Complaints over HK ‘racism’
The Philippine Football Federation has asked FIFA to investigate allegations that Filipino supporters and players were subject to racist abuse during last week’s friendly in Hong Kong, officials said yesterday. The complaint was filed on Tuesday after reports of “physical and racist abuse against Philippine players and supporters,” the federation’s general secretary Ed Gastanes said in a statement. The complaint contains statements from Filipino fans who said they were called “slaves,” and that Hong Kong fans threw bottles at them and booed the Philippine national anthem.
Queiroz pans S Korea coach
South Korea coach Choi Kang-hee humiliated the Iranian people when he said he had been “badly treated” in Tehran last year and wanted to stop the West Asians qualifying for the World Cup, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said yesterday. The top two sides in Group A of World Cup qualifying in Asia clash in Ulsan, South Korea, on Tuesday next week. Choi said there was little danger of his side easing off against Iran and said he would prefer it if Uzbekistan joined them in qualifying, after suffering poor hospitality and bad manners during their 1-0 defeat in Tehran in October. Queiroz denied the claims after landing in Korea for the crunch clash, where he hopes to secure a fourth World Cup finals appearance for Team Melli. “Choi should apologize to the Iranian people,” he said. “He said the Korean team was badly treated in Iran, but we gave the best treatment available. He humiliated the Iranian citizens.”
Fans get ‘lion-hunting’ hats
Wallabies fans will be urged to don gold “lion-hunting” safari hats to combat the “sea of red” that British and Irish Lions supporters will bring to this month’s Test series, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said yesterday. The ARU said it has produced more than 50,000 “lion-hunting pith helmets” to ensure the Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Test venues have a golden backdrop for the much-anticipated showdown. The safari hats will be distributed free to Australia fans as they enter the stadiums in Brisbane on June 22, Melbourne on June 29 and Sydney on July 6. ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said they would be a “call to arms” for Australia supporters. “We always urge Wallabies fans to ‘Be Bold, Wear Gold,’ but that catch cry has never been more important than it is now,” he said. “This has been a tour 12 years in the making. It is an incredibly important moment in our rugby history.” Pulver said Australia was caught unawares by the large numbers of Lions fans on the last tour in 2001. The ARU expects aggregated crowd numbers to approach 400,000 — an increase of more than 30 percent on 2001, when 300,100 fans attended 10 matches.
Ranger’s future in limbo
New Zealand center Rene Ranger may be forced to honor a contract with French club Montpellier at the expense of his All Blacks career. Ranger made his fourth Test appearance for New Zealand — his first in three years — as a replacement in last weekend’s first Test against France at Eden Park. Prior to his recall, Ranger — assuming his Test career was over — signed a three-year contract with French club Montpellier thought to be worth more than US$1 million. Now he is trying to rescind that contract, but Montpellier are reportedly demanding a large payment to cancel the deal.
The potential for severe storms led to the postponement of the final game of a three-game series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox, with manager John Gibbons pushing each of his starting pitchers back one day as a result. Coming off his Blue Jays debut the previous evening, Taiwanese right-hander Wang Chien-ming is now scheduled to start against the Colorado Rockies at the Jays’ home field on Tuesday (Taiwan time), instead of the original plan to pitch against the Texas Rangers. In his debut against the White Sox, Wang gave up 10 hits and five runs, but more importantly hurled 7.1 innings to give some much-needed rest to the bullpen, which has logged more innings than any other major league team. Wang’s 7.1 innings were mainly marred by a three-run homer in the fourth, in which he lost four points, but he settled into rhythm after the home run and retired eight of the next nine batters.
McIlroy channels Rocky
Rory McIlroy took the chance to re-enact a scene from Rocky before teeing off in the US Open. The world’s No. 2 ranked player said earlier this week that he was “half-thinking” of heading into Philadelphia to the spot where Rocky Balboa jumped up and down triumphantly after running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On Wednesday, the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland tweeted: “Can’t come to Philadelphia and not see the ‘Rocky’ steps!!” along with a photograph showing a jubilant figure with arms raised Rocky-style and wearing a Phillies baseball cap backward. The museum is about 16km from the Merion Golf Club, where McIlroy and the rest of the US Open field were to tee off yesterday.
Leffler dies after crash
NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died from injuries suffered when his car slammed into the wall of a dirt raceway in New Jersey on Wednesday night, state police said. The crash occurred during a race at the Bridgeport Speedway in Logan Township, New Jersey State Police spokesman Sergeant Adam Grossman said. Leffler, 37, of Huntersville, North Carolina, was rushed to the Crozier Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead at 9:02pm, police said. The raceway calls itself the “Fastest Dirt Track in the East.” It consists of a high-banked dirt oval, where average speeds reach well above 160kph, according to the track’s Web site. Leffler was a two-time winner of the Nationwide Series and had been racing for more than a decade, his Web site said.
Jellyfish stops McCardel
Australian endurance star Chloe McCardel abruptly scrapped her bid to swim non-stop from Cuba to the US state of Florida after a “debilitating” jellyfish sting, her team said late on Wednesday. “McCardel’s attempt to be the first person to complete a non-stop swim from Cuba to the US without a shark cage has ended prematurely after 11 hours due to a severe, debilitating jelly fish sting,” spokesman Tim Stackpool told reporters by e-mail. “Chloe is now on one of the support vessels heading to Key West [Florida]. She will spend the next 24 hours recuperating before deciding on her plans going forward,” he added. The jellyfish struck just hours after the 29-year-old, who was attempting the feat without flippers or a wetsuit, plunged into the sea at Havana’s Marina Hemingway at 10am at the start of a what would have been a 170km swim.