PETA seeks slaughter ban
Animal rights group PETA has called on UEFA to ban the “ritual slaughter of animals” after a sheep was sacrificed prior to Kazakh side Shakhter Karagandy’s Champions League playoff match against Celtic. The organization has written to UEFA president Michel Platini asking him to use his influence to ensure that the governing body’s “prestigious competitions are not tainted by such horrifying cruelty.” Shakhter killed the sheep before training for their home first leg tie against Celtic on Tuesday. “The ritual slaughter of animals deeply upsets caring people worldwide and is already the subject of controversy,” PETA’s associate director Mimi Bekhechi said in the letter. “May I please have your assurance that you will not permit the proposed killing of animals at stadiums that will host European football matches?”
Anya gets Scotland call-up
Watford’s Ikechi Anya on Friday received his first Scotland call-up after being named in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and Macedonia next month. Anya, who can play at full-back or in midfield, was born in Glasgow to a Nigerian father and Romanian mother. The 25-year-old began his career at Wycombe Wanderers in the English lower leagues, but was released and moved to Spain to resurrect his career at the Glenn Hoddle Academy following a short spell with Northampton Town. Anya impressed in Spain and won a contract with Sevilla before moving to Championship club Watford last year after playing spells with several Spanish clubs. “He is a late developer,” Scotland manager Gordon Strachan said. “He is a guy who has seen there is a chance and worked hard.”
Club fined over Nazi banner
Hungarian club Ferencvaros was fined by national sports authorities on Friday after fans commemorated the death of a suspected Nazi war criminal. The Budapest club was fined 800,000 forints (US$3,580) after supporters unfurled a banner honoring Laszlo Csatari during a game last Saturday against rivals MTK, a club favored by the Jewish community. Csatari, who was awaiting trial for allegedly sending 12,000 Jews to death camps, died on Aug. 10. “We can only repeat that any [political or racist] remark or action, hidden or overt, has no place on the pitch,” the Hungarian soccer association said in a statement on its Web site. It added that the fine was low as the club had distanced itself from the fans’ actions and had cooperated in finding the culprits.
Lehmann called hypocrite
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has accused coach Darren Lehmann of hypocrisy in attacking England’s Stuart Broad for “blatant cheating” during this season’s first Ashes Test. Lehmann’s comments in an Australian radio interview saw him fined 20 percent of his match in the ongoing fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval. Broad angered Australia during England’s first Test win at Trent Bridge when he refused to walk after a thick edge deflected off the wicketkeeper’s gloves to slip. Chappell said Australians, who have traditionally always waited for the umpire’s decision, were in no position to complain about opponents who did exactly the same thing. “I don’t like to be called a cheat and basically he [Lehmann] is calling all people who don’t walk a cheat, which would include himself,” Chappell told BBC Radio Five on Friday.
Monaco, Toulouse draw 0-0
AS Monaco dropped their first points of the season as the big-spending club were held to a goalless draw by visiting Toulouse in a French Ligue 1 game played behind closed doors on Friday. Yannick Carrasco went close for the league leaders when his angled shot went just over in the 26th minute, while expensive Colombia striker Radamel Falcao failed with a bicycle-kick attempt at goal at the start of the second half. Monaco were ordered to play the game behind closed doors because of violent behavior by fans during last season’s Ligue 2 title celebrations. Claudio Ranieri’s men now have seven points from three games this season, one ahead of Olympique Lyonnais, Olympique de Marseille and AS Saint-Etienne.
Dortmund edge Bremen 1-0
Robert Lewandowski scored to give Borussia Dortmund a hard-fought 1-0 win over Werder Bremen on Friday and maintain the team’s winning start to the Bundesliga. Lewandowski broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, when Marco Reus crossed from the right to give the Poland striker an easy finish from close range. Dortmund had created numerous chances before that, but lacked the efficiency to turn them into goals. “We need to look at it and see what we can do better. At the moment, all I can say is that we didn’t put the ball in, but there are reasons for that,” Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. Jakub Blaszczykowski rattled the crossbar in the first half, and Bremen captain Aaron Hunt twice cleared off the line.
Gonzalez leads at Gleneagles
A dazzling run of five straight birdies at the end of the second round gave Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez a second successive seven-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland on Friday. Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (66) was in second place on 131, two ahead of British pair Mark Foster (67) and Tommy Fleetwood (65) at Gleneagles, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup. “I don’t think I have ever shot 65 two days in a row,” the 43-year-old Gonzalez told reporters as he chased the fifth European Tour victory of his career. Italy’s Francesco Molinari was six strokes off the pace after carding a 67, while Ryder Cup team mate Paul Lawrie was on 137 following his 67. Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley returned a 71 for 139, while his predecessor as skipper, Jose Maria Olazabal (68), was down the field on 141 and just made the cut.
Nadal in Poker Tour
Tennis star Rafael Nadal will take part in his first live poker tournament in December, Czech media reports said on Friday, after devoting himself to the game since a knee injury last summer knocked him off court for several months. Nadal will participate in the European Poker Tour in Prague from Dec. 8 to Dec. 18, according to Dnes newspaper, which quoted online gambling company Pokerstars. It is the first time the Spanish star will have played “offline” in a tournament, but whether he would take part in the official competition or a separate fringe event was not specified. Nadal appears in advertising for Pokerstars and has previously participated in online events for the company. A documentary about the current world No. 2 and winner of 12 Grand Slams will also be screened at the tournament. “When he started playing poker, he only had the very basics of the game, but his competitive nature meant he quickly improved,” said Alfonso Cardalda, Nadal’s poker coach.