Global sports round-up

Crowe diagnosed with cancer

AUCKLAND – Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer.

Martin Crowe

The diagnosis, New Zealand newspapers reported today, was “very new” and Crowe’s family was still coming to terms with it. No details have as yet been released of how serious or at what stage the cancer is.

“Understandably the family have a number of issues to confront over the next couple of weeks, the diagnosis is very new, the family is still in shock and obviously dealing with the understanding that life as they know it for the unforeseeable future is different,” Louise Henderson, a close family friend and manager, was quoted as saying.

One of New Zealand’s most celebrated batsmen, Crowe, 50, had played 77 Tests between 1982 and 1995, before he was forced to quit international cricket due to a bad knee.

He had briefly attempted to return to competitive cricket last November, saying that he considered it a means of self-motivation and a tool to get fit, and also an opportunity to score the 392 runs he needs to tally 20,000 first-class runs.

However, the attempt was aborted three balls into his first innings, as he pulled a thigh muscle while batting for Cornwall against Parnell.


Arsenal killing title chances

MOSCOW – England premier league side Arsenal will not win trophies if they keep selling their best players although manager Arsene Wenger has maintained an attractive style with a changing squad, Uzbek-born shareholder Alisher Usmanov says.

Alisher Usmanov

Arsenal, who have not won any silverware since 2005, lost Dutch striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United last month for a reported 24 million pounds after Cameroon midfielder Alex Song left for Barcelona in August.

“Nobody can convince fans that the club is doing fine if for the past three or four years the club has been selling its best players,” Usmanov said.

“It doesn’t matter who our extremely talented coach, Arsene Wenger, buys to plug these holes if we want to win trophies.”

Usmanov, whose Red and White Holdings vehicle holds just under 30 percent of the club, has criticised Arsenal’s board for selling leading players. But he backed the French coach, who has been at the club since 1996.

“I’m an absolute fan of Arsene Wenger,” Usmanov said. “I support him and I’m confident in him. We think he’s a hero.

“Despite changes in the playing lineup, he keeps the variations of the same beautiful game”.


United snag East European sponsors

LONDON – English Premier League soccer club Manchester United have signed their first sponsorship deal in a former Soviet country, teaming up with Bakcell, a telecoms company in Azerbaijan.

The three-year agreement announced on Monday is one of a number of local sponsorship deals done by United,

English champions a record 19 times, who enjoy a large following around the globe.

The club’s international commercial expansion is a model that rivals are keen to emulate.

Bakcell will broadcast the club’s MUTV channel in Azerbaijan, while its mobile subscribers will also be offered club news and video highlights.

“This new agreement is another first for Manchester United, with it being the only partnership the club has in the country,” its commercial director Richard Arnold said.

United have 659 million followers around the globe, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the club earlier this year.

Around 1.68 million of them were in Azerbaijan, a country of more than 9 million people which is wedged between Russia and Iran on the Caspian Sea.

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