Inter fans under scrutiny
Inter risk disciplinary proceedings after their fans were accused of racist behavior during the Europa League last 16 clash at home to Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA said on Monday. A statement from European soccer’s governing body said the Serie A club were under investigation for “racist behavior of supporters, insufficient organization and the throwing of missiles and/or fireworks.” Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor was allegedly subjected to monkey chants and plastic bananas were waved in one section of the San Siro. Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, whose team went through on away goals after the 4-4 aggregate score, told reporters after the game that it was “very easy” to hear the chanting and said he hoped UEFA would act. Last month, Inter were fined 50,000 euros (US$65,300) by the Italian league after fans racially abused their former player Mario Balotelli in a derby with AC Milan.
Clubs to get defibrillators
The English FA marked the first anniversary of Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie by announcing it was providing more than 900 life-saving defibrillators to senior men’s and women’s soccer clubs in England. In a joint statement with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on Monday, the FA said the “initiative will create thousands of life-savers by giving players, staff and fans access to the equipment and information needed to save a life.” The BHF will match a donation of ￡400,000 from the FA toward the cost of the defibrillators, with another ￡400,000 coming from clubs. Awareness about sudden cardiac arrest was heightened when former England under-21 player Muamba collapsed while his team Bolton Wanderers were playing Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane on March 17 last year. Muamba, who made a full recovery after effectively being “dead” for 78 minutes, has retired from playing on medical grounds.
Brian O’Driscoll cited
Ireland center Brian O’Driscoll has been cited for allegedly stamping on an opponent during the 22-15 Six Nations championship loss to Italy at the weekend, organizers said on Monday. O’Driscoll was sent to the sin bin in the 29th minute of Saturday’s match after the referee decided he had brought his foot down on Simone Favaro’s stomach during a ruck at the Stadio Olimpico. “O’Driscoll ... has been cited by the Independent Citing Commissioner for an alleged stamping or trampling on an opponent, contrary to law 10.4 (b),” a statement said. Details of the hearing will be announced later. The match may have been the 34-year-old Irishman’s last for his country.
Black Caps eye Bracewell
Seamer Doug Bracewell will be added to New Zealand’s squad for the third Test against England if he can prove he is match fit, coach Mike Hesson said yesterday. Bracewell missed the first two Tests, earning a reprimand from management, after he cut his foot while cleaning up broken glass after a house party earlier this month. Hesson said the 22-year-old would be confirmed in the squad if he came through a one-day domestic fixture in Christchurch today unscathed. “Doug’s availability creates a real battle for spots for this deciding Test against England,” he said. “It also helps to manage the workload for a group of bowlers who have carried a heavy load during the first two Tests.”
Bynum to go under the knife
Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum will undergo arthroscopic surgery on both knees that will end his season before it ever started, the team announced on Monday. The injury-prone Bynum has a lengthy history of knee ailments and the latest setback dashed hopes of his long-awaited debut for the 76ers this season after they had traded for him during the summer. “After many months of rehabilitation and consulting with numerous doctors, Andrew and the doctors treating him determined that this is the best course of action at this point,” 76ers general manager Tony DiLeo said in a statement. Philadelphia landed the 25-year-old Bynum in a four-team blockbuster deal that also saw Dwight Howard head to the Los Angeles Lakers. After the young 76ers made a run to the second round of the East playoffs last season, Bynum was supposed to be the missing piece to make them a legitimate threat for years to come.
No spot for Matsuzaka
Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has been told by the Cleveland Indians that he will not be on the roster for the team’s Major League Baseball season opener on April 2 in Toronto. The 32-year-old right-hander, who was the Most Valuable Player in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics for two-time champions Japan, signed a minor-league contract with the club earlier this year. In four pre-season games, Matsuzaka has allowed only two runs on 10 hits over eight innings. He could remain with the organization, but would have to accept an assignment to a developmental-league team. Matsuzaka was a superstar in Japan before moving to the US and spending six seasons with the Boston Red Sox, including helping Boston to a 2007 World Series title. After arm surgery in 2011, he went 1-7 with an 8.28 earned-run average last year.
Ducks hand Perry new deal
The Anaheim Ducks have agreed on terms to re-sign right wing Corey Perry, matching the commitment they made to captain Ryan Getzlaf earlier this month, the team announced on Monday. Perry, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Ducks while playing alongside Getzlaf, will sign an eight-year contract, reportedly worth US$69 million, to equal the length of Getzlaf’s latest deal. “It was definitely a huge factor that he did stay here and he’s committed here,” Perry said of Getzlaf. “I called him last night right away when I found out what was going to happen. It’s an exciting time for both of us.” Perry is currently serving a suspension for an illegal hit that is due to end today.
No extra playoffs: Goodell
The NFL will not be adding playoff teams next season and the champions of last season, the Baltimore Ravens, could open on the road because of a conflict with the Orioles. As the owners’ meetings opened on Monday, scheduling was a main topic. Traditionally, the season has opened with the Super Bowl winners playing host on the Thursday night after Labor Day, but the Ravens do not have that option unless the Orioles, who share parking lots at Camden Yards with the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, move their night game Sept. 5 to the afternoon. So far, there has been no progress and Sept. 4 is not an option because it is the first night of Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. Goodell also said the playoffs will not be expanded next season, but it will be discussed in the future.