Sports Briefs


Wed, Jul 26, 2006 - Page 19

■ Soccer
Platini confirms candidacy

Former France captain Michel Platini has confirmed his candidacy for the presidency of European soccer's governing body. French soccer federation chief Jean-Pierre Escalettes officially announced Platini's candidacy in a letter on Monday to UEFA secretary-general Lars-Christer Olsson. The elections will be held in January next year. Platini, 51, will challenge incumbent Lennart Johansson, the 76-year-old Swede who has headed UEFA since 1990. Platini is a member of the UEFA and FIFA executive committees.

■ Soccer

Arnold missing stars

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said on Tuesday he will be forced to field an under-strength Socceroos side in Asian Cup qualifiers next month because his overseas stars cannot escape club commitments. Australia takes on Kuwait in Sydney on Aug. 16 and Lebanon in Adelaide on Aug. 31 in its bid to qualify for the finals of the Asian Cup in July next year. But Arnold said the European-based players who took Australia to the second round of the World Cup finals will likely be unavailable, as the games coincide with the early rounds of competitions such as the English Premier League. As a result, Arnold said the bulk of his team for the qualifying matches in Adelaide on August 16 and 31 would come from Australia's domestic A-League competition. "As far as the next two Asian Cup qualifiers go against Kuwait and Lebanon, it looks like the players will have to come from the A-League," Arnold told Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

■ Discus

Sadova banned for doping

Olympic discus champion Natalya Sadova of Russia has been banned for two years for a doping offense, the world governing athletics body IAAF announced late on Monday. Sadova, 34, tested positive for the steroid methandienone at a May 28 meet in Hengelo, Netherlands. The 2004 gold medalist did not dispute the positive test, but blamed contaminated food supplements for the result. She is banned until July 7, 2008. It was Sadova's second positive doping test. She was stripped of her 2001 world title after testing positive for caffeine at the Edmonton event.

■ Ice Hockey

Gainey stays with Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens signed general manager Bob Gainey to a three-year contract extension on Monday. Gainey, who won five Stanley Cups as a player with the Canadiens, took over as general manager in 2003. He took over as coach in January after sacking Claude Julien and guided the struggling team to the playoffs where they lost the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to the Carolina Hurricanes, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. "We are very happy that Bob Gainey has extended his association with the Montreal Canadiens, leading to the franchise's Centennial Year in 2009-2010," Canadiens President Pierre Boivin said on the team's Web site.