Messi tax case to go ahead
A court on Monday rejected public prosecutors’ request to drop charges of tax fraud against four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and ordered the probe to go ahead. The Barcelona forward and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were accused last year of not paying 4.16 million euros (US$5.58 million) in tax on earnings from the player’s image rights from 2007 to 2009 through the creation of a web of shell companies in Belize and Uruguay. Both Messi and his father denied wrongdoing and pointed the finger instead at a former agent of the player when they were quizzed at a court in Gava, the Barcelona suburb where the player lives, in September last year. Based on the Messis’ testimony, public prosecutors called for the case to be shelved, but the court ruled that Messi “could have known and consented” to the tax fraud and the prosecution of the case should go ahead.
Lens’ promotion confirmed
Racing Club de Lens on Monday had their promotion to Ligue 1 confirmed after successfully appealing a ban on financial grounds. The club were initially barred from taking their place in the French top flight after failing to produce the prerequisite 10 million euro guarantee, but their appeal to the French Olympic Committee, France’s highest sporting authority, was upheld and on Monday the French Football Federation confirmed the club would be rubbing shoulders with Paris Saint-Germain this season. Lens’ appearance in Ligue 1 was subject to various conditions imposed in the ruling.
Toffees sign Bosnia’s Besic
Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic has joined Everton from Hungarian club Ferencvarosi TC for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said on Monday. Besic, 21, has signed a five-year deal at Goodison Park, the club’s Web site reported. “Muhamed is a young footballer who has developed massively in the last two seasons,” Everton manager Roberto Martinez told the Web site. “He has been playing as a centerhalf and as a defensive midfielder at an incredible level. What he did with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the World Cup, he showed that he is a really mature footballer, that he covers the ground really well, that he is very dynamic and technically very gifted.”
De Vrij to join SS Lazio
Netherlands defender Stefan de Vrij is poised to join SS Lazio from Feyenoord for a fee of about 8.5 million euros, Dutch media reported yesterday. The 22-year-old was an ever-present for the side that finished third at the World Cup and raised his international profile with solid defensive performances and a goal against Spain in their opening match. He was due to undergo a medical yesterday, Lazio said on their Twitter account and was being offered a five-year contract. Feyenoord have already sold Graziano Pelle to Southampton, Bruno Martins Indi to Porto and Daryl Janmaat to Newcastle United in deals media claim to be worth 32 million euros.
AS Monaco sign Bakayoko
AS Monaco have strengthened their midfield in preparation for their first UEFA Champions League campaign in 10 years by signing Tiemoue Bakayoko from Stade Rennais, the club said on Monday. The 19-year-old has joined on a five-year contract for a fee which media reports have put at 8 million euros after an impressive breakthrough season with Rennes.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017