Holy match scheduled
The Church of England on Friday took up the Vatican’s challenge to settle scores on the cricket pitch nearly 500 years after the two churches split. In October, the Vatican formed the St Peter’s Cricket Club, a league composed of teams of priests and seminarians from Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome. The best players are to play in the “Vatican XI,” against the Church of England, which will form its own team of Anglican priests and seminarians to play in London at Lord’s. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby accepted through his representative to the Vatican, Archbishop David Moxon. Asked if a combination of sports diplomacy could help improve relations between the two churches, Moxon said: “It will introduce a conversation piece all over the world whenever Catholics and Anglicans get together.”
Las Vegas team mooted
According to TSN hockey broadcaster Bob McKenzie, the National Hockey League is considering establishing a franchise in Las Vegas, which would make it the first major professional sports league in Sin City. The viability of a team in Vegas has been hotly debated, with the gambling stigma in sports and the competition from other entertainment venues as the primary detracting arguments. Supporters say a team would have no problem filling seats with the almost 40 million tourists who visit Vegas each year. However, the sustainability of a fan base that is not demographically ideal for a new team might be the biggest problem. According to the Las Vegas Sun, 57 percent of its recent growth is people moving from other states — people who already have allegiances to their hometown teams.
Five players and three team officials from a Malaysian lower league soccer club have been handed life bans after being found guilty of match-fixing, local media reported. The eight who represented Kuala Lumpur were also fined 20,000 ringgit (US$6,100) by the Football Association of Malaysia, which will hold a disciplinary hearing on Friday for seven more players from the club, the Malaysia Star reported. The paper said coach Stanislav Lieskovsky, assistant manager Rosli Omar and kitman Shaari Jani were the officials disciplined with the Slovak manager having already returned home to Europe in July. The three-times Malaysia Cup winners have suffered back-to-back relegations from the top-flight and will compete in the third tier next year.
US$10bn expected from Cup
Foreign and Brazilian tourists are expected to spend US$10.4 billion during next year’s World Cup, more than the public funds invested for staging the event, the Brazilian tourism board said on Friday. “These are important resources which fuel economic sectors of all Brazilian regions, from aviation to the informal economy,” said Flavio Dino, president of state tourism board Embratur, in a statement. He said that the Confederations Cup injected US$311 million into the Brazilian economy. Dino said that even if revenues do not cover investments for events, it was important to note that one out of three reals invested by the federal government for the World Cup is disbursed to upgrade urban mobility projects in major cities. “Some see major events as gobbling up resources that could be allocated to public services. I prefer to see them as a big gamble on a new development project which obviously encompasses an urgent modernization of public services,” he said.