Wyness faces difficult task
Former Everton and Aberdeen soccer chief executive Keith Wyness was on Friday handed the imposing job of trying to convert the US to Twenty20 cricket. The 54-year-old will be responsible for the delivery of a business plan that will include the sale of Twenty20 franchises for a league planned to start in the summer of next year, Cricket Holdings America LLC announced. Wyness has extensive experience in managing the business of elite-level sport, having worked on the Sydney Olympics of 2000 and as the chief executive of English Premier League club Everton and Aberdeen in Scotland. “I am delighted to take up the role of chief executive officer of Cricket Holdings America,” Wyness said. “It is very rare for an opportunity as exciting as this to come along within sport, to have a clean page to develop what I believe will become a major sport in the USA. Cricket is already the second-biggest sport in the world and the USA is the biggest commercial market for sport. My role is to marry those two factors together and there is plenty of potential and opportunity to do that. Cricket is already played extensively across the United States, with close to 50,000 regular players and it [the US] is the world’s second-biggest consumer of Internet cricket behind India.”
Braun says testing is flawed
National League MVP Ryan Braun, who successfully appealed a positive doping test that would have brought him a 50-game suspension, said on Friday the protocol process was “fatally flawed” and that he was totally innocent of wrongdoing. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder said his urine sample was not sent to the lab for a period of 44 hours and subsequently revealed levels of testosterone that were three-times higher than ever previously found in Major League Baseball testing. “If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first to step up and say: ‘I did it,’” Braun said from a podium on the diamond at the Brewers spring training field in Arizona. “I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.” Braun said he took a doping test on Oct. 1 during the MLB playoffs and was told on Oct. 19 that he tested positive, which automatically brings suspension. On Thursday, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Braun’s appeal and, for the first time in MLB testing, overruled the finding of a positive test and then voided the suspension. “The program in the way that it was applied to me was absolutely fatally flawed,” Braun said.
Zenit sign Andrei Arshavin
Zenit Saint Petersburg have signed Arsenal’s Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin on loan until the end of the season, the player and the Russian outfit said on Friday. The Arsenal player, who cost the Gunners ￡15 million (US$20 million) when he arrived in London two-and-a-half seasons ago, tweeted “it’s done” as he prepared to head back to his former club amid reports Zenit had agreed to pay a fee of about US$1.5 million and also pay his wages. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger had previously insisted that the Russian would be staying put, although the 30-year-old has come in for criticism from fans for some recent below-par performances. This season he has been a fringe player, generally appearing from the bench. With the Russian transfer window shutting on Friday night Zenit made their move, saying in a statement on their Web site: “Arshavin is back!”