SPORTS BRIEF

Agencies

Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 16

BOXING

Foreman challenges Seagal

Former heavyweight champion George Foreman has challenged big-screen tough guy Steven Seagal to a real-life fight. Foreman, 68, posted a picture of 65-year-old Seagal on Twitter on Monday, writing: “I challenge you One on one, I use boxing you can use whatever. 10 rounds in Vegas.” When fans asked Foreman on Twitter why he wanted to fight Seagal, Foreman replied that the martial artist “really can fight” and is big enough to defend himself. Foreman first won the heavyweight title in 1973 and again in 1994. Seagal made headlines last week for saying that NFL players kneeling during the national anthem were a “joke” and an “outrage.” A representative for Seagal on Tuesday told reporters that the star did not want to comment on Foreman’s offer.

FOOTBALL

Anheuser-Busch backs NFL

One of the NFL’s largest advertisers is taking feedback from consumers about national anthem protests, but stands by its sponsorship of the league. More than 200 players kneeled or sat during the anthem after US President Donald Trump’s criticism last month regarding such protests. The move by the players prompted a backlash from some fans. Anheuser-Busch on Monday started giving callers to its consumer hotline the automated option of leaving feedback about its NFL corporate sponsorship. The company signed a six-year deal with the NFL in 2015. Anheuser-Busch spokesman Matt Kohan said the company supports the military and employs 1,100 veterans, but also believes “in the power of sport to bring people together and overcome their differences.” He said the company has no plans to end its NFL sponsorship.

ICE HOCKEY

Sabres, Eichel sign contract

The Buffalo Sabres have reached an agreement to sign their franchise player, Jack Eichel, to an NHL-maximum eight-year, US$80 million contract. The team on Tuesday night announced the signing on Twitter in a deal reached two days before Buffalo host the Montreal Canadiens in the season opener. Eichel is entering the final year of his three-year entry-level contract and is only eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer. The deal was reached after talks had cooled for much of the past six weeks. In averaging US$10 million per season, Eichel ties Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar on the NHL list of annual average salaries.

SOCCER

FIFA punishes African teams

FIFA has punished numerous African nations for offenses during qualifiers last month for next year’s World Cup, the world soccer body said on Tuesday. Among the penalties, Gabon forfeited by a mandatory 3-0 score a match against Ivory Coast in Libreville for fielding suspended midfielder Merlin Tandjigora. However, Gabon lost the match 3-0, so the punishment effectively amounted to a US$6,200 fine. Nigeria were fined US$30,000 after spectators invaded the pitch in Uyo, Nigeria, during a 4-0 triumph over Cameroon. The Democratic Republic of the Congo must pay US$20,000 after the crowd hurled bottles and set off incendiary devices during a 2-2 draw with Tunisia in Kinshasa. The fines are a serious blow, as most African national associations struggle financially, with many relying on government bailouts for survival.