Barcelona to report Malaga president's offensive tweet

Spanish giants Barcelona will report Malaga president Abdullah Al-Thani to the nation's football governing body and La Liga authorities over comments he made about the club on social media, the league leaders have said.

Al-Thani reportedly made offensive remarks about Barcelona on Twitter after a fan asked about Malaga's upcoming game against title contenders Real Madrid.

Players reject Cricket Australia pay offer

SYDNEY Australia's professional cricketers rejected a pay offer from the sport's governing body on Friday, saying the proposal was "a win for cricket administrators but a loss for cricket".

The already protracted and sometimes rancorous negotiations between the players' union and Cricket Australia (CA) precede the expiry of the current five-year deal, which runs out at the end of June.

Barton received shortest possible ban, says FA

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton's 18-month ban from football was the "shortest possible sanction" for his betting offences, the English Football Association has said.

Barton, who was charged with placing 1,260 bets on football matches or competitions from March 2006 to May 2016, said that he will appeal the length of the ban as it "effectively forces me into an early retirement".

"The Commission accepts he had a gambling addiction, and that may have played a part in his continued betting," the FA explained in its written reasons.

Man City keeper Bravo could miss last five games

Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo could miss the remaining five games of the season after sustaining an injury in Thursday's 0-0 Premier League draw with rivals Manchester United.

Chilean Bravo was carried off on a stretcher in the 79th minute and replaced by Willy Caballero.

"Of course he has an injury, probably [out] for some weeks," manager Pep Guardiola said after the game. "I don't know if he will be available again this season."

Fourth-placed City, a point and a place above United, travel to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Fellaini sees red as United hold on for goalless draw at City

By Simon Evans
| MANCHESTER, England

MANCHESTER, England MANCHESTER CITY 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

Manchester United held on for a goalless draw in a feisty derby with Manchester City after midfielder Marouane Fellaini was sent off for a headbutt in the Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

The Belgian was dismissed when, moments after being booked for a foul on Sergio Aguero, he tripped the Argentine and then, in clear view of referee Martin Atkinson, confronted him by pushing his forehead towards the City forward who fell.

F1 drivers unconvinced by cockpit 'shield' proposal

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia Formula One's plans to introduce a transparent cockpit 'shield' could make racing more dangerous in wet conditions, Danish driver Kevin Magnussen said on Thursday.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced this week that it was focussing on the concept rather than a previously tested 'halo' cockpit protection system.

It said track tests would be carried out in preparation for implementation in 2018.

French prosecutors investigating 2018, 2022 World Cup awards

PARIS French prosecutors are investigating the decision by global soccer body FIFA to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, a source close to the investigation said on Thursday.

The national financial prosecutor's office (PNF), which specialises in investigating economic crimes, began a preliminary investigation last year.

It is looking into possible offences which include private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling, the source said.

Hamilton says inspired by Serena's response to Nastase

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia Triple Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has hailed Serena Williams as an inspiration after the world's top female tennis player hit back at comments made by former men's number one Ilie Nastase about her unborn child.

Nastase was quoted by Romanian and some British media last week as saying in response to William's pregnancy announcement: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"

Alonso says Indy 500 is even bigger than he thought

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia Fernando Alonso had a hunch that entering next month's Indianapolis 500 was going to be a big deal but on Thursday he confessed to a misjudgement - the race was even bigger than he had imagined.

Speaking to reporters at the Russian Grand Prix after attending an IndyCar race in Alabama at the weekend, the double Formula One world champion expressed surprise at the level of interest in the United States.

French rugby player halts career because of Paris attack injuries

French rubgy player Aristide Barraud said on Thursday he was putting his career on hold because of injuries suffered in the militant attack on the Bataclan music hall in Paris, telling fans he was worried he might die on the pitch.

The flyhalf with Italian top-tier club Mogliano was shot twice in the November 2015 assault, suffering a perforated lung, injuries in his leg and Achilles tendon and five fractured ribs.

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