Arian Foster shares sold
US football fans glued to TV screens on Sundays will soon have a new way of showing their devotion to the pigskin: buying stocks linked to their favorite players. California-based brokerage house Fantex aims to raise US$10.5 million in an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, according to documents submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to their agreement, Foster will turn over 20 percent of his future earnings related to football, including endorsements and contracts, to benefit his future stockholders. In return, the 27-year-old football star, who calls himself an “entrepreneur” on his personal Web site, could pocket up to US$10 million up front — the bulk of the amount Fantex hopes to raise from selling shares at US$10 a pop. Fantex will profit too — about US$500,000 from the IPO, plus the fees on all the transactions, which are set to start in the coming weeks. The brokerage firm prides itself on being a global pioneer, but notes that “investing” in an athlete this way carries high risks, because his value is variable based on performance and intangible qualities, like image. “This offering is highly speculative and the securities involve a high degree of risk,” the company admits in its 37-page filing with the SEC. The company adds that people should only invest if they “can afford the loss of their entire investment.”
Wozniacki reaches semis
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark held off Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Luxembourg Open. After both players struggled to hold serve at the start, Wozniacki had the only break of the third set to clinch the win. She will face third-seeded Sabine Lisicki, who beat Karin Knapp of Italy 7-5, 4-6, 6-0. On a day full of three-setters, Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland beat second-seeded Sloane Stephens of the US 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and faces Annika Beck of Germany in the semi-finals. Beck came through the longest match of the tournament, defeating Katarzyna Piter of Poland, 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/5) in 3 hours, 12 minutes.
Paire reaches semi-finals
French wild-card entry Benoit Paire beat second-seeded Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Stockholm Open. Paire will face seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday after the Bulgarian beat left-handed Kenny de Schepper of France 6-4, 6-2. Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain also advanced when his quarter-final opponent, countryman Fernando Verdasco, pulled out because of an abdominal injury. Ferrer next faces fifth-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who had more of a struggle as he advanced with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in little over 2 hours.
Nice beat Marseille 1-0
Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina shrugged off his World Cup jet lag to star in OGC Nice’s 1-0 Ligue 1 win over Cote d’Azur rivals Olympique de Marseille on Friday. Ospina, who played in Tuesday’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Paraguay in Asuncion, pulled off a string of fine saves as Nice moved into fifth place in the table, four points off the lead held by AS Monaco. Marseille remain fourth, ahead of Nice on goal-difference. Another South American, Argentine striker Dario Cvitanich, grabbed the only goal of the game in the 40th minute.
Zenit win to extend lead
Russian league leaders Zenit St Petersburg extended their winning streak to seven matches with a 2-0 success over CSKA Moscow on Friday. Zenit moved onto 32 points from 13 matches to extend their lead over Moscow clubs Spartak and Lokomotiv to eight points ahead of their games against Anzhi Makhachkala and Amkar Perm today and tomorrow respectively. Midfielder Roman Shirokov put Zenit 1-0 up in the 16th minute when he ran onto Andrei Arshavin’s lobbed pass into the area and rounded goalkeeper Sergei Chepchugov before firing home into an unguarded net from a tight angle. Reigning champions CSKA replied positively and created a host of scoring chances, but a lack of accuracy in front of Yury Lodygin’s goal let them down. Brazilian forward Hulk made it 2-0 for the league leaders just before the break, shooting into the top right-hand corner from 15m. After the interval the hosts controlled the game and their two-goal advantage was never under serious threat. “We got a good result but didn’t play well tonight,” Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti said.
McIlroy struggles continue
Former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot himself out of contention in the third round of the Kolon Korea Open yesterday. The two-time major champion struck a four-over 75 at the par-71 Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, south of Seoul. The Northern Irish star, the marquee attraction at the US$1 million OneAsia event, had three bogeys and one double bogey along with a lone birdie, falling to one-over 214 for the tournament. He began the day tied for fifth, but ended it tied for 13th, 10 strokes behind the leader Kim Hyung-tae of South Korea. Kim poured in five birdies against no bogey for his second straight round of five-under 66. At 204, he holds a four-stroke lead over compatriot Hong Soon-sang, the second-round leader who shot an even 71 yesterday. South Korean Mo Joong-kyung is another shot behind at four-under 209. Defending champion Kim Dae-sub reached three-under thanks to a bogey-free 68. Five other South Koreans were tied at two-under on a leader board dominated by the locals. McIlroy had been hoping to pick up his first win of the year at the South Korean national championship. He went out in an even 36 after trading in a birdie with a bogey, but then the bottom fell out on the back nine. He had a double bogey on the par-4 10th, and a bogey on the par-4 11th. Another bogey on the par-4 15th was his final undoing.
Devoted fan to miss match
Wolverhampton Wanderers fan Peter Abbott was due to miss his first home match for 37 years yesterday, after having to abandon the delights of Molineux to be at his stepdaughter’s wedding. “I’ve been trying to get my head around this for eight months, but I am past that now,” he said, finally resigned to missing the English League One match against Coventry City. The last home match the 56-year-old missed was against Tottenham Hotspur in March 1976 and since then he has missed one other game, away at Blackburn Rovers in 1985 when his train broke down on the way to the ground. Abbott, who lives in Ipswich and has a round trip of 530km to Wolverhampton and back, has seen 1,902 matches since March 1976 and added: “I wondered if the Coventry match would change for television, but as it was getting nearer the date I realized that wasn’t going to happen and unless there is an unbelievable weather occurrence the game will go ahead without me. All things come to an end.”