Premiership to get Hawk-Eye
The Premier League on Thursday announced a historic decision to sanction the use of goal-line technology in the English top flight from next season onwards, in a global first for a domestic competition. British-based firm Hawk-Eye was chosen over German company GoalControl to supply the groundbreaking technology at a meeting of the Premier League’s 20 club chairmen. Hawk-Eye’s system uses seven cameras to track the movement of the ball and sends a signal to the match officials’ watches within a second if the ball crosses one of the two goal-lines. It will now be put in place at all Premier League grounds, while the Football Association also intends to install a system at London’s Wembley Stadium in time for the traditional season-opener, the Community Shield, in August.
Croatia move up rankings
Croatia have made a big move to No. 4 in the FIFA rankings after two 2014 World Cup qualifying wins, while tournament hosts Brazil dropped to No. 19. World and European champions Spain lead an unchanged top three, from Germany and Argentina. Croatia’s victories against Wales and Scotland last month lifted them five places, while No. 5 Portugal climb two spots. Colombia remain at No. 6, followed by England and Italy, who both fell three places, and the Netherlands. Ecuador enter the top 10, up two, and No. 12 Ivory Coast are the top-ranked African team. Mexico are up one to No. 14. Rankings weigh results over a four-year cycle and Brazil, who fell one place, have dropped while playing no World Cup qualifiers.
Fillol banned for 14 weeks
Stade Francais scrumhalf Jerome Fillol was banned for 14 weeks on Thursday for spitting in the face of Bath counterpart Peter Stringer. The Argentine will miss the rest of the season following the incident in his team’s 36-20 win over the English side in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final last weekend. The ban, imposed by the tournament’s disciplinary commission, rules the 35-year-old Fillol out of the semi-final against Perpignan on April 26. Stade prop Rabah Slimani, who was cited for a dangerous tackle in the game against Bath, was cleared of the charge.
Armstrong sells property
Disgraced US cyclist Lance Armstrong, who is the subject of multiple lawsuits after confessing to doping, has sold his property in Austin, it was reported on Thursday. The Austin American Statesman reported that Armstrong had sold the luxurious 6,880m2 Spanish-style estate he bought in 2004, but planned to continue living in the Texas city. Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and abandoned by former sponsors after finally admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs, sold the property to a Texas oilman, Al Koehler. The property was listed by local real-estate agents at US$10 million, but the newspaper did not say what Koehler paid for it. Armstrong’s fortune is estimated at between US$60 million and US$110 million, but he is facing a series of lawsuits that could cost him dearly. The largest lawsuit is a whistleblower case filed by former US teammate Floyd Landis in conjunction with the US Department of Justice. He is also being pursued by US insurer SCA Promotions, which is seeking reimbursement of US$12 million in Tour bonuses it insured.
Aussies target Rio top five