Players charged for brawl
England under-21 players Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince have reportedly been charged by Serbian police for their role in an on-field brawl at the end of a match marred by racial abuse from the crowd. Serbian state news agency Tanjug identified the two after police in the town of Krusevac, where the Serbia-England match was played on Oct. 16, charged 12 unidentified people on Tuesday for committing “an act of violence during a sports event.” The agency said England assistant manager Steve Wingley was also charged, along with four players and an assistant manager for Serbia plus several fans. Tanjug said Serbian prosecutors will hand over the case involving the Englishmen to British judicial authorities. Players and officials from both teams clashed on the pitch following the final whistle amid accusations of racist abuse from fans toward England defender Danny Rose, who was sent off for kicking a ball into the stands.
Chelsea files ref complaint
Chelsea announced on Wednesday that they have lodged a formal complaint with the Football Association (FA) over allegations referee Mark Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” toward John Obi Mikel. Chelsea allege that Clattenburg abused Nigerian midfielder Mikel during the European champions’ stormy 3-2 loss to Manchester United in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Reports in the British media have suggested that Chelsea believe the language used by Clattenburg towards Mikel was of a racial nature. The club’s initial complaint claimed Clattenburg had used inappropriate language towards two players, but the allegation regarding the other player — thought to be Spanish midfielder Juan Mata — has been dropped. The FA announced on Monday that they have launched an investigation into the incident, while the Metropolitan Police on Tuesday said they will also conduct a probe.
Rangers out of League Cup
Fallen giants Rangers were knocked out of the Scottish League Cup after Inverness Caledonian Thistle dished out a comprehensive 3-0 defeat in their quarter-final tie at Ibrox on Wednesday. Rangers had made a mockery of their Third Division status with a dominant display in a 2-0 win against Motherwell in the previous round and hopes were high around Ibrox that the Glasgow giants could claim another Premier League scalp. However, it proved to be a step too far for Ally McCoist’s side as Inverness progressed to the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time in their history thanks to goals from Andrew Shinnie, Gary Warren and a Graeme Shinnie penalty. Rangers had been desperate to give their fans a lift on the day the old club was liquidated.
Kuwaiti players crash
More than a dozen members of the Kuwaiti men’s waterpolo team were injured in a road accident, one of them seriously, near the Greek city of Thessaloniki, police said yesterday. Fourteen of the athletes and the team’s Greek driver were hospitalized in Thessaloniki overnight, though none are in immediate danger. Four were still in hospital yesterday, including 31-year-old Adnan Khan, who has multiple fractures. The accident occurred on Wednesday on a rural road outside the city when the team’s minivan glanced off an incoming car and overturned. The car’s Georgian driver was later arrested after being confirmed drunk, police said. The Kuwaiti team was in Thessaloniki for a friendly against the national squad.
Soriano to leave Yankees
Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games in 46 chances this year as a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, has opted out of his contract with the Major League Baseball club, the team said on Wednesday. The 32-year-old Dominican right-hander was due US$14 million next year, but will instead take a US$1.5 million buyout as he seeks a new deal with another club. The Yankees are expected to make a qualifying offer of more than US$13 million to Soriano in order to receive some sort of compensation should he sign with another club. Soriano went 2-1 with a 2.26 earned-run average this past season as the Yankees won the American League East division title, but were swept by Detroit in the league championship series.
White sacked for doping
The Orica-GreenEDGE team has sacked sports director Matt White after he admitted to doping while riding with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal cycling team. White voluntarily stood down from the position last month pending an inquiry when he admitted doping after being named in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s dossier on Armstrong. The 38-year-old was also sacked from his position as elite men’s road coordinator at Cycling Australia last month for the same reason. “Orica-GreenEDGE is a clean team and our commitment to being clean has been a foundation principle of the team since the day of its inception,” team owner Gerry Ryan said in a statement. “Professional cycling is at a crossroads. The future of the sport is being determined by what we do today. [We] will not step back from taking any necessary decision to protect the integrity of the sport and the team, and to restore the confidence of cycling fans around the world.”
England’s Ashton banned
Chris Ashton will miss England’s opening autumn Test match against Fiji after a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel announced on Wednesday that they have banned him for a dangerous tackle. The Saracens wing has been suspended for a week after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Northampton’s Vasily Artemyev in a Premiership match on Saturday. The citing’s level 1 status was the equivalent of an off-pitch yellow card, increasing Ashton’s tally for the season to three and yielding an automatic disciplinary hearing. The suspension has been timed to run from Sunday, specifically to prevent Ashton from playing against the Fijians six days later, as England have not released him to play for his club this weekend.