option for two extra years. The 24-year-old Portuguese tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine in June last year following his victory in the national time trial championship. Rui Costa was notified of his infraction in August following his participation in the Tour de France, during which he notably hit the headlines for a post-stage punch-up with Spaniard Carlos Barredo. He was initially handed a one-year doping ban, which was reduced to five months on appeal. The ban ended on Jan. 12.
James buys into Liverpool
LeBron James acquired a minority stake in Liverpool soccer club on Wednesday after the two-time NBA most valuable player’s sports marketing firm entered into a partnership with Fenway Sports Group (FSG). FSG, owners of Liverpool FC, the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network and 50 percent of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing, will partner with James’s sports-marketing firm LRMR Branding & Marketing to become the exclusive world-wide representative for the Miami Heat All-Star. Fenway Sports Management, the marketing arm of FSG that acquires sponsorships for FSG properties, will team up with LRMR to find global marketing and sponsorship opportunities for James. As part of the agreement, James will acquire an interest in Liverpool FC, ranked as the sixth-most valuable soccer team in the world by Forbes.
Match may be closed
St Pauli could be forced to play a Bundesliga home game behind closed doors after their most recent match was abandoned when the linesman was hit by a plastic cup of beer, the German soccer federation (DFB) said on Thursday. The federation’s control committee has requested the sanction be imposed when St Pauli host Werder Bremen at the Millerntor stadium on April 23. The case was to be judged by the disciplinary tribunal yesterday. Hosts St Pauli were down to nine men and trailing 2-0 to Schalke 04 last Friday when someone in the crowd threw the cup and the linesman was struck on the back of the neck in the 87th minute. The match was then abandoned. The control committee said coins and cigarette lighters were also thrown at match officials. The disciplinary committee ruled on Tuesday that the 2-0 result would stand.
Players choose tunes
Runaway Danish league leaders FC Copenhagen have found a new way to entertain their fans: allowing the players to air their favorite music. The squad will get to decide what music gets played before matches and at halftime at the Parken stadium until the end of the season, the club Web site said on Thursday. The players asked to be able to choose which tunes will be broadcast and first up is Swedish left-back Oscar Wendt, whose playlist will be used for today’s home game against Randers.
Fan sues Sunderland
A Sunderland fan is suing his own club after being knocked out by a stray shot while watching a training session. The incident involving the club’s French striker Djibril Cisse, who now plays for Panathinaikos, happened in the 2008 to 2009 season, but has only now come to light. “We had a supporter who got a bad injury, I think it was one of Djibril Cisse’s misses where he had a shot from 20 yards,” Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn told the BBC on Thursday. “I’m making fun of it now, but it knocked a supporter out. It was quite serious. That supporter is in the process of suing us right now.”
Sochi ice to cool London
The organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in Russia will run an ice rink at London’s Marble Arch during next year’s summer Games, they said on Thursday. The rink at one of London’s best-known landmarks is part of a cultural link-up between the two next Olympic host cities. “The aim will be to present a new feature of the Sochi Games by reflecting the many different aspects of Russian culture across all its regions,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, chief executive and president of Sochi 2014. Top Russian figure skaters will perform shows and run coaching sessions, he said.
No Solis rematch: Klitschko
World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko said on Thursday he has no intention of offering Odlanier Solis a rematch after the Cuban suffered a freak first-round knee injury last month. “He should worry first about getting fit again,” the 39-year-old WBC champion said. “Solis is in the past, my career goes on.” Klitschko picked up the 39th knock-out and 42nd win of his career in Cologne on March 19 when Solis was left on the canvas after tearing knee ligaments as he fell after a punch from the champion at the end of the first round. The 2004 Olympic heavyweight champion has had surgery since and demanded a rematch when he is fit.
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
For many in Japan, the postponement of the Olympic Games is a heartbreaking necessity, but for a small and motley crew opposed to the Games altogether, it does not go far enough. “Damn it — we absolutely reject postponement. The Olympics should be canceled and abolished,” an umbrella group of anti-Games advocates wrote on Twitter after the historic delay to this year’s Olympics was announced. Just minutes before Tuesday’s dramatic decision, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of protesters gathered in central Tokyo to hold one of their regular demonstrations against the Games. “We’ve been doing a monthly rally for various reasons.
STILL MAJOR: Next month’s draft is to be televised, but the clubs are to conduct procedures with only a limited number of people present, the NFL commissioner said An NFL draft handled remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic is the latest twist to an event that has become as popular as any professional football happening, short of the NFL Super Bowl. On Thursday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell alerted NFL teams in a memo that the dates of this year’s draft are to remain April 23 to 25, and the eight owners who comprise the NFL Management Council Executive Committee unanimously endorsed moving forward as planned. So next month’s draft, originally set for Las Vegas, is to have a pretty much spartan look. “All clubs should now be doing the necessary planning