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Clijsters eyes Olympics match-up with Henin

»Three-times grand slam winner Kim Clijsters will mark the end of her glittering career by teaming up with arch-rival Justine Henin for Belgium at the 2012 London Olympics.

Former world number one Henin and current world number three Clijsters, who have 10 Grand Slam titles between them, have only teamed up once before in the Fed Cup.

They have not always got on but before a friendly exhibition match on Thursday the pair spoke about the possible match-up.

"It would be nice of course to do it for the Olympic Games, because I tell myself that that year might be my last full season. So it would be nice to end that season in style," said Clijsters, who has won the U.S Open two years running since returning from a two-year break from the game to start a family.

Maldonado flies flag for socialist Chavez

»As an admirer and friend of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, new kid on the block Pastor Maldonado will bring a rare dash of socialism to the ultra-moneyed world of Formula One next season.

Maldonado, frequently pictured at Chavez's side including during a visit to flood victims this week, will race for former champions Williams in 2011 after winning this year's GP2 support series.

The 25-year-old said that sport and politics could mix happily together. "Sport should not be kept away from politics, it should be supported, like happens in Venezuela," he said.
State oil company PDVSA, whose oil revenues have financed Chavez's decade-long "21st century socialism" experiment in the South American nation, is Maldonado's main local sponsor.

State phone company CANTV, which the ever-controversial Chavez nationalized in 2007, also backs Maldonado. The driver has been feted as a national hero, and socialist symbol for the state, since securing the race seat.

FIFA ponders later start for Brazil WC

»A later start to the next World Cup to allow top players to have a longer rest after sapping club seasons will be one of the key issues for a FIFA task force looking at improving future tournaments.

Starting the 2014 finals in Brazil in July rather than mid-June would allow players to be fresher for the tournament, a senior source at world soccer's governing body said.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has already announced plans for his task force to look at ways of making the tournament more attractive. Blatter's decision came after several high-profile players, including Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba, produced mediocre performances at the World Cup in South Africa this year.

FIFA was also disappointed by the cagey tactics by teams in the first round of matches which made for several dull games. Blatter said he wanted solutions to be introduced in time for the next World Cup in Brazil.

WC decision ‘something beautiful’ for Platini

»Michel Platini, UEFA president and a FIFA executive committee member, said there was "something beautiful" about the philosophy behind the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

He added that there was "nothing illogical" about the Qatar decision, arguing the Middle East had been rejected as hosts several times in the past. The Frenchman, however, pondered alternatives to the current voting system in which World Cup hosts are chosen by the executive committee, which currently consists of 22 members.

Platini said he felt that FIFA's executive committee had been won over by the thought of taking the World Cup to new regions as he was quizzed about last week's vote in Zurich.

‘Young golfers in focus for 2011’

»The US PGA Tour will focus on promoting its crop of young players in 2011, Commissioner Tim Finchem said following a year in which Tiger Woods slipped from being a conquering force.

"I think the takeaway on the competition side of 2010, more than anything else, was the tremendous interest in young players coming up," Finchem told reporters on a conference call summing up the past season and looking ahead.

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