Palmeiras appoint Kleina
Former South American champions Palmeiras have named Gilson Kleina, who has spent most of his career at lower-division clubs, as their new coach to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari, who quit last week. Kleina, 44, led Ponte Preta out of Serie B last season and will leave the Campinas-based side, who are 11th in the Brazilian championship to join Palmeiras, who are 19th. Former Brazil, Portugal and Chelsea coach Scolari ended his second stint with Palmeiras last week after a run of defeats left them in serious danger of dropping into the second division. Kleina’s departure means there have been 25 coaching changes this season among Brazil’s top-flight clubs, five this month alone. “We were taken completely by surprise,” Ponte Preta president Marcio Della Volpe said. “We don’t have a plan B, because for us there was only ever a Plan A. Gilson Kleina was our coach until December 2012, at least.”
Dispute leads to withdrawal
Japan’s Olympic silver medalist Kasumi Ishikawa has been pulled out of a World Cup table tennis event because Chinese organizers could not guarantee her safety, becoming the latest sporting victim of a political crisis over disputed islands. The decision was made two days before the start of the tournament in Huangshi, Kyodo news agency reported. The 19-year-old Ishikawa, who won her medal in the women’s team event in London last month and was fourth in the singles, had been training in Beijing. “Ishikawa was looking forward to playing, so it really is disappointing, but the Chinese association has told us it wants to maintain friendly relations with Japan in the future,” Japan Table Tennis Association general secretary Masahiro Maehara told Kyodo. China and Japan are in a long-standing dispute over an uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea — known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyutais in China. The islands are also claimed by Taiwan.
Chavez may forfeit US$3m
Middleweight fighter Julio Cesar Chavez Jr could be stripped of his US$3 million purse, depending on the explanation he offers to Nevada boxing regulators about a positive test for marijuana after his first professional loss last weekend in Las Vegas, officials said on Wednesday. Top Rank Inc spokesman Lee Samuels said promoter Bob Arum was aware that 26-year-old Chavez tested positive for the banned substance. “Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will have the opportunity to explain the situation to the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” Samuels said in a statement. Commission executive Keith Kizer would not immediately provide the name, but said only one of 32 fighters who took part in bouts at two Las Vegas venues last Saturday tested positive for a banned substance, marijuana. Chavez was guaranteed US$3 million for the WBC title fight against Sergio Martinez.
Matthew Hayden retires
Veteran Australian opener Matthew Hayden has called time on his glittering playing career, opting not to play in Australia’s domestic Twenty20 series this year, his Brisbane Heat team said yesterday. The Heat said after lengthy discussions, Hayden, 40, had opted not to return for a final series after signing as their marquee player for last season’s Big Bash League. Hayden, who retired from Test cricket in 2009, played for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League in 2010. He took a sabbatical from cricket, before returning to play for Brisbane last season.