Police chief to step down
A senior police officer accused of taking part in a cover-up of police failings in the worst sporting disaster in British history — a soccer stadium crush in which 96 fans were killed — said on Thursday he would retire next year. Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, said he would stand down in March to allow a full investigation into allegations about his “integrity” to be conducted. Bettison, who denies any wrongdoing, was off-duty but present at Hillsborough in the northern English city of Sheffield in 1989 when 96 Liverpool supporters were killed in a crowd crush. A damning report last month uncovered evidence that the police response to the disaster had been flawed, that 41 lives could have been saved and that officers had tried to dishonestly deflect the blame on to fans. More than 100 statements taken at the time had been doctored to remove evidence that painted the police in a negative light, the report found. Following its publication, a police watchdog said it was considering two complaints against Bettison.
Holt slams England boss
Norwich City striker Grant Holt has slammed England coach Roy Hodgson after failing to earn an international call-up during his reign. Holt netted 15 times for Norwich last season to finish as the second-highest scoring Englishman behind Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, but that has not been enough to persuade Hodgson to take a look at the forward. The 31-year-old had hoped to get a chance to impress Hodgson in the friendlies against Norway and Belgium before Euro 2012, yet he was overlooked, despite his prolific form, and he was ignored once again on Thursday when Hodgson named his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. “I gave up on that [an England call-up],” Holt told BBC Radio Norfolk. “I think I’ll never be in it. Roy’s come in and picking his players. When two friendlies came up and I wasn’t included, it was ridiculous to be honest. He hasn’t given anyone opportunities — people like Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham from Swansea didn’t even get a look in, but that’s life.”
Tendulkar mulls retirement
Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar admitted yesterday that he is contemplating retirement and said he would reassess his future next month. In an interview to be broadcast on Indian television yesterday, the 39-year-old said he would decide on a “series by series” basis as he acknowledged that the clock was running down on his record-breaking career. “I am 39 and I don’t think I have plenty of cricket left in me,” he told The Times Now TV station. Asked if he has been thinking of retirement, he replied: “Of course, I have been. I am 39 plus and it is not abnormal for me to think of it.” Tendulkar has scored a record 51 Test centuries, but he has now gone 25 innings without one in the five-day format since making 146 against South Africa in Cape Town in January last year.
Tiernan-Locke signs for Sky
Britain’s latest big hope has been signed up by Team Sky, with Jonathan Tiernan-Locke joining on a two-year contract to bolster a squad that includes Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. Tiernen-Locke last month became the first home rider in 19 years to win the Tour of Britain and he also competed at the World Road Race Championships. “It’s an incredible opportunity for me to step up from the UCI Continental ranks ... I couldn’t pass up the chance to join the world’s best team,” he said.