More support for FIFA candidate InfantinoGENEVA (AP):Gianni Infantino is having the best week of any FIFA presidential candidate for public pledges of support to succeed Sepp Blatter, and got South America on his side on Thursday.The 10-nation body known as CONMEBOL said in a statement that its executive committee agreed to give the UEFA general secretaryunanimous support in the February 26 election.On Monday, Infantino was backed by the seven federations from Central America, and Trinidad and Tobago also endorsed him on Thursday despite mistakenly referring in its video message to him as “Giovanni” Infantino.Infantino can count on a big majority of the 53 members in Europe – already giving him more than 70 of the 209 FIFA votes if public promises hold up in the polling booths in Zurich.A two-thirds majority of eligible voters is required to win in the first round, and a simple majority will clinch the presidency in subsequent rounds.English FA boss leaving over reformsLONDON (AP):The English Football Association chairman, who set the national team a target of winning the World Cup by 2022, is leaving in July.Greg Dyke announced yesterday that he will not stand for re-election this year because of friction which he expects will result from attempts to modernise the FA’s decision-making structures.”I had already decided that if no reform was possible, I was going to leave anyway this summer, a position I had shared with a number of colleagues,” Dyke said. “What I now see is that even if we get the reform through, which will be a difficult and divisive process, although essential, I am probably not the best person to pick up the pieces following the inevitable discord.”Since arriving at the FA in 2013, the former BBC director general has been trying to ensure that England has a pool of players capable of turning England into World Cup winners for the first time since 1966.Dyke has also been a leading critic of Sepp Blatter at FIFA.Sri Lanka recall FernandoCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP):Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando has been surprisingly recalled by Sri Lanka after more than three years out, for three Twenty20 matches against India next month, Sri Lanka Cricket said yesterday.The 36-year-old Fernando last played for Sri Lanka in July 2012.Sri Lanka Cricket says Dinesh Chandimal will lead the team as Lasith Malinga is out injured.Seniors Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, and seam bowler Nuwan Pradeep will also miss the series due to injuries.The series, preparation for the World Twenty20 which will also be held in India, begins on February 9 in Pune.Squad: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Seekuge Prasanna, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedera, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilhara Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Binura Fernando, Sachithra Senanayake and Jeffrey Vandersay.
Jamaican football clubs have made it no secret that participating in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship is a very tall demand in terms of expenses.In 2014, the same problem resulted in Waterhouse missing the tournament’s second round, while last season Montego Bay United, in their tournament debut, also expressed difficulties in meeting the financial requirements to compete in the regional tournament.However, both clubs agree that the exposure, experience and other benefits are priceless.Arnett Gardens Football Club president, Patrick Roberts, whose club is currently in the Dominican Republic to contest Group Four of the first round, share similar sentiments.”It’s (preparation) not difficult to organise. What is difficult is getting the resources. When you have resources there is no difficulty, but the difficult part is to get the resources you need,” Richards said.”You want to carry additional players but you can’t, you have to limit the players because of the resources, because just fares for a trip of this nature go into three to four millions. But we have an obligation and wherever the slack is we have to make it up. But it was difficult,” he said.Roberts explained that when they assessed everything, the opportunities and benefits were too enormous for them to miss the event.”The benefit is exposure for the players, so hopefully someone watching the game will like your players and make contact. It also gives the players a different level of preparation, because we are at the back end of our season so it helps the players to prepare for international competition.”It is a different approach, but that is the route we have to go, we have to go and see what these teams are made of. We have not known them or what type of football they play,” he noted.”Expectations are high. For most of the players this is their first experience at this level and they are definitely anticipating it. They want to take it to the next level and go as far as they can in the region,” he said.Arnett will play in Group Four of the tournament at the Estadio Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, from March 2 to 6.They play their opening game against Haitian club America Des Cayes tomorrow, then face Notch of Suriname of Friday, before wrapping up their fixtures against Atletico Pantoja on Sunday.