Schweinsteiger set to return
Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is set to return from an ankle injury for Bayern Munich in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash at home to Hannover 96. The 29-year-old has been out since injuring his right ankle in Bayern’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw at Freiburg a fortnight ago. Having missed Bayern’s UEFA Super Cup win over Chelsea in Prague, as well as Germany’s 3-0 win over Austria in Friday’s World Cup qualifier, Schweinsteiger trained with the Bayern squad under coach Pep Guardiola on Tuesday. Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who pulled out of Tuesday’s match against minnows Andorra with a slight knee injury, should also be fit to play Hannover.
Bale deal a ‘market issue’
Real Madrid’s jaw-dropping transfer fee for Gareth Bale is a market issue, not a matter of morals, and respects rules on soccer financing, European Club Association (ECA) boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Tuesday. Bale signed from Tottenham Hotspur on Sept. 1 on a six-year contract for a fee of about 94 million euros (US$124 million) and critics have questioned the symbolism of that astronomical sum as Spain wallows in economic crisis. “The pricing of a player always depends on the market. And this player was very requested on the market, and at the end he had that of course incredibly high price,” Rummenigge told reporters as the 214-club ECA wrapped up its general assembly in Geneva.
Pakistanis threaten protest
Retired Pakistani stars on Tuesday threatened to burn their medals and protest publicly unless the government steps in to reverse a spectacular decline in the sport. Pakistan, four-time world champions with three Olympic golds, failed to win the Asia Cup earlier this month and so did not qualify for next year’s World Cup to be held in The Netherlands. This sparked a nationwide protest by fans and a group of Olympians demanded that the prime minister remove incumbent officials at the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). “Prime minister Nawaz Sharif is the patron of the PHF and he must take some time out of his busy schedule to address the serious and fatal slump in our national sport,” former captain and coach Islahuddin Siddiqui told a news conference.
N Korea bans cheating club
North Korea said yesterday that it had barred one of its top domestic clubs from all competition for six months, in a rare admission of cheating in sports. A report by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the manner of Sonbong’s victory in the final of the domestic “Torch Cup” tournament two weeks ago had been “contrary to proper sporting spirit and morality.” The precise offense was unclear, but KCNA said Sonbong had fielded a “wrong player” in the final against the April 25 team. The team was also stripped of its cup title, with April 25 being declared the official winner.
Top-seeded Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia advanced to the quarter-finals of the Tashkent Open by beating Misaki Doi of Japan 6-2, 7-5 yesterday. Third-seeded Yvonne Meusburger of Austria, fifth-seeded Alexandra Cadantu of Romania and seventh-seeded Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan also advanced. Sixth-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania lost to Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain 6-1, 7-5.