Player sucker punches ref
Pieter Rumaropen could face heavy punishment after punching a referee in the face in a Super League match at the weekend, an official from the country’s top-flight competition said yesterday. Rumaropen’s Persiwa were tied 1-1 with Pelita Bandung Raya on Sunday when referee Muhaimin awarded a penalty to Pelita with eight minutes left on the clock. Video replays of the incident showed Rumaropen running up behind Muhaimin and landing a swinging left hook on the referee, who had to be admitted to a hospital due to excessive bleeding from his nose, the league’s communications manager Azwan Karim said. The match was held up for 15 minutes, before a replacement official took over and gave Rumaropen a red card. “The case has been forwarded to the disciplinary committee,” Karim said. “There will be an extra penalty as well as the red card.” Persiwa, seventh in the 18-team league, lost 2-1 after their opponents converted the penalty. Persiwa defender Richardo Roberto was also sent off in the first half.
Clattenburg back at Bridge
Referee Mark Clattenburg will take charge of a Chelsea game on Sunday for the first time since being cleared of using racist language toward Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel. Chelsea play Swansea City at Stamford Bridge, the scene of their 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United in October last year when Clattenburg was accused of using “inappropriate language” toward Mikel. The referee was cleared after investigations by both London’s Metropolitan Police and the Football Association (FA) found there was no case to answer. The FA said the evidence for the accusation against Clattenburg had come from Mikel’s Brazilian teammate Ramires.
Goetze to join Bayern: ‘Bild’
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Goetze has agreed to join Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich next season, according to a report in the Bild daily. Bild said a deal with the Germany international until 2016 had been signed. The versatile 20-year-old Goetze, who won league titles in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, is among the most talented young players in Germany and had been the target of several top European clubs. Neither club could be immediately reached for comment. Bayern, who have already won the Bundesliga title, have also signed former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola for next season.
Twitter accounts hacked
FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s Twitter account was hacked on Monday with a series of bizarre tweets saying he was stepping down and was involved in corruption. A statement from FIFA confirmed the account had been hacked, saying: “Some FIFA accounts, including @SeppBlatter and @fifaworldcup, have been hacked. If in doubt, please verify any info with FIFA office.” The bogus messages on Blatter’s account included a retweet from the FIFA World Cup saying: “It was decided that the president Sepp Blatter is to step down due to corruption charges.” Another tweet on Blatter’s page said: “So what if I took money from Qatari prince? I am the family’s bread earner,” before declaring himself unrepentant. A group calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army, supportive of the country’s leader, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed responsibility for hacking the accounts.
Smith NBA’s top reserve
New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith was on Monday named the winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award as the top reserve in the 2012-2013 NBA season. Smith averaged 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, while coming off the bench for all 80 games he appeared in. He garnered 72 of a possible 121 first-place votes and tallied 484 points to easily beat Los Angeles Clippers guard and 2009-2010 top reserve Jamal Crawford in voting by a panel of 121 sports writers and broadcasters. Smith, a nine-year pro, led all league reserves in scoring, 30-point games (seven) and 20-point efforts (29), while his points total ranked second to NBA scoring champ Carmelo Anthony among members of the Atlantic Division champion Knicks. Smith added 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game, playing a key role in New York’s run to the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Crawford earned 31 first-place votes and 352 points, with Golden State’s Jarrett Jack finishing third in the voting.
McCullum gets apology
New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum yesterday scrapped plans to sue former skipper John Parker after receiving an apology over claims he said attacked his integrity. Parker alleged earlier this month that McCullum, 31, was aware his predecessor Ross Taylor was going to be axed as skipper late last year, despite the batsman’s insistence he knew nothing about the decision. McCullum, who is currently playing in the Indian Premier League, said last week that he would sue Parker for defamation unless the 62-year-old retracted the claims. Parker complied in a statement issued yesterday through McCullum’s lawyers which said he had not meant to imply that McCullum was dishonest or had put his own interests ahead of the team’s.
Pietersen to play in Japan
Rugby World Cup-winning right wing J.P. Pietersen became the second Springbok to sign an overseas contract on Monday when he revealed plans to play in Japan. The 45-cap Coastal Sharks star, who helped South Africa win the 2007 World Cup in France, is set to move to an unnamed club after the Super 15 season and will also play in the competition next year for the Durban franchise. Seeking a “change of environment,” versatile Pietersen, 26, is following in the footsteps of the Western Stormers’ flyhalf Peter Grant, who combines Super 15 rugby with playing for Japanese side the Kobe Steelers. The Northern Bulls said on Monday that Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner would be joining Irish province Leinster on a two-year contract as a replacement for retiring Fiji Test player Isa Nacewa.
Davis knocks Higgins out
Four-time winner John Higgins was knocked out of the World Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield, England, on Monday after a 10-6 defeat at the hands of journeyman professional Mark Davis. Scotland’s Higgins trailed 6-3 overnight and was unable to rescue the match when play resumed on Monday, with the world No. 16 from Sussex in southern England advancing to the second round. Higgins, who won the World Championship in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, also lost to Davis at the UK Championship in December. On that occasion, he lost despite producing a maximum 147 break, but this, in contrast, was a flat performance by the Wizard of Wishaw, now aged 37. Higgins was finished off by a brilliant break of 87 as 40-year-old Davis — known as the Battler from Hastings — reached the second round for the third time in his career.