Russian clubs will be banned from signing Turkish players during the upcoming winter break. Relations between the countries have been strained since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish forces on the Syrian border, killing one pilot. Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency that clubs had “already got the message”. “If anyone wants [to sign a Turkish player] during the break, there will not be such a possibility,” he said. Mutko said the sports sanctions would not affect Turkish players currently playing for Russian soccer clubs, such as Rubin Kazan’s midfielder Gokdeniz Karadeniz, who joined the Tatarstan outfit in 2008. “Everyone who has an existing contract will carry on working,” Mutko said. “They won’t be here in the future but at the moment they have contracts and these will not be looked into.” Mutko added that Turkish companies already involved in constructing stadiums for the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be allowed to continue. The sports ministry has also recommended that Russian football clubs cancel winter training camps to Turkey. Several sides, including Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow, FC Krasnodar and Kuban Krasnodar, have said they would heed the advice. In addition, Mutko has confirmed that Russian athletes will be able to participate in tournaments organised in Turkey, with maximum security ensured. He said that the measures that Russia is taking against Turkey will not impact on the calendar of international sports federations.
Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, will retire at the end of the season. Bryant has scored 32,683 points during a 20-year career with the LA Lakers to rank third on the NBA’s all-time list. The two-time Olympic gold medallist, 37, has been hindered by injuries in recent seasons and has been below his best this year for the Lakers. He told the Players’ Tribune: “My body knows it’s time to say goodbye.” Bryant has averaged more than 25 points per game in his 1,293 NBA matches. Should the Lakers fail to make the end-of-season play-offs, his final game is set to be at home against Utah on 13 April. In a poem entitled ‘Dear Basketball’, Bryant announced “this season is all I have left to give”. The Philadelphia-born player added: “You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream. And I’ll always love you for it. But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.”
Tunisia’s Etoile Du Sahel beat South Africa’s Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the second leg of the African Confederation Cup final in Sousse to triumph 2-1 on aggregate. Captain Ammar Jemal scored the winner for the Tunisians to add to his late equaliser in the first leg, which had finished 1-1. Sunday’s game was played amid tight security, following Tuesday’s bomb attack in Tunis, with a reduced crowd and an earlier kick-off time. Jemal – the 28-year-old centre back, who previously played in the German Bundesliga with FC Cologne and Ajaccio in the French Ligue 1 – emerged as his team’s star, as Etoile won Africa’s second-biggest club competition. His bundled finish in the 24th minute of Sunday’s decider at the Olympic Stadium in Sousse added to his vital equaliser in the final minutes of last Saturday’s first leg in Soweto, which cancelled out Thamsanqa Gabuza’s strike. Jemal’s second goal of the tie came after Pirates defender Happy Jele miscued a cross and the ball spun viciously back towards goal, with the centre-half managing to bundle the ball over the line. Originally scheduled for an 1830 GMT kick-off, the last major match of the African continental club season was brought forward by four-and-a-half hours.
Coach Samson Siasia’s Dream Team VI (Nigeria’s uU-23 side) yesterday recorded a win in their first in Senegal in their quest to pick a qualification ticket for Rio 2016 Olympics. Two goals from Junior Ajayi and a third from Muhammed Usman inspired Nigeria to a 3-2 win over Mali at the 2015 Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Senegal on Sunday. Adama Niane had his 37th second effort kiss the cross bar as the Malians dominated the early part of the game. Soon, Samson Siasia’s lads woke up from their slumber and gradually came alive and got rewarded in the 16th minute when Ajayi gave Nigeria the lead. The CS Sfaxien forward converted with a back heel after Stanley Dimgba had laid a cross into Les Aiglons‘ 18 yard box after his terrific run down their defence. All efforts from Cheick Kone’s side to equalise proved futile as Souleymane Sissoko and Adama Traore forced goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel to a couple of saves.
Jamie Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record as he became the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League matches. The Leicester striker netted in the first half of his side’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United. Dutchman Van Nistelrooy achieved his feat for Manchester United across two seasons in 2003. Vardy’s run has included 13 goals, making him the league’s top scorer with 14 goals in total so far this season. Vardy, who four years ago was playing for Fleetwood in the Conference in front of 768 people, said he was “taking each match as it comes”. He added: “The record was not in my mind, it would have affected my performance and the team’s, and that’s the last thing I wanted to do. “I can think about it when I am home but as soon as I cross the white line all I should be concentrating on is my football. “That’s what I have been doing and exactly what I will continue to do.”
