‘Bandits’ undermine Euro
“Bandits and swindlers” are undermining Ukraine’s Euro 2012 preparations by pushing accommodation prices up to exorbitant levels, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Thursday. Hotels in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv, the four Ukrainian host cities, have hiked prices in some cases more than 10-fold. During a visit to Lviv, Platini said “bandits and swindlers who want to earn a lot of money” could keep fans away from Ukraine. “You cannot raise prices from 40 euros (US$52.50) to 100 euros to 500 euros from one day to the next. That is just not done,” he said. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych this month ordered his government to investigate price hikes and ensure hotel rates are at an “economically reasonable” level during the championship. The cheapest Lviv hotel listed on UEFA’s championship Web site as available for the Germany-Portugal match on June 9 charges 195 euros per night.
Wade does not want money
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade says money is not his motivation for the London Games this summer. In a statement on Thursday, Wade said: “I do not want to be paid to go to the Olympics.” Wade was quoted on Wednesday as saying he thinks “guys should be compensated” for playing over the summer and noted the schedule demands of being an Olympian. He said he was responding to a question about Olympians being paid, and never said he needed to be paid to play. Wade later tweeted that pride for his country “motivates me more than any $$$ amount.”
French Open ups cash
The French Open will boast total prize money of 18.718 million euros (US$24.6 million) this year, an increase of 7 percent, with more cash targeted at early round losers. The second Grand Slam event of the season is boosting prize money for losers in the second qualifying round up to the fourth round main draw by between 10 and 20 percent, organizers said. This move comes after a series of complaints from the lower-ranked players who protested that early-round losers were being short-changed by the paymasters of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Balotelli stays at City: agent
Mario Balotelli’s agent says his client won’t leave Manchester City in the offseason. The Italian forward has had a rocky season at the Premier League club, being sent off twice for a total of four red cards since his move from Inter in 2010 and creating numerous headlines off the field. Agent Mino Raiola said on Thursday in an interview with Sky Italia: “I am in Manchester, but not to talk about a transfer. City have no intention of letting Balotelli go.” Raiola added that the player would return to Italy “in a year or two ... but not now.”
Anelka helps out in Shanghai
French striker Nicolas Anelka will temporarily help fellow countryman Jean Tigana to coach Shanghai Shenhua after the big-spending Chinese Super League side sacked three assistant coaches following a poor start to the season. Former Chelsea striker Anelka became the most high-profile player in the Chinese league when he signed up with Shenhua in January. Despite the big-name signings, Shenhua are fifth in the table, having won two out of their five matches so far this term. “We have terminated the services of our three assistant coaches and now Anelka will take over as a temporary measure,” a spokesperson for the club said on Thursday.