Singapore jails third referee
A Singapore court jailed a Lebanese referee for six months on Tuesday for accepting sexual favors to fix a soccer game, a day after two fellow countrymen were jailed for the same offense amid an international investigation into soccer corruption. Ali Sabbagh, a Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)-accredited referee, had admitted having sex with a woman hired by accused Singapore match-fixer Ding Si Yang, who has denied wrongdoing. Ali Sabbagh and two Lebanese assistant referees were convicted of accepting sexual bribes to fix a future match, but no specific game was identified by the prosecution. He was withdrawn as referee only hours before an Asian Football Federation match between Singapore’s Tampines Rovers and India’s East Bengal on April 3.
Tebow signs with Patriots
Tim Tebow, the polarizing quarterback with the poor throwing motion, was signed by the New England Patriots on Tuesday. The move came six weeks after he was cut by the New York Jets and just in time for the start of the three-day minicamp that runs through Thursday. Two people with knowledge of the deal said Tebow was signed for two years with no guaranteed money. One person says he will make the veteran’s minimum salary, US$630,000 this year, with incentives.
Vettel extends contract
Three-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel has agreed to extend his stay with Red Bull until the end of the 2015 season, the team announced on Tuesday. The 25-year-old German’s existing deal was due to expire at the end of next year’s season. Vettel joined the team in 2009 and has been Formula One world champion in each of the past three years. He won last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, his 29th success, and leads the world championship standings by 36 points from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Vettel, who began his Formula One career with BMW-Sauber, has from time to time been linked with a move to Ferrari, to whom Alonso is under contract till 2016. Similar rumors have also indicated that Vettel’s increasingly fraught relationship with Australian teammate Mark Webber will be terminated at the end of the season with Finland’s former world champion Kimi Raikkonen joining from Lotus.
Quebec suspended over ban
The Canadian Soccer Association has suspended its Quebec affiliate over the province’s decision to ban turbans on the soccer field — a move that has angered Sikh groups. In a statement, the sport’s national governing body said it acted after a June 6 request to the Quebec Soccer Federation to reverse its position on players wearing the head garments was ignored. Quebec is the only province to institute such a ban on turbans, which are worn by many Canadian Sikhs. A few hundred Sikh players are estimated to be affected by the measure. The suspension means that Quebec teams cannot play in inter-provincial tournaments, and matches within Quebec that use a nationally certified referee could be canceled. Montagliani said the suspension would only be lifted when Quebec agreed to remove the ban. A week ago, Quebec federation director-general Brigitte Frot provoked a public outcry when she was quoted by local media as saying that if Quebec children wanted to wear a turban while playing football, they could “play in their backyards.” She has cited safety concerns as the reason for the ban.