Britain’s Tyson Fury pulled off one of the great boxing upsets as he outpointed Wladimir Klitschko to become heavyweight champion of the world. It was a dour and often messy fight but Fury, courtesy of his superior boxing skills, fully deserved to be awarded a unanimous decision. Ukrainian Klitschko, whose nine-year reign as champion was brought to an end, simply could not work the challenger out and did not do enough to win. Fury, who was awarded the fight 115-112, 115-112, 116-111 on the judges’ scorecards, is now the WBA, IBF and WBO champion. The 27-year-old Manchester fighter is only Britain’s fifth bona fide heavyweight world champion after Bob Fitzsimmons, Lennox Lewis, Frank Bruno and David Haye. Herbie Hide and Henry Akinwande both held WBO versions of the title at a time when the organisation’s title holders were not widely recognised as genuine world champions. “You’re a great champion Wlad, thanks very much for having me,” said Fury, moments after his win was announced in Dusseldorf. The self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ had taunted his opponent before the fight and even dressed as Batman at one news conference. “It was all fun and games in the build-up, I just wanted to be confident, young and brash,” said Fury, who had complained about the thickness of the foam under the ring canvas before the bout. To the delight of British fans in the 50,000-capacity Esprit Arena, he burst into a rendition of Aerosmith’s hit ballad I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, dedicating it to his wife and his fans in Ireland, the UK, the United States and Germany.
Away fans will be banned from top football matches in France until mid-December with the country in a state of emergency following the Paris attacks and because of the forthcoming Climate Summit in the capital. “The Interior Ministry has issued an order banning away fans for the 15th round of Ligue 1 matches, and the 16th round of matches of Ligue 2, this weekend,” the French League (LFP) said in a statement on Thursday.
European football governing body, UEFA, has released a 40-man shortlist for its team of the year. No African made the list. Poor! Barcelona provide eight players, while Bayern and Juventus both have six.
IAAF president Lord Coe is facing conflict of interest allegations after emails emerged suggesting he lobbied his predecessor over the hosting of the 2021 World Championships. Eugene, USA, was given the event without a bidding process, despite interest from the Swedish city of Gothenburg. A BBC investigation has uncovered emails which claim Coe – an ambassador for sports giant Nike and then vice-president of world athletics – “reached out” to Lamine Diack with his support for Eugene’s bid. The Oregon city, which lost out to Doha with a 2019 bid, is closely associated with Nike.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has confirmed he will train with former club Liverpool next week and is relishing the opportunity to work with Jurgen Klopp. LA Galaxy midfielder Gerrard has ruled out a return to a playing role with Liverpool and is only training at Melwood during the MLS close season. The 35-year-old, talking on BT Sport, said: “I’m going to go in for a couple of weeks and work with Mr Klopp so I’m really looking forward to that, to see what he’s about and try and learn a few things from him.”
FIFA vice-president Michel Platini could be facing a life ban from football, according to his lawyer. The suspended UEFA chief is serving a 90-day suspension on corruption charges alongside outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, while FIFA’s adjudicatory committee considers its verdict. Platini’s lawyer Thibaud d’Ales said the ethics investigators’ “excessive” recommendations are a “scandal”. The adjudicatory committee intends to announce its verdict next month. The Frenchman is facing sanctions over a “disloyal payment” that saw Platini, 60, receive £1.35m from Blatter, 79, in 2011 for consultation work done nine years earlier. The pair, who are serving 90-day provisional bans, have denied any wrongdoing, but admitted there was no written contract. The adjudicatory committee, led by German judge Hans Joachim Eckert, opened proceedings on Monday, after receiving the ethics committee’s recommendations. Platini is currently barred from taking part in the campaign to replace Blatter as FIFA president in February, but is taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Swiss Blatter, who has had recent health problems and claimed on Monday that he had been “close to dying”, is also likely to appeal to CAS.
