Sat, Jun 03, 2017 - Page 16 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

SOCCER

‘Hand of God’ linesman dies

The linesman who failed to signal Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” World Cup goal against England has died, the Bulgarian Football Federation said on Thursday. Bulgarian Bogdan Dotchev, a former player, was 80. He is best known for running the line when then-Argentina captain Maradona leaped above England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to punch in the opening goal of the World Cup quarter-final in Mexico City in 1986. Maradona scored a mesmerizing second as Argentina won the match 2-1, going on to lift the trophy, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final. After the England match, Maradona described his first goal as the “Hand of God.” Amid fierce criticism, Dotchev maintained that he had not seen Maradona use his hand, although Shilton and England’s defense certainly had not been fooled. “I don’t like talking about the Hand of God, because I’ve always been honest no matter what is said about me,” Dotchev told Bulgarian media last year when he turned 80 and on the 30th anniversary of that infamous match. However, he insisted that he never wanted to meet Maradona. “He disrupted my whole life — I’m accused even though I’m not guilty,” he said. Dotchev was an international referee from 1977 until 1986, his career ending with that game.

CYCLING

Stade Velodrome to revert

Chris Froome is to have the chance to seal a fourth Tour de France victory in Marseille’s Stade Velodrome next month, organizers announced on Thursday. The famous stadium, the home of soccer club Olympique de Marseille, is to return to its roots for a day, as it was built as a multipurpose sports stadium that included a cycling track — hence its name. Although the piste has since gone, the stadium is to host the start and finish for the penultimate stage of the Grand Boucle on July 22 — a 22.5km time trail — a day before the race ends with the traditional procession to Paris. “It’s the first time that Marseille is going to host an individual time trial for the Tour de France,” Marseille Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin said at a news conference alongside Tour director Christian Prudhomme and stadium director Martin d’Argenlieu. The grueling race against the clock is also to take in some of the city’s main landmarks. Two special tracks — one for the start and another for the finish — are to be placed over the pitch within the stadium, D’Argenlieu said, while tickets can be reserved for free. “So far 45,000 tickets have been reserved. We’re expecting to reach a 67,000 full house during the coming weeks,” he said.

ICE HOCKEY

Coach not drawn on Rinne

Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette is giving no hint of whether goaltender Pekka Rinne is to start in a pivotal Game 3 against Pittsburgh today. Laviolette pulled Rinne after the Predators gave up three goals in the first 3 minutes, 28 seconds of the third period on Wednesday for Juuse Saros. Pittsburgh finished off a 4-1 win for a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. Asked on Thursday if he had made a decision for Game 3, Laviolette said he would not talk about lineup changes. Laviolette said that the goaltenders know who will start. Rinne went into the final with the stingiest numbers in net this post-season, but he has given up eight goals on 36 shots through two games.

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