Police slam Serbia fans
Australian police yesterday lashed out at Serbia fans who lit flares, smashed bottles and unfurled banners backing accused war criminal Ratko Mladic during their 0-0 draw with Australia. Inspector Mick Beattie said four people were arrested at the game in Melbourne on Tuesday evening, while seven others were evicted from the stadium for bad behavior and drunkenness. “These idiots just thought they could activate flares in this crowd ... that it was part of their viewing culture,” Beattie told reporters, adding that he was disappointed they got past security. “These are very, very hot marine flares and it’s just a miracle that no one was burnt or injured last night.” Beattie said a laser beam was also spotted in use, while seating was damaged. Those arrested were each fined A$380 (US$405) for lighting flares and Football Federation Australia banned them from all future international and domestic games in the country. Victoria Police said more serious penalties were needed. “We believe there is a pressing need to significantly upgrade the penalties,” Beattie said. Outrage was also sparked by a banner being unfurled calling for the release of Mladic, who was arrested last month and indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bosnian ambassador to Australia, Damir Arnaut, said he was appalled by the signs. “This is a despicable act that speaks volumes about the mentality of those who participated in it,” he said. “By unfurling this banner, let alone taking the time to create such an elaborate design, they unequivocally expressed support for the slaughter of over 8,000 civilians.”
Reds in Henderson talks
English Premier League club Liverpool are in talks with Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson after agreeing a fee for the midfielder, Sunderland’s official Web site said yesterday. Henderson, who made his full debut for England in their 2-1 friendly defeat by France in November, could cost the Merseyside club about ￡20 million (US$33 million), according to British media reports.
Prior smashes window
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior apologized to a woman who was cut by flying glass after his bat broke the window of the team’s dressing room window on Tuesday. Prior had been run out for 4 on the final day of the second Test against Sri Lanka. Captain Andrew Strauss told a post-match press conference that Prior’s bat had bounced off other bats near the window and broken the glass. “It was a genuine accident,” Strauss said. “He wasn’t meaning to throw anything at the window, so from our point of view the case is closed. He felt pretty contrite about it, I don’t think he quite realized at the time that there were people below him. He wanted to go down there and apologize, and I think it was the right thing to do.”
Nonu, Hore look for teams
All Black stalwarts Ma’a Nonu and Andrew Hore will be looking for new Super Rugby teams next year after Wellington Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett told them they were not part of his future plans. Center Nonu has played more than 100 games for the Wellington-based team, while hooker Hore, the current captain, has also played more than 100 Super Rugby games. Both are considered certainties for the All Blacks World Cup squad later this year. “Both of them would have potentially liked to have done one more season here, so because of that there’ll be some hurt feelings around that,” Hammett said.