Victor Osimhen, top scorer at the Under-17 World Cup, has been included in Nigeria’s squad for the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal. After scoring 10 goals to help Nigeria win the trophy last month he had been on standby for the tournament which is also a qualifier for the Rio Olympics. Osimhen was drafted in to replace Isaac Success, who has not been released by his Spanish club side Granada. The finals take place from 28 November to 12 December. Matches will be played in Dakar and M’bour, and the top three teams will also earn a spot at next year’s Olympics.
Chelsea FC’s problems transcend the pitch. They made a loss of £23.1m as they won the Premier League last season. According to their annual financial results, the deficit kept them within Financial Fair Play (FFP) limits. Getty Images. “It was a primary aim in the past financial year to be one of the clubs with a continuous record of meeting the regulations,” said chairman Bruce Buck. The Blues, who made a record £18.4m profit last year, announced revenues of £314.3m, down on the 2013-14 high of £319.8m.
Paris St-Germain players will wear special shirts for their next two games as a tribute to those who died in this month’s attacks in the French capital. The shirts will carry the message “Je suis Paris” (“I am Paris”). The French champions said they were acting “in unison with the vibrant solidarity expressed by the French and international football community”. PSG visit Swedish side Malmo in the Champions League on Wednesday before hosting Troyes in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Boxers Fury (right) and Klitschko (left) pictured feeling good. Strange to think they’ll be knocking each other come Saturday evening.
Tyson Fury faces champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday (November 28) night in Dusseldorf, Germany. The fight was originally scheduled for October 24, but Klitschko pulled out with a calf injury. Klitschko, 39, has not lost in 11 years, since his knock-out loss by Lamont Brewster in April 2004. The challenger Fury, 27, remains unbeaten from his 24 fights.
Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has been told he retains the club’s full backing following the 4-0 home defeat by Barcelona. Benitez, 55, was only appointed in the summer, but fans chanted for him to be sacked after Saturday’s match. Following a board meeting on Monday, club president Florentino Perez said: “He has all our support and confidence. “Rafa has only just started his job here. Let him keep working and he will achieve his objectives.” Perez added he could “only talk about this moment”. He said: “I cannot say what will happen in the future. No-one can say what will happen in six months.” The 68-year-old rejected suggestions striker Cristiano Ronaldo, the Spanish club’s record goalscorer, had told him he is unhappy playing under Benitez. “Ronaldo has never said anything to me about Benitez,” he said. Perez – who returned to the club in 2009 having resigned as president in 2006 – was also a target for angry fans on Saturday. He said he understood their disappointment but asked them to display “more than ever” their “support to the team and to the players”. Real’s next game is at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday, followed by an away game against Eibar in La Liga on Sunday.
Dream Team VI Chief Coach, Samson Siasia on Monday named a final 21-man squad for the 2015 U-23 Champion- ship commencing Saturday in Dakar, Senegal. Nigeria will begin their campaign on Sunday against Mali in Mbour. They will also battle Egypt on December 2 in Mbour and three days later play their final group B match against Algeria in Dakar. The top three teams will qualify automatically for next year’s Olympics in Rio d Janeiro, Brazil.
New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40. Lomu, who scored 37 tries in 63 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition by 1996. It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011. “Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. “We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.” Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.” Speaking to the BBC, New Zealand Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman said Lomu “was the first global rugby superstar”. He was a “huge inspiration to Polynesian men and actually in later years with his battles against kidney disease, very inspirational to people suffering from chronic diseases as well”, he said. Lomu is survived by his wife Nadene and two sons.
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has had surgery to fix a groin problem in Munich. The club said in a statement:”The injury has been ongoing for weeks and conservative treatment has not had the desired effect.” Balotelli is expected to be sidelined until the new year.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini have had their appeals against 90-day bans rejected by world football governing body’s appeal committee. They were suspended in October while FIFA’s ethics committee investigates corruption claims against them. Blatter, 79, is accused of signing a contract “unfavourable” to FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to Platini. Both deny wrongdoing and could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was also suspended in October but there was no mention of him in Wednesday’s FIFA statement. The adjudicatory panel of FIFA’s ethics committee is due to hold hearings into the misconduct charges before Christmas.