Punishment of a kind for French forward Chabal

»French forward Sebastien Chabal must referee at least three youth games and undergo a refereeing course to avoid a doubling of his ban for criticising officials, France's rugby union said in a statement on Thursday.

Chabal, 33, the highest profile omission from France's World Cup squad announced on Wednesday, was provisionally suspended by his Racing Metro 92 team last month after an outburst against “hopeless” referees.

The long-haired back-rower now faces a 60-day ban unless he agrees to the unusual requests from the union, in which case he will be suspended for only 30 days.
Media reports have speculated that Chabal could announce his international retirement after Wednesday's snub for the Sept. 9-Oct. 23 tournament in New Zealand.

Shame and jail athlete gamblers, says Coates

»Athletes placing bets on sporting events should be named, shamed and jailed and any of Australia's Olympic athletes caught doing so will be kicked off their London 2012 team, the head of the country's Olympic committee has said.

“If the AOC (Australian Olympic Committee) team membership agreements do not already make it clear that being involved in betting or gambling on the Games or providing inside information is conduct we will not tolerate, they will now,” John Coates told the AOC's annual general meeting on Saturday.

“The 2012 team membership agreement is being updated to make not only betting by athletes and officials an offence but also that of disclosing any confidential information to third parties.”

Coates said he had been lobbying Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard to establish an independent national sports betting authority that is able to investigate cheating and fraudulent conduct.

He said ideally the agency would be able to “name and shame” athletes, and have the powers to investigate financial and telephone records, while also establishing minimum sentences for offences.

Australia's Minister for Sport Mark Arbib said a possible sentence for anyone caught match-fixing would be 10-years imprisonment.

Johnson secretly marries girlfriend Jessica

»Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson married his girlfriend Jessica Bratich last week in a secret ceremony but did not invite his mother on the occasion, media reports said in Melbourne.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph the secret wedding ceremony was attended by some 50 guests in Western Australia’s south-west on Friday. None of Johnson’s current Australian cricket teammates attended the ceremony.

Queenslander Johnson, 29, had moved to Western Australia to play for the Warriors in 2008 so that he could spend more time with Bratich, a former karate champion. The report added that when Johnson revealed on his Facebook profile on Tuesday that he was married to Jessica, some family members blasted him on his public wall for “disrespecting” his mum and holding the event so close to Mother’s Day.

Johnson and Jessica had made elaborate plans to make sure that their wedding remains a secret. At Bratich’s Hen’s party, participants were told to wear wigs to cover their identity and Johnson’s Buck’s party was also held at a location in the Perth Hills away from prying eyes.

Swedish authorities get tough on fireworks 

»Swedish football authorities look set to maintain a tough stance on fireworks in stadiums in the wake of an injury sustained by a female fan in the derby between Gothenburg and GAIS this week.

Pyrotechnics are regularly seen at Swedish grounds and some fans' groups want them to be allowed in controlled conditions. However the latest in a series of incidents has highlighted the risks, according to the Swedish Football Association (SvFF).

The SvFF has cracked down on pyrotechnics inside stadiums and has instructed referees to halt play immediately if they see fireworks being used in the stands. Clubs can be heavily fined if their fans use pyrotechnics, and Mikael Santoft, general secretary of the SvFF, said that Monday's incident was evidence that their tougher line is the correct one to take.

“All pyrotechnics are forbidden, and this (fire) is the proof of how dangerous they are,” he told Reuters.  The Gothenburg derby is the latest in a long line of matches to be disrupted because of unauthorised pyrotechnics.  In Stockholm the derby between Djurgarden and AIK was stopped several times, and a recent league game between Syrianska and AIK was abandoned after 20 minutes when a firecracker thrown from the stands hit an assistant referee.