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC): Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board president, Azim Bassarath, says he disagrees with the decision to sack Denesh Ramdin as Test captain and hopes the move is not part of any plan to target Trinidadian players. The outspoken West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director also said he was not a part of the WICB directors’ teleconference last Wednesday when the decision to remove Ramdin was ratified. Ramdin was on Friday axed after just 15 months in charge and replaced by one-day skipper, Jason Holder, a recommendation from selectors which the WICB said had been “endorsed unanimously” by directors during the teleconference. But Bassarath told the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday he had not attended the meeting because of his commitments as a returning officer for Monday’s General Elections here. He also contended that Ramdin should have been allowed to lead the squad on the tour of Sri Lanka starting next month, so selectors could further assess his performance. “I think we should have given him another opportunity to tour Sri Lanka as captain and then look at his performance if the selectors had a problem,” Bassarath was quoted as saying. “What is shocking to me is that earlier this year, Denesh led the team against England and we came away with a credible draw. “Against Australia we lost 2-0, but I didn’t think he performed that badly with the bat that he deserved being dropped. I am disappointed that the selectors came up with that recommendation. Very, very disappointed.” The 30-year-old Ramdin, who took over from Darren Sammy as Test captain in May last year, led West Indies in 13 Tests – winning four, losing seven and drawing two. During that time, he managed 472 runs at an average of 22 and a highest score of 57. Bassarath said he hoped Trinidadian players were not being specifically targeted because of their alleged role in last year’s controversial abandoned tour of India. “I am hoping the (WICB) president (Dave Cameron) is not part of this move to spite and victimise Trinidad and Tobago players because of what transpired in India where Dwayne Bravo was captain and it is alleged that some of the Trinis were leading the charge,” Bassarath said. “I hope it also does not have anything to do with Baldath Mahabir and the TTCB not supporting Mr Cameron for the presidency of the WICB. I would hate to think it has reached that level where the TTCB, which was considered the best territorial board in the Caribbean – and I still think we are – that we are treated in this manner.” He added: “I would not sit down idly by as a WICB director and allow any victimisation and vindictiveness creep into West Indies cricket.” Bravo was last December sacked as one-day captain and replaced by Holder, and also dropped from the one-day squad for South Africa and the subsequent World Cup. Fellow Trinidadian Kieron Pollard was also axed from the one-day squad. VERYDISAPPOINTED
Strong throws While Dibaba ran a tactical race at the World Championships, Wlodarczyk confirmed her record form with history’s second and third throw over 80m with her winner taping out to 80.85 metres. She had another one measured at 80.27m. Last year, New Zealander Valerie Adams became the first thrower to win the IAAF Athlete of the Year Award. Wlodarczyk could follow Adams into history this year. When one athlete has the three performances of all time and the world title in a single season, it’s hard to ignore. Some may feel that Wlodarczyk was a little unlucky last year. While Adams is a great champion, Wlodarczyk had a super 2014 season, including the European title and a world record of 79.58 metres. By contrast, Adams produced shorter putts than in previous seasons. In fact, the respected US publication, Track & Field News, named Wlodarczyk, and not Adams, as its female Athlete of the Year. A slow return from surgery forced Adams to miss the World Championships and she isn’t in contention for the Award this season. Dibaba did brilliantly well as her record run dislodged a mark set in a dream 1993 campaign by Qu Yunxia of China. No one had come closer to Yunxia’s miraculous run until Dibaba. The Ethiopian and the Pole are the only women to set world records this year, but Dibaba did lose over 5000 metres. That reversal, a bronze medal finish at the World Championship, might tip the scales. If it does, Wlodarczyk could be the second female thrower to be IAAF Athlete of the Year. On the other hand, there probably won’t be too many complaints if Dibaba wins. After all, she was super in 2015. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980. It was headline news when Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia broke the 1,500-metre world record in Monaco with a super run of three minutes, 50.07 seconds. When she took the gold medal in the 1,500m at the World Championships in Beijing, she became a prime candidate for the 2015 Athlete of the Year Award. However, she won’t be the only candidate when the deliberations begin. Some familiar names spring to mind. Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce lost just once in the 100 metres, clicked off the three fastest times of the year, 10.74, 10.76 and 10.79 seconds and swept to victory in Beijing. Allyson Felix also won in Beijing, crowning an undefeated season in the 400m with a personal best of 49.26 seconds. Tianna Bartoletta, the Beijing long jump winner, might be under consideration, too, because she has impressive credentials. In Beijing, she produced the longest jump of the year – 7.14 metres – in the final to defeat a fine field. Despite those accomplishments, Dibaba’s prime rival for the Athlete of the Year Award is probably a hammer thrower. Anita Wlodarczyk, the blonde Pole who extended her own world record to 81.08 metres before the world’s best congregated in Beijing. Sensationally, that was the first throw ever over 80 metres.
