Real Madrid top rich list
Real Madrid have passed Manchester United as the most valuable soccer team in Forbes’ annual estimates. Forbes valued Real Madrid at US$3.3 billion in rankings released on Wednesday, up 76 percent from last year’s estimate of US$1.88 billion. Man United, who have been No. 1 since Forbes started the list in 1994, were second at US$3.17 billion, a 42 percent increase. Barcelona were third at US$2.6 billion, followed by Arsenal (US$1.33 billion), Bayern Munich (US$1.31 billion), AC Milan (US$945 million), Chelsea (US$901 billion), Juventus (US$694 million), Manchester City (US$689 million) and Liverpool (US$651 million). Milan were the only team among the top 10 estimated to decline in value over the past year, dropping 4 percent.
PSG out of cup on penalties
Paris Saint-Germain crashed out of the French Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday after losing a shootout to Evian Thonon Gaillard in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva missed penalties. Evian scored all three of their penalties to win 3-1 in the shootout after the match ended 1-1 to progress to the semi-finals. Ibrahimovic’s spot kick was saved by Bertrand Laquait, while Thiago Silva struck the crossbar. PSG forward Ezequiel Lavezzi scored with his penalty but Cedric Barbosa converted Evian’s winner. Javier Pastore gave PSG an eighth-minute lead, but Evian leveled in the 43rd when an unmarked Saber Khelifa prodded in from close range after a counterattack. PSG midfielder Thiago Motta was sent off in the 88th minute for a foul on Barbosa. Girondins de Bordeaux are also through after winning 3-2 at second-division club Lens.
Pistorius staying at home
Murder-accused sprinter Oscar Pistorius does not plan to return to international athletics in the immediate future, his agent said on Wednesday, after a snub from the organizers of a London meet. “Oscar has no plans to compete internationally at this point,” said Peet van Zyl, dismissing suggestions Pistorius had planned to compete at the July 26-28 Anniversary Games, but was not invited. The comments come after organizers of the three-day Anniversary Games at London’s Olympic Park said the South African Paralympian would not be welcome. “I don’t want to see the Sunday of the Anniversary Games turning into a media circus,” UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said. Last month the double amputee, who is known as the “Blade Runner,” successfully challenged his strict bail conditions, opening the door for him to travel abroad and fueling speculation about a return to the track.
IOA delays crucial meeting
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has postponed a crucial meeting with the nation’s sports minister which was expected to resolve issues which led to the country’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra was scheduled to meet Indian Sports Minister Jitendra Singh yesterday but that meeting has been delayed until next week. The IOA is caught between complying with a government sports code which puts age and tenure restrictions on officials, and meeting IOC demands for government to stay out of the election and appointment of Olympic officials. The IOC suspended the Indian association in December last year, and has invited IOA and sports ministry officials to a meeting in Lausanne next month.
Blatter blasts bombings
FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Wednesday condemned the deadly attacks at the Boston marathon, urging authorities to pull out all the stops in preventing such tragedies. “What happened in Boston is a drama, a tragedy,” the head of world soccer’s governing body said in Spanish, speaking to reporters as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Cuba. “It was an attack on sport, and it was an attack on one of the most popular sports there is: marathons.” US investigators have said they believe the two bombs, which killed three people and injured about 180 at the marathon on Monday, were packed in pressure cookers. It is “incredible ... [how] violent” society has become, Blatter said. “The only thing ... [to be done] is for every precaution to be taken to ensure the safety of sporting events,” he said. Blatter, who visited the Dominican Republic and Haiti before moving on to Cuba, recalled the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, praising it for its security and called it a “party to humanity.”
Barca to visit Malaysia
Spanish giants Barcelona are to play a friendly against a Malaysian XI at the 100,000-capacity Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, organizers said yesterday. Barcelona managing director Antoni Rossich announced the Aug. 10 fixture alongside Asian Football Confederation vice president Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah in the Malaysian capital. It will be the four-time European champions’ first fixture in Malaysia, where they will face a side led by the country’s national team coach K. Rajagopal. Tito Vilanova’s side, who are closing in on another La Liga title and Champions League honors, have already announced plans to play in China on Aug. 3 and Thailand on Aug. 7 during their pre-season Asian tour.
Mexico, Peru draw 0-0
Mexico ’keeper Jesus Corona made four of his six saves in the second half to help preserve a 0-0 tie with Peru in an exhibition match on Wednesday night. The game drew a raucous, mostly pro-Mexico crowd of 46,288 fans that waved red, white and green flags and blew horns long before the match began at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Fans unfurled a large replica of the Mexican team jersey that stretched over parts of three sections in the southern end of the stadium before introductions. Not even the absence of four of Mexico’s top players, including Javier Hernadez, dulled the pre-game festivities. Mexico took just one shot on goal, a penalty-kick by Angel Reyna in the 70th minute, that keeper Jose Carvallo stopped.
Tindall bouncer convicted
A New Zealand bouncer who leaked CCTV footage of former England center Mike Tindall’s drunken antics during the 2011 Rugby World Cup was convicted yesterday of stealing the video. The grainy images of Tindall flirting with an old flame just weeks after marrying Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, created global headlines and were blamed for derailing England’s World Cup campaign. A jury in the Invercargill District Court found that Jonathan Dixon, a bouncer who worked at the nightclub where Tindall had been drinking that night, dishonestly obtained property by accessing the venue’s computer system. Prosecutors said Dixon had hoped to sell the footage to the British tabloid newspapers for up to ￡1.3 million (US$1.97 million), but posted it on the Internet when the plan failed. He will be sentenced in June.