Vidic out for rest of season
Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed yesterday that Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Vidic suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament when he tangled with Marco Streller during the first half of United’s shock 2-1 Champions League defeat at Basle on Wednesday. The Serbia centerback left the stadium on crutches, with his agent Silvano Martina hinting on Thursday that he would be sidelined for several months. Vidic underwent scans on his right knee on Thursday and Ferguson revealed the injury is serious enough to keep the 30-year-old out for the remainder of the campaign.
England appoint Lancaster
England continued to cut ties with their dismal World Cup campaign when Stuart Lancaster was named on Thursday as caretaker coach for next year’s Six Nations championship. Lancaster will take charge while a permanent replacement is sought for Martin Johnson, with Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell as his assistants. Johnson resigned last month after England’s World Cup quarter-final exit following a disappointing tournament rife with problems on and off the pitch. The 42-year-old Lancaster, a former Leeds forward, is currently in charge of the England Saxons. His first game in charge of England will be the start of their Six Nations defense against Scotland on Feb. 4.
Yachts to bypass pirates
The Volvo Ocean Race’s cargo of racing yachts worth tens of millions of dollars will have armed protection from pirates when they are shipped in secrecy through the Indian Ocean to the United Arab Emirates, organizers said on Thursday. The second leg of the grueling 39,000 nautical mile (72,000km) race from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi starts tomorrow, but the threat from pirates now operating in a huge area off the coast of Somalia means it is too dangerous for them to sail all the way. To keep the teams and boats safe, organizers have chosen an undisclosed ‘safe haven port’ in the Indian Ocean. From there, the boats will be loaded on to a heavy lift ship and then transported, without the sailors on board, to a point off the coast of Sharjah in the northern Emirates. The ship will have armed guards on board and armor protection. Sitting much higher in the water than a racing yacht it should be less vulnerable than six individual Volvo boats in the same zone. Once the ship reaches Sharjah, the boats will be offloaded and they will sprint in to Abu Dhabi. The scoring system has been revised to give 80 percent of the points for the first stage from Cape Town to the safe haven port, and 20 percent for the final sprint.
Bonds awaits sentencing
Federal prosecutors are urging a judge to send former baseball slugger Barry Bonds to prison. In court documents filed late on Thursday, prosecutors objected to a recommendation by a federal probation officer that Bonds get only probation when he is sentenced for obstruction of justice on Friday. In the documents, prosecutors are asking that Bonds be sentenced to 15 months in prison. The 47-year-old Bonds, baseball’s career home run leader, was convicted in April of obstructing a grand jury’s sports doping investigation with an evasive answer. The filings from prosecutors on Thursday come after lawyers for Bonds asked a federal judge on Tuesday to follow the federal probation officer’s recommendation that he receive probation.