Thu, Dec 12, 2013 - Page 19


Olympics a step closer

Football took a small step closer to potential inclusion in the Olympics on Tuesday. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board granted provisional recognition to the international association that oversees the US sport. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) had 64 member nations spanning six continents. USA Football governs the sport in the US and is associated with the NFL. A vote on approving football for the Summer Games could take place as early as 2017, with the possibility of the sport joining the Olympics in 2024. IOC sports director Christophe Dubi praised football’s federation for demonstrating “strong youth appeal and making great progress in developing their sport around the world.”


Ferguson guilty of groping

Australian State of Origin rugby league representative Blake Ferguson has been found guilty of groping a young woman at a Sydney bar earlier this year. A Sutherland Local Court yesterday found Ferguson indecently touched the 24-year-old woman in a late-night incident on June 16. Ferguson’s defense argued he mistook the victim for another blonde woman he had been kissing at another venue earlier that night. Magistrate Jacqueline Trad said Ferguson’s actions violated standards of decency. He will be sentenced early next year. Ferguson, 23, who represented New South Wales in this year’s State of Origin series, has played for the Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders in the National Rugby League. He was dropped by the Raiders in September for his off-field behavior.


Vettel slams rule changes

Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel has ridiculed a decision to give double points in the final race of the upcoming seasons, calling it “absurd.” The German driver says the decision by the sport’s governing body “punishes those who have worked hard for a whole season.” The idea behind the decision is to add more suspense to the season’s finale. Vettel won this season’s title with three races to spare. Vettel says he respects “old traditions in the Formula One” and does not understand the new rule. Vettel told Sport-Bild magazine: “Imagine if there were suddenly double points in the final round of the Bundesliga.”


Murray to skip BBC awards

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has decided not to attend Sunday’s BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony, despite being the hot favorite to take the top prize. The Scot was installed as the front-runner for the prestigious award immediately following his historic win over Novak Djokovic in July made him the first British men’s singles victor at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Murray had considered being present at the hugely popular ceremony in Leeds, but in the end, decided to stay at his training base in Miami, where he is working his way back to fitness after an operation on his lower back in September. Instead, the 26-year-old Murray will link up with the show live by video from Florida, as he did last year, when he was presented with the third-placed trophy by former heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis. The world No. 4 intends to train every day up to and including Christmas Day before flying to Abu Dhabi, where he is due to begin his season on Dec. 26 with a match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray says he does not want his decision to be seen as a snub to the award or the BBC.