Higginbotham ruled out
In-form Melbourne Rebels backrower Scott Higginbotham was yesterday ruled out of this month’s Test series against the British and Irish Lions with a serious shoulder injury. The Rebels captain was named in coach Robbie Deans’ initial 25-man Wallabies squad to face the Lions and would have been a certain starter had he not dislocated his shoulder in Saturday’s game against the Queensland Reds. Tests on Monday revealed serious damage and the imposing forward will sit out the rest of the Super Rugby and Test season, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said, describing it as a “bitter blow” for the Wallabies. “Scans revealed extensive ligament damage, which meant a full shoulder reconstruction is required,” the ARU said in a statement.
Capello denies PSG rumors
Russia manager Fabio Capello has dismissed rumors that he was set to take over at French champions Paris Saint-Germain if Carlo Ancelotti leaves the club. “I have not had any contact with PSG so far,” the Soviet Sport daily quoted the Italian as saying on Tuesday. However, the 66-year-old coach added that he had not rejected the possibility of cooperation with PSG in the future. “I’m happy in Russia at the moment and I’m pleased with my life and work here,” he added. “But anything is possible in this life, so never say ‘never.’” Capello signed a two-year contract with Russia’s soccer federation on July 26 last year with the aim of taking the country to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Russia currently top European qualifying group F with 12 points from four matches — one point ahead of Portugal, whom they play tomorrow, and Israel, who share the second spot both after six matches.
Talks not deadlocked: Perez
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has denied reports that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has rejected a new contract from the Spanish club. Madrid sports daily AS claimed that talks over a new deal for the Portuguese star were “deadlocked.” However, with Ronaldo’s current deal due to expire in 2015 and his renewal thought to be one of Perez’s main targets as he begins a new four-year term in charge, he rejected the claim that talks had broken down. “This information is misguided,” Perez told Spanish television on Monday night. “I am not going to enter into more details, but I will only say that Cristiano’s renewal is not deadlocked, this doesn’t correspond to the reality as we stand today. I don’t know if we will renew him tomorrow, the day after or another day but as of today it is not deadlocked.”
Phelps enjoying retirement
Olympic swimming great Michael Phelps said on Tuesday he was enjoying his retirement from the sport and had no future plans for a return to competition. “I’m very happy with my life right now. I’m enjoying my retirement,” the record 18-time Olympic champion told German daily Die Welt during a visit to Berlin, adding that he was spending much of his time playing golf. Asked whether his retirement was permanent, Phelps, who bowed out after becoming the most decorated Olympian in history at the London Olympics last year where he took his overall medal haul to 22, replied: “I don’t know. Right now, I’m happy with my life,” preferring to talk about golf, which he labeled “the hardest sport I’ve ever done.”
Thailand sack Schaefer
Thailand has terminated the contract of their national team coach Winfried Schaefer, ending the colorful German’s near two-year tenure, the kingdom’s soccer association said on Tuesday. Schaefer, renowned for his exuberant touchline presence and white bouffant hairstyle, enjoyed a checkered time in Thailand’s top job, overseeing a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign, but progressing to the final of the regional Suzuki Cup in December only to narrowly lose on home soil. “The association has finished its contract with Winfried,” Football Association of Thailand (FAT) secretary-general Ongart Kosinka said, adding that both sides agreed to annul the agreement. Schaefer, who replaced former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson in July 2011, has been widely linked in local reports with a role at Muangthong United, holders of the Thai Premier League crown.
MLB players face suspension
Major League Baseball (MLB) is to seek doping suspensions on about 20 players, including New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, in the wake of a probe at a Miami clinic, ESPN reported on Tuesday. If so many bans are imposed for performance-enhancing drugs, it would be the largest drug scandal in North American sports history, according to the report, which said the suspensions could be handed down in the next few weeks. ESPN, citing unnamed sources, said Tony Bosch, founder of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, reached a deal this week to help an MLB investigation into reports that the clinic provided players with banned substances. ESPN said in the Web site report that MLB commissioner Bud Selig might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and other players. That would be the penalty for a second doping violation, with having any connection to Bosch being considered a first offense and statements denying any such link or doping as a repeat violation. Others who could face suspension, according to the report, include Toronto’s Melky Cabrera, Oakland’s Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz of Texas, San Diego’s Yasmani Grandal, the Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli and Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
DeFeet severs ties
US cycling apparel firm DeFeet says it has severed ties with Italian team Vini Fantini after two Giro d’Italia riders tested positive for doping. DeFeet CEO Shane Cooper wrote: “DeFeet will not support teams that do not provide a clear clean path 4 this new generation. I challenge other CEOs to stand up.” The firm announced its decision after the International Cycling Union said on Monday that Giro stage winner Mauro Santambrogio tested positive for EPO on May 3, the opening day of the three-week race. Vini Fantini said it has fired Santambrogio and teammate Danilo Di Luca, whose positive test was announced during the Giro.
Kewell back in Australia
Former Liverpool star Harry Kewell yesterday signed for Australian club Melbourne Heart as he looks to force his way back into the Socceroos side for the 2014 World Cup. The 34-year-old, one of Australia’s best-known soccer players, left rival club Melbourne Victory after the 2011-2012 season and went to England for family reasons. “It’s always been my intention to come back and play in the A-League,” said Kewell, who also had stints at Leeds United and Turkish side Galatasaray.