first goal WESTERN BUREAU: Montego Bay United yesterday defeated FC Reno 2-1 in their Red Stripe Premier League western derby football match at Frome Sports Complex behind a brace from striker Dino Williams, to inflict the first league loss in six matches for Michael Graham’s men. It was a derby with a little of everything involved: yellow cards – four of them to be exact – crunching tackles, missed chances and, of course, the main ingredient, goals. And at the end, the visitors broke the hearts of their hosts. Montego Bay United swept into the top spot in the standings on 13 points, the same as Portmore United, but with a superior goal difference, while FC Reno dropped one spot to third. Williams struck his first goal in the 29th minute to cancel out Roshane Sharpe’s sixth-minute goal for Reno, then shattered Reno’s plans with an 86th-minute poacher’s goal. Sharpe profited from a defensive error that was initiated by goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett, who bowled the ball out to his central defender, Cardel Simpson, who had difficulty controlling the ball. Then, in an attempt to clear the ball, it took a deflection into the path of Williams, who picked his spot to open the scoring. Reno goalkeeper Ashek Taylor mishandled a Williams shot from just outside the area and the ball slipped through his hands and legs and over the line to make the score 1-1. Williams added insult to injury when he popped up to poke the ball home in the 86th for Montego Bay’s go-ahead goal, to seal the victory. “They jumped on us early with that goal, but we fought back to level things up. I thought we played a really sound game today (yesterday) to earn the win,” MBU coach Tim Hankinson said. He reasoned that his team needs to tighten up defensively if they are to avoid conceding cheap goals and stayed clear of blaming goalkeeper Barrett for the goal. Michael Graham, the Reno coach, was left bitterly disappointed, but noted he was pleased with aspects of the performance. “We are already looking to the next match. I think although we conceded late on to lose this game, we played well,” Graham said.
MIAMI (CMC):A new code of conduct was launched on Tuesday by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).The new code of conduct, assisted by an ethics hotline, sets new standards for organisations that provide a product or service to CONCACAF or to whom the Confederation makes payment.CONCACAF says all football, corporate, media and vendor partners will be responsible for adhering to these policies with immediate effect.”Our fans, players, sponsors and member associations count on us to conduct business using stricter ethical standards, and that includes our work with partners,” CONCACAF said in a statement.”This new code of conduct underscores our responsibility to substantially improve CONCACAF’s operations, while allowing the Confederation to efficiently fulfill our mission of advancing the game of football.”The code focuses on three main areas: legal and regulatory compliance practices, business practices, and labour practices and human rights.It requires compliance with the anti-corruption laws of the countries in which partners conduct business, including the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom Bribery Act.It also bans gifts and payments to executive committee members and CONCACAF employees, and restricts partners conducting business with any employee or representative who has a family member with a financial interest in the partner’s business.”The code of conduct also authorises the Confederation to audit its partners’ internal controls and operational effectiveness. Additionally, CONCACAF will set up a Partner Ethics Hotline to be overseen by the Confederation’s compliance team, where whistle-blowers can safely and securely report questionable behaviour or possible violations of the code of conduct,” CONCACAF explained.”All of CONCACAF’s existing partners are responsible for complying with the code of conduct and educating all employees and representatives who may conduct business on its behalf,” it added.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):Around the world, players, commentators, and fans echoed the call of Roger Federer, who wants to know names of those suspected of match-fixing in a growing scandal that one ex-pro described as a “major wake-up call for the world of tennis”.Many called for clarity, saying that the public and players have a right to know who is suspected of cheating. Others warned that the match-fixing scandal has the potential to damage the reputation of tennis, just like doping or corruption scandals have hurt professional cycling, athletics, baseball, and soccer.Martina Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam champion, tweeted: “We need facts, not suppositions.”The scandal broke on Monday when the BBC and BuzzFeed News published reports – timed for the start of the Australian Open – alleging that tennis authorities have ignored widespread evidence of match-fixing involving 16 tennis players who have ranked in the top 50 over the past decade.BuzzFeed titled its story ‘The Tennis Racket’ and said that half of those 16, including a Grand Slam winner, were at this year’s Australian Open.”This really casts a very dark shadow on our sport right now,” Mary Jo Fernandez said on ESPN as part of a panel discussion yesterday on the controversy.”Hopefully, because the world is watching, something will be done about it. We need to flag who these players were,” said Fernandez, a three-time Grand Slam finalist, winner of two Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and two Olympic gold medals.Federer was among the first to demand more information: “I would love to hear names,” the Swiss star said on Monday at a post-match news conference. Referring specifically to the claim about a former Grand Slam winner, he asked, “Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which Slam? It’s so all over the place. It’s nonsense to answer something that is pure speculation.”His comments have resonated with those who say that not knowing leads to dangerous speculation.”This is turning into a witch hunt,” said Patrick McEnroe, a former French Open doubles champion and captain of the US Davis Cup team who was in Melbourne commentating.No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic was put on the spot yesterday at a post-match news conference, where a reporter told him that an Italian newspaper had just reported that he “wanted to lose” a match in Paris in 2007.”You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost and just create a story out of it,” Djokovic said.”This is now the main story in tennis, in the sports world. There’s going to be a lot of allegations,” he said, calling it “just speculation” and saying “it is not true”.GAMBLEDONHEAVILYUntil now, the average fan may have had little idea that tennis is one of the most gambled on sports in the world, with bookmakers actively taking bets mid-match. Between matches at the Australian Open, tennis experts have explained the mechanics of match-fixing, spelling out that it doesn’t necessarily mean throwing an entire match but could involve taking money just to double-fault or lose a set.”We in the tennis world have all heard the stories about this going on at the low levels. No one knew it was happening at the Grand Slams,” McEnroe said. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. This is a major, major wake-up call for the world of tennis.”The BBC and BuzzFeed report prompted an immediate news conference by tennis’ governing bodies on Monday in Melbourne Park, where representatives denied allegations that any evidence about match-fixing had been suppressed. Officials noted that the sport’s anti-corruption division, the Tennis Integrity Unit, has pursued 18 disciplinary cases that resulted in life bans from the sport for five players and one official. It was set up in 2008 after a surge of suspicious betting activity in tennis.
