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.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on