Platini pans technology
The use of goal-line technology has opened a Pandora’s box in soccer and encouraged demands for other forms of electronic aids to be used, UEFA president Michel Platini said yesterday. “I told you from the start I was against this technology, because then we will have offside technology, penalty technology, throw-in technology, everything,” he told a news conference. “The Pandora’s box has been opened, that’s what I said would happen at the beginning and now we are getting the confirmation.” The Frenchman has fought almost a lone battle against the use of television -assisted goal-line technology, which was approved by football’s rule-making body last year. It was used at the World Club Cup in December last year, the Confederations Cup in June and is now in use in the Champions League. UEFA have developed an alternative system of having two extra linesmen, one on each goal line, which is used in European club competitions and the European championship. Platini said that experience in other sports had shown that video technology was not 100 percent reliable. “Rugby is using technology with forward passes and French television now want to start the matches earlier,” he said. “You have to review the action and the referees are no longer taking decisions because you have to run to a monitor and the referees are waiting for technology to decide. “I was against this all along, here it is and the debate has now kicked off and we will have a debate for the next couple of years on our hands.”
Spurs sign Chiriches
Tottenham Hotspur have reached an agreement to sign Romania center back Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest, the Premier League club said yesterday. The 23-year-old, who has 19 caps, helped Steaua win the Romanian league last season. Spurs announced the agreement on their website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com) without disclosing financial details, but British media have reported the transfer fee to be about ￡8.5 million (US$13.17 million). Tottenham have been busy strengthening their squad with the likes of striker Roberto Soldado and midfielder Paulinho in a transfer window dominated by Real Madrid’s bid to sign the north London club’s Wales forward Gareth Bale for a world record fee. Chiriches will provide defensive cover after the departures of Frenchman William Gallas and Steven Caulker.
Tsonga splits from coach
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had to sit out the US Open currently under way in New York to fully recover from a knee injury, praised coach Roger Rasheed’s contributions to his improved play, saying that he had learned much from him since the start of the year. “But the language barrier and the difficulties involved in our respective geographic situations hinders our association and at 28 [years old] time is running out for me to achieve my objectives,” Tsonga said in a press release. “I am currently looking at several options and I hope things will be clearer in the next few weeks.” Tsonga was coached by French Tennis Federation coach Eric Winogradsky from 2004 until 2011 and then spent a year on his own before turning to Rasheed, who had previously been with Australian Lleyton Hewitt and another Frenchman, Gael Monfils. Currently ranked eighth in the world, Tsonga reached the final of the Australian Open in 2008 where he lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets, but he has yet to win a Grand Slam title.
Griffin cleared to play
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been cleared to play in the team’s NFL season-opener on Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan announced after Thursday’s 30-12 preseason victory over Tampa Bay that Griffin, who had reconstructive knee surgery in January, had been cleared to play by doctor James Andrews. “RG3” was named the NFL’s top offensive rookie last season. He completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards, with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions in 15 games, and also rushed for 815 yards and seven touchdowns.
Monkeys derail Aussie
Australian mountain bike rider Daniel McConnell’s dreams of winning a world title today were almost shattered in extraordinary fashion last week when he collided with a troop of monkeys while training in South Africa. McConnell, who finished 21st in the men’s cross-country at last year’s London Olympics, was surprised by the local fauna while training near the Pietermaritzburg course where the world championships take place this weekend. The tumble left the 28-year-old Trek Factory Racing rider with a bruised shoulder and skin wounds on both hands. “For a while I didn’t think I would start, but now I am, I am going to give it everything,” McConnell said in a Cycling Australia media release.
Kaka wants to leave Real
Real Madrid’s Brazilian playmaker Kaka has told the Spanish club he wants to leave after deciding he will not get sufficient playing time under new coach Carlo Ancelotti. The 31-year-old has failed to reproduce the form that won him a World Player of the Year award in 2007 since he joined Real from AC Milan for a fee of 65 million euros (US$86 million) in 2009. Real have several players ahead of him in the pecking order, including Germany’s Mesut Ozil and Spain’s Isco, and Kaka said he hoped to move on before the transfer window closes on Monday. “The club knows I want to leave and I would like them to help me find a solution for my exit,” he said on Thursday. “I cannot go to Brazil because the market is closed, the exit would be within Europe,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about clubs because I have none at this stage.”
Bastia signs Nigeria’s Mba
Sunday Mba, who scored the goal that won the Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria earlier this year, left Warri Wolves for French team CA Bastia on Thursday. The 24-year-old has signed a one-year deal, the Ligue 2 club told reporters in Corsica. Mba, who was on target in the 40th minute of the 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in the Nations Cup final in Johannesburg in February, cost CA Bastia a fee of 1 million euros (US$1.32 million). The promoted French club are 15th in the 20-team table, with two points from four games.
Besiktas out of Europe
Turkish club Besiktas have been excluded from the Europa League this season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld a UEFA-imposed one-year ban from European competition for match-fixing, the court said yesterday. Playing under appeal against the original ban, Besiktas beat Norway’s Tromso 2-0 on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League playoff, winning the tie 3-2 on aggregate, but the CAS ruling ends their campaign before the group stages.