IPL loses sponsor
NEW DELHI – DLF Ltd, India’s largest real estate firm, has decided not to renew its title sponsorship of the India Premier League, ending its five-year association with the tournament. The company had the first right of refusal on a new contract, but was considered unlikely to sign up a second time given the slump in the real estate market and the decline in the IPL’s television ratings over the last two years.
“Sponsoring IPL over the last five years was a strategic decision wherein we wanted to establish our brand presence across India as the leading real estate player,”
Rajeev Talwar, DLF Group Executive Director said.
“Our IPO came in 2007, a year before the IPL started. We were very aggressive pan-India then. We had good presence in all big cities.” The company is now concentrating on those cities where its core strengths lie.
According to Talwar, DLF spent Rs 250 crore (US$44.96 million) on the IPL over the five years of its contract.
Venus’ need for speed
NEW YORK – Venus Williams clocked the fastest women’s serve of the US Open in overpowering Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3 6-1 in the first round at Flushing Meadows today.
Williams withdrew from the US Open last year shortly before her second-round match against Sabine Lisicki and revealed she had Sjogren’s syndrome.
After a long and difficult battle to control the autoimmune disease, she is back in the second round but has a tough assignment against the sixth-seed Angelique Kerber from Germany.
Williams lost the first two games to Mattek-Sands before showing glimpses of the form that has earned her seven major titles.
She landed a first serve of 124 mph (199.5km/h) – the quickest of the women’s tournament to date.
SWANSEA – Swansea have rejected a bid of £6.2million from Manchester City for winger Scott Sinclair.
The 23-year-old recently told Swans chairman Huw Jenkins and manager Michael Laudrup that he would not sign a new deal at the Liberty Stadium, with less than a year to run on his current deal he was widely expected to leave.
City were understood to have made an initial bid of around £5million, but Swansea were keen for a higher offer as Chelsea will get a percentage of any fee due to a sell-on clause inserted when Sinclair moved to south Wales in 2010.
City have now returned with an improved offer, but it is understood it has been turned down by the Swans – who are determined to have their valuation of the player met.
Laudrup and Jenkins have made it clear they are prepared to keep Sinclair in south Wales if they do not believe a deal is in Swansea’s best interests.
Sinclair was not included in the squad against West Ham on Saturday, or against Barnsley in the League Cup, but Laudrup has insisted he will restore the wide man to his squad if he remains at the club.
City now face a race against time to bring in the Team GB star before close of business at the end of the week.
Eto’o says no
YAOUNDE – Star striker Samuel Eto’o has rejected a call- up to the Cameroon squad, much to the surprise of national team coach Denis Lavagne.
Eto’o, 31, was supposed to be part of the squad to face Cape Verde Islands in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in September, which would have been the striker’s first game for his country since the Cameroon Football Federation banned him for eight months in response to his part in a players’ strike over unpaid bonuses.
But the former Barcelona man declined the offer in protest at the CFF’s “amateurism and poor organisation”.
Lavagne, annoyed at the loss of his key man, told Jeune Afrique: “I counted on him after his eight-month suspension. He would make us better because he has huge talent. I’m surprised, but I have no choice but to take note of his refusal.’’