Brazil fines FIFA
FIFA has been fined over ticketing problems which arose at a Confederations Cup match in Brazil in June, media and consumer organizations said on Thursday. Consumer body Procon indicated a civil ruling had been made against FIFA in the northeastern city of Recife, following a case brought on behalf of eight fans who said they were unable to access their seats for the June 16 Confederations Cup match between Spain and Uruguay. Procon said FIFA and its operational services provider Match had both been fined 500,000 reais (US$210,000). One fan received 2,000 reais in compensation, with others receiving smaller sums after a magistrate ruled that their consumer rights had been breached. The fans said they had tickets to be seated near the action, but that they were reassigned to seats further up in the stands, some with a poor view of the pitch. Sports daily Lance quoted the director of Procon’s Recife office, Jose Neves, as saying that “we received various complaints” from fans and that the case augured badly for next year’s World Cup, which Brazil is to host. Meanwhile, Globo daily described the outcome as a “first defeat for FIFA before Brazilian justice.”
Former youth star dies
Wayne Harrison, who once signed for Liverpool for ￡250,000 (US$412,000), making him the world’s most expensive teenage soccer player before his career spiraled into decline, has died at the age of 46, local media said. The Liverpool Echo reported that Harrison, who retired in 1991, had suffered from pancreatic problems and died in hospital on Christmas Day. Harrison was tipped for stardom when he moved to Liverpool from Oldham in 1985 at just 17, having made only five first-team appearances. He was on the verge of appearing for the Anfield giants for the first time when he fell through a greenhouse. At the time the local ambulance service was on strike and he came close to death through loss of blood before army medics managed to get him to hospital. He went on to fall through his loft before, at the age of just 22, he suffered a career-ending cruciate knee ligament injury in the last minute of a reserve game.
Spain loses injured player
Spain’s Tommy Robredo has an arm injury and has withdrawn from the Hopman mixed teams tournament, which is set to begin today. Tournament officials did not give any additional details yesterday on the injury, saying No. 18 Robredo would be replaced by 194th-ranked Daniel Munoz-De La Nava. Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz withdrew with a foot injury a week ago and was replaced by Grzegorz Panfil, who will team with Agnieszka Radwanska. Australia, represented by Bernard Tomic and Sam Stosur, are to begin play today against Canada’s Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard at the Perth Arena. Poland is to play Italy in the other Group A match.
Philander picked for T20s
South Africa have included the world’s No. 1 Test bowler, Vernon Philander, in their preliminary 30-man squad for the World Twenty20 tournament to be played in Bangladesh next year. Philander played the last of his seven Twenty20 international matches in 2007, but his recall to the one-day international setup suggested the Proteas were ready to use him in the shortest format of the game as well. The squad, to be captained by Faf du Plessis, has been submitted well before the Jan. 6 deadline and will be pruned to the final 15 players later.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first