More match-fixing prosecutions in 2016 after early embarrassment

LONDON Nine players and officials were sanctioned for corrupt behaviour by a beefed-up Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) last year with the lower levels of the game still cause for the greatest concerns.

Five of the nine people, including two Turkish and two Uzbek officials involved in communicating live scores to a 'third party', received life bans, the ITU said in its annual report released on Thursday.

Two others had appeals to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed and their original suspensions upheld.

Australia hand Lynn, Stanlake ODI debuts against Pakistan

SYDNEY Swashbuckling batsman Chris Lynn will make his one-day international debut alongside pace bowler Billy Stanlake in Australia's first match against Pakistan in Brisbane on Friday.

Lynn, who has played five Twenty20 internationals, has lit up Australia's Big Bash competition this year, hitting 26 sixes in five games, including one 121-metre blast that sailed out of the Gabba, the venue for Friday's match.

The odds favour Conte for hat-trick over Ranieri

By Alan Baldwin
| LONDON

LONDON Several bookmakers had suspended betting on Antonio Conte being sacked as Chelsea manager the last time the Italian's side played compatriot Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City in the Premier League.

The run-up to that October clash at Stamford Bridge now sounds like an echo from another era for both managers as they prepare for what should be another lively evening at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

League winger Radradra's move to Toulon confirmed

SYDNEY Fiji-born winger Semi Radradra will join French club Toulon on a two-year deal after completing the 2017 season with Australia's Parramatta Eels, the National Rugby League (NRL) club said on Thursday.

The powerful 24-year-old, who has played test rugby league for Fiji and Australia, was named Winger of the Year in the NRL in 2014 after scoring 19 tries in 24 matches and again in 2015 when he crossed 24 times in 18 outings.

Injury ends former world number three Petrova's career

Former world number three Nadia Petrova has retired from tennis after almost two decades in the sport.

The 34-year-old Russian had not played on the WTA Tour since 2014 after failing to shake off a torn muscle in her shoulder and a number of other injuries.

"Every time I tried to step it up and work towards a tour level, my body would break down," she told the WTA website (www.wtatennis.com).

"In order to play on the highest levels, you want just to focus on the game and not on things that are bothering you physically.

Chelsea granted permission to redevelop Stamford Bridge

LONDON Chelsea have been given local government planning permission to redevelop their Stamford Bridge ground into a 60,000-seater stadium, the Premier League leaders announced on Wednesday .

Chelsea, who won the last of their five league crowns in 2014-15, said a key hurdle had been overcome, but it did not mean building work could begin.

"Tonight the (Hammersmith and Fulham) council’s planning committee considered the application and we are grateful that planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of our historic home," the club said.

'Quiet leader' Furyk relishes Ryder Cup challenge in Paris

Newly appointed U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk welcomes the tall challenge that awaits him in Paris next year when he looks to steer the Americans to their first victory over Europe on foreign soil in 25 years.

"Some people look at the negative. It's been 25 years," Furyk, who was introduced as captain for the 2018 edition of the biennial competition on Wednesday, said on a conference call about registering the first U.S. road victory since 1993.

Silva on the spot as PSG reach League Cup last four

PARIS A brace of headers by Thiago Silva earned holders Paris St Germain a routine 2-0 home win against Metz and a place in the French League Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

The skipper found the back of the net in each half as PSG joined Girondins de Bordeaux, who beat En Avant Guingamp 3-2 earlier on Wednesday, in the last four.

PSG will travel to Bordeaux in the semi-finals on Jan. 25. At the Parc des Princes, the hosts went ahead on 27 minutes when Silva headed home from Angel Di Maria’s corner kick.

Free kick specialist Messi fires Barca into cup last eight

By Richard Martin
| BARCELONA

BARCELONA Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as holders Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 on Wednesday to overturn a deficit from the first leg and advance to the quarter-finals of the King's Cup.

A Luis Suarez volley put Barca ahead in the 35th minute while Brazil international Neymar earned and converted a penalty three minutes into the second half to score his first goal since October and put Barca in front in the tie after losing the first leg 2-1.

Murray makes career commitment to play at Queen's

LONDON Britain's world number one Andy Murray has committed to compete in the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club for the rest of his career, officials said on Wednesday.

The Wimbledon warm-up tournament has proved to be Murray's most successful hunting ground, as he has hoisted the super-sized silver cup a record five times.

Last year his Queen's Club triumph sparked off a season to remember for the Scot, who won a second Wimbledon title and a second Olympic gold medal before finishing as world number one.

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