Ballack to say farewell
Former Germany captain Michael Ballack confirmed on Thursday that he plans to hold a farewell game in Leipzig on June 5 with a host of stars set to attend, including Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jose Mourinho. Ballack, 36, who retired in October last year, made the last of his 98 appearances for Germany in February 2010. He captained his country to third at the 2006 World Cup and spent four years at Chelsea from 2006 to 2010. Under the slogan “Ciao Capitano. A world-class evening,” Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger and Real Madrid coach Mourinho are already confirmed for a “Ballack and Friends” team taking on a World XI. “Of course, I want to play a bit in both teams, but my fitness levels will decide that,” said Ballack, who turned down an invitation from the German Football Association to win his 99th cap in the 3-2 friendly against Brazil in August 2011. Germany coach Joachim Loew has been invited to Ballack’s farewell and his former captain hopes he will be there. “I had a successful time with Loew in the national team, even if there was tension at the end,” said Ballack, who had a public falling out with Loew in October 2008.
Jeter back in training
Derek Jeter has been cleared to resume baseball activities following ankle surgery and was expected at a training camp yesterday, the New York Yankees said. Jeter, 38, had a routine scheduled visit yesterday in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Robert Anderson, who performed the operation in October last year. Jeter broke his left ankle on Oct. 13 in the American League Championship Series against Detroit. The shortstop has said repeatedly that he would be ready to play by the Yankees’ season-opener on April 1.
Barrister to head AOC probe
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) yesterday appointed a barrister to lead its own investigation into drug use and bullying by swimmers at last year’s London Games. The AOC said Bret Walker would begin investigating the use of prescription drug Stilnox by members of the men’s freestyle relay team, as well as other general misbehavior. The AOC’s move comes two weeks after swimmers James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, Tommaso D’Orsogna and Cameron McEvoy admitted to using Stilnox in a team bonding exercise at a pre-Olympic camp in Manchester, England. A sixth member of the relay group, James Roberts, denied taking the sleep medication, but the entire group was found to be involved in late-night misbehavior, upsetting female teammates. The investigation is separate to Swimming Australia’s Integrity Panel, headed by former Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath.
Open back at The Australian
Jack Nicklaus has announced that The Australian Golf Club, where he won three of his six Australian Opens, will host the country’s national championship next year following a redesign of the layout by the 18-time major champion. The course hosted the first Australian Open in 1904 and it was last played there in 2007 when it was won by Craig Parry. Nicklaus, who won the Australian Open at The Australian in 1975, 1976 and 1978, also helped redesign the course between 1977 and 1980, adding length and water hazards. This year’s Australian Open will be played for the fourth consecutive year at The Lakes, also in Sydney, in December. Peter Senior is the defending champion.