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Global sports round-up

VVS Laxman

HYDERABAD – The two Test series between India and New Zealand starting on August 23 might be the last that VVS Laxman will play as the classy right-handed batsman is contemplating retirement

According to ‘The Hindu’ Laxman is planning to announce his retirement shortly, after having consulted his well-wishers. The report also stated that the reason Laxman is planning to call it quits is because he is hurt by comments that he is blocking a youngster’s spot by continuing to play in Tests.

“A final decision will be taken about the exact details of my plans by this evening,” he said.

The Hyderabadi cricketer initially was not even interested in playing the two Test series. But, after speaking with family and friends, Laxman is set to make his final appearance in a Test series.

37-year-old Laxman, who made his Test debut against South Africa at Ahmedabad in November 1996, has played 134 Tests for India, scoring 8781 runs at an average of 45.97, including 17 centuries and 56 fifties.


NFL wants insurers to fight injury suits

LOS ANGELES – The National Football League has filed a lawsuit against nearly three dozen insurance companies, seeking to force them to defend the league against mounting brain injury claims by former players and their families.

The suit, filed late Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, names virtually every major insurer in the country, led by the Allianz-owned Fireman’s Fund. All the firms were involved in coverage for the league or its affiliates at some point between the late 1960s and today.

The NFL said it was a defendant in at least 143 bodily or personal injury suits, and that its insurers were obligated to defend the league under its general liability policies, which the group said they had not provided..

Retired players in increasing numbers are taking action against the NFL over brain injuries they claim to have suffered playing football. At least some of the suits allege the league deliberately and fraudulently concealed the risks of injury, a charge it vehemently denies.

Several retired NFL players have committed suicide in recent years by shooting themselves in the chest, in some cases with the explicit goal of preserving their brains for study.


Conte claims drug use common in MLB

BALCO founder Victor Conte

NEW YORK – BALCO founder Victor Conte, who did prison time for distributing steroids to a number of high-profile sports personalities, has claimed that about half the players in major baseball in the USA have used steroids. His comments came following the 50-day suspension of Melky Cabrera from Major League Baseball after testing positive for steroids.

Conte said getting around drug testing was easy.

“To circumvent the test is like taking candy from a baby,” Conte said. “It’s so easy to circumvent. I call it the ‘duck-and-dodge’ system. The only people that get caught are the dumb, and the dumber.”

Conte added: “What these guys are doing is using fast-acting testosterone, creams, gels, patches and micro-dose injections. They put this stuff on after a game, let it circulate in their blood stream, and eight hours later, it’s out of their system when they take a drug test. It’s so simple.”


Twitter reply sees Ferdinand fined

LONDON – Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been fined £45,000 by the Football Association over a comment posted on Twitter.

The charge arose from Ferdinand’s response to a Twitter message that characterised Chelsea defender Ashley Cole as a “choc-ice” and a personal hearing was held last week.

The FA has confirmed the charge has been found to be proven by an independent regulatory commission and Ferdinand has also been warned as to his future conduct.

In a statement the FA said: “The Commission decided that the comment was improper and brought the game into disrepute.

“In addition, the Commission found that the breach included a reference to ethnic origin, colour or race. Ferdinand was fined £45,000 and warned as to his future conduct.”

Cole was a defence witness when John Terry, a Caucasian, was acquitted in July of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton Ferdinand, the QPR defender.

Ferdinand reacted in an amused fashion to the “choc-ice” Tweet which came from another Twitter user.

It is a term which is slang to mean “black on the outside, white on the inside”, and was a reference from its original writer to Cole’s testimony in court.

The Chelsea full-back told the court he did not hear Terry make a racist remark to Anton Ferdinand during the match between Chelsea and QPR at Loftus Road in October.

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