Fri, Apr 10, 2015 - Page 18 News List




Chelsea make Muto offer

English Premier League leaders Chelsea have made a formal offer for Japan striker Yoshinori Muto, his club, FC Tokyo, said yesterday. Japanese media reported the offer was worth US$5.9 million. “It is true that we have received an official offer from Chelsea for Muto, but nothing has been decided,” a spokesman for the J-League club said, declining to comment further on details, including the amount of money offered. However, Sports Nippon said Chelsea offered about £4 million (US$5.9 million), which would be a J-League record from an overseas club. “I’m honored to receive an offer from this wonderful team, but I have not made any decision yet,” the 22-year-old Muto told the sports daily. Muto began his professional career at FC Tokyo last year, scoring 13 goals in 33 games to match the first-division record for a player in his rookie season. The baby-faced striker also made his debut for Japan last year, scoring his first international goal in a 2-2 draw against Venezuela.


Brad Thorn retiring

Former New Zealand lock Brad Thorn is retiring at the end of the season following a glittering 21-year career in which he has won the biggest prizes in rugby league and union. The 40-year-old started out in league with the Brisbane Broncos, represented Queensland in the State of Origin and won three caps for Australia. Thorn moved back to New Zealand in 2001, switching codes to join the Canterbury Crusaders and playing 12 Tests for the All Blacks. He went back to rugby league with the Broncos from 2005 to 2007, but returned to union and the last of his 59 All Blacks appearances was the 2011 World Cup final in which they beat France 8-7. Thorn helped Ireland’s Leinster lift the 2012 Heineken Cup, becoming the first man to play in victorious World Cup, Super Rugby and European Cup teams. “My goal was to play top-level rugby at 40 and to play well, and I’ve done that,” Thorn told the BBC.


Croatia to play without fans

UEFA has ordered Croatia to play its next Euro 2016 qualifier in a closed stadium as a punishment for racism by its supporters and other misconduct. UEFA said its disciplinary body also found Croatia’s fans guilty of setting off fireworks and throwing missiles in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Norway in Zagreb last month. As well as being forced to play the June 12 game against Italy without any fans, the Croatian Football Association was fined 50,000 euros (US$53,900). Croatia has a two-point lead over Italy at the top of Group H.


Chile pulls out of rally

Chile is pulling out of next year’s Dakar Rally, citing flash floods that have hit the northern, desert region of the South American country. The Chilean Ministry of Sport said on Wednesday it would not spend about US$7 million to host legs of the three-week rally, with the money being better used for rebuilding areas devastated by the flooding. Chilean Minister for Sport Natalia Riffo said the decision was taken after consulting with Dakar Rally organizers. She said the “door was open” to rejoining the rally in 2017. “One adapts to the reality of our citizens in the north,” Riffo said. “Therefore, our immediate concern is to rebuild the affected areas and channel the resources to people who need them.” The government says it is to spend about US$1.5 billion on rebuilding the area. The rally in January covered legs in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. It was not immediately clear how the rally would be rerouted next year to skip Chile.

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