Global sports round-up
Pietersen back in England squad
LONDON – The England selectors today announced that Kevin Pietersen has been added to the Test squad for the forthcoming tour of India.
The decision was made after Pietersen met with coach Andy Flower, captain Alastair Cook and a number of other senior players and members of the England team management in Oxford earlier this week.
ECB Managing Director – England Cricket, Hugh Morris said: “We were keen that Kevin should hold a series of face-to-face meetings with team management and senior players before the Test squad departs for the UAE and India next week.
“The meetings were constructive and cordial and all outstanding issues have been resolved. All the England players and management are now keen to draw a line under this matter and fully focus on the cricketing challenge that lies ahead in India.”
Hayden: Honour should be for Aussies only
SYDNEY – Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden has expressed his displeasure over Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar being awarded the prestigious Order of Australia.
The explosive left-hander said that even though Tendulkar was extremely popular in Australia, the honour should remain exclusively for Australian citizens.
“If Sachin was living in Australia, then gee, why not give him the Prime Minister gong. For me, it should be exclusive for Australians,” he said.
On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, during her India visit, announced that the `Order of Australia` would be conferred on Sachin Tendulkar for his huge contribution to the sport.
Other non-Australians who have been similarly honoured include West Indians Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd and Sir Garry Sobers, although the latter has Australian citizen through marriage to an Australian.
Ferrarri System rocks cycling world
PADUA – An investigation into a sports doctor who helped orchestrate an elaborate doping program for Lance Armstrong has opened a “Pandora’s box” of shady dealings worth millions, a report said today.
Michele Ferrari has already been banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency for his role in an extensive doping network that snared seven-times Tour de France champion Armstrong.
But today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport said a separate probe, launched by Padua investigators in 2010, has also uncovered a world of shady business dealings and money laundering spread across several European countries.
Under the heading “The Ferrari System”, it said investigators had uncovered a system in which up to 30 million euros circulated thanks to the use of Swiss bank accounts and complicit individuals in key positions.
The report labelled it the “largest doping investigation in sports history”, dwarfing the “Operation Puerto” scandal from May 2006 when dozens of cyclists and athletes were implicated in a blood doping network run by a Madrid laboratory.
Africa Cup to hit English teams hard
LONDON – The English Premier League is set to lose key players at the pivotal stage of the season as 21 Africans are expected to play at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The 21 players are expected to be named in their countries squad for the tournament to be held in South Africa from January, thanks to their performances.
According to FIFA laws, clubs must release their players two weeks before the start of the African Cup of Nations which clashes with the English football calendar. The potential for disruption in England is higher not only in the English top-flight, but also in the Championship and even down to League Two. Premier League Title contenders like Manchester City, Arsenal, Newcastle and Aston Villa will lose players while strugglers West Brom, Wigan and QPR could all lose key players.
Man City hopes of retaining the title will be severely hit as they have to cope without the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya while Arsenal could be without four players including Ivorian Gervinho, who has scored five goals so far this season.