SHARJAH, UAE (CMC): Brian Lara’s struggles with the bat continued while former West Indies teammate Fidel Edwards bowled a poor final over as their Leo Lions went down by four wickets to Virgo Super Kings in the Masters Champions League yesterday. Promoting himself to the opening slot, the left-handed Lara managed just one before he was stumped off left-arm spinner Murali Karthik with the sixth delivery of the game at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Lara, who is captaining the side, now has scores of eight, nought, and one in his three innings. New Zealander James Franklyn top-scored with 44 from 33 balls with two fours and two sixes, while South African Johan Botha chipped in with 27 from 24 deliveries with two fours and a six. Lions were wandering at 102 for seven in the 17th over when Franklyn and Zimbabwean Heath Streak (21 not out) arrived to add 44 off 20 balls in an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership. In reply, Pakistani Azhar Mahmood lashed 48 from 28 balls with four fours and two sixes, while Neil McKenzie got 30 off 34 deliveries to put Super Kings on course for victory. However, they still needed 15 off the last over and Edwards managed just seven runs from the first four deliveries. Englishman James Foster then turned the game on its head when he blasted a six and a four off the last two deliveries to deliver Virgo Kings a dramatic win. Edwards went wicket-less from his four overs, which cost 41 runs.
After casting her vote at the Whitfield Town All Age School in her South West St Andrew constituency a short while ago, Simpson-Miller told members of the media that she will not say how many seats she is going to win, but noted that she is assured of victory. “Do I look like a loser? What sort of question is that?” Simpson- Miller quipped as journalists asked whether she would stay on as PNP President should she lose the election. “I know how many seats I am going to win, but I know the PNP will remain in power after this election,” added Simpson-Miller. The PNP President said after voting she is heading to her constituency office as she doesn’t see the need to prop up any PNP candidate who might be in a fight. In a plea to her supporters and Jamaicans in general, the Prime Minister begged for a peaceful election arguing that there is no need for intimidation or violence as people cast their votes. “I want no intimidation. I want no trouble. I want everybody to go out and cast their vote in peace,” said Simpson — Miller. She said her next address to the media will come later after the PNP’s victory. With a massive crowd shouting ‘Portia! Portia!’, the PNP President left the Whitfield Town All Age School just minutes ago. Meanwhile, heavy voting is continuing at the polling station, which has several polling divisions. People’s National Party (PNP) President, Prime Minister Portia Simpson — Miller, has expressed confidence that she will remain in the top job when the votes are counted later this evening.
NAGPUR, India (AP) — Former champions West Indies remained unbeaten and advanced to the World Twenty20 semi-finals earlier today after edging out South Africa by three wickets for their third straight win in Group 1. Marlon Samuels hit 43 off 44 balls and led West Indies to 123-7 in 19.4 overs after South Africa’s batsmen struggled on a slow wicket and limped to 122-8 with Quinton de Kock scoring a fighting 47 off 46 balls. The third successive chase after winning the toss earned West Indies six points and the 2012 champions can sweep the group by defeating Afghanistan on Sunday. South Africa will be eliminated if England, who already have four points, beat defending champions Sri Lanka tomorrow. South Africa have two points from their solitary win against Afghanistan, with a match against Sri Lanka to come. NOTE: Earlier this story had said the West Indies made 126 for 7 in 19.4 overs. That was incorrect. It was actually 123 for 7 in 19.4 overs since the batsmen completed the winning run before the ball hit the boundary. As dictated by the cricket rules, the boundary would not have been counted since the winning run was completed before the ball reached the ropes.